Manny Ordeal Over

Finally! Manny Ramirez (or should I say Scott Boras?) and the Dodgers finally agreed to contract that the Dodgers have been offering and the Ramirez camp have been rejecting for going on three months now. Apparently the Dodgers subscribe to the “if at first you don’t succeed, try the exact same thing again and again” philosophy. Anyways, it worked, at least to their values and Manny is now on his way to the Dodgers Spring Training facility.

The biggest part of this whole mess that gets me is that we heard early on in the off season that many teams were scared off of bidding for Manny Ramirez because they were afraid of his antics. They were afraid that unless Manny got what he thought he was worth, that he wouldn’t focus on his play. That seemed like a reasonable fear. So what does Boras/Manny do to ally those fears? They embark on one of the most dragged out, public, nutty negotiations of recent history. Way to go there fellas.

The deal is for two years and $45 million, the second year and $20 million being a player option. Given the mercurial nature of Manny, it is hard to assume that he will either exercise or deny that option so we’ll look at both results.

Offensive projections for Manny next year range on the lower side of the average of his 2007 and 2008 seasons, which is reasonable given his age. Though, there is the move to the National League to consider. Moving on for the moment, that appears to be about 35 runs, give or take five or so, above average with the bat. Manny will be full time in a corner outfield spot in the NL, so he gets -7.5 runs for that and +20 runs for replacement level.

What’s left is how much to dock Manny for his defense. He was pretty consistently -15 to -20 runs from 2005-7, but climbed all the way up to -2.3 last year. That looks like a fluke to me, but I will regress his projection back to -15 runs. Adding that all together, and we arrive at 3-3.5 wins. Again, that’s about smack in the middle of his 2007 (1.0 win) and 2008 (6.5 wins), and on a reasonable path from his 2004-6 path.

That would make Manny worth a little under $15 million for 2009 so right away we can see that this is a sizable overpay by LA. A second year of Manny would only up the expected value to LA to slightly over $25 million. It appears to be in the best interest of the Dodgers if Manny declines his option after this season, allowing them an out from the deal and from hopefully the brunt of the PR mandate that called for them to make sure they kept Manny.

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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

17 Responses to “Manny Ordeal Over”

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  1. Joe R says:

    I think Manny will be closer to a +4 this season, maybe +4.5

    He won’t come close to the +1 in 2007. Tough to believe a team could win the World Series with a $20,000,000 / yr player producing that little.

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  2. vivaelpujols says:

    This is probably a good move by the Dodgers. The two things that Manny gives them are a ridiculous amount of revenue and a lot of upside. Manny’s mean projection will peg him for around 3-3.5 wins, but as he showed last year, he is very capable of taking his game to a whole new level.

    I don’t think that Manny could be a 6.5 WAR player again next year, mainly because he defense was flukily “good” last year. However, I could see him possibly being a 5 WAR player, even with -15 defense in left.

    Even if he is only a 3-3.5 win player, those added wins will likely be enough to push them into the playoffs. Evaluating the context of a deal is important in determining it’s true value. You can pay more per WAR depending on the probability of those added WAR pushing you into the playoffs.

    CHONE projected the Dodgers win the division by 2 games over the Padres (?) before they got Manny. If you say that the Dodgers had a 60% chance of getting into the playoffs before Manny, and after him they now have an 80% chance of getting in, than he would probably be worth it.

    I wonder is someone smarter than me could figure out an objective way to measure the playoff probability that a certain player adds and then convert it to a monetary value.

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    • MetsFan says:

      “I wonder is someone smarter than me could figure out an objective way to measure the playoff probability that a certain player adds”
      not so hard to do. just need to know how many wins manny adds to the team. in this case, pierre is essentially replacement level, so you can use the 3-3.5 estimate. use a new mean and use the same methodology (probably a simulation) to arrive at a new p(win division or wildcard).

      “and then convert it to a monetary value.”
      this is a problem. doesn’t seem to be fangraphs specialty to value these more important wins. my guess is that the professor behind sabernomics has given it more thought since he focuses on marginal revenue product. and lastly, you’d want to factor in that having a good player will increase the expected value of being in the playoffs (ability to advance further) once there

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  3. B says:

    Keep in mind Manny’s defensive stats for the Red Sox should be heavily affected by playing in Fenway. Left field in Fenway is so unique it’s hard to gauge how good/bad a defender he may actually be, are there possibly home/road defense splits we can look at? It may be that his D last year for the Dodgers was less fluky than we think (though it also may be that Manny is just as bad as we all think).

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    • Thomas says:

      The home/road splits are what I’m waiting for too…

      It’s interesting, though. His RngR+ErrR/150 as a Red Sock was -1 from 2002 to 2004, -25 from 2005 to 2007, then -5 in a small sample size last year. What to make of this is anybody’s guess because -3, +4, -5, -23, -27, -26, -5 does not compute at any age at any stadium.

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  4. NickP says:

    Wouldn’t Manny get a 25 run adjustment for replacement level since his projection is based almost entirely on stats he compiled in the big kid’s league?

    25 is probably too much, since he did get about 1/2 season in the NL. So maybe like 23-24?

    Not a huge concern. Just wondering.

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    • Kincaid says:

      CHONE projections at least account for league adjustments, and I’d imagine at least some of the others do as well. He would get a small boost in CHONE because it projects free agents to a midway point between the two leagues, but not in replacement level. Replacement level is the same across both leagues, it’s just that that level is further behind the average AL player than the average NL player, so if you compare replacement level to league average in each league separately, it’s a different run value for each league. The NL would give fewer runs above replacement that way to make up for the same player being more runs above league-average. Comparing to the ML average gives you the same replacement level for everyone.

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  5. Well the Dodgers just won the NL West for the 2009 season.

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    • Can’t win just on offense, and they lost a major cog in their pitching from 2008 in Lowe. They haven’t replaced a 3.24 ERA, 211 IP, 34 start pitcher with any of their pickups yet. Randy Wolf, Jeff Weaver, Jason Schmidt? Please, talk about throwing Jell-O at the wall. And to expect that good of a year out of Stultz, Kershaw, or McDonald is to be a fanboy having a nice fantasy. Only Kershaw is capable of that, but at only 21, it is not likely that he’s going to duplicate Lowe’s performance in 2009, perhaps in the future. And their bullpen after Broxton and Kuo is nothing to be scared of, unless you are a LA Dodger lead. Plus Manny won’t be repeating his 2008 performance.

      To put Manny’s 2008 season in perspective, his career BABIP is .339 and his BABIP for 2005-2007 was around .320, but he bumped up his BABIP in 2008 to .370. The last time he had a BABIP that high was in 2002 when he only played in 120 games, 518 PA, when it was .373. That was approximately the BABIP he had from 1997 to 2002, when he was 25-30 years old. It is highly unlikely that at 37 he suddenly figured out how to hit so much better consistently at an older age. He will be more like the Manny of 2004-2007: still a very good hitter, still one of the best in the majors, but not the offensive (and defensive) dynamo they caught in a bottle late in the 2008 season, and not worth the money he’s being paid, at least according to Fangraph’s calculations.

      They actually had a losing record his first month, 13-16, before they had their nice run in September, going 17-8, to finish 30-24 with Manny. That’s like a 90 win season.

      However, it wasn’t all him leading to that record. Even with Lowe’s great ERA, the team was only 19-15 with him starting, but he also greatly helped out the last two months, with a 2.27 ERA, 6-2 record, which could have been easily 8-2 with some better support offensively. So he was also significantly responsible for the Dodger’s success during those two months. Thus the loss of Lowe is a huge blow to the Dodger’s efforts, unreplaced by anyone, plus Manny will be a notch or two below what he did for LA in 2008, pushing them into the low-to-mid 80’s win area. That’s a recipe for roughly .500.

      So the Dodgers are a middling team, in a division of middling teams. Injuries and unexpected good performances will be the determinants of who win in the NL Worst in 2009.

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  6. Rob in CT says:

    I, for one, am interested to see how bad (or, perhaps, not) Manny’s defense is when he’s playing the field in non-Fenway parks all year.

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  7. Columbo says:

    The Dodgers may be the favorites. But outside of Billingsley and Kuroda they don’t have much starting pitching. I think they also lost some relievers.

    I am a Twins fan and I remember last year how everybody annoited the Tigers to win our division. Baseball can be a funny game. I would not at all be surprised if someone other than the Dodgers wins the division.

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  8. Matt C. says:

    Like one of the other posters mentioned, I think Manny is one guy you can afford to overpay based on his win projections. He does bring in the fans, and they sell a lot of dreadlocks. OK, that’s facetious, but he does bring in revenue not commensurate with his production.

    On the other hand, I think by this point the fans have soured a bit on him because of the contract negotiations. A few days ago in the LA Times they had a (meaningless) poll about whether the Dodgers should offer him more money, and most people voted that the Dodgers should offer LESS money. That’s very different than the public opinion of the negotiations two months ago. Meaning the fans aren’t so happy about Boras’ and Manny’s antics in the deal room. Obviously the overall economy has got to affect the fans’ opinions as well.

    In any case, I think it is too bad that the Dodgers didn’t come back with a lower offer, just to see what would happen. Who else is going to sign Manny? Almost no other team has even expressed interest.

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  9. don says:

    Is Boras really Vito Corleone and we just don’t know it?

    How does he continuously get teams to bid against themselves?

    Who else was lining up to give Manny 20M+ per year?

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    • While that was true with both A-Rod negotiations, I think it was more a case of how useful a Manny would the Dodgers have in 2009 and 2010 if they lowballed him and didn’t show the love? They gave him numbers that didn’t make him look stupid for backing out of 2 $20M options, while deferring things enough that it’s not that much more than those options, around 10-15% more.

      Meanwhile, they lost Lowe with no adequate replacement, and people forget that this team with Lowe and without Manny was at .500 when he was acquired from Boston. Lowe was worth 5 wins in 2008, so basically Manny replaces Lowe’s production on the team. And the team was .500 with Lowe until Manny joined the team.

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  10. joser says:

    Thank god — our long national nightmare has finally ended. Now that we’re no longer fixated by this soap opera, we can turn back to the economy where… holy crap, WTF happened to the stock market!?!

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  11. Xeifrank says:

    I have Manny at 4.16 WAR. I think a -15 dock for defense is a bit much considering the park he played in in Boston. Dodger stadium has a more symetrical outfield with a normal wall height in left field. I docked him 5 runs on defense, pushing the Dodger team WAR total to 50+36=86 wins.
    vr, Xei

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