How do Losses of Fielder, Pujols, Affect Pirates?

Sorry, I couldn't resist using this picture again

On January 24th, 2012, Prince Fielder signed a 9-year, $214 million contract with the Detroit Tigers. One month and two weeks earlier, Albert Pujols signed a 10-year, $254 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels.

The Tigers have traditionally been a team with a high payroll, with an average salary of $83,567,345.25 over the past 11 seasons, which is higher than 12 current teams, and that’s without inflation adjustments.

The Angels have also been high-paying since 2000.         In fact, they have averaged a higher payroll, which has been $95,922,224.08.  The Angels were 4th in the MLB in payroll this season, 8th in 2010, 6th in 2009, and 6th in 2008.  Before that, the last time they were outside of the top 5 in payroll was 2003, where they were 12th.

For how it affects the Pirates, click the “More…” button.

According to The Biz of Baseball, Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, and Alex Rodriguez make more money than countries.

If you combine A-Rod’s current deal, plus the recent Pujols and Fielder signings, you come up with a total contract amount of $729 million. These countries have a GDP less than that:

But how much money these teams spend and how much money these players make doesn’t matter to the Pirates.  All that matters is that two superstars who have absolutely destroyed the Pirates over their career are now out of the NL Central.

Albert Pujols hit a .365/.451/.681 triple slash over his career against the Pirates, hitting 48 home runs, the second most home runs he has hit against a team, and drove in 145 runs, the most RBIs he has against a team.  Pujols’ WAR this season was 5.1, meaning that the Cardinals could have lost 5.1 games if he had not played this season and replaced by an “average” player.  His career average WAR is 8, meaning that the Cardinals, had they only had a replacement-level player during Pujols’ career, they would have, on average, 8 less wins per season.

Prince Fielder hit a .280/.386/.553 triple slash against the Pirates in 98 games.  That wasn’t the  bad part though.  The bad part was the 27 home runs and 74 RBI he hit against us.  He nearly an entire season‘s worth of home runs against us in under 100 games.  In 2011, Fielder’s WAR was 5.2 wins.  Basically, the Brewers would have won 5 less games this season had Fielder not been playing and a replacement-level player taken his place.  His career WAR  is less than 2011’s, unlike Pujols, at 3.3 WAR.  The NL Central lost 11 wins, this offseason.


So how does this affect the Pirates?  Other than winning more games (mathematically, we win 2 more games), the Pirates may have a chance at finishing higher in the division.  Assuming there is no Ryan Braun (for 50 games), Prince Fielder, or Albert Pujols, the Brewers may not be higher than 3rd in the division and the Cardinals won’t have a runaway title of the NL Central.  If we see something like the first half of the season again in 2012, the Pirates may or may not have a true chance at winning the division or at least getting close.  But alas, it is not going to happen, so I’m not going to get anyone’s hopes up.



  1. pmreddick

    So… with a Pythagorean Win Expectation of 83 games, the Pirates move up in the standings. Losing Poo Holes, the Cardinals drop to 85 wins.

    Braun’s WAR was 7.7 last season—so for 50 games we’ll say they lose two more games—which takes them down to 94, minus Fielder’s 5 wins which drops to 89 it to games.

    With 89, 85, 83 wins, and the Reds in there too it’s a freaking race.

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