Bargain of the Winter?

On Wednesday here – and yesterday on my own blog – I did some analysis of the current free agent market; why it has been so crazy this winter, and maybe where it will go from here. I’d like to take a snippet of that out, and take a quick look at just those contracts given to RP’s over the last month.
Here are a few quick numbers to look at, as the completely insane market for relievers shakes itself out:
Billy Wagner – 4 years, $43 million – New York Mets
B.J. Ryan – 5 years, $47 million – Toronto Blue Jays
Tom Gordon – 3 years, $18 million – Philadelphia Phillies
Kyle Farnsworth (possibly) – 3 years, $17 million – New York Yankees?
Scott Eyre – 3 years, $12 million – Chicago Cubs
Bobby Howry – 2 years, $8 million – Chicago Cubs
Mike Timlin – 1 year, $3.5 million – Boston Red Sox
Now another list (from 2005 stats):
Billy Wagner – 30.5 VORP, 75 games
Mike Timlin – 28.5 VORP, 81 games
Tom Gordon – 26.8 VORP, 79 games
Kyle Farnsworth – 26.1 VORP, 72 games
B.J. Ryan – 25.2 VORP, 69 games
Bobby Howry – 23.9 VORP, 79 games
Scott Eyre – 20.8 VORP, 86 games
In terms of VORP/million (annual), here are those lists combined:
Mike Timlin – 8.14 VORP/million
Bobby Howry – 5.98 VORP/million
Scott Eyre – 5.2 VORP/million
Kyle Farnsworth – 4.60 VORP/million
Tom Gordon – 4.48 VORP/million
Billy Wagner – 2.84 VORP/million
B.J. Ryan – 2.64 VORP/million
Now, listen, this is by no means authoritative. I didn’t take into account age or role or even pure ability – as Sam recently pointed out, VORP is a counting stat, which means it’s cumulative over the course of the year. Timlin’s rate stats aren’t as shiny as some of the others on that list. But, then, on some level the fact that he contributed so much playing time is inherently valuable, so I like VORP in this regard. Nice simple number that incorporates both performance and durability. And in this particular case, it becomes quite clear that the Red Sox have made the bullpen move of this bloated, preposterous offseason.