Braves Sign Wagner

I’m not normally a fan of signing relievers on the free-agent market. So, when I woke up to the report of the Braves signing Billy Wagner my first feeling was concern. However, I think the terms of the deal are quite reasonable. It’s a one-year, $7 million deal, with a $6.5 million option for a second year that vests if Wagner finishes 50 games.

I estimate Wagner to be worth about $8 million per year to an average team.* Given that the Braves look to be an above-average team Wagner’s value to the Braves is a little higher. Wagner is a Type A free agent, so the Braves will lose a first-round draft pick. With the lost pick and his additional injury risks, Wagner appears to be worth close to what the Braves are giving up to sign him. It’s a good early move by the Braves. If for some reason the season goes poorly, Wagner can easily be moved to a contender.


*If you’re familiar with my past estimates of relievers, you will notice this value is higher than what I have estimated top closers to be worth in the past. I have adjusted the way that I value relievers to account for pitching in more valuable spots.

4 Responses “Braves Sign Wagner”

  1. Sky says:

    Can you share how good you project Wagner to be? ERA/IP or K/BB/HR rates or something like that?

  2. JC says:

    It’s a fair question, but I can’t report performance projections easily, because I convert everything in dollar teams and then generate the projection in those terms. Generating these values is a complicated procedure (especially when it comes to relievers) and it’s taken me an entire book to fully explain it. I wish that I could explain everything in detail now, but it’s not practical to do so. But, I assure you that I will be publishing the full method in detail. I understand that people will remain skeptical of my estimates until my method is fully presented, and such skepticism is appropriate. I have explained what I have done generally, and these estimates are a modified from that same basic approach.

  3. Peter says:

    Valuing relievers is a question I’ve thought a lot about. The way we’ve assumed it’s done has always been the team pays for the production and leverages as it sees fit. Though I have to think that teams take into account how they’re going to leverage the production when they’re making decisions.

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  1. [...] a vacuum, I don’t hate this signing. As J.C. Bradbury points out, Wagner would likely yield more in revenue than it cost to sign [...]