This morning we looked at the top free agents in terms of ERA+ and OPS+, but that's a simplistic view of things. Teams are always looking for surplus value, which is the amount of production a player provides beyond his salary. That's why quality players in their pre-arbitration years are so valuable, they're the most bang for the buck.
FanGraphs puts a dollar value on every player's performance based on how much teams have paid for similar production on the free agent market in recent years. Using that data, let's see what free agents from this past offseason are already providing surplus value to the teams that signed them…
- Jack Hannahan, Indians – $500K salary, $5.3MM value ($4.8MM surplus)
- Jeff Francoeur, Royals – $2.5MM salary, $6.4MM value ($3.9MM surplus)
- Russell Martin, Yankees – $4MM salary, $6.1MM value ($2.1MM surplus)
- Lance Berkman, Cardinals – $8MM salary, $9.6MM value ($1.6MM surplus)
- Melky Cabrera, Royals – $1.25MM salary, $2.6MM value ($1.35MM surplus)
- Brandon McCarthy, Athletics – $1MM salary, $5.1MM value ($4.1MM surplus)
- Bartolo Colon, Yankees – $900K salary, $2.4MM value ($1.5MM surplus)
- Dustin Moseley, Padres – $900K salary, $2MM value ($1.1MM surplus)
- Joel Peralta, Rays – $925K salary, $1MM value ($75K surplus)
Both Kevin Correia ($2.2MM value, $3MM salary) and Jeff Francis ($1.6MM value, $2MM salary) are a few good starts from joining the group. Orlando Hudson ($3.7MM value, $4MM salary) and Pat Burrell ($900K value, $1MM salary) are knocking on the door as well.
Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the salary info.