Wednesday, March 2, 2011

More of the Same

Another day, another reminder of what it means to be a Jays fan. Important-sounding website Market Watch released a study measuring the amount each team in baseball spent on each win above replacement. And would you believe it? The Jays are very good at efficiently picking up wins.

As it turns out, the Jays are good at picking up wins, period. The study examines total payroll from 2008-2010 and measures them against WAR over the same period. The Jays rank seventh in baseball at grabbing cheap wins, spending just over $1.916 million dollars per fWAR. More impressively, the Jays ranked fifth in WAR from 2008-2010. In the whole league.

Model franchise, and sportswriter Pinnacle of Baseballing Might and Defenders of the Faith, the Minnesota Twins rank just ahead of the Jays in efficient spending, paying out around $125000 less per win. But lo, what's this? The Jays actually amassed more Wins than the sainted Twins, (125.5 to 124.3)? How could that be? The Twins have two playoff appearances in that time while the Jays languish at the bottom of the AL East??

I think this highlights stuff Alex Anthopoulos already knows: the Jays are able to find cheap talent well enough, now they must increase the quality of the talent. The team continues positioning itself in a way that allows them to pay top dollar for high end talent because of all the freely accessible cheap players at the ready.

Again, this isn't news to most of the people reading this site. All the talk about the "money being there when we need it" is key, because the only thing worse than not having the money at all is spending the money for the sake of spending it. The Jays — Jose Bautista notwithstanding — display the patience to stay away from this sinkhole. The foundation is in place, I think we're all ready for the next step.

Image courtesy of flickr user Moctagon Jones


  1. I mentioned this in my own blog but I can't help but wonder about all this talk about the money being there when the team needs it. If you read between the lines it's almost as if Beeston and crew are really saying that:

    'We believe that if we build this team correctly the fans will come back and that will allow us to increase payroll'

    If true, it's a big assumption to make and we may end up with a chicken and an egg thing happening where fans will only come back when the team becomes competitive, which will require spending of money, however, ownership believes that they can bring back fans without spending money and when that happens their payroll will be adjusted accordingly.

    Then again, I could be reading into something that really isn't there.

  2. Beeston is on record as saying that increased attendance will allow them to spend more, but he has fallen just short of saying that only an increase in attendance will trigger an increase in spending.

    in any case, the proof is in the pudding. this team started last season with a bottom third payroll. they have since resigned some players and either traded (Wells) or walked away from some big contracts (Overbay, Buck). What they have not done is taken on significant salary through trades or signings.

    as the article suggests, they are doing a great job of squeezing wins out of this approach. i don't believe you can get to 95 wins without adding to the existing roster by trading or signing. in any other division, you could maybe hope to grab a pennant, but it's not going to happen in the AL EAST.

  3. I think Rogers is much better at leaving the baseball business to the baseball ops people.

    Maybe it is more hope on my part than anything, I think the money will be there for the marginal wins they need to get over the hump. They can spend to retain their young players when it makes sense and then can plug holes for 2-3 years. I hope.

  4. I think this future amount of money will be needed if the prospects believed to be high ceiling pan out. i.e. Romero, Morrow, Snider, and the promising younger players, etc... won't be cheap once they clear arbitration years if they continue to improve as expected.

    If we were a small market team and these players were doomed for departure, I think we'd be off way worse. The promise is that the $$ will be there. My bets are it is mainly to keep the best of what we have. Whether we'd see other additions via Free Agency, that would remain to be seen, but then again, it's often a dicey and often overpaying market.

  5. I think this speaks to JP as much as AA. Maximizing dollar per win was always his strength; he combed the scrapswith the best of them and valued immediate contribution over long-term upside (which is probably why he disliked Rios). AA seems to be pulling the team in the opposite direction, quite frankly - though if he hits on guys like Lawrie and Gose, six-year players will obviously provide a lot of bang for their buck.


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