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Yagyu+
06-29-2010, 02:34 AM
Another thread for your viewing pleasure. From fangraphs, Retroactively Evaluating The Carlos Zambrano Contract (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/24932/):


”There was nothing wrong with the investment. This guy was an outstanding pitcher in the National League, in the game, for the four or five years before that. And there’s no question that the deal was a solid one in the industry. He certainly would have been one of the hotter tickets on the street if that thing went to the end of the season.”

This is Jim Hendry, talking to the Chicago Sun-Times about the Carlos Zambrano contract, which was signed in August of 2007 with free agency looming for the Cubs ace. The $91.5 million contract is now seen as an albatross. Here’s how it breaks down, starting in 2008, via Cot’s Contracts

08:$15M, 09:$17.75M, 10:$17.875M, 11:$17.875M, 12:$18M, 13:$19.25M vesting player option

Given that the option only vests if Zambrano finishes first or second in Cy Young voting in the 2011 or top four in 2012, we can be relatively safe in assuming that the contract will expire after the 2012 season. When we look back at Zambrano’s performance up to and including 2007, was Jim Hendry actually justified in handing Zambrano such a large contract?

Let’s take a look at Zambrano’s 2004-2007, the years that should be the deciding factors in this contract. 2002 and 2003 are far enough removed that their impact on Zambrano’s predicted future performance is minimal.

2004 (age 22-23): 209.2 IP, 8.1 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9, 3.57 FIP, 3.80 tERA, 3.88 xFIP, 2.75 ERA
2005 (age 23-24): 223.1 IP, 8.1 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9, 3.70 FIP, 4.36 tERA, 3.54 xFIP, 3.26 ERA
2006 (age 24-25): 214.0 IP, 8.8 K/9, 4.8 BB/9, 0.8 HR/9, 4.14 FIP, 4.44 tERA, 4.20 xFIP, 3.41 ERA
2007 (age 25-26): 216.1 IP, 7.4 K/9, 4.2 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9, 4.58 FIP, 4.53 tERA, 4.62 xFIP, 3.95 ERA

There’s a pretty simple picture painted here. Zambrano constantly managed to outperform his peripheral numbers, mainly because of BABIPs below .290 every season. Still, he was becoming worse and worse each season, as his ridiculous HR rate in 2004 normalized and as his walk rate ballooned in 2006, followed by a stirkeout shortage in 2007. At 26, there was no reason to believe that Zambrano had already peaked, but the trend is certainly disheartening. Marcel saw Zambrano as a 3.48 ERA pitcher for 2008 and a 3.90 FIP. CHONE was less optimistic, projecting a 3.82 ERA and 4.17 FIP.

If we use Zambrano’s 3.50 ERA as our input for WAR, the deal looks excellent. Over 200 innings, that would be worth about 5 WAR, and in 2008 a marginal win was going for about $4.5M on the free agent market. Even with a discount for contract length, with Zambrano at 26 years old, the contract would pay for only 3.3 WAR. That looks like a major win for the Cubs.

If we use 3.90, close enough to Zambrano’s CHONE ERA and exactly his Marcel FIP, the deal looks like a fair market value contract. That input produces 3.5 WAR, just above what the initial contract calls for.

If we instead use 4.10, the value of Zambrano’s CHONE FIP, the deal becomes a loss for the Cubs, as Zambrano would only produce 3 WAR in the first season.

If Jim Hendry had a legitimate reason to believe that Carlos Zambrano could keep his BABIPs ridiculously low, than there was a legitimate reason to believe that Zambrano would continue to be a 3.90 ERA pitcher or better, which would make the contract a reasonable one for the Cubs. However, given DIPS theory and how successful it typically is with evaluating pitchers, it seems likely that the 4.20 FIP which CHONE projected for Zambrano (and which he actually posted in 2008) was a much more realistic expectation.

Certainly, the case that we see right now with Zambrano is among the worst-case scenarios, but there wasn’t much reason to believe that Carlos Zambrano would produce that well, especially for five years after the contract was signed. It seems to me that Hendry saw too much of the 2004-2005 Zambrano when he offered this contract and not enough of the 2006-2007 version.

poodski
06-29-2010, 09:08 AM
This is a good reason why I think that the assumption of regression to the norm is a bad thing. Zambrano has proven to be able to obtain a low BABIP, from 2002 to 2008 it was never above .291, which is pretty damn good. 2009 it jumped up, but it was also surprisingly his best year since 2003. I do not agree with the regression to the norm after a certain amount of time. Zambrano has proven to be able to outperform his FIP on a consistent basis. Each year from 2002 to 2008 he outperformed his FIP by quite a bit at times.

Also as Jilly pointed out this doesnt even begin to calculate his bat. For his career Zambrano has a .270 wOBA, and I show that last year the average P had a wOBA of .155. Giving him approximately 80 PA a year that makes him worth 8 runs over the average P, in an average year, which is worth .8 WAA, I am not even sure what it would be above replacement, probably looking at .9 or even 1.0 WAR added on. While that isnt on a year to year basis.

Last year he was worth 8.26 wRAA, or approximately .9 WAR, so add that to his 3.6 WAR from last year and he was worth 4.5 WAR last year, which is worth about 20.25 million on the open market. Which would have put him 9th in the NL in WAR (not including or taking out any other pitchers hitting).

I don't like Zambrano thats pretty well known, but its not as though his contract is an abomination. I want him gone, but he has earned his money thus far.

Str1fe5
06-29-2010, 09:42 AM
This is a good reason why I think that the assumption of regression to the norm is a bad thing. Zambrano has proven to be able to obtain a low BABIP, from 2002 to 2008 it was never above .291, which is pretty damn good. 2009 it jumped up, but it was also surprisingly his best year since 2003. I do not agree with the regression to the norm after a certain amount of time. Zambrano has proven to be able to outperform his FIP on a consistent basis. Each year from 2002 to 2008 he outperformed his FIP by quite a bit at times.

Also as Jilly pointed out this doesnt even begin to calculate his bat. For his career Zambrano has a .270 wOBA, and I show that last year the average P had a wOBA of .155. Giving him approximately 80 PA a year that makes him worth 8 runs over the average P, in an average year, which is worth .8 WAA, I am not even sure what it would be above replacement, probably looking at .9 or even 1.0 WAR added on. While that isnt on a year to year basis.

Last year he was worth 8.26 wRAA, or approximately .9 WAR, so add that to his 3.6 WAR from last year and he was worth 4.5 WAR last year, which is worth about 20.25 million on the open market. Which would have put him 9th in the NL in WAR (not including or taking out any other pitchers hitting).

I don't like Zambrano thats pretty well known, but its not as though his contract is an abomination. I want him gone, but he has earned his money thus far.

This, except for the last part about wanting him gone. You can't ignore Z's bat.

poodski
06-29-2010, 09:53 AM
This, except for the last part about wanting him gone. You can't ignore Z's bat.

I don't like Z. I don't like how reacts on the field, I don't like how he has seemingly declined, I just dont like him. I dont think his contract will be worth what it is set to be paid at. So I do not like him at all.

I will say a lot of it is personal, but his .8 wins per year just with the bat are quite, quite nice.

The decline in IP is becoming worrisome though. Right now though we aren't getting **** for him on the market.

BDawk4Prez
06-29-2010, 11:01 AM
I don't like Z. I don't like how reacts on the field, I don't like how he has seemingly declined, I just dont like him. I dont think his contract will be worth what it is set to be paid at. So I do not like him at all.

I will say a lot of it is personal, but his .8 wins per year just with the bat are quite, quite nice.

The decline in IP is becoming worrisome though. Right now though we aren't getting **** for him on the market.

Largely in part to pur knee jerk reactive manager and GM.

poodski
06-29-2010, 11:05 AM
Largely in part to pur knee jerk reactive manager and GM.

How? Because they put him on the restricted list?

No we arent going to get **** for him because again he got into a conflict with a teammate, and because he has a 5.66 ERA. I don't think putting him on the restricted list hurt his value at all.

cowboydoc45
06-29-2010, 11:08 AM
How? Because they put him on the restricted list?

No we arent going to get **** for him because again he got into a conflict with a teammate, and because he has a 5.66 ERA. I don't think putting him on the restricted list hurt his value at all.

Agreed. At this point, it would almost be easier to move Soriano's contract than Z's. I hate to say it, but if we do move him, we would either have to move him for a PTBNL, or a very low spec to even consider not sending over half of his salary with him, or we would have to take on a similar if not worse contract. Looks like we have the most expensive MR/mop up guy in the league. Maybe he can hold it together and at least be valuable as a setup guy...

BDawk4Prez
06-29-2010, 11:09 AM
How? Because they put him on the restricted list?

No we arent going to get **** for him because again he got into a conflict with a teammate, and because he has a 5.66 ERA. I don't think putting him on the restricted list hurt his value at all.

Come on Po. The restricted list had nothing to do with it, that was just the end result.

Classic Cubs brass handling of issues is the concern.

Kirel
06-29-2010, 11:12 AM
Specific examples would be far more itneresting than gross generalization.

How did the cubs management hurt Zambranos value more than Zambrano did?

poodski
06-29-2010, 11:12 AM
Come on Po. The restricted list had nothing to do with it, that was just the end result.

Classic Cubs brass handling of issues is the concern.

What has the Cubs brass done to further hurt his market value. Thats what I don't understand.

BDawk4Prez
06-29-2010, 11:23 AM
What has the Cubs brass done to further hurt his market value. Thats what I don't understand.

What have they done to better it? The way this situation has been handled with Z is far from helping his value.

Mell413
06-29-2010, 11:25 AM
Zambrano with his latest tirade probably hurt his value more than management did. That said moving him to the bullpen in April and moving him there again does not help. If the Cubs don't think he's good enough to be in their rotation then I don't see why other teams would think he's a quality starter. I think he should be in the rotation, but if he's not good enough for the Cubs I don't see other teams wanting him.

As far as the thread topic goes I don't think the contract is that bad. WAR does not take into his account his ability to field his position, swing the bat, and hold runners. I'm not saying he's an ace, but he's probably a solid #2 still. He might be overpaid relative to guys like Halladay. Although I guess you could argue guys like Z are paid right where they should be and guys like Halladay are underpaid.

Yagyu+
06-29-2010, 01:07 PM
This was not the title of the thread.

Illinirob83
06-29-2010, 03:02 PM
What have the Cubs done to hurt Z's value? Are you f'n serious? How can that be a serious f'n question? They overreacted to everything this year because apparently Lou Piniella made it clear to Hendry in spring that Z better not have any "episodes" or "blowups" cause he isn't going to put up with it this year....especially with new owners in place.

Then they finally had the opportunity to OVERREACT to a Z blowup, and they did.

But when you have that much invested into someone who has multiple years left at a ridiculous amt of money...YOU DON"T SEND HIM DOWN TO THE BULLPEN BECAUSE OF A BAD START TO THE SEASON! That is how they lowered his value. Now they will be putting him back down in the bullpen.

What they shouldve done is start him every fifth day from opening day forward. He had a bad opening day.....after that he had an ERA of 3.83 before this blowup. They shouldve never put in down in the bullpen in the first place. He got himself in terrific shape, and if I was Cubs brass I wouldve been hopeful that Z could go back to his mid-2000 self. He really has never had a bad season, just didn't have a very good or great one last year.

Ok......well bite the bullet. You paid the guy 91 million, he can't be moved....no one would want him especially now. He shouldve been the starter every 5 days until the end of the season. If he was pitching well around the trading deadline maybe someone wouldve bit. Not a f'n chance now. is he going to be a bullpen guy the rest of his cubs career at that money? It is easy to just say "get rid of him" but it is really an impossibility at this point. Cubs have handled everything horribly......AND SOMEONE SHOULD BE F"N FIRED OVER IT.

BDawk4Prez
06-29-2010, 03:04 PM
This was not the title of the thread.

What kind of threads do you make? :)

Yagyu+
06-29-2010, 03:07 PM
What kind of threads do you make? :)

Certainly nothing as quality as the lineups (pinups) you post.

Sorry about not getting back to you on that. Stellar. You earned a gold star next to your name on the chart, big time.

BDawk4Prez
06-29-2010, 03:21 PM
Certainly nothing as quality as the lineups (pinups) you post.

Sorry about not getting back to you on that. Stellar. You earned a gold star next to your name on the chart, big time.

:bow:

Endorsement from Yagyu = PRICELESS

Jilly Bohnson
06-29-2010, 03:23 PM
It's really very hard to complain much about the Zambrano contract at the time unless you're a no big contracts to any pitchers type of guy.