Casual Friday … Welcome to (even more) Insanity

by Wally

So why is this man smiling?     It’s simple.   He just signed a 7 year contract with the Boston Red Sox for $154 million.    HFC!!!!   (that’s Holy Friggin’ Cow).   That’s $22 mill a year!!!    How can ANY team justify that kind of coin for a career .284 hitter who’s averaged about 105 RBIs over ~6 seasons and plays first base????    SERIOUSLY???

Adrian Gonzalez is a good player … don’t get me wrong … but I just can’t see paying that kinda coin for a “good first baseman” who also happens to be just about 29 years old.    Now if you can can get me a catcher, middle infielder, or 3rd baseman with that kind of production, I might consider $18 mill per year … tops!    I just can’t understand having to pay this guy any more than $13-15M/yr.   Okay … maybe $22 is what it takes to beat out the uber-rich Yankmees for his services … but can that really be where “the market” is at???    Can’t ya get even more production by spending 2/3 of that on three other players???

What am I missing, guys???    Doesn’t this signing seem crazy to you???    Meanwhile, the Red Saux are sitting in last place with a 2-9 record while AGonz has 18 total bases in 41 ABs.   Wonder how the BoSox faithful feel about this news today??   I think I just heard Jimmy over at Beantown Pub say “It’s wicked stupid”.

10 Responses to "Casual Friday … Welcome to (even more) Insanity"

  1. Chas   April 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Wally, do you need me to write a post about how batting average and RBI are over-rated statistics too? 🙂

    OK, well baseball salaries are crazy. We all know that by now, right? And, we’ve accepted that fact, right? We’re well beyond saying things like, “I can’t believe they pay guys that much money to play a game, and they only pay teachers X amount?”

    Of course, those might be legitimate feelings, but when deciding if this is a crazy contract, we’re looking at thing in relative terms, right?

    First off, Wally, don’t forget that all the stats you’re looking at for Adrian Gonzalez are him playing in a pitchers’ park and for a team that didn’t always help him out offensively, particularly in terms of numbers like RBI, which are team-dependent (except when he hits a home run).

    I’ve previously discussed WAR a little here, even as it relates to salaries, so I’m going to use that to decide if this guy is really that overpaid.

    The stats guys say that the going rate per WAR is about $4.5 million. Sounds high, but I’ve read that from quite a few good sources. Gonzalez produced 5.3 WAR last year and 6.5 the year before. Since he’s 29, he’s pretty much at his peak, so let’s assume he should produce 6 WAR this year and next, at least.

    6 times 4.5 equals 27, so for the next couple of years, he should be worth about $27 million. After that, his production should start to drop off. Maybe at age 36, he’s only producing at a 3 WAR per year rate. That’s only worth about $13.5 million.

    So, if he regresses proportionately over those years, you could take the average of $27 million and $13.5 million and say he should be worth a little over $20 million per year. So, yeah…not that crazy.

    Of course, anything can happen, and the more money you guarantee a player, the greater the risk. So, one major injury and the contract could turn out to be a bust. But, otherwise, it’s not that crazy. But, I hear where you’re coming from, Wally.

  2. Wally   April 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Well, Chas … I guess i’m guilty of not really knowing where the current “market rate” is at, but i’m well past the naive thoughts of “I can’t believe we pay ballplayers this kind of money”. Like I wrote, I might be willing to go to $15M/yr for AG … $22 just seemed ridiculously high … but obviously today’s “market” is up there. Something tells me he’s not gonna justify it though … just sayin’ 😉

  3. Chas   April 15, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    He’s no Albert Pujols (obviously, no one is), but if you asked me to rank the top five first basemen in the game, I’d say something like this:

    1. Albert Pujols
    2. Miguel Cabrera
    3. Adrian Gonzalez
    4. Joey Votto
    5. Mark Teixeira

  4. Chas   April 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    I’m curious what Smitty has to say about this one.

  5. Chas   April 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Thought you might appreciate this Wally: http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/9121/red-sox-strike-gold-with-gonzalez-deal

  6. Wally   April 18, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Wow … as you pointed out earlier, Chas, i clearly did not appreciate how well Gonzalez has been playing. Being away from SanDiego and that ball park should help him, BUT I’d also be a little apprehensive how he’ll take to the “bright lights” playing under the microscope of Boston and the east coast in general. But, given where market prices are at, Boston indeed seems to have made a good deal. Meanwhile ol’ Wally has been educated not only on the baseball market these days, but on stats like WAR, etc. I love the numbers … keep ’em coming!

  7. Chas   April 18, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    I’ll be more than happy if you turn out to be right about him not justifying it, of course.

    Can’t tell if you’re being serious or sarcastic about that last sentence.

  8. Wally   April 18, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Chas … sorry … not trying to be coy … I’m serious … I’m actually a stats hog when I have the time … this whole new generation of stats like WAR, etc became popular when I was most vulnerable to miss it. So … unfortunately for “state of the stat” guys like you … I’m still trying to catch up and I often rely on the old school ways of analysing sports, players, etc. I really do appreciate you and the others educating me.

    In real life, I’m a “finance guy” … so I tend to gravitate toward the numbers. But, one thing I’ve had hammered into my head through the years: Numbers and stats are great, but don’t ignore the more subjective issues … or you’ll get burned. 🙂

  9. Smitty   April 18, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Okay.. finally get to chime in on this one. I like Adrian Gonzalez. I think you are getting a guy that is entering his prime and has a swing made for Fenway Park. His productivity in San Diego was very impressive, given the lack of support and a pitchers ballpark.

    That being said – I am not a big fan of long contracts – especially guaranteed money. But the Red Sox and Yankees can afford to run that risk ( right Buck?) and have a lot more room for error. I think that once they gave up the prospects they did for him, they were going to pay to keep Gonzalez in Boston.

    Considering that Pujols may be resetting the ceiling towards the end of this year – $22 million might be a bargain – if that is possible.

    But Chas, I am with Wally on this – love the stats, especially the WAR stat. Helps justify the signing – that will work out for the Red Sox. 🙂

  10. Wally   May 15, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I’m eatin’ crow on this one. Adrian Gonzalez is having a great season thus far … leading the AL or near the top in several offensive categories. Good buy, Bosox! 😉

    So I’m sitting at the Astros-Mets game Sat afternoon and the Lastros favorite whipping boy, Carlos Lee, singles to CF in the middle of a rally. Next thing you know, they’re flashing up on the megatron scorebard congratulations on his 2,000th big league hit. Carlos Lee? 2,000 hits??? Who knew???? I guess the big overweight slacker has had a pretty long and productive career … but the last 2 seasons, he’s been absolute crap and a huge money vacuum from the Disastro’s modest coffers.

    By the way, the Disastros are about to be sold by Drayton McLane, owner since the early ’90s to businessman Jim Crane for … get this … $680 million!! (What’s Crane thinking???) McLane bought the franchise for about $115M in ’92. My how times have changed.

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