Many argue that Major League Baseball (MLB) players make too much money. This sounds reasonable when teachers, doctors, police officers, and firefighters are all making a fraction of the salary of someone whose good at hitting a little round ball. However, the best baseball players can make their organizations much more money.
Does salary determine value to a team? Or is a high salary detrimental to a team? What determines a player’s value to their team?
Let’s dive in and see what factors determine a player’s salary and value to their teams.
WAR is one of the best ways to estimate a player’s performance over a year. WAR measures a player’s value in all facets of the game by deciphering how many more wins he’s worth than a replacement-level player at the same position.
To estimate how much value an organization gets from their highest-paid MLB players, we divide a player’s salary by their WAR in 2022 (as of August 5, 2022). This exercise determines how much value a player brings to their team this year.
At 37 years old, Max Scherzer signed a massive 3-year, $130 million contract to play with the New York Mets. Up to this point, Scherzer has delivered on his contract for the first-place Mets despite missing several starts with an oblique injury. Only time will tell if this contract will still be worth it as Scherzer approaches 40 when many pitchers begin to break down.
Mike Trout may be one of the best baseball players of all time. Trout is also an excellent example of how difficult it is to win in baseball without a solid supporting cast. Between 2012 and 2019, Trout had a WAR of at least 6.9, leading his teams to approximately seven wins per year or more than an average player. Trout only played in one postseason during that period and didn’t make it out of the first round.