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  1. Considering the success of the Indians over the last 10 years – a barely .500 team much of the time, one postseason appearance, 4 90+ loss seasons – I’d take Shapiro’s valuing a win being worth $9M with a grain of salt. Is Cleveland’s outlook really representative? If you compare to what other teams spent the last couple seasons, does it seem like a lot of other clubs were paying 8 to 9 million per win?

    Comment by Chris from Bothell — October 25, 2012 @ 10:48 am

  2. …he improved the Giant’s chances of winning that game by 32.4%. That’s pretty impressive all by himself, but now you’re giving two thirds of that extra value to his teammmates, leaving Zito with about half a million of extra value.

    One-third of the extra value goes to his team-mates. The Giants had a 50% chance of winning the game anyway, before anyone did any WP adding or subtracting.

    Comment by Aaron (UK) — October 25, 2012 @ 10:49 am

  3. What exactly is the point of this article? I’m not being snarky, but Zito not worth his contract is pretty old news. Whatever goodwill he gets for his great Playoff/World series work still doesn’t make up for being massively overpaid. I’m a Giants fan and we are up 1-0 in the world series, I’m happy for Zito too.
    The improbable happened and Zito beat the great Verlander, it’s all good.

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — October 25, 2012 @ 10:58 am

  4. SF had a lot more to gain by winning their first World Series in 2010 than they do now if they win it all. Attendance steadily went down the the first years of his contract (Barry Bonds being gone certainly affected that). They went from 7th overall in attendance in 2009 to a healthy 5th in 2010 when they were in contention all year. After their World Series win they went to 2nd overall for two consecutive years, which is very impressive. There is a huge jump going from 7th (pretty good) to 2nd (elite). That jump to elite status (and elite revenue) came via the World Series win that Zito didn’t contribute a pitch to during the playoffs.

    Zito made his team a lot of money with his last two starts, but the potential for a huge jump in earnings has already happened.

    Comment by RMD — October 25, 2012 @ 11:08 am

  5. Shapiro stated that a FREE AGENT WIN is worth 9 million. Obviously, given that free agents are more expensive than players under team control, one should expect it to cost more to get wins in free agency rather than via prospects. Just because one should expect to pay 9 million per win via free agency, it doesn’t mean that a win itself would cost more than 5 million and therefore those two numbers don’t contradict each other.

    It probably means that Zito’s wins should be valued at $9 million each because teams expect to pay more for wins via FA. Presumably teams know what they’re getting into when they offer free agents contracts and understand that free agents are more expensive than prospects.

    Comment by Matt P — October 25, 2012 @ 11:17 am

  6. Lets say Zito blows his next start in Detroit. That loss could actually gain another SF home game…..

    Comment by JWR — October 25, 2012 @ 11:18 am

  7. Zito has more RBI this postseason than A-Rod.

    Comment by Slats — October 25, 2012 @ 11:20 am

  8. Not to presume to speak for the author, but I think it was taking a look at the degree to which the contract could be considered a disaster. Sure, *everyone* knows he hasn’t “earned” the $99M paid so far. But has he come close? Is the contract a total, unmitigated disaster or just a moderate overpay? How does the contract look using the most generous valuation metrics possible? I think these are the questions the article is getting at.

    Comment by Jason B — October 25, 2012 @ 11:23 am

  9. I’d pay Zito 126 million dollars over 7 years if it meant my team winning the World Series once, with another great chance this year. Of course, take that with a grain of salt, considering he wasn’t even on the roster in 2010 and obviously isn’t the sole reason they are where they are.

    Comment by J.D. — October 25, 2012 @ 11:31 am

  10. You’re leaving out merchandise sales from those additional postseason games. Come on, we can do this. We can make Barry Zito worth his contract.

    Comment by Benjo — October 25, 2012 @ 11:38 am

  11. This. A .324 WPA by Zito means the Giants only needed .176 WPA more to win the game.

    Comment by Anon — October 25, 2012 @ 11:40 am

  12. I think the boost in attendance could be thought of differently. What winning in the post season does is drive up demand. If they sold 99.5% of tickets in 2012, that means that supply (at 2012 prices) probably did not meet demand, as there were surely many fans that wanted to go to many games that were sold out. If the Giants win, they get a big boost in demand going forward (who wouldn’t want to go see a “dynasty”?). This could pay off in one of two ways. First, the Giants could probably jack up ticket prices more without selling any fewer tickets, as the fans who don’t buy because they have a price-point below the increase would not prevent sellouts or near-sellouts of every game. Second, if the demand goes well beyond the supply, when that bump inevitably corrects itself, it will be a longer way down. Take Boston. Even as demand must have been plummeting this year, they were still selling every ticket (leaving shinanagins aside for this point).

    All that said, I think it is simplistic to look at a team with at or near 100% attendance and not believe that winning games and winning championships does not have a huge impact on future revenue, either from the ability to increase ticket prices or continuing to sell out most games even as demand goes down.

    Comment by TKDC — October 25, 2012 @ 11:41 am

  13. And just 1 less hit. And he’s paid way less than A-Rod! Boom, value!

    Comment by Steve — October 25, 2012 @ 11:41 am

  14. Mark Shapiro is not the General Manager of the Cleveland Indians. He is the Team President.
    Chris Antonetti has been in his role as GM for two years now. You can be better than the average cleveland.com commenter who doesn’t know the difference, Eno.

    Comment by Brett G — October 25, 2012 @ 11:43 am

  15. That number seems like nonsense, it doesn’t pass the smell test at all. An average MLB regular at 2.0 WAR being worth $18 million seems pretty far off (unless you’re Jayson Werth). If that’s the case than #4 SP should rejoice, Maholm you’re about to be a rich man!

    Comment by Pirates Hurdles — October 25, 2012 @ 11:43 am

  16. Like you said, Zito isn’t going to be the main one responsible for next season’s ticket sales but with that said, I think there is probably more of an effect of gaining 30,000 tickets sold if the Giants win the World Series

    I am going out on a limb but I am pretty sure that a team will be able to sucessfully raise ticket prices more if they win the WS… A bump in ticket prices could also greatly increase revenue

    Comment by cody k — October 25, 2012 @ 11:47 am

  17. If Zito doesn’t suck in 2007, the Giants don’t draft Buster Posey.

    Zito’s been worth it for years. QED.

    Comment by Evan — October 25, 2012 @ 11:51 am

  18. even if you give the Giants a possible boost of 1% of their current attendance, you can only give Zito credit for an extra 30,000 fans next season

    In addition to game attendance, ticket prices and season ticket sales would be positive factors in this analysis.

    Would it be better to find Zito’s contribution toward a World Series win and take that amount of the increased revenue? Add that to Zito’s portion of this year’s postseason revenue to get a more accurate figure.

    Comment by Anon — October 25, 2012 @ 11:51 am

  19. fixed. gave him another $4m or so.

    Comment by Eno Sarris — October 25, 2012 @ 11:51 am

  20. Merchandise sales are shared by all teams. Sorry, you know I tried! It’s impossible.

    Comment by Eno Sarris — October 25, 2012 @ 11:52 am

  21. fixed. my bad.

    Comment by Eno Sarris — October 25, 2012 @ 11:53 am

  22. if we give them an average bump of $10/ticket and give it ALL to Zito… you get there. But, that’s even further out on this shaky limb.

    Comment by Eno Sarris — October 25, 2012 @ 11:54 am

  23. What I find to be pretty funny – maybe even ironic (I’ve never understood the definition of irony) – is that 2012 Barry Zito was a worse pitcher than 2010 Barry Zito, yet it is 2010 Barry Zito that was left off the playoff roster and 2012 Barry Zito that is being praised for his performances in the playoffs.

    Comment by Slade — October 25, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

  24. I sent this exact line (in reference to Zito) to a friend not 10 minutes before I saw this article.

    “It would be interesting to look at the financial value of a World Series game win vs. a regular season win, and then re-evaluate player contracts.”

    Count me as one that was quite interested in the article. Thank you, Eno.

    Comment by Matthias — October 25, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

  25. Obviously, this is a great feel good story with a bitter aftertaste due to the bad contract. Zito has seemingly also handled the terrible situation with some class as his teammates and coaches seem to be not only appreciative, but super happy for him as a person for his timely success. And the key is that it was really, really timely and thus perhaps lends itself to “analysis.”

    Nobody likes to have to eat a sunk cost, so it’s nice to be able to add some honey to this bitter pill. It’s still a bitter pill, but not as bad as we would have judged it say in June of this year. Think about it, nobody would argue Linceceum’s contract, but in the 2nd half of the season and now playoffs Zito’s performance was like adding a Grienke or CC Sabathia down the stretch which would have been REALLY expensive.

    So, as Eno said on twitter last night, maybe his contract went from terrible, terrible to just one terrible or just a bad contract. Either way, making a sunk cost more palatable is a great thing.

    Comment by Bobcmartin — October 25, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

  26. Maybe it needs re-fixing – Zito himself still only added 32% chance of a game 6. Though if it were a replacement level pitcher pitching instead of “Game 5 magic Zito” that would up that 32% to nearer 44%.

    Not that this really matters that much anyway.

    (And I’m not sure you can or should credit him for Game 5 of the World Series yet – what if the Giants sweep? Then it would be “stupid Zito, should have lost like everyone expected”…)

    Comment by Aaron (UK) — October 25, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

  27. I think the research from Swartz values specifically free agent wins. If any win above replacement cost $5M, then a bad team’s payroll (60 wins, 17 WAR) would be about $85M. An average team (81 Wins, 38 WAR) would cost $190M. There’s only one team that costs that much.

    This assumes that 0 WAR = 43 team wins…I never remember the baseline, but the point remains. $5M can’t be the cost of any win, and it’s hard to imagine that a free agent win really costs $9M. Unless fWAR is completely undervaluing some players.

    Comment by Matthias — October 25, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

  28. Yeah, I wasn’t suggesting that Zito would get there or even close, but that just in general there is a huge financial gain to winning, even if you are at or near capacity in terms of number of tickets sold.

    - Not Barry Zito’s agent

    Comment by TKDC — October 25, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

  29. The attendance boost from wins was already factored in when you counted up his WAR, or his RA/9, so you can’t add that in twice.

    But the bigger problem is, if he is worth all the money given all these extra credits, you have to give them to his competition too, and he’s still one of the worst FA signings. Meaning he cost them the ability to get someone much better with the money. Maybe they could have got Cliff Lee instead for example, or some hitter, then they wouldn’t be resorting to Hunter Pence in the 5 spot right now.

    Comment by joeiq — October 25, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

  30. Agree with you (and Jason B above). Hurtlockertwo may not see the point of the article, but it goes quite a way (and a lot further than I’d be willing to go on my own) to answering a question I actually wondered about during the game. Not everybody wonders the same things, but it appears at least some of us were wondering this. Thanks to the author for actually getting up and being creative in an attempt to approximate an answer.

    Comment by joser — October 25, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

  31. This was the Nationals’ strategy, and before that the Rays. Clearly it is losses that is the real undervalued asset. Unless you’re the Mariners.

    Comment by joser — October 25, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

  32. You’re right. You don’t know the definition of irony. Here let me help you:

    i·ron·y2 ? ?/?a??rni/ Show Spelled[ahy-er-nee] Show IPA
    adjective
    consisting of, containing, or resembling iron.

    Comment by TKDC — October 25, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

  33. Food and booze sure isn’t, and I’m not totally positive every merchandise sold is getting chopped up by MLB. There is some grey area there. And… Having been there, done that through the years, I was shocked to see how swag happy Giant fans have become. There is some serious money being made. I would be interested to know how much is going straight back to MLB.

    Comment by Shankbone — October 25, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

  34. Looking ahead a little bit, the Giants might have an interesting dilemma that no fans thought possible. Yes, picking up Zito’s option. Now stop laughing. Stopped? 7MM buyout on an 18MM option, 11MM spread. If Shapiro is valuing a win at 9MM, and Zito has found his zen to being a league average or slightly better with this new pitch backwards/zen/junk thrower… Coupled with Vogelsong and Timmy both being free agents as well… That option, and the control it brings, is something that might come into play. If Zito continues his resurrection. Which violates the first principle of Barry Zito: Never Trust Barry Zito. Still, might become a consideration, you never know.

    Comment by Shankbone — October 25, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

  35. Is mechandise sales split even from the in-stadium team store?

    Comment by Anon — October 25, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

  36. Of course, if he’s using different constructions for wins and replacement level (a safe assumption), it may not be true that 2.0 WAR is average.

    Comment by LISTEN YOU GUYS — October 25, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

  37. Eh, so it’s a less bad contract after last night.

    Am I the only one that remembers that part of the reason the Giant signed Zito was because of the other Barry? Zito was a Cy Young winner and a celebrity in the Bay Area at the time plus the Giants wanted (and needed) someone or something to take the heat off of Barry Bonds. So they massively overpaid the pitching Barry for reasons that weren’t totally about pitching.

    Or maybe I’m misremembering here.

    Comment by jirish — October 25, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

  38. Thanks, Eno!

    Comment by Brett G — October 25, 2012 @ 11:04 pm

  39. That comment doesn’t even come close to making sense in terms of cause and effect.

    Comment by Phils_Goodman — October 26, 2012 @ 1:50 am

  40. In 2012 there were 1130 total fWAR; if we are assuming that Shapiro is similarly valuing players, just with a different replacement level throwing it off–

    1130 fWAR x $5M/fWAR = $5652M
    $5652M/ ($9M/sWAR) = 628 sWAR

    So fWAR has a replacement level team at 43-119 and the Indians at 60-102. I’m not sure I buy it with so many teams well below 60 wins.

    Comment by Eric R — October 26, 2012 @ 11:42 am

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