The Greatest Game

Friday, December 31, 2004


I have withstood the urge to do one of these things, but I am caving in now. Take a look at these three players and their (approximate) 3-year averages of their last 3 full seasons (two of them had injuries in the past 3 years, so, to make it easier on me, I took their last 3 full seasons). Their age for 2005 is in parentheses.

Player X (28)31103.365.520120
Player Y (29)36115.390.585148
Player Z (31)33120.381.557143

Well, of course you'd pick Player Y, but let's say he's off the market because he signed a (relatively) cheap last year with the Angels. Except for the 3 year age difference, you'd probably pick Player Z. More HR, RBI, higher OBA, SLG and OPS+ (a 23 point difference is pretty darn big). OK, how about if I told you that Player X's agent is asking for a $120M contract, while not much has been heard from Player Z because of an injury last season. Yes, except for an injury and several years, Magglio Ordonez (Z) has outperformed Carlos Beltran (Y) in just about every possible category (SB is the marked exception Magglio was a good base stealer before 2002 season).

So why on earth is Beltran worth so much more than Vlad was last year? Besides the fact that the Yankees are looking for a CF. There is none. He's not nearly as good as Vlad. And Magglio is only a hair beneath Vlad. Any team would be insane to sign Beltran to the kind of money that Boras is asking. And of course with 3 or 4 teams in the bidding, I don't doubt that the final number approaches the $120M that he's asking for.

The Yankees have recently cooled to Beltran, while the Mets have heated up their pursuit. The Cubs may also be in the running, and the Astros definately are. I say, as a Yankee fan, to let those teams bid for him. I have no doubt that Beltran will continue putting together very nice numbers. Will they be $17M worth for the next 7 seasons? I really don't think so. I dread going into the season with Bernie playing CF each and every day (I think he has a bit more bat left, but everyone knows his fielding blows big time at this point in his career). But I dread even more, the Yankees overpaying for another superstar, just because he's been hyped to kingdom-come. I want the Yankees to take a long hard look at Magglio. Put him through as many doctor's tests as need be to confirm that he'll fully recover. Maybe try and sign him to a smart contract. If he's going to be fully recovered, just sign the guy! He's played CF before, and played it pretty well. I'll bet he can be signed for $10M/yr, maybe a bit more with the rising cost of contracts this offseason. But he certainly can be signed for less money AND fewer years than Beltran.

There is one big problem, though. If I remember correctly, Boras is Ordonez's agent. That could definately throw a kink into the whole Yankees-signing-Ordonez scenario. Boras might not take kindly to the Yankees dropping out of the bidding for Beltran. Boras is probably waiting for Beltran to sign his huge contract and then he'll go to the teams that didn't sign him and say, "Hey, Ordonez is going to be 100% AND his numbers are comparable to Beltran's. PAY UP!" That's what I fear. He'd have the Yankees over a barrel, since Ordonez would be the very last good free agent out there. He would probably drive his price up toward $13M or $14M/yr. But even with that, I think I'd prefer Magglio, just as long as it's not longer than a 3 or 4 year deal.
# posted by shawn : 12/31/2004 01:58:00 PM -
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