Detroit’s WAR to Monetary Value

According to the witty Jonah Keri over at Grantland, “the cost of a marginal win on the open market is about $5 million right now”. Give or take the highs and lows of a specific player during his career, there will certainly be years where he will be worth much more than his current contract (for example, the first six years of his career) and then there will be years where “overpaid washed up blowhard” is a generally accepted term for a player of his skill/age.

I was looking over the Tigers payroll the other day and thought to myself, “we hear so much about how certain players are being overpaid, I wonder what the actual “value” of the team is?” Of course, the specific player I was thinking about was Albert Pujols, who after signing a heavy back loaded deal with the Angels during the winter meetings needs to produce a 51 WAR over his ten year contract for it to be considered “worth it” in the sabermetric world. (Something most people doubt he will do).

So, I took to the handy old calculator and after a few keystrokes, came up with this table of values from the Tigers 2011 season. As expected, the team came out very well considering the season that they had and the players they had on the roster – yes, I will explain below.

Quickly, a brief explanation of the table:

You have the player, their 2011 WAR (based on baseball reference), their “projected” or valued salary based on the actual WAR, their actual salary, and finally the difference in what each player was “worth” in 2011 based on the $5M/1WAR formula.

Please note that there were 15 players on the 2011 team that do not have salary values assigned to them because, most likely, due to the fact that they played very briefly in the majors they were not paid a full league minimum. I still assigned $500K to each of them for posterity sake (also, they basically cancelled each other out due to the +/- of their values). Also, values were rounded to the nearest quarter million for simplicities sake, again, most cancelled one another out, and those that weren’t equal perhaps $300K.

Player

WAR

x $5M

2011 Salary

Paid For

2011 value

Justin Verlander

8.6

$43.0M

$12,850,000

2.5 WAR

+$30.15M

Miguel Cabrera

7.1

$35.5M

$20,000,000

4 WAR

+$15.5M

**Doug Fister

*5.7*

$28.5M

$436,500

1 WAR

+$28.0M

Alex Avila

5.4

$27.0M

$425,000

1 WAR

+$26.5M

Jhonny Peralta

4.4

$22.0M

$5,250,000

1 WAR

+$16.75M

Victor Martinez

2.9

$14.5M

$12,000,000

2.5 WAR

+$2.5M

Jose Valverde

2.7

$13.5M

$7,000,000

1.5 WAR

+$6.5M

Max Scherzer

2.4

$12.0M

$600,000

.25 WAR

+$11.5M

Austin Jackson

2.4

$12.0M

$440,000

.25 WAR

+$11.5M

Joaquin Benoit

1.5

$7.5M

$5,500,000

1 WAR

+$2.0M

**David Pauley

*1.5*

$7.5M

$422,00

.25 WAR

+$7.0M

Brennan Boesch

1.4

$7.0M

$430,000

.25 WAR

+$6.5M

**Wilson Betemit

*1.3*

$6.5M

$1,000,000

.5 WAR

+$5.5M

Ramon Santiago

1.3

$6.5M

$1,350,000

.75 WAR

+$5.0M

Rick Porcello

1

$5.0M

$1,536,000

.75 WAR

+$3.5M

Ryan Raburn

0.8

$4.0M

$1,300,000

.75 WAR

+$2.5M

Casper Wells

0.8

$4.0M

$418,000

.25 WAR

+$3.5M

Daniel Schlereth

0.7

$3.5M

$418,000

.25 WAR

+$3.0M

Phil Coke

0.4

$2.0M

$440,000

.25 WAR

+$1.5M

Don Kelly

0.3

$1.5M

$423,000

.25 WAR

+$1.0M

Carlos Guillen

0

$0

$12,922,231

2.5 WAR

-$13.0M

**Delmon Young

*0*

$0

$5,375,000

1 WAR

-$5.5M

Brayan Villarreal

-0.3

$1.5M

$414,000

.25 WAR

-$2.0M

Enrique Gonzalez

-0.4

$2.0M

$435,000

.25 WAR

-$2.5M

Brad Penny

-0.4

$2.0M

$3,000,000

1.5 WAR

-$5.0M

Ryan Perry

-0.4

$2.0M

$430,000

.25 WAR

-$2.5M

Brad Thomas

-0.4

$2.0M

$800,000

.75 WAR

-$3.0M

Will Rhymes

-0.4

$2.0M

$419,000

.25 WAR

-$2.5M

Brandon Inge

-0.6

$3.0M

$5,500,000

1 WAR

-$8.5M

Magglio Ordonez

-1.9

$9.5M

$10,000,000

2 WAR

-$19.5M

Players with no available contract information.

Al Alburquerque

1.6

$8.0M

$500K

.25 WAR

+$7.5M

Scott Sizemore

0.5

$2.5M

$500K

.25 WAR

+$2.0M

Charlie Furbush*

0.1

$500K

$500K

.25 WAR

No Value

Luis Marte

0.1

$500K

$500K

.25 WAR

No Value

Duane Below*

0

0

$500K

.25 WAR

-$500K

Andrew Oliver*

0

0

$500K

.25 WAR

-$500K

Chance Ruffin

0

0

$500K

.25 WAR

-$500K

**David Purcey

*-0.1*

$500K

$500K

.25 WAR

-$1.0M

Danny Worth

-0.1

$500K

$500K

.25 WAR

-$1.0M

Lester Oliveros

-0.1

$500K

$500K

.25 WAR

-$1.0M

Robbie Weinhardt

-0.1

$500K

$500K

.25 WAR

-$1.0M

Adam Wilk*

-0.1

$500K

$500K

.25 WAR

-$1.0M

Omir Santos

-0.2

$1.0M

$500K

.25 WAR

-$1.5M

Andy Dirks

-0.3

$1.5M

$500K

.25 WAR

-$2.0M

Jacob Turner

-0.5

$2.5M

$500K

.25 WAR

-$3.0M

Give or take a few thousand dollars the Tigers payroll was $107M last year and they essentially paid $2.25M per WAR for their ALCS Run. As stated above, given that it is generally accepted that 1 WAR is worth $5M the Tigers certainly netted a significant profit in the sabermetrics side of things. The monetary value of the team would therefore be roughly $236M, and therefore netted a $129M gain based on WAR values, which seems, given a general understanding of the team, to be an accurate evaluation of the season.

How is a net gain of $2.75M per player accurate? Well consider that the Tigers are generally a young, team controlled ballclub. There are very few outrageous contracts left on the payroll (I really would like to see what the value of the 2003 club would be…something I may do later on).

Only Verlander, Cabrera, Peralta, Martinez, Valverde, Benoit, Guillen, Ordonez, Inge, and Penny were on “major league contracts”. That’s 10 of 47 contracts on the 2011 team. 37 players were under team controlled salaries, most of which were at the league minimum, and nothing was higher than $1.5M

In the chart you can see who had the most value (Verlander) and who had the least (Ordonez) value to the team. It’s a little different way to look at the season, but a very interesting one in my opinion.

  • http://www.passion4baseball.blogspot.com William J. TaskerW

    Good stuff. Looks like the Tigers are poised for another run too.

Switch to our mobile site

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookCheck Our Feed