September 16, 2007
Wins per A-Rod
Posted by Fred Tung

I have to confess I'm really only a casual observer of baseball and other professional sports these days, but after the Moneyball revolution, I've learned to appreciate just how sophisticated (or seemingly so) baseball economics has become.  I learned by accident this morning that A-Rod will likely be a free agent this year (who's A-Rod?).  Also that he's making $27 million a year, but his agent says he's worth $30 million.  For 30 million bucks, what would the buyer get?  A 2008 season with A-Rod hitting better than .303, with a better than .404 on-base percentage, and a better than .601 slugging percentage, that's what!  So says Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus, according to today's NYT.  I say "better than" because these predictions assume he stays with the Yanks.  Moving out of Yankee stadium would give A-Rod some slightly better numbers, since that venue is viewed as unfriendly to RHBs.

I thought, wow!, that's some pretty high-tech (or highfalutin) predicting.  But it gets better.  The Giants could expect to win 8 more games if they bought A-Rod; to the Blue Jays, he's worth 9 more victories.  And that's probably as much as any team can expect over time, as A-Rod is probably topping out right about now and will decline over time. 

Is he worth the $30 million?  Not according to Silver.  For teams in marginal playoff contention, each extra win produces another $2.6 million in revenue.  Do the math.  If A-Rod is worth 9 extra wins now and fewer in the future, it's hard to justify the annual $30 MM bill.

Economics, Sports | Bookmark

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