Archive for January 2011

Blue Jays trade Mike Napoli to Rangers for Frank Francisco

January 25, 2011

Well, that was fast. I’ve gotta say, after making a brilliant trade, the Jays have made a dumb one.

Mike Napoli, once again, is a good player! Even if you stick him at first base, which Toronto would have done, he would produce. Moreover, it would allow the Jays to start Adam Lind at DH, not Edwin Encarnacion, and they could start JP Arencibia at catcher.

But nope, now Edwin will actually have to play and Arencibia will be pushed into the lineup immediately- no strings attached. All for Frank Francisco.

Don’t get me wrong, Francisco IS a good a reliever. But they’re a dime a dozen and Toronto already has a good bullpen. In my opinion, Mike Napoli helps the Blue Jays win more than Frank Francisco. Moreover, he is cost-controlled for a few more seasons so he will contribute to future teams as well.

My only guess is that Francisco might be a Type B or Type A free agent after the season and Toronto values the draft pick more than a couple seasons of Napoli. If that’s the case, I understand the move but disagree with it and don’t like.

As for the Rangers- they got themselves a catcher and a first baseman which they needed. GREAT move.

Dumb link of the day

January 23, 2011

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2011/01/22/2011-01-22_yankees_gm_brian_cashman_might_want_to_leave_bombers_and_finally_have_a_chance_t.html

 

Not the article itself. But the comments. Holy shit. Blaming Cash for all of Steinbrenner’s move from pre-2006. Blaming Cash for Javy Vazquez, even though it was a good trade at the time. Blaming Cash for not winning more World Series- even though during his true tenure of about 2006-present he took an old, aging, well over-paid team with no farm system to a World Series winner in three seasons and a team with a farm system that has twice now been ranked in the top 5 of baseball. Sure, he has more money than any other GM to play with, but you can still get in trouble with buckets of money, as proven by George Steinbrenner pre-2006 when he basically ran the Yankees, and not Brian Cashman.

On a side note, while I will be pissed if Cash does leave since he’s a top tier GM and no one outside the organization is on the free market to replace him, it would be nice to see the Yankees promote Damon Oppenheimer. He’s a great baseball mind and talent evaluator. Other teams are often inquiring about him, so I’d rather keep him than lose him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mingdurga is the only sane commenter.

Tampa Bay Rays sign Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez

January 22, 2011

The Damon deal is 1/$5.25mil and the Manny deal is 1/$2mil.

I like it. Especially the Manny deal.

Manny can still hit. In 320 PA last season, his line was .298/.409/.460/.382/141. That’s good. He had a 1.6 fWAR, which means he was worth over $6mil. The Rays might be getting the STEAL of the off-season right here. The Yankees signed Andruw Jones for $2mil to be a part-time outfielder. Manny will be paid the same to be a full-time DH and hit a lot better than Jones will. I see no downside to this acquisition. The Rays didn’t have a DH, now they do.

I’m iffy on the Damon. He should be worth 1-2 WAR, so technically he will be “worth it”. But with the Manny signing, Damon will be the left fielder. At this stage in his career, he is a poor fielder. To me, it would make a lot more sense to stick Desmond Jennings there. He is ready and he is a top,big-time prospect. Even if Jennings struggles to hit, his defense should make him an equal player or superior player to Damon- at a cheaper price. Jennings could still patrol the outfielder if Ben Zobrist is moved to the second. While I think Sean Rodriguez should get a chance to start, a Damon-Upton-Jennings outfield with Zobrist at second might be a better lineup. Also, the Damon signing might open up the possibility of an Upton trade, a trade which could further stock the farm system or get ML talent to make the club better. So I’m neutral on the signing. It might work, it might not.

Blue Jays trade Vernon Wells to the Angels for Mike Napoli, Juan Rivera

January 22, 2011

WOWWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!

So let’s get this straight. Vernon Wells is 32 years old. He has to be paid $23mil in 2011, $21mil in 2012, $21mil in 2013, and $21mil in 2014. So that’s $86mil guaranteed for the age 32-35 seasons, of a player who has produced 7.0 WAR in the past four seasons.

Yikes. So the Angels are picking up a player, who did post a 4 fWAR in 2010, but also produced just a combined 3 WAR from 2007-2009. He is fancasted to produce 2.4 fWAR in 2011. With a $ per WAR of $4.5mil, he would only be worth $10.8mil. He will be paid $24mil.

Why on earth would a team want that? Especially a team like the Angels are aren’t exactly contenders at the moment. Moreover, their outfield is already crowded with Tori Hunter, Bobby Abreu, Reggie Willits, and Peter Bourjos. Moreover, they already had Juan Rivera. Yes, Juan Rivera may not be the hitter he once was. But he is the same age as Wells, and costs about $19mil less…for the same production! The kicker though, is Mike Napoli. Mike Napoli is good. Mike Napoli is 29. Mike Napoli is cost-controlled for two more seasons. Mike Napoli plays a premiere defensive position- catcher. Mike Napoli has proven to be a real good hitting catcher and has provided 2+ WAR in all but one of his professional seasons (he was worth 1.5 WAR in a 75 game 2007 season).

Over the past four years, Mike Napoli has been worth worth 9.7 fWAR, more than Vernon Wells. Mike Napoli made $3.6mil last season and figures to make about $5.8mil in 2011 and about $10.4mil in 2012. That’s about $16mil for two seasons. Vernon Wells has to be paid $24mil in 2011 alone!

Mike Napoli is being fancasted to have a 3.4 WAR season in 2011. So he would be worth $15.3mil and his team would have about $10mil.

So lets get this straight…team with Mike Napoli gets more production, more value, and SAVES money. Team with Vernon Wells gets a not so good player, expensive contract, and loses money compared to what the player brings to the table.

This deal makes no sense for the Angels AT ALL. They had a great, cost-controlled catcher on their roster, and have a loaded outfield. They also probably will not be competing in the West anytime soon so they should look to rid themselves of payroll eating, veteran players. Sure, they will probably move Bobby Abreu to DH, but this move stills make no sense.

As for the Blue Jays- it’s a win x 10. Just trading Wells and his contract, even if for nothing, is a win. Now they get a good catcher, and an extra outfielder to boot.

Sure, the Jays might contribute some money to help the Angels, but the latest reports are saying that will not happen. Either way, it doesn’t change things.

Also, Wells can opt-out after 2011.

1) He’d be crazy to walk away from $63mil guaranteed, especially if he sucks in 2011.

2) If he does walk away, it’s still a bad deal for LA since they will be trading a good catcher for an old outfielder who won’t help them win in 2011.

 

Reds ink Johnny Cueto to four year extension

January 21, 2011

The deal 4/$27mil and will cover three arbitration and a year of free agency. The contract spans his age 25-28 seasons.

During the current arbitration hearings, Cueto wanted $3.9mil and the team was offering $3mil. So let’s split that and say $3.45mil. Using the 40/60/80 scale, he would figure to earn about $5.5mil in 2012 and then about $10mil in 2013 before entering free agency. So let’s analyze the first three years of the deal. If you average out the four years, Cueto will be paid $6.75mil per season. Over the first three years of the contract, that’s $20.25. Estimating what he would have made through arbitration, Cueto otherwise would have been paid about $19mil. So the Reds, unless Cueto has some phenomenal seasons and really increases his value, are not saving money with this deal through his first three seasons.

However, the savings will come in the fourth year, the free agency year. Johnny Cueto will be a 28 year old starting pitcher on the open market, who would have made around $10mil in his last arbitration deal contract. Assuming he is a good pitcher come three years from now, his price will be high. I think it will be safe to say he will make at least $10mil+. So the Reds will be saving at least four mil alone that season. Considering the first three years are practically a wash, I like this deal for Cincinnati. Sure, they are not saving now and in the near future, but they aren’t overpaying either. So it will be worth it come year four when they do make a big saving on a good pitcher.

Even more so, I like the deal because of the timing. Johnny Cueto was one of my favorite prospects coming out of the minors. But through his first two seasons, he never hit his potential. I blame Dusty Baker for bumping his innings from 83 in 2007 to 174 in 2008. That’s another story though. Still, Cueto was an okay reliever and finally seemed to emerge last season. He lowered his BB and HR rate, as well as his FIP. The result was a career high 2.5 WAR, which IS good for a 24 year old pitcher. As he matures, there is a real possibility Cueto develops into a front line starting pitcher. If that’s the case, $6.75mil a small price to be pay for big performance. You can bet your ass that if Cueto does even better in 2011, then he would have commanded more money than he did this off-season. If Cueto never fully develops, $6.75mil would be his fair market value. However, if he does put it all together, $6.75mil will be a bargain. And remember, they still have him signed for a year of free agency.

So, good for Cincy.

Nationals acquire Tom Gorzellany

January 17, 2011

From the Chicago Cubs for two pitching prospects and outfield prospect Michael Burgress.

 

Color me unimpressed. Yes, Burgess lost his organizational top 10 prospect status. But he has still has high potential and real talent. Scouts love his tools and rave about his defense. So even if there is concern about declining power and high K rates, it’s all good if he can be a plus fielder and average at the plate. Whether or not it’s a good deal will hinge around the other prospects, but for a guy like Gorzellany, Burgess seems like a high price to pay.

Not to pile on the guy, but Gorzellany isn’t special. He is 28 and by the time he is a FA in three seasons, he will be 31. So he’s not a young kid. His career K/9 is under 7, his career BB/9 is over 4, and his career HR/9 is just under 1. He is not special and has not shown the ability to be a good or great pitcher. Granted, his FIP over the past 180 innings or so is around 3.9. But he is not good at any of the things a pitcher can control- walks, K’s, and HR allowed. His GB% is below average. So why trade for him? Because he’s cheap and under team control? If so, that’s a bad reason, when the price you’re also paying is a prospect like Michael Burgress and two other potentially good prospects.

UPDATE: Another prospect is AJ Morris. He is 24 and hasn’t pitched above A level. So he isn’t a top prospect because of his age. BUT he has posted good numbers and BA says he has the best slider in their system. What was Washington’s motive in this deal? I don’t see it.

Reds extend MVP Joey Votto

January 16, 2011

For 3/$38mil. It buys out all his arbitration years.

Obviously, it’s a good deal. He is coming off an MVP season and is, for sure, one of the best hitters in all of baseball. It may not save them a ton of money compared to what he would make in arbitration (he probably would have made around $8mil this season), but compared to his actual worth, they will be saving lots of money.

It would have been better if they could have got some of his FA years, but I’m pretty sure in the past Joey said he was against any real long term contract and he wants to be a FA in three years. So at least the Reds give him some money, while still saving on what they would have ultimately paid, which might make him more likely to sign in Cincinnati when he does become a FA.

Can’t complain if you’re a Reds fan.