Prince Fielder and Buying Wins

Dave · November 14, 2011 at 9:51 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

This afternoon, Jon Heyman sent out the following message on Twitter:

#Mariners are hoping to be in on Prince (but not Pujols). Unsure if there’s room in budget though. But will give it a run.

As Jeff noted in more depth than I’ll get into, this is basically not news – it’s pretty clear that there are a lot of prices up to which the M’s would happily sign Prince Fielder. $1 million a year? Obviously. $10 million a year? They couldn’t sign fast enough. $15 million a year? Yeah, they’d do that.

Of course, none of that matters, because Fielder’s actual price is going to be far above any of those numbers. He turned down a 5 year, $100 million contract a year ago (and reportedly didn’t even bother countering), and that was before he had the best year of his career and became a free agent. If he thought he was worth more than $20 million per season as an arbitration eligible guy coming off an okay year, he’s not going to settle for anything close to that as a free agent coming off a really good year. The reality is that Fielder’s probably going to get $25+ million per year, and the only real question is how many years he’ll get at that price.

That brings us back to Heyman’s statement that the M’s are not sure they can fit him into the budget. I know for a lot of you, the answer is as simple as “increase the budget”, but let’s look at the reality of that kind of roster construction plan.

As we’ve noted, a team full of league minimum replacement level players would be expected to win about 43 games, so to be a legitimate contender, a team needs 45-50 WAR. Tampa Bay had the lowest WAR total (+46) of any of last year’s playoff teams, so reality bears this out. The going rate for a win in the free agent market is about +5 million per win, give or take a bit depending on position and skillset. If a team attempted to buy their entire roster through free agency with a goal of accumulating +50 WAR, they’d need a $250 million payroll in order to make the strategy work. If they were really clever and took advantage of market inefficiencies, getting lower cost relievers and finding value with good defensive players, they might be able to buy +50 WAR for $225 million. Regardless, you’d need some kind of monstrous payroll to build a good team exclusively through free agency.

That’s why no one does it, and every team uses free agency as a way to add supplementary talent to cost-controlled players who were developed internally – even the Yankees. Teams can afford to pay $5 million per win for a few players on the roster, but the more market-rate players you add, the more it forces you to come up with quality low-cost performers elsewhere in order to make that kind of roster construction work.

A payroll of about $100 million means that your entire roster needs to be producing at an average of $2 million per win. That’s about where the Mariners are now, and that $2 million per win total has to be the goal. If they signed Fielder to go along with Felix, they’d essentially have two guys returning an expected +11 wins for about $45 million, or right around $4 million per win for the pair. That would leave the team with about $50 million to get the other 39 wins, which is simply not a reasonable request. Unfortunately, a team with a payroll under $100 million simply can’t pay the going market rate for wins to two superstar players unless they have an absolutely crazy amount of cheap young quality talent already in place.

You know how many teams in baseball had two players making $20+ million per year in salary last year? Two – the Yankees (Rodriguez, Sabathia, and Teixeira) and the Phillies (Howard and Halladay). The Yankees had a team payroll of $207 million, while the Phillies came in at $166 million. This year, the Red Sox (Crawford and Gonzalez) will join the club, and their payroll is expected to be in the $165 million range as well.

Even if the Mariners added $30 million to their payroll and came in at $125 million, they’d still be far below the spending threshold that other teams have achieved before they’ve committed market rate salaries to multiple star players. If you have the kind of revenues that the Yankees and Red Sox have, there’s enough left over to fill out the roster with good players even after spending $5 million per win on a few spots, but for 90% of the teams in baseball, that’s simply not the case.

This isn’t an issue of the M’s ownership just needing to kick a bit more into the pot so the team can afford a player like Prince Fielder. The M’s already have a player like Prince Fielder – he’s from Venezuela and he’s pretty good at that whole pitching thing. They’re getting Felix at a discount over his market rate, but he’s still getting paid at the level of a star quality player.

You want a roster with both Felix and Fielder making the kind of money the market has set for their services? Well, then, you either need a $150+ million payroll, or you need the rest of the roster to be made up of amazing players developed through the farm system who are making a fraction of what they’re really worth.

The reality is the Mariners don’t have either of those things. There aren’t enough low-cost kids producing at high quality levels to allow the team the ability to pay the market rate for two premium talents, and the Mariners simply aren’t in a position to have a large enough payroll to justify setting aside $45 million of their budget towards paying the market rate for wins. There just wouldn’t be enough left over to put together a realistic contender around those two, even if you decided that you weren’t re-signing Ichiro after the season and were going to allocate all of his money to Fielder’s future salary.

If the M’s have $25 million to spend this winter, they can’t simply just buy five wins, which is about what you’d hope for from bringing in Fielder. This is a team that needs to get something more like 12 wins for every $25 million it spends, and while Ackley and Pineda give them enough wiggle room to make allowances for extra spending in places, the M’s simply don’t have enough Ackleys and Pinedas to give them the room to have both Felix and Fielder and a roster around them that can be a viable contender.

At $15 million, the M’s could make it work. If you really stretched it and found value elsewhere this winter, you could maybe make $20 million work. $25 million, though? Sorry, but it just doesn’t make sense. Fielder will get his money, but he shouldn’t get it from the Mariners.

Comments

142 Responses to “Prince Fielder and Buying Wins”

  1. lamlor on November 14th, 2011 10:19 pm

    So I am new to all this WAR fun stuff, but logic tells me that if Fielder is not a worth-wild player for this team because of his WAR and the lack of WAR around him for the money, then wouldn’t the same be true with Felix? I mean a guy that makes 30-33 starts a year can’t be as valued either based on payroll restrictions, right?

    Lets rid ourselves of Felix, Ichiro, and Figgins (in a Felix deal of course), and just compile a 25 man roster full of $4M players. That seems to be the best bet in this case.

  2. Alec on November 14th, 2011 10:21 pm

    Felix is worth more than Prince Fielder

  3. dartjeff on November 14th, 2011 10:29 pm

    Thanks Dave. I thought this was a really great and persuasive attempt at trying to use a different route to explain to people while Prince Fielder isn’t a good fit for Seattle.

  4. Chris_From_Bothell on November 14th, 2011 10:30 pm

    Using this post’s arguments, which team(s) should be paying market rate for Fielder this winter? I.e. which teams are 5 wins or less from playoff contender level, and can spare the 25 million+ a year?

  5. lamlor on November 14th, 2011 10:47 pm

    So I guess what you all are saying is that we need two or three Prince Fielder types that make league minimum, right? I get how this works.

    We just need Smoak and Carp to put up Fielder type numbers then we can sign a veteran for $10-$15M and all would be good in the Mariners world. I guess 2001 only took 24 years to happen so 2025 isn’t that far off I guess.

  6. bubbles. on November 14th, 2011 10:50 pm

    So, with the Rangers, Yankees, and Red Sox out of the picture for sure, and the Angels and Marlins not showing much interest, who can actually afford to pay Prince Fielder 25+ million a year?

  7. lamlor on November 14th, 2011 10:56 pm

    I didn’t realize Felix was worth more than Fielder. Maybe all those losing seasons the team has had clouded my thinking. I guess I can see how a top pitcher in a pitching ballpark is worth more than a top hitter in a pitching ballpark. Oh wait, doesn’t a pitching ballpark make average pitchers better and average hitters worse? That would tell me that a top hitter would have more value in this case than a top pitcher if you could only have one.

  8. Dave on November 14th, 2011 11:05 pm

    Yeah, you should probably just take a break from commenting for a bit. You have a lot to learn.

  9. The_Waco_Kid on November 15th, 2011 1:25 am

    Good to see you posting a bunch Dave.

    Despite our history of stingy ownership, that’s not the case here. I don’t see why everyone sees Fielder as so affordable. A lot of people are saying sign him anyway, even though he won’t make us contend this year, but we need to fix our entire team, rather than sign one super-expensive 1B when we have two possibilities there already.

    Still, Z needs to come up with something better than Olivo and Cust this winter.

  10. KyleB on November 15th, 2011 2:09 am

    “Stingy ownership.”

    Try being an Indians fan.

  11. gag harbor on November 15th, 2011 2:16 am

    Good post uh, Sherlock.

    Nice to see the thought behind the position instead of just insisting.

  12. kearly on November 15th, 2011 2:19 am

    Brilliant article Dave. Great roster $ breakdown as usual.

  13. maqman on November 15th, 2011 2:22 am

    Besides the obvious cost absorption factor the potential albatross concern for Fielder in the last half of his probably lengthy contract scares the heck out of me.

  14. Jopa on November 15th, 2011 5:18 am

    Great post. And to think with those payrolls and $5M/WAR megastars, the Red Sox missed the playoffs and NY and the Phillies missed the Series.

    I’m enjoying the unfolding of the build from within process with Jack and his staff leading the way. It’s fun to follow guys from the draft up through the minors and into the majors.

  15. rsrobinson on November 15th, 2011 5:18 am

    Best case I’ve seen made yet why the M’s shouldn’t be spending that kind of money on Fielder.

    We obviously need more quality low cost talent which means continuing to build the minors and allowing young players to develop. Even if we can’t afford Fielder, though, I agree that Z needs to come up with more than an Olivo and Cust this offseason.

  16. bookbook on November 15th, 2011 5:21 am

    Many years of misery, despite Griffey, Edgar and Randy on the roster essentially make the same point. It takes a team.

  17. KingCorran on November 15th, 2011 5:24 am

    lamlor’s rhetoric is a bit over the top, but I sympathize with him. This team needs a premium bat at the heart of the order, in addition to all of its other lesser (and less costly needs). Ignoring that means consigning ourselves to endless repeats of the last several years. We’ve HAD excellent pitching already, and gotten nowhere with it. If Seattle isn’t ready to invest in the other half of its game, why should we keep watching them play the first half?

    Fielder may not be your ideal HOF-ready flawless player… but those guys don’t exist. At some point, you have to commit dollars and years to top hitters. And Ackley/Smoak/Carp/etc need a big man (no pun intended) to sit in their midst.

    No one better than Fielder will be on the market next year. No one halfway decent will be on the market next year, as far as I can tell – and what would we do then? If you want a perennial All-Star bat who won’t mind the eventual transition to DH… this is the year to get him. Yeah, Votto would be better – but don’t cut your legs off if he’s not made available.

    And if we can only pay $2m/win to each player we bring in here… I quit NOW. You’ll never get anywhere with that kind of philosophy; it’s unrealistic. You have to develop cheap talent internally to go with the stars you bring in… but that doesn’t mean you stop passing the savings on to bring in legit, top-quality players. You have to have both pieces come together… and since you can’t buy the cheap talent, you have to bring in the expensive guys and see if the cheap guys you have are up to the job.

    Our cheap guys are Ackley, Carp, Pineda… I say let’s see if they’re ready to compete with a Felix and a Fielder now, rather than waiting for them to BE the expensive part of the team.

  18. eponymous coward on November 15th, 2011 7:24 am

    Part of the problem with the 2011 Mariners is that Figgins and Ichiro cost nearly 30 million in salary… and produced negative WAR between them. Guti’s a milder version of this problem if he doesn’t get his bat back.

    If Seattle isn’t ready to invest in the other half of its game, why should we keep watching them play the first half?

    You mean like how fans aren’t showing up at Safeco any more?

    This team needs a premium bat at the heart of the order, in addition to all of its other lesser (and less costly needs). Ignoring that means consigning ourselves to endless repeats of the last several years.

    Signing Beltre and Sexson in 2005 (for possibly more money than Fielder’s likely to make in 2012, though for less years) in the end didn’t help the Mariners get anywhere closer to their goals- and Beltre provided value all the way through his contract (Sexson’s last year might be what we have to look forward to by the end of Fielder’s contract).

  19. charliebrown on November 15th, 2011 7:40 am

    Dave’s logic and reasoning here seems pretty sound. Not really much to dispute.

    However, there’s something else to consider. By the time the Mariners do get enough low cost production to justify paying for a premium bat, there may not be one available.

    I wonder if the Mariners get that low cost production in a year or two, and there are no premium offensive upgrades available, what is the message to the fans then? Wait some more?

  20. Nate on November 15th, 2011 8:26 am

    lamlor-

    If you read Dave’s post again, you’ll see that Dave is saying the M’s have to average about $2 million/win. The reason Fielder isn’t a good fit is because he’ll skew the average too much.

    If you have $100 to spend on groceries this week, and you spend $75 on two fine bottles of wine, you’ll be drinking fine wine with rice and beans. Spend your money a little smarter, and you can enjoy the fine wine with a decent meal.

    The gap between uber-rich teams and the rest of baseball is getting bigger. (Occupy the Bronx? I kid, I kid.) We have more wiggle-room than the Rays, but not as much as we used to.

    Of course, if your issue is with WAR as a tool to project the value of a player, well…you’re up against many, many people who spend a lot of time thinking up and testing ways to quantify how players contribute toward winning. Winning baseball teams employ some of them. That’s probably not the argument you want to get into here.

  21. F-Rod on November 15th, 2011 8:36 am

    I am not all in or all out on Fielder. The 2013 MLB free agent list is quite depressing though.

    Perhaps a trade is possible to re-load the offense. From here it’s tempting to go for him without knowing what could be traded for.

    The Papelbon signing perhaps boosts League’s value. I would like to see him dealt this off-season for sure.

  22. gwangung on November 15th, 2011 8:40 am

    lamlor’s rhetoric is a bit over the top, but I sympathize with him. This team needs a premium bat at the heart of the order,

    I think you’re missing the point.

    The team doesn’t need a premium bat at the heart of the order (at least, not yet). It needs a team that could support a premium bat in the middle of the order. It does no good to get that premium bat when the rest of the team can’t generate wins with their gloves and bats.

    That’s Dave’s point. That’s ALWAYS been Dave’s point. It’s not a hard point to grasp. But people keep missing that point. It’s no wonder he gets a little testy

  23. gwangung on November 15th, 2011 8:46 am

    Let’s put it another way. What the Ms need to do is to generate 45-50 wins above a replacement team (and that’s a supposition that has NOTHING to do with WAR and stats; it’s just a plain fact).

    People concentrating on Fielder or some other big bat focussing on getting 6 or 7 wins. That’s hardly enough to get those 45-50 wins you need—and it WILL take some effort and money to get those 40-43 other wins. It’s hardly a given.

  24. thedude1987 on November 15th, 2011 8:51 am

    i think that there is some belief out there that if fielder is a mariner it would give a lot of these young guys better pitches to swing with. we all saw what happened to smoak after everyone realized he was the only one batting guys in, they didnt give him any pitches to hit.

    Is it reasonable to think that some young hitters might get more hittable pitches to avoid facing fielder?

  25. JoshJones on November 15th, 2011 8:59 am

    It does no good to get that premium bat when the rest of the team can’t generate wins with their gloves and bats

    Don’t be surprised if JackZ feels confident about Felix, Pineda, Ackley, Smoak, Ichiro, Gutti, Carp all producing this season and by adding 1-2 players they could surprise some people.

    When JackZ took over he said this would be a competitor in 3 years. Were at that point. I’m convinced he’s ready to make the plunge and put a winner on the field.

    With all the talk around Chone being traded I think Jack is considering trading for a 3rd/OF and signing prince fielder.

    Ichiro
    Ackley
    Fielder -FA signing
    Smoak
    Carp/Wells
    Prado -Trade
    Gutti
    Olivo/whoever else
    B. Ryan

  26. Mahoney5500 on November 15th, 2011 9:03 am

    One thing i think that is forgotten is that its not every offseason that you can just sign a Fielder or Pujols. I agree for next year Fielder is not the answer, but 2 years down the road he could be a huge piece. Obviously hes not available in 2 years, so it may be worth signing him now. No one is really expecting to compete seriously next year, but we will get a better idea of what we have. Ichiro’s money is coming off the books, as well as Figgin’s in the next couple years. If Smoak and Ackely are what we hope they are, we would have them with Fielder, and then money to add value pieces around them. Our rotation is projected to be good, young, and cheap on the whole. Fielder is a risk, but i think its a risk worth taking.

  27. Chris_From_Bothell on November 15th, 2011 9:08 am

    thedude – I’m not sure 25 million a year will get you Fielder + improvement from whoever bats in front of Fielder… not to turn the thread into a discussion of protection theory, but “protection” for batters doesn’t seem to work, if i recall other studies of it correctly.

    Also, is there any evidence that Smoak has ever been pitched around last year (data about types of pitches, location of pitches, a spike in intentional walks)? I don’t think he was, not with his thumb issues and time away from the game. I don’t think anyone, even the moderately ok guys like Ackley or Carp, got pitched around last year. Not with the kind of poor contact numbers people had.

    The scouting report on the 2011 Mariners seemed to basically be a post-it note that said “throw strikes”.

  28. Gibbo on November 15th, 2011 9:12 am

    Dont get me wrong I am actually not convinced Fielder is a great fit for us and belive we need to upgrade the OF via trade rather than a big free agent signing. But I guess if we were going to commit a large chunk of payroll then now is the time to do it, guys like, Ackley, Smoak, Seager, Pineda, Carp, Wells, Hultzen and others coming will be cheap for many years so is there a case to be stated that now is a better time to invest in one or two big guys to build a contender around.

    If Jack can get 5 years with 6th year option I would do it, you wave goodbye to prince around the same time you are extending our young pitchers, ackley, smoak and franklin etc.

    It’s not my preferred option this winter and the last couple of years may be ugly but I can see some logic in why it could be OK too

  29. Jordan on November 15th, 2011 9:13 am

    If you have $100 to spend on groceries this week, and you spend $75 on two fine bottles of wine, you’ll be drinking fine wine with rice and beans. Spend your money a little smarter, and you can enjoy the fine wine with a decent meal.

    Nate, great analogy. First, let me say I know it doesn’t make sense to get Prince. But, I still want to see more than Cust and Olivo.

    Can anyone respectfully explain to me how signing Prince is any different than having someone like Ichiro on the roster? I realize that the Mariners need to maximize WAR / $, but I don’t get why you can’t delete Ichiro’s salary and replace it w/ another high cost FA signing?

    Ichiro was what 17 w/ 5 deferred? Prince at 23 mil doesn’t provide enough value to at least match Ichiro? Any signing not belonging to large item pickup day will promote ticket sales and increase merchandise revenue; the same way Ichiro does. If the Mariners are concerned about alienating their Japanese fanbase, well then get Darvish too.

    The video game inside me that says increase payroll by 20 just to get Prince does not understand why it’s not as simple as increase payroll. Again, maximizing dollar value is a sound argument, but then I’m w/ Lamlor and we should trade King Felix. Please note I do not want to trade Felix, I just want to know why the Mariners shouldn’t raise payroll even if they need a boatload of WAR to compete.

    You have to start somewhere.

  30. Valenica on November 15th, 2011 9:17 am

    However, there’s something else to consider. By the time the Mariners do get enough low cost production to justify paying for a premium bat, there may not be one available.

    There is always a premium bat. 2013′s aren’t as good as Fielder (Hamilton, Napoli, Swisher, Molina, Montero, Victorino, Upton, Ethier) but they’re still good for 3-4+ WAR while cheaper and less risky, which you can spend on other positions. And even if they are older/not as sexy, did Texas complain Beltre was 32 years old, or are did they enjoy the 5.7 WAR he put up?

    2014′s FA class looks great, with guys like Votto, Zimmerman, Wright, Ellsbury, Gordon, Granderson, Peraltra, McCann, and a few I’m missing projected to hit FA. These 2 years are key because after 2014 Felix will be a FA. And look at the FAs for 2013/2014, mostly C/OF/3B, the biggest holes in our line-up. We’ll even have Figgins off in 2014, just in time…

  31. MrZDevotee on November 15th, 2011 9:19 am

    Dave-
    Before I go towards the touchy subject, let me start by saying I LOVE THE GUY, and am NOT a “let’s get rid of Ichiro” guy… No way, no how.

    But by your own argument, the M’s are also hamstrung because they don’t have the payroll to work with both Felix’s and Ichiro’s salaries either. Ichiro is only $3 million below that threshold you mentioned, so the Mariners were ALMOST one of those teams with two $20 Million plus players on their roster. That $3 million difference certainly doesn’t reconcile with the difference between a $165 million payroll and a $93 million payroll.

    Again, NOT saying we need to get rid of Ichiro… But more so, that when you figure in “!”‘s salary, we REALLY REALLY can’t afford a top talent free agent this offseason.

    Using Felix’s and Ichiro’s numbers we’re ALREADY at that unrealistic level of trying to buy wins with $1 million-ish dollars per win for the rest of the roster.

    Damn. (This off season’s articles are making more and more sense to me, and not in a way that leads to any sort of optimism.)

  32. Mike Snow on November 15th, 2011 9:54 am

    The best explanation I’ve yet seen about the challenge of using big-name free agents to build a winning team on a budget, any size budget. Swap in the appropriate team, players, and dollar figures, and reuse year after year.

  33. kennyb on November 15th, 2011 10:10 am

    This is the best argument I’ve seen for trading Felix.
    Of course, I do not want to trade him, but the strategy that naturally follows Dave’s argument is to trade Felix for a haul of young cheap talent, let them play a year or two with the talent already here, and watch the rings roll in 3-5 years from now.
    Do you think there might be a bidding war between NY and Boston if Felix were out there? If Montero + was on the table for Cliff Lee (for 1/2 year), the same and more would be there for Felix.
    Again, I have no desire to trade Felix, nor do I want Prince, but if there is no point having a player like Prince right now, then there is no point in having a player like Felix either.

    And yes, I do understand the point of the piece, we cannot construct a winning roster at our level of payroll if 2 players are pulling in 40 -50% of the total payroll. All the more reason to rid ourselves of all high paying contracts right away, right?

  34. Westside guy on November 15th, 2011 10:17 am

    For me, a bigger issue is this – Fielder apparently ignored a $100 mil / 5 year offer. With a guy built like he is, I’d be worried about even that fifth year – but from what’s getting mentioned around the web, it appears Boras is looking for more years than that (not to mention more dollars).

    You can’t ignore the possibility of this becoming a freakin’ huge albatross contract in years five, six, seven…

  35. diderot on November 15th, 2011 10:19 am

    Excellent. Thanks Dave.

  36. Dave on November 15th, 2011 10:25 am

    Can anyone respectfully explain to me how signing Prince is any different than having someone like Ichiro on the roster? I realize that the Mariners need to maximize WAR / $, but I don’t get why you can’t delete Ichiro’s salary and replace it w/ another high cost FA signing?

    They’re deleting Ichiro’s salary and replacing it with another high cost player – Felix. You know how much Felix made last year? $10 million. The Mariners have never paid more than $27 million in a season for that pair. They will next year, now that Felix’s salary is going to spike to $19 million, but even then the duo is only going to combine for $36 million.

    If you want the Mariners to be spend $45 million on two players, then you either don’t care if they win or not, or you think they can swing $150 million payroll.

  37. spankystout on November 15th, 2011 10:46 am

    I can’t wait for Fielder to sign elsewhere.

  38. seasports1216 on November 15th, 2011 10:56 am

    Damn Dave you keep making sense and it sucks, what’s most frustrating is the timing of Fielder hitting the market. With so many of the likely suitors out of it with 1B locked up or SP help at the top of the list there isn’t much competition and if the M’s had a larger (better balanced) budget and a few less black holes I think he would be ours.

    Is there no way we can compliment a $25 million man solely through trades? They don’t call him trader Jack for nothing, I’m wondering how hard it would be to pry a couple 3 win players with the pieces we are saving from signing Prince. Although this is shelling young cheap talent for pricier established veterans if Jack targets younger cost controlled players. I guess what I’m asking is would it be possible for the M’s to still grab Dave’s options ex. Mcgehee, Volstad, Moyer etc through trades (no A prospects unless Smoak/Carp can fetch something. That would mean spending around $35 million but you have some more pieces to supplement the roster. Pipe Dream?

    I think the priority should be what Toronto did last winter. Trading young talent for young talent and filling needs. Lawrie for Marcum is the example from last year but they’ve done a lot of flipping players and not in the traditional prospect for veteran trade. We have a surplus of SP and a few teams have blocked legit catching prospects, 3B (not very many) and OF. I can easily see Jack flipping one of our SP (no Felix or Pineda) for a less established but blue chip positional player.

  39. lesch2k on November 15th, 2011 10:57 am

    don’t forget seattle has a big name offensive free agent on the roster. Chone Figgins. he’s not as good as his salary but he takes up a lot of the payroll. signing prince would be perfectly reasonable if Figgins pulls a Johjima and leaves the continent (which is just as likely as prince signing for $15M in seattle)

  40. Jamison_M on November 15th, 2011 11:02 am

    Dave (or anyone who feels they can give a firm answer), I have a question about WAR because there seems to be a hole in the WAR system that I can’t seem to get past…

    In 2009, King Felix put up a 6.8 WAR. In 2010, Felix’s ERA went down, IP went up, but his WAR decreased to 6.2. So even though he was a better pitcher in 2010, he wasn’t worth as many wins. I assume that is because our offense was terrible so he could only be worth so many wins given that he could lose a game 1-0 and not get WAR-win-credit.

    So, my question is: if we add a big bat (making the offense better, turning some of the one-run losses into one-run victories) isn’t that some sort of catalyst in boosting the pitcher’s WAR? So if by adding 5-6 WAR from a big bat, aren’t we inadvertently increasing the WAR of the pitching staff by a similar number?

  41. drw on November 15th, 2011 11:10 am

    This isn’t an issue of the M’s ownership just needing to kick a bit more into the pot so the team can afford a player like Prince Fielder.

    At $15 million, the M’s could make it work. If you really stretched it and found value elsewhere this winter, you could maybe make $20 million work. $25 million, though? Sorry, but it just doesn’t make sense.

    I am struggling with how these two statements are consistent. Doesn’t the latter statement imply that if you simply increase payroll by $5M, you can make $25M per year work(if you stretched it and found value elsewhere this winter)?

    And for the record, I am not in favor of signing Fielder at $25M.

  42. dafixisin on November 15th, 2011 11:26 am

    Before I opine know/remember this: I am by no means a WAR expert. Math? What’s that (says the Asian guy)? Sacrilege, to be sure. I’m just Joe Mariners fan, who loves playing armchair GM in my mind’s eye.

    I agree with Dave, even if the M’s could shell out the money for Prince, it likely wouldn’t even out, in the grander scheme of team wins-losses. Which is why I’m praying/hoping that Darvish does in fact post, after all, and that Nintendo pays up to the gills (if necessary) to secure the winning bid. But I’m also hoping that Darvish and his current team take their sweet time in doing this. Once CJ Wilson and Buehrle are off the market, whichever teams fail to land Darvish will be in panic trade mode (I’m looking at you, Cashman and Co.). The moment the M’s/Nintendo win the Darvish derby, Jack’s blackberry will blow up.

    Teams, like the Yankees will be all over Pineda at that point. And Trader Jack will be able to leverage that situation in his usual Trader Self way. Which to me begins with Jesus Montero (aka Edgar Martinez 2.0, Reloaded) and prospects. Imagine a left-right-left middle order of Roy Hobbes, Edgar 2.0 and a healthy Smoakalicious.

    Sigh… it’s always fun to dream, to ponder, to imagine.

    Just opining.

  43. F-Rod on November 15th, 2011 11:26 am

    The club needs to make the decision to raise payroll significantly. They should be at at least 110 million. They cannot afford to have attendence keep dropping.

    Why are we content for the salary to remain constant, the team is going to keep fading if thats the case.

    Again I am not all in on getting Fielder, but we do need to get the payroll up soon.

  44. lamlor on November 15th, 2011 11:32 am

    You guys funny. :)

    I understand perfectly what the article was about and your WAR theories on why you should not sign one guy to a large contract in proportion to your total payroll.

    Yes I was being a bit sarcastic in my posts earlier, but with that said, doesn’t it not make just as much sense to say that signing a Fielder for $25M is equal to or better than having a SP at $19M? Again, Safeco makes pitchers better so you don’t need the extremely priced pitchers when you could get more for less. More importantly, signing a Fielder and trading a Felix puts you back even on the WAR issue (+ or -) and close on a salary issue but allows you to add multiple low priced, potentially higher WAR per dollar players via the trade.

    Everyone on here says you need $2M/WAR players to go with two high priced players, but exactly how easy is that to find? Aren’t other teams looking for that same magic? Look at all the low cost free agents we have signed over the last few years and how many of them fit that description? Then there is the prospect route as well, but I would pose the same question of how many of them fit the description that we have called up?

    WAR is a theory, and possibly a good one, but theories are always easier to pose than they are to implement.

  45. Red Apple on November 15th, 2011 11:34 am

    Thank you for quantifying this so well, Dave!

  46. The_Waco_Kid on November 15th, 2011 11:44 am

    What’s the difference between Felix and Fielder? There’s a good chance that in 6 years, Felix will be on top of his game and Fielder will be washed up. There’s also a good chance that Fielder will be offered at least 6 years and at least $25 million/year.

    Pro-Fielder folks, how much would YOU pay for Fielder? $30M/year? 7 years? It may take that. I wonder how much of that Scott Boras gets.

  47. IdahoFan on November 15th, 2011 11:54 am

    For this fan, nothing kills enthusiasm than watching overpaid veterans perform poorly. Especially so when it’s the size of the contract, not their performance, that demands that they receive more opportunities.

    Prince Fielder doesn’t look like a well-conditioned athlete who will have lasting success.

    Thanks for this explanation Dave. I learned something from reading it.

  48. lamlor on November 15th, 2011 11:54 am

    And for the guy with the shopping list, haven’t we shopped at the same grocery store and purchased the same groceries long enough? Dare to buy that Filet Mignon instead of ground chuck just once.

    In the end they both exit the same way, but the joy value of how they enrich our lives even for that brief moment makes it well worth the gamble.

  49. BLYKMYK44 on November 15th, 2011 11:57 am

    Yes I was being a bit sarcastic in my posts earlier, but with that said, doesn’t it not make just as much sense to say that signing a Fielder for $25M is equal to or better than having a SP at $19M?

    Why would paying 25% more for a worse player make just as much sense?

  50. Chris_From_Bothell on November 15th, 2011 11:58 am

    Again, according to how things are argued in this blog post and in the comments, it seems that by all rights Fielder shouldn’t end up anywhere until or unless he comes down to the $20 million / year level.

    The teams that could afford $25m/year, don’t have the need at 1b/DH (it’d be incremental improvement over what they have now, for much greater cost). Teams that need the upgrade in player quality, can’t afford it (e.g. Mariners). And other teams in the middle – who could afford it, could make the room, and are that 4 or 5 wins from contention – don’t sound interested, or just don’t exist.

    What team could afford and sensibly use Fielder at $25m/year? It doesn’t seem like there are any.

  51. lamlor on November 15th, 2011 11:59 am

    What’s the difference between Felix and Fielder? There’s a good chance that in 6 years, Felix will be on top of his game and Fielder will be washed up.

    You do understand that hitters outlast pitchers on average, right? Felix actually has a better chance of being washed up in 5 years than Fielder does due to injury, dead arm issues, or loss of mechanics.

    It would be interesting to see on average what the innings are versus what the at bats are for players when they start their respective declines.

  52. BLYKMYK44 on November 15th, 2011 12:01 pm

    It would be interesting to see on average what the innings are versus what the at bats are for players when they start their respective declines.

    - The fact that Fielder is two years older and in much worse physical shape doesn’t seem to offset your concerns?

  53. lamlor on November 15th, 2011 12:02 pm

    Why would paying 25% more for a worse player make just as much sense?

    Again, adding Fielder and trading Felix gains you more over all talent than keeping Felix and signing low end free agents. And who said Fielder was worse? Oh ya, the Seattle faithful who are still blinded by the Ichiro glow.

  54. Violinguy72 on November 15th, 2011 12:05 pm

    Thanks Dave. This really helped put this whole thing in perspective for me. I never understood why the ownership simply couldn’t throw in a few more million to sign a big star, but now it makes perfect sense.

  55. lamlor on November 15th, 2011 12:07 pm

    - The fact that Fielder is two years older and in much worse physical shape doesn’t seem to offset your concerns?

    Not in the least. How many games has Fielder missed in his career? To project that he will miss more in the future is just a guess and that guess can be made with any player no matter their respective shape. Babe Ruth wasn’t exactly the best conditioned athlete even for his time. Tony Gwynne was no Mr. Atlas. Charles Barkley in basketball.

  56. Paul B on November 15th, 2011 12:08 pm

    Prince Fielder doesn’t look like a well-conditioned athlete who will have lasting success.

    Here’s what scares me about Fielder.

  57. BLYKMYK44 on November 15th, 2011 12:08 pm

    Again, adding Fielder and trading Felix gains you more over all talent than keeping Felix and signing low end free agents. And who said Fielder was worse? Oh ya, the Seattle faithful who are still blinded by the Ichiro glow

    - Felix’s last three years have been better than Fielder. 2007 is the only year in their entire careers that Prince has been better than Felix.

    Still trying to find out why you’d benefit from keeping the higher priced lower level player. Heck, by your argument, wouldn’t it make sense to sign Fielder and then trade him? If he is better than Felix it seems like he’d return the greater haul of prospects, right?

  58. BLYKMYK44 on November 15th, 2011 12:10 pm

    Not in the least. How many games has Fielder missed in his career? To project that he will miss more in the future is just a guess and that guess can be made with any player no matter their respective shape. Babe Ruth wasn’t exactly the best conditioned athlete even for his time. Tony Gwynne was no Mr. Atlas. Charles Barkley in basketball.

    - Good point…it is a shame that Felix has been so injury prone.

    Oh wait…for pitchers we have to assume the worse because of the data for other similar players…but we shouldn’t have to do that for Fielder.

  59. Jamison_M on November 15th, 2011 12:10 pm

    I understand perfectly what the article was about…

    I’m not so sure you do.

    Everyone on here says you need $2M/WAR players to go with two high priced players…

    And that is why I’m not so sure you do, because that is not what this article is about, and that’s not what people are saying on here. The point is that you cannot reasonably expect to get a win for every $2M spent if you have two financial suckholes on the roster for which there is only a $100M payroll.

    Safeco makes pitchers better so you don’t need the extremely priced pitchers when you could get more for less

    I can totally see where you’re coming from on this one and I think that is a good point. But, the organization will not trade away their franchise player. They already have a difficult enough time getting fans to show up to games.

  60. lamlor on November 15th, 2011 12:31 pm

    Okay enough about Fielder right now. And for the record, I would rather have 5 solid hitters added to the roster than one Fielder

    WAR question:

    Fister was 3-12 with a 3.33 ERA and had a 3.2 WAR for us.

    Fister was 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA for Detroit but had a 2.4 WAR with them.

    How does that truly equate his value? Not picking on WAR, but just trying to understand it and his situation seems to be a good use for questioning it.

    Thanks in advance for any answers that can help me better understand it.

  61. lamlor on November 15th, 2011 12:35 pm

    A payroll of about $100 million means that your entire roster needs to be producing at an average of $2 million per win. That’s about where the Mariners are now, and that $2 million per win total has to be the goal. If they signed Fielder to go along with Felix, they’d essentially have two guys returning an expected +11 wins for about $45 million, or right around $4 million per win for the pair. That would leave the team with about $50 million to get the other 39 wins, which is simply not a reasonable request. Unfortunately, a team with a payroll under $100 million simply can’t pay the going market rate for wins to two superstar players unless they have an absolutely crazy amount of cheap young quality talent already in place.

    That is from the article.

    And that is why I’m not so sure you do, because that is not what this article is about, and that’s not what people are saying on here. The point is that you cannot reasonably expect to get a win for every $2M spent if you have two financial suckholes on the roster for which there is only a $100M payroll.

    This is a reply on why they think I don’t understand the article. Maybe they are right, but the quote above seems to sum up the article as a whole.

  62. BLYKMYK44 on November 15th, 2011 12:38 pm

    How does that truly equate his value? Not picking on WAR, but just trying to understand it and his situation seems to be a good use for questioning it

    - Hmmm…maybe you shouldn’t use the two least important stats for a pitcher when trying to compare a stat that factors in how unimportant those stats are…

  63. lamlor on November 15th, 2011 12:40 pm

    - Hmmm…maybe you shouldn’t use the two least important stats for a pitcher when trying to compare a stat that factors in how unimportant those stats are…

    Then feel free to plug in your own stats that shows why the WAR is different. Would you say that Fister had more value in Seattle than he did in Detroit or even that he played better for us than he did for them? Please explain.

  64. BLYKMYK44 on November 15th, 2011 12:40 pm

    To be fair…I assume the reason Fister’s WAR was less in Detroit was that he wasn’t enough of a gamer in Detroit and his grittiness also declined. On top of that, Detroit had a pretty veteran filled clubhouse so his veteran leadership stats counted for less.

  65. BLYKMYK44 on November 15th, 2011 12:45 pm

    Then feel free to plug in your own stats that shows why the WAR is different. Would you say that Fister had more value in Seattle than he did in Detroit or even that he played better for us than he did for them? Please explain.

    - Well I would assume that part of the reason Seattle’s WAR is higher is that while he didn’t pitch as well he did pitch 146 innigs as compared to 70 innings for Detroit. If he had pitched exactly the same for Detroit for 145 innigs his WAR would’ve been higher then what he did in Seattle.

  66. gwangung on November 15th, 2011 12:45 pm

    This is a reply on why they think I don’t understand the article. Maybe they are right, but the quote above seems to sum up the article as a whole.

    I don’t think that quote says what I think you think it says.

    I think you need to explain further, because it just seems to me that you’re not understanding the point at all.

  67. gwangung on November 15th, 2011 12:48 pm

    Then feel free to plug in your own stats that shows why the WAR is different.

    No. That’s nonsensical because it’s obvious you don’t understand the basic concept of WAR.

    For one thing, WAR is a counting stat. If a player plays fewer games for one team than for another, you have a first line explanation for a lower WAR. It’s like saying a player had 30 home runs for one team in 60 games, and 10 in 20 for another and wondering why he had a higher WAR for the first team.

  68. Paul B on November 15th, 2011 12:52 pm

    Then feel free to plug in your own stats that shows why the WAR is different. Would you say that Fister had more value in Seattle than he did in Detroit or even that he played better for us than he did for them? Please explain.

    You need to read this.

    Then you can have a discussion. Otherwise you are just critisizing things you don’t understand.

  69. lamlor on November 15th, 2011 12:53 pm

    For one thing, WAR is a counting stat. If a player plays fewer games for one team than for another, you have a first line explanation for a lower WAR.

    Then that makes it less accurate theory because his value over replacement in reality should be higher for a playoff team in the pennant stretch versus for a team out of it in the first three months of the year regardless of the innings pitched, no?

  70. Paul B on November 15th, 2011 12:56 pm

    Then that makes it less accurate theory because his value over replacement in reality should be higher for a playoff team in the pennant stretch versus for a team out of it in the first three months of the year regardless of the innings pitched, no?

    No. That makes no sense at all.

  71. BLYKMYK44 on November 15th, 2011 12:57 pm

    Then that makes it less accurate theory because his value over replacement in reality should be higher for a playoff team in the pennant stretch versus for a team out of it in the first three months of the year regardless of the innings pitched, no?

    So:

    1) A player tries “differently” earlier in the season?

    2) Doug Fister, in particular, felt more pressure to pitch in front of a competent offense then he did in front of the Mariners when he knew one run could lose the game? Especially when Detroit was never in any sort of real pennant race.

    3) Winning games in April count less then winning games in August? I bet the Red Sox would disagree with that.

  72. Paul B on November 15th, 2011 1:01 pm

    WAR is an attempt to summarize and compare a player to a replacement level player.

    A replacement level player (let’s call him Josh Wilson) is considered to be replacement level whether he is playing for the Tigers in a pennant race or playing for the Mariners in September. Josh Wilson has the same abilities.

    The measures that go into WAR do make adjustements for leagues and for ballparks, but not for how many games out of first the team is.

  73. GOB Bluth on November 15th, 2011 1:02 pm

    It seems like there have been a lot of angry trolls that want to disagree with Dave no matter what lately. I’m ready for them to go away.

  74. GarForever on November 15th, 2011 1:11 pm

    WAR question:

    Fister was 3-12 with a 3.33 ERA and had a 3.2 WAR for us.

    Fister was 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA for Detroit but had a 2.4 WAR with them.

    This is really tricky, so pay attention:

    Doug Fister appeared in 21 games for the M’s: 3.2 WAR

    Doug Fister appeared in 11 games for the Tigers: 2.4 WAR

    If you adjusted those figures assuming 32 starts over the course of the season:

    Seattle WAR/162 games: 5.3 WAR
    Detroit WAR/162 games: 7.0 WAR

    Hope that clears it up for you: WAR is not a seasonally adjusted stat, which is why Fister appears more valuable to the Mariners over 2/3 of a season than to the Tigers for just 1/3 of a season. If you could assume those performances over the course of an entire season for either team (which of course you can’t, but for the sake of argument) you get the above results.

    Math — and thinking — are fun!

  75. spankystout on November 15th, 2011 1:22 pm

    Lamlor: did you even read Dave’s first comment?

  76. xxtinynickxx on November 15th, 2011 1:26 pm

    My big question is would it be more fitting to sign a player like Jason Kubel to go in the DH/1B/LF role. I know that Dave would like to see Doumit in that role but would Jason Kubel fit just as well as Doumit? And could he cost less?

  77. GarForever on November 15th, 2011 1:26 pm

    Sorry: I must have hit a wrong keystroke when figuring the Seattle WAR/162 — didn’t think that looked right. Should be 4.9 (which just makes the point even more forcefully).

    I guess that’s what I get for being a smart-ass…

  78. Chris_From_Bothell on November 15th, 2011 1:27 pm

    By the time the Mariners do get enough low cost production to justify paying for a premium bat, there may not be one available.

    If they get enough low cost production that they’re one or two players away, they don’t need to pay for a premium bat; they will just need to get above-average players at market prices. So they can get to the same overall goal (contention) but without overpaying one player.

    Grabbing Fielder to lock him up and have him in place for 2013 / 2014 isn’t a great approach. Either we see in 2012 / 2013 that there’s Mariners performing above average for their salary and you don’t need to pay for a premium player to get over the top… or in 2012 / 2013 there’s average or below average production, in which case not only did one player not help, but that one player’s salary is as much of a lodestone then as e.g. Ichiro’s salary is perceived to be now.

  79. Soda Popinski on November 15th, 2011 1:57 pm

    There’s another significant factor at play. As a season ticket holder for a dozen years, I can say I don’t enjoy going to watch this team any longer. Last year I went to probably eight games. Maybe one of which was started by someone named other than Hernandez or Pineda.

    The club has essentially become the Mariners of the mid 80′s where the only reason to go and watch a game was to see Langston every fifth day. Same with the M’s of the early 90′s where I would go on days Randy started, no other time, (yeah I could see Griffey, or Edgar, or… Alvin Davis even, anytime.)

    2012 IS a big year for the Mariners, like it or not. This club is hemorrhaging money and fans. Ticket sales (especially to season ticket holders) are way down. TV ratings? Down. Radio? Down. The fans are clamoring for someone interesting to watch every day. Why does one think there has been this obsession with Ichiro the past decade? Hall of Fame greatness + the IT factor. I don’t think a HOFer such as a Robin Yount would sell the seats that Ichiro’s does.

    Votto a better acquisition? Yes. As interesting (to the masses of M’s fans) as watching a 300 lbs. hitter crush a ball of the Hit it Here Cafe? No.

    It’s not rational. But when have sports fans ever been. Especially Seattle sports fans. Especially Seattle MARINERS fans. It’s why Joey Cora could have come here as manager and never done wrong.

    Dave is right. It all boils down to the money and numbers. I suspect if the M’s are serious about Fielder, they are expecting a big marginal revenue increase to appear to augment the exorbitant salary Prince will command. In an irrational world, it might be the most rational decision Jack can make.

  80. gwangung on November 15th, 2011 2:04 pm

    Then that makes it less accurate theory because his value over replacement in reality should be higher for a playoff team in the pennant stretch versus for a team out of it in the first three months of the year regardless of the innings pitched, no?

    Um, no.

    Sorry, but you don’t seem to be reading people’s responses to you. That seems to be a mark of a troll.

    If you don’t want to be seen as a troll, you should think a bit harder and construct your arguments more carefully. They’re pretty sloppy at present.

  81. kennyb on November 15th, 2011 2:34 pm

    Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t read lamlor’s questions as argumentative.
    It looks more like someone who doesn’t understand WAR trying to figure it out. When people throw around terms you don’t understand you ask questions. It is natural to play a little devil’s advocate in an attempt to understand the concept. Lamlar obviously does not understand WAR, so Paul B’s link was the most helpful thing anyone has done for him. WAR is not really a concept you can just grasp by reading the posts here, you need to read about it to understand how it all comes together.
    Remember, you were not born with your current level of knowledge about WAR. You had to start somewhere.

  82. BLYKMYK44 on November 15th, 2011 2:46 pm

    RE: Soda’s Comment:

    - I don’t think Prince Fielder leading a 75-87 team would bring any more tickets then a Fielder less 70-92 team.

    RE: Kenny’s Comment:

    - I read lamor’s questions and passing aggressive attempts to troll. Seems like most agree. Notice how whenever somoene pointed out that his point was wrong he didn’t have any follow up questions or discussion once it was “clarified”?

  83. thedude1987 on November 15th, 2011 2:51 pm

    I think the first time he posted Fister’s record in seattle and expected less WAR than in Detroit would have been a sharp indicator that lamlor was not trying to troll. ERA and wins are not a good way to evaluate a pitcher’s value.

  84. zackr on November 15th, 2011 2:57 pm

    There’s no possible way Fielder’s value is as high with the M’s – unless you can get 5 WAR from walking 2+ times per game and never seeing a decent pitch. Who’s hitting behind him? That’s the real question with Fielder’s acquisition.

    With the M’s Fielder is a 3.5-4.5 WAR player.

  85. kennyb on November 15th, 2011 2:58 pm

    RE: Kenny’s Comment:

    - I read lamor’s questions and passing aggressive attempts to troll. Seems like most agree. Notice how whenever somoene pointed out that his point was wrong he didn’t have any follow up questions or discussion once it was “clarified”?

    Like I said, I may be wrong.

    I think the first time he posted Fister’s record in seattle and expected less WAR than in Detroit would have been a sharp indicator that lamlor was not trying to troll. ERA and wins are not a good way to evaluate a pitcher’s value.

    But I choose to lean this direction. He very well may be new to the advanced stats. Certainly the above question shows that he still values “old time” stats.

  86. BLYKMYK44 on November 15th, 2011 3:18 pm

    Read his post at 1132…sort of proves he was being a troll.

  87. Liam on November 15th, 2011 3:19 pm

    Fister was 3-12 with a 3.33 ERA and had a 3.2 WAR for us.

    Fister was 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA for Detroit but had a 2.4 WAR with them.

    How does that truly equate his value? Not picking on WAR, but just trying to understand it and his situation seems to be a good use for questioning it.

    Pitcher WAR does not use Win-Loss Record or ERA. It is based on FIP (Field Independent Pitching).

    Fister’s FIP with the Mariners: 3.27 in 146 innings
    Fister’s FIP with the Tigers: 2.49 in 70 innings

  88. BLYKMYK44 on November 15th, 2011 3:20 pm

    There’s no possible way Fielder’s value is as high with the M’s – unless you can get 5 WAR from walking 2+ times per game and never seeing a decent pitch. Who’s hitting behind him? That’s the real question with Fielder’s acquisition.

    - I bet a player with 300+ walks would actually have a pretty decently high WAR.

  89. Jamison_M on November 15th, 2011 3:21 pm

    This is a reply on why they think I don’t understand the article. Maybe they are right, but the quote above seems to sum up the article as a whole

    Lamlor, I don’t mean to be argumentative. Sorry if that’s how it came off, as Kenny pointed out. I get that you’re just asking questions and we’re just trying to steer you in the right direction – though I’m not exactly an expert on WAR.

    The thing about $2M/win… you seem to think people are saying that we should get two high-priced guys and then fill the rest of the roster at $2M per win. The point Dave was actually making is that you cannot use half the payroll on two guys and expect to average out to $2M/win because you have $45M spent on 11 wins (Fielder plus Felix), leaving a small amount of money to obtain the other 35-39 wins necessary to contend. To obtain 35-39 wins after spending $45M on two guys, the rest of the roster would have to average well under $1.5M salaries, which is basically not feasible. Dave is saying the payroll SHOULD be $2M/win because $100M divided by $2M equals 50 team WAR, and having two guys taking up nearly half the payroll would hinder that tactic to the point of impossibility… unless, of course, those two players were worth 12.5 WAR each… also not possible. Hope this helps.

  90. Valenica on November 15th, 2011 3:21 pm

    There’s no possible way Fielder’s value is as high with the M’s – unless you can get 5 WAR from walking 2+ times per game and never seeing a decent pitch. Who’s hitting behind him? That’s the real question with Fielder’s acquisition.

    A guy with .500 OBP is the best hitter in the game, even if he hits zero HRs.

    Fister was 3-12 with a 3.33 ERA and had a 3.2 WAR for us.

    Fister was 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA for Detroit but had a 2.4 WAR with them.

    How does that truly equate his value? Not picking on WAR, but just trying to understand it and his situation seems to be a good use for questioning it.

    WAR is a very simple framework, that relies on one basic assumption: a team’s Runs Scored and Runs Against can accurately predict a team’s W-L at the end of the year. Using historical evidence, we find that a +10 run differential gives about 1 Win in the W-L column. Thus, when we say “1 WAR” we mean the player was worth “+10 runs” over a “replacement player,” which is generally an AAAA player most teams have.

    When we say “Fister was 3.2 WAR for us, but 2.4 WAR for Detroit” we mean Fister gave us +32 run differential, and gave Detroit +24 run differential relative to a replacement level player. While run differential isn’t perfect, over 162 games it gives you a very good projection at how many W-L a team was supposed to have.

  91. zackr on November 15th, 2011 3:35 pm

    Ugh

  92. ck on November 15th, 2011 4:12 pm

    Great post Dave! Fielder on the M’s, as the M’s are currently constructed, would be poor value for the staggering money. If Fielder was signed, whenever his at bat would be crucial to game-changing, he would be intentionally walked. Ichiro had 27 as an individual, and the team had 73 total in ’93, but Fielder on the M’s would get more intentional BB’s than Barry bonds ever did.

  93. n8tron3030 on November 15th, 2011 4:31 pm

    Sorry if I don’t get this, but Dave, your logic doesn’t make sense to me. In particular, in your hypothetical where they increase payroll to $125 million, where $45 million is paid to the King and the Prince, that leaves $80 million for the remaining 39 wins, which puts us right back at exactly the $2 million per win you said the team needs to be getting… so…. how does that not work for this team — wouldn’t we be in the exact same situation without him, only we wouldn’t have one of the best hitters in the league on our team?

  94. gwangung on November 15th, 2011 5:07 pm

    It looks more like someone who doesn’t understand WAR trying to figure it out.

    Well, a clearer way of doing this is to state, “I don’t understand WAR. Can someone explain it to me?”

  95. GarForever on November 15th, 2011 5:23 pm

    n8tron3030 –

    That assumes the team would ever increase the payroll to that level, and all indications are the current ownership isn’t interested in going anywhere near that number. Dave introduced it for the sake of argument; I think we’ll be lucky if we see the payroll go north of 100MM any time soon.

    The fact remains that, even at that level, a LOT of things have to go right for a team to realize that 2MM/win number. If one assumes that Fielder and Felix together are worth 12 WAR in 2013 (which assumes monster seasons from both), and to be assured a playoff spot we need an additional 38 WAR and would have to get it out of the additional 80MM. Such a model also assumes that Ichiro shows no signs of life in 2012 and the team has no incentive to bring him back (which would be a pure baseball decision, but given the ownership and the marketing issues involved, Ichiro will be back in 2013 if he doesn’t embarrass himself next year. And if, for the sake of argument, he produces 3-4 WAR next year, he ain’t coming back for the league minimum — you could probably count on spending about 8-10MM to bring him back. If you don’t bring him back and you can’t replace him in house, then the market rate to replace those wins on the free agent market would be, on the low end, 15MM. Now you’re talking 60MM to get 15 wins in a best case scenario, and if Guti stays healthy in 2012 and has 600 PA, he will earn 7.25MM in 2013. Let’s say he produced 3 WAR that year; now you’re paying, in the scenario I’ve just outlined, around $62-65MM for 18 WAR, and that assumes those four players (Felix, Prince, Ichiro/other RF, Guti) have good seasons for the money they are paid. Even if the M’s increased their payroll to 125MM, then you have to get 32 wins out 21 guys who would collectively make 60MM tops. If the Ms stick to a payroll around 100MM (more likely), then you have to get that production out of around 35-38MM, or about 1MM/win. That would be a neat trick, and would depend on Ackley, Smoak, Pineda and all the rest producing optimally.

    So, best case scenario under a realistic payroll figure.

    Felix: 6 WAR
    Prince: 6 WAR
    39YO Ichiro/generic 3 WAR RF: 3 WAR
    Guti: 3 WAR
    Ackley: 5 WAR
    Pineda: 5 WAR
    Smoak: 4 WAR

    32 WAR for around 66MM.

    You still need 18 WAR for 34MM, and that assumes everyone stays healthy and produces at top levels. That could be a tough row to hoe; not impossible, but you have to hope that EVERY pitching prospect pans out, that a shut down closer emerges from the org for the league minimum, and so on and so on.

  96. GarForever on November 15th, 2011 5:33 pm

    I should add that I think all of this is academic, because the Ms would need to sign Fielder to an above-market contract to entice him to go to Seattle, so he and Felix would cost a lot more than 45MM in total in 2013.

  97. rth1986 on November 15th, 2011 5:35 pm

    Prince Fielder is likely about a 4-5 win upgrade for the Mariners, which would likely project them to be just under .500 for the 2012 season. For $25 million, I agree, that’s just not worth it. I would rather see the Mariners get creative and spend $25 million to get 10 more wins from multiple players.

  98. just a fan on November 15th, 2011 5:40 pm

    Can’t we just pencil in Felix for 10 WAR? Sure its a bit unrealistic, but I bet we would all be a little more optimistic headed into next season.

  99. just a fan on November 15th, 2011 5:44 pm

    How do we figure losing Smoak to DH? It seems a hidden cost of acquiring Prince. I’m high on Smoak.

  100. GarForever on November 15th, 2011 5:46 pm

    LOL, just a fan; we could build a time machine and abduct 2004 (or 2001) Randy Johnson

  101. Jamison_M on November 15th, 2011 5:52 pm

    I’m completely baffled by Mike Carp’s WAR… he put up a .5 WAR in 2011. Had he played the entire season he was on pace for about 1 WAR… but, he was on a 162-game pace for 25 HRs and 94 RBI. How does someone with that kind of production only figure to add ten runs more than a replacement level player. Josh Wilson would not reach 70 RBI if he took up two places in the batting order.

    I know there are a ton of other factors that determine a players WAR, but I don’t know what they are. Can anyone explain to me how someone with 25 HRs and 94 RBI scores such a low WAR?

  102. just a fan on November 15th, 2011 6:01 pm

    Maybe because Carp was mostly a DH? That’s my guess. Wilson is not a fair comp as he has the 2nd highest positional adjustment as a SS.

  103. just a fan on November 15th, 2011 6:05 pm

    Gar – I had not thought of that but wow is that a great idea!!!! Lets leave enough room to grab Edgar too.

    Man I can smell the pennant already!

  104. Jordan on November 15th, 2011 6:34 pm

    Thanks Dave, I completely forgot Felix’ contract is backloaded.

    Signing Prince does not make financially sound roster construction sense. In the simplest terms, the probability of maximizing value out of the rest of the roster is very low. However, still I need more reasons to go to a game. Maybe, the marketing team could have the Prince’s court too?

    It’s not that I don’t care if the team wins; I’ve become accustomed to watching them lose. Yet, I need anything that shows the owners are committed to winning. It’s almost like I’d be in favor of overpaying like the Nationals did with Werth. At least this form of desperation is not like the Bedard situation. We are not dumping prospects, and no one disputes Fielder is a superstar. The only problem is the dollar amount and his likelihood to not age well.

    I’d love to see a repeat of the 2008 offseason; only this time we hold on to our promising prospects while taking a gamble on some bigger names.

  105. Liam on November 15th, 2011 6:36 pm

    I know there are a ton of other factors that determine a players WAR, but I don’t know what they are. Can anyone explain to me how someone with 25 HRs and 94 RBI scores such a low WAR?

    There’s more to baseball than home runs and RBIs.

    Mike Carp and Dustin Ackley played a similar amount of time (313PA to 376PA) as was their hitting according to wRC+ (117). Average is 100, so they were both above average. Ackley ended up with 2.7 WAR while Carp managed only 0.5. So what gives?

    To start, defense. UZR rated Carp at -6.2 for the season and Ackley at 2.3 (0 is average) Over a full season, Carp would have lost more than 1 WAR just from his bad defense.

    Next, positional adjustments. (It’s easier to find a good hitting DH compared to a good hitting catcher or short shop)

    Catcher: +12.5 runs
    Shortstop: +7.5 runs
    Second Base: +2.5 runs
    Third Base: +2.5 runs
    Center Field: +2.5 runs
    Left Field: -7.5 runs
    Right Field: -7.5 runs
    First Base: -12.5 runs
    Designated Hitter: -17.5 runs

    Ackley played 2B, while Carp shifted between 1B, LF and DH. What this means is that the expected offensive performance from those positions is higher than at second base, so Carp is dinged a few points.

    Ackley’s positional adjustment is 1.0 (Only played half the season) while Carp’s was -5.4.

    Lastly, baserunning. -1.2 for Carp, +0.9 for Ackley. This is how two similar hitting players end with with a +2 WAR difference.

    You can read more about how WAR is calculated here.

  106. gwangung on November 15th, 2011 6:38 pm

    You can read more about how WAR is calculated here.

    Might be a good idea to click on the link before responding.

    Just saying.

  107. SODOMOJO360 on November 15th, 2011 6:39 pm

    This is such a waste of time. Has anyone thought about why Prince would want to sign with a rebuilding team? Unless we can give him the most money, which we can’t, he’s not coming here. The fact that Jack Z. drafted him has nothing to do with winning and getting the most money which are the two major things elite players look for.

  108. JoshJones on November 15th, 2011 6:41 pm

    If we don’t sign Fielder/aquire a big name hitter via trade or FA then we are simply just spining out wheels.

    What’s the one thing we have going for us? YOUTH. A great deal of talent and youth under team control for the next few years for cheap (minus felix)

    We need to add a hitter who can be a 5+WAR hitter for the next 5+ years. If it’s not Fielder, it better be someone, and it needs to be this season.

    Everyone can disagree and throw out all these ideas about how they would fix it.
    Ryan Doumit, Erik Bedard, Angel Pagan, Chris Capuano, etc, etc. Those are all great ADDITIONS. But just that, additions.

  109. stevemotivateir on November 15th, 2011 7:37 pm

    ^Who’s to say Carp wont put together a full season, playing the way he did last season once he got steady at-bats? Who’s to say Smoak doesn’t put together a strong season, like the way he started and ended the last? Or Ackley taking it up a notch, like we all know he will?

    “Additions” that are solid players that do what’s expected of them, along with our youth stepping things up, can make all the difference that’s needed. If there’s still a hole by the time the trade deadline rolls around, then maybe you can find an impact bat (or arm) that’s needed at that time. The Mariners don’t have to go after the biggest names now, or be left in the dark the entire season. Anyone would love to see Fielder in the middle of the line-up. But you have to draw a line. Dave did a great job of showing where that line is, realistically. We’re not spinning our wheels if we don’t make a big move now. We’re still moving forward.

  110. rth1986 on November 15th, 2011 7:56 pm

    To be fair, Ackley, Ichiro and Gutierrez all have the ability to be 5 WAR players. Whether they reach it or not is another story. Gutierrez merely needs to be a league-average hitter again, which hopefully he’s still capable of. We all know about Ichiro – he needs a complete rebound. Ackley might not be a 5 WAR player in 2012, but he certainly has the ability – with his hitting, baserunning, positional advantagement, and decent fielding.

    I wouldn’t say the Mariners need a 5 WAR hitter so much as better players all around.

    I was especially troubled by Jack Z’s recent comments about his offseason priorities. Nowhere did he mention upgrading at catcher. The Mariners absolutely need to get a catcher to split playing time with Olivo or that position is a huge weakness. In order of need, I’d say it should be C, 3B, SP, LF/DH, LH RP.

  111. bookbook on November 15th, 2011 8:06 pm

    “The fact that Jack Z. drafted him has nothing to do with winning and getting the most money which are the two major things elite players look for.”

    This is true, but I find it disconcerting. Elite players seemingly want to ride other players’ success to a ring more than they want to be a fundamental part of changing fortunes, creating and being the cause of a new level of success and victory.

    About the money, I understand and believe that players ought to be able to pursue the best financial return on their ability. About the desire to join a proven winner instead of driving that transformation, I’m not impressed.

  112. eastcoastmariner on November 15th, 2011 8:09 pm

    In 2011, the Tigers had an opening day payroll of approximately $107 million. In 2012, the Tigers will have two $20 million+ players of their own; $41 million for Verlander and Cabrera. They expect to operate on a payroll of $110 million in 2012, much like they did in 2011.

    In addition, they have approximately another $50 million in 2012 committed to Martinez, Valverde, Young, Benoit, Inge, Peralta, Porcello, and Raburn. Essentially, they’ve committed 80% ($90 million of their $110 million payroll) to 10 players on their 25 man roster. Most likely, the remaining 15 spots on their 25 man roster will be filled out by players earning the minimum league salary (or close to it) in 2012.

    I understand the concern with adding a player who will require the contractual obligation that Fielder will demand, and the logic in this post exactly expresses why I’m not sure signing Fielder to a long term contract is in the team’s best interest. However, unless I’m missing something, I’m not quite sure why the Tigers could not be used as a blue print the Mariners could follow, rather than alluding to teams with gigantic payrolls such as the Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox, etc. that the Mariners have no shot to realistically construct themselves after.

    Am I missing something? Please briefly explain if you can Dave. Thanks!

  113. eastcoastmariner on November 15th, 2011 8:21 pm

    FWIW – The Cardinals (Assuming Pujols resigns in St. Louis) and Giants (Zito and Lincecum) are other examples of successful teams paying two players more than $40 million, while operating on a payroll slightly north of $100 million

  114. GLS on November 15th, 2011 8:53 pm

    I don’t think it makes any sense at all to sign Prince Fielder. He has a bad body and is limited both defensively and positionally. I would much rather see the Mariners keep the payroll down and wait for the right opportunity to come along to make an impact trade (or two or three). This is why I like the idea of trading for Joey Votto, should he become available. It’s an opportunistic move, which I believe is the right frame the team needs to be working from.

  115. gwangung on November 15th, 2011 9:02 pm

    We need to add a hitter who can be a 5+WAR hitter for the next 5+ years. If it’s not Fielder, it better be someone, and it needs to be this season.

    Why?

    Dave has argued that’s putting the cart before the horse. Why do you need that now, and NOT building up a team that can support a big bat?

  116. henryv on November 15th, 2011 9:02 pm

    After seeing the aging curve for “Henry-like” players (aka chunky) I wouldn’t want to give Prince much more than 3 year deal. Quite simply, I have NO faith in his ability to hold up much longer.

    Getting a 5-6 win player for a year or two isn’t worth $25M a year, especially when the evidence says that by year 3 or 4 of a 6 year deal he’s going to be a 2-3 win player.

    In 2013 the crop of free agents looks much better and more suited to the M’s needs.

    Let’s not be so desperate we start acting all stupid. If you’ve been losing a lot of hands of blackjack, it’s not suddenly time to start standing on 12′s.

  117. gwangung on November 15th, 2011 9:06 pm

    Am I missing something?

    I think you need to factor in the wins those dollars are bringing in; that’s part of the average $2 million etc.

    In other words, getting and developing the core players first with what you have, rather than getting the big player and not having the resources to get or develop those other cheap players.

    Right now, there are a lot of question marks in those core, cheap players. If we get Fielder and those question marks don’t pan out, where do you get other players to be that core?

  118. Browl on November 15th, 2011 9:38 pm

    With a $100 million payroll a team should be able to buy 20ish wins above replacement so the rest of that WAR needs to come from guys in their pre-free-agency years.

    Dave has written in the past that teams have 2 constraints when building a roster. There’s a payroll constraint and a roster size constraint. All things else being equal it might make some sense for a rebuilding team to go big at a couple of positions and hope they luck into a bunch of WAR for the league minimum at the other spots, as opposed to signing a bunch of solid guys without much upside.

    This isn’t really about the m’s or Prince. I think Prince will get paid more than he’s worth. Just more of a general theoretical question.

  119. Browl on November 15th, 2011 9:49 pm

    Right now, there are a lot of question marks in those core, cheap players. If we get Fielder and those question marks don’t pan out, where do you get other players to be that core?

    See what I don’t get is how signing a star player prevents acquiring cheap core players. These players presumably are developed from withtin. You certainly can’t sign these players as free-agents. If anything signing a star player would leave more playing time for these type players.

  120. ajoster on November 15th, 2011 10:34 pm

    I’m a little late to this discussion, but I thought it was a good post. I’m one of those frustrated fans who wants a big payroll increase and a big bat this offseason. However, I agree that Fielder would be a bad move.

    Some people have commented that a big star might help ticket sales. Are there many examples of a star player joining a bad team and increasing revenue by a significant amount without the team winning?

    Just for my curiosity, here’s a hypothetical: if the Mariners increased payroll by $25 million above where we’re assuming it will be next year, would signing Fielder be the most efficient use of that extra money?

  121. Dave on November 15th, 2011 11:11 pm

    However, unless I’m missing something, I’m not quite sure why the Tigers could not be used as a blue print the Mariners could follow, rather than alluding to teams with gigantic payrolls such as the Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox, etc. that the Mariners have no shot to realistically construct themselves after.

    You’re right, I missed the Tigers. My bad. If the Mariners upped their payroll by ~$15 million, they’d have a similar budget as Detroit. Of course, Fielder won’t sign for the 4/86 that Cabrera has left on his deal, so the Mariners would still be spending a slightly larger chunk of their payroll (and committing to that level of spending for a much longer period of time) on their two best players. And, there’s also the issue that Cabrera is better than Fielder, so they’d probably get slightly less in expected production from their SP/1B pair than what Detroit is getting.

    Beyond that, I’m not sure that the Tigers are really a blueprint for a successful organization. They won the AL Central with +48 WAR this year, but that was mostly the function of career years from Verlander, Peralta, Avila, and what will almost certainly be the best two months of pitching Doug Fister will ever experience.

    In the three years prior to this season, they averaged 80.3 wins per year. And, because ~37% of their payroll is tied up in two players, they’re likely going to have a 2012 roster with a lot of holes in it, since they can’t pursue significant upgrades at positions of need this year. What are the Tigers going to be next year if Jhonny Peralta isn’t a +5 win shortstop, Justin Verlander’s .236 BABIP regresses back to the mean, and Jose Valverde’s walk-the-bases-loaded-and-then-get-the-save routine stops working?

    Will the Tigers be able to win next year? Maybe, since the AL Central is kind of terrible. Would I consider their roster construction as something of a model that I would suggest other teams follow? I don’t think so.

  122. KaminaAyato on November 15th, 2011 11:12 pm

    See what I don’t get is how signing a star player prevents acquiring cheap core players. These players presumably are developed from withtin. You certainly can’t sign these players as free-agents. If anything signing a star player would leave more playing time for these type players.

    See, to me that’s putting the cart in front of the horse. Once you sign Fielder, the clock is ticking on his usefulness, whether that be the length of his contract, or the time until he either declines or becomes injured/injury prone.

    In that time you have to have the pieces around him to build a contender. The thing is the prospects you got from the draft/via trades are just that – prospects. Unless they’re a can’t miss like a Strasburg, there is a probability that they will not pan out. But in signing someone like Fielder you put an inferred time limit on figuring that part out.

    Now, if you are fairly certain that you do have the pieces coming up soon, great! If it doesn’t pan out, you need the next batch to mature and quick.

    I will eventually be scolded at for referring to this, but if we take my argument about the M’s in my article, Z felt that he was better off with his acquired players than anyone in the M’s system prior to his arrival (except Pineda). That says something about the state of the minors prior to Z’s arrival.

    Now look at the 8 playoff teams. Heck, look at the World Series champs the Cardinals.

    Of the 14 players I listed, 6 of those players were via the draft starting with Pujols in 1999 and ending in John Jay in 2006.

    Of the 3 free agents, they signed Carpenter in 2003 at age 27/28, and got Berkman to close out the offense with a 1-yr, $8 mil deal.

    And the traded players started in 2008 when they went younger trading Edmonds for Freese, giving up prospects for Holliday to strengthen the OF in 2009, obtaining Edwin Jackson and Jake Westbrook in 2010, and finally filling their SS spot with veteran Furcal.

    Now if you look at Carpenter’s history, he was released by the Blue Jays in 2002 after being oft-injured, signed by the Cardinals, injured again, released and signed again eventually getting that 5-yr, $63.5 mil contract in 2008 (which now looks like a steal).

    So the Cardinals brought up young players who took some time to develop, got a great player in Carpenter on the cheap (not at rockstar status/salary like a CC Sabathia, etc), swapped veterans who would not be part of the picture for younger players, used their surplus (or mortgaged) their farm system to acquire a star player, which they went all-in with with a 7-yr, $120 mil contract (start the clock!), then filled in the gaps via trade with the final piece being that 1-yr contract with Lance Berkman who was a buy-low candidate.

    So, ask yourself, are we at a point where we can go all-in with a player and build a contender with the pieces we have now in a couple of years?

    Outside of Pineda and Felix, the other callups were just in 2009 – 2 years ago. The other talent playing in the majors you can equate to Z synthetically building a farm system. Some, like Carp and League are panning out, while others like Guti are still unknown, and others yet are still too soon to be determined.

    This is where I think it is just a bit early to sign a player like Fielder because I think signing him is akin to signing Holliday in the Cardinals timeline.

  123. KaminaAyato on November 15th, 2011 11:23 pm

    (Sorry for the doublepost, I just thought of the Rangers after the editing period was over)

    Oh, and if you were to look at the Rangers, they basically started over in 2007, trading for 5 players. I suppose you could argue that the M’s are more like the Rangers in that they basically wiped most of the slate clean in 2007 and by 2011 built a World Series contender. But they also had the players to trade for high-quality prospects that Z did not have access to as well as a great waiver pickup in Nelson Cruz.

    So, you can’t expect a Texas turnaround in terms of length of time. But you may be able to look at it as the blueprint that the M’s might be modeling.

  124. The_Waco_Kid on November 16th, 2011 12:01 am

    I was especially troubled by Jack Z’s recent comments about his offseason priorities. Nowhere did he mention upgrading at catcher.

    Good point. Olivo was the one move Z made that I didn’t like from the start, but Z seems to love Olivo. This is a great example of why I don’t want to sign Fielder. We have many holes to fill, we’ll need the “additions” Josh mentioned, and I’m not sure we can get Fielder and any needed additions.

    I know some people are sick of hypotheticals and want to take the bird in the hand, but I think we have made a good case for the risks of signing Fielder. Huge signings are very risky and it’s not always the right call.

    I don’t know what else we can say. Eventually, some team will offer Fielder something like 6 years/$25M per year, we won’t outbid them, and I will be glad we didn’t.

  125. bookbook on November 16th, 2011 4:44 am

    They can make Fielder work at $15 million per, you say? Hmmm.

    Is this a closet argument for acquiring the services of one Jose Reyes?

    The fit’s not as obvious, and the injury concerns are daunting, but…

  126. Valenica on November 16th, 2011 6:31 am

    Some people have commented that a big star might help ticket sales. Are there many examples of a star player joining a bad team and increasing revenue by a significant amount without the team winning?

    Best example is when Texas signed A-Rod in 2001.

    2000: 2.58 million, no A-Rod, 71-91
    2001: 2.83 million, A-Rod, 73-89
    2002: 2.35 million, A-Rod, 72-90
    2003: 2.09 million, A-Rod, 71-91
    2004: 2.51 million, no A-Rod, 89-73

    The first year Texas had A-Rod they saw a 250k increase in ticket sales, with the same record. The year after they saw ticket sales go back to normal (and get worse) as they kept losing. In 2004 they traded A-Rod to NY, and saw ticket sales increase, because their wins increased.

    Star power has a nice one year effect, but if you don’t win with the star, ticket sales will not increase. IMO that’s what bankrupted Texas in the first place…they thought A-Rod would increase ticket sales even on a bad team, but it turns out he couldn’t. Just focus on winning and fans will come. There are no major benefits from Darvish, Fielder, or any major FA outside of the wins they give. This isn’t basketball.

  127. gwangung on November 16th, 2011 8:27 am

    See what I don’t get is how signing a star player prevents acquiring cheap core players.

    Let’s compare with this comment:

    Good point. Olivo was the one move Z made that I didn’t like from the start, but Z seems to love Olivo. This is a great example of why I don’t want to sign Fielder. We have many holes to fill, we’ll need the “additions” Josh mentioned, and I’m not sure we can get Fielder and any needed additions.

    This is a specific problems for the Ms, but I think you can generalize. I think there are always holes on a team that aren’t fillable from within or in trades. If you sign a big free agent but still have holes you have to fill that you can’t do from within, then I have to question if that free agent signing is wise.

    I think Dave and other people are concentrating on getting the rest of the team up to snuff. There are way too many holes right now that needs filling–catcher is one that is very difficult because the available players are just not that good (and Olivo just may be the best option available).

  128. Swungonandbelted on November 16th, 2011 8:39 am

    You can’t ignore the possibility of this becoming a freakin’ huge albatross contract in years five, six, seven

    This is how I’ve seen the potential Fielder contract. When I see Prince Fielder, I also see Mo Vaughn. Fielder may be able to hit the ball a ton, but at his weight, he’s one violent hack at a bad pitch away from wrecking his back…

  129. gwangung on November 16th, 2011 10:00 am

    When I see Prince Fielder, I also see Mo Vaughn. Fielder may be able to hit the ball a ton, but at his weight, he’s one violent hack at a bad pitch away from wrecking his back…

    You know…I have MUCH less concern about this if Fielder was the proverbial final piece.

    Since he’s piece 1 of 4 to 5, I’d have to say that this is a big concern.

  130. Jamison_M on November 16th, 2011 10:33 am

    Liam, thanks for your reply. You explained beautifully… I also checked out the link and read some more on WAR calculation. Very helpful.

  131. JoshJones on November 16th, 2011 1:42 pm

    A number of teams remain in play for Grady Sizemore including the Giants, Rockies, Cubs, Red Sox, Rangers, Mariners, and Nationals, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports

    If this is true then those of you against Prince Fielder may get your wish. I’d be suprised if the M’s were in on Fielder AND Sizemore. Althought, that’s exactly what I would do.

    As a person advocating for Fielder allow me to ask this question. Would you preffer Prince Fielder 8yrs/$200M or a package of 1yr contracts +incentives for Erik Bedard, Grady Sizemore,and Ryan Doumit?

    Those are potential high upside signings who have been linked to the M’s with huge injury risk where Prince is almost a guaranteed 5+War player for probablly $10M more a season.

    I think this is where the M’s organization is at. Trying to decide between getting a bunch or HIGH upside players or one big name bat that they will have to overpay for.

  132. Dave on November 16th, 2011 1:56 pm

    If you think Bedard, Sizemore, and Doumit are going to cost $25 million combined, you’re nuts.

  133. JoshJones on November 16th, 2011 2:12 pm

    If you think Bedard, Sizemore, and Doumit are going to cost $25 million combined, you’re nuts

    Of course not Dave.
    Bedard 5M (proved he’s healthy “enough”)
    Doumit 3-5M (turned down 3M from the Dodgers)
    Sizemore 7M (With 8 teams in on him someone will overpay)

    That’s 15-18M. What do they all have in common? None of them have played even close to a full season the past 3 years.

    I’m not saying the package is a bad idea. I’m saying it’s 5-10M$ less than fielder with no guarantees. While Fielder will almost guarantee you a 5+WAR for the next 6-8 years.

  134. KaminaAyato on November 16th, 2011 2:15 pm

    As a person advocating for Fielder allow me to ask this question. Would you preffer Prince Fielder 8yrs/$200M or a package of 1yr contracts +incentives for Erik Bedard, Grady Sizemore,and Ryan Doumit?

    The latter because you need those high-upside players so that you can take the savings from signing said players (when they pan out) and apply them to a big name player when your team is on the verge of contending.

    We don’t have enough pieces in place right now to afford that big bat and compete for a WS. Felix and Pineda? Okay. Ackley, there’s another piece. Ryan? Defensively great and isn’t an offensive black hole.

    But everything else, including Guti and Smoak and in someways Carp and Vargas insofar as they need to prove their years weren’t a fluke, are still up in the air.

    That’s why it’s too early to sign a FA like Fielder, because there is still too much to sort out to waste those years we would’ve signed such a player for.

  135. Browl on November 16th, 2011 2:59 pm

    Well color me convinced. Reading my last comment I didn’t really account for high upside free agents. I sort of assumed that a certain amount of money would buy a certain amount of wins in free agency which isn’t really true. You can get free agent steals on bounceback players or underrated players.

  136. stevemotivateir on November 16th, 2011 6:29 pm

    The big unknown, is what payroll will be and what it will likely be for the next several years. We all assume it will be roughly the same as last year. Hard to imagine Fielder landing here if it’s the same or less.

    I still suspect we’ll see a move that nobody sees coming. Maybe someone like Brandon Inge in a trade (I offer no weight to that, just throwing a name out there). I think the biggest surprise, would be seeing Figgins and Moore on the opening day roster and Furbush & Beavan both at the back of the rotation. And no, I don’t mean one of them should be at the front:)

  137. momo2119 on November 16th, 2011 7:56 pm

    I have a feeling that along with his 5 wins, Fielder will make the the players around him better, especially the players batting around him in the order. We saw Fister go beast-mode when games have purpose. I expect a 2-3 WAR increase by the rest of the batters from the current predicted 2012 WAR team total as a result of Fielder’s presence in the lineup. That’s 7-8 WAR.

    Signing Prince will increase ticket sales too. While we probably won’t win the division, he will help us stay relevant for maybe an extra month or so and that extra month of being relevant will lead to extra ticket sales. I remember Strasburg in 2010, for his 7 starts, created 5 million (725000 per game) in additional revenue from attendance. He put an extra 16000 fans in seats per start. Assuming Seattle and Washington have similar ticket prices and that Fielder will increase ticket sales by 5000 for a month (that’s being somewhat conservative considering what happened to attendence after last season’s 17-game losing streak), Fielder will create an additional 2.5 million from ticket sales every year. I’ve got a gut feeling that if we get him it will be for less than 25 mil per year

  138. VivaAyala on November 16th, 2011 7:58 pm

    I have a problem with the idea that Fielder is a guaranteed five-win player.

    Over the last six years, the six years in which Fielder has been a regular player, Fielder has been worth:

    1.3, 5.1, 1.7, 6.4, 3.4, 5.5 wins (fangraphs)

    for a grand total of 23.4 wins. That averages out to a little less than 4 wins/year, not five. The same holds true if you take just the last four seasons (2008-2011). You can’t ignore the down years.

  139. bookbook on November 16th, 2011 10:12 pm

    I am really against signing Fielder for what he’s likely to cost for as long as he’ll cost.

    That said, the weight-related risk has been overstated a number of places, I think. Odds are he’ll age better than his Dad–he’s a better player who seemingly is working harder than his father did, etc.

    Also, Mo Vaughn is just one data point. We don’t get to use Chone Figgins as the reason not to sign fast, good athletes forever afterwards, do we?

  140. UnderTheClouds on November 16th, 2011 11:53 pm

    I think the Fielder speculation has to be a decoy, “leaked” to attract the spotlight while Jack Z pursues other options. I can’t imagine the Ms spending that high a percentage on one player even if they were a contender, let alone the perenial celler dweller.

    The financial dark clouds hovering over this team–I’d be a little surprised if payroll isn’t actually lowered next season.

  141. Jordan on November 16th, 2011 11:59 pm

    Would Carlos Quentin be worth trading for and what would he cost?

    If Casper plays well, having Quentin or Guti as the 4th option is not a bad thing (Ichiro won’t be benched).

    Would the Padres give up Headley if they were getting League + ? Bell may not accept their arb. offer so they’ll be needing a closer. I know their GM has said he’s ‘not available’ but what would it take to get Headley if he were?

    These two moves are marginal or better upgrades, probably won’t cost a ton and would possibly leave catcher as the last black hole to fill.

  142. gwangung on November 17th, 2011 8:52 am

    I have a problem with the idea that Fielder is a guaranteed five-win player.

    Good point.

    He’s likely to be, but his actual track record shows that there’s a chance he’ll be under that.

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