Where the 2012 Yankees got value and where they over spent

The Yankees spent over $200 million on their roster last year, but that money is only good if they got what they paid for. So using FanGraphs’ value system I took a look at how the Yankees spent their money, where they spent wisely, where they broke even, and where they got ripped off to see if they indeed got what they paid for last year.

This is not a ranking of who was most valuable to the Yankees. It’s a ranking of who provided the most value based on how they were paid. I took each player’s salary from last year and subtracted FanGraphs’ value for each player based on WAR.

GOOD VALUES

  • Robinson CanoValue: +$21.3M – Cano lead the Yankees with a 7.8 WAR last season and was easily their most valuable player. He was worth $35.3 million according to FanGraphs and the Yankees only paid him $14 million.
  • Hiroki KurodaValue: +7.5M – Kuroda got bigger offers than the Yankees last offseason, but he took $10 million to pitch in the Bronx. So the Yankees were already coming out ahead especially considering they got him on a risk free one-year deal. But then he went out and pitched better than anyone expected and was valued at $17.5 million. A nice deal for the Yankees.
  • Nick SwisherValue: +7.45M – The Swisher trade was one of Brian Cashman’s best ever and it will forever be hard for him to top. He gave up nothing for Swisher and got positive value every year out of right field as a result. Paid just $10.25 million last season, Swish was worth $17.7 million.
  • Eric ChavezValue: +7M – Chavez used to be a MVP candidate, but injuries knocked him to just a part time player. Still, when healthy he can be dangerous and after he signed a minuscule $900K deal, he stayed healthy and provided the Yankees with $7.9 million in value.
  • Ivan NovaValue: +6.6728M – Nova didn’t have the best season overall, but he had a strong first half and decent numbers for a No. 5 starter. He also is on just his third year in the season so he made just $527,200 last season with a value of $7.2 million.
  • David RobertsonValue: +$6.1M – This one off a bit because FanGraphs values a good K:BB ratio highly. Still, you can’t just buy a reliever as good as D-Rob on the open market for $1.6 million.
  • Phil HughesValue: +$5.2M – A better season than Nova, but he got paid more. Not much more though — $3.2 million which made him a good value.
  • Andy PettitteValue: +$5M – Pettitte signed after the Yankees spent their budget and accepted a $2.5 million deal which obviously worked out big time for them.
  • Russell MartinValue: +$2.5M – Martin didn’t hit for average, but he had patience at the plate and a lot of power. Throw in good defense at a premium position and the Yankees got a bit of a bargain at $7.5 million.

SMALL VALUES

  • Chris StewartValue: +$1.9175M – Perhaps the Yankees spent a bit too much when you consider they lost George Kontos for him, but still Stewart gave them great defense and a couple of timely hits for league minimum.
  • Clay RapadaValue: +$1.775M – Another guy whom the Yankees barely paid, but provided solid contributions throughout the year.
  • Cody EppleyValue: +$1.519M – See Rapada.
  • Curtis GrandersonValue: +$1.5M – Granderson regressed from a career year in 2011, but still gave the Yankees good value at $10 million.
  • Raul IbanezValue: +$1.5M – After bonuses the Yankees paid him $3.5 million which was pretty close to what he ended up being worth factoring in timely hits and below average defense.
  • Boone LoganValue: +$1.025M – His second to last year of arbitration eligibility, the Yankees still managed to squeeze value out of him.

SLIGHT OVERPAYS

  • Andruw JonesValue: -$0.1M – The Yankees got very little production out of him, but paid just $2 million.
  • Freddy GarciaValue: -$1M – The Yankees signed Garcia as an insurance policy and for the most part he worked out well. They would have liked it if he was slightly better though.
  • Joba ChamberlainValue: -$1.075M – The trampoline accident cost the Yankees some money, but they were already in the hold after he had Tommy John Surgery.
  • CC SabathiaValue: -$1.4M – CC was a highly valuable pitcher, but the Yankees pay him a lot. If not for the trips to the DL they probably would have gotten their money’s worth. Slight overpay, but that’s what you have to do sometimes to get an ace.
  • Derek JeterValue: -$1.5M – Jeter had a great year at the plate, but is wearing cement blocks on his feet. He was valuable, but he did get himself a nice $16 million pay check for it.

BIG OVERPAYS

  • Rafael SorianoValue: -$5.5M – Soriano saved the Yankees behinds this season when Rivera went down so perhaps he deserves the benefit of the doubt. The truth is though that closers aren’t worth as much as people think they are and Raffy got paid quite well at $11 million.
  • Mark TeixeiraValue: -$9.6M – Teixeira’s contract is not as bad as A-Rod’s, but it is still one of the worst in baseball. His offensive numbers have declined each year since 2008 and he has normal trips to the DL. At $22.5 million he’s not living up to his contract.
  • Mariano RiveraValue: -$13.2M – The Yankees took quite a hit when Rivera went down. That’s why typically you don’t give relievers huge contracts. In such a limited role they aren’t always worth a lot and are big injury risks.
  • Alex RodriguezValue: -$19.2M – Who did you think would be the least valuable Yankee? Terrible contract. Hank Steinbrenner should have to pay to get into the stadium to make up for it. The Yankees have five more years of sunken costs ahead of them and you could say that before his second hip surgery.

OVERALL: It really wasn’t bad for the Yankees considering they are starting $20 million in the hole thanks to A-Rod and lost a $15 million player for almost the entire season. In total they came out $2.6843 million ahead. The rotation was the biggest saver as they got an extra $22.9728 million of production than they paid for. The bullpen cost the Yankees $11.756 million and the offense cost them $8.5325 million (I obviously didn’t count Ichiro, Gardner, or Dewayne Wise which would have actually increased the offenses value).

The one person that can’t totally be ignored that was an entirely sunken cost was A.J. Burnett, whom the Yankees paid $11.5 million to not pitch for them. This puts the Yankees back in the red.

Pretty solid job putting that team together overall by Brian Cashman. If only the bats didn’t all go cold at the same time they might have won a World Series.

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3 Responses to Where the 2012 Yankees got value and where they over spent

  1. Kevin S says:

    Helpful analysis–Pettitte didn't pitch enough to garner value though

    • Pettitte threw 75.1 innings of excellent baseball (2.87 ERA). That's more innings than most relievers at a solid rate. Good for a 1.7 WAR which is worth $7.5 million.

  2. Tanned Tom says:

    Great analysis Rob. I particularly agree with your comments about
    Hank – he should be made to clean the mens rooms as long as A-Roid plays
    Teixeira – I didn't see his rapid decline coming, thank goodness he can still field
    Jeter – when oh when will they see the light? move him to 3B where he's less of a liability, although his slow first step and weak arm are concerns. Or move him to LF and see what happens. He has the athleticism to make that work.
    Soriano – a huge waste of money to pay closers so highly. The only instance where it's not totally insane is with Rivera (0.71 ERA in the post season) and for the Yanks because they can afford it and they go the playoffs every year. For any other team a big mistake. And writing about big mistakes, Soriano opting out was greedy/foolish.
    and please trade Curtis Granderson now, he really shouldn't be part of the 2014 plan. This was the worst trade Cashman has made, unless i"m forgetting something.