Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Cost of WAR

Yesterday was a slow day in the mall. Everyone went shopping nuts on the weekend and the last minute folks know it's not the last minute yet. So with time on hand while sitting in this Fan's store, a spreadsheet was put together with each team's 2010 salary (which may or may not be accurate) and the team's accumulated Wins Above Replacement (WAR). The purpose was to see how well teams did at paying for each win above replacement. While this Fan isn't smart enough to interpret the numbers with any degree of intelligence. You can make your own conclusions.

Even so, the data does seem to show us a few obvious things. First, the Pirates were bloody awful. Perhaps any fan of the Pirates could have told us that without so much heavy lifting. But with a lousy salary total of only $18 million, they didn't even come close to paying a fair price for each Win Above Replacement. In fact, their payroll payed for hardly any wins at all. This Fan was incredulous at how low their accumulated WAR was.

Typically, the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies all overpaid for each unit of WAR. But at least they were all in contention for their overspending. The Cubs and Mets both overspent by quite a lot and never had an inkling of being in contention. Houston and Seattle overpaid but their WAR totals were so low that the results are understandable. If you would have asked each team where their WAR should have been, it would have been closer to reality.

Minnesota, San Diego and San Francisco did a terrific job of maximizing their payrolls. The Twins made the playoffs, the Padres just missed and the Giants, of course, won the World Series. The Fan is suspicious of the payroll figures (all culled from as Tampa's seemed quite high at $70. But they also did a nice job with their payroll culling WAR.

What this all means is somewhat missing to this writer. For example, the Nationals and White Sox seemed to be very close to paying exactly what they got. But of course, neither team made the playoffs. The White Sox overpaid if you measure the cost of each win instead of WAR.

It was a fun exercise. What it all means, this Fan supposes, is up to you.

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