The Flagrant Fan on Alfonso Soriano’s Contract

Most of the time when you read an article about Alfonso Soriano's contract, it's about how the bad contract is a reflection on Soriano. The Flagrant Fan writes a nice piece and here's the part that I and others have tried to hammer home for years:

What a player makes is the team's problem and purview. The team either takes a gamble or a calculated risk. Sometimes the team loses. The Cubs lost this one. That has nothing to do with Soriano. Their decision should not make Soriano a scorned and ridiculed player. Separate the player from his contract.

I'd only add that using the WAR from Fangraphs (fWAR) makes Soriano's contract look better. If you instead use the WAR from Baseball Reference (rWAR and Baseball Prospectus (WARP) you reach a very different conclusion.

Soriano has been worth 19.8 fWAR over the last 6 years, but only 6.3 rWAR (4.1 of which was in 2007) and 12.8 WARP (5 in 2007). The difference between the 3 metrics is primarily on defense.

His UZR (defense for fWAR) has been 66 runs better than average since 2007, but his fielding runs for rWAR is -23 and for WARP it's 8.3.

None of this is really important when it comes to what that article was trying to say. I just wanted to point out that it's more than fair to say the Soriano contract has been a terrible one. That should in no way reflect on Soriano in any negative way. He signed a contract that was offered to him. It's not his fault he was overpaid.

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