Archive for June, 2005

The Yankee Premium

Over at The Sports Economist fellow George Mason alum Brian Goff performs a “rough experiment” to identify the “Yankee premium,” which is the amount the club pays for similar talent on other teams in MLB. Here is what he finds:

Players filling similar roles with better numbers on other teams make anywhere from the league minimum up to around $2 million per season. In total, the Yankees are paying around $165 million for players whose mirror images on other teams are making under $80 million.

And what’s the explanation? Goff provides three, but I agree with him that this one is the best.

Players negotiating with the Yankees are aware of the higher media revenues that the team generates. Rather than permit Steinbrenner to pocket all of the difference between their value to other teams and their value in NY, these players negotiate deals that capture some or most of these additional revenues.

I’m sure that Brian would be willing to hear other ideas. Good work, Brian.

Addendum: I’ve thought some more on this, and I think there is one problem with this explanation. If players are holding out for rents then Steinbrenner should be leading the charge for some sort of salary cap or maximum salary. But, media reports have Steinbrenner very much opposed to these types of controls. It doesn’t doom the explanation, I’m just pointing it out.

WEA Meeting

I’m interested in meeting up with fellow economists who read Sabernomics at the Western Economic Association Meeting in San Francisco this July. I know many of you, but I’m just curious as to who is stopping by that I might not know. If you’re going, please leave a comment or drop me an e-mail. I’d love to meet you. And even if I do know you, let me know if you’re going to be there.

I’m Back

Sorry for my prolonged absence. I went the the beach and just kind of lost myself. I’ve been lurking around the internet some, but I haven’t felt like posting much. If you haven’t gotten an response back from me on an e-mail, I will get back with you shortly. But anyway, I got quite a bit of work done on my trip thanks to my new laptop, which makes easing back into work-life less of a transition.

I did a good bit of reading, and I’ll be posting some book reviews shortly on:

So, check back if you’re interested in my opinions on any of these.

Also, a lot has changed with the Braves since I left. As I noted earlier, Mondesi is gone and Kelly Johnson was promoted in his place. I would like to thank an anonymous source for tipping me off on this move before it was made public. Had I been in the office to check my messages, Sabernomics would have gotten the scoop on this move. So, Deep Throat, feel free to keep sending me more good stuff.

But in addition to Johnson, the Braves also called up super-stud prospect Andy Marte, Brayan Pena (although Pena was just demoted), and Brian McCann. With all of these hitters getting of to slow actual starts (except McCann) I really wanted to look at these guys PrOPS. Unfortunately, though I had planned to update PrOPS for The Hardball Times during my trip, I forgot something important: the formulas. So I updated PrOPS this morning, and they should be updated for all players shortly. Here are the PrOPS numbers for the Braves prospects:

Name              PrOPS   OPS
McCann            1.533   1.357
Marte             0.748   0.378
Johnson           0.619   0.228
Pena              0.566   0.297

What the Braves really need is bullpen help. These guys can’t hold a lead.