‘J.D. Drew Worth the Money’

Darn skippy.

In the year and a half he’s been with Boston, he’s been worth about 25 runs more than an average hitter. Depending on what you think of his defense, the conclusion is that Drew has been worth about 4 to 5 wins above a replacement level right fielder during his time in Boston. Wins are going for close to $5 million apiece in the free agent market, so if Drew was compensated fairly, we’d expect that he’d have earned between $20-$25 million for his work. Thanks to a $14 million average annual payout, we know that the Red Sox have paid him about $20 million since the contract kicked in – pretty much dead on what he’s been worth.

J.D. Drew is a very good baseball player. The Red Sox are a very good organization. The narrative about both of them was wrong.

52 comments… add one
  • Contracts are best analyzed when they’re finished.
    How many times has Giambi’s looked great (4.5 seasons) and awful (two seasons)?
    Or Damon (1.5 great, 1 not so good)?
    I wouldn’t count your chickens. Besides, aren’t the positives of the Drew signing directly off-set by the same winter Lugo signing?
    FYI: Drew is still looking at a fall this year based on BABIP – .344 in 2008 vs. .319 in his career. And wouldn’t you know his AVG this year is 25 points higher than his career.

    A YF June 24, 2008, 1:36 pm
  • Contracts are best analyzed when they’re finished.
    That’s why the article says “the conclusion is that Drew has been worth about 4 to 5 wins above a replacement level right fielder during his time in Boston.” The only person assuming that the article is talking about the entirety of his contract is you. It goes without saying that this could change as time goes on.
    See, A YF? Reading is fun when you try!

    Atheose June 24, 2008, 1:55 pm
  • Still, for most contracts, you underpay for the first chunk, to overpay the latter chunks, with some exceptions.
    For example, Damon’s contract isn’t the money (per se) but the length. Probably still too early to tell, but it’s fair to say that it’s not an immediate failure (though a different impression might be given on this site for the past year or so..)

    Lar June 24, 2008, 2:00 pm
  • Exactly, Lar. They’re averaging over two years to come up with that figure (one bad, one good – so far). Worse, they’re assuming he’ll finish this year at 7 wins (to balance out last year) – which is not a sure thing just given luck alone. Who’s to say what four years will look like?
    Meanwhile, defense does matter for those calculations. And his has been just a smidge below average for both years. That takes a it away from his value.
    See, Atheose? Original thoughts are fun when you try!

    A YF June 24, 2008, 2:11 pm
  • Who’s to say what four years will look like?
    That’s the whole point: the article is only talking about so far. It’s pretty obvious that he could pull a Pavano and not play during the rest of his contract, but as of right now the article says that he’s been worth it. He has. Taking what the article says and replying with “I wouldn’t count your chickens!” is pretty disingenuous.

    Atheose June 24, 2008, 2:19 pm
  • Umm, again, they’re calculating this year as if it’s already over even as he’s due to show a regression. The same logic still applies. Even if he produces at career averages this year, it’s been two overpriced years. He needs to overproduce to make up for 2007. All qualifications they might make aside, the article’s point is dubious exactly because it’s tenuous.
    Seems like a jinx-y proposition to me.

    A YF June 24, 2008, 2:27 pm
  • A YF said: “Meanwhile, defense does matter for those calculations. And his has been just a smidge below average for both years. That takes a it away from his value.”
    and I ask, based on what model, because he forms (with Crisp and Ells) probably the best outfield defense in MLB. His first year, learning Fenway was average, he has learned the park, and is playing, IMO above average defense. Just cause he makes it look easy, doesn’t mean he’s average. Another question then – who would you take in RF over JD, based on his performance over the last 140 games or so?

    DW - SF June 24, 2008, 2:31 pm
  • Person: “You know, I’ve really enjoyed the first two seasons of 30 Rock. It’s been worth my time so far.”
    A YF: “But you don’t know if you will enjoy it during the next two seasons!”
    Person: “I know, but I’m just saying that I’ve really liked it so far.”
    A YF: “You don’t know if it will be worth your time in the future though, therefore you cannot make any comments about your enjoyment thusfar! You’re assuming that the show will be good for the rest of this season, too! It will probably start sucking!”
    Person: “I’m not talking about every season the show will be on TV in the future, I’m just talking about what I’ve seen so far.”
    A YF: *repeats same selective arguments over and over*
    Person: *slits wrists*

    Atheose June 24, 2008, 2:35 pm
  • Also, Drew ranks 1st in American League outfielders in OBP and SLUG, and ranks 2nd in BA. His OPS right now is 162. Last year he was above average offensively. This year (yes that means so far he’s been the best outfielder in the league. The article’s thesis was that he has been worth the money, which he has.
    And that’s not even considering the fact that his offense has been needed with the loss of Ortiz.

    Atheose June 24, 2008, 2:46 pm
  • Rate and RAA are below average here for both years.
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/dt/drewjd01.php
    Range Factor also below average:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/d/drewj.01.shtml
    ESPN’s fielding stats also has him in the bottom half of zone rating too.
    No disagreement though on Ellsbury and Crisp. They’re both fantastic fielders.

    A YF June 24, 2008, 2:51 pm
  • “first two seasons”
    You’re talking about two seasons when it’s only been 1.5. Jinx!
    Worse, you haven’t signed a contract to watch 30 Rock for four seasons irrespective of what happens.
    “Contracts are best analyzed when they’re finished.”

    A YF June 24, 2008, 2:56 pm
  • By simply looking at what he has done this season, specifically since Papi went down, he has obviously been worth the money to those who matter: The Sox and their fans. When it comes to the Yankees and Sox it’s really silly to argue contract value. If Drew, Giambi or Damon played in KC then maybe we could sit here and over analyze whether or not they have earned their money because they would obviously make up a HUGE portion of their payroll. But these are the two biggest teams in the game, to both teams any of the players listed have significant value to their individual teams.
    In extreme cases like Clement, Pavano, Igawa the analysis is cut and dry: Wasted Money. (More so in the cases of Igawa and Pavano than Clement.) But to sit here are argue the point of whether Damon, Drew, Giambi etc…are worth the money they are paid is futile. Value (without the over analyzation and attention to the minutia) is really all relative and related to the situation in which the contract was signed (SEE Jorge Posada, Jason Varitek and Mariano Rivera.)

    John - YF June 24, 2008, 3:04 pm
  • Well, sorry to nitpick but someone could say “You know, I’ve really enjoyed the first two seasons of 30 Rock” halfway through the 2nd season and it would still make sense. It doesn’t necessarilly mean that the 2nd season is completed.
    “Contracts are best analyzed when they’re finished.”
    This is obviously true. But to say this now implies that you’re saying that we can’t analyze a contract mid-way through? That’s just silly. Of course things could easily change (like how you mentioned Giambi’s or Damon’s contracts) but in the mean time it’s not outrageous to say “Let’s look at how things have gone so far.”

    Atheose June 24, 2008, 3:05 pm
  • One more bit of logic that doesn’t hold in their reasoning (and mine, even):
    “Thanks to a $14 million average annual payout, we know that the Red Sox have paid him about $20 million since the contract kicked in – pretty much dead on what he’s been worth.”
    In every business I’ve ever known, budgets are based are yearly numbers. A surplus/deficit one year doesn’t carry over from one year to the next. Based on their logic, Drew cost them money last year. And this year he’s been a bargain (big qualification: so far).

    A YF June 24, 2008, 3:06 pm
  • “When it comes to the Yankees and Sox it’s really silly to argue contract value.”
    Their logic, John, is based on the market value of wins. I’ll buy that – at the end of a contract. It’s easy enough to compute and interesting to see if a team got it’s money’s worth on a free agent.

    A YF June 24, 2008, 3:10 pm
  • In every business I’ve ever known, budgets are based are yearly numbers. A surplus/deficit one year doesn’t carry over from one year to the next.
    When trying to decide whether or not a rented piece of equipment (which Drew essentially is) has been worth it during its rented lifetime, you ABSOLUTELY look at the whole, not just the most recent period.

    Atheose June 24, 2008, 3:13 pm
  • “That’s just silly.”
    Like the analogy back to 30 Rock, a contract locks the paying team in for X number of years. It seems even sillier to analyze one year (or worse, half a year) in isolation when the commitment isn’t completed. You don’t have to reduce it to the dollar figure at all. Just say, in the qualitative:
    “Drew was okay last year, but he’s been fantastic this year”.
    Is that really so different? Why even bring up the contract and dollars?

    A YF June 24, 2008, 3:14 pm
  • Don’t you guys know that you can’t say or write anything positive about anyone in Boston without A YF not having something or some way to spin it as wrong.
    Just let it die and be happy we’re not watching Matsui play right (or left, or basically anywhere in the OF) on Damon in center any longer.
    Drew has played an excellent OF this year, and has been way above average offensively. I’ll worry about the fall, when and if it happens, but for now, I’m happy.

    Brad June 24, 2008, 3:16 pm
  • See, your argument went from this:

    Contracts are best analyzed when they’re finished.
    I wouldn’t count your chickens.


    To this:

    Why even bring up the contract and dollars?


    Their base argument was “Drew has been worth the money so far.” Drew was above average offensively last year, and this year (to use your own words): “he’s been a bargain (big qualification: so far).” You’re agreeing with their main thesis.

    Atheose June 24, 2008, 3:23 pm
  • It seems even sillier to analyze one year (or worse, half a year) in isolation when the commitment isn’t completed.
    So nobody’s allowed to analyze anything, ever, unless the contract is over? Using this logic there would be no sports journalism.

    Atheose June 24, 2008, 3:24 pm
  • Actually, a rented piece of equipment can be returned at any time. A player contract is more like a lease in which the penalties for early termination are severe. In this case, it’s a four-year lease.
    And based on your “Reading is fun” logic, Atheose, analyzing *the value of a contract*, less than halfway through, is very “silly” in my book.
    Otherwise, go nuts. Drew underperformed last year. He’s overperforming (so far) this year. But don’t count your chickens :) – BABIP says he’ll be regressing by the end of 2008.

    A YF June 24, 2008, 3:42 pm
  • analyzing *the value of a contract*, less than halfway through, is very “silly” in my book.
    Nobody (but you, of course) is saying that we’re analyzing the entirety of the contract. Just the way he’s performed for the amount of contract completed. So far, he has been worth it. This is likely to change. Everyone realizes this. Nobody is saying that the entirety of the contract is a success. But as of right now, it has been.
    There, it’s really that simple. Of course you choose to ignore what the article is saying and shove it into your own mold of arguments (“you can never analyze anything until it’s completed!”) so whatever, go nuts. You’ll find some childish way to argue with it somehow.

    Atheose June 24, 2008, 3:55 pm
  • Talking about the dollars spent *by necessity* invokes the contract. It’s impossible to parse the dollars of one year from the entirety of the contract. The money spent is intertwined with the contract is which the terms were set.
    Otherwise, like I said, go nuts. Drew is having a great year by most measures. Just like last year he had a sub-par year by most measures. In determining his value the real question is: What will his numbers look like by the end of 2008? And in 2009 and 2010?
    We already know the dollars tell us nothing. I think BABIP tells us everything. We shall see!

    A YF June 24, 2008, 4:02 pm
  • Atheose – say simply: “Drew is having a great year.” There’s no argument there – not in tense, not in meaning, nothng. I’m critiquing their method. It’s a jackhammer where a ball peen would suffice.

    A YF June 24, 2008, 4:06 pm
  • Just like last year he had a sub-par year by most measures.
    He was above-average last year, and he’s the best outfielder (offensively) in the league this year. This may change, it may not. But those are facts.
    Go ahead and continue to change your argument every post, it’s pretty funny at this point!

    Atheose June 24, 2008, 4:08 pm
  • Sure, whatever, from the beginning my argument was with the analysis of the contract relative to performance. And this statement still applies:
    “Contracts are best analyzed when they’re finished.”
    Funny though that you mock me for *not* changing my tune, and now you mock me for constantly changing my tune. Make up your mind, but I guess when you have nothing better to say…

    A YF June 24, 2008, 4:14 pm
  • it would be completely unfair to asses jeters 22 million this year. sure, .279 is totally tangible but the money goes towards things you can’t see….in the future or something.
    lohud’s got a good piece up on why joba starting is probably not as rad as once thought.

    sf rod June 24, 2008, 4:27 pm
  • sf-rod, obviously this year’s been rough for Jeter, but do you really think Jeter doesn’t bring back more money than he makes?

    Nick-YF June 24, 2008, 4:34 pm
  • “lohud’s got a good piece up on why joba starting is probably not as rad as once thought.”
    Ummm, except the post is exclusively about Farnsworth (and Girardi’s reliance on him).

    A YF June 24, 2008, 4:34 pm
  • Hey, by the way, Jeter is the leading vote-getter for the All-Star game right now!
    Hahahahahaha!

    A YF June 24, 2008, 4:36 pm
  • Hey, by the way, Jeter is the leading vote-getter for the All-Star game right now!
    Yep, and all it took was the most popular player in baseball to go on the DL!

    Atheose June 24, 2008, 4:38 pm
  • “most popular player”
    Says who? Statefarm? Or MVP voters?

    A YF June 24, 2008, 4:40 pm
  • nick i get that end too. i don’t think i could put a price on jd’s postseason heroics last year. how would you put a price tag on extending a teams season and catapulting them to a ring? whatever that cost was, was clearly worth it. jeez, that happened during his bad year.
    i still have trouble understanding how joba effecting 80 to 100 games is of less value than him effecting 20. maybe someday i’ll get it.

    sf rod June 24, 2008, 4:44 pm
  • Rod –
    Think in terms of innings.
    Would you rather have Beckett throwing 70 innings a year for the next ten years or 200 innings a year for the next ten years? Cause Beckett would be a lights out 8th inning guy…

    A YF June 24, 2008, 4:47 pm
  • “i still have trouble understanding how joba effecting 80 to 100 games is of less value than him effecting 20. maybe someday i’ll get it.”
    Paul has articulated this well in the past, when arguing for pitchers inclusion in MVP discussions, so I’ll steal from him. Don’t think in terms of games, think in terms of innings. Simply put, you want someone, if he is capable of doing it, to affect more innings.
    Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, David Cone, were all more valuable during their peaks than Mariano or Papelbon were/are during theirs.

    Nick-YF June 24, 2008, 4:50 pm
  • A YF, great minds think alike!

    Nick-YF June 24, 2008, 4:51 pm
  • Wow, Nick, I’m really touched. That’s the nicest thing a moderator has ever said to me! ;)

    A YF June 24, 2008, 4:53 pm
  • One bit of interesting news, via Lohud, is that Justin Christian got called up from Scranton instead of Brett Gardner (.850 OPS and 30 SBs). Damon’s foot and Matsui’s knee prevent them from playing LF tonight. I’m guessing Christian got the call because neither will be DL’ed and so it’s a cup of coffee for him. Still, it would have been nice to have Gardner on the bench for these games in NL parks.

    A YF June 24, 2008, 5:03 pm
  • A YF said:
    “most popular player”
    Says who? Statefarm? Or MVP voters?
    I say, he was leading vote getter, so I’d say voters, with him being injured, people aren’t going to vote for him cause he can’t play, it’s pretty simple.
    Of course, now that Captain Intangibles is in the lead, that aspect doesn’t count, right?

    dw- sf June 24, 2008, 5:04 pm
  • Then there are the three catchers on the roster for the last three weeks…

    A YF June 24, 2008, 5:05 pm
  • a- think in terms of games effected. okajima was the man last year in the setup role. he appeared in 66 games with most of his 69 innings coming in pivotal situations. there was no other guy i would have trusted more in our bullpen. he filled a very important role. making him a starter this year would have cut his appearances in half and left a glaring hole in our bully. wouldn’t you want your most effective pitcher to pitch in select high pressure situations opposed to just pitching as many meaningless innings as possible.
    as for beckett, his value is in his ability to pitch deep into games and save the bullpen. his role as a starter has trickeldown effects on the entire staff.

    sf rod June 24, 2008, 5:08 pm
  • “I say, he was leading vote getter, so I’d say voters, with him being injured, people aren’t going to vote for him cause he can’t play, it’s pretty simple.”
    Simple, huh? Who says voters pay attention to what happens during the season? If they were, Jeter certainly wouldn’t be the leader. Nor would Ichiro be starting in the OF.

    A YF June 24, 2008, 5:09 pm
  • “to just pitching as many meaningless innings as possible.”
    But why are these innings meaningless. Games can be lost early in the game as well.

    Nick-YF June 24, 2008, 5:11 pm
  • “games effected” = innings thrown, since every game consists of at least 9 innings.
    “wouldn’t you want your most effective pitcher to pitch in select high pressure situations opposed to just pitching as many meaningless innings as possible.”
    By that logic, the Sox should put Matsuzaka in the 8th inning when Colon comes back. Heck, bring up Buchholz and put Beckett in the 7th inning. That would be a monstah pen!

    A YF June 24, 2008, 5:17 pm
  • Great minds again, Nick!
    I’d just rephrase your second sentence to say:
    Runs can be allowed early in the game as well.
    Winning games means allowing fewer runs than you score. And it’s as simple as that. A pitcher who can give up the *fewest runs* in the *most innings* will best help the team.

    A YF June 24, 2008, 5:22 pm
  • or take that logic one step further….have farnsworth and veras get their sucking out of the way in the first two less pivotal innings then have joba or pettitte or mussina pitch the next six and hand it over to mo. that would be one jabroni of a middle relief corp.

    sf rod June 24, 2008, 5:28 pm
  • “first two less pivotal innings”
    That’s the thing, Rod – all innings are created equal. There are nine of them and 27 outs. You want the pitchers first who are going to take up the biggest chunks and for as long as possible. If your starters are so good and efficient and pitch complete games every time out (see Walter Johnson and clone him) you’d never need a bullpen.
    By the way, Veras is good this year:
    21 innings, 16 hits, 7 BBs, 21 Ks, 3.38 ERA

    A YF June 24, 2008, 5:33 pm
  • IMO not all innings are equal. defensive replacements have become a staple in modern baseball putting an added value on certain innings over others.
    when will veras be starting? with numbers like those it would be a waste to limit his innings.

    sf rod June 24, 2008, 5:56 pm
  • “when will veras be starting? with numbers like those it would be a waste to limit his innings.”
    Well, this goes into another part of the discussion about starting pitchers versus relief pitchers. Because of their repertoires, certain pitchers are a better match for the bullpen. I’d bet a lot of money that Okajima would have a difficult time of it as a starter, and that Veras would be just awful. They just don’t have the range of pitches that would let them go a few innings, and their pitches are best in the short term.
    Joba, of course, was a starter throughout the minors, and scouts–virtually all of them–think he has the stuff to be a great starter. The Yanks decided to convert him based primarily on their long-term plans for him. It just happens that this season–with the injuries and general suckitude of IPK and Hughes–the Yanks need a starter to stabilize the rotation. So a long-term move hopefully helps out their shirt-term needs as well.

    Nick-YF June 24, 2008, 6:05 pm
  • a- i just cant agree with….“games effected” = innings thrown, since every game consists of at least 9 innings.
    with the highly specialized nature of pitching and micromanaging of pitchers we’re seeing a departure from this simplistic synopsis. last year javier lopez effected 61 games while only pitching 40 innings. while julian tavarez effected half that many games while throwing three times the amount of innings.

    sf rod June 24, 2008, 6:29 pm
  • sf rod – I think the term “value” is probably overloaded. Though it’ll be interesting to see the WPA of a reliever in those innings and compare it to a starter.
    “Value” != runs or runs saved. It’s simply about maximizing the probability of obtaining the win. In the case of defensive replacements, this has the direct effect of lowering the number expected runs to maximize the win probability. To put another way, it is to reduce the volatility of the ballgame at that point.
    I think whenever you say a contract, you have to look at the projections. I’m merely saying that for Damon, he might be projecting well for the first three years, but the 4th was the problem.
    I’m not saying this will happen to Drew, other than the injury risk that might or might not be (though it can happen to anyone, but we had this discussion too many times). So we’ll see.

    Lar June 24, 2008, 6:37 pm
  • Also, I’m just saying generally, Drew’s ability will decline (or it might not, but probabilistically, given his age, which is past his peak) while his salary will go up. So it might not be a bad deal, and it might not be a good deal, so we’ll see. It’s obviously not clear either way.

    Lar June 24, 2008, 6:38 pm

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