FanGraphs Crowd: The Top 47 Free Agents

Free agency begins five days after the end of the World Series. As in other recent offseasons, FanGraphs once again facilitated this offseason a contract-crowdsourcing project, the idea being to harness the wisdom of the crowds to the end of better understanding the 2013-14 free-agent market.

Below are the results of same. For each player, respondents provided estimates of the years/dollars each free agent is likely to receive (denoted as Real) and also how much they — were they, themselves, actual GMs — would offer each free agent in terms of years and dollars (denoted as Fake).

Note that players are ranked in terms of total projected contract value. Note also that “year” figures have been rounded to the nearest whole number, with a view to representing the total contract values more realistically. A spreadsheet containing the results (with nerdy decimal points) is available here.

Statistics are from 2013. Offensive and defensive value (denoted as Off and Def, respectively) are expressed relative to league average. Defensive value accounts both for defensive runs and positional adjustment. Both metrics were recently explored by Dave Cameron in these pages.

Finally, with regard to why this is a list of 47 and not 50 free agents: an overwhelming percentage of respondents believe that Toronto will just pick up Adam Lind‘s option. Furthermore, two notable international free agents — Jose Abreu and Masahiro Tanaka — are absent from this list, and their particular situations probably receive a more considered attention than is easily facilitated by means of a Google Doc.

 

#1 Robinson Cano (2B)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
30 681 9.5 % 12.5 % .314 .383 .516 .384 142 30.6 2.5 6.0

Real Years: 8
Real AAV: $24.5
Real Total: $196.2

Fake Years: 5
Fake AAV: $23.9
Fake Total: $119.7

Representative Comment
“I wouldn’t want to guarantee salary past age 37 or age 38. I could see him getting more years than that, at the same AAV I am willing to pay in fake world.”

 

#2 Jacoby Ellsbury (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
29 636 7.4 % 14.5 % .298 .355 .426 .343 113 20.5 12.0 5.8

Real Years: 6
Real AAV: $18.7
Real Total: $112.4

Fake Years: 5
Fake AAV: $17.5
Fake Total: $87.3

Representative Comment
“I don’t want to pay a center fielder reliant on legs past his age-34 or -35 year. But I’d be willing to pay him more during the time he’s there. Who knows… maybe he’ll find that power again.”

 

#3 Shin-Soo Choo (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
30 712 15.7 % 18.7 % .285 .423 .462 .393 151 40.3 -13.3 5.2

Real Years: 5
Real AAV: $16.2
Real Total: $80.9

Fake Years: 4
Fake AAV: $15.3
Fake Total: $61.0

Percent of respondents who believe he’ll receive qualifying offer: 89%.
Percent of respondents who believe he’ll accept qualifying offer: 11%.

Representative Comment
“While I think Choo is a fine player and good CORNER outfielder I’m not sure if he is going to hold up physically, and he is trending badly against LHP which erodes some of his value in my eyes.”

 

#4 Brian McCann (C)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
29 402 9.7 % 16.4 % .256 .336 .461 .347 122 5.6 7.7 2.7

Real Years: 4
Real AAV: $14.8
Real Total: $59.0

Fake Years: 3
Fake AAV: $13.5
Fake Total: $40.5

Representative Comment
“As a GM I’d try to lure the aging catcher with higher $/yr but fewer years, probably with some option years or playing time incentives for more years.  I am of course assuming that he won’t stop me in the hall on my way to the conference room for disrespecting his agent or something.”

 

#5 Matt Garza (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
29 155.1 7.88 2.43 38.6 % 3.82 3.88 3.73 2.2 2.2

Real Years: 4
Real AAV: $14.7
Real Total: $58.7

Fake Years: 3
Fake AAV: $12.9
Fake Total: $38.7

Representative Comment
“I think Garza is still overrated based upon prospect pedigree, strong playoff performances with the Rays, and an outlier first year with the Cubs.”

 

#6 Curtis Granderson (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
32 245 11.0 % 28.2 % .229 .317 .407 .319 97 0.2 4.3 1.4

Real Years: 4
Real AAV: $14.0
Real Total: $55.9

Fake Years: 3
Fake AAV: $12.7
Fake Total: $38.0

Percent of respondents who believe he’ll receive qualifying offer: 83%.
Percent of respondents who believe he’ll accept qualifying offer: 36%.

Representative Comment
“He’s worth more to the Yankees. He’s made for that park. Dead pull hitter with a short porch. His home runs take a hit in most other parks.”

 

#7 Ricky Nolasco (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
30 199.1 7.45 2.08 43.0 % 3.70 3.34 3.58 2.0 3.0

Real Years: 4
Real AAV: $12.6
Real Total: $50.4

Fake Years: 3
Fake AAV: $11.6
Fake Total: $34.9

Representative Comment
“I think its very realistic to see him get a similar deal as Mark Buerhle got. [He] will always give you innings, even when he doesn’t have his best stuff…. [H]e is a productive pitcher in the middle of the rotation, and that’s worth something nowadays.”

 

#8 Ubaldo Jimenez (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
29 182.2 9.56 3.94 43.9 % 3.30 3.43 3.62 3.2 3.2

Real Years: 4
Real AAV: $12.2
Real Total: $48.8

Fake Years: 3
Fake AAV: $11.1
Fake Total: $33.3

Percent of respondents who believe he’ll void $8M club option:* 93%.

*Clause made possible because of trade from Colorado to Cleveland.

Representative Comment
“I’m fine paying him the amount of the qualifying offer for next year and go year-to-year with him, and if he goes elsewhere for longer I’ll collect the draft pick and re-sign Kazmir cheaper.”

 

#9 Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
28 470 9.1 % 29.6 % .273 .338 .466 .349 117 10.1 7.3 3.6

Real Years: 4
Real AAV: $11.1
Real Total: $44.5

Fake Years: 3
Fake AAV: $10.3
Fake Total: $30.9

Representative Comment
“I wouldn’t personally pay for an OBP mostly inflated by a sky-high BABIP, but some team will.  Also, I wouldn’t want to go longer than three years on a catcher approaching 30, but a team will need to do so in order to sign him.”

 

#10 Tim Lincecum (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
29 197.2 8.79 3.46 45.3 % 4.37 3.74 3.56 0.2 1.6

Real Years: 3
Real AAV: $13.3
Real Total: $40.0

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $11.9
Fake Total: $23.7

Percent of respondents who believe he’ll receive qualifying offer: 77%.
Percent of respondents who believe he’ll accept qualifying offer: 40%.

Representative Comment
“He’s relatively unlikely to be more than a three-win pitcher again and definitely could just crater, but there is at least a non-zero possibility that he recovers to be something like the monster he was a few years ago and turns even a $22M/year deal into a bargain.”

 

#11 Ervin Santana (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
30 211.0 6.87 2.18 46.2 % 3.24 3.93 3.69 4.5 3.0

Real Years: 3
Real AAV: $13.3
Real Total: $39.8

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $12.0
Fake Total: $23.9

Percent of respondents who believe he’ll accept qualifying offer :* 14%.

*Which Dayton Moore has said Royals would likely extend.

Representative Comment
“Too risky but someone will pay for his recent performance and give him the years because of his age.”

 

#12 Mike Napoli (C/1B)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
31 578 12.6 % 32.4 % .259 .360 .482 .367 129 17.6 -0.6 3.9

Real Years: 3
Real AAV: $13.3
Real Total: $39.8

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $12.3
Fake Total: $24.6

Percent of respondents who believe he’ll receive qualifying offer: 81%.

Representative Comment
“Hip injury is worrisome any longer than two years, in my opinion. Even at first base.”

 

#13 Stephen Drew (SS)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
30 501 10.8 % 24.8 % .253 .333 .443 .337 109 3.8 10.9 3.4

Real Years: 3
Real AAV: $11.0
Real Total: $33.0

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $10.1
Fake Total: $20.2

Would Drew’s future with Boston be different if Xander Bogaerts didn’t exist?
Yes, considerably: 73.3%
Yes, a little: 26.9%
No, pretty much the same: 5.7%
No, exactly the same: 0.2%
Ridiculous question: 2.8%

Representative Comment
“Given his health history, in a fake world I’d like to structure a deal that offers high AAV but requires him staying healthy.”

 

#14 Kendrys Morales (1B/DH)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
30 657 7.5 % 17.4 % .277 .336 .449 .342 116 6.4 -16.7 1.2

Real Years: 3
Real AAV: $10.8
Real Total: $32.5

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $7.9
Fake Total: $15.9

Representative Comment
“I’ve read rumors on this here internet that the Mariners plan to extend to Mr. Morales a qualifying offer and that he plans to refuse the offer. I’m curious, if the readership were polled as to which party is making the more foolhardy move, what the results might be.”

 

#15 Nelson Cruz (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
32 456 7.7 % 23.9 % .266 .327 .506 .359 122 8.4 -9.7 1.5

Real Years: 3
Real AAV: $10.6
Real Total: $31.8

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $9.0
Fake Total: $18.1

Average AAV lost because of PED suspension: $4.8 million.

Representative Comment
“The major cost of Cruz’s suspension will be years on the contract. Without the suspension, he’d be waiting on a 3-5 year deal… As it stands, he probably will take the Rangers’ qualifying offer for $14 million.”

 

#16 Hiroki Kuroda (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
38 201.1 6.71 1.92 46.6 % 3.31 3.56 3.60 4.6 3.8

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $14.8
Real Total: $29.5

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $14.3
Fake Total: $28.6

Percent of respondents who believe he’ll receive qualifying offer: 93%.
Percent of respondents who believe he’ll accept qualifying offer: 43%.

Representative Comment
“Someone might want to give him a multiple-year deal, but the qualifying offer seems perfect for Kuroda.”

 

#17 Omar Infante (2B)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
31 476 4.2 % 9.2 % .318 .345 .450 .346 117 9.0 3.8 3.1

Real Years: 3
Real AAV: $9.2
Real Total: $27.5

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $8.5
Fake Total: $16.9

Representative Comment
“I wouldn’t go past three years for a second baseman on the wrong side of 30, unless it was for a low AAV.”

 

#18 Carlos Beltran (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
36 600 6.3 % 15.0 % .296 .339 .491 .359 132 22.4 -21.4 2.0

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $13.4
Real Total: $26.8

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $12.6
Fake Total: $25.2

Percent of respondents who believe he’ll receive qualifying offer: 73%.
Percent of respondents who believe he’ll accept qualifying offer: 45%.

Representative Comment
“Whether I would sign Beltran would depend on if I was GM for an AL or NL team. Beltran really needs to play on an AL team so he can DH… He could probably handle 600+ PA as a DH, which he hasn’t done since 2008.”

 

#19 Scott Feldman (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
30 181.2 6.54 2.77 49.6 % 3.86 4.03 3.96 2.1 2.1

Real Years: 3
Real AAV: $8.8
Real Total: $26.5

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $8.0
Fake Total: $15.9

Representative Comment
“Feldman’s a solid pitcher, not too old by FA status. I think he’s worth more than he’s likely to get.”

 

#20 Joe Nathan (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
38 64.2 10.16 3.06 32.0 % 1.39 2.26 3.27 3.5 2.5

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $10.3
Real Total: $20.7

Fake Years: 1
Fake AAV: $8.2
Fake Total: $8.2

Percent of respondents who believe he’ll receive qualifying offer: 32%.
Percent of respondents who believe he’ll accept qualifying offer: 68%.

Representative Comment
On difference between Real and Fake: “Age would be a concern, and other closers are younger. There are others probably cheaper, too.”

 

#21 A.J. Burnett (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
36 191.0 9.85 3.16 56.5 % 3.30 2.80 2.92 2.7 4.0

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $13.1
Real Total: $26.2

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $11.8
Fake Total: $23.5

Percent of respondents who believe he’ll receive qualifying offer: 73%.
Percent of respondents who believe he’ll accept qualifying offer: 58%.

Representative Comment
“I think the qualifying offer works perfectly for A.J. Burnett, all around. Maybe someone would go to two years to snag him if he becomes a free agent, but I don’t think so.”

 

#22 Josh Johnson (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
29 81.1 9.18 3.32 45.1 % 6.20 4.62 3.58 -1.3 0.5

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $10.0
Real Total: $19.9

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $9.1
Fake Total: $18.3

What’s most representative of Josh Johnson’s current true-talent level?
His 152 ERA-: 10%.
His 114 FIP-: 48%.
His 90 xFIP-: 42%.

Representative Comment
“I think the contract he signs will [have] low base salary with a fair amount of incentives.”

 

#23 Dan Haren (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
32 169.2 8.01 1.64 36.0 % 4.67 4.09 3.67 0.3 1.5

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $9.6
Real Total: $19.2

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $8.4
Fake Total: $16.9

Dan Haren underperformed his xFIP by a full run in 2013. Why?
No big deal. Random variation is the reason: 34%.
Be concerned. It’s representative of real decline: 34%.
Other: 32%.

Representative Comment
“Haren’s GB% keeps moving the wrong way for an effective pitcher — down to 36% in 2013.”

 

#24 Roy Halladay (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
36 62.0 7.40 5.23 40.7 % 6.82 6.14 5.10 -1.2 -0.8

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $9.2
Real Total: $18.5

Fake Years: 1
Fake AAV: $7.5
Fake Total: $7.5

Halladay’s likely average fastball velocity in 2014: 88.9 mph.

Representative Comment
“INCENTIVE-BASED CONTRACT!”

 

#25 Tim Hudson (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
37 131.1 6.51 2.47 55.8 % 3.97 3.46 3.56 1.3 1.7

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $8.6
Real Total: $17.2

Fake Years: 1
Fake AAV: $8.0
Fake Total: $8.0

Representative Comment
“I actually think he’ll get less than he could… because I think he’ll take a hometown discount and stay with the Braves.”

 

#26 Carlos Ruiz (C)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
34 341 5.3 % 11.4 % .268 .320 .368 .303 89 -3.4 6.2 1.4

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $8.4
Real Total: $16.8

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $7.4
Fake Total: $14.8

Representative Comment
“His age makes him a liability to have on the books longer than one year at a time… In the real world, his agent will find someone willing to bet on one year of 2.5+ WAR to make a second year potential drop off more palatable.”

 

#27 Bronson Arroyo (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
36 202.0 5.52 1.51 44.4 % 3.79 4.49 3.97 2.7 0.8

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $8.3
Real Total: $16.6

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $6.6
Fake Total: $13.2

Representative Comment
“His veteran status and reliability make him extremely valuable for some teams… WAR underrates him, as well.”

 

#28 Scott Kazmir (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
29 158.0 9.23 2.68 40.9 % 4.04 3.51 3.36 1.6 2.5

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $8.3
Real Total: $16.5

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $7.6
Fake Total: $15.1

Percent of respondents who believe he’ll receive qualifying offer: 13%.
Percent of respondents who believe he’ll accept qualifying offer: 85%.

Representative Comment
“I’d give him a 165 innings pitched requirement in 2014 to guarantee the second year and throw in bonuses… if he passed the innings threshold in each season.”

 

#29 Juan Uribe (SS)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
34 426 7.0 % 19.0 % .278 .331 .438 .334 116 9.0 25.3 5.1

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $8.1
Real Total: $16.1

Fake Years: 1
Fake AAV: $6.1
Fake Total: $6.1

Representative Comment
“Uribe is pretty likely to not repeat this year and his last two years are very worrying, so I’d only sign him if [for one year. However,] I’m pretty sure someone will bump it up to two years to get him and he’ll take it.”

 

#30 Phil Hughes (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
27 145.2 7.48 2.59 30.8 % 5.19 4.50 4.39 0.0 1.3

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $7.9
Real Total: $15.8

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $6.6
Fake Total: $13.3

Representative Comment
“[Would sign him] only if my ballclub plays in a very, very pitcher-friendly park. Could pull a Jason Marquis if San Diego gobbles him up.”

 

#31 Grant Balfour (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
35 62.2 10.34 3.88 37.9 % 2.59 3.49 3.42 1.5 0.6

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $7.7
Real Total: $15.3

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $5.8
Fake Total: $11.7

Representative Comment
“Have you ever noticed that Grant Balfour’s last name sounds like ‘ball four’? It’s funny because he is a pitcher, you see.”

 

#32 James Loney (1B)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
29 598 7.4 % 12.9 % .299 .348 .430 .339 118 10.2 -5.0 2.7

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $7.6
Real Total: $15.1

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $5.9
Fake Total: $11.8

Representative Comment
“His 2013 numbers were unsustainable. After a great start, he batted merely .276/.322/.378 in the second half. Some GMs will need a first baseman and see his decent .299/.348/.430, but that was propped up by an unusually good April/May. I’d stay away from him completely, unless I had a gaping hole at first base and all the other good options were taken.”

 

#33 Marlon Byrd (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
35 579 5.4 % 24.9 % .291 .336 .511 .364 136 24.0 -3.7 4.1

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $7.5
Real Total: $15.0

Fake Years: 1
Fake AAV: $5.9
Fake Total: $5.9

Representative Comment
“Byrd’s tricky, because his career looked over before his stellar age-36 season.”

 

#34 Jason Hammel (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
30 139.1 6.20 3.10 40.1 % 4.97 4.93 4.56 0.4 0.7

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $7.4
Real Total: $14.8

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $6.0
Fake Total: $11.9

Representative Comment
“Who is Jason Hammel?”

 

#35 Fernando Rodney (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
36 66.2 11.07 4.86 50.6 % 3.38 2.84 3.11 0.7 1.3

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $7.4
Real Total: $14.7

Fake Years: 1
Fake AAV: $5.4
Fake Total: $5.4

Representative Comment
“All of these ‘proven closers’ are going to end up way overpaid like they always do. I fear there will need to be another few Brandon Leagues before people start to learn their lesson.”

 

#36 Paul Maholm (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
31 153.0 6.18 2.76 51.3 % 4.41 4.24 3.89 0.2 0.7

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $7.1
Real Total: $14.2

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $6.0
Fake Total: $12.1

Representative Comment
“He’s an average-ish pitcher on the wrong side of 30 who can give you a reliable 150-180 innings. That likely translates into about 3-4 WAR over the next three years.”

 

#37 Gavin Floyd (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
30 24.1 9.25 4.44 50.0 % 5.18 4.61 3.60 0.0 0.2

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $6.9
Real Total: $13.7

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $5.9
Fake Total: $11.8

Representative Comment
“He’ll be a late sign. If he seems ready for April/May start, someone will offer him one year plus a vesting option.”

 

#38 Chris Young (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
29 375 9.6 % 24.8 % .200 .280 .379 .289 82 -6.7 -1.5 0.5

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $6.8
Real Total: $13.6

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $5.7
Fake Total: $11.5

Percent of respondents who believe Oakland will exercise $11M option on Young: 6%.

Representative Comment
“I’m a little upset. My three-month disc-golf win streak ended today when I made a poor effort on an easy putt on 18 because I thought I’d already lost, but that putt would have actually tied it and forced a playoff. Problem is that I didn’t know the score, which is a rookie mistake, and the type that I can’t afford to be making. I think Chris Young could be a decent part-timer in a better hitting environment. I don’t think he’ll get more than a year, though.”

 

#39 David Murphy (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
31 476 7.8 % 12.4 % .220 .282 .374 .289 73 -16.6 4.8 0.4

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $6.4
Real Total: $12.7

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $5.3
Fake Total: $10.7

Representative Comment
“His overall profile remains pretty constant, and I believe that his performance [will] more closely resemble that from 2008 to 2012 than 2013.”

 

#40 David DeJesus (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
33 439 8.9 % 18.0 % .251 .327 .402 .323 102 1.8 3.6 2.0

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $6.2
Real Total: $12.5

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $5.8
Fake Total: $11.6

Percent of respondents who believe Rays will exercise $6.5M option: 57%.

Representative Comment
“I think most teams would rather take a chance on one of their pre-arbitration outfielders than pay fair value for an aging outfielder with a league average bat.”

 

#41 Jesse Crain (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
31 36.2 11.29 2.70 34.8 % 0.74 1.52 2.94 2.0 1.9

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $6.0
Real Total: $11.9

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $5.1
Fake Total: $10.3

Representative Comment
“Shoulder issues at the end of 2013 will kill his market.”

 

#42 Nate McLouth (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
31 593 8.9 % 14.5 % .258 .329 .399 .323 100 5.9 -2.2 2.5

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $5.9
Real Total: $11.9

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $4.8
Fake Total: $9.5

Representative Comment
“Some GM will likely offer two years, maybe even Duquette; I would prefer one-year with a team option.”

 

#43 Edward Mujica (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
29 64.2 6.40 0.70 45.2 % 2.78 3.71 3.53 1.4 0.0

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $5.7
Real Total: $11.5

Fake Years: 2
Fake AAV: $3.9
Fake Total: $7.9

Representative Comment
“I’m a little skeptical of Mujica without Molina. He was pretty average in all of his stops before St. Louis, and that included some pretty pitcher-friendly parks, so I’m not sure if Molina is the difference or not — and I’m not sure I want to pay to find out.”

 

#44 Mark Ellis (2B)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
36 480 5.4 % 15.4 % .270 .323 .351 .300 92 -4.6 7.0 1.8

Real Years: 2
Real AAV: $5.5
Real Total: $10.9

Fake Years: 1
Fake AAV: $4.7
Fake Total: $4.7

Ellis and the Dodgers have a mutual option for $5.75M. Who will exercise it?
Both parties: 36%.
Just Ellis: 40%.
Just Dodgers: 19%.
Neither: 5%.

Representative Comment
“Depends a lot on what the Cano situation is. I know the Dodgers are flush with cash, but $5.75M might be steep for a backup second baseman. They probably won’t exercise it if they can get Cano, but otherwise they will.”

 

#45 Bartolo Colon (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
40 190.1 5.53 1.37 41.5 % 2.65 3.23 3.95 5.7 3.9

Real Years: 1
Real AAV: $8.3
Real Total: $8.3

Fake Years: 1
Fake AAV: $7.4
Fake Total: $7.4

Representative Comment
“Considering his success, I think he’ll earn a slight raise. However, given his age, I don’t think it’s likely that he receives multiple years anymore. Going year by year at this point is likely… the best option.”

 

#46 A.J. Pierzynski (C)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
36 529 2.1 % 14.4 % .272 .297 .425 .313 90 -9.1 6.6 1.6

Real Years: 1
Real AAV: $7.6
Real Total: $7.6

Fake Years: 1
Fake AAV: $6.1
Fake Total: $6.1

Representative Comment
“[Removed by Administrator.]“

 

#47 Roberto Hernandez (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
32 151.0 6.74 2.26 53.2 % 4.89 4.63 3.60 -0.1 0.2

Real Years: 1
Real AAV: $3.6
Real Total: $3.6

Fake Years: 1
Fake AAV: $2.6
Fake Total: $2.6

Representative Comment
“If I’m a GM, I probably have someone at Triple-A who can do the thing that this guy does.”




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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.


129 Responses to “FanGraphs Crowd: The Top 47 Free Agents”

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  1. IZZY2112 says:

    Jhonny Peralta?

    +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. mschieve says:

    So it appears if a real GM wants or needs one of the top guys he will have to give him the extra year(s).

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Gregory says:

    Seems like David DeJesus is pretty underrated.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Mister says:

    “Who is Jason Hammel?”

    Hilarious!

    +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Logan Davis says:

    Wow. Fake World Kendrys Morales is really underpaid.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Mister says:

    I don’t really understand what the “fake” numbers mean. Basically, armchair GMs think that EVERYBODY is overpaid. All of us sitting at home on our computers just think GMs should be waiting around to get a “steal” on some free agent. Well, I guess us fans would simply never sign any players.

    +17 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Pale Hose says:

      Agreed. Fake Fangraphs GM would either sign nobody or have to meet market prices.

      +14 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Mister says:

        I think it might in part be a product of the weird economics involved in having such wealth disparity between baseball teams. The wealthier teams know that they will have to “overpay” relative to the average market price of a win if they want to get the top guys. Simultaneously, they are well aware that they can afford to overpay for such players. The poorer teams know that they can’t afford a winning team by paying for such players, and instead have to let most free agents pass them by and try and grab value from the ones who slip through the cracks. That’s why it really doesn’t make sense to ask people “how much would you be willing to pay” in a vacuum.

        +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • TKDC says:

        I bet if you asked a real GM to complete this, his actual amounts would be lower for almost all of these guys, too.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Rally says:

          Ask 30 real GMs to complete this and show the average for each player, it might be a bit less than what is reported here. But that’s not how it really works.

          Ask 30 GMs to complete it, and then show the high amount for each player – that’s what the contract will be.

          +10 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • TKDC says:

          My point is that a GM would say he’d pay less in the fake world (which of course isn’t fake) for most of these players than the predicted actual contracts here. There are a bunch of good comments further down that explain this.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Shannon says:

      What is so strange about the notion that nearly everyone is overpaid? It only takes one dumb GM for a player to get overpaid, and there are a lot of dumb GMs out there.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Mister says:

        What is strange is that all of us fans think we know better than these GMs by saying that they all overpay, yet we would not even be able to field a team. It’s nice to sit here and say “Oh yeah, it would be such a great deal to get Robinson Cano and only be on the hook for 5 years.” Except for the fact that if that is your plan, you will NOT get Robinson Cano.

        +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Chief Keef says:

          And if your plan is to not sign Robinson Cano (or any other aging veteran for ~$200m) you are probably smarter than the GM who decides to do so.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Mister says:

          Well I agree with you on Cano, chief keef, but the plan of all the fans who voted in these polls is apparently to not sign ANY of the 47 free agents. So that’s not smart at all.

          +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • David says:

          Up to 29 GMs value every free agent less than what he signs for.

          +15 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Gregory says:

          you do understand what an average is, right?

          +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Jason B says:

          “Up to 29 GMs value every free agent less than what he signs for.”

          That’s not true. Some may value a free agent as much or more but not have a need; others may value a free agent as much or more but not have the budget/funds available. Or a free agent may take a hometown discount.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • David says:

          @Jason B

          I said “up to 29″ to account for those situations.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Jason B says:

          Carry on then, soldier! My typin’ fingers move faster than my (not too swift) brain.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Wookiee of the Year says:

          Gregory’s got it–the issue is that we’re looking at averages.

          Let’s say all the Armchair GMs believe the market generally overpays for players but that 20% of players are undervalued, and submitted suggested contracts accordingly. However, if there’s no agreement on WHICH 20% of players are undervalued, then every Armchair GM average will show a value less than the average “actual signing.”

          And that makes sense, right? If there was widespread agreement on which players are undervalued, then they wouldn’t be undervalued anymore.

          +10 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Mister says:

        If there was just a handful of players with “fake” contracts larger than “real” contracts on this list, then it would be completely different. Then I would say “the fans are smart and recognize that most players are overpaid, but are able to spot the undervalued guys.” But that’s not the case. EVERY player on this list will be overpaid, according to fans.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Anon21 says:

          Yeah, this is the Idiocy of Crowds. The “fake” numbers compared to the “real” numbers seem to assume that you as Fake GM get to pocket any money you don’t spend. That’s the only way you can rationally say that literally every free agent is/will be overvalued.

          Poor job, people who bothered to respond to these!

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • TKDC says:

          I responded to about 30-40 of these and I generally made my amounts the same. I assumed it was a need and the my team was on the right part of the win curve to go after a guy. Of course, these results are not the least bit surprising. Unless you think a guy will take a hometown discount, why on earth in a fake world would you pay him more than you think 1 out of 30 GMs in the real world would? This is only interesting in the degree of difference between real and fake.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Anon21 says:

          “Of course, these results are not the least bit surprising. Unless you think a guy will take a hometown discount, why on earth in a fake world would you pay him more than you think 1 out of 30 GMs in the real world would?”

          Because you think the market undervalues him.

          A decision to treat every free agent as overvalued by the market either means that you think the ideal strategy is to completely opt out of the free agent market (obviously wrong) or that you think more money should stay in owner’s pockets. Either way, not a reasonable strategy for any GM, real or fake, to execute.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • vivalajeter says:

          But if the market undervalues him, then you should take advantage of that and get him at a bargain. If you think someone’s worth $15MM/year and the market will only pay him $10MM/year, then you should pocket the savings. Don’t give him an extra $5MM if you don’t have to.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • nada says:

          it would be interesting to modify the system of Fake GMing like this:

          Every person gets a set pot of money to spend on free agents, so which free agents would they offer that money to and at what prices? And bearing in mind that the total money you allocate to free agents has to add up to the amount that you were given to spend.

          I think many of the armchair GMs would rather just stay out of the free agent market. There’s a sentiment here that the free agent market is a relatively inefficient place to buy wins, and there might be something to that.
          But the point of the exercise (as I understood it) was to determine how much players might get on that market, not whether the market itself is a good place to invest.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • TKDC says:

          @Anon

          It takes a hell of a lot more hubris to believe that 30 GMs will undervalue a guy and you could thus get him at a bargain than to believe one GM will overvalue a guy and thus he isn’t worth the contract. I’m not ready to go down that road; maybe you are.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Seneca says:

          None of the fake gm’s have their jobs on the line to spend OPM

          Vote -1 Vote +1

    • JayT says:

      I took the “fake” question to mean “what do I think this player will be worth” not “what is a contract I’d be willing to give out if I were a GM”.

      For example, my “fake” for Cano was something along the lines of five years, $100 million. However, if I were actually a GM I would know that there was no way I would get him for that amount of money, it’s just that I think that is about what he’ll be worth, assuming around $5 million per win.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • PackBob says:

      I think fans don’t make a full separation between their money and team money, and (most) fans are not as rich as any team. It represents a reluctance to part with one’s own money, but market realities would likely force all armchair GMs to their “real” contracts if they became “real” GMs.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • TKDC says:

        Yes, for people who put lower for all of them. For others, the lower prices indicate guys they just wouldn’t be interested in pursuing. For me, it would be something like I’d rather go after Ellsbury and McCann and some other lesser player than go after Cano. Nobody is signing 47 free agents.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • jruby says:

      This comment thread is completely missing the point/misunderstanding basic math. David gets it right. The first number is what you think the FA will be valued by the GM *who values him highest*. The second number is what you would be willing to pay for him. By definition, then, the first number has to be bigger than the second number.

      It’s really an individual-vs-universal issue. The “Fake Fangraphs” GM number includes some GMs that are willing to pay as much as the Real GM that will eventually sign the guy. But for the Fake GM number to be greater than the Real GM number, even once, means that a majority of the Fake Fangraphs GMs think he’s worth more than what they think the most overvaluing Real GM would be willing to give him. If that makes any sense. That’s just extremely unlikely.

      TL;DR: not a problem with fangraphs readers. Problem with trying to compare an estimated hypothetical maximum with an actual mean.

      +31 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • vivalajeter says:

        Bingo. It’s amazing that so many people overlook this. If you put the ‘fake’ number above the ‘real world’ number, then that means you’re willing to pay him above what he’ll get on the open market. If a real GM does that, he’s crucified on this site.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Mister says:

        I see what you’re saying jruby, and I think it makes sense. I don’t think this is necessarily an issue of FG readers being dumb, it’s just an issue of their being confusion over what question the fake GMs are actually answering.

        In my mind, the question “what is player X worth” is a meaningless question. Some of the FG readers seem to be answering the question that way. I don’t even know how they’re doing that. If the answer to that question is how much revenue a player brings into his team, then I would think that a lot of players are actually worth more than their real contracts. Otherwise, MLB would not be profitable.

        Others seem to be answering the question “how much would you offer player X?” If that’s the case, then you’re right, even if you think a player is undervalued, you shouldn’t offer him more than what you think you’ll need to offer to get him to sign.

        To me, a more interesting question would be what is the maximum contract you’re willing to offer a guy. Then we’d see who the fans really think is undervalued and overvalued. If somebody answers that the real contract is bigger than their maximum offer for every single player, they are definitely doing it wrong.

        All that said, I do think there is a tendency for armchair GMs, particularly the sabrmetrically inclined ones, to sit at home and scoff at all the “overpays” out there for free agents each year. Shannon’s comment about “dumb GMs” is evidence for this. I think fans would find that the decisions that they would have to make as real GMs would be a hell of a lot more difficult than they think.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • TKDC says:

        Second bingo. I couldn’t believe this was so missed by so many people.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Spencer D says:

        No. If the GM who valued him most highly paid what he thought the player was worth in whatever combination of wins/revenue, he might not pay him, being indifferent towards him. It’s some arbitrary value above the the 2nd GM’s value. I imagine the reason for the disparity is not simply your own point or the one expressed somewhere above – each individual probably has some set of players which they think are under valued, but not the same set – but rather that many different valuation methodologies are being used. Some are thinking as if they were a GM, some in terms of revenue, some simply multiplying (money)(wins).

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Roger says:

      The free agent market is still largely stuck in the mindset of the steroid-induced age curve, which is no longer accurate. The game today is a young man’s game, and the young talent is stuck in indentured servitude, so yes, all of the free agents are overpaid and I would rather simply never sign any free agents and develop through the minors.

      To put it another way, if we assume $Xm/win, most of these guys are not going to perform up to the contracts they will get because the winning bidder will make overly optimistic assumptions about the aging curve.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • TheUncool says:

        I don’t know about “never”, but this new era of likely diff age curve should definitely be factored into the equation although it’s still unknown how much (plus it may not affect every player equally).

        OTOH, you have to remember that some teams have loads of $$$ to spend, especially w/ all the new/upcoming TV deals, and it doesn’t do them any good to completely avoid the FA market.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Brad Johnson says:

      The Fake numbers are asking correspondents to factor out “The Winner’s Curse” (put simply, the winner of an auctioned fixed value asset* will overpay due to an overly optimistic “signal”). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winner's_curse

      The Real numbers are asking correspondents to guess the degree of the Curse.

      *Players aren’t actually fixed value assets like oil wells, but it’s close enough for the concept to still apply in most cases.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. MustBunique says:

    Thanks for pulling this together. Interesting information. Looks like every player would receive less money and years from fake GM’s. Were there any outliers? Did the fake GM’s suggest more money for any player? If not who was the closest? Can you do a follow up article once all the players are signed? Are you enjoying all my questions?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jason B says:

      I would doubt there is any chance that would happen. We all put less on what we would pay than what a player will actually get, as if to say “Some dumb GM would pay X for that player, but as the astute, levelheaded GM I would only pay (X-Y).” We all get to feel like the smartest guy in the room, wisely deploying our finite (pretend) resources. No one will say, “I think it would only take X to get that guy, but screw it, I’m willing to go to (X+Y)!”

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • MustBunique says:

        True to a point. I do think I would overpay a player like Ellsbury in terms of AAV for the right to give him less years in a contract. On a whole though I am with you. Since that is probably right, the information gathered may worth analyzing by comparing the differences between real and fake salaries for each player.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Pale Hose says:

        Jason B – I think we took this exercises differently. The way I viewed it was that x is the highest offer from the 29 other GMs. I would offer x+y if I thought that x undervalued a particular player. However x+y see would still be lower than what I think the true value is (z).

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • The Stranger says:

        That’s exactly it. Nobody’s going to say they’ll pay over market value. Even a player we love, we might say, “I think he’ll get X, and I would gladly pay X.” Also, to think a player was undervalued, we’d have to think we saw something that no GM in the league saw – which is pretty unlikely given that most of the people voting probably just spend a few minutes looking at the readily-available stats.

        Also, players have agents. The agent’s job is to find the team in the market that puts the absolute highest value on the player, then try to get a little more than they want to pay.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Greg says:

      The Fake GMs never suggested more years or more money. For years, Hiroki Kuroda was the closest (both in absolute terms and percent of contract length). For AAV, David DeJesus was the closest in absolute terms, and Robinson Cano was closest in terms of % of contract.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Alex D says:

    I’d take Dejesus over Chris Yong all day every day.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Ivan Grushenko says:

    Yay 47!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. Dave from Pittsburgh says:

    If there’s multiple teams bidding on every player, it makes sense that the end result is an overpay. If anything, what FG GM’s think is probably a fair starting/midway point for all of these negotiations.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Anon21 says:

      Okay, that’s… actually a good point. This is Carson’s fault. The two questions should be parallel: what will he receive, and what is the most that you, the fake GM, would be willing to pay. Asking what you offer introduces a useless bias into the “Fake” numbers, because most people will intentionally lowball. Since this is not an actual negotiation, the lowball answers are not interesting. Fix this for next year, Carson!

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Mister says:

        I think it would be better to provide more context to the question. Instead of just asking “how much would you pay” in a vacuum, we should be asking “how much should the Yankees pay” or “how much should the Athletics pay?”

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • MustBunique says:

        Perhaps it doesn’t need fixing, as you put it, but simply a better understanding of what the questions asked really mean.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Anon21 says:

          If “how much WOULD you offer him annually” is supposed to mean “what is the most you would be willing to pay him annually,” then I can hardly fault the participants for not figuring that out. Either the wording needs to be fixed or the concept does; either way, fix it, Carson!

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Anon22 says:

          I agree, it’s Carson’s fault.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Gregory says:

      I kind of disagree with this. Most readers here probably determine value by looking at WAR totals or something similar and assigning a dollar amount to those totals.

      The $ per WAR calculation is based off actual payroll which includes the amount needed to outbid the market for a player.

      So I don’t think it’s quite that simple.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. Mr Punch says:

    In reality, the market can suddenly decide that lots of players are overpaid (just as it can decide that houses or stocks are overpriced). That’s happened in recent years with older players generally, and with older starters and speed guys in particular. A lot of the comments suggest that FanGraphs readers simply believe that some GMs are lagging behind this trend.

    In other words: It’s not necessarily unrealistic to believe that in signing players who are close to or over 30, some teams will tend to offer to much by one year and 10% of AAV.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Anon21 says:

      Only works if they thought at least one free agent was undervalued, which they didn’t. Your alternative to paying a free agent is to return the money to the owner, which is a complete failure for a GM. Nah, this is a problem with the way the questions were worded.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Mister says:

      If you think houses or stocks are overpriced, you can sell them and sit on cash for a while, or maybe invest in bonds or precious metals or something else like that. A baseball franchise doesn’t really have that kind of alternative. If ALL free agents are overvalued, then you have to adjust your value scale if you want to compete. If you’re an 85-win team built on home-grown talent looking to make the playoffs, you absolutely should “overpay” for another 5 wins as long as you can afford it. The only teams that can justify completely opting out of the free agent market are teams that are in complete rebuilding mode like the Astros.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Billy says:

      Why is it people are so scared of speed guys in their 30′s moreso than other aging players? I know we slow down as we get older, but a 38-year-old with elite speed ten years ago is still probably faster than most people at 38 (I’m looking at you, Ichiro). Also, it’s not like the average and slow guys aren’t getting slower either. Just like very good merely becomes good, average becomes poor. Speed helps players (especially in the OF and probably a little in the IF) avoid horrible defensive decline.

      From anecdotal observation (which I’m aware may be very flawed but I’m sure someone will be by to tell me what a moron I am), it would seem most of these speedy little Michael Bourn / Brett Gardner / Denard Span /etc. types usually lose their ability to get on base because their ability to hit the ball hard declines, not because they get slow. Often they hang around into their mid-thirties as defensive backups / pinch runners.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Snow Leopard says:

        “Why is it people are so scared of speed guys in their 30?s moreso than other aging players?”

        Because if you take Jim Thome at age 25 and then make him 30% slower, you don’t lose much of the value that he provides, and you have basically the same player.

        If you take Carl Crawford at age 25 and make him 30% slower, you lose the stolen bases, the outfield range, and the triples – i.e. most of his value.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Cliff says:

          Doesn’t the evidence show that fast players age better, because other skills like patience and power increase over time but speed just goes down?

          Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. David says:

    I think the disparity comes from the fact that when it comes to the fake world people tend to think in terms of what they would be ok with their favorite team offering the players (in other words they put themselves in the place on their GM not a random GM) and in real world they are thinking about what he might likely get on the market.

    If the player fits what their team is looking for they will give a fake amount close to the real amount but as an example I’m a Pirates fan and I can see Cano getting 8/200 but putting on my fake hat and thinking from the Pirates perspective I’d be upset at anything beyond about 5/100.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. Gabriel says:

    My votes were pretty in-line with Fangraphs group-think.

    That said, I think there is a strong possibility that we’re all underestimating salary inflation, especially for longer-term deals, which have to factor them in (notably the Cano deal). I look forward to seeing the followup article in March.

    I also am curious to see if any of these guys is left without a team or with just a minor league deal (I certainly wanted that to be an option for my votes).

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. Greg says:

    Are the numbers given the averages? The Median?

    For the fake offers, it might be really interesting to also see the offers around the the 97th percentile – as a free agent, I’m going to pick the best offer to me out of all GMs, not the median/average offer.

    +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Billy says:

      I second this idea. Since those are the guys who would actually win them if we were all bidding against each other.

      CARSON, LISTEN TO THIS GUY!

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. Mister says:

    Here’s an interesting question to ask fans to get them to stop being such cheapskates.

    Say you’re a GM and your current team is projected to win 81 games. You have $60 mil/year available in the budget and the owner tells you you better spend all of it. The owner gives you complete freedom to decide who to buy, including the ability to sign longer contracts, as long as you don’t go over $60 mil/year. Which of these 47 free agents do you sign, if in order to sign any of them you have to give them their “real total” contracts?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • David says:

      You are proposing a task that would be impossible. Contracts are not structured to pay the same every year so if the owner says you can only spend 60 million dollar a year you would have to spend much less in the first year to ensure that the last few years did not exceed 60 million.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • BJsworld says:

      You would really need to do this on a team by team basis. I think it would be really cool to go through that exercise. Estimate how much payroll each club would have and then fill their roster using the surplus and the real AAV.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. The Stranger says:

    I’d love to be able to vote on whether it will be a historically smart team or a historically dumb team that signs each player. I’d also like to vote on whether the player “earns” his contract based on the current cost of a win.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • TKDC says:

      how many teams have a legit history of stupid signings? Are you really just wondering if the Royals or Phillies are going to sign a guy or if it will be someone else?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  17. Daniel W says:

    HA @ Chris Young & AJ Pierzynski representative comments. TBQHILOLED.

    But really though, who is Jason Hammel?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. bvillebaron says:

    Wow, what a mediocre crop of free agents.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  19. Visitor says:

    I was sort of irrationally excited by being the “representative comment” for Lincedum. And then I was sort of mystified by it when I realized that I was offering him nearly twice the AAV that the other readers averaged. I figured I was often going to be on the high end, because I often feel like it’s fine to pay even over market value in order to keep contracts shorter, but it just seems weird for my comment to be “representative” when I’m that far out of whack from the average!

    Note that this is not meant to be a shot at Carson at all–I just found it weird.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  20. Ben The Bird Tarrelford says:

    Kinda silly when we’re all using the same stats to make these calls. I wonder what these numbers would look like compared to BP, or someone using just traditional stats, or someone using just scouting.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jason B says:

      But nobody uses “just” this or “just” that, be it traditional stats, scouting, or (hopefully for FG readers in this hypothetical exercise) WAR.

      Toss ‘em all into the pot and it makes for a fuller, tastier stew. (Or…something. I’m hungry.)

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  21. jon says:

    The question really should have been “What do you think they will get” and “What do you think they SHOULD get”. Otherwise the comments are right. You’ll never put that you’d offer more than you think they will get if you’re answering as a hypothetical, all-knowing fake GM.

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  22. Rule of Law says:

    I’m just happy my A.J. Pierzynski comment was deemed “representative,” I think.

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  23. Joel says:

    These are great real AAVs for the 2006-2007 offseason.

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  24. GilaMonster says:

    I think Granderson is undervalued. Sure he isn’t young and hasn’t been healthy.
    But He is a power hitter with decent base-running and would be am above average corner outfielder. He seems like a 3-4 WAR player with upside.

    Hypothetically, if he was healthy this season and hit around 40 HR with a .330ish OBP in 2013, How would the market value on him differ compared to Josh Hamilton? They are incredibly similar players.

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    • LaLoosh says:

      Grandy has huge bust potential also. He hasn’t had a “good” year since 2011. Almost everyone is shifting him now every time he hits with the bases empty. His K rate is absurd and that doesn’t bode well as he ages and especially outside of cozy Yankee Stadium. I wouldn’t want to be the team that signs him to a deal any longer than 2 yrs.

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      • GilaMonster says:

        He hit 43 HR in 2013 and put up 116 wRC+ despite a .260 BABIP. His xBABIP was .331, so while the shift probably explains some of it, it doesn’t explain a .071 difference.

        I’m just thinking perhaps we should be looking at more along the lines of 5/$65m along the lines of the Jose Bautista deal. If i had a hitters ballpark, I would expect him to be a 3 WAR player for a few years in the corner outfield.

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  25. Bip says:

    I’d take the over of 100% of these players getting a contract bigger than what the “real” GM numbers are.

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  26. Snow Leopard says:

    I think one reason why the “Fake” dollar amounts might be lower than the “Real” amounts: it may rankle some people, like it does me, that grown men should earn $10m, $20m, $25m a year to play a game. I would feel fine if the players made one fifth what they do now, consessions were one third the cost, minor league salaries were doubled, and the difference was donated back to charities.

    What if all the $10m/y plus players were to disappear from the Earth, and the ~5-10 roster spaces per team that they now take were taken by the best minor and Japan leaguers? Team salaries would be less than half than what they are now, but I imagine that fan enthusiasm (and revenue streams) would stay about the same. Some home runs would be less majestic, some breaking balls would have less impossible bite, some defensive plays would be less sparkling if all the best paid players disappeared … but, overall, it would bascially still be the same game we all follow so closely, and I predict that we would all keep watching. In other words, it’s hard for me to see how an ARod, Cliff Lee, Vernon Wells, Prince Fielder, etc by themselves provide $25m more entertainment value per season than a typical AAA guy would.

    (and yes I also am uncomfortable with pop/music stars, CEOs, Hedge fund managers, anyone else making over $10m a year too. I don’t think that a society where the top winners gather in most of the rewards and there is a steep drop off from there is healthy.)

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    • Joel says:

      How about franchise owners?

      The money has to go somewhere. And fans are paying, so…

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    • TKDC says:

      It is a damn shame that the people who actually earn the money get a large chunk of it, after working their asses off for years and even spending 3-4 years in the big leagues making small fractions of their value to their companies, and 3 more with still deflated salaries, all while having their workplace determined solely by the whims of others.

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      • Snow Leopard says:

        “the people who actually earn the money get a large chunk of it, after working their asses off for years”

        Sure, the big stars are working hard to “earn the money” that the MLB makes. But so are the players playing for the mlb minimum, the minor leaguers, the people running the concession stands, the people driving public transit to the ballpark, the techies making sure the broadcasts run without a hitch, the bloggers who generate buzz and interest, the guys who build the ballparks, the people who sweep the ballparks, the grounds crew, etc etc.

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        • Mister says:

          Yeah, but all those guys you describe who aren’t superstars are REPLACEABLE. Superstars are not.

          I don’t agree with your notion that getting rid of superstars and simply pushing back the scale of baseball performance would result in an equivalent spectator experience. Take Daniel Nava for example. He is a great story and is awesome to watch as a guy who isn’t that talented but worked really hard to just barely become a valuable big-league player.

          But now shift the talent scale so Nava becomes a top-tier guy. All of a sudden all the outfielders you are watching are about as slow and clumsy as him. That stops being fun real fast.

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        • Snow Leopard says:

          Mister, you raise a number of interesting points that I find worth considering. Thank you for your replies.

          I will say, though, to your point that “That stops being fun real fast” – it’s my understanding that the big league game is played with more skill, power, and speed these days than it ever has been before. This is a result of a whole lot of factors, in the eternal evolutionary struggle for supremacy:

          * A greater body of knowledge and standards of practice around conditioning, exercise, and nutrition.

          * A more scientific understanding of the mechanics of pitching, throwing, batting, running, etc.

          * An ever increasing wisdom around things such as how to mix up pitches, how to most effectively manage a pitching staff and construct a lineup, defensive shifts and other positioning efficiencies, etc.

          * A greater body of talent to select from (today’s baseball system draws from ~400 million baseball-exposed male Americans, Latins, and Asians, while 1900s-1930s baseball drew from ~50 million white and Latin male Americans)

          Given all of those factors and others, I would not be surprised if today’s AAA teams would be contenders or champions in the 1930s. That may not be precisely true, but, the general point is that the “scale of baseball performance”, as you put it, has continually shifted up over the decades.

          And yet people loved baseball and watched it in droves in Stan Musual’s day, people loved baseball and watched it in droves in Babe Ruth’s day, and people loved baseball and watched it in droves in Christy Mathewson’s day. And that was because they didn’t know anything otherwise.

          Point being – if Daniel Nava was the fastest and most gifted outfielder that you know of, then you wouldn’t even know that you were missing out on Mike Trout.

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    • Travis L says:

      Please keep your idealistic economic morals out of my baseball. Thank you.

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      • Snow Leopard says:

        Hope you enjoy your $10.50 hot dog and $14 beer in your $40 bleacher seat. ARod will be enjoying his … well, whatever a third of a billion dollars buy someone, hopefully he will be enjoying it.

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        • jon says:

          That’s what capitalism and a free market economy are. You make what people are willing to pay you. Baseball players are “worth it” because they are directly responsible for creating that wealth. What you are describing is communism. Also, if you got rid of the top 100 players in the world, then the next best 100 players in the world would make those salaries.

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        • Snow Leopard says:

          Are the only two choices “capitalism” or “communism”? I percieve that modern America has many of the worst features of both.

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        • TKDC says:

          I will enjoy them. What else am I going to spend my money on, designer jeans?

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        • Snow Leopard says:

          You spilled some ketchup on your pants, TKDC. But your butt looks terrific!

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      • Mister says:

        It’s not “idealistic” at all to want to limit human greatness. It’s destructive and nihilistic.

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    • Mister says:

      I think it’s wonderful that we live in a society where people can get paid millions of dollars just to play a game. Good for them. A lot of them would be poor and struggling if not for professional sports.

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  27. vivalajeter says:

    Well, Lincecum got much more than the crowd thought, and Pence got much more than they probably would’ve thought. So either the Giants are vastly overpaying their players, or we’re vastly underestimating how much money is floating around.

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  28. Ruki Motomiya says:

    Aaaaaaaaaaw, I’m late to vote and hae it in here. Oh well.

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  29. TKDC says:

    The numbers on the Drew/Bogaarts question add up to 109%. Somehow this seems wrong.

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  30. Bobo says:

    Although I agree with the opinion that James Loney isn’t the greatest hitting first baseman, I do disagree that his 2013 offensive performance was unsustainable. His wRC+ of 118 was only marginally better than in the years 2008-2011 (wRC+ = 102, 103, 97 & 110, respectively), so a team in need of a first baseman to anchor their defense that can accept a league average bat will get a decent player.

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  31. Z..... says:

    I answered this with the thinking that real world is what I think he will end up getting and fake world is what I think he is worth. I did this with the understanding that in the real world, teams knowingly overpay in free agency and therefore, you have to do so in order to sign certain players. Usually, they dont overpay by THAT much and its generally an overpay of 1-2 years and a few million per year. There were actually a few of these that I answered with really similar contracts for both the real and fake world. There were some that I gave less years, but higher AAV to. There were also some that I simply gave less years with the same AAV. Then there were a few where I felt the real world figure would be both more years and more money, as mentioned. This is a pretty enjoyable experiment. I dont necessarily think that its fair to say that none of us would sign anyone. I’m sure most understand the notion I mentioned that teams overpay in free agency, and if the player was a need, it would be an overpay we would also be willing to meet if you consider the performance early in the contract to matter more than the end of it, like we’ve seen recently with the long term deals being handed out.

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  32. Joel says:

    I’d like to see a post-hoc analysis of these. Fansl “real” contracts were nearly 40% under in the cases of McCann and Ruiz. However, Chris Young was guessed pretty well (I’ll grant a boost in AAV for a “pillow” contract as coming out essentially even).

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