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The Greatest Game

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Holiday season 

Merry Christmas! Happy Festivus! Joyous Boxing Day! Whatever you celebrate, I hope you're all having fun. Blogging is going to be a bit slow, mostly because there is no news to report. I may come up with a little something, since I have some free time this extended weekend, but I'm not sure what. I'll try and throw a little something together (or a couple little somethings) to give the 2 or 3 visitors something to read.

I do have to admit, though, that my quickie analysis of the SS free agents (see below) still strikes me as interesting. Of course there are things not shown, such as the players history (previous years' Win Shares are hard to find - anyone know where I can find them online?) which, of course, influences his contract. But the amazing thing (which I also commented on below) is the difference in contracts of Renteria and Guzman - the former was sometimes identified as the best SS in the NL, and the latter pretty much a failed prospect from the AL. Their WS were almost identical last year. And then there is Orlando Cabrera - a player who has really never had a good year, coming up with $32M over 4 years. I want his agent to negotiate my next deal. He displaced a guy with almost the same numbers as he, but they are paying him $5M more per year over some percieved improvement.

It just boggles my mind what the owners and GMs are doing. I'm not talking about just overpaying guys, which they are, but it's the amount of plain old bad decisions that they are making.
Here are some signings that initially made me do a double take, which are now actually seeming like decent moves by their respective teams:OK, this post was supposed to be nice and short, and it turned into a longer rant about a little bit of everything. And I'm not going back and editing it, either, so if it's a bit incomprehendable, then so be it. Happy Holidays!
# posted by shawn : 12/25/2004 01:02:00 PM -

Thursday, December 23, 2004

SS and Win Shares 

Here are the shortstops that signed this offseason, how much they're making, and their Win Shares from 2004:

Edgar Renteria, 4yr/$40M, 17 WS
Orlando Cabrera, 4yr/$32M, 12 WS
David Eckstein, 3yr/$10.25M, 9 WS
Nomar Garciaparra, 1yr/$8M, 11 WS
Christian Guzman, 4yr/$16.8M, 16 WS
Royce Clayton, 1yr/$1.35M, 10 WS

Talk about some crazy contracts! Of course, I think that the Nomar contract will end up being the best one of the bunch. $8M for Nomar? I know he's "fallen" on some tough times, but the guy can outplay every other guy in the above list.

The funny thing about these 5 guys is that when Guzman signed as the first SS this offseason, me and everyone else thought that the Expos/Nationals were completely insane. A 4 year contract for Christian Guzman??? Well, compared to subsequent shortstops signed for, $4M/yr for 16 Win Shares is looking pretty damn good. The thing that is a bit sketchy is that 10 of his Win Shares were defensive, and he played on artificial turf in Minnesota. Now, god only knows where he's going to be playing, but it's safe to say, his infield isn't going to be as good as his old one at the Metrodome. But if his Win Shares stays up in the 15 range, then the Nationals probably got a halfway decent deal (or, at least, a more decent deal than I initially thought) .
# posted by shawn : 12/23/2004 11:33:00 PM -

It's not Vazquez's fault - blame DePodesta 

Here you go, it's not Vazquez's fault::
"Yankees right-hander Javier Vazquez balked at flying to Los Angeles from the Virgin Islands, where he was on vacation with his family, which includes a newborn. Vazquez took a physical for the Yankees last month, complete with an MRI. The Dodgers could have asked for the results. They could have sent a doctor to meet him in Miami for a second physical. But they were looking for a way out, and Vazquez became a convenient scapegoat."
And a bit more:
"From the Dodgers' perspective, one motivation of the three-team Randy Johnson trade was to create payroll flexibility. At midnight ET Monday, the Dodgers demanded a resolution by 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to an official with one of the other clubs. It was unrealistic for the Dodgers to expect that all of the physical examinations and contract extensions could be completed in such a narrow time frame."
So not only is DePodesta looking bad for backing out of the deal, but now he's looking back for signing JD Drew (who I like) to a contract that is only $9M less than Seattle signed Beltre for. Let's assume that Beltre would have given a slight hometown discount, then LA would have only had to increase their $55M offer to Drew up to, let's say $60M or so for Beltre. Why didn't they do that? Do they think that Beltre actually sucks? Beltre is 4 years younger, and while I don't think that Beltre can continually put up numbers equivalent to 2004, he's still a damn good ballplayer.

I hope DePodesta goes down for this one. Maybe he does have some crazy plan he's not revealing, but word on the street is that he tried to back out of his deal with Florida at the last minute, too. That's two backouts in two trades. Maybe he should think harder on his trades BEFORE he commits to making them.

I have no doubt that they Yanks will continue to go after Randy and probably get him, though I will miss Vazquez - he's a very good pitcher, and I wish that the Yanks would find a way to trade for Randy and keep Vazquez - then we'd have the best pitching staff by FAR in the majors. Yeah, it would be extremely pricy (> $60M) but who cares?

How about trading Posada, like some earlier rumor hinted at. AJ Pierzynski is a free agent, and so is Varitek (go Yellow Jackets!). We can find someone to fill in for Posada (who had a poor 2nd half last season) who is getting a bit on the old side to be a productive catcher. It's just a thought.

Oh yeah, and I don't relish the thought of spending $16M+/yr for Beltran. The Drew contract ($11M/yr) is looking pretty damn good right now, especially since DREW WAS BETTER THAN BELTRAN LAST SEASON!!! As much as I hate to say it, I'm kind of hoping the Yankees don't sign him. We can sign Magglio Ordonez to an incentive laden contract for a much shorter term than Beltran. 2004 was Magglio's first season with an OPS under .900, and that was because it was an injury shortened season. From 2000 - 2003 his OPS were: .917, .914, .978, .926. And he's a .300 hitter, and he has a little speed, and he hits about 30 HR and 40 2B per year. I wonder what his asking price is - probably around Drew's. I know he's a RF, but he has played a little CF (27 games). Unfortunately, I'm sure the Yankees aren't even looking at that possibility. Ah well, here's to hoping.
# posted by shawn : 12/23/2004 09:02:00 AM -

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Deal is dead. 

Los Angeles pulled out and the deal is dead. Back to the drawing board.
# posted by shawn : 12/21/2004 11:27:00 PM -

Moises Alou and Park Factor 

One of the comments to my Moises bashing was Leonard who stated:
Despite the home-road differentials, Moises Alou hasn't played in hitter's parks: Pittsburgh, Montreal, and most recently Chicago (Wrigley's Field no longer shows the tendencies to hitters it once did).
For simplicity, I'm going to average out the Park Factor for each team Alou played for (excluding his 5 AB for Pittsburgh):

Montreal (92-96): 102
Florida (97): 95
Houston (98, 00-01): 103
Chicago Cubs (02-04): 101

Well, that doesn't really cut it, does it? Maybe I should do it season by season.

1992: 99
1993: 104
1994: 101
1995: 102
1996: 103
1997: 95
1998: 98
2000: 107
2001: 105
2002: 98
2003: 99
2004: 106

So looking closer, it looks like 4 season he played in pitcher parks, and in 8 seasons he played in hitters parks. We can also look at some park adjusted stats, like OPS+. Alou's career OPS+ is 127 which is pretty darn good. His last 3 seasons were 100, 113, 128. And the funny thing with Alou is that his last two seasons were 2 of his 3 highest Games Played years (151, 155 GP). Before that, he was injured one way or another the previous 4 years, including missing the entire 1999 season. I wouldn't necessarily call him gimpy, considering the past two seasons, but I would be VERY wary of him coming down with some sort of injury in 2005. Buyer beware.

(All stats gathered for this entry are from Baseball Reference.)
# posted by shawn : 12/21/2004 06:17:00 PM -

Monday, December 20, 2004

Free agents still for hire! 

Well, let's see who is left on the free agent market (in no real particular order):
That's all I can see right now. Let me know if I've missed anyone important. There are still a lot of great/very good/good players left going into the holiday season, which I'm assuming will be a slow time for signings. Hopefully the Randy trade will go through so the other free agents can start falling into place.
# posted by shawn : 12/20/2004 08:09:00 PM -

Good-bye Ruben! (and Polanco) 

It looks like Ruben Sierra turned down arbitration!!! WOOHOO!!! I wonder what the Yanks will do to fill in their empty bench now. On another note, Placido Polanco accepted the Phillies offer for arbitration. I wonder why? It seems that middle infielders are being vastly overpaid this offseason. Maybe he's going to wait until next year to see if he can get some better offers.

This from mlb.com:

Polanco's acceptance presents an interesting problem in the city of Brotherly Love. The veteran hit .298 in 2004 with a career-high 17 homers and 55 RBIs. But Chase Utley is groomed and ready to take over second base, and David Bell is signed to play third for two more seasons.

Financially, Polanco will earn a raise off his $3.95 million salary from 2004 and could earn as much as $5 million through arbitration. Most of the offers he received from teams were believed to be in the range of $9 million to $11 million for three seasons, so the $5 million represents a short-term bump.

OK, that makes a bit of sense (from Polanco's viewpoint), but this is the second time that the Phillies have screwed themselves by offering a player arbitration when they didn't want really want them - Millwood being the other time. When will the Phils learn?

So all you Yankees fans hoping for Polanco to end up on the Yankees this season to displace Womack, keep on hoping, cause it ain't happening.
# posted by shawn : 12/20/2004 04:25:00 AM -

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Drew to the Dodgers 

This is a bit disappointing:
The incentive for Los Angeles is that the trade would clear payroll space for the signing of the free-agent right fielder J. D. Drew. The Dodgers could soon sign Drew to a five-year contract worth $11 million to $12 million a season.
considering this question (check the comments to this entry) that I posed for Cliff over at Bronx Banter:
Cliff: do you think that getting Beltran is going to be better than getting Drew? I know no one talks about it, but Drew's numbers (except foor steals) were significantly better than Beltran's numbers. I know Drew has the injury problem, but it's not like Beltran has never been injured. Drew's OPS+ the past two years have been 133, 158. Beltran's OPS+ have been 126, 136. Drew is two years older and is a lefty, while Beltran is a switch hitter. Drew also had 3 more Win Shares than Beltran last year (34 to 31). Considering how much Beltran is going to command, wouldn't it be better to take Drew for 3-4 years than Beltran for 6-7?
$11M/yr seems like a good deal for Drew - better than the $15M/yr that Beltran is going to end up getting.
# posted by shawn : 12/19/2004 05:50:00 PM -

Moises Alou 

I was just writing up a quick blurb on Moises Alou, and how I thought that he was an overlooked free agent this offseason, despite his age. But then I looked at his split stats, and noticed last season that his .919 OPS consisted of a Home OPS of 1.120 and an Away OPS of .716. OUCH! So I went back a year: Home OPS .848, Away OPS .792. Then I went and looked at how he got his career OPS of .880:

Career Home OPS: .938
Career Away OPS: .826

Wow! I had no idea! That's a pretty big difference. I have a feeling that whoever signs him (and the Mets just upped their offer to him, though I'm not sure to what the offer was raised), is going to be disappointed. With that in mind, I'm guessing that the Mets will end up overpaying for him - they just can't seem to get enough overpaid old guys on their team.
# posted by shawn : 12/19/2004 02:54:00 PM -

Looks like the deal has been finialized. 

Newsday says that the Randy Johnson trade has been completed and is just waiting on Bud's approval.
# posted by shawn : 12/19/2004 07:09:00 AM -