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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Does Mike Trout lose value as his salary increases?

Mike Trout will probably be voted American Conference MVP in this his third full season.  He should have been MVP in his first two but he finished second both times to Miguel Cabrera.

baseball-reference.com:


YearAgeTeamSalaryServTm(OpnDay)SourcesNotes/Other Sources
201321Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim$510,0001.070contracts
201422Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim$1,000,0002.070
201523Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim$5,250,000
201624Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim$15,250,000
201725Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim$19,250,000
201826Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim$33,250,000
201927Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim$33,250,000
202028Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim$33,250,000
Earliest Free Agent: 2021
Career to date (may be incomplete)$1,510,000Does not include future salaries
In his first two full seasons Trout basically earned the minimum.  This season: about twice that.  Next season: about five times.  Then about 30 times.  And so on.

Has Mike Trout topped out? Batters no longer improve according to Fangraphs.  Sunday, August 3, 2014

Mike Trout may not improve and any team that signs him after his current contract expires in 2020 will get diminishing returns.  That's the conclusion if research in Frangraphs is correct...

This research indicates the Angels will get their money's worth through 2017 when Trout is 25 and paid $19.5 million.  For his final three years through 2020 and age 28 at $33 million per year, it's more problematic.
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Let's take that and combine it with another idea.

MVP: should money be considered?  Thursday, November 8, 2012

... MVP is the best player, not someone who fits into some sloppy sliding scale:
- player is good
- team does well
- teammates are not too good.


Mike Trout in Baltimore
September 17, 2011
by Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA
via Wikimedia Commons
Was he worth more then?
Just give it to the best player.  Now, how to judge?  The current central committee (yes, a reference to communism) view is to simply use Wins Above Replacement (WAR), which is a total, not an average.  Generally there are competing arguments for total v. average but that will not be addressed here.  I'm not nuts about WAR, mainly because of the fielding component.  I have written about that previously...

But here's the point that none of us has considered: money.  How much money did their respective teams allocate to each of these individuals and what players could have been on the Tiger and Angel rosters because of that difference in money spent to pay Cabrera and Trout...

And even though I do not embrace WAR let's try it for this purpose: determining a dollar value for wins.  Let's use WAR as calculated by baseball-reference.com.  What, you thought there was one intergalactically accepted WAR?  And since Cabrera is ranked third because his fielding is considered below average, let's throw in the number two player, Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano who was paid $14 million.

salary / WAR = $$ per WAR:
Trout $500,000 / 10.7 = $46,729
Cano $14,000,000 / 8.2 = $1,707,317
Cabrera $21,000,000 / 6.9  = $3,043,478

Well, that puts MVP into an entirely different perspective.
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So isn't Mike Trout losing value?  Even if the fangraphs thing is bunk, just look at the money.

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