Carleton: Replacing the replacement player

From Russell Carleton at Baseball Prospectus on February 20, 2018:

Last week, we came snout to snout with a realization about the free agent market: There is money being spent on players who–according to PECOTA–project to function either at or below replacement level over the course of their contract. In a world where we’ve been trained to think of the free agent market in terms of “dollars per win (above replacement),” shouldn’t players who are sub-replacement level be paying their new teams for the privilege of putting on a major-league uniform? How does that even happen? I thought everyone was all into analytics and being rational now.

Why on earth would teams pay money for a player who is supposed to be in plentiful supply? The answer, once again, lies in the fact that Wins Above Replacement is not the answer to every question in baseball.

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Originally published: February 20, 2018. Last Updated: February 20, 2018.