Friday, November 11, 2011

Contract Analysis: Jonathan Papelbon

The Phillies are apparently close to signing Jonathan Phapelbon for 4 years and $50 million.

This after a reported 4 year $44 million deal for Ryan Madson didn't materialize yesterday.

This seems like a lot of money for a reliever.

Papelbon has averaged about 66 innings a year over the last 6 seasons.  At that rate Papelbon will pitch (66*4) 264 innings with the Phils.  Or about 20 innings more than what Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander or CC Sabathia will give you in 1 season.  Halladay is the best pitching in baseball.  Anyone think Halladay is worth $50 million a season?

Now, to be fair, Papelbon does pitch more highly leveraged innings than Halladay.   This is measured by pLI

Halladay's pLI for last season was 1.1.  His career pLI is 1.05.  A number greater than 1 means that he's been involved in slightly higher leverage than average (1.0) situations.
Papelbon's pLI for last season was 1.69.  His career pLI is 1.83.  His pLI in 2009 and 2010 was over 2.00.

Papelbon has produced 15.1 WAR in 429.3 career innings.  That's 2.3 WAR / 66 innings
Halladay has produced 69.8 WAE in 2531 career innings.  That's 1.8 WAR / 66 innings

Maybe there is some evidence that Papelbon should be paid a higher per inning rate than Halladay.  But over twice as much?

On to the chart...

*Click to inPHlate the size of

The chart assumes that the value of 1 WAR is $5.25 million (5% more than last season) and inflation continues at 5% per year.  It also assumes that Papelbon produces 2.5 WAR in 2012 and 2013 and decreases to 2.0 WAR in 2014 and 2015.  I feel that this is an optimistic prediction.

With those parameters we get Papelbon's expected production to be almost exactly $50 million.  Remember, that's if everything goes right.  Papelbon has to pitch, for the next 4 seasons, at a level greater than he's pitched the previous six years.

Now, the Phillies do have a lot of money.  They are in a position to try and win now with a core of Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Utley, Howard, Pence, Victorino, Chooch, etc so they do have more reason to 'go for it' than some other teams.

They also have to find a shortstop, outfielder, and part-time first baseman for next season.

An aggressive move for Philly.

For kicks, let's see how the numbers would have looked with Madson.

Madson has produced 1.3 WAR per 66 innings over the last 4 seasons.  Quite a bit less than Papelbon.

If we re-create the chart with Madson as a 1.5 WAR pitcher this year and next and 1 WAR in both 2014 and 2015 we get:

*Click to make Madsoningly larger

Madson produces 5 WAR worth $28 million while being paid $44 million, putting the Phillies $16 million in the hole.

Maybe Phillie Phans should be dancing a little jig

OTHER Contract Analyses:
Willie Bloomquist
Ryan Braun
Adrian Gonzalez (plus Mark Teixeira and Ryan Howard)
Clay Buchholz

1 comment:

  1. Interesting analysis. But I agree, the assumption regarding Papelbon's future production are optimistic. He's been pretty durable, but arms wear down. More thoughts here.