Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Bill Hall Signs Long Term Deal

I couldn't have been more wrong. After turning down Melvin's overtures for a long term deal last, I was convinced that Bill Hall was content to play out his three arbitration years and wait for the big pay day of free agency. Heck, I didn't blame him. So, you'll appreciate my surprise when I heard that the Brewers and Hall agreed to a four year deal yesterday for what appears to be under market value. Better still, there's a club option for a fifth year, which is almost certainly going to be picked up by the Brewers. This signing alone turns a mediocre off season by Melvin into a good one, in my opinion.

Here are the salary terms of the contract:

2007: $3.50 MIL
2008: $4.80 MIL
2009: $6.80 MIL
2010: $8.40 MIL
2011: $9.25 MIL (Club Option)

Hall has had two very good years in a row (.280/.344/.525/.869, combined), can play almost anywhere defensively and is now signed through his peak years (ages 27 - 31). Looking at the dollar figures, it's difficult to imagine that he would have made less money in arbitration for 07' through 09' than the numbers above. That leaves 2010 and 2011, which (assuming yearly league payroll inflation of 10%) has a present value of $6.3 MIL for both years. That's peanuts in today’s market!

Hall has been very good the last couple of years and long term prospects look very good as well. 2007, ZiPS projects .268/.334/.496/.830 and Marcels projects about the same. That's for his age 27 year. He was an average defensive SS but I suspect he'll be above average in CF. He seems to be a stand up guy and he’s also a fan favorite. I can't figure out what not to like about this deal.

Congratulations Hall, Melvin and the fans. The Brewers might have finally turned a corner. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to reread this thread from brewerfan.net.


Here's what Tangotiger (One of the authors of "THE BOOK--Playing The Percentages In Baseball") thinks about the signing:

"Hall: 5/33, backloaded, paying for +11.5 WAR total.

Definitely an interesting case.

His 5-yr contract works out to the equivalent of 5/32, if paid the same amount each year. So, no big difference. He is being paid for +2.8 WAR this year, and I gave him a small decline of 0.25 wins each year.

He is an above average hitter, a +1 win above average. Dewan loves him as a fielder, while Fans think he’s an average fielding SS. Let’s call him a +0.5 wins as a SS. SS also gets a +0.5 positional value, making his fielding +1.0 wins. Overall, he’s +2 wins above average, making him a +4 WAR.

As a CF, he’ll probably be an average fielding CF, plus he gets the +0.5 positional adjustment, for +0.5 wins. Total WAR as a CF is +3.5.

Considering his arbitration-eligibility, he should have signed a 5/44, backloaded deal, as a CF and 5/51, backloaded, as a SS.

This was definitely another steal for the team. Not as Utley-stupid, but Bill Hall should have definitely asked for more.

I may have to rethink my arbitration model of the salary calculator, seeing how these two high profile players didn’t fit the paradigm.

Or, it’s simply the case that these two are examples of how poorly agents value premium positions with good to great fielding talent."

And the answers to a couple of my follow-up questions:

"On Opening Day, he will be around 27.3 years old. The average player will peak right around there.

Yes, conservative estimate about the position switch. In any case, I provided both numbers.

For arbitration: I put in a 20 cents on the dollar for the 1st year, 40 cents for the 2nd year, 60 cents for the 3rd year and 80 cents for the 4th year (you can quibble about each one, but it doesn’t matter much). So, I’ve captured the value of the arbitration year, relative to the free agent year.

However, this is based on single-year signings. A multiple-year arbitration signing may have additional discounts, that I’m not capturing. And it’s possible the player will give a larger discount at the beginning of the arb cycle than the end, simply because he’s earned less than a million dollars in his career at that point."



Blogger bensheetsraindelay said...

Great news about Hall! We can only speculate what caused Hall to choose the stability of a 4 year deal over holding out for less certainty and probably alot more money. I remeber Hall publicly expressing his gratitude toward Melvin and Brewer management during his last salary increase. Melvin must be a patient sort who is committed to his players and we're talking about a 6 year run of loyalty. It's refreshing in a free agent market and easier to track what player is on what team. Question for you. There is an entertaining and hard core sabermetrics Pittsburgh Pirate blog called Buccoblog. The creators of this site have actively attempted to influence Pirate decisions....asking for invite only clearance to press conferences and question-answer sessions with management. They have a huge fan base, but still use the MLB blog template which is accessible for comments or blog making to members only. You, on the other hand have created a similarly entertaining and well researched sabermetrics blog that I assume has a large fan base. My question is....are you bothered that your opinion in shaping Brewer decisions....(promotions, trades, signings....) is not considered by Brewer higher up's? Baseball teams are private run corporations. In a way, they are multi faced dictatorships. Mult faced in that they are run by different people. Nonetheless, the public is closed off from making change. I am not saying that some drunk shmo should influence a manager's decisions and hire his kid brother as team closer. I'm talking about knowledgeable baseball people such as yourself being included in decision making. It would make MLB more of the people for the people. Each city could elect public reps to sit on boards and discuss the team's current issues. I'm interested to hear your frustrations, if any, regarding this corporate situation that sometimes puts rich people without baseball knowledge into executive positions.

10:52 AM  
Blogger rluzinski said...

I'm not frustrated in the least bit. Melvin has his own stat guys who work full time, crunching numbers for him. I'm just a guy who does this for fun and is still learning as he goes. I won't pretend for a second that I know better than Melvin or his team. Now, if I was a Pirates’ fan, I'm not sure if I could say that with confidence. :)

As a fan, the only thing I'm entitled to is to stop providing revenue to the Brewers if they stop providing me entertainment. It’s Mark A’s team.

11:27 AM  

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