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  1. “Given Boston’s placement on the win curve and how much those additional wins could help to distance themselves even morefrom Tampa NYY, it seems the reported asking price of $10-15M isn’t too far-fetched after all.”


    Comment by Dirty Water — December 31, 2009 @ 8:43 am

  2. Booo. No strikethrough support.

    Comment by Dirty Water — December 31, 2009 @ 8:45 am

  3. Doesn’t the $8.75 M price tag only work if Youkilis is as valuable at first as he is at third? Given your assumption that he would be 5 runs worse at third than first, given the positional adjustment, Youkilis would actually be 10 runs less valuable at first. (Subtract 15 runs for the difference between playing third and playing first.) So a Beltre at 3rd, Youkilis at 1st combo is only 1.5 wins better than a Youk at 3rd, Kotchman at 1st combo, right? While Beltre may be a 2.5 win improvement over Kotchman, Youkilis is 1 win worse at first than third. With this in mind, perhaps the most Boston should pay Beltre is $5.25 M. If we want to argue that Boston should increase the value of a win b/c they’re going to be in contention for a division title and playoff spot and go w/ the $4.4 M / win number, Beltre’s top value should be just $6.6 M to Boston.

    Comment by chuckb — December 31, 2009 @ 9:07 am

  4. Kotchman’s had one season where he was worth more than 1.1 wins so it’s pretty unlikely that he’ll exceed that. If you estimate Beltre is a 3.5 win player you’re more likely to have a 2.5 WAR gap just between Kotchman & Beltre alone. It’s nearly 3 wins when you add back the 5 runs from Youkilis playing 1B over third. At 3.5 mil per win then you’re looking at the upgrade to Beltre being worth 10.5 mil.

    However, Beltre was worth 3-4 wins in Seattle which depressed his offense, so coming to Fenway would up his batting runs. So even @ +5 runs from Fenway vs Safeco he’d go from 6-10 (ignoring the injured 09 season) to 11-15 runs.

    So once you account for this you’d be looking at something close to a 3.5 win jump from Kotchman —> Beltre.

    One issue I had was your 3 year averages – Kotchman had one good offensive year, and the next 2 years didn’t break a 738 OPS or a 322 wOBA (which is unacceptable for a 1B). Between 06-08 Beltre was consistently between 784-800 OPS playing half the games in Safeco. My point being, the 3 year average makes Kotchman look much better than he is and Beltre much worse than he is. Beltre’s 09 really screws up the average, and isn’t really a good indication of Beltre’s ability. But I guess we can’t really ignore it either.

    I might have missed something, and if I did please feel free to point it out, but it seems like you’re being extremely conservative here. I’d have to think the jump between Beltre—>Kotchman would be worth 3-3.5 wins. I see Kotchman as no better than a 1 win guy and Beltre can at least be a 4 win guy in Boston. At which case Boston wouldn’t be overpaying.

    Comment by Mark — December 31, 2009 @ 9:12 am

  5. Am I the only person who wonders why anyone would give Beltre serious money after last season’s performance?

    Comment by Fantasy Alpha — December 31, 2009 @ 9:16 am

  6. Drew: “Dude, the media thinks I’m an asshole cause I take too many walks.”
    Beltre: “Dude, the media thinks I’m an asshole cause I don’t walk enough.”
    Drew: “This doesn’t even make sense.”

    Comment by Joe R — December 31, 2009 @ 9:20 am

  7. And yeah, $10-$15 mil for Beltre seems like a LOT of money. Especially given the Red Sox signed Mike Cameron for less than $8 per year.

    I mean sure there’s an argument to say his asking price is fair, but why give him market value when gloves are often going for less than that?

    Comment by Joe R — December 31, 2009 @ 9:24 am

  8. Will $10 million more in salary put them over the luxury tax? If it does, that has to be factored into the “Cost” of getting Beltre.

    Comment by NEPP — December 31, 2009 @ 9:26 am

  9. Anything more than 2 years, $15 million for Beltre will likely result in the Red Sox writing another check to pay his next team for taking on his bad contract. Another mistake like Beltre could also cost Theo his job. No thanks on Beltre. I’d rather see the Red Sox start the season with Kotchman and Lowell and then see if they can trade for either Gonzalez, Votto or Zimmerman by mid-2010.

    Comment by Bill D — December 31, 2009 @ 9:28 am

  10. Considering the dude fractured a testicle last year I’m inclined to give him a free pass.

    Comment by Steve — December 31, 2009 @ 9:28 am

  11. Where I love the quick analysis, it was a bit quick. Most of the reasons have been pointed out but there are a couple others. Kotchman has been traded in each of the last two years, and each time he was hitting above average (101, and 103 OPS+ respectively) before the trade and dropped off afterwards. In Boston, we can cite the Jeremy Giambi Effect, since he wasn’t playing frequently. In Atlanta in ’08 I am not sure what to cite, but there was a severe dropoff to his numbers.

    Just wanted to point out that if Kotchman plays everyday that we can expect closer to a .775 OPS than .725.

    Comment by Baxter — December 31, 2009 @ 9:34 am

  12. Cameron’s much older, so that would hurt his value. If Cameron makes $8, $10 is reasonable for Beltre.

    Comment by noseeum — December 31, 2009 @ 9:36 am

  13. This is dumb, if the contract was a one year deal at 10mm then boston would go for that in a heart beat, its the duration of the contract that matters. Heck, Boston is willing to give the Rangers 9mm and Lowell for a prospect, so they have the cash for this year. The issue is how do they project their line up, and how do they project Beltre, and then how long a contract is Beltre/Boras trying to get…

    Comment by Hal123 — December 31, 2009 @ 9:41 am

  14. It’s because of the DEPTH right? Or was that just the 2009 calling card?

    Comment by Zack — December 31, 2009 @ 9:49 am

  15. “Just wanted to point out that if Kotchman plays everyday that we can expect closer to a .775 OPS than .725.”

    Probably not, he’s had 1 full season with an OPS closer to .775; he’s had nice half seasons, thats all.

    Comment by Zack — December 31, 2009 @ 9:53 am

  16. Absolutely, this same article could have been written regarding Lowell 2 years ago when he signed that 3/37.5M deal. That is working out well so far

    And since when is it smart to pay somebody the 10-15M/yr for multiple years (which is the sticking point) when there isn’t a team that will go near him at that price and/or years? The Red Sox would be bidding against themselves in this situation.

    Another item to consider is that a player like Adrian Gonzalez (maybe others) is going to be featured prominently on the trade market at midseason or next offseason. Having Beltre locked up for big dollars and years pretty much prevents them from going after him and I think they really covet him.

    Comment by Kirk — December 31, 2009 @ 10:06 am

  17. “Could cost Theo his job”? Seriously? The team has averaged 94 wins a season since 2002, he’s got two pennants, two world series trophies and six trips to the playoffs on his resume. I think he can withstand a whiff on Beltre, if it even turns out to be a whiff, which is a big assumption. He’d have to be a sub-2.0 WAR player for it to be a whiff.

    And what makes you think Votto or Zimmerman will be available? Why not see if they can trade for Pujols, too, while they’re at it.

    Comment by Jonathan — December 31, 2009 @ 10:12 am

  18. Maybe, but Cameron also took a two year deal. Beltre’s probably asking 4-5 years. And yes he did have his freak injury in 2009, but he’s probably a 3-4 WAR-level player in 2010.

    Essentially I just hate big money / long term contracts. We though upon signing Lugo, for example, that we were getting the good bat – big glove guy from 04 and 05. How’d that work out for us?

    I could get on board Beltre for $10 mil a year, but $15 mil seems like a reach and a half.

    Comment by Joe R — December 31, 2009 @ 10:14 am

  19. Lowell was coming off of two seasons that were 3.4 and 5.3 WAR. He then posted a 3.2 WAR season in 2008 even with 113 games played and was a positive on the fielding ledger. He fell off a cliff in 2009 and we don’t know how much of that was aging and how much was injury. I’m inclined to believe his age had more to do with it than his injuries, but even still, his fielding was what depressed his value last season. I’d bet he’d still have some value to a team that could use him as a DH.

    Comment by Jonathan — December 31, 2009 @ 10:17 am

  20. Cost Theo his job?
    Who’s putting the heat on Theo Epstein? Is Dan Shaughnessy going to write a nasty article about him and OPS and Bill James again?

    Theo’s probably going to GM the Red Sox for as long as he wants the job.

    Comment by Joe R — December 31, 2009 @ 10:18 am

  21. That seems backwards, they’d have an extra $3M to spend if the Lowell trade had gone through, now they still have to pay him the whole $12M. Anyway, isn’t Kotchman still a little young to be completely convinced that he’s already all he can ever become by now?

    Comment by Judy — December 31, 2009 @ 10:22 am

  22. It’s why the Rangers wanted him. He’s probably worth $3-$5 mil to a team as a DH.

    And sadly, even with Lowell taking a more hack-tastic approach to hitting in 2009, he still would’ve been 3rd on the Rangers in OBP if he had 18 more PA’s.

    Comment by Joe R — December 31, 2009 @ 10:24 am

  23. After a career worst in 2009, the Red Sox fully expect to pick up Beltre at a reduced rate. Regardless, Boras needs Boston to be interested, because the alternatives at this juncture are Minnesota and Oakland, two clubs looking for an even bigger bargain at third.

    Beltre allows Boston to reset the third base clock. Boston employed Bill Mueller from 2003-2005 at third, hi age 32-34 seasons. Then Mike Lowell for 2006-2009 his age 32-35 seasons. Adding Beltre for 2010 to 2012 (or 2013) would cover his age 31-33 (or 34) seasons. With Lowell’s money off the books after 2010, the only season with overlap would be this one.

    And one assumes even dealing from a position of weakness, the Red Sox will be willing to throw in as much money as is necessary to deal Lowell somewhere in the AL to DH or play third. The Twins may pony up a lesser prospect to only have to pay Lowell $2 million next year.

    The benefit of Beltre is the fielding. Boston’s stellar defense in 2007 faded the last two seasons. A restoration of a good fielding club with positional flexibility seems to have been the mission statement for this offseason, suggesting an emphasis on the run prevention side of the equation.

    I expect a 4 year $47 million deal with a team option worth another $10 million when it is all said and done. And like Drew, in two or three years, Epstein will regard him as having well-earned his salary.

    Comment by Joe Tetreault — December 31, 2009 @ 10:26 am

  24. 2007, LAA:
    .296/.372/.467, 119 OPS+, 508 PA, 11 HR, 1.23 BB/K.

    First half: .291/.365/.490
    Second half: .301/.382/.439

    Comment by Joe R — December 31, 2009 @ 10:28 am

  25. “Just wanted to point out that if Kotchman plays everyday that we can expect closer to a .775 OPS than .725.”

    That is a correct statement for if Casey does not OPS at least .775 he will not be playing everyday.

    Comment by Dirty Water — December 31, 2009 @ 10:30 am

  26. I think you can safely ignore the position switch for Youkilis and directly compare the projected WAR for Beltre and Kotchman. The positional adjustments are set such that player value should change little based on which position he plays. In fact, the positional adjustments were calculated based on the average change in defensive runs by players who played both positions.

    CHONE projects Kotchman as 1.5 WAR and Beltre as 2.2 WAR. Beltre’s projection probably goes up a bit based on playing in Fenway, but I see the improvement as about 1 WAR.

    Comment by JK — December 31, 2009 @ 10:31 am

  27. When you add in the luxury tax on Beltre, the cost for 2010 is more like $12-13 million on $10 million base. If you then trade Kotchman you can get some of that back (about $3 million).

    It’s all about 2 things: the years (no more than 2 or 2 + a club option) and if the the Red Sox can trade Lowell without eating all of his salary. The first protects the club longer-term and the second might get them under the luxury tax line if it’s similar to the Rangers deal that was killed.

    I don’t see Boras going for it unless there are no other offers. At least not anytime soon.

    Comment by The Boomer — December 31, 2009 @ 10:35 am

  28. Whoops, Zach acknowledged his 2007. My mistake.

    Comment by Joe R — December 31, 2009 @ 10:36 am

  29. Scott Boras: “Dudes, I took you on as my clients because the media portrayed you guys as being instant Hall of Famers from the second you signed. This hasn’t been any picnic for me either, assholes!”

    Comment by chuckb — December 31, 2009 @ 10:39 am

  30. FWIW, Safeco’s Park Factor from 07-09: .948, .932, .946. It’s a bit tougher than that on hits and HR in general, though, so call it about a 7% adjustment to Beltre’s line for a simple conversion.

    Comment by Travis L — December 31, 2009 @ 10:45 am

  31. My main issue with signing Beltre is it blocks Boston from being able to trade for a firstbaseman midseason. In my mind, Youk’s offensive output is more valuable coming from the third base position than first base.

    Also, we should consider that the money the Sox should be willing to spend on Beltre needs to include the amount his contract affects the luxury tax.

    Comment by Sean — December 31, 2009 @ 10:46 am

  32. Over the last 3 years, Youk has the 6th highest wRAA among qualified 1st baseman. His offensive output is fine for a 1st baseman. Unless you can get Adrian Gonzalez, I see nothing wrong with leaving Youk there and bringing in one of the top 5 defensive 3rd baseman in the game to man the hot corner.

    Comment by Scottwood — December 31, 2009 @ 10:55 am

  33. For anyone wondering how much Safeco took away from Beltre (Safeco is death to right handed power hitters), the home/away difference in OPS was 71 points last year, 159 (!) points in 2008.and 113 points in 2007.

    Guess why Beltre isn’t planning to resign with the Mariners?

    Comment by Paul B — December 31, 2009 @ 10:56 am

  34. If you like UZR more than Total Zone, then that projection for Beltre would go up. Over the last 3 years, his UZR/150 is about +11 at 3B. Total Zone has him as a +4 fielder next season. Even if you only look at UZR then he was +8 in the field the last 3 years.

    Comment by Scottwood — December 31, 2009 @ 11:04 am

  35. Let’s say the difference is two wins and then factor in the Youkilis transition. Overall a 2.5 win upgrade.

    You forgot about position adjustments. Position Adjustment from 1B to 3B is 15 runs, so if Youkilis is 5 runs worse fielder at 3B, he’s actually 1 win better at 3B, and the downgrade from Beltre to Kotchman is only 1 win.

    In addition, the Sox still could play Lowell/Youkilis. Lowell profiles to be about a 1.5 WAR player next year, so Beltre is at best 2 wins better than him.

    Using your logic then Beltre’s value to Boston is $3.5-7 million. Plus, Chone Figgins, a better player, is only getting $9M AAV, so there is no way that Beltre should get more than him.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — December 31, 2009 @ 11:24 am

  36. Wow your an arrogant asshole.

    Comment by Eruderic — December 31, 2009 @ 11:40 am

  37. On the bright side for Kotchman, his LD% has increased in each of the past 3 seasons as he got (relatively) regular playing time. But his defensive value is wiped out by the positional adjustment, which is why you don’t hire first basemen for their defense alone. Unless he can bring his offense above league average (no guesses here, although he is still young), there’s no way Boston can seriously consider starting him at 1B for more than a handful of games. A 1-win first baseman is a liability.

    Varitek has been worth 1.3 marginal wins each of the last 2 seasons and gets no credit for his defense, so he could be worth a bit more (or a bit less, I admit). Martinez has handled 1,000 career innings at first just fine, so we shouldn’t rule him out over there yet. If Lowell can’t play the field, and I think that’s still an “if”, I’d consider Youk at 3rd, Martinez at 1B (with Lowell backing him up), and Varitek at C (with Martinez getting some innings there). Or have i just switched Kotchman for an even less-productive hitter in Varitek, whose whole WAR value comes from his positional adjustment?

    Anyway, Beltre seems likely to be at least a 3-win player with half his games at Fenway. If the Sox can get him for 3 guaranteed years or less, they should. They are willing to pay their mistakes to go away, so why not clear some space for Beltre?

    Or how about Russell Branyan for 1B instead? Average defender, short-term, cheap, plus offense when he gets to play.

    Comment by MBD — December 31, 2009 @ 11:52 am

  38. Am I the only one confused about how you got to $9M?

    “Kotchman is probably good for a win, maybe a bit more. Let’s say the difference is two wins and then factor in the Youkilis transition. Overall a 2.5 win upgrade. Wins are going for roughly $3.5M so Beltre is worth $8.75M more than Kotchman. Meaning the tops Boston should give Beltre is just under $9M.”

    If Kotchman is a one win player he would be worth $3.5M and since Beltre is worth $8.75M more than Kotchman wouldn’t he be worth $12.25M? Am I missing a step here? You could run into problems if you only pay a player for the additional value they add compared to another player.

    Comment by Glen — December 31, 2009 @ 12:08 pm

  39. The $9M is in accordance to the current $/marginal win curve, and how much value Beltre would add to Boston relative to just starting Kotchman at 1st. Since Boston’s current “replacement” level player isn’t a replacement level player at all, he’s a high level bench / platoon starter caliber player.

    Comment by Joe R — December 31, 2009 @ 12:20 pm

  40. Well Figgins also came with type A stigma, which might have cost him about $2 mil per season over the contract.

    Still, then we profile Figgins as $11 mil a year, which is the absolute, no questions asked, ceiling of what Beltre should get.

    Comment by Joe R — December 31, 2009 @ 12:22 pm

  41. Beltre: “You’re welcome for my 2004 season and the extra couple hundred thousand it got you, now do it again, you scam-artist.”

    Comment by Joe R — December 31, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

  42. No, Glen is right. Just because Kotchman isn’t replacement level, if the Sox sign Beltre they still have a 1.0 WAR 1B on their roster as an asset – that doesn’t disappear. They would then have to trade him away for $3.5mm of stuff.

    Comment by Rust — December 31, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

  43. Yeah, the Lowell contract is really working out well. You’re right. He was an instrumental piece in their 2007 championship run.

    Comment by R M — December 31, 2009 @ 12:56 pm

  44. I think his point is if they are willing to pay someone 9mm not to play on their team that another 10mm won’t exactly break their budget…

    Comment by Ummm — December 31, 2009 @ 1:29 pm

  45. Ugh. If Lowell at 3B, Youk at 1B, and Tek behind the plate was a winner, the Sox would not have needed to trade for V-Mart at the deadline. That lineup might work for half a season, but the other half is going to be ugly.

    Comment by The Boomer — December 31, 2009 @ 1:59 pm

  46. The problem here is that the 3.5 mil/WAR is based on total WAR of the player, not the marginal WAR you are using here. The Roed Sox are not the only team replacing positive contibutors with free agents. My guess is that if you looked at every deal this way, the $/WAR would be 4-5 mil overall, making this more reasonable.

    I do like the idea though, and think that all signings should be looked at this way. For instance, if the Twins signed a 2 win left fielder (they won’t), he would actually be worth 2.5 to 3 wins, because he’d be replacing Delmon Young.

    Comment by Steven Ellingson — December 31, 2009 @ 2:03 pm

  47. Have a look at Beltre’s HR chart (2008 rather than injury-limited 2009) and then compare LF and LCF at Safeco and Fenway. Obviously that doesn’t capture everything, because hittracker doesn’t list the many warning-track outs that Beltre hit to LF, and in Fenway a fair number of hits in that direction get converted by the monster to doubles rather than outs or homers, but still — I’d say the conversion would probably be closer to 10%… especially if Safeco has gotten into Beltre’s head enough that he’s been trying to go opposite field rather than swinging to his strengths. That said, I’d accept 7% as a reasonable, conservative number

    Comment by joser — December 31, 2009 @ 2:44 pm

  48. And still tried to make the out on the play in which that happened. And tried to stay in for the rest of the game, too. His 2009 numbers (especially counting stats) were depressed by a fluke injury.

    I can understand why fantasy players wouldn’t consider Beltre to be of much value, especially if they play in a league that doesn’t reward defense, but in the real world he’s a valuable player.

    Comment by joser — December 31, 2009 @ 2:49 pm

  49. Why would you offer this? Who else is going to even come close to this? That would be bad GM’ing. Just wait Boras out and if he doesn’t come way down in his demands, let Kotch start at 1b.

    Kotch is a solid young player with a good eye and will outperform all the projections for various reasons. How do I know? Cause I feel it in my GUT. I still use the stats that compute naturally in my brain but filter through my heart and get outputted into my gut. My gut, going off info from my eyes and my massive computer-like cerebellum, says Kotch is going to rake in this age 27 season if given the chance since he’s been Eff’d with the past few seasons.

    Of course, my gut may just be acting up after that massive Mexican dinner last night… Go Kotch!

    Comment by The Colonel — December 31, 2009 @ 3:43 pm

  50. They should look at the improvement in their team as a 2.5-3 wins, but it doesn’t make any sense to pay a player based on your current roster construction. I’ll give you an example:

    Lets fast forward a couple of years and say that everyone is expected to perform next year, identically to how they did in 2009. Pujols is now a free agent and is expected to be worth 38M, the Pirates currently have Steve Pearce who is expected to be worth (2M) and the Red Sox have Youkilis who is expected to be worth 25.6M(and for whatever reason cannot play third base). Now if we use your logic this is how much Pujols is worth to these two teams:

    Pujols would be worth 40M to them (38M-(2M)=40M), leaving them with a (2M) first basemen that they will be forced to pay someone 2M just to take off their hands, meaning Pujols really cost them $42M.

    Red Sox:
    Pujols would be worth 12.6M to them (40M-25.6M=12.6M). Do you really believe that Pujols is only worth $12.6M to any team? So basically what your saying is the Red Sox shouldn’t even consider signing Pujols since he would never accept such a low offer. Now the way you should look at the net result as 12.6M: 40M for Pujols-25.6M in an asset you have to trade that you would not have if you did not sign Pujols.

    Maybe I’m weird since I’m an accountant but here’s how we have learned to evaluate decisions like these: you take everything into consideration that would be different. So in the above example You take into the consideration the cost it takes to sign Pujols, as well as the benefit(cost) you get from trading the player.

    Comment by Glen — December 31, 2009 @ 3:44 pm

  51. “I wonder if they would get along and tell war stories.”

    Yeah, like anyone on the Red Sox has ever exchanged more than 10 words with JD Drew at a time.

    Comment by Nick — December 31, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

  52. Kotchman is being severely undervalued, and I don’t know if there are metrics to compensate for his special circumstances. His average #’s don’t reflect the strange series of events which created them, and therefore don’t reflect his true value to the team, in a full year at Fenway, at age 27. This is a fact independent of my own Mexican feast this morning, and personal bias having followed him since minor leagues.

    IMO there is a legit reason Kotchman has had only one stellar offensive year, and that is because fate, if you will, has only given him one full year in which to play, one out of five.

    His career stats include his age 22 long, awful cup of coffee in ’05, and a worse age 23 year due to mono, in which he spent most of the ’06 season at home. If his career ended then, this high upside young prospect would have dreadful #’s.

    2007 was effectively his rookie year, at age 24, in which he established himself as an offensive force with latent power potential and ridiculous BB/K rate. Equally important, he established himself as a GG candidate. If the Sox sign Beltre for his defense, then this is also a factor in retaining Kotchman.

    In 2008, at age 25, he started to show legitimate power with the Angels, but was traded for Teixeira, where his end of year #’s fell off in Atlanta.

    In 2009, at age 26, despite limited playing time, his offense began to recover in Atlanta, and he was shipped up to Boston where he hardly played at all.

    You know all this. But wouldn’t it be more accurate to compare a combination of Kotchman’s 2007 + pre-trade 2008 + pre-trade 2009 to come closer to what his value might project in 2010 at Fenway?

    It seems generally acceptable to give Beltre a free pass for 2009 injuries, to extrapolate from his production at Safeco to project 3 favorable seasons at Fenway. Therefore, it is equally permissable to develop a projection based on what Kotchman might really do given a chance to play a full year, with that short porch and the monster, in that lineup. Even with the existing values stated in the article, I see no substantial upside to trading for Beltre at great cost, feeding Boras, moving Youk to 1b, blocking AGon/Lars/Bates etc., and leaving Youk without a job at 3b in a few years.

    Comment by Gerry — December 31, 2009 @ 5:08 pm

  53. If Lowell can play 3b, then Martinez is behind the plate and Varitek is out. But the Sox are unlikely to get the 3-win version of Lowell over at third, so they should seriously consider moving Youk over there.

    -Youkilis’s UZR/150 in 1600 innings at 3b is 8.6 (that’s actually better than his 6.5 at 1b)
    -That’s obviously optimistic given his relatively few innings at 3b, the passage of time since he played there regularly, and the defensive spectrum
    -But there’s no evidence that he’ll give back 15 runs if he moves to 3rd; say he’s 5 runs better at 3rd after the positional adjustment
    -Now he’s a 6-win player (at 3rd!)
    -He has 11 marginal wins over the past 2 seasons at 1b; know how many 3rd basemen have that many over that time period? One that I can find – Longoria. Not A-Rod, not Chipper, not Wright (though they all come close). Not Zimmerman (though he’s likely to do better in 2010 than he did in 2008). Not Ramirez, Figgins, Blake, Beltre, Lowell, Rolen, Glaus.
    -The window for using Youk at 3b is not going to be open forever.

    If you have a 5- or 6-win player you can plug in at 3b, why not go looking for a 3- or 4-win player at 1st instead of a 3- or 4-win player at 3rd? Aren’t first basemen easier to find than third basemen? Branyan is going to be MUCH cheaper than Beltre and be looking for fewer years; he can be a 3-win player. The Sox have Martinez as a 1b back-up and Lars Anderson waiting in the wings. I feel as though they’re wasting Youkilis over at first when he could be worth 0.5 to 1 win more over at 3b and be easily replaced at 1b.

    Comment by MBD — December 31, 2009 @ 5:28 pm

  54. It makes sense if you look at next year’s 3B market it is very weak. The talent pool is full of players that can play good defensive or give you offense but not both. No impact prospects are in the minors that can play third. Youkilis is an emergency option at third not your starter. Youkilis has had trouble in the past maintaining endurance for a whole season. So playing him at third will result in a drop off offensively. This will hinder the probability for the Sox to beat the Yankees. Beltre in my opinion could be given a 4yr/48mil contract at most by the Sox but any more and the deal starts to fall apart for me. Lowell could back up 1B/3B/DH if you can’t trade him but there are teams that could use his character and ability. Those teams to me are the Rangers, Twins, White Sox, Mariners, etc. Just remember teams know the sox are willing to pay upto 9 million so Lowell essentially is a 3 million dollar player that was worth 1.7 wins last season. I expect him to rebound but not significantly I project him to be a 2 win player and a solid clubhouse presence. One more thing to remember is that it is a contract year and how motivated do you thing he will be… Very!

    Comment by gray — December 31, 2009 @ 5:36 pm

  55. He’s a boston fan. It’s his birthright to be in every other respect a lousy human being.

    Comment by joser — December 31, 2009 @ 6:35 pm

  56. I live in the PNW and see Beltre all the time. Beltre is the real deal at 3b. He does get lazy and throw flat footed at times but defensively… he very very good. In Fenway he will hit much better than with Seattle. Still, he can’t move runners over, he walks rarely and his power is a thing of the past (if not aided by steroids). Kotchman is just as good a defender as Beltre (albeit at a lesser position). I’m even willing to bet Kotchman will be a better all-around (situational) hitter than Beltre… and Kotchman comes w/o Boras.

    Comment by algionfriddo — December 31, 2009 @ 8:11 pm

  57. “then see if they can trade for either Gonzalez, Votto or Zimmerman by mid-2010.”

    Wow, the idea of a franchise player is foreign to you huh?

    Off topic: Its getting boring watching Boston and the Yankees create all-star teams, time to cap those team salaries huh Bud? Oh wait those 2 teams make you the most money, nevermind I get it.

    Comment by PL — December 31, 2009 @ 9:19 pm

  58. ummm, its boston: bill mueller won a batting title there. bill mueller.

    to say its a hitters paradise is an understatement.

    Comment by PL — December 31, 2009 @ 9:21 pm

  59. lmbo

    Comment by Mastication Is Natural — December 31, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

  60. “Why would you offer this?”

    I’m surprised the Cardinals have not been mentioned?

    StL saw Glaus, DeRosa, Wallace, and Thurston leave to other teams. That means the only one left that has played 3B for them is David Freese.

    Granted right now StL is focused on Holliday … but if Holliday lands elsewhere (I’m still not convinced he won’t be a NYY), then StL is going to have to replace those wins somewhere, and I don’t think Freese is a great option.

    On a team that seems to rely on Pujols, pitching, and defense, Beltre makes a lot of sense.

    I don’t think BOS is bidding against themselves, but it might be smart for them to sign Beltre (if they want him) for a good contract before Boras starts pitting potential playoff teams against each other, and let the bidding drive the price up to where it could potentially not be a good contract for either of the teams.

    Folks have been talking about a difference of something 2-3 wins for the 2010 season, and that might be all the difference between making the playoffs and not. BOS isn’t likely going to win the ALE, so they are competing against 1-2 teams from the ALC, TB, and 3 teams in the ALW. BOS winning the WC might not be the given it has been over the last ~5 years.

    I see them being in the same situation as NYY is with Gardner, if Brett doesn;t pan out in LF, the fans are going to go crazy with the “We coulda had Holliday” comments, and if Kotchman doesn;t pan out, fans will likely start up the “we coulda had Beltre” comments.

    Every FA signing is a risk. That should go without saying. But, no risk, no reward. You can play it safe with a 2 WAR player …. but too many 2 WAR players = not much success.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — December 31, 2009 @ 11:09 pm

  61. Yes, but his wRAA puts him in the top 3 or 4 3B’s over the last 3 years and as the #1 3B last year. Because of the positional adjustment, Youk at 3B has a WAR of ~1.0 > Youk at 1B. Therefore, if you can get a 1.6 WAR 1B for cheaper than Beltre (assuming he’s a 2.5 WAR 3B), the 1.5 WAR 1B + Youk at 3B is better value than Youk at 1B and Beltre.

    Comment by hk — January 1, 2010 @ 10:31 am

  62. haha WAR stories…

    Comment by jrjanowi — January 1, 2010 @ 2:46 pm

  63. I understand what you’re saying. If they can trade the player that he’s replacing then you end up with the total value for that player. This makes sense if you have a 2 WAR or something player that you can trade. If you have something like a 0.5 to 1 WAR player, you may or may not be able to get anything back for this person. In this case, the “R” of WAR is just a little higher than normal.

    Anyway, the whole point of my post was to say that if you do this with the Red Sox, you can’t use 3.5 mil because you just assumed they were replacing replacement-level players for every other signing.

    Comment by Steven Ellingson — January 1, 2010 @ 3:13 pm

  64. The more I think of it, the less I think this type of analysis works. You need to take into account chaining. It’s not like Kotchman would get 0 PA’s if they signed Beltre. He would take PA’s from some poorer player. So Beltre would probably be taking some PAs from a replacement level player, and some from Kotchman. We do need to consider depth when looking at transactions, not just the starting 8.

    Comment by Steven Ellingson — January 1, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

  65. “shares quite a bit with Beltre in the means of unfair criticism and a sentence to perennially underrated purgatory.”

    Maybe among national writers, but Beltre was always well appreciated in Seattle. I can’t ever remember a single boo coming from the stands when he came up. And while of course any ball player gets criticized from time to time, none of the local writers ever made Beltre a pet project for criticism.

    I think Mariner fans would like to see him back and have move Figgins to 2B. Not at 10m of course, but if Beltre’s price drops, the Mariners may get back into the discussions.

    In terms of health Beltre is not risk free, the testicle thing was a freak injury, but he also has shoulder surgery last year, for the second time.

    Comment by Kazinski — January 1, 2010 @ 5:07 pm

  66. My thoughts exactly. Well played, sir.

    Comment by Kevin S. — January 1, 2010 @ 11:54 pm

  67. When Beltre got into one of his bouts of swinging at anything outside and rendered himself an automatic out for a few games, you heard grumbling. Not to mention the times his routine appeal to first on a checked swing actually got him called out on strikes. But then he’d make up for it with some outrageous barehanded catch on a ball corkscrewing down the line and/or an impossible cannon throw to first for an out while falling backwards towards the dugout, and all would be forgiven.

    Comment by joser — January 2, 2010 @ 12:20 pm

  68. If the sox sign Beltre, they would have potential gold clovers at all positions except ellsbury in center who should be average or better. This is how you counter the yankees and the phillies.

    Comment by Gray — January 2, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

  69. But only if those are four leaf gold clovers.

    Comment by joser — January 2, 2010 @ 5:23 pm

  70. Well, you nailed it.

    One year for $9 million with a $5 million PO.

    Comment by Joel — January 4, 2010 @ 8:27 pm

  71. I laughed out loud when I read the $9 million number.
    Lucky and good, I think.
    Well done.

    Comment by Parker — January 4, 2010 @ 9:50 pm

  72. I don’t think they are all that concerned with countering the Phils, whom had a very very good defense last year, and should have a good defense this year with the Polonco for Feliz swap. The Red Sox, like most well managed teams, looked for areas where they could improve, and do so, in a cost effective way. While I think they overpaid for Lackey, I’m just not a big fan of 5 year deals for pitchers over 30, they made a hugely effecient signing in Cameron+Beltre, got some draft picks for a 2 month rental in Wagner, and did not overpay Bay. I think the last of that list is the most postive from a RedSox fan perspective, because they moved in a different direction immediately after infering that Bay would not sign a deal that was either fair or team friendly.

    Comment by Bobo — January 5, 2010 @ 9:20 am

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