Prince’s Payday

Only two players who may be headed to arbitration submitted salary figures at least $2 mil more than what their team’s offered: Ryan Howard ($4 mil) and Prince Fielder ($2 mil). Earlier today, we discussed Howard’s case and how he really does not follow the 40/60/80 fair market value modifier for arbitration deals. Howard set a record last season by winning his case and jumping from $900K to $10 mil, so does Prince have a shot to do something similar? Fielder had his deal renewed to $670K last season, which infuriated the portly first baseman.

Prince submitted an $8 mil figure while the Brewers felt a more appropriate salary would be $6 mil. Granted, with such a small discrepancy, relatively speaking, it should be much easier to settle with Fielder than Howard, but, alliteration aside what does Prince’s projected production portend?

The projection systems suggest Fielder’s wOBA will come between .380 and .400. At .390, he would be worth right around +32 runs with the bat. His fielding has never been a strong suit, ranging from -7 to -10 with the glove. Prince has been very durable, however, so 160 games and 680 PA are not a stretch. Based on these numbers, Fielder would be worth approximately +33.5 runs above replacement. We will round this off to +3.4 wins.

At fair market value, Prince commands $15.3 mil. Entering his first season, his value can be calculated by multiplying the fair market value by 40%. 0.40 * $15.3 mil = $6.1 mil. Essentially, the Brewers proposed salary is exactly 40% of Prince’s fair market value. Fielder’s figure would value around 52% of his fair market value, potentially setting up a 50/70/90 modifier as opposed to 40/60/80.

GM Doug Melvin has hinted that a settlement may well be reached prior to the court date, regardless of the fact that Scott Boras represents Prince. Whether Fielder gets $6 mil or $8 mil, the eventual contract makes sense given his production level and service time, especially considering he isn’t immediately jumping to 75-80% of his market value.

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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.

15 Responses to “Prince’s Payday”

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  1. Josh says:

    So how big do you think his weiner is?

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  2. Mike says:

    I don’t think I dare to ask what the formula to compute that would be.

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  3. giantsrainman says:

    This is off topic but I have a request.

    It would be helpful to me if you would include PAs (Plate Appearances) in the advanced team pages that show wRC, wRAA, and wOBA. In particular when I am trying to find out what offensive production a particular team got from a particular defensive position I have to guess the PAs from that position and the PAs each of the players that played that position got while playing that positon. The only actual PAs I can find are for individual players and I can’t get the breakdown of this for those players that played more then one position or even the total PAs of all those that played any specific position.

    Thanks for listening to my request even if you feel it is not worth addressing.

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  4. Mike K says:

    How well do Win Values correlate with Win Shares? I expect Win Values to be better, but of course we only have them for 7 years. If Win Values is the new gold standard, how close is Win Shares? Thanks for the great work!

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  5. dbeach13 says:

    When evaluating players going through the arbitration process, I think we need look and quantify their minor league record a bit more. For example, you mention that Howard does not fit in the 40/60/80 model presumably because he was called up later than he should have been (because of Thome).

    Assuming they aren’t like the MVP voters, I think arbitration judges hold this same feeling considering Howard won his case last year.

    I’m not sure the best way to quantify it, but I agree that the 40/60/80 model does not fit for every player. It probably depends on age at callup, preformance in high minors, and preformance in their rookie year.

    It would be interesting to compare arbitration figures for older callups compared to younger callups, adjusted for major league preformance. If there is a significant different, then you have something with altering your “40/60/80″ guide for some players.

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  6. Justin says:

    How did you calculate Prince’s fair market value? Just out of interest, I’d like to be able to apply this formula to other players.

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    • Eric Seidman says:

      Justin, you find the player’s overall projection and, for 2008, multiply his total projected wins by $4.5 mil. Then, if the player is arbitration eligible, by either 40%, 60%, or 80% given his status.

      For Fielder, his projection calls for +32 runs offensively, -8 runs defensively, +22 runs for an adjustment due to playing 160 games, and -12.5 runs for playing ~162 games at 1B. Add it together and we get +33.5 runs. I rounded to +3.4.

      3.4 * 4.5 = 15.3

      40% of 15.3 = $6.1

      Meaning, if the team didn’t sign Fielder to an extension, etc, a fair figure to present in arbitration is $6 mil, just as they did.

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  7. BJ says:

    So does 2 years, 18 million make sense? If the Brewers had won arbitration, and Prince’s 2010 projects like his 2009, he would have gotten 15.3 million over 2 years, assuming the 40/60 track. If the two parties settled half way at 7 million, then i would ballpark his 2010 number at 10 mil, which is close to what he is going to get. If prince had won arb this year, the 50/70 track would put him at 10.7 mil for 2010 and 18.7 overall. seems like a fair deal for both parties, perhaps a little weighted on prince’s side considering the security of the extra guaranteed year.

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    • Eric Seidman says:

      Sounds good, but let’s just double check. If we say he will be worth +3.4 wins in 2009 at $4.5 mil/win, then 40% is $6 mil, 50% is about $7.7 mil. The 50% is closer to Fielder’s request and $7 mil would be the extreme compromise.

      If he is worth about +3.3 wins in 2010, assuming a slight decline, at $4.8 mil/win, then 60% of FMV would be $9.5 mil. 70% would be $11 mil.

      If he went year to year on a 50/70/90 track, his FMVs would be approximately $7.7 mil and $11 mil. If he signs a 2-yr deal between $18-$20 mil, it’s a solid deal for both sides. This way, the Brewers won’t run the risk of Prince having an insanely good season and breaking the bank next year like Howard, but also appropriately value his production relative to his service time.

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  8. cavegravedave says:

    Very nice article, I’m loving all the info here, been reading through the archives since I discovered you guys are updated everyday. I was wondering if you could clarify this part:

    QUOTE: At .390, he would be worth right around +32 runs with the bat. His fielding has never been a strong suit, ranging from -7 to -10 with the glove. ENDQUOTE

    Ok, here’s where I get lost.

    If he’s +32 runs with the bat, and -8.5 with the glove, wouldn’t that make him a +24.5 player overall?

    And then this part…

    Prince has been very durable, however, so 160 games and 680 PA are not a stretch. Based on these numbers, Fielder would be worth approximately +33.5 runs above replacement. We will round this off to +3.4 wins.

    Are you ignoring his projected PAs, and suggesting he’ll get closer to 680 PA?

    I guess I’m having some difficulty piecing this together, entirely.

    Regardless, I enjoy your articles here at Fangraphs, and look forward to the next one.


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    • Eric Seidman says:


      His batting and defense are only 2 of 4 components to value a player. Before steps three and four, Fielder is a +23.5 run player (32 – 8.5).

      A true fielding value of a player is taken by combining his positional adjustment and defensive projection… as in, if you have a +8 SS and a +8 1B, both are not equal, so some adjustments have to be made (read the glossary 7 part article from Dave Cameron).

      The positional adjustment for a 1B is -12.5 per 162 games. Prince is going to play right around that so he goes from 23.5 to +11.5.

      However, we also adjust for players to be above replacement, not the league average. Since a league average player is +20 runs above replacement per 600 PA, and Prince has had 680-690 PA the last few seasons, it’s safe to assume he’ll be there again. Therefore he gets 22 runs added back in, making him +33.5.

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  9. cavegravedave says:

    Thanks for the explanation, clears up quite a bit of confusion. Love the work being done here, it’s remarkable.

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  10. cavegravedave says:


    I think I got the first 3 components down. Here is how I applied Win Values to David Wright’s 2008 season (if you have a moment, can you confirm that I am doing this correctly):

    Component 1: Offense: +41.7 runs
    Component 2: Defense: +1.6 runs
    Component 3: Position Adjustment: +2.5
    Component 4: Plate Appearances: +24 (Wright had 713 PA last season)

    Total: +69.8

    Round that off to 70 then divide by 10 = 7 wins.

    $4.5MM * 7 wins = $31.5MM


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