Thursday, December 2, 2010

Is Beane's offer to Beltre foolish?

Athletics fans – all three of you reading this – if you have not already read my previous post, then you’re behind the ball. Quickly – Now! – go read my piece on Carl Crawford to catch up.

It’s been widely reported that Billy Beane, GM of the oppressed Oakland Athletics, is willing to offer Mr. Adrian Beltre a sum of $64 million dollars for his services over a term of five seasons, at the end of which (2015), he will be 36 years old. And according to Scott Boras, he’ll be headed to the Cooperstown; we’ll see about THAT.

Let’s run him through our Tom Tango framework (from the previous post, which I’ve already alluded to); because he’s another Big Fish on the market this offseason.

Assumption 1: He’s worth 4.05 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in 2011. Why? If you weight his WAR in each season from 2004, i.e. his mega walk year for the Dodgers, to 2010, i.e. his near-mega walk year while not equally fantastic with  Boston, with a 50/50 split between Fangraphs’ and Baseball-Reference’s WAR figures*, and then you average those weighted WAR’s, you get 4.05 WAR. That’s simple enough, right? In any case, it’s what I’m using.

*We have the same phenomenon as with Carl Crawford, by the way, where Fangraphs loves Beltre and Baseball-Reference just likes him. I think it’s because Fangraphs is giving him too much credit for defense, or Baseball-Reference too little, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Assumption 2: He will regress at a rate of 0.7 wins per season, which seems at least somewhat likely if not being just slightly pessimistic.

Assumption 3: The dollars ($) per win above replacement will start at $4.5 million in 2010 and increase at a rate of 5% per season.

Plug it in and: VOILA! Using these assumptions he’s worth almost exactly $64 million over the next five seasons ($64.2 M), which is the exact offer believed to be on the table for Beltre at this moment. I love it when a plan comes together. To answer the question of my title: no.

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