More Market Stuff

Dave · December 17, 2004 at 5:22 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Jeff Sullivan has more pretty graphs and charts on his continuing analysis of the strange, bewildering, just downright bizarre spending of major league franchises this 2004 offseason. His evidence brings himself to the same conclusion I mentioned last week; the middle class of baseball has become ridiculously overpaid and teams that spend the most money for the truly great players are getting the best deals right now.

It’s interesting stuff, and is worth your time to read.


30 Responses to “More Market Stuff”

  1. James T on December 17th, 2004 8:39 pm

    Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe is reporting that the Red Sox have signed Matt Clement to a 3 year contract worth a total of $25.5 million.

  2. Marty Lighthizer on December 17th, 2004 8:50 pm

    Yes, very interesting read, but I have an OT question:
    How does the Beltre signing impact the “Leone For Third” website name?

  3. Jeff Sullivan on December 17th, 2004 9:12 pm

    It’ll be changed.

    Not yet sure *how*…

  4. Digger on December 17th, 2004 9:21 pm

    According to the stats experts, it shouldn’t make any difference how a teams total VORP is constituted–20 guys with VORP of 15 is the same as 10 at 30 or 5 at 60. So the “curve’ should always be a straight line all other things being equal. But in the free agent market, teams are trying to get better at (almost) any cost with one or two guys. So the curve goes non-linear at high VORP. “Ridiculous?” No. Market-driven? Yes.

  5. Adam B. on December 18th, 2004 12:37 am

    Hey Jeff,

    How about


  6. Jeff Sullivan on December 18th, 2004 1:07 am

    Ideally, the relevance of that name would be too short-lived.

  7. Bela Txadux on December 18th, 2004 2:51 am

    I’ve had my main say over at mid-thread in the Woo! bar regarding contract inflation this offseason. I’m still convinced that a ‘silent cap’ on bids for the top guys is in place, with a Wheel of Fortune open season for guys on the next tier. But such a structural arrangement (which, be it said, and oddly enough, doesn’t bug me particularly) in fact creates just the kind of spending distortions on the mid-tier guys we are seeing. The top guys are going to go to a limited number of deep pocket and/or prime location teams, leaving everybody else who can only afford _one_ ‘show the fans’ signing to make a MUST SIGN rush at their chosen dude. Accordingly we see an unusual, distortion induced plateau at the very top of the signing spread, but this pushes a bulge one increment back down the talent ladder. Glaus, Sexson, Ortiz, and others in the tier get a market-frenzy salary bump in consequence of this ‘displaced demand’ that, on relative talent to the top guys’ $$$, isn’t justified.

    Why don’t the also-ran organizations signing the mid-tier free agents for too many $$$ _and_ too many years simply jump up to the big boys themselves? Could Arizona go to six at higher dollars for Beltre?? Well, the only way they can afford even Glaus, even using the Sexson budget allocation, is to deal Randy the Grim, and if he goes, AZ _must_ sign a pitcher, who turns out to be Ortiz, who gets too much money because AZ MUST sign him. Besides which, there is no indication that Beltre would ever have gone to Phoenix, so they have to bid on the guys they can hope to sign while those guys are still on the board. GMs understand that this is an auction, as Dave says.

    San Fran over-paying for Vizquel? Well, they were not going to be in it for Cabrera and Renteria, and they’d already dumped Deivi el Cruz, so they couldn’t afford to get shut out of the market completely, or they’d have Rey Sanchez starting for them in April. Omar was a must sign, and they made a ‘blow the competition out of it’ offer accordingly. And so on. In almost all cases, in my view, the teams making over-priced mid-tier signs are not in the bidding for a comparable high end individual in the position slot/roster slot they make the sign.

    This was Bavasi’s problem with Sexson, for example. He HAD to get two big bats, but sold himself on the decision that one of them HAD to be a firstbaseman; I don’t agree, but it’s Bill’s call and done now, so. Bavasi made a match-bid to Delgado _first_, remember that? And Delgado’s agent tried to work that up or get another player in on it at least, and is still trying. Bill Bavasi was worried that since he couldn’t raise his match-bid to Carlos, Delgado would take the ‘more desirable’ organization, Baltimore, and that in the meantime Richie the Tall would have signed somewhere else. In that event, no big bat 1bman would still be on the board. So Bill B. convinced himself that he _had_ to sign Sexson immediately no matter what it took; we can see what it took. And so on, and so on.

    . . . Or so goes the reasoning here.

  8. Fox Mulder on December 18th, 2004 9:04 am

    I say keep the “Leone For Third” name. Nothing’s better than things named after obscure, marginal players.

  9. patnmic on December 18th, 2004 9:12 am

    #7 I agree with your observation on the market. I liken it to public car auctions. The Ford Escorts and old Honda Civics go over Blue Book because a lot of people want a cheap car. But if you go to buy a loaded 2003 Suburban you save $7000 off of Blue Book because there are less bidders for a car that goes to $15000 versus $2500.

  10. Matt Williams on December 18th, 2004 9:31 am

    Digger umm, according to the “stats guys” here (well, I think it was Dave) it shouldn’t be linear. Teams should be paying more for each unit of improvement at the very top end due to the limited number of positions to put people at. This market is massively overpaying for a few units of improvement over replacement players, which doesn’t make nearly as much sense.

  11. roger tang on December 18th, 2004 10:55 am

    So, summing up….it’s going take a bit of patience to be picking up players that got pushed down the curve?

  12. John Hawkins on December 18th, 2004 11:58 am

    I highly recommend joining an auction-only fantasy league of some sort (doesn’t have to be baseball). It does a great job illustrating the dynamics of allocating a budget for various positions and valuing super-stars vs. better-than-average vs. everyone else.

  13. mcfly on December 18th, 2004 1:34 pm

    off subject:
    see everyone in a half-hour!


  14. David J Corcoran on December 18th, 2004 1:53 pm

    I have this blog all to myself for another couple hours. 🙁

  15. John Pontoon on December 18th, 2004 2:05 pm

    Here’s a couple of quotes from Rototimes which I’d think would merit comment here:
    “Raul Ibanez (OF) Sea probably will start the 2005 season as the Mariners DH, a move he said he’s not crazy about, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. [Also in the P-I,] GM Bill Bavasi hinted yesterday that Jeremy Reed (OF) Sea would start 2005 in center field alongside Randy Winn in left and Ichiro in right.”

  16. Chris Miller on December 18th, 2004 2:19 pm

    #15, No Bucky?

  17. David J Corcoran on December 18th, 2004 2:31 pm

    I think that either

    A: Winn will be traded
    B: Bucky and Reed will fight for 1 job. If Reed wins, Bucky is benched. If Bucky wins, Reed is sent to AAA (he needs to play regularly).

  18. RP on December 18th, 2004 5:12 pm

    ESPN radio – Oakland traded Mulder to St. Louis.

    Interesting what is happening down in Oakland these days. Hudson & Mulder both gone.

  19. David J Corcoran on December 18th, 2004 5:15 pm

    Are you kidding, RP????!!?

  20. David J Corcoran on December 18th, 2004 5:15 pm

    Wow. You’re not. Is Billy Beane OK???

    The Big Three is now down to one. ESPN’s Peter Gammons reports A’s ace Mark Mulder has been traded to the Cardinals for pitchers Danny Haren, Kiki Calero and catcher Daric Barton. Earlier in the week, Oakland sent Tim Hudson to Atlanta

  21. David J Corcoran on December 18th, 2004 5:20 pm

    I wonder if DMZ, JMB, Dave and the Pizza-Eaters have heard… The Feed will be Uproarious when they hear of this.

  22. Shoeless Jose on December 18th, 2004 5:24 pm

    Well, Beane seems to be stockpiling young pitchers hoping at least a couple will progress like the Big Three and Harden. I’m sure he thinks he’s getting good prospects, and he’s probably right. I’m still surprised he acted this early on Mulder (and also that he traded him instead of Zito, but maybe the Cardinals didn’t want Z) but I guess he’s planning to retool the pitching this year and, unless there’s a huge upside surprise, make another run in ’06. When he should run right into the buzzsaw of the retooled M’s…

    Has Texas done anything yet to improve their rotation?

  23. David J Corcoran on December 18th, 2004 5:27 pm

    Haren will be a good rotation guy, and Calero is a decent pitcher. Don’t know much about Barton except that he is really hyped up.

    An Oakland Rotation of:

    Could be pretty good, actually.

  24. David J Corcoran on December 18th, 2004 5:27 pm

    I would presume the Acquisition of Calero means Dotel will be non-tendred.

  25. Shoeless Jose on December 18th, 2004 5:33 pm

    Yeah, the A’s seem to pull a couple of rookie allstars out of nowhere every year, and I wouldn’t doubt them doing it again. But pitching is always a crapshoot — Beane has had his dependable rotation to make him look good even when he screwed up elsewhere (cf Arthur Rhodes) so this year is riskier than most. Texas turned into an offensive powerhouse last year, and the Angels and now the M’s have upgraded, so it’s even more of a high-wire act.

    Meanwhile, it looks like Clement is off the table (RedSox — which, without Pedro and Lowe, still leaves them with a hole) and this RJ deal with NYY and AZ seems to be turning into the monster that ate the offseason. Ten players?

  26. David J Corcoran on December 18th, 2004 5:38 pm

    Now we get the Big III part II.

    Harden, Meyer, Haren

    That’s pretty good.

    My theory with the RJ deal:

    It will fall through. It is just too big to work.

  27. Jim Thomsen on December 18th, 2004 6:24 pm

    Dave announced the trade at the pizza feed around 3:30 p.m. … he’d gotten a call from his brother, apparently. The general consensus was much head-scratching … I’d say the alleged blind faith in Beane’s brilliance is being stretched close to its breaking point.

    Speaking of the pizza feed … let me be the first attendee to post about it. About 120 folks turned out, and had an awesome time in Redmond. In addition to Dave, Derek and Jason (and Jason’s cute and cooperative son, Luke), we had Pat Dillion and Mike Curto, radio broadcasters for the Everett AquaSox and Tacoma Rainiers, respectively, and Josh Boyd, new area resident who works as a scout for the San Diego Padres. Much pizza and salad was enoyed, too many soft drinks were purchased, and the questions and answers generally underscored the frightening brilliance of this space and those who inhabit it.

    It was great to make some new friends, and meet some old ones — I didn’t realize blogger Jeff Shaw was the same Jeff Shaw with whom I worked in Kitsap County newspapering about six years ago!

    I played staff photographer, and hopefully Dave will post some pics soon that will make those of you who couldn’t make it this year doubly determined to share in the fun next time.

    Thanks, Dave, Derek and Jason, for throwing one spankin’ shindig.

  28. Shoeless Jose on December 18th, 2004 6:53 pm

    Harden, Haren, and Zito unless they trade him too, though they still have him for two more years. Gammon seems to think Beane did all right by this. He certainly kept it cheap, which of course is job 1 for the A’s.

  29. Joshua Buergel on December 19th, 2004 1:29 am

    Texas turned into an offensive powerhouse last year

    Texas doesn’t have as good an offense as people suppose. They finished fourth in the league, only two runs in front of Cleveland and that’s with the benefit of playing in the second best hitter’s park in the majors (best in the AL). Depending on how sophisticated you get with the park factors (and which factors you actually use), Texas drops down into the middle of the pack (somewhere around 8th in the league), in the same general vicinity as the White Sox, Orioles and A’s. Their offense has some undeniable strengths, but it’s not a championship offense by any stretch.

  30. Evan on December 19th, 2004 1:30 pm

    Why does Joe Sheehan have a hate on for the Mariners?