Efficient Free Agent Shopping

Well, I whipped up some quick numbers that I thought I would share. It’s still a work in progress, but I decided to find out which GMs did the best on the free agent market in terms of picking up talent based on what the market was paying for talent. So, I ran a little quick and dirty regression on the salary received by players as a function of their career hitting characteristics (I’ll do pitching later). I considered the age and position of the players, as well. There are no reserve clause issues (OK, well less than usual) because I’m looking only at free agents. So, here is a list of the average dollar price paid above/below the market for the skills of the players they acquired from the free agent market. The teams (and one country) are ranked in order of average percent difference of each signing from the regression-predicted signing price.

Team        	Absolute    	Percent
Philadelphia    -$1,367,526    	-64.58%
Texas        	-$746,452    	-51.37%
Colorado    	-$806,993    	-44.51%
NY Mets*    	-$473,430    	-34.47%
Atlanta        	-$463,586    	-32.20%
Toronto        	-$757,956    	-28.84%
Cleveland   	-$576,174    	-26.76%
Arizona        	-$1,085,352    	-19.29%
Washington    	-$362,625    	-17.95%
St. Louis    	-$114,854    	-17.79%
Cincinnati    	-$268,027    	-11.08%
San Diego    	-$115,356    	-10.31%
Florida        	$1,439,245    	-6.47%
Minnesota    	-$74,287    	-6.19%
LA Dodgers    	$816,644    	7.52%
Chicago Cubs    $127,679    	15.24%
Baltimore    	$282,606    	34.57%
Detroit        	$3,319,571    	34.77%
Chicago Sox    	$530,053    	37.24%
Milwaukee    	$847,552    	42.68%
NY Yankees    	$550,862    	43.70%
Tampa Bay    	$422,716    	49.55%
Seattle        	$2,746,083    	50.97%
Houston        	$410,955    	65.54%
Boston        	$3,388,058    	73.23%
LA Angels    	$1,541,126    	105.64%
Japanese Teams  $4,344,933    	137.71%
San Francisco   $2,702,526    	252.36%

* Excludes Beltran (I don't know why he was missed, but somehow he didn't make it in my
sample. Sorry)

Wow, it looks like there’s a greater premium to play in San Francisco than Japan.

3 Responses “Efficient Free Agent Shopping”

  1. Skip says:

    Interesting start. Is this just this year’s signings, i.e. what is the time period?

    Some puzzlers:

    Florida typo?

    Do you have an explanation for Japan?

  2. JC says:

    Time period: based off the previous off-season.

    The weirdness of the Florida is due to the massive absolute overpayment of Delgado — $3.7 mil with only a 40% overpayment — and the big percentage deal for Damian Easley — negative 53% while the absolute underpayment was only $850K. The reported team numbers are the mean per player.

    Why did I do it this way? It was easier. This is just preliminary. I’ll bring more to the table shortly. I probably should report the overall under/over payment.

    On Japan, I’m not really surprised. You’d have to pay me quite a bit more than what I’m currently making to cause me to move to Japan. But, there is only one hitter in the sample who went to Japan, Tony Batista. I probably should have dropped it, but left it in for fun.

  3. Tom G says:

    Don’t tinker with anything JC, I like the fact that the Phils come out on top.