Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Silva's laughing all the way to the bank ......

I just came across the Tiger's signing Nate Robertson to a three year $21.25 million dollar contract. Lets compare him to the Carlos Silva free agent signing from this off season and see how the deal looks.

Contract details

Yr 2008/Salary $4.25 million/Age 30
Yr 2009/Salary $7 million/Age 31
Yr 2010/Salary $10 million. Age 32

I couldn't find a detailed breakdown of his yearly salaries, but his new deal will average $12 million over the next 4 years. He will be 32 years old when the contract expires.

Recent performance

Yr 2005/IP 196.7/ERA+ 95/WHIP 1.358/WARP3 3.2
Yr 2006/IP 208.7/ERA+ 119/ WHIP 1.308/WARP3 5.7
Yr 2007/ IP 177.7/ERA+ 96/WHIP 1.475/WARP3 4.2

Yr 2005/IP 188.3/ERA+ 129/WHIP 1.173/WARP3 5.1
Yr 2006/IP 180.3/ERA+ 75/WHIP 1.542/WARP3 1.4
YR 2007/IP 202.0/ERA+ 103/WHIP 1.312/WARP3 5.7

Both guys have been fairly durable and seen quite a bit of fluctuation in their performances. Silva had a real stinker in 2006 but last season he was slightly but clearly was better than Robertson.

Going forward

2008 Robertson Projections
Bill James - IP 180/ERA 4.40
CHONE - IP 188/ERA 4.40
Marcel - IP 170/ERA 4.50
ZIPS - IP 186/ERA 4.45

2008 Silva Projections
Bill James - IP 199/ ERA 4.61
CHONE - IP 193/ ERA 4.48
Marcel - IP 177/ ERA 4.68
ZIPS - IP 190/ 4.83

Park Factor

I feel I must quickly mention park factor. I was thinking that Comerica Park would be a much friendly place for pitchers but when I looked at the park factor it slightly favored hitters with a factor of 1.051 last season. On the other hand the Metrodome was the 3rd friendliest pitchers park with a factor of .867(Silva's new home, Safeco Field, was still a pitchers park at .948 but not nearly as friendly). The Metrodome was slightly friendlier to pitchers 2006 as well, .963 to .980 respectively. However in 2005 Comerica helped pitchers more, .959 to 1.019 for the Metrodome. Not quite sure what to make of these numbers but I did learn that Comerica doesn't help pitchers nearly as much as I thought it did, at least according to these stats.

Final thoughts

I must admit I am a little dizzy from all these numbers. What does it all mean? Well I am not really sure. The last three years they have been fairly durable but inconsistent. Some of the best projections we have available for next year have them as pretty close as well. The Mariners simply paid too much for what I think Silva is going to give them. I think the Silva deal stinks. I know it is not particularly instructive to compare anything to the least common denominator, but you would have a very tough time arguing Silva is worth an average of 5 million more a year than Robertson. Sure, Robertson is no star, but he will give you innings and be around league average. Not a bad deal for the Tigers, for that's about as much as $7 million per year will get you these days ..........


Jason said...

Nice work, Don. Nate had some "dead arm" issues last year, limiting his IP. Wonder if that's a precursor to something worse?

That said, a 3 year deal for a solid AL innings eater with good K-abilities at an average of $7M per is a good signing. Limited in length and dollars.

Silva, as you laid out, is a reasonable "comp", with a lower K rate. Maybe less worries about durability than Robertson. Still, I remain very curious to see which teams will overpay for Lohse and Silva.

And remember, it's not the cost of superstars that ruin teams, it's the cost of mediocraty. MLB is riddled with overpriced mediocraty that hamstrung teams for years with little to no payback.

Mo Vaughn
et al

Jason said...

Ooops, forgot that Silva was already signed by your Mariners.

Travis M. Nelson said...

I wouldn't read too much into the 1-year park factors. the Metrodome has been in steady decline from a being a hitters' part to becoming a pitchers' park, at least since 2001, when ESPN first starts listing those stats. I'd be much more inclined to believe the numbers you see on, which are 3-year factors and are a little more sophisticated than just dividing the ratios of runs at home and on the road.

The main factor here though, in comparing Robertson'[s deal to Silva's is that while the Mariners will almost definitely regret Silva's deal, and there certainly is not $5M of difference between the two, Robertson was not a free agent. he had 2 more years of arbitration eligibility, and this deal takes him only one year past that. He made $3.6M this year and did not have a great year, so he might have made $5M or $6M if they'd gone to arbitration and then a little more than that in 2009, say, $8M or so. That means they got him locked up for a third year at an additional cost of only about $8M. But Silva was a free agent, and if Robertson had been a free agent, too, he would have fetched something like what Silva got, probably more.

Don Evans said...

Thanks for the feedback guys.... Great point about the park factors Travis. I was thinking the numbers didn't seem to jive with what I was thinking in my head... you learn something new everyday ... Yeah I did realize that Robertson wasn't a free agent, but maybe I didn't look into that fact enough when considering their deals. I guess what I was trying to accomplish was, who would be the better pitcher to have over the next few years given what they are going to be paid and what kind of performance we can reasonably expect from them. I am new to writing these sorts of analysis and its easy to overlook things that would be wise to consider. I think it is a good point that Robertson could have gotten a better contract if he were a free agent. That being said if we look at these deals in a vacuum, the Tigers still look pretty good by locking Robertson up for this amount of money rather than overpaying on the free agent market for somebody else.