A Sabermetrics review of the Cubs Roster against FA salary value, what it points to be done

The question between now and February 2012 will be who to keep and who not to: If, if, if Ricketts does what he has said he would and hire a GM (and therefore develop a staff) where the new mathematical tools called Sabermetrics will have an influence this analysis might have an insight to what a GM and staff would be looking at..

First the pitchers: I have used WAR (wins against replacement), FIP (fielding independent pitching) and (true runs ERA) against their salary value (either above or below their contracted rate). The position players I concentrated on batting though if time allowed I would have also included fielding as well, in this area WAR (wins against replacement) wBA (weighted On Base Average) and wRC+ (weighted Runs Created+) also along with their salary value (either above or below their contracted rate).

Therefore you could be a better judge as to whom to keep and whom jettison via a salary dump trade, player exchange trade, player release, non arbitration offer or DFA or waiver. It is my view that any team that has hovered around 20 games below .500 that substantial changes must be made regardless of contracted obligations or restrictions.

Here you go.


Starting Pitchers    WAR       $ Value +/-     FIP              tERA   
Coleman                    0.3         $1.2M           4.86              5.42   
Dempster                   2.8         ($1M)            3.76              4.37   
Garza                          4.4         $11.35M       2.97              3.56   
Lopez                         -0.3         ($2.1M)        4. 52             6.84   
Wells                          0.2          $625K          5.05              5.79   
Zambrano                    1        ($13.75M)      4.59               5.33   
Grabow                     -0.4         ($6.5M)           5.06             5.05   
Marmol                       0.8          $300K           3.55              3.97   
Marshall                     2.5         ($700K)         1.82              2.19   
Ortiz                               0          ($275K)         4.84              5.73   
Russell                         0         ($275K)          4.72              4.45   
Samardzija               0.4          ($1.1M)           3.81             3.79   
Wood                         0.3          ($400K)          3.92             4.07   
Injured/Minor League                   
Cashner                    0.0         ($475K)           
Berg                          -0.1                                  6.03       
Carpenter                -0.1                                  5.21       
Gaub                                                                 4.12       
Maine                        -0.4                                 2.91       
Rusen                                                              4.11       
Struck                                                               3.61       
Jackson                                                           3.79       
Dolis                                                                 3.81       
McNutt                                                               3.91       


I have placed names in bold as those warranting a KEEP value where the club should have plans to keep those players or if desired by other clubs have to pay an overvalue. In some cases it is because of salary value that is +/- minimal and other times it is the consideration of WAR like Garza and Dempster. Notice that Zambrano has some positive statistics, though his WAR is not even close to his salary value....but a trade dump could be engineered. Other items like Marmol should be traded for best value.


Position Players    WAR       salary value +/-              wOBA                     wRC+                                                       
Soto                           2.1             $6.4M                           0.316                      92                                                       
Hill                            -0.2             -$1.1M                          0.255                      50                                                       
Pena                          2.2           ($300K)                         0.353                    117                                                       
LaHair                       0.1            ($175K)                0.381 (AAA .443)         136 (AAA.155)                                                       
Barney                      1.7                  $7M                          0.296                     78                                                       
LaMathieu                  0               ($375K)                 .226 (AAA .304)            30 (AAA-66)                                                       
Castro                      2.8              $12.1M                         0.336                     106                                                       
Ramirez                   3.5                $1.2M                         0.375                      132                                                       
Baker                       -0.2             ($175K)                       0.306                        85                                                       
Soriano                     1.1            ($13.1M)                        0.325                      98                                                       
Byrd                            2.3                 $6M                           0.325                      98                                                       
Colvin                        -1.2              ($400K)                      0.216                       23                                                       
Johnson                    1.5               $5.8M                         0.381                      136                                                       
Campana                   1                   $4M                           0.311                       88                                                       
DeWitt                        0.2                $700K                        0.316                      92                                                       
Montanez                    0                  ($200K)             .281 (AAA .383)         68 (AAA-117)                           

Same criteria applies here though Aramis Ramirez and Pena offer another quotient not discussed in that Ramirez might offer the Cubs two supplemental draft choices if he leaves and Pena would likely offer the Cubs one draft choice.I think Cubs must take the opportunity to see if LaHair could offer a cheap one or two year WAR of above 2.2 that Pena is now providing where the Cubs could use financial resources somewhere else and also get a draft choice in return. Ramirez is another issue altogether in that the Cubs hold a fantasy option for 2012 where he could refuse it and go FA. That might not be all bad in the long run but put a deep WAR hole in the Cubs batting. One would really have to know the prospects available down the pipe, than again it might be advantageous to apply some of the money that would be used for Pena and have it go to Ramirez if LaHair can actually produce.

Bryd is the only question mark in that his wRC is below the 100 (average) while the same thoughts go to Barney whom I think both should be considered in the realm of utility-bench players. If the situation is between retaining RJohnson and Byrd the thought is trade Bryd and keep RJohnson and Barney and find a new 2B. 

Not surprising is that Soriano, Lopez, Grabow, Hill, Colvin, Ortiz and Zambrano are costing the Cubs $38M+ in salary lost value or 30% of the team's 2011 salary where production is equates to a WAR value close to ZERO. Meaning you could bring up good prospects and they would offer you more WAR than those 7 players.  

While keeping Dempster, Garza, Wells, Coleman, Marshall, Samardzija, Wood, Russell,that WAR value of almost 11 at a savings of $7.5M against the FA value in the league. Keeping Soto, Pena, Ramirez, Barney, Castro, Byrd, Johnson and Campana offers a WAR of 16.8 at about  savings of $43M against FA value or combined 27.9 WAR in just these players is worth about $50M in free agent value.

In short you could begin to take salary dumps of Soriano and Zambrano and see a WAR recovery with very first year players who actually stick and perform. You would win more game! Soriano has a WAR of 1.2, would BJackson provide that and more if Barney is providing 1.7 right now?At a cost of $400K? Zambrano has a WAR of 1.0, could the Cubs recover that WAR from a solid young pitcher like a healthy McNutt? Marmol's WAR is less than 1 at a 0.8...think Cashner or Carpenter could do that at $400? The question is simply spending $1.2M this year and $1.35M next year to dump $91M in salary obligations from just 3 players. This must be done....

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or Al Yellon, managing editor (unless it's a FanPost posted by Al). FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable baseball fans.

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