Adam Jones and Erik Bedard, Quantified
Time is not on my side, so I won’t be able to go into as much detail on this as I would like, but with the Bedard rumors picking up steam again, I figured I should put this out there. What follows is my calculations of the value of Adam Jones and Erik Bedard from a win value standpoint. You don’t have to believe that this is the be-all, end-all of analysis, but if you’re serious about having an opinion on this issue that anyone should care about, you at least have to understand what win value analysis is telling you. If the Mariners aren’t looking at this kind of information (and, let’s be honest, they’re not), they’re not doing enough work to figure out if acquiring Erik Bedard at the cost of Adam Jones is a move worth making.
Here’s the basic concept – every player adds a quantifiable amount of wins to the roster above what could be expected of a league minimum, freely available player. Those wins have tangible economic value – the more wins a player generates, the more they should be paid. But players also cost money in terms of salary, and the difference between their win value and their cost is their net value. We all make these kinds of decisions every day – gas costs $3 a gallon, but it gets me to work so that I can earn $100 a day, so buying gas is a viable economic decision if you have to drive to get to your job unless you live really far away.
So, here’s what the numbers say, based on a conservative estimate of Jones’ abilities (I project him as a league average player this year with small, incremental improvements through 2013, his last year under Mariner control) and a very optimistic estimate of Bedard’s abilities (basically, he retains almost all of his 2007 form, then resigns with the Mariners to a 3 year, $60 million contract after 2009). The variables have all been tilted in favor of Bedard, because I like to present something like the best case scenario for the side I don’t agree with, especially when I think the issue is this cut and dried.
All that said, here are the numbers (I’ll try to post the calculations later when I have time to make a table look decent).
Adam Jones, 2008 net value: $8.7 million
Erik Bedard, 2008 net value: $12.5 million
Adam Jones, 2009 net value: $14.0 million
Erik Bedard, 2009 net value: $9.0 million
Adam Jones, 2008-2013 net value: $61.0 million
Erik Bedard, 2008-2013 net value: $33.1 million (assumes 3 year, $60 million extension after ’09)
In terms of value added to the Mariners franchise over the next six years, it’s not even close. Jones blows Bedard out of the water even in a scenario where Bedard is projected to be the significantly better player (I’ve got the total wins added from ’08-’13 at 17 for Jones and 26 for Bedard). Even if you only look at the next two years, Jones is expected to outvalue Bedard $22.75 million to $21.5 million.
Even if Adam Jones was a free agent after 2009, given their respective abilities and salaries, I wouldn’t trade Adam Jones for Erik Bedard straight up. The fact that the Mariners then control Jones from 2010 to 2013 makes this an obviously horrible trade.
I’m all for acquiring Erik Bedard, and I’d give up practically the whole farm system to get him. But Adam Jones is the kind of player that good organizations just don’t trade. He’s one of the most valuable players in the game, and by himself, more valuable to the club than Erik Bedard.