(This post was written by long-time friend of the Nation Michael Howes.)

I got this idea from a post over at Beyond The Boxscore comparing the Texas Rangers players’ value to their contracts to the value of their production. What I have done is taken Fangraphs‘ dollar value — which is based on WAR — for each Reds player and subtracted that from each players actual pay. This can show us which Reds have been a good or bad value based on what the Reds are paying them and where the Reds have spent their money wisely.

The scale is in millions and values in (red) are negative value.

Cincinnati Reds Value Over Contract
Cincinnati Reds Value Over Contract

The good news is that 25 of the 38 players who have played significant time for the Reds are due to get paid less than $1 million dollars this year, including Votto, Dickerson, Cueto, Hanigan, Bruce, Gomes, Masset and Stubbs. It’s easy to be worth more than what you are getting paid if you make that little.

I won’t go into the bad news too much since we pretty much knew Gonzo and Taveras were not earning their money (roughly $7 million combined). The question that I’ve seen asked on the blog before goes something like this. “Cordero has been great this season but can the Reds afford to pay a closer $12 million?” Well Cordero has been very good this season until recent weeks but he’s only been worth slightly over $6 million. By this measure — well, by almost any measure — a team like the Reds cannot spend $12 million on a closer worth around $6 million.

I have not compared the team total value over contract with other teams but the Reds appear to have done fairly well. A number of the most valuable Reds come cheap: Votto, Phillips, Cueto, Hanigan, Bruce and Nix. Gomes would be on this list but he just hasn’t played enough. These players have outweighed the big wastes of money which have been Gonzo, Hernandez, Cordero and Lincoln.

The team has performed to a total value of $97 million. The team is going to pay these players $72 million.

A few notes (caveats) on what I did.

  • Value is based on production, including defense through September 10th. I adjusted that value with a straight percentage of 162 games. Playing time from here on out will change these values.
  • I’ve removed a few players who haven’t played much and weren’t really in Reds plans before the season started. Barker, Richar, Miller, Manuel, Ramirez and Viola.
  • I’ve lowered traded players’ pay to the day they were traded.
  • Players currently on the DL with the exception of Bruce did not have their value adjusted for playing time from now until the end of the year. If by chance Harang, Taveras, etc play more their value would change.
  • I removed pitchers’ hitting value with the exception of Owings. Owings hitting value is significant. Take that into account when looking at the graph.
  • I did not have salary numbers for Lehr, McDonald or Stubbs so assumed league minimum of $400,000.
  • Hairston Jr. and Gonzo were not so easy to adjust actual pay. I think we paid both teams an additional $1.1 million each to take them but it was hard to figure out.
  • I absolutely cheated on Balentien. His VOC (Value over Contract) is probably the main one that could be inaccurate. I don’t have his performance value for just the Reds. I have a combined Seattle/Reds value. I divided it up based on plate appearances for each team.
  • Rolen’s pay this year as far as I can tell is $0. That is what makes his value over contract so high. 🙂

If you’d like to see the raw data drop me an email.