Albert Pujols and Linear Dollars Per Win

Kenny Williams, on whether he would sign Albert Pujols.

“If [Jerry Reinsdorf] gave me $30MM dollars right now, I’m not going to spend it on one guy. Sorry White Sox fans,” the GM said. “But I tell you what, I’m going to take that $30 million and I’m going to distribute it around. My team is going to be better as a whole than it is with one player who might get hurt. Then you’re done. Sorry, that’s just me. And that’s no disrespect to a future Hall of Famer, first ballot, one of the greatest players in history.”

This is an interesting quote, and it sheds light on a subject that comes up quite a bit when we talk about our dollars-to-win salary model. One of the objections that comes up frequently is the linear nature of that model, where we use $5 million per win for a one-win player or for a six-win player, since that is how MLB teams have generally provided contracts. Our model works off of how teams have operated, but to some, this undervalues star players.

After all, a team is theoretically better off with one +6 win player than three +2 win players. While both situations give you +6 wins, having it consolidated into one roster spot gives you the ability to get even more potential WAR from those three spots if you can find better than replacement-value talents at the other two spots. There’s also a scarcity issue, as it is much easier to find +2 win players than +6 win players, so having the superstar gives you an asset that is not easy to re-acquire, while you can stock up on average players without too much difficulty.

These factors lead many people to argue that the dollars-to-win scale should not be linear, but should increase exponentially for higher-end players, reflecting their extra value. In reality, though, Williams’ mindset seems to be the more prevalent one in Major League Baseball. When it comes to big contracts, teams are more interested in minimizing risk than maximizing reward.

Based on his comments and his actions, we can state with some likelihood that Williams believes the White Sox are better off with the combination of Adam Dunn and Alex Rios than Albert Pujols. Dunn and Rios make about $27 million per year combined, so the two of them take up about as much of the payroll as Pujols would. Production wise, Rios and Dunn combined for +7.6 WAR last year, which is right about what you get from an average Pujols season. Williams essentially stated a preference for diversification over consolidation, as he sees the risk of injury to one highly paid superstar as a larger negative than having a higher potential return by having a lot of value tied up in just a single roster spot, and his moves over the last few winters support the idea that this is his roster-building preference.

Is this the right path? You could make arguments either way. I’d rather have Pujols than the Rios/Dunn combination, but Williams is a bigger fan of Dunn than I am, and the length of commitment is much shorter with this pair than with Pujols. While you’re paying for about the same number of player seasons, spreading them out over multiple players does give you the ability to trade older seasons for younger ones. And, as Williams notes, one injury doesn’t immediately remove the performance of both players, insulating his team from the chance that they could lose a large chunk of value in one tragic moment.

Risk or reward – it’s the trade-off we make in nearly every aspect of our lives, and every decision involves balancing the two. MLB teams have decided that the correct balance should result in higher end players receiving approximately the same dollars per win as non-stars, with the risk of injury canceling out the scarcity and potential for overall higher production. Whether it should be or not, this is why the dollars per win scale is linear. Williams just provided the best example possible for why the model works.

Print This Post

Dave is a co-founder of and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

53 Responses to “Albert Pujols and Linear Dollars Per Win”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. DonCoburleone says:

    Makes sense

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. MikeS says:

    All good points. You are not comparing Pujols to Dunn/Rios, you need to compare Pujols/CF to Dunn/Rios. Here’s another question. What if you can get three 3 WAR palyers for 30 MIllion ( a bargain, but not terribly unreasonable if they are younger). The difference in WAR/dollar is not that much – call it 8/30 for Pujols and 9/30 for the trio. Obviously players are not metronomes. If your $30M player visits the cliff of Andruw Jones or gets hurt you lose. No questions asked. If one of the three guys has a bad year/gets hurt and puts up one WAR you still get 7 WAR for your money. This is the low risk model that KW is looking at. However, what if one of those three guys develops or just has one huge year (maybe we can call that Carlos Quentin syndrome), say he puts up 6+ WAR while the other two put up the average 3. Now you are way ahead of Pujols who probably can’t be relied on for 11 or 12 WAR. Is there any way to do this analysis for several different combinations (some kind of games theory maybe) and figure out the best strategy?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Barkey Walker says:

      Yes, there is. The more you spread out your investment, the lower the coefficient of variation. If Pujols gets injured, that is it, his output is zero. If another player gets injured, that would be just 1/3 of the output of your hypothetical contracts output. Similarly, good years and bad years will likely be mixed between the three players, so you are more likely to get close to the total expected WAR.

      The real point of the claim is that the Sox don’t have enough money to be in the bidding for Pujols. The whole non-linear argument still holds, its just that only Boston and NY might have enough money to pay for Pujols. Both of these teams would have a problem with hiring three 3 WAR players in place of one 9 WAR player. Their teams need to be denser than that–so they go for the top players.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Steve Braucksieker says:

        Problem #1. No one in the history of baseball has put together 10 more consistent years that Albert. Problem #2. He plays every day and has for 10 years. The statistical probability that the combination of Rios/Dunn will fluctuated more widely is only eclipsed by the probability that both or either one will get hurt.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Telo says:

    For a second I thought this was going to be a “crap on Bradbury article”… which are always enjoyable.

    But as the article was, it brought up a really interesting point. You are right – on paper, game theory says you want to maximize your marginal WAR per position, until you run out of resources, which seems to describe the Chisox situation. It’s not like the Marlins dropping 30mm a year on Pujols – that wouldn’t make sense. But when a team has money AFTER the deal to keep spending, of course you want to take as much WAR per position that you can get, assuming you paying the appropriate price for it.

    Yet hedging your team’s value by spreading talent around the roster/protecting against injuries does lead us to wind up with a basically linear wins model, not over valuing the super high end guys. Never really thought of it, but it’s definitely true.

    I wonder when you plot out all of the observed data over the last 10-15 years, what the WAR vs FA salary curve looks like (for each year separately, then averaged, or someway of normalizing inflation…)

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Rick says:

    The cost not often discussed with the diversification approach is the opportunity cost of a roster spot.

    For the sake of discussion, let’s say Pujols is a 7 to 9 win player. Combined, Dunn and Rios are 6 to 10 runs. (expected performance plus or minus 1 run each)

    The more fair comparison however, isn’t the 2-1, but rather Pujols and a “replacement level” player. But in many cases, that replacement level player is not really a 0 WAR player. It’s a young player or Jonny Gomes type guy with say 2 WAR potential. And if that guy doesn’t perform, he will be exchanged for somebody else at no cost. So in practice, you limit your downside with that guy, but you get the opportunity for a zero-cost positive contribution . So let’s call him 0 to 2 WAR.

    In short the uncertainty range of an unfilled roster spot is not really centered on 0 WAR. So in this example, the real comparison is Pujols and Roster Spot at 7 to 11 WAR vs.Dunn and Rios at 6 to 10 WAR. All else being equal, I’d rather have the stud and the roster spot.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • My echo and bunnymen says:

      To me, I see it Dave’s way because KW simply stated that he wanted to spread it out instead of consolidate. The Pujols plus a roster spot is what would happen if we were comparing Pujols versus two players (Dunn/Rios were chosen), however we are comparing the cost of paying a Pujols versus paying Dunn/Rios. So no roster spot comes up since the other player would be another $1 million to $3 million player.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • erich1212 says:

      let’s say that for one year you get 8 WAR from the combination of pujols~7 WAR and replacement CF~1 WAR or 8 WAR from rios~4 WAR and Dunn~4 WAR. 8 WAR equals 8 WAR however you acquire it, right?. williams second point is that the risk associated with the stars and scrubs method is greater than the risk diversification method.

      you’re right that this is a roster preference question more than a budget one and it’s clear both approaches have advantages and disadvantages.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. cje says:

    The linear model works well, especially with high risk players. Look at the worst free agent signing of the winter, Jason Werth. He just had three straight 5 WAR seasons. He turns 32 in May. To live up to his contract in 2011 alone he needs to have about a 4 WAR season. Projecting anything over a 5 WAR season would be difficult. Spreading his money over 2 players projected to have 2 WAR seasons, you increase your chances of getting more than 5 WAR from those 2 players than you would from Werth alone. Under that scenario, the Kenny Williams model works very well, especially because your contract term is likely less. But when you reach higher levels of WAR, like with Pujols, and you want to have a 4 WAR player and a 3 WAR player to make up for Pujols, it is going to be harder for the 2 players to exceed their projections, they will still cost a lot of money, and you have less flexibility positionally to try different replacement players or put in a prospect who may exceed expectations.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Travis L says:

      It becomes more difficult to upgrade in the future if you have WAR distributed. This isn’t a new discussion, it’s basically the “stars and scrubs” versus “avg to plus players” argument that happens every fantasy season.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • B N says:

        There’s an actual argument on that in fantasy baseball? Judging by how players are typically valued and the exceptional difficulty to pry loose a star player (or any many for one trade, in fact), I had assumed that consolidating value was pretty much a dominant strategy except in a very deep leagues. After all, any value that sits waiting on the bench or would spill beyond any innings cap is pretty much worthless.

        If it was so good to have WAR distributed, I would assume there would be a lot more many-to-one trades in real life, too. I wonder if this points to different valuations in trades vs FA signings.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Luke in MN says:

    All good points and part of why I’ve never bought the non-linear model, except maybe to some degree for the monster franchises; if you’re the Yankees and maybe Red Sox, it makes more sense that you’d value stacked wins somewhat more than distributed wins since you don’t have that many near-replacement roster spots.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • B N says:

      I’m unclear if that is true. If the actual win contribution of a 7 WAR player is 7 wins, all you do is lose a roster spot by replacing one player with 2 players that contribute the same thing. Unless you’re hitting a constraint where you won’t be able to sign people, or having a synergy effect (ex. need competent pitching for hitting to be worth anything), you might as well pack it into one player for any salary team. (For expected value, at least)

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Wally says:

      I’m not sure I agree with the linear model for rich teams. The logic seems to lead me to thinking they are the ones driving the exponential growth, not the poor teams. In the FA market for rich teams they are basically competing with themselves for the uber-stars. This means the marginal difference between the relatively easy to sign 4 WAR player (for the rich teams remember) and the difficult to find 6-7 WAR player is of extreme importance. When you’re the Red Sox and the Yankees, those battles are very important to win, since it is so difficult to make up for losing out on the “super-star X” competition by upgrading from several of your already above average 3-4 WAR players to several other 5 WAR players.

      Its almost 180 degrees the opposite for poor teams however. Since they don’t have the resources to realistically carry above average players at every position, it becomes marginally easier for them to pick up significant improvements at a lot of positions at any one time. So in some sense it might actually be a more saturation effect for poor teams. Where the 1 win marginal upgrade from 6 to 7 WAR player is actually easier and cheeper for them to find at a different position, where you’re going from a 1 WAR player to a 2 WAR player, or 2 to 3.

      Anyway, this is why we should probably just stick to a simplistic linear function. As we get into more specifics we find there just is no good model that holds for everyone specifically, but the league in general shows a linear pattern.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Wally says:

        Bah, I think I need to clarify that second paragraph a little more.

        I didn’t mean to say that going from a 6 WAR player to a 7 WAR player is harder than 1 WAR to 2 WAR, that’s going to be true for everyone, mostly anyway. What I really meant was that paying for upgrading to a 7 WAR player instead of to a 6 WAR player, might not be worth it for poor teams if the market values that marginal 1 WAR linearly. Because, in that case, it could be more efficient to take the money required for that 1 WAR improvement on the 7 WAR player, and instead using it to upgrade from a replacement level player to a 1 or 2 WAR player somewhere else. Thus, the effect of adding more individual player WAR to FAs becomes saturated from the perspective of a poor team.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Blue says:

    “Is this the right path? ”

    Depends on the team. There’s a concept in gambling called “risk of ruin”; basically it relates the size of your stake to the maximum bet your should make, even in games where you have a positive expected value but high variance. A contract is a bet on the future.

    For a team like the Royals, a busted Pujols contract means the team is not competitive throughout its term. That’s not true for the Yankees.

    The ability to play this WAR-maximization game to its full conclusion is a significant reason the Yankees have been able to dominate.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • hunterfan says:

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but can’t teams buy something along the lines of “contract insurance”? That way if you sign Pujols to a monster contract and he suffers a catastrophic injury the next day, you’re not on the hook for that contract and the insurance company takes care of (much/most/all) of it. Doesn’t that somewhat negate the high variance?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • neuter_your_dogma says:

        Provided you can or will use that cash to find a like replacement, which of course there is none.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Blue says:

        Only for a limited number of years; I seem to recall it is in the 3 year range. Also insurance is costly.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • B N says:

        Yah, if I recall, Bagwell had some insurance on his contract. That was why the Astros pushed him into retiring. It’s tough to say if one can come out ahead on those. It probably depends on the state of the insurance market.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • B N says:

      “For a team like the Royals, a busted Pujols contract means the team is not competitive throughout its term.”

      Or, even without a busted Pujols contract, it seems.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Tim_the_Beaver says:

      this was more or less the point I had in mind. First of all, totally agree with Dave. BUT at some point finite resources play a part in the decision. $30m would represent 1/3 total payroll for half the teams out there (2010 salaries). at some point that much commitment in one player does significantly take away from what you’d be spending across the rest of the board. I’d guess the curve for wins would start exponential, but then level off asymptotically

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Garrett says:

    DC again highlights an inability to understand that contracts should be evaluated in the context of of marginal wins and the resulting impact of RANGZ. Hint: A team that needs to produce marginal wins in the mid-90s has a greater need for “star” players than one that needs marginal wins in the mid-80s.

    -8 Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. B N says:

    I find this to be a persuasive reason for why the linear model for $/WAR works well as a descriptive model of how players are signed.

    I think a lot of the reason why there is so much confusion over what model should be used for $/WAR is that there are two basic types of economic models for this:

    1. Descriptive – Describes the situation as is
    2. Normative – Describes the situation using optimal strategy (with whatever limitations you apply, always the devil in the details)

    For the descriptive model, we could really care less how much a player is truly worth, where worth is measured in the win distribution of the team (or some metric thereof). All we care is that it describes how people make their decisions. For the normative, we could care less what people decide- we care about the structure of the situation, the information, and the correct valuation.

    So basically, I’m definitely willing to buy that the linear model works quite well for the descriptive situation of the league. The question is- does it also hold for the normative situation? (If we take into account roster spot opportunity cost, risk expectancy, lineup run expectancy, total cost limitations, etc) To be quite honest, I don’t know for sure and I don’t have time to run the numbers, but I’d sure love to see someone run the optimization to figure it out.

    For the normative case, it seems like we have the following factors competing, with some increasing the value of putting more WAR into a player and some decreasing it:

    Increases value (Better to have more value in one player)
    – Lineup/Fielding position constraints
    – Roster slot constraints

    Decreases value (Better to diversify)
    – Lineup sequencing (e.g. HR hitter worth more with high OBP ahead)
    – Defensive synergy (e.g. double play combinations)

    Unclear Effect on Expectancy (But impacts distributions)
    – Salary constraints (provided people pay based on correct value)
    – Injury risk (expected loss of WAR should be the same, only variance changes)

    I’m not sure how these work out when you do the math, but my bet is still that under the distributions of players in the league, the normative value is somewhat nonlinear- with the unit value of WAR increasing. With that said, I’d be quite curious to see someone run the numbers to try to find out.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • B N says:

      Of these, I think the most important factors for hitters(expected value, regular season) are probably the limit on lineup spots, the lineup effects, and the salary constraint. For pitchers, probably roster spots, innings in the season, and salary. But I’m welcome to hear other thoughts.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. Kampfer says:

    one thing we must consider is contract length. If i sign two players who combine to be worth like Pujols, good chance their contract length is going to be around 4 yrs. a 4 yr contract is definitely better than a 8 yr commitment to Pujols, because of the uncertainty

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • B N says:

      The question is- are we dealing with uncertainty or risk? If it’s risk, I am not sure if it matters. I would like to think that by this point, we have a decent handle on the factors involved in player decline. Is there really much uncertainty in that case? (Or alternatively, is uncertainty in the teams’ favor? Inflation in $ value and salary value both help reduce the impact of longer contracts to an extent. You can tell someone you are paying them 30m, and 8 years from now, its buying power might only be 25m, plus a similar player might be 35m)

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. SC2GG says:

    To me, it seems that the value of Pujols vs Player A and Player B that combine to form a Pujols in WAR terms is a bad comparison for Pujols here, assuming your resources are limited (ie, if you’re not the Yankees…)

    If you have a player, we’ll call him Equivalent Value Players (EVPs) on your team, and he is exactly a 1 WAR player, making exactly a 1 WAR salary (between 4.5 – 5mil/yr, we’ll say 4.75mil/yr), the common perception is that this player is a fair deal.

    According to Fangraphs actual link (here: on WAR, we have this quote:
    “A replacement level team would cost $10M and win about 48 games (give or take some to allow for luck).”

    So, let’s say you need 95 wins to make the playoffs, if you’re going by this system, that’s 47 more wins at 4.75 (47 * 4.75) = 223.25 mil, minus the 10mil your replacements would be making, is 213.25 million dollars to field a playoff-bound team using solely EVPs that match what their apparent value is.

    213.25 million dollars is a lot of money, in fact, only the Yankees have shown they can afford this on a consistent basis. Therefore, every other team in the league needs to “beat the system” in order to win. By these calculations (and tell me if I’m wrong, because I freely admit I can be!), if the Yankees make the playoffs, they’re paying their players fairly, and every other team is getting a good deal.

    Back to Pujols. He represents a single player. It’s been shown here many times that Pujols would be a fair investment at a 30mil/yr-ish value, which is fine and dandy if you’re playing by this system. Does your team intend to spend 213.25 million dollars in a season? Probably not. Is Pujols going to beat the system for you? Not at 30mil/yr, he isn’t. He’s going to help you win a lot of games, but he won’t beat the system, not by much. He’d basically have to have 8+ WAR to noticably beat the system, which is entirely possible for him, but it isn’t nearly as likely as a collection of much cheaper players (Jose Bautistas) that teams with normal budgets have to have to actually beat the system.

    It just might be that part of the reason KW said what he says is exactly that. Maybe he knows all about WAR, and just doesn’t agree with the values it represents. This isn’t very likely, mind you, but it seems like a plausible reason for not investing in Pujols.

    It’d be an interesting study to look back at WAR vs results, and see what teams were best at beating the system of their times, vs those that were actually paying out to EVPs and succeeding because of it.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Barkey Walker says:

      I think your forgetting that there is lots of “beating the system” built into the pre-freeagent portion of the contract. It’s called a cabal, the owners get most of the value from these players.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • lex logan says:

        Don’t be so sure about that. The players had unlimited free agency in the wake of the Seitz decision; Marvin Miller convinced them to accept limited free agency. As an economist, Miller may have understood the value of scarcity. Of course, new star players are grossly underpaid, but they can thank their union as much as the owners, and when A-Rod or Pujols cashes in, maybe they like the system fine.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Who? says:

      The 4.5 – 5mil/yr = 1 WAR scale only applies to FAs. That scale should never be applied to players before they reach FA.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. I think one thing being overlooked in terms of the possibility of Pujols (or any other big-ticket player) getting injured is that, if you were to spread out that money over two or more players, you’ve got a larger chance of losing some of the possible value because of injuries to one of those players. Sure, if Pujols goes down, you’re losing huge, but discounting injury susceptibility for the sake of simplicity, with that money in two guys you’ve got double the chance one of them goes down and you lose some of the value of that contract. Also, part of the reason Pujols is worth so much is because he’s been proven durable in addition to being a ridiculously good baseball player… he’s averaged 156 games per year since entering the league. That said, for me the years are a much bigger issue than the money. As he ages, Pujols will likely get gradually less effective and more susceptible to injury (duh.). Limiting your $30 mil/year commitment to 4 or 5 years rather than a decade certainly does make splitting the cash up an attractive option.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Rick says:

      Right. More players smooths out the likelihood distributions. It’s like rolling two 6-sided dice as opposed to one 12-sided die. You’re more likely to get a value in the middle and less likely to get one at the extremes.

      The aging also brings up a very interesting point. If players lose 0.5 WAR on average, per year, then you stand to lose production twice as fast with two players.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Barkey Walker says:

        Good point about 2*0.5. but, you also usually get shorter contracts. Pujols is unlikely to be worth $30mill in the 10th year of his contract. The other players… will have to resign.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. Greg H says:

    That “distribute it around” philosophy of Kenny Williams puts $30 million next year into the hands of Juan Pierre, Jake Peavy, and Carlos Quentin. In the aggregate they had 4.0 WAR in 2010. Throw in Alexis Rios or Adam Dunn and you have a four-headed monster taking up about $44 million in payroll that probably won’t contribute as many winshares as Pujols by himself.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. Justin says:

    Something both analyses overlook is that by investing in two players instead of one, you may be hedging against total loss due to injury, but you are also doubling your odds of partial loss due to injury. That is to say, while an injury to Albert would be catastrophic, if you invest in two players instead, those players both now represent injury risks. By taking Dunn & Rios over Pujols, you have lessened your chance of zero production, but doubled your chance of halved production.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. CircleChange11 says:

    [1] So, the White Sox are going to sign Pujols for 32M/per. Isn;t that usually how these “there’s no way I would …” comments work out?

    [2] I’d rather have Pujols too.

    That’s been my main concern. That if StL does NOT sign AP%, then they either won’t replace the 8 WAR lost, or they’ll spend far more than 30M/y to do so. The FO isn’t that impressive.

    So, Berkman will go to 1B, and Jay to RF. The team will save a bunch of money, give it to Wainwright (good move), and be down 5-6 WAR.

    The FO won’t “buy the 8 WAR” no matter what. All of the “it’s a rock and a hard place” articles in the world won’t overcome the situation of StL being 5 WAR worse than they were before. If that 5 WAR surplus (AP5) goes to a division rival, then that’s a 6-8 WAR swing as they say in football/basketball.

    Seriously, Pujols go to the GD Cubs and the Cubs make up 8 WAR in an instant (-4 to the Cards, +4 to the Cubs), AT LEAST.

    As for the CWS … WOW … nice to imagine AP5 in one of the most HR friendly ballparks, coming from a career in one of the toughest for the RHBs.

    I understand the risk of a 30M player. But I also understand the benefit of 7-8 WAR in one position. Pujols to the CWS changes the Central, rather significantly.

    I think KW is talking silly … he was also saying on the radio that he wants to keep ticket proices down for all the hard working dads that are talking their kids to the game and wants them to be able to buy a hot dog.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Hank says:

      I think Kenny Williams had no idea that there was a possibility that Pujols could leave which lead him to sign Konerko and Dunn to 3-4 year deals and now realizes if Pujols hits the market his fanbase will say…. “if we pooled that money together…”

      I think Konerko-Dunn (as opposed to Dunn-Rios) is a better comparison, you now would need to find a replacement DH instead of a replacement OF. I think the average of the 2 contracts are about26-27mil/yr (they escalate slightly) over 3 years (and one of them has a 4th yr)

      Without looking it up starting WAR (or WAR/$) may be higher for the Dunn/Konerko tandem, but consider Dunn is shifting to DH and Konerko had a heck of a year last year and was a 2.5WAR and below the previous 3 years. I think Pujols plus scrap heap DH would not be hard to pull off and switch Pujols to DH when his defense degrades. (Short intermediate term – you could also go the DH rotation with the regulars/super-sub type philosophy)

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. Paul says:

    Great points so far.

    One of the things I find funny is that there seems to be an assumption that players of any given WAR are available at any time. Finding a 2 win player isn’t hard, per se, but it is not like supply is infinite or even responsive to demand. It is fine to talk hypotheticals and say that one player can be replaced by 2 or 3, but doesn’t that seem to ignore reality that the league average player is 0 WAR and that supply when it comes to above average baseball players isn’t effected by demand?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  17. RBr says:

    Fan psychology alone is reason enough to make a lone big purchase with your WARbucks. The average non-hardcore fan will watch more televised games and take his kids to more weekend games, and buy more merch, etc., when you’ve got a single big name player as opposed to a handful of pretty good players who together represent the same WAR.

    Fans like stars.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. cpebbles says:

    I have to believe that an 85-win team with Pujols outdraws an 85-win team with Rios and Dunn, on TV and in the stands.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  19. Bob says:

    A lot of good comments above, my guess is that the question should setup as a profit maximization problem as opposed a win maximization one. As Garrett implied above marginal revenue for an 85 win team is going to be different for 95 team. To put this in perspective, Pujols plus an average player will yield 10 wins. Another option would be to go with two 5 win players equaling the output of the first duo. If Pujols goes down he’s replaced by an average player yielding a negative 6 run difference. That could quite possibly mean missing the playoffs and the associated revenue. However, replacing a 5 war player with an average one would probably just be noise???? I don’t know if that would be true or not but it would make sense if one her budgeting for a team over 5 years and management wanted to hit their revenue and profit targets with certainty. Ideally, this is an intertemporal problem since contracts terminate in years and so forth. Somebody set it up.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  20. Dan Lyles says:

    the players union is keeping a close eye on this contract negotiation. If Pujols gets anywhere close to the amount and time that he is asking for, it will set off a chain reaction. Salaries will spike and small market teams will be left watching the action from afar.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • CircleChange11 says:

      Yeah, if P8ujols signs a 8-10y deal for 30-35M/y, then even the likes of Jayson Werth will get 125/7.

      It’s all contigent on the Pujols deal. After ARod, everybody was making 25M.

      I don’t think AP5’s contract will set off a ridiculous chain reaction, for the simple fact that no other player (save ARod) is close to AP5.


      There doi seem to be a lot of talking heads and front office people making negative comments about 30M/y … it almost seems if *gasp* they are trying to sway the fans to their side to compensate for the fact that they do not have the means to offer the money. Kind of like how the StL FO keeps saying they did everything they could to make the contract work, even though reports show that the money never really got past 20-22M year. So, yeah they wanted to pay AP5 like Holliday and Werth and wonder why the deal did not get done.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  21. Dan Lyles says:

    I agree but it will still raise the bar above the owners’ comfort zone.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  22. Paul S says:

    Worth noting how Albert Pujols ended up this year vs. the combination of Dunn and Rios in terms of WAR.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>