by Myron Logan

It was reported today that Kevin Kouzmanoff reached a $3.1 million deal with Oakland, avoiding arbitration.

Kouz is in his first year of arbitration, so, using Tango’s 40-60-80 rule, he should be expected to make about 40% of his free agent value. As we’ve discussed recently, Kouzmanoff has been very consistent, sitting right around 2.7 WAR for the last three years (via FanGraphs). Conservatively, let’s project him a 2.5 WAR this year with Oakland.

Now what we need is a dollars per win value, the amount teams are paying for wins on the free agent market. Previously, that number sat in the mid-to-high fours, and was rising 10% each year due to inflation. With the economic downfall, however, the market has corrected itself with teams now paying less money per win. Tangotiger informed me that he is using a $3.5 million value this year (increasing by .5M each year, going forward).

That means, on the free agent market, Kouz should make about $8.75M. Multiply that by 40% and we get $3.5M. It looks like the A’s got a pretty good deal, especially considering Kouzmanoff brings a gold glove reputation to the table that probably is not deserved.

Projecting out Kouz’s long term value, in terms of how much the A’s are saving over having to replace his performance on the free agent market, now looks like this:

Year WAR Salary FA Value Surplus value
2010 2.5 $3.1M $8.75M $5.65M
2011 2.5 $6M (est.) $10M $4M
2012 2 $7.2M (est.) $9M $1.8M
Total 7 $16.3M $27.8M $11.5M

Due to the lower dollar/win value, Kouzmanoff’s projected value falls about $3 million from my previous look.

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Corey Brock reported that the Padres could not reach an agreement with arbitration-eligible Scott Hairston today. Hairston is seeking $2.9 million, while the Padres come in at $2.1M. What is a fair price for Hairston? First we have to peg his value on the field, and that is a bit of a challenge since he’s been a role player for a while now, and has not logged a ton of PAs. His WAR values have hovered between 1.4 and 1.8 over the last three years; let’s go with 1.5 for this year.

On the free agent market, Hairston should make somewhere around $5.25M (1.5*$3.5) in 2010. Since he’s in his second year of arbitration, we estimate that he should make 60% of his free agent value, or $3.15. If the Padres get a deal done somewhere close to Hairston’s proposed 2.9M, they won’t be hurting themselves. Here is Hairston’s chart over the next two years in which he is under Padres control:

Year WAR Salary FA Value Surplus value
2010 1.5 $2.7M (est.) $5.3M $2.6M
2011 1.5 $4.8M (est.) $6M $1.2M
Total 3 $7.5M $11.3M $3.8M

As I mentioned in the post on the trade, one of the reasons Kouzmanoff has a lot more surplus value than Hairston is because he is under team control for an extra year. The other, of course, is that he’s a better overall player.

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The Padres also reached a one year deal with Mike Adams that will pay the rightly reliever $1 million in 2010. Adams has done just about all you can ask in the majors, though he has only logged 171 MLB innings since 2004. His career ERA of 2.54 is tremendous, and he got it down under one last year. His peripherals – 9.1 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, .8 HR/9 – are also sparkling.

Of course, relievers are hard to project, especially ones that throw as few major league innings as Adams has. If we, I think somewhat optimistically, call him a 1 WAR player this year, he would be expected to earn $3.5 on the free agent market. Since he’s in his first year of arbitration, we multiply that figure by 40% and get $1.4M.

$1 million is not a steal by any means, but it looks like the Padres got a decent enough deal here. And, really, you can’t go wrong when you have a reliever with Adams’ ability and you’re only paying him $1 million on a one year deal. Worst case scenario, Adams gets injured and/or is completely ineffective and you lose $1 million. Best case, he repeats his past recent performance, and logs a lot of high leverage innings in front of Heath Bell.

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