Sometimes you’re the bug, sometimes you’re the windshield.
At the end of 2014, Kyle Seager will likely secure a title that no Little Leaguer ever aspired to don: MLB’s most underpaid player.
Seager has put up over 5 fWAR already. From fangraphs.com, November of 2013:
"Even here at FanGraphs, we’ve published differing methods for calculating the price of a win. Matt Swartz wrote a pair of articles on the site last year explaining his model, and his estimates come out a bit higher than what I’ve calculated. More recently, Lewie Pollis wrote a piece at Beyond the Boxscore suggesting that his methodology places the cost of a win at around $7 million, even higher than Matt’s estimates."
That would suggest that the M’s have gotten $30-$35 million out of Seager’s performance. He’ll make just $540k this season, quite the bargain.
On the other side of the spectrum, Ryan Howard is currently worth -0.3 fWAR. It’s no secret that Howard’s bi-monthly direct deposits are not small. He’s investing (I assume) some portion of his $25 million while costing the Phillies buckets of cheese.
At some point, Seager may find himself in Ryan Howard’s position. Fans and media types will muse about how he’s stealing money. Should he sign a lucrative deal and then suffer an injury or perform poorly, we will kick dirt in disgust. If that day comes, we should remember the seasons in which Seager did his best work and received a small fraction of his value in return.
Right now, Seager is the windsheild. I imagine he’s not complaining.