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January 30, 2013 5:00 am
Which contracts might their teams be better off eating this season?
In some ways, the team-specific strengths and weaknesses that metrics like wins above replacement player (or wins above replacement, in more ink-frugal corners of the internet) don’t attempt to account for is what drives much of baseball’s commerce. Every team’s actual replacement player, as opposed to the generic hypothetical, varies. Yes, the Justin Upton trade was about each team’s view of talent and probably grit, but even though the Diamondbacks don’t value Upton like the market may, the situation would have been totally different had Arizona’s roster included only two competent outfielders rather than five.
As much as the identity of each team’s easily available replacement player comes into play in the penthouse of the market, we will see throughout the year that it matters where the worst contracts are concerned, as well. Sunk costs take up space on rosters and even more space on payrolls when there is no suitable replacement. But when there is, we sometimes see action.