First of all, please don’t accuse me of bashing the Dolan family. That isn’t what this post is about. They deserve some of the blame for their spending habits, but ultimately they are playing in an environment that has all sorts of factors working outside of their control as well. Over poker last night I was talking to my friends about what this team would be like if Dick Jacobs had never sold it. The payrolls might not really be that different. It is something worth thinking about. The point of all this is that the Indians and Indians fans shouldn’t really have to think twice about picking up a $9 million option on a player like Grady Sizemore in a year where the team is clearly hoping to challenge for the division.
Obviously there are caveats as Jon pointed out yesterday. There are just some things we can’t know. For example, if Indians team doctors are absolutely convinced that the Indians will not be able to get a healthy performance from Sizemore, that should supersede my argument. You and I can’t possibly know that kind of information well enough to make an educated guess. Instead, let’s try to put the $9 million in perspective.
I decided to look at the top 35 position players in baseball in terms of their WAR (Wins Above Replacement.) We can probably argue all day and night whether this is the right metric, but it is the one I decided to use. I took these top 35 players and I looked at what they made in 2011 and then what they are expected to make in 2012. That gave me an average salary in the top 35 of $5.4 million. That number didn’t seem very accurate for comparing to Grady Sizemore because it includes players who are arbitration eligible. These guys aren’t very comparable to Grady Sizemore because they aren’t available on the free agent market, so they wouldn’t really be eligible “replacements” for a guy like Sizemore without a trade of some kind. [Read more...]