Something occurred to me in the wake of the recent Super Bowl halftime show. Given that Bud Selig is so beholden to the idea that Major League Baseball must do its level best to imitate the NFL at every turn, will we fans during the 2004 World Series be subjected to a televised glimpse of a Ronan Tynan man-boob? Perish the thought.
And speaking of the World Series, this time I’m going to turn my attention to the reigning World Champion Florida Marlins. I’ve seen it proclaimed in more than one corner that last year’s model was mostly the fine work of Dave Dombrowski, with his successor, Larry Beinfest, adding only a complementary tweak or two. So let’s find out whether that’s true.
You may recall that I performed a similar exercise with the ’03 Red Sox last year. The methodology will be the same this time around. Using Value Over Replacement Player (VORP), let’s see how much Beinfest’s acquisitions contributed compared to Dombrowski’s.
Here are the team VORP totals for the 2003 Marlin hitters (* = A player signed, traded for or drafted by Beinfest):
Player VORP Mike Lowell 48.9 Ivan Rodriguez* 46.3 Derrek Lee 45.0 Luis Castillo 39.2 Juan Pierre* 32.6 Alex Gonzalez 24.9 Juan Encarnacion* 12.1 Miguel Cabrera 11.9 Ramon Castro 6.9 Dontrelle Willis* 6.7 Brian Banks 3.4 Todd Hollandsworth* 2.2 Jeff Conine* 2.0 Rick Helling* 1.0 A.J. Burnett 0.6 Lenny Harris* 0.6 Brad Penny 0.5 Josh Beckett 0.2 Tommy Phelps* 0.0 Allan Levrault* -0.3 Justin Wayne* -0.3 Tim Spooneybarger* -0.4 Mike Mordecai* -1.0 Mike Redmond -1.2 Chad Allen* -1.3 Michael Tejera -1.4 Carl Pavano* -1.9 Gerald Williams* -4.2 Andy Fox -5.7 Mark Redman* -7.7 Total 259.6
Some notes on the above data: Multi-team players have only their Marlins contributions listed above; the pitcher numbers you see are for their contributions at the plate only.
Of the 259.6 VORP runs tallied by the Marlins offense last season, Beinfesters contributed 86.4 of those runs, or 33.3% of the total.
Now for the pitchers…
Pitcher VORP Dontrelle Willis* 36.5 Mark Redman* 33.2 Josh Beckett 32.2 Brad Penny 22.0 Carl Pavano* 21.8 Ugueth Urbina 17.7 Braden Looper 14.8 Chad Fox* 9.6 Rick Helling* 9.2 Tommy Phelps* 5.8 Allen Levrault 4.9 Michael Tejera 4.5 Tim Spooneybarger 4.2 Juan Alvarez* 3.1 Toby Borland* 2.9 A.J. Burnett 0.7 Nate Bump 0.7 Justin Wayne* -4.0 Armando Almanza -7.4 Blaine Neal -7.9 Kevin Olsen -11.4 Vladimir Nunez -15.4 Total 177.5
Marlin pitchers posted an aggregate VORP of 177.5; the Beinfesters totaled 118.1, which is 66.5% of the team’s total pitching VORP runs.
Overall, Beinfest’s additions contributed 46.8% of the Marlins’ VORP total. Considering he was hired in early 2002, that’s a fairly impressive percentage. There’s no removing Dombrowski’s fingerprints from the incumbent World Champs, but Beinfest had much to do with their success. In particular, his additions to the pitching staff–particularly his trades for Willis and Redman–were a serious boon to the team’s fortunes in 2003.
In terms of salary, the Beinfesters were paid a total of $20,859,426 in 2003, while Dombrowski’s charges made a total of $27,590,574. Bringing VORP into the calculus, the Beinfesters were paid $102,002.08 per run of VORP, and the Dombrowskiites’ tab ran $118,618.12 per run of VORP. On the surface, it may appear that Beinfest has netted more bang for his buck, but keep in mind that all of Dombrowski’s contracts were handed out back in the days of the uncorrected/non-collusive market, and that many of those players carry more service time.
Even so, Beinfest deserves a healthy share of the credit for his role as co-architect of the 2003 Marlins.