Archive for March 2010

4PARL 2010 PREDICTION BONANZA!

March 31, 2010

Well, April 4th and the start of the 2010 season is just days away. There are more hours of daylight, flowers are starting to bloom, players are wrapping up their Spring Training regimen, teams are making their final roster decisions, and vendors are preparing their popcorn bags.  Regular season baseball is already upon us. Huzzah! Huzzah!

Okay, enough of that. Like most people, we here at 4PARL have predictions and guesses for the upcoming season. Not projections because we’re not a cool enough blog. Just our predictions based off projections and gut instincts. ENJOY OUR PREDICTION BONANZA!

Playoffs:

Disco-

Yankees over Rangers
Red Sox over Twins
Yankees over Red Sox

Phillies over Rockies
Cardinals over Braves
Cardinals over Phillies

Yankees over Cardinals

ES42-

Yankees over Rangers
Red Sox over Twins
Yankees over Red Sox

Phillies over Cardinals
Rockies over Braves
Phillies over Rockies

Yankees over Phillies

10th batter-

Red Sox over Twins
Yankees over Angels
Yankees over Red Sox

Phillies over Cardinals
Rockies over Braves
Rockies over Phillies

Yankees over Phillies

Twaco-

Yankees over Rangers
Red Sox over White Sox
Yankees over Red Sox

Phillies over Rockies
Dodgers over Cardinals
Phillies over Dodgers

Yankees over Phillies

YC-

Yankees over Rangers
Red Sox over Twins
Yankees over Red Sox

Cardinals over Dodgers
Rockies over Phillies
Cardinals over Rockies

Yankees over Cardinals

JeffMac-

Yankees over Twins
Red Sox over Mariners
Red Sox over Yankees

Phillies over Dodgers
Cardinals over Braves
Phillies over Cardinals

Red Sox over Phillies

Dougbies-

Yankees over White Sox
Red Sox over Mariners
Yankees over Red Sox

Rockies over Marlins
Phillies over Cardinals
Rockies over Phillies

Yankees over Rockies

MVP:

Disco- Mark Teixeira/Chase Utley

ES42- Alex Rodriguez/Albert Pujols

10thbatter- Evan Longoria and Chase Utley

Twaco- Evan Longoria/Albert Pujols

YC- Alex Rodriguez/Hanley Ramirez

JeffMac- Alex Rodriguez/Hanley Ramirez

Dougbies- Alex Rodriguez/Albert Pujols

Cy Young

Disco- CC Sabathia/Roy Halladay

ES42- Jon Lester/Roy Halladay

10thbatter- CC Sabathia/ Roy Halladay

Twaco- Felix Hernandez/Tim Lincecum

YC- Jon Lester/Roy Halladay

JeffMac- Felix Hernandez/Roy Halladay

Dougbies- CC Sabathia/Tim Lincecum

Rookie of Year:

Disco- Scott Sizemore/Ian Kennedy

ES42- Carlos Santana/Jason Heyward

10thbatter- Brian Matusz/Jason Heyward

Twaco- Desmond Jennings/Jason Heyward

YC- Austin Jackson/Jason Heyward

JeffMac- Scott Sizemore/Kyle Blanks

Dougbies- Wade Davis/Drew Storen

Comeback Player of Year:

Disco- Alexis Rios/Rickie Weeks

ES42- BJ Upton/Jose Reyes

10thbatter- Francisco Liriano/Geovany Soto

Twaco- BJ Upton/David Wright

YC- BJ Upton/David Wright

JeffMac- Dice-BB/Jeff Francis

Dougbies- Vernon Wells/Chris Young (ARI)

Relief Pitcher of Year:

Disco- Jon Papelbon/Trevor Hoffman

ES42- Mariano Rivera/Jon Broxton

10thbatter- Mariano Rivera/Jon Broxton

Twaco- Mariano Rivera/Jon Broxton

YC- Mariano Rivera/Jon Broxton

JeffMac- Jon Papelbon/Jon Broxton

Dougbies- Rafael Soriano/Jon Broxton

Offensive Player of Year:

Disco- Miguel Cabrera/Albert Pujols

ES42- Alex Rodriguez/Albert Pujols

10thbatter- Evan Longoria/Albert Pujols

Twaco- Evan Longoria/Albert Pujols

YC- Joe Mauer/Albert Pujols

JeffMac- Alex Rodriguez/Albert Pujols

Dougbies- Alex Rodriguez/Albert Pujols

Defensive Player of Year:

Disco- Franlin Guitierrez/Nyjer Morgan

ES42- Evan Longoria/Ryan Zimmerman

10thbatter- Elvis Andrus/Ryan Zimmerman

Twaco- Franklin Guitierrez/Ryan Zimmerman

YC- Franklin Guitierrez/Matt Kemp

JeffMac- Elvis Andrus/Justin Upton

Dougbies- Franlink Guitierrez/Ryan Zimmerman

Breakout Player of Year:

Disco- Sean Rodriguez/Clayton Kershaw

ES42- Elvis Andrus/Casey McGhee

10thbatter- Brettt Anderson/Joey Votto

Twaco- Elvis Andrus/Ricky Nolasco

YC- Ryan Sweeney/Yunel Escobar

JeffMac- Alex Gordon/Jon Sanchez

Dougbies- Matt Weiters/Colby Rasmus

Players to Watch:

Disco- Felix Hernandez/Justin Upton

ES42- Matt Weiters/Justin Upton

10thbattter- Jake Peavy/Clayton Kershaw

Twaco- Brett Gardner/Seth Smith

YC- Justin Verlander/Troy Tulowitzki

JeffMac- Matt Garza/John Maine

Dougbies- Matt Weiters/Ubaldo Jiminez

BOLD ASS PREDICTIONS:

Disco-

-Reds win the Wild Card

-A’s win the AL West

-Grady Sizemore joins the 40/40 club

– Cliff Lee posts a 3.75+ ERA

– Jon Lester becomes the best lefty in baseball (not so bold, but a prediction nonetheless)

-Twins make the World Series

-Diamondbacks make the World Series

ES42-

-Beltran will get traded after having a good May/June/July
-Rockies finish with best record in the National League

10thbatter-

– Brett Anderson finishes in the top 5 in AL Cy Young voting
– Evan Longoria hits 45+ homers
– B.J. Upton goes for 30/30

Twaco-

-Jesus Montero will win AL ROY
-Ricky Nolasco will win NL Cy Young
-Marlins will win NL East

YC-

-Francisco Liriano will have a mid 2 ERA
-Ryan Sweeney will have a 5.0 WAR season due to defense
-Michael Bourn will steal 70 bases

JeffMac-

-Kyle Blanks trumps Jason Heyward in most stat categories
-Matt Garza wins the AL Cy Young
-The Rockies miss the playoffs
-Mike Cameron hits .260 w/30 HR
-The Chicago Cubs win the NL pennant

Dougbies-

-Wieters finished 2010 with a higher WAR than Mauer
-Reds win more games than Cubs in 2010
-Rockies make the World Series
-Phil Hughes is Yankees third best starter in 2010
-Ichiro/Figgins combine to steal 100+ bags

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Clearing the Bases : Los Angeles Angels

March 30, 2010

The Angels lost several key players for their team over the past two seasons. Last year Francisco Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira were the two main losses. Losing two players that are rated very highly at their positions, they settled for a cheaper Brian Fuentes and Kendry Morales. Both had pretty good seasons.

But this off season was a little different. They lost their ace pitcher John Lackey to the Red Sox. They lost Chone Figgins to a divisional foe in the Mariners. Vladimir Guerrero and Darren Oliver both signed with the Texas Rangers. And Kelvim Escobar went to the Mets while Jose Arredondo signed with the Reds.

However, LA still has a good club. They downgraded at third base and their bullpen is not as good. The rotation will look like this if everyone remains healthy:

Jared Weaver
Ervin Santana
Joe Saunders
Scott Kazmir
Joel Pineiro

The Angels usually do a good job at getting the cheaper player who can still put up good numbers the next season. Take Kendry Morales for example. Lets see what the Angels are losing/gaining this season by checking some projections on some of the players they lost and who is now there. Pineiro took Lackey’s rotation spot, Brandon Wood is taking over for Chone Figgins at third, and Matsui for Vladdy.

John Lackey :

IP : 186
Hits : 185
Home Runs : 20
Runs : 88
ERA : 3.92
SO : 141
BB : 51

Joel Pineiro :

IP : 168
Hits : 198
Home Runs : 17
Runs : 90
ERA : 4.45
SO : 79
BB : 35

The numbers show that Lackey is the better choice. Field dimensions do play a part in this, but Boston is more of a hitters park and Lackey will still post better numbers than Pineiro according to Chone’s projections. I agree with the struggles of Pineiro with a middle 4.00 ERA. This is why the Angels must stay healthy this year- I don’t feel like they have too many quality pitchers, especially considering depth is a weak point.

Chone Figgins :

AB : 522
R : 189
Hits : 142
HR : 4
SB : 33
BB : 79
SO : 103
OBP : .370
SLG : .358

Brandon Wood :

AB : 422
R : 58
Hits : 104
HR : 19
SB : 6
BB : 35
SO : 120
OBP : .309
SLG : .445

The Angels not only lost a good third baseman, but a big part of their team style. A gritty team that likes to steal bases and manufacture runs. With Chone Figgins this is possible. With Brandon Wood, not so much. They might have an okay middle of the lineup this year, but the top of the order will suffer without Figgins.

Vladimir Guerrero

AB : 469
R : 65
Hits : 137
HR : 23
BB : 27
SO : 67
OBP : .337
SLG : .495

Hideki Matsui :

AB : 428
R : 61
Hits : 113
HR : 17
BB : 54
SO : 67
OBP : .351
SLG : .437

Matsui is the better choice here. He will mostly be a DH too. But Vlad would still be serviceable.

I think the Angels could fight for the wild card in the AL, but the Mariners and Rangers both got better while the Angels gotten worse. Their style of play will never be the same unless they find someone to fill Chone’s role, and I really don’t like the rotation all too much. A lot of if’s.

Joe Mauer staying in the Twin Cities

March 22, 2010

After learning that All-Star closer Joe Nathan will miss the 2010 season due to elbow surgery Minnesota Twins fans got good news with the announcement that the team signed Joe Mauer to an eight year deal worth $184mil.

Obviously, the Twins had to open up their pocketbooks to get this deal done. Mauer is a Minnesota kid, fan favorite, and franchise player. Oh yeah, he’s also really good. Like, top five player *right now*, potentially best catcher of all-time good. If Minnesota had failed to keep him in maroon and navy, they might as well fold the franchise right now.

The deal will run from 2011-2018, covering his age 28-35 seasons and his first eight years of free agency. In 2010 he will be paid $12.5mil, which stems from the previous 4/$33mil contract he signed in 2007. At 8/$184, the AAV of the deal is $23mil. The contract is the fourth largest in baseball history, behind Alex Rodriguez (10/$252mil in 2001; 10/$275mil in 2008) and Derek Jeter (10/$189mil in 2001).

In 2008 Joe Mauer hit .328/.413/.451/.378wOBA/135wRC+ en route to a 5.8 WAR according to fangraphs, who do not have defensive values for catchers (as many of you know). But in 2009 Mauer went into beast mode. Despite missing all of April with an injury, Mauer hit .365/.444/.587/.438wOBA/174wRC+ and had an 8.1 WAR. Even more impressive, his WAR/150 was 8.8(!). As Mauer went on to win the AL MVP, many stat heads called it the best season ever by a catcher, alongside Mike Piazza in 1997.

While it’s unlikely Mauer repeats his 2009 performance, he should still be one of the most, if not the most, valuable player in the league. CHONE projects a line of .332/.408/.510/.401wOBA/150wRC+ and a 7.3 WAR. The Fans (254) project a line of .336/.419/.536/.409wOBA/155wRC+ and a 7.3 WAR. Those projections sound just about right. Assuming Mauer posts a WAR of 6-8 over the next four seasons, his market value will be $30mil+ per. Compared to his AAV of $23mil, that’s pretty good.

Projecting further than that though is tough. He will be entering his mid-thirties, the age when most catchers break down. For all the money Minny is saving in the short term, they might give it up in the last four years of the contract. Either way, that doesn’t change the dynamics of the deal. In his age 32-35 seasons, Mauer should still be a solid player who will contribute positively. That’s why I love the length of the contract. Age 34-35 is the age most catchers begin to decline, and this contract will end right when that should happen. It also covers all of his peak seasons at a good price.

One also needs to go beyond the numbers to see value and importance in the contract. As stated earlier, Mauer is the biggest thing since sliced…well lets just say the biggest thing ever in Minnesota. Whether the Twins will utimately overpay for his production or not, it won’t matter. All that mattered was keeping Mauer in Minny and keeping the fans happy. Much like Derek Jeter in New York, the front office needed to do everything in their power to keep him in the franchise.

Twins fans, breathe easy. Mauer Power will be a daily fixture in the Twin Cities for a long time.

Curtis Granderson is a hit in the community

March 21, 2010

Non analytical post.

I take a journalism class. I did a feature on Curtis Granderson. It’s not that good, but enjoy anyway:

The cool breeze of an early morning wind sweeps across George Steinbrenner Field, home of the New York Yankees Spring Training facilities. Position players are running sprints and among them is the new guy, Curtis Granderson, who was acquired via trade back in December. After practice ends, several players walk back to the locker room- except for one. Curtis Granderson walks towards the stands to sign autographs for dozen of eager kids praying for the chance to meet a Major League Baseball player.

In a time where players are less accessible and less visible in the community, Curtis Granderson is making sure he can use his star power to help others. Anyone who has ever met Granderson is instantly transfixed by his humility. “He signs autographs out there every single day when he leaves until he signs everybody’s autograph and you just don’t find that,” says former manager Jim Leyland.

Granderson was born in Lynwood, Illinois, where his parents, Mary and Curtis Sr., subjected him to strict standards. Curtis could only play baseball if he maintained a B average. They stressed the values of education to him, which is why he continued to take classes to earn a degree, even after starting his professional career. The morals imparted in him by his parents have helped Granderson become a leading role model in sports today.

In the past few years, Granderson has been baseball’s ambassador to Italy, Britain, China, and South Africa. He also created his own charity, the Grand Kid’s Foundation. The Grand Kid’s Foundation was founded in 2008 as an educational based organization. The organization helps to purchase school supplies for needy kids, books for schools, and provides equipment to inner city schools. There is even a scholarship program for high school seniors. Granderson also hosted three Celebrity Basketball Games in Detroit, on behalf of his foundation.

Just this past fall in 2009, Curtis won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award. The award is given to those whose performance off the field inspires others to do the same. “The fact that other teammates and other players throughout the league have acknowledged that as well has definitely been a great thing, too,” he said.

Along with the Marvin Miller award, he was announced as a member of the “Dream Team” for community service among athletes from ten sports. He was also named as a candidate for the Jefferson Award in Public Service. Adding to his trophy case of public service, Granderson was the Detroit Tigers choice for the Roberto Clemente Award, named in honor of the late humanitarian and baseball great. The award is given to a single player in MLB who demonstrates exceptional work in the community. He even showed up at the White House to help unveil a new campaign to reduce obesity.

“I am excited at being able to continue to help enhance the educational experience for many of Michigan’s students,” says Granderson, who wrote the kids book All You Can Be: Dream It, Draw It, Become It! “I want to help others realize that they do not have to be rich and famous to make a positive impact in their community. Volunteering just one hour a week at any community organization or school can make a difference. People ask me all the time how I have time to do this, but I’m single and I don’t have any kids. If I can find even an hour here or there to do something, I still have 23 hours to rest or see my friends and family. You look at it that way, it’s easy to find time.”

When the New York Yankees traded for Curtis Granderson, they traded for an All-Star center fielder who will help them on the field in their quest to repeat as World Series Champions. They also traded for a guy who will make just as important impact off the field.

“Our arms are open to whatever he wants to do,” said Major League Baseball’s Celia Bobrowsky. “It’s great to have him in the neighborhood.”

Welcome to New York, Curtis.

2010 Divisional Previews and Predictions: NL West

March 18, 2010

Finally after finishing the American League predictions, I move onto the National League. The NL west should be a very competitive race and it is probably the best division in the National League. With four out of the five teams that could end up being contenders this year, this years race might come down to little things like which team plays the best defense, which team has the best bullpen, or possibly even which team can stay the healthiest.

1. Colorado Rockies

Key Departures: Jason Marquis

Key Arrivals: None.

I guess you could say that Jeff Francis is a key arrival since he missed all of last season. His return to the Rockies rotation makes it a lot better because it avoids them having to worry about possible spot starting or starting someone who does not have a lot of major league experience. I like the rotation of Jimenez, De La Rosa, Francis, Hammell (who I think will improve a good bit from last year), and Aaron Cook. The Rockies do not have any question marks in their rotation or bullpen and their bullpen is extremely underrated and it is comparable with the Dodgers. The back end of their rotation basically puts the Rockies ahead of the Dodgers for me. Having a strong rotation 1-5 is very important because it gives your team a chance to win every game. Both offenses are really, really good as well. The Rockies are obviously helped by Coors Field but their offense is still very well-rounded and has a possible breakout candidate in Carlos Gonzalez. The Rockies defense is nothing special but it has a chance to improve on a UZR of -14 last season. The Rockies have the potential to be a scary team this year.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers

Key Departures: Orlando Hudson, Juan Pierre, and Randy Wolf

Key Arrivals: None.

The Dodgers did not improve themselves any this off-season and it will end up costing them the divison. They lost key pieces in Orlando Hudson, Juan Pierre, and Randy Wolf. That could add up to approximately 5-6 wins, or possibly even a little more. Instead, they replace Hudson with Belliard and Wolf with Vincente Padilla. Both of those guys are a little bit of a downgrade. The biggest question for the Dodgers is who is going to step up and take the 5th starters role. This is a gaping hole that the Dodgers have. It will either be Eric Stults or James McDonald. Also, will they get the Chad Billingsley of 2007 and 2008? Or the Chad Billingsley of 2009? There are too many question marks in the Dodgers rotation for me to put them in first. They have one of the best bullpens in the league and an offense that is just as good as the Rockies, but their rotation is what is going to cost them in the end. Look for the Dodgers to make a trade for a pitcher at the deadline of they are still in contention, which I expect them to be. That could help their chances, but I can’t rely on a mid-season trade happening to put them over the top.

3. Arizona Diamondbacks

Key Departures: Max Scherzer and Doug Davis

Key Arrivals: Edwin Jackson, Kelly Johnson, Adam LaRoche, and Ian Kennedy

The Giants have question marks in their lineup, the Diamondbacks have question marks in their rotation. I will take the team with the higher upside here and pick the Diamonbacks to finish in third place. Webb possibly starting the season on the DL hurts them significantly. I still expect them to get solid production out of Jackson and Haren. Their issue is the bottom half of their rotation. Can Ian Kennedy and Billy Bucker really be relied on to carry the load in the 4th and 5th starters roles? The Diamondbacks have a solid defense to help them out. They posted a team UZR of 21.6 last season. I absolutely love the upside on the other side of the plate for the Diamondbacks. I expect a bounce back season out of Kelly Johnson and Connor Jackson. Miguel Montero is a very, very good hitter for a catcher and Adam LaRoche could have a really good year in the desert, and we all know what Justin Upton is capable of. The Diamondbacks posted a triple slash (avg, obp, slug%) of .253/.324/.418 as well as a wOBA of .324 and with two nice additions on offense, and emerging young talent, they will surely improve on those numbers.

4. San Francisco Giants

Key Departures: Randy Winn, Randy Johnson, and Brad Penny

Key Arrivals: Mark DeRosa and Aubrey Huff

The Giants did make a couple of moves to help their putrid offense. They had a league worst .305 wOBA and their batters only accounted for 13.9 wins above replacement. I really don’t think their offense will improve much this year. Aubrey Huff shows that he is not a consistent player with his BABIP constantly fluctuating. You never know what kind of year you are going to get from him. Based on his new home park, can you guess which Aubrey Huff I think we are going to see this year? An aging Mark DeRosa will help to an extent, but you have to wonder how much he has left in the tank at age 34. Their rotation looks promising, however. Lincecum, is, well, Lincecum. Matt Cain is a great #2 and Barry Zito seems like he is still capable of holding it together. Madison Bumgarner and Jonathan Sanchez are promising young starters at the back end and the Giants probably have the best #4 and #5 starters in the division. Their inability to get on base will kill them in the end. With an NL West that will surely be better than last year as a whole, the Giants probably won’t win 88 games.

5. San Diego Padres

Key Departures: Kevin Kouzmanoff

Key Arrivals: Jon Garland and Yorvit Torrealba

Notice what the trend has been among the last place teams in just about every division that I have covered thus far? Well, they are all in the midst of the rebuilding process. The Padres have managed to bring in Jon Garland who is a solid veteran as well as Vorvit Torrealba. Kyle Blanks and Mat Latos will be the interesting players to watch if you are a Padres fan, or if you have them on your fantasy team. The event that Padres fans are most curious about is what will be done with Adrian Gonzalez this season. The Padres could be seeing themselves back up at the top of the NL West in a couple of years if they keep on raking in the prospects. As for now, the Padres are not going anywhere but staying in the cellar.

Disco’s NL West Predictions:
1.Rockies
2.Dodgers
3.Diamondbacks
4.Giants
5.Padres

JeffMac’s NL West Predictions:
1.Dodgers
2.Giants
3.Diamondbacks
4.Rockies
5.Padres

YC’s NL West Predictions:
1.Rockies
2.Dodgers
3.Diamondbacks
4.Giants
5.Padres

ES42’s NL West Predictions:
1.Rockies
2.Dodgers
3.Giants
4.Diamondbacks
5.Padres

KG3’s NL West Predictions:
1.Dodgers
2.Rockies
3.Giants
4.Diamondbacks
5.Padres

Dougbies NL West Predictions:
1.Rockies
2.Giants
3.Dodgers
4.Diamondbacks
5.Padres

Owners NL West Predictions:
1.Giants
2.Dodgers
3.Rockies
4.Diamondbacks
5.Padres

Clearing the Bases: Pittsburgh Pirates

March 15, 2010

The Pittsburgh Pirates organization has been disastrous since joining the NL Central, and that’s putting it nicely.  Since switching from the NL East in 1994, the team has failed to finish above .500 in any of the last 16 seasons, let alone contend for a playoff spot.

If the Red Sox suffered from the curse of the Bambino after trading Babe Ruth, the Pirates might be victim to the curse of the Barroid.  Reaching the NLCS and forcing the series to at least 6 games in each year from 1990-1992, the Pirates traded legendary outfielder Barry Bonds to the Giants prior to the 1993 season, and the franchise has been stumbling over itself ever since.

However, the franchise finally appears to be in good hands, and those hands belong to general manager Neal Huntington.  Huntington began his MLB front office tenure with the Montreal Expos in the mid-90s before joining the Cleveland Indians and eventually joining the Pirates in 2007.

Huntington spent little time making his intentions known.  He immediately began moving the team’s major league contributors for a much needed injection of minor league talent.  Jason Bay, Nate McLouth, Xavier Nady, Freddy Sanchez, Jack Wilson; all were dealt from Pittsburgh over the past two years.

While these deals brought much ire from the Pittsburgh faithful who, like most fans, yearned for success sooner rather than later, these deals have only benefited the now promising team.  Nady and reliever Damaso Marte netted the Pirates promising 5-tool outfielder Jose Tabata from the Yankees.  Nate McLouth was sent to Atlanta for a couple top prospects, Jeff Locke and Gorkys Hernandez.  The former Pirates middle infield was flipped into a pair of more recent first round picks, the powerful hitting Jeff Clement and promising starting pitcher, Tim Alderson.  Huntington also sent the limited Nyjer Morgan to Washington in exchange for the talent-laced Lastings Milledge.

It’s impossible to predict how these players will pan out, but we have already seen a fruit of Huntington’s labor in last year’s surprise player, Garrett Jones.  The 28-year-old lefty had been in the minors since 1999, seeing a brief MLB stint with the Minnesota Twins in 2007 before he was brought to Pittsburgh and given the chance to play extensively with the big league club last year.  In just 82 games, Jones hit .293, boasted a .938 OPS, slugged 21 homers, and stole 10 bases.

Combine those moves with what appears to be a strong drafting performance, highlighted by their commitment to Scott Boras client Pedro Alvarez, and the Pirates now have something they haven’t had in a while: a future.

Denard Span staying in Minny

March 14, 2010

Today Minnesota signed outfielder Denard Span to a five year deal worth $16.5mil. There is a $9mil option for 2015 with a 500K buyout. Span will be paid $750K in 2010, $1 mi in ’11, $3 mil in ’12, $4.75 mil in ’13 and $6.5 mil in ’14.

At the ripe age of 26, the deal will take Span through his age thirty season, as well as all his remaining arbitration years. Looking into the future, it seems like a nice little bargain for the Twins.

In 2008 and 2009 respectively, Span has already posted WAR’s of 2.6 and 3.9 in his age 24 and 25 seasons. He is an OBP centered hitter, so he should always provide some type of offensive value, even if he lacks power. In his first 920 ML PA’s, Span has a .390 OBP, .361 wOBA, and 123 wRC+. Not bad. Add in the fact he’ll be entering his “prime” seasons over the life of the contract, and there’s no reason to think he can’t improve those numbers. He has no serious white flags other than the aforementioned lack of power (.104 ISO in 2009; .117 career ISO).

Although a SSS of center field defense shows him to be below average with the glove, at the corners he has been good. Overall, he has a career 1.7 OF UZR/150 in 2070 innings. In 2008 and 2009 his fielding runs component of WAR have been positive.

For 2010, CHONE sees Span as a .294/.371/.409/.347wOBA/113wRC+ hitter with a 3.3 WAR. The Fans (82 projections) see Span putting up a line of .302/.385/.400/.353wOBA/117wRC+ and they give him a 4.1 WAR. Assuming Span puts up 3-4 WAR season in 2010 with similar years from 2011-2014, the Twins will be paying a good price for Span.

Although Span would not have been arbitration eligible in 2010 and 2011, the Twins will only be paying him $1.75mil total over those two seasons. That is well below his actual worth. From 2012-2014 the Twins will then pay Span a total of $14.25mil. As stated before, if Span remains a 3-4 WAR player or better, he would have made more money in arbitration then will make in his new deal. I mean, in 2014 when he will be 29, he could be putting up .290/.390/.440 season with average defense for just $6.25mil in the 2014 market. WOW! Assuming that happens, the Twins will have struck gold and saved money that can go to finance Joe Mauer. If he does not keep up the production, well, the contract is only $16.5mil, so it won’t handcuff the team, even if it is the low payroll Twins.

If Span continues to get better and becomes a mainstay in the Twin Cities by 2015, then $9mil will be an afforable option that Minnesota would love to pick up. If not, it’s only 500K to cut him loose.

I really like this deal for the Twins and Span is being safe by taking the guaranteed money.