Player Value and Other Thoughts

Vince Gennaro at the Hardball Times wrote a long 3-part piece describing his attempts to put a dollar value on players that takes into account not just the player's on-field performance but also that player's direct impact on the revenue stream of his team.

He writes:  "The weakest link in the analytical chain is the ability to place an objective dollar value on an individual player's performance, measured by his contribution to his team's revenues."

He then goes on to theorize that the more a team wins, the more money it makes, especially if a team cracks 90 wins and enters the playoff picture.  He provides lots of supporting bar graphs.  As such, increased wins above 90 are worth more than increased wins above 70.

The main problem with his ideas is that his calculations on player value are dependent on what a team's revenue stream/potential is to begin with.  As such, players who are on the Yankees are worth more, because the revenue universe for the Yankees is already much larger than that of the any other team.  Therefore, although he uses WARP1 stats as a baseline for on-field performance, Matsui (6.7), Sheffield (6.8) Randy Johnson (6.8), Jason Giambi (5.9) and Tim Hudson (6.1) are worth more than Konerko (7.1).

Gennaro states that absent more meaningful revenue-sharing between teams, these inequities will prevail, because a win for the Yankees just turns into a lot more revenue than a win for the Royals.  He also wants his approach to serve as a tool for GM's in their endeavors to assign values to players.  The problem with that is that it will perpetuate the inequity he complains about.  If Giambi's measly WARP1 of 5.9 puts him in the top 25 valuable players in NY but doesn't even get him on the list in a medium-sized market, where will he want to go?  And if a new player valuation orthodoxy says that a player like Ablbert Pujols is worth less in STL than Giambi is in NY, then what are the GM's really supposed to do at the winter meetings?  If a dollar in Tampa Bay is worth 20 cents in NY, how do you contemplate trades?

Anyway, here is Gennaro's top 25.  The dollar figure reflects "the amount of revenue a player generates for his team":

Rank Player WARP1 Team Value 1 Alex Rodriguez 10.2 NYY $14,226,561 2 Mariano Rivera 9.1 NYY 13,018,862 3 Derek Jeter 8.8 NYY 12,671,245 4 Derek Lee 12.3 CHC 12,478,310 5 Rafael Furcal 8.2 ATL 10,527,742 6 Roger Clemens 10.4 HOU 10,392,508 7 Tie Randy Johnson 6.8 NYY 10,205,675 8 Tie Gary Sheffield 6.8 NYY 10,205,675 9 Andruw Jones 7.9 ATL 10,184,500 10 Hideki Matsui 6.7 NYY 10,073,079 11 Marcus Giles 8.2 ATL $ 9,831,649 12 John Smoltz 7.6 ATL 9,714,032 13 Roy Oswalt 9.5 HOU 9,537,398 14 Andy Pettitte 9.4 HOU 9,441,447 15 David Ortiz 8.0 BOS 9,434,126 16 Vladimir Guerrero 7.8 LAA 9,169,549 17 Jason Giambi 5.9 NYY 9,005,143 18 Bartolo Colon 7.4 LAA 8,725,807 19 Morgn Ensberg 8.4 HOU 8,470,288 20 Albert Pujols 10.7 STL 8,410,461 21 Pedro Martinez 7.9 NYM 8,285,276 22 Cliff Floyd 7.8 NYM 8,186,194 23 Jhonny Peralta 9.2 CLE 8,146,908 24 Tim Hudson 6.1 ATL 8,025,858 25 Carlos Zambrano 8.0 CHC 8,008,808 As you can see, Paul Konerko is not on the list.  It appears that the conclusion to be drawn is that based only on economics, you shouldn't pay a player more than he brings in, and as such, Konerko already made too much money this year.  But to buy that, you have to accept that NY is worth more than Chicago in simple fundamental terms.  Almost makes you want to give Konerko $15 million over 5 years just because.

And finally, speaking of value, I thought I'd share the following morsel from our friends in Anaheim:

"Let's pray this thing stays leaning toward the right side. The Konerkometer allows every illiterate piece of Southside trash to look at a page of the newspaper before they crumple up said pages to use them when they go wash commuter windows at intersections." - Rev Halofan at Halo's Heaven website.

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