Archive for February 2011

Jose Bautista is staying in Toronto

February 17, 2011

And it’s a 5/$65mil deal. Color me unimpressed.

At fangraphs, they have come up with the following expectation:

2011 – +3.4 WAR, $5 million per win, $17.5 million value
2012 – +2.9 WAR, $5.25M $/win, $15.23 million value
2013 – +2.4 WAR, $5.51M $/win, $13.23 million value
2014 – +1.9 WAR, $5.69M $/win, $11.00 million value
2015 – +1.4 WAR, $6.08M $/win, $8.51 million value

Total: +12 WAR, $64.96 million value

 

Yeah, Bautista might be *worth* 65mil, but I still think it’s a bad idea for Toronto. If he is only an average player over the contract, which is what he would be to be worth the money, than why go long term with him? Especially since they will need to pay a lot of their young players soon with playoff runs being a real possibility in the next couple seasons. That 65mil could go a long way towards keeping Morrow, Hill, Drabek, Snider, etc, etc.

Moreover, Bautista was likely to make between $8-$10mil through arbitration this season, which is less than the $13mil he will now be paid. If Bautista regresses, which is likely to happen since he never posted an average WAR season until 2010, than if they wanted to sign him to a multi-year deal, they probably could have done for less than $13mil a season. And if they wanted to go multi-year now, why go five years, with an option for a sixth? Just go 2-4 years, max.

Toronto has been making some great moves over the past year and they have set themselves up nicely to be a major AL East contender in the near future, but this deal goes against their recent M.O.

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Milwaukee Brewers extend Rickie Weeks long term

February 16, 2011

If you haven’t heard the news by now, Rickie Weeks signed a 5/$50mil extension with the Milwakee Brewers today. For the small market Brewers, this is a great deal. It’s also a great deal for Rickie Weeks.

The deal will keep Weeks a Brewer for his age 28-32 seasons, which will span most of his prime years up until the age when age starts to become a concern. So as far a years go, the contract length is as good as you can ask for. The contract also buys out one year of arbitration, where he would have made between $5-$7mil and FOUR years of free agency. At 5/$50mil, the AAV is $10mil, so while they won’t be saving any money in 2011, from 2012-2015, they project to be making savings and then some. If Weeks follows up his 2010 season with a similar statistical season in 2011, he would easily make more than $10mil a year. For a small market team like the Brewers who have lots of young players they want to keep around, that is a fantastic deal to save money and keep a good player around.

If Weeks projects to be about a 4.5 WAR player in 2011, as the Fans predict (and is a number I agree with), he would roughly be worth about $20.25mil in 2011. Yeah, so talk about paying someone below their fair market value. If you go further and increase $ per WAR and decrease WAR, I get Weeks producing WARs of 4, 3.5, 3, and 2.5 to finish the contract, which will make him worth $20mil, $19.25mil, $18mil, and $16.25mil for a total contract value of 17.5 WAR and $93.75mil. Yowzers!

I have Weeks projected five year value at $94mil and he will be paid $50mil. Again, I’d say it’s a great deal for Milwaukee. To be worth fair value of $50mil, Weeks would need to only produce about 9-10 WAR over the life of the contract. Yeah, I’d say Weeks will surpass that.

Weeks is an average fielder with a good bat. Going back to 2007, UZR, DSR, and FSR all have him pegged as an average fielder. For his bat, he has above average walk rates, a good ISO indicating power, and good discipline stats. For those reasons, I am confident that he will be a stable, solid hitter over the life of his contract.

The only real concern with Rickie is injuries. 2010 was the first season in which he played more than 130 games (160) and he has failed to play in 100 games in his 3 of his 6 ML seasons. Since the contract pays him significantly less than he is worth, a few injuries won’t make it a bad deal, BUT injuries could take a toll on his production which could ruin the contract. That’s the risk of long term contracts. And while $50mil isn’t a lot compared to his worth, it still is a lot of money in general, especially if you give it to a guy who ends up on the DL more often than the starting lineup. But the Brewers can void the fifth year, saving them $11.5mil, if Weeks is not a starter in 2013 or 2014. So if Weeks does get hurt, the Brewers can still salvage the deal.

All in all though, it’s a win-win for both sides. Brewers get a great deal as I talked about. Weeks gets security and lots of cash, which he should want given his past injury concerns.

Andy Pettite retires, is he a Hall of Famer?

February 4, 2011

Well, tomorrow Andy Pettitte will officially retire. For the 2011 Yankees, this sucks. While I don’t believe Andy would have pitched as well as he did in 2010, he is a considerably better option than Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, Sergio Mitre, etc, etc for a spot in the rotation. So even at $12mil, Andy is worth that to this specific Yankee team. I can only imagine he would be a 1.5-2 win upgrade compared to our current next best option, so he honestly could be the make or break player/reason the Yankees miss out on the playoffs.

But Andy is not coming back, and as a fan, I cannot complain. He’s been a wonderful talent to watch, and a true competitor. I don’t want to sound all MSMish, but his toughness and appetite to win was fun to watch. For many seasons he was the Yankees star pitcher, and while the Yankees aren’t typically known for their pitching, that’s still an impressive label to carry considering how strong a team the Yankees have been while he’s played for them.

Andy Pettitte has had a good career, but is it a Hall of Fame career?

To begin, Pettitte was a true workhorse. He made 30+ starts in thirteen of his sixteen seasons. Moreover, he did everything well that a pitcher could control. He had a 6.63 K rate, 2.83 BB rate, 0.77 HR rate, and has been successful at inducing lots of ground balls, which usually turn into lots of outs. By limiting walks, keeping the ball in the park, and inducing grounders, Pettitte was able to go deep into ballgames and prevent runs, two significant things a pitcher can do to help his team win, and provide value to them. As a result, Andy had a 3.75 FIP and 66.9 fWAR. In fact, his fWAR/200 is 4.4. That’s not just good. That’s Hall of Fame good.

HOWEVER, bWAR disagrees. His bWAR is 50.2, or 3.3/200 IP. That’s a whole win lower than his fWAR/200. Moreover, his WAR goes from above the HOF standard, to well below it. Yikes. So as a rule of thumb, you average the two. His aWAR would be 58.9 and his aWAR/200 would be 3.8.

So Andy is legitimately borderline right now. His aWAR of 58.9, would just about put him on the Hall of Fame line. Of all players that come to mind, I don’t think a single player is more borderline than Andy Pettitte. If there was an actual line or standard to get into the Hall of Fame, it would be the Andy Pettitte line. I mean, his numbers and rate stats are good, but not OUTSTANDING. Yet he made a lot of starts and threw a lot of innings in the seasons he played, gaining a lot of value. He had 1 WAM season, and another TWELVE WAE seasons (and in two of the three seasons he didn’t 3+ WAR he missed half the season and otherwise would have got 3+ WAR). So Andy Pettitte was pretty much an excellent player for his ENTIRE career with a couple near MVP seasons along the way.

Looking at it right now, I can’t make up my mind on Andy. As I said, he is as borderline as it gets. If he got voted in, I’d agree. If he missed out, I wouldn’t complain. HOWEVER, if you had to lean in a certain way, the way to lean is PRO-HOF- for a couple reasons.

For one, we haven’t even looked at his postseason numbers. While he didn’t pitch as well in the postseason (4.17 FIP, 263 innings), he still accumulated a significant chunk of innings in the postseason. Although we don’t have a database of postseason WAR, if those numbers actually counted, I think it would have made Andy’s numbers look better, especially in terms of WAR.

Second, just go to Tom Tango. In 2009 he wrote:

QUOTE:

As I’ve talked about in the past, the best way to get a sense of someone’s place in history is to compare the player to his peers.  And typically, you get about 20-25 players elected to the Hall of Fame for every decade of birth years (with about one-third of those pitchers).

AND today… :

Andy Pettitte was born in June of 1972.  If we look at every pitcher born within 4.5 years of him (the nine years from 1968 to 1976), we get this list:

#1. Pedro
#2. Mussina
#3. Mariano Rivera
#4. Andy Pettitte
#5. Tim Hudson

We see that Pettitte is somewhere on the cusp of good to great.  I look forward to seeing Pettitte’s name on the Hall of Fame ballot for 15 years.  He deserves that much at least.

So if for a given generation 20-25 players make the HOF and 6-8 or so are pitchers, than it looks like Andy Pettitte is easily a HOF’er. That may speak more to the fact that the current generation is weaker than other generations (especially the one preceding it) but either way, it strengthens Andy’s case.

So yeah, Andy Pettitte the take it or leave it HOF candidate.

 

AND just for fun, lets compare him to fellow soft tossing lefty Tom Glavine, who is just about a lock for the HOF.

Pettitte: 3055 IP, 6.63 K/9, 2.83 BB/9, 0.77 HR/9, 66.9 fWAR, 4.4 fWAR/200, 20.1 WAE, 2.4 WAM

Glavine: 4413 IP, 5.32 K/9, 3.06 BB/9, 0.73 HR/9, 68.5 fWAR, 3.1 fWAR/200, 16.2 WAE, 0 WAM

So yeah. Despite tossing about 1400 less innings, Pettitte has pretty much the same fWAR, a much better fWAR/200, and has accumulated more WAE and WAM. If Glavine is a HOF’er, why not Pettitte?

Yankees and Freddy Garcia agree

February 1, 2011

I like it.

It’s a minor league deal, so if he stinks in ST he won’t make the team. If he is pitching well, he can be a servicable 5th starter for $1.5-$2mil depending on his incentives. His incentives can climb to $5mil, which would probably be a good thing if that happens since it will mean he had a real good season and thus would be underpaid at $5mil.

He has put up slightly better than 1 fWAR seasons in limited innings the past two seasons, so any similar performance will be solid from the 5th spot in the rotation. Especially considering our #5 starters last year had about a 0 WAR and it’s been that way for pretty much the past decade.

Patience is a virtue, stoopid Yankee fans. Cashman may not have won the Porsche (Cliff Lee) but he’s doing a good job waiting and potentially finding the diamond in the rough.

 

And side note- Freddy Garcia’s career has been REALLY underrated. He has a career 31.5 fWAR in 1929 innings (3.3 WAR/200 IP) and from 1999-2006 was really good.

 

White Sox sign Alexei Ramirez kinda long term

February 1, 2011

It’s a 4/$32.5mil deal. So it will run from 2011-2014 and cover his age 29-32 seasons.

I like it, but I don’t like it. The AAV will be about $8.1mil per season. That values him as about a 1.5-2 WAR player.

In 2008, Alexei Ramirez produced just 0.9 fWAR when he was a below average hitter and fielder. Since then he has arguably been the best defensive shortstop in baseball and produced a 2.2 fWAR in 2009 and a 3.8 fWAR in 2010.

Ramirez would have been paid $1.1mil 2011 and then would have been arbitration eligible in 2012 and 2013.

So lets get into it. I think as a whole he will be underpaid. Yes, defense declines with age and this deal does carry him into his 30s. Yes, his value is tied into his defense, so if it slips he is no longer valuable or that good of a player. But he is projected by the fans to have a 3.4 fWAR in 2011 and being conservative, with okay defense and below average offense, Ramirez should still be worth 2-2.5 WAR, which means he is worth more than the $8.1mil he will be paid.

HOWEVER…he would have made $1.1mil in 2011 as previously mentioned. I also don’t think he would have sniffed $8mil in arbitration. He might have come close, but $8mil for a player who hit .282/.313/.431 in a full season last year seems a bit much considering teams and arbiters probably do not use advanced stats in negotiations. Using the similarity score on B-R, Ramirez was linked to Yunel Escobar and Erick Aybar. Escobar, like Ramirez, is entering his fourth big league season, and in my opinion and according to stats, is a better player. He settled for $2.9mil and even with pay increases in 2012 and 2013, it seems unlikely Escobar- the better player- will reach $8mil through arbitration. Erick Aybar is a fifth year player and settled for $3mil.

So yeah, compared to similar players, who are younger, it looks like the White Sox are overpaying Ramirez compared to what they could have paid to sign him long term.

Granted, they might save some money in 2014 when Ramirez was headed to free agency, but how much would he have honestly made? He would be turning 33, his offense would presumably be even worse, and his defense should be on the decline. Even with inflation, I didn’t see Ramirez getting more than $10mil in 2014.

So…for his relative value, yeah, the White Sox are underpaying him slightly. But considering they could have kept his services through 2013, and maybe even beyond, for less money, I think it’s a bad deal.

I also don’t like going long term on players like Ramirez. His value is tied up in his position/defense and if his defense falters, he’s done. And $8mil will be a lot to pay a black hole if that happens.