Monday, October 26, 2015

ICYMI: Were They Worth It?

From Bryan Van Dusen:

For a while after The Greedy Pinstripes opened, I would constantly write about salaries. I pretty much became obsessed with the team's total payroll, and how their players fit into it. I would write about how much money was allegedly on the books, and whether they would or would not sign one player or another. It took me a while to realize what many others already knew... it was a waste of time. Not only did I not know how much the team was willing to spend, but it ultimately didn't matter to me as a fan because I was not the one writing the payroll checks.
"There are people that still write checks? Hello! It's called a debit card!"

I don't mean to say that I've completely abandoned the idea of player salaries and the team's payroll. I'm not going to waste my time saying the team could sign Jason Heyward, David Price, and others, while putting big money players like Carlos Beltran on the bench. Major League Baseball is a business, which means the league and its teams are out to make money, therefore team owners are going to treat it as such.

One thing I bring up often when talking about money is the Dollar Values done at Fangraphs. No, I don't think it's a perfect formula, but I do believe it's a good way to measure a player's worth. For example, Fangraphs lists Bryce Harper as being worth $75.9 million last season. You may say he's probably only worth like $70 million, but the fact is he's one of... if not the most valuable hitter in MLB.

So I decided to take a look at the Dollar Values placed on players from the 2015 Yankees. You're probably going to notice that the following chart doesn't include every player that spent time on the team's Active Roster this season, but it does cover those that spent a significant amount of time on it.

Let's start with those that actually cost the team money last season.

Sabathia was the biggest waste for the Yankees in 2015, giving the team nearly $15 million less on the field than they gave him on his paycheck. Ellsbury wasn't much better, as the Yankees spent a little over $14 million more on him than he gave to the team. Drew was another waste for the team, as his salary was $3.7 million higher than what he gave the team in performance. While Tanaka is on the list of players that under-performed their salaries, if he could have made five or six more starts he would have likely covered his salary and then some. The teams loss with Headley was minimal, however I believe he'll make up for that during the last three years of his contract. Oh, and as for ARod, many would have taken him as a $64 million loss spread out over his final three years, so a loss of only $600,000 this season was fantastic.

Now for those that gave the Yankees more than the team gave them.

Take another look at that chart above. That list of "plusses" is pretty nice. Pineda (+26.1), Gregorius (+24.146), and Eovaldi (+21.9) would have been welcome by any owner in baseball. And, although a number of Yankees fans feel otherwise, Yankees brass has to love using young players. Just look at what young guys like Gregorius did... Betances (+18.692), Warren (+16.528), Wilson (+11.244), Bird (+6.9), Murphy (+4.981), Severino (+4.8), Heathcott (+2.1), and Refsnyder (+.7). Finally, you can add another $29 million for the Yankees, thanks to Gardner (+7.9), Miller (+6.9), Young (+6.9), McCann (+6.5), Nova (+.4), and Beltran (+.4) all outperforming their salaries.

You may have noticed that I haven't talked about Mark Teixeira. Even though he was technically a "loss" for the Yankees last season, if it wasn't for an injury he would have outplayed his salary by quite a bit.

In summary, how about that total? The team's total payroll for 2015 was a little under $218 million. The total for the players in that chart ($332.9 million) means the Yankees got around $115 million more out of their team than they had to pay. I would call that a big win for Hal and friends.

So if anybody brings up the Yankees eating a player's contract, or at least part of it in order to facilitate a trade (*cough*Ellsbury*cough*), you don't have to feel bad for Hal, Brian, Joe or anybody else employed by the New York Yankees.

"Yeah, we're all doing just fine."

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)