Michael kicks off his keeper analysis with a look at corner infielders involved in notable offseason deals, including the redoubtable David Wright and the eminently doubtable James Loney.
With the Winter Meetings in the rearview mirror, the Hot Stove League continues to crank up, and big deals seem to appear every day in Transaction Analysis. To start our own Hot Stove League, I’m playing Keeper Reaper catch-up by looking at some of the bigger deals that went down during our postseason fantasy hiatus. Each of the keeper league designations is linked to a PFM page with 2012 dollar values for that size league.
If you’re interested in hearing about a corner infielder or designated hitter, please leave a suggestion in the comments section.
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Updated with links to the latest trade deadline transaction analysis.
At Baseball Prospectus, we'll be bringing you analysis of every trade and transaction up through Tuesday's 4 PM ET non-waiver trade deadline. Check back here for the latest links to our coverage, in chronological order.
Full disclosure before I get started: on top of doing my thing here at Baseball Prospectus, I’m a contributor to ForbesSportsMoney. For a guy like me, writing about stuff like this (the business of sports) is, well… it’s a privilege to write for Forbes, one of, if not the, most established business outlets around.
For years, I have been tracking the annual valuations of Major League Baseball clubs that Mike Ozanian started with Financial World, which Kurt Badenhausen now co-authors at Forbes. They’re great as a “trending” measurement, but they have fallen short in terms of real accuracy.
You already love Transaction Analysis. Now you'll get to love Baseball Prospectus' new transactions database.
When you grow up in a military family, change can sometimes feel like the only consistent thing in your life. For me, while bouncing between stations up and down the Eastern Seaboard for much of the '90s, consistency also came in the form of my regular Wednesday routine where, no matter what part of the country I was standing in, I was able to track down a newspaper stand, gas station, or commissary that carried Baseball Weekly (renamed Sports Weekly when they added football to their coverage in 2002). After reading Bob Nightengale’s latest and checking my position in the Clubhouse Fantasy League, I usually found my way to the team-by-team transactions, where the story of a given team’s season could be told in unbiased stock language. That’s where my fascination with roster mechanics began and, based upon the comment threads of our Transaction Analysis articles, I’m guessing many of you share that same interest.
That’s why I’m pleased as Punch (but not as smug) to unveil Baseball Prospectus’ new Transactions page. Let’s take a look around, shall we?
The Blue Jays' GM discusses his organizational philosophy, his love of scouting and how it plays a role in his work, and competing in the AL East.
He’s too humble to admit it, but Alex Anthopoulos has done an outstanding job since replacing J.P. Ricciardi as the general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays in October 2009. He has orchestrated high-impact trades, most notably deals involving Roy Halladay and Vernon Wells, as well as prudent, if not as newsworthy, free-agent signings. Just as importantly, he has been placing a huge emphasis on scouting and player development, which should come as no surprise given his background as a scouting coordinator. A 33-year-old native of Montreal, Anthopoulos has an economics degree from McMaster University.
Ronnie Belliard and Luis Hernandez head for Triple-A, Brandon Belt breaks camp with the big squad, and Matt Holliday loses an appendix but keeps a roster spot.
By my count (or more accurately, Rob McQuown’s), Christina Kahrl has devoted 952 articles to analyzing transactions, and that’s probably selling her short, since our database doesn’t go back quite as far as her byline. In the first Transaction Analysis entry that I could find, Ozzie Guillen appears not as a manager, but as a shortstop and the owner of an exceedingly low OBP; given that Guillen has just entered his eighth season at the helm of the White Sox, it’s clear that Christina has been at this for some time, and unlike Guillen, she didn’t overstay her welcome before shifting to a new role.
Here is how we're now figuring the monetary value of individual players.
This article will follow up on the new version of MORP that I introduced yesterday with a more thorough description of my methodology and my reasoning for it. Firstly, I will restate that the definition of MORP (Market value Over Replacement Player) is the marginal cost of acquiring a player’s contribution on the free-agent market. The basic structure that I am using includes adjusting for draft-pick compensation, which adds to the value of free agents by 10-20 percent. It also looks at all players with six years or more of major-league service time, all years of their free-agent contracts, and makes valuations of their performance based on actual performance rather than the projections, which are biased. I am also adjusting MORP so it is linear with respect to WARP. The discussion of linearity and of the decision to use actual rather than projected performance to evaluate contracts has been detailed in earlier articles, and I won’t reiterate them here in the interest of space. The basic reason why linearity is a fair assumption is that teams frequently have enough vacancies that they can add the number of wins they choose without filling them all. There are exceptions like the 2009 Yankees, who added three front-of-the-rotation starters and an elite first baseman in one offseason. However, even the Yankees do this infrequently enough that it does not regularly impact the market, and without two teams bidding for several superstars every offseason, this is not a large issue. The reason that using projection is so problematic was detailed last week, when I showed how free agents who reach the open market are a biased sample and regularly underperform their projections. For more details of these results, please see my previous work. Here are links to my threepartseries as well as my article on free agents underperforming their PECOTA projections. I will introduce some of the newer concepts in this article.
The head of Seattle's new Department of Statistical Research elaborates on the ins and outs and evolution of baseball analysis.
A new era of Mariners baseball began when Seattle hired Jack Zduriencik as their general manager following the 2008 season, an era that will include an increased emphasis on statistical analysis. Helping to lead that charge will be Tony Blengino, who previously served as Milwaukee's assistant director of amateur scouting under Zduriencik, and now holds the title of special assistant to the general manager, baseball operations. A chief financial officer and author of the book Future Stars, before joining organized baseball in 2003, Blengino will head Seattle's newly created Department of Statistical Research. Blengino talked about his new role, and how the Mariners hope to build a championship-caliber team through a perfect marriage between traditional scouting and statistical analysis.
We've become far more sophisticated over the years about performing financial analysis on trades. We now understand, for instance, that there is a very measurable financial benefit to a team when it makes the playoffs. We also understand that the way you create long-term value in baseball is by employing players who are still in their reserve-clause or arbitration seasons, and paying them a fraction of their market value. It is the interweaving of these two factors that creates most of the trade market.
Back from Orlando--an experience in itself--Joe looks back on the week that was.
Today, I'm running my winter meetings wrap-up, a piece that was originally intended for Friday publication. That it's running today is by design, not by sloth. I was working on this stuff late Thursday night when I became disenchanted with the article, and with my analysis in general, and shelved it for a couple of days.
Nevertheless, in the wake of the most bizarre deal we've seen in a very long time, I couldn't help myself; I peeked around. Now, I have a lot of respect for Rob Neyer, and for Rob's work. As a fellow product of the analysis revolution of the '80s, I suspect we share a basic philosophy of trying to inject some element of quantitative analysis to provide better qualitative commentary. That said, I think any attempt to quantitatively assess the trade of Jeremy Giambi--regardless of your opinion of Win Shares and their utility--ignores two basic problems.