2008 Free Agent Bargains and Busts (Hitters)

Using Wins Above Replacement data from FanGraphs and contract info from Cot’s Baseball Contracts, I have determined the biggest free agent bargains and busts of the 2008 season (position players only).  I did my best to calculate what the player was paid in 2008, including bonuses and incentives.  Hopefully I didn’t miss anyone important; I used ESPN’s Free Agent Tracker.

Top Ten Bargains

  1. Willie Harris: +$14.6MM (paid $800K, worth $15.4MM)
  2. Jody Gerut: +$13.715MM
  3. Mike Cameron: +12.55MM
  4. Jorge Cantu: +$10.7MM
  5. Jerry Hairston Jr.: +10.375MM
  6. Milton Bradley: +10.3MM
  7. Eric Hinske: +$8MM
  8. Aaron Miles: +$6.9MM
  9. Rod Barajas: +$6.2MM
  10. Cesar Izturis: +$5.25MM

Top Ten Busts

  1. Andruw Jones: -$15.7MM (worth -$1.6MM, paid $14.1MM)
  2. Jose Guillen: -$11.1MM
  3. Jorge Posada: -$9.7MM
  4. Mike Lamb: -$9.4MM
  5. Corey Patterson: -$8MM
  6. Aaron Rowand: -$7.2MM
  7. Brad Wilkerson: -$6.9MM
  8. Omar Vizquel: -$6.5MM
  9. Torii Hunter: -$5.7MM
  10. Paul Lo Duca: -$5.1MM

A few notes…

  • Fair Value Award goes to Sean Casey, who signed for and was worth $800K.
  • Doug Melvin and the Brewers came out almost $20MM ahead with their signings of Cameron, Russell Branyan, and Jason Kendall.  The Cardinals, Astros, and Rangers also did well on position player free agents.
  • Ned Colletti and the Dodgers were the worst at a loss over $16MM, mostly due to Jones.  The Giants, Twins, and Yankees also did not fare well on position players.
  • The Nationals made a modest $1.2MM profit, because Jim Bowden’s Harris signing was negated by Lo Duca, Rob Mackowiak, Johnny Estrada, and Aaron Boone.
  • Of the eight free agent hitters who cost $10MM or more in 2008, six did not earn their salary.   

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