No research here, so I could very well be way wrong, but over that period, didn’t several of those players (Beltran, Jones) have injury histories that Bourn does not?
Comment by Uncle Randy — January 15, 2013 @ 2:09 pm
If the Mariners sign him, he can turn more deep fly balls into outs and allow him to be slightly more valuable. A team like Texas could use him, but have a smaller park. (They seem to proud to sign a player that will clearly decline in 2016 anyway.) The team that would benefit the most from his skill set isn’t going to sign him to a deal that only benefits in the short term could be another reason front offices have been weary so far to sign him.
Also, Rios was played out of position in CF in 2011, his only year with a significantly below average UZR. Last year, back in his natural position, he was a scratch defender. Still an overall decline, but that -7.0 from 2011 makes a big difference and may not be that useful.
So I’m assuming the defensive decline can be attributed entirely to losing speed, as route instincts and reactions times aren’t going to diminish (if anything I’d think they would become more refined and efficient).
So my questions is, what is the answer to the oft asked, “which skillset erodes quicker?” — The old player’s power/BB, or the speedster’s quickness/defense? Or is the answer muddled and somewhere in between?
I’ve been hesitant to pick a side in such discussions because I’ve seen arguments going both ways from saber inclined individuals.
What if expanded data set prior to 2002? In other words, what other historically “great” defenders would make the list…of course realizing the limitations of defensive stats prior to that time frame (i.e. no UZR).
One quickly springs to mind….Paul Blair. Had very good/spectacular numbers in his age 30 and age 31 seasons, then promptly fell off a cliff in 1976 both offensively and defensively.
Perhaps also would be useful to tally out all of the +10 FLD seasons from centerfielders age 30 or older.
this article has done a lot to change my position on Bourn… I have been arguing most of the off-season that the Cubs should sign him to either a front loaded contract or one with a significant signing bonus given their position, however, that was contingent on assuming he can average 3.5 to 4 WAR over a 4 year contract which appears like too much to ask when considering this article.
I understand the natural regression that is going to come with age but it appears that OF’s that rely on a high defensive value probably fall faster than the naturally assumed 0.5 War per year
I think this article does more to explain the lower than expected market for Bourn than predict well how he’ll do going forward. He seems to have more speed to lose, lack of injury history, and a slender body type that handles aging better. Of course he is likely getting worse, but he could still be good to very good for another few years and then merely average for the backend of a 5-6 year deal.
Take a 5/4/3 weighting of his WAR the past three seasons and you get 5.2, then to be safe take away a few extra UZR runs (his three year average is about 15; dock him half that) and call him a 4.5 win player. With your standard .5 WAR/year decline and $5 million/win – to be extra conservative, even throw out inflation – we are talking about something in the range of 5 years/$90 million.
That seems like it’s on the conservative end, but I remember people guessing he would sign for something like 5/80. Is he demanding much more than that or are teams *really* worried about his defense crashing?
He’s a much worse offensive player than Nick Swisher, and as illustrated above, teams that pay players with the expectation of elite defense usually turn out to be spending their money foolishly.
Comment by Sparkles Peterson — January 15, 2013 @ 4:47 pm
He isn’t worth 5 years and $60-$65million??? Assuming that his bat is league average (on average) over the next 5 seasons (600PA); that his base running goes from merely very good to totally average; that is fielding is great, then good, then average, then bad, then very bad; and that he gets almost all of his starts in CF at first and then fewer and fewer as time goes on until he no longer has a positive positional adjustment. With $5million/war this offseason, so really no inflation from 2012, that still makes him “worth” ~$61.52million. Am I crazy? Or stupid? Or both?
Comment by hildebeast21 — January 15, 2013 @ 4:48 pm
I think it would make more sense to normalize to UZR/600 PA to correct for playing time
Andruw did have surgery for torn cartilage in his right knee in 2008, the year when his defense really started to drop off.
Comment by Carry On My Heyward Son — January 15, 2013 @ 11:31 pm
Aaron Rowand is an excellent comp for Bourn, handedness aside. Bourn walks a tad more, but otherwise they are very similar strikeout prone speed guys, with excellent base running and good D; high end D in their 20s. Rowand has remained a defensive asset and a good baserunner, but nothing like he was, and there’s nothing to fill the gap. Harder for him to help the offense since he’s not getting on base now either.
—And that’s why anyone would be CRAZY to sign Bourn to a five-year deal. If Bourn loses even a step, he’s still useful but nowhere near his per annum in return. And that’s always been the problem. On a three year deal, correctly priced, Bourn would be a real plus for the right team, but no one should buy those last two years because the value doesn’t bet to be there.
Ok, take three-year WAR averages for each player, then go ahead and dock Bourn the full 10 points of UZR that the elite center fielders experienced as illustrated above – meaning you’ve fully accounted upfront for defensive decline – and they’re roughly equal players right now. And Bourn’s still younger.
If you’re looking for comps, Swish got 4/56. If no team is willing to give Bourn this, we’re almost certainly looking at a market inefficiency.
if the price comes down to 3/30M I think the Rays will pounce. I don’t see why the Rangers would be involved since Leonys Martin is ready to go and they have Gentry to play CF as well and Borbon as a fallback to both.
I get that the draft pick penalty is prob keeping a bunch of teams away. The Rays have already gained a pick from BJU so it’s less of a penalty for them than most other teams. Just about $ for them.