Giants

Giants' Farhan Zaidi expresses thoughts on WAR, Buster Posey's value

Giants' Farhan Zaidi expresses thoughts on WAR, Buster Posey's value

Ever since the Giants hired Farhan Zaidi as their president of baseball operations this past offseason, there have been battles between talking heads arguing on the basis of traditional baseball stats and advanced metrics. 

Zaidi, who earned his bachelor of science degree at MIT and his PhD at Cal Berkeley, is widely seen as a baseball mind that leans on analytics. So-called baseball fans who don't want the game to evolve argue that he's using too many numbers to try and change the game. At the same time, Zaidi has help lead highly successful teams with the A's and Dodgers. 

So, what are his thought on WAR (Wins Above Replacement)? 

"Yeah, I think it's a good measure on how a guy has produced in the past," Zaidi said Wednesday on KNBR. "I think it's a nice, valuable back of the envelope calculation for how much value a specific player brought you."

"It's not the be all, end all." 

The last part of his quote stands out. Far too many people assume that Zaidi would look at analytics like WAR and not take into account other parts of the game. What he does appreciate about WAR, however, is the goal of the stat is to show the totality of a player. 

"I do like that it factors in all the contributions a player makes," Zaidi said. "It includes his base running, his defense, his offense and more."

For instance, Giants catcher Buster Posey is second to only Angels star center fielder Mike Trout in fWAR since 2012. In just over seven seasons, Trout has been worth 67.4 WAR according to FanGraphs while Posey's WAR is 46.5. Even though his power has significantly declined, Posey's defense and ability to frame strikes still provide value. 

"His framing numbers this year are back at an elite level," Zaidi said. "When you really look at the evidence, having one of the top framing catchers in the league can save you as many runs, or produce you as many runs, as having a great cleanup hitter. 

"Between all the things that he does, doing it at that position with the bat and the offense you get, that's what puts him so high up that list." 

[RELATED: Potential trade partner set to get up-close look at MadBum]

An issue with WAR is the fact that the formula is different depending on what outlet you look at. Posey's WAR since 2012 is 10.1 points lower by Baseball Reference than FanGraphs.

The fact is, however, even the brightest minds in baseball that have more of an analytical background are taking multiple factors into account when constructing their team in the now and for the future.

MLB rumors: Giants have 'pulled back' in Madison Bumgarner trade talks

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MLB rumors: Giants have 'pulled back' in Madison Bumgarner trade talks

Madison Bumgarner put on a show in what could have been his last start for the Giants at Oracle Park with the July 31st trade deadline nearing. 

The late-night 16-inning showdown that ended in walk-off fashion at the hands of Donovan Solano, ended with the 29-year-old wanting more -- at least following the nine innings he pitched.

That grit and those five strikeouts across his outing with 94 pitches are why Bumgarner's value has been raised, according to MLB insider Jon Heyman:

The way the Orange and Black has been playing as of late certainly helps in some of that raised value -- and the fact the team is pushing back isn't surprising.  The team has won 12 of the last 15 games and have brought so much excitement and anticipation to a fanbase who had appeared to give up.

It's been special to watch.

But that specialty appears to be coming at a hefty price in addition to what could have already been high.

[RELATED: MadBum beats back at trade rumors]

During his Thursday night outing, reports surfaced a high-level scout from the Red Sox and talent evaluator from the Twins were in attendance watching MadBum face Noah Syndergaard and the Mets. Boston may not have the prominent prospects to make such a trade happen for the ace, but they were more than likely taking a look at Will Smith who could make for a promising ROI. 

And in Bumgarner's defense, the experienced starter would be worth it.

MLB rumors: 'High-level Red Sox scout' at Madison Bumgarner start Thursday

MLB rumors: 'High-level Red Sox scout' at Madison Bumgarner start Thursday

Madison Bumgarner didn't "give a s--t," when asked about the continued trade rumors circling around him on Thursday night. But whether he knew it or not, there was representation from the Boston Red Sox watching him.

But they weren't alone.

Special assistance via the Rays, Braves, Phillies, Padres and Dodgers were there, but they may have been focused on more than MadBum, MLB insider Morosi said on MLB Network Friday morning. But the recent surge could change some things. 

Following Bum's nine-inning, six strikeout performance, and the way the Giants have been playing, "more likely than not, but there is no longer a certainty he gets moved by July 31."

The hard trade deadline at the end of the month is rapidly approaching and teams aren't messing around. Morosi said there are multiple organizations making efforts to watch the four-time All-Star. There were "many scouts" at Oracle Park on Thursday night, but not all of them were there for him.

Morosi added the Red Sox are in the market for a reliever, but more than likely do not possess not the prospects for the ace. But Will Smith could create a better, more affordable package.

The insider also said there was representation from the Minnesota Twins in San Francisco Thursday with similar interests to the Sox:

The Dodgers still have interest in the bullpen, and the Braves and Phillies are "very much involved in the Bumgarner pursuit," Morosi added.

[RELATED: Flannery says Giants owe it to MadBum to trade him]

And the Yankees are always eyeing the pitching market and will be aggressive.

The hot stove remains lit.