If you haven’t heard of it, Cameo is an app/website that allows you to pay famous people money for a customized video of them wishing you or a friend a happy birthday, a congratulations, a good luck, or whatever else you ask of them. The celebrities can choose what price to set a video of themselves at, ranging from a few bucks to a thousands of dollars.
There are some baseball players that use the site, so of course I was interested in how much the active and former players were charging for a Cameo.
Some of the prices make sense: Dale Murphy and Johnny Damon for $100, and Trevor Williams for $25. Others, not so much, with Kevin Pillar charging $200 and Ryan Goins charging $99.
So I wondered to myself, “what would be the most valuable cameos to buy?” Obviously, they wouldn’t just be the best players on there. Mariano Rivera is an all time legend, but for $500? As they say, you cannot purchase him at Costco.
I’m not trying to slag on Rivera in any way. If I were a huge Yankees fan, growing up watching Rivera tally up save after save, I’d love to see a video of the legend himself wishing me a happy birthday.
But again, it’s hard to talk about “value” and not look at which players are providing the most bang for the buck. I found every current or former player on Cameo under the “baseball” tab, with a few exceptions (people way more well known for their broadcasting or coaching careers):
Above is a graph showing each player’s career WAR graphed against their cost on Cameo. Some of them overlap: the two players above Lenny Dykstra are Johnny Damon and Dale Murphy, and the three next to Andruw Jones are Curt Schilling, Roberto Alomar, and Pudge Rodriguez. I arbitrarily added 20 WAR to players in the Hall of Fame. It’s worth noting that Rivera should probably be further right based on his talent relative to others at his position and his postseason performance, but as a relief pitcher he couldn’t increase his WAR as much as a starter could.
Clemens and Rivera are super pricey. Again, great players, but for $500? Instead of Clemens or Mo, why not invest in a Cliff Floyd for $50? That could give you the flexibility to give Andruw Jones $100.
The line of best fit suggests that the expected Cameo price for a player, based only on his career WAR (with the HOF adjustment added in) is a flat of $29.15 plus an additional $2.25 per win above replacement the player provided in his career. So while Kevin Pillar is asking for $200 per video, based on his 11.8 career WAR, he probably should be in the much more modest $50-60 range. Conversely, Pudge is charging only $100 when his 89.2 WAR (HOF adjustment included) suggests he should be asking for around $230.
Here’s a list of the players who provide the most bang for their buck. The first four guys aren’t surprises, but after that it’s pretty interesting. Kelvim Escobar is underselling himself by $60!
And here are the player’s that, while they may have been good players, may not be worth the money.
A few of these players I think we can make exceptions for. Eric Byrnes isn’t known just for his MLB career, and active guys like Merrifield and Glasnow are going to accumulate more WAR as their careers go on. Others make you scratch your head a bit, like Anthony Ranaudo, Ryan Goins, and Chris Mazza asking for a good sum of money. And again, while Rivera and Clemens were quite good baseball players, charging $500 in a market where most others charge considerably less puts them at the bottom of the value list.
If you’re interested, here’s a full list of MLB players on Cameo: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NeRxs5IcUjg3YVM-IliLYPUmNOTUIJWOnMsACqujFa8/edit?usp=sharing