So how much is Justin Verlander worth, then?
Valuing a baseball player’s contributions on the field has taken the form of both art and science over the past century. In recent times, data analysis and new metrics have resulted in major changes in how we measure a given player’s on-field contributions. But what about everything else?
Obviously a player is worth more to a franchise than just his play on the field. Merchandising, ticket sales, free advertising, digital and real ink, and social media presence all afford players with ways to contribute to a team’s overall financial picture beyond playing the game. Or maybe you just have a heroic collection of vehicles and horses that makes you a constant point of interest.
Yoenis Cespedes’ representatives brought the whole picture to bear in their evaluations of their clients’ worth to the New York Mets. Brodie van Wagenen and Kyle Thousand, Cespedes’ agents, went into negotiations this offseason with a novel approach. Going well beyond the left fielder’s statistics, they looked into everything he brought to the team. They even went so far as putting a price on Cespedes’ 50 feature appearances on the back pages of the New York tabloids at $3.2 million.
Presumably, this comprehensive case helped finally land their client the big-time deal he was looking for. It will be interesting to see if other agents follow suit. Though, I can’t help thinking Scott Boras is sitting somewhere, rolling his eyes and stroking the fluffy, white cat on his lap. “Done it all before, boys...”
A home for Dixon Machado?
For the last couple seasons, Dixon Machado has shown off his glove as the starting shortstop for the Toledo Mud Hens, a somewhat thankless job, to be sure. With Jose Iglesias in place as the Tigers’ shortstop, Machado has no path to a starting role in the majors, and hasn’t done enough with the bat to create one. Yet, he nearly found himself the Tigers’ starting shortstop this offseason.
The Detroit News’ Chris McCosky looked at Machado on Wednesday, and discussed the failed negotiations between the Tigers and San Diego Padres for center fielder Travis Jankowski. This is a deal that we’ve hotly discussed around the BYB comments this offseason, so it’s interesting to hear that talks were indeed serious. The Padres wanted Iglesias (at least) in return, and the Tigers appear to have moved on for the moment. Meanwhile, Machado and his fine glove are out of minor league options. Will he end up another Tigers’ backup infielder? Or is there a real home out there somewhere for him?
Winter Conditions prevail
Spring training is still a ways off, but you have to get your work in anyway, right? Matt Boyd is prepping under World Series conditions.
Meanwhile, the world’s most interesting Tiger has a pretty awesome winter coat. Elder statesman, master of the way of grit, baseball ninja...Ian Kinsler is all these things.
While Ian does gritty, outdoors-y things involving snow, blood and dirt, no doubt, a certain best pitcher in the American League is throwing again.
Standing in the way for success
The desperation of a baseball-less existence really starts to take its toll over the long winter nights this time of year. Odd questions come to mind, like why aren’t bases flat? And, couldn’t the Tigers’ greens-keeping crew grow the grass a lot longer in front of Nick Castellanos? Or perhaps you might wonder who got hit by the most pitches in 2016? Our old pal Neil Weinberg at FanGraphs has the answer. He also took a look at Alex Avila’s homecoming over at New English D.
Last Tango for Statcast
Baseball analytics pioneer Tom Tango has forged one heck of a research partnership with the fine folks at Statcast. On a daily basis, he’s using the oceans of new data to investigate the game down to its finest points. Articles both great, and impenetrable, have been the result. In his latest, he looks at park factors via batted ball data. Or, there’s this beaut on Radial wOBA by Launch Angle + Speed. Somebody read this and translate to English in the comments. Thanks!