I was having an email discussion with one of my writers this morning about the virtues of WAR (Wins Above Replacement). It’s not a perfect stat by any means, but most of the time it gives you a fair indication of how good or bad a player performs overall.
I was kind of curious after our discussion and decided to do some research over at FanGraphs which has become one of my favorite haunts lately. In addition to some great reading backed with solid analysis, you can find numbers and rankings on just about anything you could possibly want.
But for this post, I’m going to present some research on WAR (I’m sure some of you will damn me for this) and also corresponding payrolls.
The following are the Top 10 Teams in Offensive WAR for the 2013 season:
- Boston Red Sox* – 36.6
- Tampa Bay Rays* – 30.3
- Oakland Athletics* – 27.6
- Los Angeles Dodgers* – 27.5
- Baltimore Orioles – 26.6
- Detroit Tigers* – 26.5
- Los Angeles Angels – 26.4
- San Francisco Giants – 26.3
- Atlanta Braves* – 25.3
- Cincinnati Reds* – 24.4
* Seven of the ten teams made the post season.
Only four of the top ten teams in Pitching WAR made the post season in 2013. (Surprising, huh?)
Now here are the Top 10 Teams in 2013 Payroll:
- Los Angeles Dodgers** – $220,395,196
- New York Yankees - $203,445,586
- Philadelphia Phillies – $170,760,689
- Detroit Tigers** – $148,414,500
- Boston Red Sox** – $140,657,500
- San Francisco Giants – $136,042,112
- Los Angeles Angels – $127,896,250
- Chicago White Sox – $119,573,277
- Toronto Blue Jays - $117,035,100
- Washington Nationals - $114,194,270
** Three of the ten teams made the post season.
It’s amazing to see low revenue teams with bottom tier payrolls ranking in the top ten in offensive production. Tampa Bay and Oakland have been doing this for years now, with the Rays checking in with a $58 million payroll and the A’s residing in the $60 million area code. Both of them were in the bottom four with only the Marlins and Astros having spent less.
Of course Billy Beane has gotten plenty of notoriety for what he’s done and still doing in the Bay Area, but one general manager you hear or read so little about is the Rays’ Andrew Friedman.
Friedman doesn’t have any screenplays being written about him, but should be equally recognized for how he manages to keep the Rays in contention year in and year out in the toughest division in baseball – the American League East.
The Houston, Texas native initially started out as the Director of Baseball Development for the Rays from 2004 to 2005, before being promoted to general manager and eventually vice president as well. Friedman took over a team that lost 101 games in 2006 and were in the World Series two seasons later.
In the six years spanning 2008-2013, the Rays have posted a 550 – 423 record with a .563 winning percentage while making four post season appearances. It could have been five post season appearances, but despite winning 90 games in 2012, they were eliminated on the last day of the season.
I hear the word “genius” thrown about way too often in describing our general manager as well as others. But lets call a spade a spade here, and admit the real star among all general managers is Andrew Friedman – and what he’s done with the few financial resources he’s been given to work with, has been nothing short of genius and spectacular.