The Greatest Game
Saturday, December 25, 2004
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.
- A 4 year contract for Russ Ortiz?
- Swapping Eckstein for Cabrera and paying out an extra $22M for the pleasure of doing so?
- The Dodgers swapping Beltre for Drew to save $9M over 5 years? (front loaded contract, my ass)
- Matheny for 3 years?
- The Phillies offering arbitration to Polanco with nowhere to play him?
- Kris Benson: 3yr/$22.5M - this contract is the one that screwed up the payscale for everyone.
- Cory Lidle: anything over minimum wage.
Here are some signings that initially made me do a double take, which are now actually seeming like decent moves by their respective teams:
- Steve Finely: 2 yr/$8M
- Christian Guzman
- Troy Percival: 2yr/$12M (I'm bummed the Tigers couldn't lost some free agents they were bidding on - I'd like to see them compete for a playoff spot this year)
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.
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):
- Carlos Beltran - the "cream of the crop", though I beg to differ. Is he an excellent player? Sure, but he's not worth what the Yankees will end up giving him. I'd rather have...
- JD Drew - yeah, he's two years older and only a lefty, but his numbers are better. Go take a look, I dare you. OK, he hasn't been the healthiest player in the league, but last season he showed he can be healthy for an entire season AND he had an OPS > 1.000 and an OPS+ of 158, both marks Beltran has never reached. Oh yeah, and he'll be cheaper, too. (SIGNED 12/22: Dodgers - 5 years, $55M)
- Magglio Ordonez - I haven't really heard much about him this offseason. My guess is that he's lying low until the two guys I mentioned above sign, then he'll go to the team that didn't get him. And his injury is probably really scaring off some teams. My guess is that he'll go for a short term deal a la Garciaparra (go Yellow Jackets!).
- Moises Alou - I wrote enough about him here. I really don't think he's going to play very well wherever he goes, unless, of course, it's another hitters ballpark, which he's been able to find throughout his career. (SIGNED 12/23: Giants - 2 years, $13.5M)
- Jason Varitek - The only catcher left, he's going to command a pretty high price from the Sox. Of course, if they decide to bypass him, he'll probably make markedly less wherever he ends up. He better be careful, or he'll find himself in the same spot as... (SIGNED 12/25: Red Sox - 4 years, $40M)
- Eric Milton - Is he the best pitcher left? Jeez, I know it wasn't the best offseason for pitchers, but Milton??? His numbers are not good at ALL. I'm glad he asked too much from the Yanks and they dropped him like a hot potato. Hopefully for good. Career 4.76 ERA. 2004 ERA of 4.75. (SIGNED 12/28: Reds - 3 years, $25.5M)
- Odalis Perez - Does this guy have personality issues? If he does, are they worse than Matt Clement's? Pitched in a pitchers park, but had a better Road ERA (3.21) than Home ERA (3.31). Also pitched much better vs righties (2.79 ERA) than vs. lefties (4.84 ERA). He started 31 games, yet somehow managed to have a record of 7-6. Crazy. Would rather have had him than Wright.
- Carlos Delgado - Going to the Mets? Would Piazza then catch every day? Maybe to the M's and have Sexson butcher LF? Who knows, but this guy can hit. He had a slightly off year with an OPS of .907 which was his lowest since 1997. Is he sliding downhill? Was it a result of being on such a crappy team? My guess is the later, but he'll be 33 next year, so I'd be wary of giving him more than a 3 year contract.
- Derek Lowe - Apparently the Dodgers have been really talking to Lowe, but he's only had one good season in 2002. Plus, he needs a good infield to field all his grounders, and an infield of Valentin and Kent isn't going to do it. He's going to feel like he's back with the Sox in the first half of 2004 with those guys behind him. Also keep in mind that away from Fenway last season his ERA was 6.21.
- Orlando Cabrera - not really too much to say about him, though with Renteria getting $10M/yr, you'd think that Cabrera would be able to snag some cash, too, but that won't happen. He didn't play well last season (but then again, either did Renteria), and when he did play well for Montreal, he was playing in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the majors. I think that he's pricing himself too high for what he really is - a good fielding, average/below average hitting shortstop. (SIGNED 12/20: Angels - 4 years, $32M - wow!)
- Orlando Hernandez - someone will sign him and get their money's worth out of him. He pitched fantastic for the Yanks down the stretch, and I'm disappointed they didn't resign him. Maybe they can trade for him before the July 31 trading deadline when they realize that they need another pitcher. 2004: 8-2, 3.30 ERA, 84.2 IP, 84 K, 36 BB. (SIGNED 12/23: White Sox - 2 years, $8M)
- Barry Larkin - I haven't heard of anything about Barry so far. Is he not retiring? He had a decent year for an old guy (.771 OPS). He'll stick with a team, but I'm not sure if he's going to get a starting position anywhere. What teams still have SS open right now? And Cabrera is the better choice (depending on $$$). Good luck, Barry, you've had a great career.
- Kevin Millwood - how the mighty have fallen. $11M??? Crazy money for the season that he had (4.85 ERA). I wonder how much he's asking, and if any teams are interested. He might end up with a one year contract to prove how good he is a la Garciaparra. He's had a couple excellent seasons and a couple pretty good seasons, so a team should take a one year flier on him. Tigers maybe? (they gotta sign SOMEONE!!!)
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
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 -
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 -