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  1. You really can’t do this comparison without adjusting all Iso slugging and wOBA for park effects.

    Petco is just ridiculous and A-Gon’s always been a far better player on the road than at home.

    Comment by Temo — March 3, 2010 @ 11:53 am

  2. Road wOBA comparison:

    Road Iso comparison:

    A-Gon has the steadier climb in skills, while Tex has been up and down more. All told, if A-Gon’s 2009 is “real”, I’d say he’s the clearly better player. If 2009′s “break out” was regressed to the mean, depending on how much you regress it, you might be able to say that they are equal hitters (defense is a whole different discussion).

    Comment by Temo — March 3, 2010 @ 12:21 pm

  3. The economy will have a great deal to do with it as well. Plus the fact that Gonzalez will be a year older than Teixeira was when he signed his free agent deal.

    Comment by Peter — March 3, 2010 @ 12:27 pm

  4. But the Red Sox had bid themselves all the way up to $168M before the Yankees were even involved.

    I guess you could argue there were special circumstances b/c Teixeira’s Maryland roots had the Nationals and Orioles hanging around the bidding process.

    But what about the Mets?

    I agree with your conclusion that AG will not reach $180M. But he might get into the same ballpark.

    Comment by Steve — March 3, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

  5. How about defense? With all the emphasis on how defensive metrics are affecting free agents these days, I’m surprised there wasn’t any defensive comparisons here.

    Also, if the mets start bidding, could the price go up? Or maybe even the Dodgers or Cubs? Sox, Dodgers, Cubs, & Mets have been 2-5 for many seasons, and I could see all four of them possibly going in on Gonzalez. Loney’s power isn’t developing, Lee’s contract is up, and while the Mets like Ike Davis, he could always be traded away.
    If he hits the free agent market, I can imagine all the above teams being very interested…

    Comment by Matt K — March 3, 2010 @ 12:38 pm

  6. What about the Giants? Or the Mariners?

    Comment by Steve — March 3, 2010 @ 12:43 pm

  7. How big is the diff in. Defense, id guess since they’re both abover avg and both first baseman, its pretty neglibible

    Comment by lee d — March 3, 2010 @ 12:49 pm

  8. When I see a reference to a “Teixeira-like contract,” I don’t think 8 yrs./$180M, I think of a $22.5M average annual value. Really, I just don’t think of it in terms of years. So when asked if Gonzalez deserves a Teixeira-like contract, I think “is Adrian Gonzalez worth $22.5M a year?” That answer is yes. Though the Yankees won’t be involved, the other New York team, Boston, Los Angeles, both Chicago teams, Baltimore, Atlanta and maybe Seattle could all get in the mix, which should push it north of $20M annually, and would still make him the third highest-paid hitter in baseball.

    Comment by scatterbrian — March 3, 2010 @ 12:54 pm

  9. Dave, minor nitpick but isn’t wOBA not park adjusted?

    I believe it’s not, since their age 26 wRC+ were 135 for Gonzo, 124 for Teix. Age 27, it was 158 to 148.

    And as scatterbrian said, I can still see there being enough bidders for Gonzalez to get plenty of cash in 2012.

    Also, though, I can see Gonzalez staying a Padre all of 2010. Sean Smith projects the NL West to be extremely tight. On that note, I can also see a team w/ good surplus MLB talent trade some of that if the Padres happen to be in contention.

    Imagine a Adrian Gonzalez for Desmond Jennings trade. That’s so crazy that now I wouldn’t count it out.

    Comment by Joe R — March 3, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

  10. Just think about the numbers Adrian would put up if he played in Texas or New York most of his career…

    He hit 28HR’s on the road last season, compared to 12 at Petco. I imagine he could likely surpass 30HR’s playing at the new Yankee stadium, putting him close to 60.

    A-Gon’s smart defense and arm should also be taken into consideration. He racks up assists all over the basepaths in addition to strong overall fielding- (Kevin Kouzmanoff committed only 3 errors all last year!)

    In my mind, Gonzalez is actually a better overall player, but I agree that he won’t make the same money as Teixiera when his turn comes around.

    Comment by Brett — March 3, 2010 @ 1:07 pm

  11. I can’t see the Rays mortgaging the future like that. Jennings is the only reason they can let Carl Crawford walk. They’re going to move him and then have two guys they need to re-up? Tim Beckham or Reid Brignac I could see. Wade Davis I could see. Not seeing Desmond Jennings.

    Comment by Kevin S. — March 3, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

  12. I think Teix just got the Yankee premium.
    I can still see Gonzalez coming close to 7 years / $130-$140MM, if not in that range. 5th in the NL in OPS despite playing in a park that suppresses runs by about 13% is no small task.

    Comment by Joe R — March 3, 2010 @ 1:26 pm

  13. Could always trade him again at the end of the season. Obviously not for a prospect of Jennings’ caliber, but maybe it’s worth it in a tight playoff push?

    I would think both Beckham and Brignac would be needed to net Gonzalez.

    Also, maybe this has been the Rays’ idea all along? Or maybe a 3-way trade involving Pena, Beckham, Gonzalez, and some other team? With no internal options to man 1B after Pena, I’m hard pressed to think the Rays aren’t going to do something to fill the hole in 2011.

    Comment by Joe R — March 3, 2010 @ 1:32 pm

  14. I think people often shy away from using UZR on 1B’s, since their value is still pretty much bat-driven. Not to mention it might not be the greatest way to evaluate a 1B.

    Essentially, if you’re paying a 1B big money, you’re paying him to crush the ball.

    Comment by Joe R — March 3, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

  15. His agent’s name is John Boggs, not Paul Boggs.

    Comment by parvulesco — March 3, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

  16. While defense is part of a player’s on-field value, it’s not clear whether it’s a part of his market value yet. Players at premium positions seem to be getting a little more money when they have a good defensive reputation, but I’m not sure that’s happening for 1B yet. So the lack of analysis really has to do with the fact that it’s not clearly a market factor.

    Comment by Fresh Hops — March 3, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

  17. i think you mean HERBIE Hancock

    Comment by Steve — March 3, 2010 @ 2:03 pm

  18. Just another thing to throw into this discussion: If AGonz’s contract ends after next year… COULD it be possible that teams hold off and see if there’s a new collective bargaining agreement that lowers his contract value (the cba ends in 2011, right?)

    Thinking about that, I think it would be wise for him to accept something that may come close to tex’s contract, even if it doesn’t match it.

    too many variables, but, just another thought.

    Comment by Matt K — March 3, 2010 @ 2:16 pm

  19. I agree that there are enough teams to generate that AAV. However, you can subtract LAA, because Kendry Morales is probably not moving, and Seattle, because it’s hard to see why they’d sink all that money into 1B when they have a pitcher (Lee) still to pay, but add maybe San Francisco (if he gets to FA or if SF offers the Pads a deal they can’t turn down.

    However, if his deal isn’t going to be 8 years, he’ll definitely be looking for a higher AAV: maybe something in the $24M range to compensate for a shorter term.

    Comment by JR — March 3, 2010 @ 2:17 pm

  20. Dave makes a compelling argument about the market and a less compelling case about Gonzalez v. Teixeira.

    The absence of the Yankees from the bidding certainly makes it less likely that Gonzalez will get a Teixeira-sized contract than if the Yankees were in the bidding. Most of the biggest contracts have been inked by the Yanks or were influenced by the potential they would enter the bidding.

    Take the example of Miguel Cabrera, who I think is a comparator in terms of talent. When he signed with the Tigers in 2008 for $153.3 million, while he was a third baseman and the Yanks had Arod, Jason Giambi was entering the last year of his big contract and everyone knew the Yankees would be seeing a first baseman the following off-season and everyone assumed Cabrera could or should be shifted to first base. Arguably that potential

    It’s possible that Gonzalez still signs for Teixeira-like numbers; The Mets and Red Sox could get into a bidding war and drive the price up, just to name two deep-pocket teams, but the removal of the Yankees from the equation makes that less likely.

    In terms of their relative values as players, though, I think a comparison that excludes the influence of their home ball parks undervalues Gonzalez. and that his agent may have a case that his client is not just the equivalent of Teixeira but better.

    Comment by rotofan — March 3, 2010 @ 2:23 pm

  21. “Neglibible.” I like it. I like saying it over and over and over. It makes me laugh.

    Comment by mattlock — March 3, 2010 @ 2:23 pm

  22. it’s a piece of sexy lingerie for ultra-religious folks

    Comment by Steve — March 3, 2010 @ 2:28 pm

  23. except had the Tigers gone year to year with Cabrera, he wouldn’t have been a FA until *THIS* winter, not last winter.

    So, no, I don’t think we can use the Yankees as Boogie Man theory for Miguel Cabrera’s contract. Same with Matt Holliday, since the Yankees never even made an offer. Or A-Rod the first time with Texas. Or Soriano. Or Zito. Or Carlos Lee.

    Yes, the Yankees have certainly signed their share of large contracts. It would be silly to contest that. But there are plenty of 9 figure deals out there where the Yankees were no where close to the bidding.

    Comment by Steve — March 3, 2010 @ 2:33 pm

  24. One thing I think people are missing out on is Tex’s versatility with the bat. While Adrian may be as good a hitter, he’s not as valuable a hitter (at least not as teams seem to see it). As a power and average switch hitter I think that part of the Yanks justification for hte length of the contract was that he could be used differently as the lineup evolved over the course of retirements and new signings. Gonzalez doesn’t bring that to the table.

    Comment by Ryan — March 3, 2010 @ 2:35 pm

  25. I like the idea of the Cubs getting into the mix here for Gonzalez, which could be possible after this season, though their plan seems to be to bring up Josh Vitters to play 3rd and move Aramis over to first.

    Comment by pkjames — March 3, 2010 @ 2:41 pm

  26. Vitters, in 484 PA’s in 2009, walked 12 times.

    I know he’s 19, but…yikes.

    Comment by Joe R — March 3, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

  27. Not as valuable a hitter? What does that even mean? Gonzalez offers about the same (probably more) production from hitting on one side of the plate as Tex does hitting on both. I think you’re confusing “valuable” with “playing for a team that wins 95 games”.

    Comment by Cosmo — March 3, 2010 @ 4:33 pm

  28. 180/8 guaranteed is much greater than the sum of its parts. Tex has all his risk paid for.

    Comment by neuter_your_dogma — March 3, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

  29. I would say A-Gon’s 2009 output for the Pads would be the “regressed” output for any other team, if not the baseline

    Comment by David MVP Eckstein — March 3, 2010 @ 5:24 pm

  30. Agreed. I’d almost rather have a superstar at market price than vitters (trade trade trade)

    Comment by David MVP Eckstein — March 3, 2010 @ 5:27 pm

  31. Agreed. I’d almost rather have a superstar at market price than vitters (trade trade trade)
    Oops, should have mentioned solid post! Waiting for your next one!

    Comment by David MVP Eckstein — March 3, 2010 @ 7:26 pm

  32. Huh? What?

    Comment by David MVP Eckstein — March 3, 2010 @ 8:24 pm

  33. I have to think the Red Sox have been interested in Gonzalez at least partly due to his defensive ability, which seems to be slightly above average. I certainly don’t see anybody, including the Yankees, signing A-Gonz to be a DH at least. That would be a huge waste of value. I would think that would indicate that a defensively minded AL team (Red Sox?) or an NL team would end up with him.

    Even so though, I think you lose 20 million from a salary just from having the Yankees be out of it. Of the teams you mentioned from the NL, here would by my thoughts:
    Cubs – Definite possibility. Big hole at 1B after Lee hits FA.
    Dodgers – Ownership situation is a mess. If they couldn’t offer arb to Randy Wolf, I doubt they’re going to go all-in on Gonzalez.
    Mets – Don’t seem to value defense all that much… likely would not drive up the bidding.

    So by my count, that would seem to leave the Red Sox and Cubs fighting over him, with the Dodgers and Mets interested but not driving up the bidding. I’m not sure if the Dodgers bid at all though, given that Loney is affordable. He’s a league avg 1B, so you’d think they’d be better off looking for a slugger to replace Manny.

    Comment by B N — March 3, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

  34. You are correct about Cabrera’s FA eligibiliy — when he signed he was in the same position Gonzalez is now. But when he signed, Giambi was placing his last year in New York and there was no sense yet that the Yankees would sign Teixeira, who was still in Atlants, the following off-season, so from the Tigers’ perspective, not signing Cabrera could mean having to compete with the Yankees for his service at the end of two season.

    As for 9-figure deals, I think we have to quantify what is close to and what is not close to Teixeira money, and 9-figures is not the dividing line — $100 million is not that comparable to $180 million. Matt Holliday at $120 million isn’t all that comparable. If we limit ourselves to contracts of at least $150 million. Here are the four biggest contracts in baseball:

    Alex Rodriguez (2008-17): 10 years, $275 million
    Derek Jeter (2001-10): 10 years, $189 million
    Mark Teixeira (2009-2016): 8 years, $180 million
    CC Sabathia (2009-2015): 7 years, $161 million

    Above the $150 million threshold, the only players not signed by the Yanks were Cabrera, who barely topped that threshold, and Arod in his first big contract with the Rangers.

    Soriano was at $136 M; Zito was at $126M, Holliday was at $120 M and Lee was at $100 M. All big-dollar contracts but none close to Teixeira territory.

    I don’t think anyone doubts Gonzales will top $100 million or $136 million for that matter. The question raised was whether he’d get close to $180 M. The Yanks being out of the picture simply reduces the odds.

    Comment by rotofan — March 3, 2010 @ 11:59 pm

  35. To clarify, im agreeing with Joe’s statement and then making a separate comment about vitters and the cubs

    Comment by David MVP Eckstein — March 4, 2010 @ 12:32 am

  36. There’s almost no chance the Mets get involved in the Gonzalez sweepstakes. Their payroll for 2010 is very likely under $130 million. They have $117.5 million already committed for 2011 for all of *nine* players. It doesn’t help that three players the FO office might well want to keep, Pagan, Maine, and Francouer, are all third-year arb guys. There’s just no way they’ll take on the $20 million or so a year Gonzalez will be getting in an extension without adding $40 million to the current payroll as of 2011, and with all the poor-mouthing the Wilpons have done this offseason that just doesn’t seem remotely likely.

    Consider, too, that while the Mets’ commitment in 2012 drops to $60 million, that money is committed to only *three* players–the fabulous David Wright, and the likely decline phases of Johan Santana and Jason Bay. Does it make sense–by adding Gonzalez–to effectively commit over half your payroll, perhaps as much as 60%, to only four players for both 2012 and 2013?

    Comment by Sean Schirmer — March 4, 2010 @ 1:05 am

  37. See: Cardinals, St. Louis

    2012 -> ?
    Holliday ~18M
    Pujols ?! (guesses, anyone?)

    Comment by eastsider — March 4, 2010 @ 2:24 am

  38. You forgot one thing about 2012. Baring injury, they will be paying Frankie $17.5 million. That still hurts to type.

    Comment by Evan_S — March 4, 2010 @ 4:51 am

  39. I’m not confusing it, I’m making the point that at the very least the talking heads would have us beleive it. Whether teams beleive as much I don’t know, but all I meant to say was that there’s a perception (at least in the media) that switch hitters are more valuable by virtue of being switch hitters. In other words, Tex as a switch hitter gives an illusion of “completeness” as a hitter which would have people beleiving he’s more versatile, and thus valuable, than Gonzalez.

    Comment by Ryan — March 4, 2010 @ 12:46 pm

  40. Clubs should consider not only that Adrian may be another Teixeira, but that he could be another Todd Helton. Look at Todd’s career path and tell me anyone who signs Adrian should expect 40+ homers into the distant future.

    Helton’s $16.6 million out of an $80 million payroll has forced the Rockies to cut loose guys like Holliday who want big money. Now they’re really dependent on bringing up stars from the farm. It might not be that bad for a bigger market payroll, but it would still pinch all but the Yankees. It’s a risk that has to be considered.

    Comment by Lorenzo — March 4, 2010 @ 10:23 pm

  41. HUGE difference. Todd Helton’s huge power numbers came in pre-humidor Coors. After they started moistening the ball, he turned into Nick Johnson with more contact and fewer injuries.

    On the other hand, Gonzalez plays in the power hitter’s version of hell and still crushes the baseball.

    Comment by Alireza — March 7, 2010 @ 12:56 am

  42. Not THAT huge a difference. Adrian hit only 12 homers in Petco, 28 on the road. Helton’s homers (and average) went down far below the humidor effect, from the 40′s/.350′s to 15-17/.320′s. His power disappeared on the road too. His reversion to the mean after age 32 was more abrupt than most, but it happens fairly regularly. On a long term contract to a power hitter, you’re taking a risk, though at 28, Adrian has 4-5 prime years to put up big numbers.

    Comment by Lorenzo — March 7, 2010 @ 3:03 pm

  43. The difference between Helton and Gonzalez was that Helton was never a home run hitter. Helton was a high-average pure hitter type, who played in an era where a good hitter in his prime can pop 30-40 home runs.

    Gonzalez has sort of evolved from a first baseman who might have hit for a high-average into strictly an ‘ideal’ power-hitting first baseman, who is solidly built.

    Gonzalez may not play well through the course of his next long-term deal, but I doubt he is going to revert to a hitter who only ends up popping 15-20 home runs a year, even past his prime.

    Comment by Larry — March 7, 2010 @ 6:08 pm

  44. Also, Helton may have taken up too much of the Rockies payroll for them to keep Matt Holliday, but by and large, even with the power drop, he’s still been valuable enough offensively to justify his contract.

    Comment by Kevin S. — March 7, 2010 @ 6:16 pm

  45. Even with there likely to be more than one team in the running for acquiring Adrian, I still think Boston is the place for him. Id name another team, if I really thought he was a better fit…but I dont.

    This is a classic case of a kid who in every way, is tailor made for Fenway Park. The Yanks have A-Rod and Tex’ for the next however many years. Does anyone really think that Boston is going to miss out on acquiring a guy in Gonzalez, who looks to be every bit of Teixeira’s equal?

    Boston isnt stupid enuf to pass on a chance of getting the kid cheaply (roughly 5 million), thru trade…it just makes more sense than not, for them to be all over him. And more importantly for the Padres, Boston has the resources and the necessary trade pieces to make the trade happen, without regretting at all what they’ll have to give up.

    Not many teams can afford to give up a haul to get a kid like Adrian…but the BoSox can afford to do it without missing a beat. A middle of the order with Youklis, Martinez, Gonzalez is very impressive. And it’ll look even more impressive this season with Ortiz there before he gets traded in the off season.

    but the Padres would have to fall out of contention here pretty soon…and thats doesnt look like its going to happen.

    Comment by MrBoomBoom — May 27, 2010 @ 3:10 pm

  46. Boston already has a guy who is every bit Teixera’s equal: Kevin Youkilis.

    I think Boston is much more likely to go after Price Fielder. He’s a better bat than Gonzalez, and they don’t need a 1B, they need a bat to replace Ortiz.

    Comment by Rich — May 27, 2010 @ 3:28 pm

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