D-man: I agree. One of the most interesting posts I've ever seen on this board.
I strongly recommend you send this to Rob Neyer, the Reds front office, people at the Enquirer, and Bill James himself. It certainly took some work, and you should be acknowleged for it.
I think Win Shares are a good, but flawed analytical tool. My problem comes in the fact that all values are positive. Players don't get a negative score if they have a season substantially below replacement level.
Ayala, if memory serves, hurt the Mariners badly in at least one of his years. The Mariners would have been better off picking up some righty at random off the waiver wire. So if win shares were tweaked to account for this fact, I don't think that the Wilson and Ayala trade would have been so bad for the Reds.
How, then, are those people of the future—who are taking steroids every day—going to look back on baseball players who used steroids? They're going to look back on them as pioneers. They're going to look back at it and say "So what?" - Bill James, Cooperstown and the 'Roids