Quick post with some analysis of the FA signings this offseason, as promised in an earlier article. What I've done here is taken Baseball Prospectus's WARP-3 value, and weighted it 3-2-1 in favor of the most recent seasons - so 2006 has the most weight. WARP-1 is described as "The number of wins this player contributed, above what a replacement level hitter, fielder, and pitcher would have done", but WARP-3 is adjusted for difficulty, and accounts for 162-game seasons (not really necessary since the seasons in question were 162 games). What I'm basically trying to show here is the amount of money teams paid per year (AAV = Average Annual Value) per WARP-3. This is quick and dirty, and doesn't take into account certain aspects of the player, but should serve as a baseline for analyzing some of these signings.
The graph file is pretty big, so hopefully it is readable. If you would like the original Excel email me for it at Bosoxwest@yahoo.com.
The interesting thing to note here for Sox fans is of course where Drew and Lugo fall in the mix. Drew is getting around $250K less per WARP-3 per year than Soriano, and about $100K more per year than Matthews Jr. In the abstract this isn't great in and of itself, except when you take into account the fact that Soriano's contract has three more years on it than Drew's and the fact that 2006 was Matthews Jr's career year almost by a factor of 2. In that upper echelon of AAV per WARP, outside of Soriano and perhaps Ramirez, there's no player I'd rather have than Drew, and given the years the contract looks pretty good. The Lee contract, as previously noted, is a fucking joke - pardon my french.
The Lugo signing, once again, looks very, very good. Look at the names above him, and it becomes pretty clear. Interestingly, the Cora signing looks absolutely ridiculous on paper. I guess they're paying for intangibles.
The best positional bargains of the offseason thus far? Kevin Millar, and Adam Kennedy. Of the guys who could play every day and help the team (Counsell and Clayton will be bench players), these guys signed for very short money in the current market. In baseball, as in all other areas of life, it does not pay to be an unathletic-looking white guy.
I'll try to take a look at pitchers in the coming weeks. It's a bit trickier, but we'll see how the trending works out.