How much is Perez worth?First off, the Hardball Times has a brief history of the franchise that I enjoyed.
MLB is reporting that Bowden made a final pitch for Perez this morning, and doesn't expect to get him, because of a gap in salary.
Here's a simplistic analysis based on the notion of net win shares value. Win Shares attempt to measure the overall value of a player based on how many "wins" he contributes to his team, looking at all the factors in his play in combination. This can be measured against average (win shares above average, WSAA), or against replacement level (win-shares above replacement, or WSAR). THT calculated, and in 2004, the average salary per WSAR was $843,725. This says, on average, for each win over what the team would get if they had a team full of bench players, they paid $843.7K in salary.
Perez posted 10 WSAR in 2004. If we were to assume that he is expected to do similar things in 2005 (and beyond), giving him $8.5M would be reasonable. If we expect that he'll likely lose 25% of his value due to injuries or whatever, then he'd be worth about $6.1M per year, which is what I expect we're offering him.
This doesn't take into account many things, such as what we expect to be the cost per win share above replacement in 2005 for current free agents. And, more importantly, last year's win shares probably aren't the best predictor of next year's win shares we can find. We'd have to look at a few years of data.
Still, since many GMs are going to take the "what have you done lately?" approach, this simple analysis is valuable and easy to calculate.
What this indicates to me is that, with the pitching market high this year, and since we're currently in a position where we have to overpay to attract real talent, it should be reasonable to give Perez $8.5M a year. While it's not in our budget, the Nats should be going back to MLB based on our season ticket deposits and get enough to hit that level if we need to do so.
I was interested to look at Bowden's three major moves in the same light. Castilla was good for 3 WSAR, so $3.1M per year is more than the $2.5M a year that would have been an average value. So we're not getting robbed based on the money we're paying him if he can perform to the same level (a good question, since he's not getting any younger).
Guzman was good for 3 WSAR as well. He was a bad value last year for the Twins, and unless he can massively step up his performance, we're paying the guy twice what he's worth. That 4 year contract looks horrible.
Guillen has $3.5M left on his contract. He was worth 9 WSAR last year, making him a steal by this metric, which would give him $7.6M, saving us $4M. But then again, so was Rivera, who, based solely on last season's performance was worth about $4.5M, saving us just about the same amount.
The really worrisome thing here is not that Bowden is overpaying for Castilla and Guzman, it is that he probably could have gotten more for the money.