Cardinals news from a Sabermetric point of view

Do Cardinals value saves or wins more in Motte deal?

The good news is that the Cardinals re-signed reliever Jason Motte, according to the Post-Dispatch:

 The club and its closer avoided arbitration and finalized a two-year, $12 million contract. The deal, which was announced Tuesday evening, rivets Motte into the bullpen until he’s eligible for free agency at the end of the 2014 season.

Ah, the “c” word. It’s the difference between being credentialed with saves and toiling in mid-relief obscurity, being drafted in fantasy leagues across the country and languishing on the free-agent list. Motte, who was the only pitcher on the team to earn a save in 2012, may have credentialed himself just in time, leading the league in saves with 42 and cashing in with his new contract.

But look a little deeper and you’ll see that before racking up saves by the dozen, Motte was adding value to the bullpen, leading the club in Wins Above Replacement each of the last three seasons despite tallying a grand total of 11 saves in the previous two seasons. Surely the Cardinals are aware of the value of a win in 2013 is around $5.25 million, and with Motte averaging 1.35 WAR the last two years (~$7 million), the Cardinals are paying just about the right amount (or maybe even a little less, since after all, Motte was not yet a free agent).

Recent Cardinal bullpen performance | Create infographics

One Response to “Do Cardinals value saves or wins more in Motte deal?”

  1. Brandon Says:

    Interesting stuff. It does seem that many sabermetrically inclined writers just laugh off bullpen performance as extremely variable and unimportant. That’s true big picture, but capturing an extra win or two with a very good to elite reliever is well worth doing, even if said reliever is not deployed optimally. Saves themselves are overvalued, but the guys who rack them up are not necessarily.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.