Friday, March 02, 2007

Stupid Computers

Yesterday, ESPN published an article that assembles an entire team out of free agents from this past offseason to 'prove' that the market was out of control, and that there's little bang for your buck. OMG takes issue with it.

It's an interesting premise, but it's also a bit of a silly one for any number of reasons I don't want to get into now. But being the dork I am and having a copy of that same simulator, I figured I'd try it out on my own -- just with a wrinkle.

Here's a what-if game -- and keep in mind that I'm not arguing that this was necessarily the wisest course of action, just that it was a viable one. What if the Nats had splurged in the Free Agent market, signing some of those FA starters?

Like the ESPN article, I simmed the season ten times. I started with last year's rosters and made sure that each batter came to the plate roughly the same number of times they did last year -- I resisted the temptation to give Ryan Church the playing time he deserved.

For the Nats, I subtracted Ortiz, Armas, Astacio and Livan. Then (and keep in mind that this is entirely based on what these players did in '06, nothing more), I came up with a 5-man rotation of John Patterson (last year's version had he stayed healthy and pitched as blah as he did last year), Vicente Padilla, Miguel Batista, Ted Lilly and Shawn Hill. That's about $30 million in the starting rotation -- for the sake of argument, we'll say that's $25 million more than that Nats will spend this year.

So what do your money buy you?

This FA-drive team, with last year's offense, averaged 85 wins with a 4.21 ERA. Their 770 runs allowed total would've been good for 4th in the league last year. In their best year, when every pitcher had a career year they won 101 (which I'll agree is laughable). In their worst, they won just 71. But the majority of seasons were in that mid-80s range.

If I did it right, here's the full spreadsheet of all 10 seasons. (You might need to have a google account to view that?)

Some of the numbers are wacky, for sure... but it's fun nonetheless. 85 wins?

As strange as it sounds, it's entirely possible that this current team could win 85. Of course, it'd take EVERY one of the Nats' players to hit their most optimistic predictions, but that seems more likely to me than a complete collapse to the 110-loss mark.

Is that extra $25 million worth that security though? We know what the team's leadership thinks.


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