Fun with stats, the Royals bullpen, and what might have been

The seeds of failure for Dayton Moore and the 2009 season were sown in 2 moves this last offseason.  The trades of Ramon Ramirez and Leo Nunez for Coco Crisp and Mike Jacobs.  Without the these 2 moves, the bullpen is not something that needed to be fixed.  These moves are what made the signings of Kyle Farnsworth, Horacio Ramirez a possiblity, along with Jamey Wright making the team.  I don't consider Juan Cruz to be a mistake by Dayton as it was a well received move at the time, and Cruz's struggles are baffling right now.  Perhaps he is tipping his pitches?  As a result, I've included his numbers too, but they are not included in the analysis.  Anyways, on to the stats!

First the ex-Royals

                        IP      ER   WAR   WPA   Salary

Nunez            46      20       0       .79      412,500

RamRam    43.1    11       .5       .66     441,000

Totals          89.1     31      .5       1.45    853,500


Current Royals

                          IP      ER   WAR   WPA   Salary

Farnsy             23      11      .4     -1.40    4.25M

HoRam         22.2     15      0      -.48      1.8M

Wright             50       26     -.2     -.91      400k - league minimum?

Totals            95.2    52     .2     -2.79      6.45M


for fun:              IP      ER   WAR   WPA   Salary

Cruz                 42      31     -.2     -1.04    2.25M   - Wow, he's been bad lately.


First of all, the IP between the 2 groups is very similar.  But to make it exactly the same, the ex-Royals group would have given up 2 more runs in 6.1 more innings at their current pace.  So that is 52 ER for the Royals, and 33 for Leo/RamRam.  19 runs difference translates to about 1.9 more wins IF you use the 10 runs = 1 win rule.  That's a big IF though.  For example, most of Farnsworth's runs have come in high leverage situations at the beginning of the year.  If we say that 5 runs is a win for a relief pitcher, then we get roughly 4 wins.  So let's say it's between 2 and 4, while I actually suspect it is at least 6. 

Second, the amount of money given up in the tradeoff:

Jacobs and Crisp cost a combined 9.35M, plus the bullpen = $15.8M

Minus the salaries of Leo and RamRam = $14.95M

Now add in WAR values, Jacobs -.3 and Crisp 1.2, and we have 1.1 WAR for current Royals and .5 for ex-Royals.

So for a .6 improvement in WAR, Dayton Moore paid almost $15M dollars!  What makes these moves even worse is that if you take out Crisp, the WAR value is actually negative.  So instead of holding on to young, cost-controlled relievers that seemed fairly valuable, DM gave them up for a power mirage and an oft-injured centerfielder with a weaker arm than Johnny Damon

Taking that $15M, the Royals could have made many different moves, or just saved the money.  But let's specifically look at signing Adam Dunn to DH for $8M (or if you like DF's favorite player Russell Branyan for really cheap).  According to Fangraphs, Dunn is currently a 1.3 WAR player, but he is also a fielder that is horrible doing almost as much damage with his fielding as he does with his bat.  So let's call him a DH, and ignore fielding and say he is a 2 WAR player (estimate, it's probably a little more than 2), and Jacobs is -.3.  So now we have a 4-6 win difference (and possibly 8 if you agree with my earlier guess about the bullpen).  The Royals would be 46-55 with a 6 game improvement or 48-53 with an 8 game improvement.  Much more acceptable, and much less money spent.

Finally, looking at the WPAs of all the players involved says a lot too.  WPA is Win Probability Added and is explained here.  All the current Royals have negative WPAs, meaning after they do their thing, the Royals win probability has gone down, and all the ex-Royals (or wishful thinking Royals like Dunn), have positive WPAs. 

So do we trust Dayton Moore for another offseason?  He created problems in the bullpen to solve a nonexistent problem in CF, and at 1B.  In doing so, he didn't even solve those "problems" as Jacobs has been terrible, and Crisp is injured (surprise!).  And on top of that, the bullpen problem was never fixed, but he sure threw a lot of money at it.  I don't blame him for Cruz, but I sure do for Farnsy and HoRam.  Just think of all the trouble the Royals could have saved themselves if they simply hadn't traded RamRam and Leo Nunez.  They might even be on pace to eclipse last year's win total in this "injury riddled" season.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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