Legacy Tale of the Tape: Carl Crawford vs. Delmon Young

It is hard to dispute that Carl Crawford has made the biggest in-uniform contribution in Rays franchise history, but newly-anointed Friend of the Site PlayOnWords recently raised an interesting question:

When its all said and done, who will be more important to this franchise: Delmon Young or Carl Crawford?

Obviously what he is referring to is the legacy of the Friedman-crafted Delmon Young trade string. It's worth a look to see where the two sides stand today, and what "History" (this is what I call the tag team of Victor Wang and Sky Kalkman) tells us to expect going forward.

Let's start with Carl Crawford. Including his signing bonus, Carl Crawford earned $32.32 million from the Tampa Bay organization while producing 34.5 Wins Above Replacement over a 9 year period. If we a assume the value of a win in free agency at $4 million-per-win, Crawford produced at a surplus value of $105.68 million.

(34.5 x 4) - (32.32)= 105.68

Value of Performance - Value Paid = Surplus Value

Furthermore the Rays earned the 24th ($5.2 million) and 38th pick ($2.6 million) in the 2011 draft as compensation for losing Carl Crawford in free agency. This brings the expected surplus value of Crawford and his legacy to $113.43 million.

Delmon Young completed one full season in a Devil Rays uniform producing 0.1 WAR, but managed to earn $5.1 million over his organizational stay. This is a quick deficit value of -$4.7 million. The trade shipping out Young, Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie would soon change that. From 2008-10 Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett combined for 15.2 WAR while earning $10.4 million, netting a surplus value of $50.4 million.

Now all that's left is to estimate the surplus value of the nine fresh branches of the tree that were acquired this offseason for Bartlett and Garza. Going back to the work of Wang and Kalkman, we derive the following expected values for each player acquired. I used Keith Law's Top 100 to determine which players were in the top 50 pitchers and hitters, and John Sickels' player grades for the remaining players. Any player no longer a prospect or not listed is treated as a C prospect.

Player Age Grade Value$
Chris Archer
#20 Pitcher 15.9
Hak Ju-lee   #25 Hitter 25.1
Sam Fuld 29 Unlisted 0.5
Brandon Guyer 25 B 5.5
Robinson Chirinos 27 C 0.5
Adam Russell 27 Unlisted 1.5
Cole Figueroa 23 C 0.5
Cesar Ramos 26 Unlisted 1.5
Brandon Gomes 26 C 1.5

If we adjust for the losses of Zach Russcup (a generous C rating $2.1 Mill, and Fernando Perez and a PTBNL (Ruggiano-type assumed at $.5 each) that leaves the expected value of this group at $49.4 million.

So Delmon + Bartlett & Garza + Prospect Fallout = -4.7 + 50.4 + 49.4 = $95.1 million from the Delmon Young string.

A few other factors to consider:

- Carl Crawford averaged $11.74 million / year in surplus value over his nine years.

- Delmon's Legacy (Bartlett & Garza) averaged $16.8 million in surplus value over three years (6 seasons).

- Crawford's compensation picks currently have no professional experience meaning there is a very fair chance neither will extend Crawford's string.

- WIth nine players at the end of Delmon Young's string there is a much greater chance of string extension. This is unaccounted for in the calculations above.

Presently Carl Crawford's legacy has an expected surplus of $113.48 million versus Delmon Young's $95.1 million. I turn to you DRB readership, which legacy do you believe will ultimately produce the most surplus value?

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