FanPost

Buehrle: A Cost or a Benefit?

Perhaps the most controversial player acquired by the Jays in Tuesday’s mega-deal is Mark Buehrle.

Controversial in that many bloggers see him as adding value to the transaction, while others are saying that the Jays would have been better off if they had done the same deal but left MB in Miami.

Obviously, nobody knows the future. If MB were to somehow return to the 5-6 WAR levels he achieved in 2007 and 2009, the Jays would look like geniuses. Conversely, if he collapses in 2013 and beyond, his remaining 3 years / $38 million will look like a significant mistake.

But “for the sake of the argument” …

Assume that the value of a win was $5 million in 2012, and that it is escalating by 5% per year. (Note that this assumes linearity, which is not the best assumption, but I use it for simplicity).

MB had a WAR of 4.2 in 2008 (per Baseball Reference) and a WAR of 3.2 in 2012. His average decline in WAR over that 5-year period was accordingly 0.2 per year. So assume that this trend continues, and that his WAR declines to 3.0 in 2013, 2.8 in 2014 and 2.6 in 2015.

On that basis, MB’s projected surplus value will be $4.8 million in 2013, -$2.6 million in 2014 and -$4 million in 2015, for a net negative surplus value (not present valued) of $1.8 million.

If you believe that the Jays will be contending in those years, an argument can be made that the value of a marginal win is much higher, which will decrease this negative surplus (and possibly turn it into a positive number). Similarly, a more optimistic assumption about MB’s future WAR or the rate of inflation in the value of a win would reduce this negative – for example, if his WAR only declines by 0.1 per year instead of 0.2, the surplus value is essentially zero.

But the “bottom line” appears to be that MB is fully priced, and that (barring the unexpected) he is unlikely to generate significant positive or negative surplus value.

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