This post is most certainly about Werth versus Holliday, but there is a bit of business to tend to first.
Based on what little I’ve read about Cliff Lee‘s agent, Darek Braunecker, I suspect that he’s about as useful as a box of rocks. That’s not to say that he isn’t a good agent. He could be the greatest agent in the world, and quite frankly nobody would ever know. It’s just that negotiating Lee’s next contract isn’t exactly like doing a rough draft of the Magna Carta or Declaration of Independence in 15 minutes on a cocktail napkin. It’s more like the equivalent of registering to vote when you renew your driver’s license in a state that has passed a “motor voter” bill. Check the little box with a number 2 pencil and move on. In his case, it’s more like “just point to a team and pick a number”.
However, this isn’t about Cliff Lee or his contract. This really is about Mr. Braunecker who may just win the inaugural award for “Most Dumberest Quote of the Day for December 6th”. When asked about Jayson Werth signing with the Washington Nationals, Braunecker responded this way:
“We have never tied ourselves to Jayson Werth or really anything else, so we will see,”.
Referring to the 7 yr / $126M deal contract Werth reportedly signed with the Washington Nationals: “To me, that is what Jason Werth should have gotten,” Braunecker said. “He is a better player than Matt Holliday“.
Really? Really?? Of course, he’s entitled to his opinion just like everybody else, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to take exception to his statement. It’s always somewhat difficult to compare two players, but that’s never really stopped me from trying. After all, this happens to involve two players of similar age who happen to both play the outfield. Good enough for me. On to “Werth versus Holliday”:
Jayson Werth (31) has played 8 seasons with a total WAR of 18.7(oWAR of 15.4 and dWAR of 3.3). His best WAR value for a season is 5.2. He’s a .272 lifetime hitter with a career obp of .367, slugging % of .481 and ops of .848. He has 120 career home runs with a high of 36 in 2009 and 406 rbi. He has made 1 All-Star team.
Matt Holliday (30) has played 7 seasons with a total WAR of 27.4 (oWAR of 28.6 and dWAR of -1.2). His best WAR value for a season is 7.3, although his 5.5 in 2010 is better than Werth’s career best of 5.2. He’s a lifetime .317 hitter with a career obp of .388, slugging % of .543, and ops of .931. He has 180 career home runs with a high of 36 in 2007 and 695 total rbi. He’s a 4-time All-Star and 4-time Silver Slugger award winner. PS. His contract is 7 yrs / $120M.
Now, you might be tempted to think that Holliday’s obvious statistical advantage is due to a greater number of at-bats. That’s partly true. Holliday has a 3833 vs 2519 advantage in at-bats. Playing an awful lot of games in Colorado probably helped, although the guy has absolutely raked away from there as well. Instead of going into a detailed home/away split analysis that involves breaking down ratios to offset the at-bat advantage, I’m just going to compare their 2010 seasons. After all, 2010 was Werth’s best season and probably Holliday’s 2nd best, so it seems like a fair comparison. This approach eliminates both the elevation factor and the at-bat differential, and I’m all about being fair.
In 2010, Werth’s line was .296 avg, .388 obp, .532 slugging, .921 ops with 27 hr, 85 rbi, and 147 strikeouts. He hit 46 doubles in 554 at-bats, and he reached a career high 5.2 in WAR value. By comparison, Holliday’s line was .312 avg, .390 obp, .532 slugging, .922 ops with 28 hr, 103 rbi, and 93 strikeouts. He hit 45 doubles in 596 at-bats, and he had a WAR value of 5.5. Werth scored 106 runs to Holliday’s 95 which you may or may not attribute to a Phillies team that was 2nd in the NL in runs scored. Although, Werth has a reputation for being a reasonably good defensive outfielder, it’s actually Holliday who finished with a slightly higher dWAR value (0.1 versus 0.0). No matter how you parse it, Werth’s best season still doesn’t top Holliday’s 2nd best season in my opinion. Unless Braunecker was referring to a sport other than baseball, his statement just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. If he takes that mental juggernaut approach into the rest of the winter meetings, I hope Cliff enjoys his 4 year deal with the Pirates.