Impact of the Matsui signing on the Angels

December 18, 2009

Alright, I’m going to give somewhat unique breakdowns of FA signings. Hopefully this becomes a series.

So let’s get started.

The Deal

Hideki Matsui to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, $6 million for one year.

The Context

Matsui should be limited to a DH role. He hasn’t been even mediocre in the outfield since, well, ever, and didn’t spend an inning in the field in 2009. Here are the Angels who received significant time at DH in 2009:

Vladimir Guerrero – 93 games

Mike Napoli – 18 games

Bobby Abreu – 14 games

Juan Rivera – 10 games

Guerrero spent a lot of time on the DL, however, so I expect next year’s DH split to have less members, maybe something like…

Hideki Matsui – 127

Mike Napoli – 15

Bobby Abreu – 10

Juan Rivera – 5

Various others – 5

Standard WAR Analysis

So we have Matsui getting about 127 starts at DH, some pinch hitting, some being pinch hit for, probably for about 500 plate appearances.

Estimating about .370 wOBA and 500 plate appearances for Matsui gives us 1.85 WAR.

Alright, so 1.85 WAR, getting paid $5.6 million above replacement, that works out to $3 million per win which is a pretty huge bargain.

Team Impact Analysis

Alright, so where would those PAs go if the Angels didn’t sign Matsui? Well, let’s say 100 of those go to Bobby Abreu, and Mike Napoli gets 27 extra ones. This makes sense, as Scioscia likes to use Jeff Mathis sometimes even though he sucks.

Abreu, over 100 games in the outfield, is about a -8 run defender and at .370 wOBA in a corner spot, which means that whether he is DH or in the OF, it has no affect on his WAR.

Napoli’s extra 27 games, however, would come at the expense of nobody, as he would go from bench to playing.

Conclusion

Alright, since the .370 wOBA projection is the same for all of Matsui, Abreu, and Napoli, all we have to do to see the absolute difference is see the difference in plate appearances of .370 wOBA between having Matsui and not having him. That answer is 105. This is 22 games less than Matsui is expected to play, meaning the impact of the Matsui signing is… 1.57 WAR!

This means the Angels paid $5.6 million above replacement for 1.57 wins above replacement for $3.57 million per win.  A good deal for the Angels in their current situation, that is some real value right there, Although Matsui would be a bigger value to a team with nobody else to give DH time to, as the Angels do with Napoli, it’s still a net positive move and a smart one, adding valuable wins to their roster in what looks to be a very competitive AL West in 2010.

Welcome to Cyber Egg Stadium

December 1, 2009

That's one hot home run zone.


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