Monday, October 31, 2011

Analysis of Giants Bringing Back Lopez and Affeldt


Well it seems that so far the game plan for this off season is the same as last year, keep the band together and hope for the best.

The Giants have announced that they have signed Javier Lopez to a two year $8.5 million deal and picked up Jeremy Affeldt's $5 million dollar option.

Lets take a look at how these deals shape up for the Giants. First up Javier Lopez and his two year deal.

To examine the contract I took the weighted average of the last three years WAR and then an assumed $4.5 million value for each win above replacement. I have the WAR from both the Fangraphs, Baseball Reference and an average of the two.

Javier Lopez
Year
fWAR
rWAR
Average
2009
-0.1
 $    (0.45)
-0.5
 $    (2.25)
-0.3
 $    (1.35)
2010
0.6
 $       2.70
1.5
 $       6.75
1.05
 $       4.73
2011
0.7
 $       3.15
1.3
 $       5.85
1
 $       4.50
2012
0.58
 $       2.60
1.17
 $       5.25
0.87
 $       3.93
2013
0.58
 $       2.60
1.17
 $       5.25
0.87
 $       3.93

With a contract that pays him $4.25 million in each of the next two seasons, he appears slightly overpaid according to the Fangraphs version of WAR, slightly underpaid according to the Baseball-Reference version and pretty much right in line when you take the average of the two.

This deal isn't a killer and Lopez certainly does play an important role in the bullpen as the late inning LOOGY. It is hard to swallow paying full price for a reliever like this when it really shouldn't be too hard to get one nearly as good for relatively cheap on the open market.

For Affeldt it is the same process for estimating how much he will be worth next season as what I used for Lopez.

Jeremy Affeldt
fWAR
rWAR
Average
2009
0.7
 $       3.15
2.2
 $       9.90
1.45
 $       6.53
2010
0.2
 $       0.90
0
 $           -  
0.1
 $       0.45
2011
0.2
 $       0.90
0.9
 $       4.05
0.55
 $       2.48
2012
0.26
 $       1.15
0.74
 $       3.35
0.50
 $       2.25

Affeldt's option that was exercised pays him $5 million next year. This seems like far too much money to be paying him. Both Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference WAR estimate that he will be overpaid by roughly $2-4 million dollars.

In addition the Giants could have gone the route of declining the option, offering arbitration and if he declined potentially had a draft pick (he was projected to be a type B free agent). This probably would have been the way that I went because if they were comfortable picking up the option they were willing to bring him back should he accept arbitration. If he declined the Giants get a late first round draft pick as compensation which is pretty valuable and the farm system could always certainly use more depth.

Then if he left there was always Dan Runzler there to fill in for him at the league minimum salary. Some people may not care for Runzler but really the difference between Affeldt and Runzler talent wise is not that great, Runzler has a higher walk rate but also a much higher strikeout rate. In addition he has some nasty stuff that could give him a high ceiling should he gets some semblance of control.

Th Affeldt signing so far isn't one of my favorites and taking both deals into account knowing the Giants self imposed budget means that there is that much less to spend on upgrading the worst offense in the National League.

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