I like the article, but I have to ask, what is this poetic BS, Longfellow? Let me give it a try:
“Teams that need not of an upgrade”
In markets large and dutifully had paid
The price of their souls negotiating
While their little-jerk fans spend the offseason masturbating
Comment by sumajestad — December 18, 2009 @ 8:29 am
You have to read that last bit kind of fast, empathetically.
Comment by sumajestad — December 18, 2009 @ 8:31 am
Great Stuff RJ,
In your opinion given Gonzo’s contract would you offer Kelley/Westmoreland/Anderon or is that to much from Sox stand point.
P.S. I stumbled across DRaysbay and really enjoy the work you guys do over there.
Comment by Mike Ketchen — December 18, 2009 @ 8:56 am
Some things I think are flawed in the methodology, well one thing, really.
Cubs would definitely have a need for a guy like Gonzalez. Lee’s a good player, no doubt, but at 34, how much more awesomeness can you expect? Sure he could McGriff it and last awhile, but I have to think Hendry at least thought of some 3 team trade scenario and sending Lee to somewhere like Oakland or Seattle, where his services would be coveted for 2010.
“I don’t know if you can put together enough young talent to actually get fair value in return,” said a veteran talent evaluator. “Think about it: Gonzalez is a superstar-level player who can hit you 40 homers, play Gold Glove-caliber first base, be the anchor in a lineup, and all he is going to cost you over the next two years is $10 million. You can make deals for years and not be able to put yourself in a situation like that; that’s what you are trying to get to — a great player at little cost.”
Said another executive: “If you can’t afford to keep Gonzalez at that price, for that kind of production, you might as well just close up shop.”
Comment by Rich in NJ — December 18, 2009 @ 9:40 am
The A’s just significantly improved at 1B by giving Giambi, Everidge, Crosby, and Nomar their walking papers.
Barton’s numbers, considering the small sample size he had to put them up in, weren’t bad at all. A’s would be mid-pack at 1B if he was their starting 1B full season.
Whether the A’s are contenders next year or not, I’d like to hope that this is finally the season where Barton gets the bulk of a season at 1B.
I think you’re going to see a Barton/Fox platoon. Problem is, both of them have reverse splits at this early stage of their careers (Barton’s been better v. lefties, Fox v. righties), so I’m not sure how it would look.
I think if Barton can improve his contact and become a .260 hitter, he has James Loney / Nick Johnson written all over him. Not a star, but a helpful player that allows you to put money elsewhere.
But yes, projected out, Barton was pretty much the epitome of an average MLB 1B. And being an average anything at the MLB level is a good thing.
I think you’re underselling the Mets interest. The team had a total wRAA of 11 from 1B, but more than half (6.1) came from Delgado, who started 25 games. He put up a -0.2 UZR, so net, that’s 5.9. That leaves 10.5 total, earned over 137 games, or pro-rated out to 162, or about 12.4 total.
The team is similarly getting almost all their defensive value from half a season from Daniel Murphy (4.7 in 97 starts) in his first stint at 1B. So 12.4 is optimistic given the current options there. It wouldn’t be shocking if the Mets current talent is below the 8.3 threshold you used for “nightmare.”
Why does everyone take as a given the fact that Gonzalez’s low salary makes him less likely to be dealt? The low salary clearly increases his value, but if you’re the padres, don’t you have to recognize that Adrian Gonzalez will not be part of a winning team in SD. That team cannot get turned around fast enough to win before he leaves after 2011. That being the case, it seems like the logical solution is to trade him now when his value (including the low salary) is maximized. The longer you wait to trade him, the more of his current potential value is translated into performance that will help the 2010 padres finish 72-90. That value is better turned into prospects or players with more than 2 years of team control. Yes, it might piss off some fans to trade the franchise now, but it really is the best move for the team and if you get a significant haul for him then I don’t think it’s too hard to sell that fact to the fanbase.
Comment by hennethannun — December 18, 2009 @ 10:28 am
1- A Barton/Fox platoon would kill Barton’s value, big time. I really hope Billy doesn’t go that route. We’ve already seen enough “Barton blocked by players who aren’t half as good at this stage of their careers.”
Fox may be the better hitter against RHP, but the improvement would be killed by the fact that Barton can actually play defense and Fox can’t.
2- I think its both Beane renewing confidence in Barton and the possibility that someone like Chris Carter or Sean Doolittle or even Josh Donaldson ends up at 1B if Barton falters (Carter is probably best suited for DH)
the point is that few teams with a need at 1B even have the young talent to deal for gonzalez, and of the ones that do, none of them may be willing to pay the steep price in terms of prospects that gonzalez and his favorable contract will command.
also, his trade value isn’t solely determined his performance and his contract. it is also affected by his value (or perceived value) to the team trading for him. if TB is in 1st place this summer and they lose pena for the season, maybe they decide it’s worth it to deal for gonzalez. right now, they’re probably not sure whether the marginal benefit he’d bring would justify gutting their farm system.
I also forgot to factor in that I think the A’s are looking more at 2011-2012. Lot of guys whose ETA projects out to then. Taylor will probably debut at some point in 2010, but I think his first full campaign will be in 2011.
And Taylor just looks like a more exciting prospect than Wallace, imo. His MLE from AA last year was .271/.332/.444. Taylor and Wallace are, for all analytical purposes, the same age as well (Taylor’s a few months older. Whatever). Not too sure about Taylor’s defense, but given his speed and being in the corner, I have to think he’ll be at least average.
I agree whole heartedly with this. AGonz is the exact type of player SDP should KEEP!
In the end you might have 3-4 prospects (acquired for AGonz) playing at the MLB that COMBINE to provide the production that AGonz might have put up. They may even (combined) provide slightly greater value than AGonz, but also taking up 3-4 roster slots instead of ONE.
SDP is in a pretty good spot to “ask for whatever they want” and just get crazy, like asking for 3-4 prospects that are projected to be GOOD mlb players and are not too much of a risk, and really capitalize on teams looking to win NOW, when the Pads could have a young group make an impact at the same time, for a low cost, and possibly make a move in the NLW. I, as GM for the Pads, would (perhaps even just for fun) ask for the world from BOS, OAK, SFG, etc and see what kind of offers I get. If I am not completely overwhelmed with the quality of the offer … then I just continue to be happy with my great production at a low cost 1st baseman.
Comment by circlechange11 — December 18, 2009 @ 11:31 am
Mostly because when you’re dealing with premium players, the salary isn’t a huge barrier for big market teams. For small market teams, giving up a bevy of prospects is risky regardless, because they have to be *sure* they’re going for it.
On the other hand, the original team (here, the Padres) have no immediate need to make a deal. The player is quite affordable and moving him will potentially cost more (in lost revenue) than keeping him.
The problem with prospects is that you are trying to place a 5 WAR player, and you’re going to have to get  those 5 WAR from one player or  double (or so) the amount (10 WAR) from 2 or 3 players.
Once you take into account the additional roster slots occupied, you made a trade for some decent prospects but pretty much ended up with the “same WAR” (as a team overall). ‘Lateral move’ … and a risky one.
The quality that SDP would need to get to replace AGonz value likely does not realistically exist (i.e., teams have those high quality prospects AND are willing to trade a trio or quarter of them). It’s fantasy, but one might even need to engage a 3rd team in order to get some of the top 3 prospects from both organizations. Not.Gonna.Happen.
I understand that SDP isn’t going to win while AGonz is there, but I also understand they likely aren’t going to get 3 prospects that all put up ~3 WAR (each) in the very near future, and improve the team overall (or even to the degree that makes the risk even halfway worth it).
Comment by circlechange11 — December 18, 2009 @ 11:42 am
I think the Rangers are likely far better off now for having traded Teixeira when they did and for what they did than they would be otherwise. That was with a year and a half instead of 2 years left on a pricier contract, so you could say the Padres could wait until the deadline and have to get a slightly better return, which would be difficult, but not necessarily impossible. But they’d need a willing team with as stacked a system as the Braves were at the time, right?
Between Barton, Carter, Doolittle, and Wallace the A’s had far too many first base prospects. They probably knew all along that Wallace wasn’t going to be a third baseman, but it’s pretty good policy to take the best player available and let things work themselves out.
And voila, less than a year later, Michael Taylor’s on the Jays, they seem to panic about their IF/OF prospect ratio being imbalanced, and the A’s swoop in and make a steal.
CHONE has him league average for 2010. For a guy who has barely played in AAA, that’s pretty awesome.
Comment by lincolndude — December 18, 2009 @ 12:43 pm
Imagine you just bought a baseball team.
Before you finalized the deal to buy, you watched the team bumble trying to trade its marquee pitcher for 7 months, and the resultant fan backlash. Since you bought the team, you’ve hired a new GM and made the mistake of saying, out loud in front of local media, the payroll for 2010 will not exceed $49 million. The hottest stories at the winter meetings about your team revolved around possible trades of your Gold-Glove caliber third baseman and All-Star closer.
Season ticket sales have sagged and fan enthusiasm has waned.
But, you do have one player who’s really good, has become the de facto face of the franchise, and gives what fans you have left a reason to come to the games.
Is a potential prospect haul in return for trading him really worth it?
I think not. I don’t believe Gonzo will go anywhere this off-season.
Also, despite the appearance that they could really use him and afford him, there’s just no way the A’s trade for Gonzalez. We’re hearing stuff like Ellsbury + Buchholz + more thrown around. This guy is immensely valuable, and it’s going to take at LEAST 3 or 4 sure major leaguers to get him.
No way the A’s torch their system to get 2 years of Gonzalez. Like Joe R said, they’re really planning for 2011/2012 and beyond. If they compete in 2010, it’ll be a bonus. The plan this year seems to be to aggressively promote some hitters and see what sticks, and allow further development of their Anderson/Cahill/Gonzo/Mazzarro starting quartet.
Comment by lincolndude — December 18, 2009 @ 12:50 pm
There’s more in the name link, but if you only adjust for raw park factors from ESPN (yes, i know, i should use THT’s) Gonzalez’s HR total last yr, in theory, could have been in the 50’s
Again, WAR isn’t the right way to view it. Obviously they won’t get enough value to replace gonzalez right now. but that’s not the point. they need to get equal or better value at some future point when they will have a good team. And it seems to me that the best way to get a player or players who have a good shot at providing 5+ WAR in 2012+ is to trade gonzalez now. His value in trade is only going to go down on the macro scale because he’s going to earn a ton of money when his current deal runs out. Sure, there might be a micro-scale spike in some particular team need at 1B that could result in a better price at the trade deadline (such as the carlos pena going down for the season example). That’s certainly something to consider. At the same time that is by no means a sure thing. And gonzalez’s value goes down while you wait and hope for such an event to take place. It just seems to me that the only real reason NOT to trade gonzalez right now is the problem of selling the move to the fanbase. But I think you could do that if you got a package of guys that included a ready for the majors player with some name recognition like ellsbury.
Comment by hennethannun — December 18, 2009 @ 1:40 pm
You don’t have to convince several teams to deal lots of high ceiling prospects, you only have to convince one.
If San Diego doesn’t find a deal that suits its needs then they don’t make a deal, but the point was and is that Gonzalez’s trade value is as high as its going to get this off season, i.e. now. He’s only going to get older and he’s only going to get more expensive and closer to free agency. San Diego isn’t going to win in the next two years whether he’s on the team or not. Wasn’t it Branch Rickey who said, “We can finish last with you or we can finish last without you.” So, if the deal is there, why not make it and improve your chances of winning a championship, which Gonzalez otherwise won’t do.
Personally, I think for trades, WAB (Wins Above Bench) would be a better metric.
Think someone who’s a decent player, belongs in the majors, but really has no business starting for a contending team. Eckstein is a perfect example.
Because when you trade a player, you’re likely not planning on starting a AAAA scrub like Emilio Bonifacio at his spot.
Example: Team A trades 5 WAR player to Team B for three 2 WAR guys. On paper, Team A is getting 6 wins for 5, but those three are likely replacing 5 WAR guy, and 2 mediocre starters (let’s say 1 WAR). Now, the immediate gain is -1 WAR. Team B signs two 1 WAR guys to fill the holes, now are +1.
WAR is good for estimating a player’s true value, and a team’s true output, but I wouldn’t use it for movement between rosters.
Perhaps WAR isn’t ideal stat. Doesn’t really matter to me, in the regard that I don;t have any emotional attachment to any stat (well, except WHIP).
I just used WAR as a stat representative of “AGonz is REALLY good” and “you won’t likely find 2-3 prospects that are going to duplicate his offensive numbers” to be greater than AGonz + 2 current SDP players.
A better strategy might be to ait until his contract year, see who is in the playoff hunt, and get a package of 3-4 players, that include some affordable veterans that can get into the lineup right away, and some prospects that are either MLB ready or very close to it, so that those 3-4 guys are overall better than “AGonz + the players the new acquires replaces”.
That’s gonna be tough, but if you can catch a team (BOS maybe) in a situation where they are willing to win NOW (or in a hotly contested race for the WC) and are willing to trade guys like Anderson, Reddick, Bowden, etc … then that would be an ideal situation.
It would be nice to have some insider information and see what type of “packages” teams have offered or would discuss offering to SDP for AGonz.
We could use any stat that represents a player’s production, RC, wRC, OPS, WAR, wOBA, and the overall point remains, “AGonz is very good and replacing or perhaps improving on his contributions via trade is going to be darn difficult.” *grin*
Comment by CircleChange11 — December 19, 2009 @ 10:51 pm
You have an emotional attachment to WHIP? Really? And you admit to it in public?
Heck, I can remember looking up “WHIP” on baseball cards back in the day when Teddy Higuera led the NL in it.
In 01 and 02 Curt Shilling was 2nd in the CYA, and led the league in HR allowed in 01 and was darn close in 02. He got away with because his WHIP was low. I always bring that up to young HS pitchers that are fearful of challenging hitters. I do it to combat “nibbling”.
Sure, it’s not an end-all be-all stat, but for pitchers, if you don’t allow many runners on base, you’re going to do rather well. It’s almost too simple to be true.
I would imagine that WHIP and FIP have a strong correlation. FIP is still rather new to me.
Comment by CircleChange11 — December 20, 2009 @ 3:41 am
But it was the same case with Teixeira a few years ago. Granted, it was only a year and a half of Teix, and he was coming from a hitters park (it’s the polar opposite with Gonzalez of course at Petco), but when the deal was made Saltalamacchia was seen as the main major league ready piece that came in return. Of course almost everyone knows the rest of the deal: not only Elvis Andrus plus Neftali Feliz, but also Matt Harrison and Beau Jones. All the aforementioned save Saltalamacchia weren’t really expected to produce for a couple years, and now at least two of them have very bright futures ahead of them.
What I’m getting to with Gonzalez is that Hoyer shouldn’t expect to get players who will make of for Gonzalez’s production immediately. In reality, they aren’t just a Clay Buchholz or a Jacoby Ellsbury away from taking over the division, they’re going to need more pieces than that with star potential.
I really like the analysis as I believe it does a good job of balancing offense and defense and identifies teams in need of an upgrade. I am curious, however, as to why the Red Sox did not qualify as an elite team in no need of an upgrade if the Phillies did. Yes, Howard is a great hitter, a former MVP, and a superstar, but combining both offense and defense, Youkilis could be portrayed as equally valuable (as your system projects). Basically, why is Howard considered elite and Youkilis not?
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