Friday, December 5, 2008

How much is Sabathia really worth?

Now you guys better read this whole thing because I`ve been working on this post since before my computer broke.

The Yankees just made the biggest offer for a pitcher in history and now may have to go even higher with the Angels now in the mix. Their's even talk of a 160 million dollar deal. Big deals for pitchers have largely been disasters so far. Is this guy worth it?

Back on my old blog I made a post about a pitching stat I invented. If you want to know how its calculated then you can check it out here. Be prepared to be bored and confused by the end of it unless you`re into that stuff. The point is I`m going use that stat and some of the other things I kind of made up to figure out how much C.C. is worth. Also, keep in mind I`m making this up as I go along so the answer at the end will be just as much of a surprise to me as it is to you.

First of all, lets establish that over the past three years Sabathia has been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball.Whether you`re a scout, live in your mother's basement or just an average fan this guy is great. He`s been the definition of ace, he has great stuff, great control, eats innings, and doesn't give up runs. His performance isn't a result of luck (like Barry Zito's was) either. His RCA last year (3.22, with 4.50 being average) showed he was very lucky but still one of the best in baseball.

The best way to get a clear monetary value for a pitcher is to take the amount of innings he pitched and the amount of runs he gave up in that time to what a replacement level pitcher would do in that same time. Instead of using the actual IP and runs totals I`m going to use what they should have done based on their SO/BB/Batted Ball totals. These are components of RCA. Every 10 runs is worth about 1 win and every win is worth about 5.5 million dollars. People much smarter than me have figured this out and if you`re interested in how they came to this I suggest google.

Here`s his RCA's for the past 3 years:

2006-3.61 (77 runs in 192 innings)

2007- 3.42 (85 runs in 223 innings

2008- 3.22 (74 runs in 240 innings)

The replacement level pitcher would usually have a RCA of roughly 5.50. Not so coincidentally, that was pretty close to Darell Rasner's ERA last year. Here`s what this hypothetical player would do if he took up Sabathia's innings:

2006- 5.50 (117 runs in 192 innings)

2007- 5.50 (136 runs in 223 innings)

2008- 5.50 (147 runs in 240 innings)

As I said before, 10 runs is worth 1 win generally and each win is worth 5.5 million dollars. Here`s Sabathia's final worth:

2006- 40 runs, 4 wins, 22 million dollars

2007- 51 runs, 5 wins, 27.5 million dollars

2008- 73 runs, 7 wins, 38.5 million dollars

The current Yankees offer in 6 years for 140 million dollars which is a little more than 23 million dollars a year. Over those 6 years we can't expect him to constantly have him repeat his MVP type 2008. However, a 6 year deal would carry him from ages 29 through 34. For him to average out at about his 2006 season is probably pretty reasonable. For now, he`s probably at somewhere between 2007 and 2008. I`m guessing he`ll stay at around that for the first two years, for the next two he`ll be at about 2006 levels and for the last two years he`ll be below even those. I`m going to estimate that 1 of those years will be spent on the DL. For now, 23 million is a bargain for him and is well worth the pain at the end of the deal when he will still probably be a pretty solid pitcher.

Another aspect to consider is the intangible value of him eating innings and saving the bullpen. The bullpen gets run down at the end of the year if the starters can never get past the 5th or 6th innings. I think the current Yankees offer would be a great deal if he would sign it. I`d be willing to go up to 150 million for 6 years as well. However, if he asks for more than that the Yanks will be making a deal out of desperation and the Yanks may need to turn to a Jake Peavy trade to fill out their rotation. Another year would also kill this for me. All in all though, they madea very good offer and if he accepts they can be happy with an ace for the next 6 years.


john olsen said...

good research and good post sir

Nate said...

Great post Mike, but I wouldn't call eating innings an intangible. Every inning CC pitches means one inning less from a lesser pitcher. This is the same reason why I prefer Pettitte over Burnett. You can count on Andy for around 220 IP, while we would be thankful if AJ could give us 180. If you tack on the 40 IP by the guy who would replace Burnett onto AJ's numbers, Pettitte looks like a better pitcher.

Mike NYY said...

Its intangible because we don't know how many innings the replacemtn level guy would get

Anonymous said...

Is there a bigger idiot than A-rod. Switching sides for WBC, what a moron. Why must he do these things?

Mike NYY said...

Honestly, who cares

Jack NYY said...

Great post, maybe similar ones for the other free agents?

Mike NYY said...

I`m thinking about it but Sheets and Burnett are such huge injury risks that it kind of makes it harder. I`ll probably do one for at least Lowe.