Cost/Benefit Part One: Pitchers

The Yankees have an incredibly high payroll. Per Cot’s, the Yankees opened 2009 with a payroll of $201,449,189. They give out incredibly large contracts, so usually, they’re overpaying their players.

The ever awesome FanGraphs includes a “Value” section on its player pages. Based on the Wins Above Replacement system, the site estimates what monetary value the player should go for if he were a free agent/in a perfect economic world. In this post, we’ll take a look at how each player was valued versus how much he made. Let’s start with the pitchers:

CC Sabathia
Salary: $14MM
Value: $27.4MM
Difference: +$13.4MM

A.J. Burnett
Salary: $16.5MM
Value: $14.5MM
Difference: -$2.0MM

Andy Pettitte
Salary: $10MM (with performance bonuses added)
Value: $15.5MM
Difference: +$5.5MM

Joba Chamberlain
Salary: $432,575
Value: $7.2MM
Difference: +$6,767,425

So, with the exception of A.J. Burnett, who could remain overpaid for the entirety of his contract, the Yankees got good value out of their five main starters. Joba’s number is obviously skewed because of how little he makes, as a player under team control. Sabathia’s salary goes up to $23MM next year, so it will be harder for him to pitch to his salary. Andy Pettitte was probably the most pleasant surprise this year.

Now, let’s move on to some of the key bullpen guys:

Mariano Rivera
Salary: $15MM
Value: $8.9MM
Difference: -$6.1MM

Phil Hughes
Salary: $407,650
Value: $10.2MM
Difference: +$9,792,350

Alfredo Aceves
Salary: $406,750
Value: $5.6MM
Difference: +$5,193,250

Phil Coke
Salary: $403,330
Value: $600,000
Difference: +$197,000

David Robertson
Salary: $406,825
Value: $3.3MM
Difference: +$2,893,175

As expected, the Yankees got the best value out of Phil Hughes this year. His strong pitching in the pen, coupled with some decent starts that delivered innings, Hughes well outperformed his salary. The thing we may find most striking is Rivera’s salary versus value. His salary is very high but his value is relatively low because of the fact that he is, after all, a closer who does not pitch as many innings. Regardless, the Yankees generally got very good value out of their bullpen in 2009. Tune in next time when I take a look at the outfielders and DH.

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