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The Final Cash-o-Meter Results Are In!

Yes, the Yankees won the division. But I know that what everyone has been waiting for is the final results of the Cash-o-Meter.

In case any of you did not read my initial piece on the Cash-o-Meter, I will briefly summarize. In the off-season, Brian Cashman decided to pass on both Bryce Harper (he of the generational talent) and Manny Machado (he of the generational poor sportsmanship). Instead, he signed three players who make roughly the same amount of money per year in total (DJ LeMahieu, Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino).

The Cash-o-Meter uses Wins Above Replacement player (WAR) for each player to determine the player’s overall worth. This is a measure of how many wins a player contributes to his team above what a hypothetical waiver wire scrub would produce. We use this measure to see how well, or poorly, Brian Cashman did in his decision to forgo acquiring Harper or Machado.

So without further ado, here are the final results.

Manny Machado: 3.0 WAR. I thought that Manny would certainly be in the 5-6 range per year at this point in his career. Alas, his strikeout rate went up to 19.4% and his power dipped a bit. Also, he had some bad luck (balls in play went for hits only 27.4% of the time, down from his career average of 29.8%). Still, for $30 million per year, 3 WAR is a lousy result in the first year of a 10 year contract. Player performance declines with age so you expect to get great results early on to compensate for lousy results later in the contract.

Bryce Harper: 4.6 WAR. This is a bit better than where I thought Harper would be. I figured he would be around 4.0 wins per year. His hitting was about where it had been but his defense improved from atrocious to pretty good. Still, he’s a generational talent, not a generational performer.

Now for the Cashman 3

DJ LeMahieu: 5.4 WAR. DJ has been the Yankees best player. He scored 109 runs, had 102 RBI’s and 26 home runs. DJ was worth around $50 million this year, more than twice the value of his entire 2-year contract. I thought that Cashman was nuts to sign a utility player to a contract of this size. I guess I’ve been proven wrong.

Zack Britton: .9 WAR. This is disappointing. I’m sure that the Yankees hoped that Zack would be closer to the 9.9 K/9 Zach Britton of 2016 than the 7.9 K/9 version we saw. Still, a .9 WAR pitcher over the course of a season is not bad even if $13 million is a bit steep for that level of performance.

Adam Ottavino: 1.3 WAR. Ottavino’s ERA was lights out (1.90) but his FIP (ERA without defense and luck) was 3.44. His xFIP (FIP adjusted no normalize the number of fly balls that go for home runs) was 4.32, which is not that great. He walked 5.43 batters per 9 innings (also not that great). Still, given that he struck out 11.9 batters per 9 innings, he was still a 1.3 win a year reliever which is not bad for $9 million a year even if some of that was due to luck.

Total WAR for the Cashman 3: 7.6.

Brian Cashman’s surprising off-season signings not only outperformed Harper and Machado this year, they performed as well as Harper and Machado combined (at half the price of the dynamic duo).

Good news Yankees fans (and the Cashman family), Brian gets to keep his job and will be back in the Bronx next year!

On a more serious note, I hope that we will all keep the results of this tongue in cheek analysis in mind this next off-season when we offer our helpful advice to Cashman and curse him when he doesn’t follow it. He’s the General Manager of the Yankees for a reason. He’s very good at his job.

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