Editor's note: This post was a quick response to the Vlad signing. After carefully running the projections, the difference was found to be 0.8 wins added due to his addition.
Vladimir Guerrero and the Orioles have ended their game of chicken with Vlad looking to be the winner. The Orioles appeared to have no competition, but hemmed and hawed their way to about what Vlad wanted after his dreams of 2 years and 20MM met with the sounds of crickets. Though, there is a question on the deal though winds up being how much of it is deferred. Regardless, some will say "who cares? It is not my money. Bring on the wins!" Six years ago, sure. Now? Not so much.
Marcel, the regression projection model, projects Vlad to be a 284/335/466 which looks like a WAR of 2. A rough rule of thumb place a WAR of 2 to be about average. To restate that a little more in the vernacular, Vlad is an average DH. His bat will replace Felix Pie's bat, which is replacement level. That means that Pie is about as good as the theoretical AAA LF with the bat. I think everyone can agree that in all likelihood, Vlad's bat in the lineup is much better than having Pie's bat in the lineup.
However, that is not the whole story. Pie being removed from the lineup means that Luke Scott is now a leftfielder. We can also probably agree that Scott is not as good of a leftfielder as Pie, but the question now is: by how much? We established in the previous paragraph that Vlad's bat is 2 Wins better than Pie's. Pie's glove is up to more of a question. Pie has played only 117 games in LF. In that time he has been recorded as saving 4 runs with the Dewan Plus/Minus system, 4.4 runs given by Total Zone, and 0.1 runs saved by UZR. It is difficult to measure him completely as there have not been enough games played (you really want something in the neighborhood of 300 games at least) and scouting reports mentioned that Pie is getting better and better at defense. So, let's call Pie an average leftfielder even though I think he is more likely a +5 or sightly better. Luke Scott has seen twice as much time in left field and comes out as roughly 6, 3.3, and 3.7 runs saved over the same time period. He also has not played leftfield in about two years. It would be kind, I think, to save Scott will be average and more accurate to predict him giving up 5 runs per year. We'll be kind and say he is Pie's equal. This keeps the difference at two wins.
So, is two wins worth 8MM?
In general, yes, yes it is. A win is worth about 4.5MM on the free agent market, so Vlad's contract is about what it should be. However, is a win really a win? I think it would be fair to say that a win or two for a 80 win team is not worth the same as a win or two for a 93 win team. One may be content with an Orioles squad committed to winning as many games as possible, but I question to what end? Vlad will not be an Oriole in 2012. He seems awfully unpopular now and probably will be worth next to nothing come the deadline with the Orioles about 7-10 games off the Wild Card. Other sluggers, like Jim Thome, were traded for inconsequential pieces like Scott Fuller.
I have to say two things:
1. I think this signing is ineffectual and wastes money that could be spent elsewhere.
2. I'm excited to see Vlad in an Orioles uniform.
OK, and a third thing,
3. I'm disappointed that this did not happen years ago.