Mo’s wins

Meanwhile on Twitter, CJ Nitkkowski got my attention by calling THT a “nerd blog” and belittling Tom Tango’s analysis that Mariano Rivera is worth about two wins a year to the Yankees. CJ’s blog response was a lot more reasonable (another reason to dislike Twitter) and made the point that the loss of Rivera brings down the relative effectiveness of the rest of the bullpen. He also feels that the loss of Rivera is unquantifiable.

But here’s the thing. Mariano Rivera is being paid $15 million this year. Let’s say that the average free agent will be paid around $6 million to $7 million a win in 2012. Let’s take the high end of the range, cause wins are worth more in New York. Doesn’t this mean that the Yankees are paying Mo for two wins a year? Isn’t this a quantity? Why wasn’t CJ complaining about Rivera’s contract before the injury?

Part of the answer lies in the short-term and long-term impacts of losing a reliever like Mo. Presumably, CJ is taking the short-term view; contracts (Mo’s was for two years) take the longer view. But still…isn’t there a disconnect here? Mo’s salary reinforces Tango’s point. As the season progresses, two wins will be the correct standard.

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  1. Greg Simons said...

    Interesting that Nitkowski says losing Rivera is “unquantifiable,” but he twice states his loss will be more than two wins.  It sure seems like he’s trying to quantify Mo’s loss, just at a higher number than Tango did.

    On the flip side, I’ve often seen that FA wins are valued around $4.5-5 million a year.  Did that number jump in 2012?  It wouldn’t surprise me based on contracts like Pujols’ and Fielder’s, but I haven’t seen the $6-7 million-per-win price tag before.  At $5 million a win, that would value Rivera as a three-win player.

  2. Dave Studeman said...

    Well, no offense to anyone, but that $5.5 million is meaningless.  I think it’s the worst number floating around sabermetric circles.  I had it at $5.4 million in 2007, as you can see here:

    Clearly, the inflation rate of baseball has taken it over $6 million in the five years since; it may be over $7 million.  However, I haven’t had the time to examine it in detail.  Matt Swartz may have done something along these lines.

  3. Greg Simons said...

    Makes sense.  That $4.5-5 million figure has been around a few years, so it seems reasonable that inflation – particularly baseball’s specific brand of inflation – would have bumped it significantly higher.  Thanks, Dave.

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