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  1. What is this 4 articles on the V Wells trade? lol. That’s ok, this trade merits that level of analysis.

    It will probably be referenced 100 times before it’s forgotten.

    Comment by JoelQ — January 24, 2011 @ 1:54 pm

  2. So you’re saying there’s a chance!

    Comment by Lloyd Christmas — January 24, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

  3. Perfect.

    Comment by John — January 24, 2011 @ 2:07 pm

  4. Can you really just subtract out Rivera’s contract like that and also just ignore the potential contributions of Napoli?

    Napoli would have given the Angels good performance for below market costs. That they don’t have him anymore is a net minus. They will more than likely replace Napoli’s plate appearances with Mathis, which is a big step down.

    They also could have just dropped Rivera as well, so I don’t see how you can count his salary out of what Well’s is owed. Now they have to find another player to take the place of Rivera so whatever salary that person makes needs to be added back to this equation.

    Comment by Pachoo — January 24, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

  5. [1] What if we think he will be an “average” corner OF? (Uzr=0)

    [2] I made the point in another thread that just moving to LF (0?) from CF (-16 Fielding Runs) removes -1.5 WAR from his annual total (Fielding).

    The move to LF likely does take off 0.5 WAR from his batting totals. So, heck just from moving to LF he gains 1 WAR.

    However, in two of the last three seasons, his offense was in the acceptable range, as he put up a .357 mark in 2008 and a .364 mark in 2010.

    That’s what i am getting at. If he hits like that, and has the negative fielding runs removed due to moving to LF and being “average fielding”, then he could realistically make the “WAR Goals” in each year, and earn his contract.

    Granted, it doesn’t seem likely at first blush, and it’s seemingly much more fun to point and laugh … but he really could earn the money. I’d probably say 1 out of 3 or 4, not necessarily the Lloyd Christmas One-In-A-Million-Talk chances.

    I would like to see some analysis on what could really be expected from Wellls, considering what we can expect in the field and at the plate (pitching strength in ALWvALE, parks, etc). In other words, as an average defense LF, what would his wOBA need to be in order to meet his WAR goals. Some of the names that are in his comparables, aren’t exactly setting the world on fire.

    I think the components of the trade are actually 3 separate issues: [1] Acqui5ring Wells and his contract, [2] Losing Rivera, and [3] Losing Napoli.

    At this point, I am only interested in #1 … Wells’ chances of earning his contract. Everyone seems to think “no way”, and I’m not seeing it that way. If nothing else, I’d like to know where my thinking was off.

    and now he has to go four-for-four while entering his mid-30s.

    …. or just average 4 WAR per year. Theoretically, he could go 6-2-5-3 and that would do the trick.

    IMHO, I think playing in LA is going to be like a “second wind” for Wells. I don’t know why I think that other than that’s how I guess I would perceive the situation for myself. LAA is going to compete, god bless … It’s LA … the weather is terrific, and playing a corner spot, and alongside other veterans is going to be “comfy”.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 24, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

  6. All-Sta…, AL MV…, Albert Pu…, ALBATROSS!. Man I was WAY off!

    Comment by Cory — January 24, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

  7. I appreciate you doing this because it gets away from the hyperbole a little bit. There is a chance this works out for the Angels. Like you said, it seems like a pretty lousy chance, but real. If you give the Angels’s scout-focused approach the benefit of the doubt, maybe they’re seeing a guy whose numbers belie his true value somewhat.

    On the other hand, there’s almost no chance this doesn’t work out great for the Blue Jays. Even if Napoli and Rivera suck and Wells is amazing, they still have all that sweet, sweet cash to keep them warm at night (or spend as they see fit).

    Comment by Luke in MN — January 24, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

  8. On the other hand, there’s almost no chance this doesn’t work out great for the Blue Jays.

    I think one could say it already has worked out well for them.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 24, 2011 @ 2:47 pm

  9. And don’t forget Torii is there to motivate!

    Comment by ofMontreal — January 24, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

  10. I would be concerned with the move to LA being a second wind on the basis of his home (.321/.363/.628) and road (.227/.301/.407) splits. It seems as though Rogers Centre was his second wind last year.

    Comment by hk — January 24, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

  11. I think you haven’t accounted for the positional adjustment of moving from CF to LF. CF is +2.5 while LF is -7.5, so he’s in the hole by a full win just moving to the corner.

    If he is exactly average defensively in LF, and accrues exactly 600 PA, he would need to be +27.5 with the bat (roughly Billy Butler) to have a 4 WAR season.

    Comment by Adam W — January 24, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

  12. Ouch. Um, uh, what I meant to say was that uh, um, well ya see …uh … the thing is that … um …

    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 24, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

  13. So, you’re telling me he’s %&^%$##@%. Okay, i get it. *grin*

    Thanks for posting the difference in batting and/or positional adjustment numbers. i wasn’t quite sure how to calculate it. I guessed 0.5 WAR, and I was way off.

    I am at a loss on how to try and make some reason of the trade. It’s a dead end. Gave away two decent players. Accepted a huge contract. Only receiving a decent player in return. So, they paid TOR 20M to take Mike Napoli for 4 years.

    Thanks for the comments guys.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 24, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

  14. This misses the big point which is that the Angels don’t give a rat’s behind of whether or not Wells “earns” his contract. They needed a big bat for their lineup and after missing out on Crawford, Werth and Beltre, they were forced to overpay for Wells. Whether Well’s earns his contract or not is only relevant if it prohibits the Angels from getting other players that they need. If they were the Mariners or Rays, then it would prohibit them, but the Angels have a big enough and flexible enough payroll to handle this contract with ease Sure they would have rather spent the money on Crawford or Beltre, but at this point, Wells was all that they could get, and he clearly improves their team.

    Comment by BillJames84 — January 24, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

  15. Actually, I can`t believe you came down on your position slightly(ok maybe microscopically), but can you do one more analysis using most likely scenarios?
    Generally, it is accepted that it is an overpay, but by how much ? And how much of it as percentage to the projected Angels budget ?

    Also, I believe I can spend the 86/75 mil on better opportunities, but what would you have down at the time when all the FA were gone and my owner wants only to commit to 4 yrs max and be relevant enough to grab LA mkt share ?

    Comment by The Beest — January 24, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

  16. BillJames84:

    You are NEVER forced to overpay a player. The Angels could have moved ahead with Rivera and Napoli quite easily.

    And really, the Angels are already running a higher payroll than last year by nearly $10 million. What makes anyone think they have more money to spend? No franchise has an infinite stack of money.

    Comment by MCR — January 24, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

  17. Even though the Angels are a “large market” team, they still operate under a payroll budget. Once they have a certain amount allocated to salaries, they aren’t going to spend more. Even if the Angels have more money to spend respectively, this prohibits them from having even more money to spend. In no world is this an efficient allocation of their funds.

    On top of that, the refusal to spend the same level of money as texas or boston on betre or crawford respectively, shows that the angels do make baseball decisions based off of finances, and decided the Wells deal was worth it. On a cost benefit analysis, this deal stinks.

    Comment by James — January 24, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

  18. ahem, ahem…cough, cough.

    Comment by Brian Cashman — January 24, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

  19. So he needs to outperform a career .357 wOBA hitter who will probably finally see more PAs by about 4 WAR per year? Maybe if the Jays move Napoli to SS and he plays through a broken wrist.

    Comment by Matt — January 24, 2011 @ 3:46 pm

  20. They needed a big bat for their lineup? Well, yea, they do now that they gave away Napoli, who’s a better hitter than Wells hahaha

    Comment by Jono411 — January 24, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

  21. A good article which puts some perspective on this. A lot of negative stats from Wells’ last four seasons have been thrwon out there, while ignoring that he was mostly playing hurt in 3 of those. It is interesting that his wOBA was at least, in the range of what it needs to be for the Angels, to make this palatable in two of those years. That’s not to say this was a good trade for the Angels. It was not. Yes, of course they would have been better off signing Beltre or Crawford. But, they didn’t. You can’t judge this trade on the basis of “what should have been done” when “what should have been done” was no longer do-able at the time this trade was made. Entering the off-season the Angels front office sounded like they were going to be agressive in signing some of the bigger FA names. They weren’t. There was the mistake. Now they were desperate. Wells was probably the only decent bat left to be had without giving up a king’s ransom in talent. The Jays were not desperate. There was no urgency to move Wells. The Jays had long ago accepted that Wells’ contract was a sunk cost. Wells wasn’t blocking anyone and the contract wasn’t in the way of making any signings. If teams were at least kicking the tires on Wells with 4 yrs/ $86M left on his contract then with 3 yrs/ $63M left, he would also receive interest. There is nothing to suggest that Wells in 2011 won’t match his 2010 numbers. Good on AA for recognizing that – and that is why it should not surprise anyone that no money went from the Jays to the Angels to make this trade happen.

    Comment by Steve — January 24, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

  22. They needed a big bat for their lineup and after missing out on Crawford, Werth and Beltre, they were forced to overpay for Wells.

    Jog my memory, do the Angels currently have a full time DH under contract?

    With an open DH slot and the need for a “big bat”, why were they “forced to overpay” for Wells?

    They could have “overpaid” for Thome or Manny or Vlad or Magglio Ordonez or Matsui or Cust or Lance Berkman or a Johnny Damon/Marcus Thames or Andruw Jones platoon etc. etc. etc.

    Comment by Steve — January 24, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

  23. That is pretty easy to calculate on your own, but here is an outline using rough numbers:

    Bill James has Wells projected for 635 PA and a wOBA of .345, so that projection would put him at about +10 with the stick. He gets another +20 “bonus” for replacement level adjustment, and then -7.5 for the LF positional adjustment (since it’s pretty easy to find a LF). That puts him at +22.5 runs or +2.3 WAR. Wells’ fielding is a crapshoot, so let’s just pretend he is exactly average in LF.

    If you use 2.3 WAR as your baseline, then he will generate about $12 million of production in free agent dollars, since 1 WAR = ~$5 million on the 2011 FA market. If he gets paid $21 this year, then he is overpaid by about $9 million.

    You can modify the calculation from there as you see fit. For instance, if you think he is a better than average LF – say maybe +5 – then simply add .5 to his WAR total (or +$2.5 million to his dollar value). If Wells does play CF, then you can change his positional adjustment to +2.5, but you now have to account for his defense relative to the average CF rather than LF. Etc., etc.

    Comment by Adam W — January 24, 2011 @ 4:01 pm

  24. Maybe I’m missing something but don’t you also need Wells to offset napoli’s production? Seems like that would require him to add another couple war to be worth it.

    Comment by Jh — January 24, 2011 @ 4:01 pm

  25. Scioscia has never liked Napoli’s defense at catcher, and Morales is back to play 1B. With Hank Conger possibly ready for prime time and some decent DH options still available, I guess they considered Naps expendable.

    I don’t agree with it, but I would imagine that is the thought process.

    Comment by Adam W — January 24, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

  26. The problem with the trade really wasn’t acquiring Wells. He’s a good enough player, with an albatross of a contract. Especially if the Angels truely believed he was worth the contract by their own standard, they should have done their homework. No doubt, the Blue Jays would have eaten 10 or even 20 million in the trade at no additional cost, and that was the biggest failing, by not evaluating what the rest of the market thinks, it was a significant overpay for a guy for a guy they could have gotten with another 5 to 10 million dollars for a box of Torii Hunter signed balls.

    Comment by Daniel — January 24, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

  27. Is there any actual data on the 5mil/win assumption or is this just looking at the big contracts? I keep seeing this # thrown around but have yet to see the supporting data.

    Comment by Joe — January 24, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

  28. I think that VW takes the place of Rivera, no?

    As to the damage from the lost of Napoli, while it’s likely non-negligible it’s less than it ought to be. He just wasn’t getting the PA, and was likely to be a junior partner of a platoon or two. I agree that it doesn’t justify our ignoring his potential contribution, but it does mitigate the omission to some extent.

    Comment by James III — January 24, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

  29. From what I’ve been able to divine this analysis is spot on. This has been very helpful and useful. Thanks.

    Comment by Bob Hudgins — January 24, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

  30. That may not be true, we have no idea what their payroll limit is. For all we know the plan is to use this year to capture the LA market (with the likely decline of the Dodgers) and then sign Albert Pujols when he becomes a free agent after this season.

    Comment by Tom — January 24, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

  31. It is based on the actual contract values handed out this offseason and the projected WAR of the players that received them. (Relief pitchers inflate this number on a yearly basis.)

    Comment by Adam W — January 24, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

  32. I think Bobby Abreu qualifies as pretty darn close to a full time DH for the Angels.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — January 24, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

  33. I knew it started with an A though!

    Comment by Jason — January 24, 2011 @ 5:00 pm

  34. I will make it a lot simpler for everybody. The Angels win the World Series within the next 4 years and Wells contributes, he will have earned his pay, simple as that.

    Giants fans bitched and moaned about what an idiot Brian Sabean was for giving Edgar Renteria $18 M over 2 years. There is no Giants fan that is begrudging that money today.

    Most Giants fans have even accepted that Zito and Rowand contributed to the WS win in some way and the rest of their contracts are just something they will have to live with. The Giants have not let those contracts get in the way of re-signing the key players they needed to keep. They even offered arbitration to about 6 players. Suddenly, Zito and Rowand’s contracts don’t seem like such a big problem to Giants fans anymore.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — January 24, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

  35. While Wells can earn his contract with strong performance, there is nothing he can do to make this a good deal for the Angels. The merit of a transaction should be measured by the market conditions at the time of the transaction, not the performance of the commodity afterwards. If I buy a house for $1M that is only worth $400K, it doesnt retroactively become a good deal if the real estate market appreciates. I still paid $600K more than I should have for my house. Similarly, we know that the Angels could have had Wells for free at the waiver deadline last year if they really wanted the player. He was an asset with negative value, yet the deal didnt reflect that.

    Comment by Jason — January 24, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

  36. MCR,

    What makes you thing the Angels don’t have more money to spend?

    No, they couldn’t have moved ahead with Rivera and Napoli because their defense made it prohibitive to play them in the field and they wanted Abreu to be their DH.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — January 24, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

  37. Championships are not given out for teams that are the most cost efficient with their payroll.
    The reason why the Angels lost out on Werth, Crawford and Beltre was not money, but years. They didn’t want to go beyond 4 or 5 years with anyone.

    Comment by BillJames84 — January 24, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

  38. Simply false.

    Napoli is a nice part time DH/1B against lefties. He can’t hit righties and his production drops the more he plays.

    Comment by BillJames84 — January 24, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

  39. If it’s the only house available in the neighborhood you want to live in, and you can afford it, it really doesn’t matter what you paid for it.

    Comment by BillJames84 — January 24, 2011 @ 5:20 pm

  40. @BillJames84,

    In Napoli’s career vs. RHP’s, his OBP is .329 and his SLG% is .467.
    In Wells’s career vs. RHP’s, his OBP is .320 and his SLG% is .472.

    By the way, vs. LHP’s, Napoli’s career #’s. > Wells’s career #’s.

    Comment by hk — January 24, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

  41. “No, they couldn’t have moved ahead with Rivera and Napoli because their defense made it prohibitive to play them in the field and they wanted Abreu to be their DH.”

    Here’s what I think you meant:

    “No they couldn’t move ahead with Rivera and Napoli because their manager has some weird aversion to having a decent catcher in the lineup and wanted to find more plate appearances for the totally abysmal Jeff Mathis. That, and they don’t like money or the flexibility that it provides. Better to light it on fire than just having it sitting there!!”

    /fixed/

    Comment by Jason B — January 24, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

  42. You weren’t kidding Lloyd – he’s an Angel!

    Comment by Bless Your Hart — January 24, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

  43. Just because you can waste $50M on a house that you don’t need, it doesn’t mean you should.

    Comment by George — January 24, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

  44. “There was no urgency to move Wells.”

    True, but damn did they de-pants the Halos in getting them to take that contract! The freedom! The flexibility! I dunno, what do you say John Cleese?

    “ALBATROSS!”

    Yeah…yeah, I agree.

    Comment by Jason B — January 24, 2011 @ 5:34 pm

  45. I keep asking too Joe. It’s a premise that I’m just not ready to accept as gospel either.

    Comment by Jason B — January 24, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

  46. what hk said.

    it’s true that as a DH/1B he’s really only useful against lefties. but as a catcher (even a -10 or -15 defensive one, which is the worst he could reasonably be), he’s a valuable 2+ WAR player.

    Comment by Jono411 — January 24, 2011 @ 5:36 pm

  47. “Rowand contributed to the WS win in some way”

    False. I could have cheered every bit as heartily from the bench at 1/100 the cost and would have been glad to do so. But no, they won *in spite of* the rotten contracts that Zito, Rowand, and Renteria had, not *because of* them.

    Comment by Jason B — January 24, 2011 @ 5:36 pm

  48. It’s true. Felipe Lopez is the only half-decent 2B out there. Someone should give him 10/220 just to make sure they lock him up.

    Comment by Jason B — January 24, 2011 @ 5:37 pm

  49. I think Dave was just trying to be charitable to the Angels. If you wanted to evaluate the trade fully, you would have to take those two points into account.

    Comment by Benjamin — January 24, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

  50. ^^This. It’s OK to sit on some resources and wait for better options to materialize on down the road. You don’t have to have total deployment of all resources at your disposal, all the time. I mean, I work at a bank…we *could* book some low rate residential mortgages and have that money tied up earning a paltry 3.50% for 15 years, or we can sell those loans off, park our money in Fed Funds, and wait for better opportunities – loans paying a decent return, like six or seven percent, in a more normal economy.

    Or, in the Halos’ situation – they could find a LOT more cost-effective options later this year as the trade deadline nears, or in the next free agent class, but now the money is tied up in this albatross deal. Sunk costs, even for high-payroll teams, have conseequences.

    Comment by Jason B — January 24, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

  51. yea. but i bet that a team with abreu in left and thome/manny at dh would be better than one with wells in left and abreu at dh. at the very least, it would be very close, and with a MUCH lower financial commitment.

    Comment by Jono411 — January 24, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

  52. Napoli’s Career OPS is higher than Wells. Try again, Bill James Jr.

    Comment by Renegade — January 24, 2011 @ 5:53 pm

  53. “They didn’t want to go beyond 4 or 5 years with anyone”…which was incredibly dumb in this case. the whole point of giving out 7-8 year deals is that while you’re overpaying in years 4-8 (the decline years), you’re getting a discount on years 1-3 (the prime years). but in acquiring wells, the angels are only getting the overpriced years 4-7, without getting the good value years 1-3.

    there is no way you can justify paying wells 86 over 4 years but not being willing to give crawford 150 over 7 years. even if crawford declines to wells’ level by year 4, you at least got years 1-3 at good value.

    Comment by Jono411 — January 24, 2011 @ 5:53 pm

  54. But if it’s the only house available because you refused to look at the cheaper houses on the next block or turned down all the cheaper houses on the previous block for flaws that were much less problematic than those manifested in the house you’ve just bought, and every appraiser in the business says this house’s list price is way too expensive for all the repairs it needs, and you offer the list price anyway, well, it’s gonna be hard for that not to be seen as a colossal mistake.

    The Angels will be paying $86 million for Vernon Wells’ age 32-35 seasons, after refusing to pay $82.5 million for Carl Crawford’s age 32-35 seasons or $80 million for Adrian Beltre’s age 32-36 seasons, and they’re giving up a player (Mike Napoli) who has outperformed Wells by two wins over the past three seasons to do it, and they’re doing so without a modicum of salary relief coming the other way, even though the market clearly would have dictated some significant cash from Toronto to offset Wells’ huge contract.

    So while yes, I can see a way that Wells can be worth his contract, it will be very difficult for him to be worth his contract PLUS the 2-3 WAR Napoli was providing the Angels, even in his state of criminal underuse. But it still remains that they could have paid less money for better hitters at the same age earlier in the offseason and paid less money on shorter deals for better hitters as stopgap solutions instead. The house was not the only one available, and the Angels were the ones who backed themselves into thinking it was.

    Comment by Paul SF — January 24, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

  55. The difference between Napoli and Mathis is 3 WAR. Vernon Wells won’t even make up that difference. And they are paying him $86 million dollars. So basically, Mike Sciosca’s aversion to Napoli cost the Angels $75 million.

    Comment by Renegade — January 24, 2011 @ 5:57 pm

  56. to be fare, conger is probably going to be their starting catcher, and i would guess that he projects as a ~2 WAR guy with ~120 games started, which is probably only about 1 win less than napoli. point stands though: this isn’t really much (if any) of an upgrade for them, since wells is probably only a 1 win improvement over rivera, which will be offset by the drop from napoli to conger.

    Comment by Jono411 — January 24, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

  57. Can Conger play defense? I seriously doubt that he starts 120 games and I think it’s pretty optimistic to give him 2 WAR.

    Comment by Renegade — January 24, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

  58. Angels would have been much much better off just giving Beltre the same deal that Texas gave him (if it was possible). They got him on a 5 year deal (one more than Wells) at less money on average than Wells is making. It simply does not make sense, as they both have a lot of inconsistencies in their careers with the bat, however Beltre is a great defender and at his best has a bigger bat than Wells does. Oh did I mention that Beltre would have also filled a glaring hole that the Angels have at 3B? Not to mention they wouldn’t have had to get rid of a good bat in Napoli. I just don’t get it.

    I’m not even a bit Beltre fan, but signing him makes way more sense than trading for Wells and his contract at more money, with only one less year (with an option).

    Comment by Anthony — January 24, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

  59. i have no idea. i’m just looking at the bill james projection for his offense and seeing it projects to around 10 runs/1 win less than napoli’s projection over ~450 PA

    Comment by Jono411 — January 24, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

  60. It feeds the inflation meme by Dave, and I think this is just another way to support it…. I’m not saying it isn’t 5mil, but if this number is going to be continually floated out by several fangraph writers, shouldn’t someone have run the #’s?

    And considering that players are still signing and for the most part the later signings are lower $/WAR contracts, it seems premature.

    Comment by Joe — January 24, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

  61. Exactlyy… if it was a 1 year overpay, it’s a bit easier to make the overpay because you have the money argument.

    There might not be any better options for 2011, but what about 2012, 2013 and 2014?

    Comment by Joe — January 24, 2011 @ 6:43 pm

  62. Has anyone seen a source that provides a hypothetical dollar amount that the Blue Jays could have sent over that would have made this deal work for the Angels? I’ve seen a few WAGs ($40-50M) but curious if there’s a true number out there…

    Comment by scatterbrian — January 24, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

  63. Maybe the Angels can pay him in IOUs

    Comment by Jay — January 24, 2011 @ 7:41 pm

  64. Q: How Could Wells Earn His Contract?

    A: Retire.

    Comment by hk — January 24, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

  65. I doubt Wells would have gotten four years if he was on the open market, but if he did, you’d have to assume $40M at the most. Therefore, $46M from TOR with Wells would have done the trick before you factor in Napoli’s excess value. If Napoli’s going to be worth ~2 WAR for between $5.3M and $6.1M, TOR is getting ~$4M of excess value there. Therefore, $50M would seem to be a good ballpark.

    Comment by hk — January 24, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

  66. For some strange reason, their manager, who was a catcher has an aversion to catchers who can’t remember the right pitch sequence, or throw the ball to second base, or block pitches in the dirt.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — January 24, 2011 @ 8:14 pm

  67. Here come a comment from my gut, and not from my saber-head:

    I like this deal from the Jays perspective, but I am still a VW fan and I think it is possible we could see a resurgence in Vdub’s performance, similar to Andre Dawson’s after moving from the the Expos to the Cubs. I think a lot of Wells injury problems have related to playing most games on on artificial turf rather than grass. He had some leg problems, and his wrist injury was from landing on the harder, less forgiving turf.

    Wells had hinted on occasion that he wanted to retire a Jay, but he has expressed excitement about the prospects with LAA. Wells has also always been quite selfless and never one to complain, so if the turf was bothering him, he’d never say so publicly.

    The bottom line: I think it is quite possible that the change in home field could benefit Wells significantly, and that he could at least come close to providing the WAR value implied by his contract, if not exceeding it. It certainly won’t be from lack of effort.

    Comment by bluejaysstatsgeek — January 24, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

  68. Jono411,

    I bet the Angels with Wells in left and Abreu at DH is better than Abreu in Left and any of the DH’s you mentioned.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — January 24, 2011 @ 8:17 pm

  69. And you know what? Nobody cares because they won and they all contributed.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — January 24, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

  70. Paul SF,

    How are you so sure Napoli is a 3 WAR player. We don’t have an accurate way of measuring catching D, do we? There is substantial evidence that Napoli hurts his team way more with his inability to call a game then he helps with his inconsistent bat. If his CERA is real, and the Angels certainly seem to think it is, then he costs his team over a run every game he catches. That’s pretty darn tough to overcome with his bat.

    He’ll probably put up a .260 BA with 35 HR’s for the Jays and they will still be losers because their D will be even worse than it was, which isn’t good.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — January 24, 2011 @ 8:25 pm

  71. “What makes you thing the Angels don’t have more money to spend?”

    Then why didn’t they spend it on a better player?

    Comment by MCR — January 24, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

  72. You cannot judge the process by the result. Judge the process by the process. Will you trade your house for my lottery ticket? You might win!

    Comment by MCR — January 24, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

  73. From everything I’ve read and heard, Wells is a class act in the clubhouse and in the community. He also seems to have always given 100% and apparently even knows he’s overpaid (http://www.yardbarker.com/mlb/articles/vernon_wells_makes_an_admission_about_his_contract/3964834). All of the goodwill in the world isn’t going to make him earn this contract.

    Comment by hk — January 24, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

  74. DrBGiantsFan:

    Over the last fifteen years, the Yankees have won five titles. During that time, they’ve been managed by two former catchers. During that time, their catcher has been pretty universally regarded as terrible defensively. Fortunately for that particular franchise, they’ve recognized that Posada’s bat makes up for his crappy defense. Absent evidence to the contrary, we have to assume Napoli’s does likewise.

    Comment by MCR — January 24, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

  75. Napoli was never going to be the Angel’s catcher.

    Comment by BillJames84 — January 24, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

  76. true

    Comment by Eric — January 24, 2011 @ 8:55 pm

  77. Just to pile on….

    http://www.fangraphs.com/graphs/1326_1825___ograph_%20_1_24_2011.png

    Dangit! Couldn’t figure out how to move my graph. WAR graph Vernon Wells and David DeJesus.

    Comment by Seancore — January 24, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

  78. And yet he doesn’t have an aversion to catchers who post a .223 wOBA?

    Comment by BIP — January 24, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

  79. It’s true. With Hunter and Wells mutually motivating each other, it will cause a positive feedback loop leading to playing not seen since Ruth and Gehrig were sharing the field! … I’m not sure which one is Ruth and which one is Gehrig though. Looks to me like neither. But they’ll be REALLY motivated!

    Comment by B N — January 24, 2011 @ 10:01 pm

  80. “Nobody cares because they won and they all contributed.”

    You’re right. Totally true. “We killed lots of civilians sir, I mean wiped out whole villages indiscriminately, but we won!!!”

    Comment by Jason B — January 24, 2011 @ 10:16 pm

  81. I read that same article..it was an angel reporter trying to justify this deal..and the rogers centre turf isnt like a slab of concrete like this writer says Montreal was. As well looking at Vdud’s home and away splits suggests he hits better in the dome and his “better” turf wont help his defense that significantly…and hes had hamstring issues that actually effects his defense..oh and as you mention wrist problems should start to help him decline in his declining years. I just dont see how LAA does this except for the fact like all the LAA fans say..its not about how much they spend they wanted someone that had name recognition..remove napoli because of the conflict for the manager not the team and dump as much of their own salary as possible..a whole lot of stuff unrelated to stats the wont and cant be measured..but nonetheless..there are other ways to go about this..mistake after mistake lead to taking over one of the worst contracts yet..and you helped lift a weight off a team that really needed it…

    Comment by Bobby Bond — January 24, 2011 @ 10:17 pm

  82. ^^This. Soooooo this.

    Comment by Jason B — January 24, 2011 @ 10:17 pm

  83. “He’ll probably put up a .260 BA with 35 HR’s for the Jays and they will still be losers because their D will be even worse than it was.”

    Yes, no amount of homers or offense can offset spotty D. If they had a team full of Jack Wilsons they would win like 130 games!

    Comment by Jason B — January 24, 2011 @ 10:21 pm

  84. Probably true, sadly…because Jeff Mathis apparently has photos of Scoscia in a compromising situation or…something.

    Comment by Jason B — January 24, 2011 @ 10:22 pm

  85. Mariners’ budget is way more than the Rays. Not even close to the same league.

    Comment by Reuben — January 24, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

  86. I’ve finally figured out your obsession with defending the undefendable by using terrible, terrible logic.

    You are Bill Bavasi.

    Comment by Not David — January 24, 2011 @ 10:45 pm

  87. Agreed as well, another this x1000.

    Comment by Not David — January 24, 2011 @ 10:45 pm

  88. But he’s going to play at the Rangers Ballpark more often! Look at these numbers: .600 /.692 / 1.800 / 2.492.

    And that’s just three games!!!

    Comment by André — January 25, 2011 @ 12:13 am

  89. No one bothered to look at other years. In 2009 (a bad year), he OPSed .711 overall and .633 at Rogers Centre. In 2008, he OPSed .849 at Rogers Centre, and .840 overall. In 2007, he basically OPSed .700 at home and away, and in 2006, he OPSed 1.038 at home and .899 overall. And in 2003, he OPSed .861 at the Skydome and .909 overall.

    On the whole it seems like he hits a little better at home, but it also looks like his hits are—gasp—randomly distributed among different ballparks??! Looking at only his 2010 home/away splits to predict his future performance seems a bit lazy to me.

    (Speaking of lazy, I don’t know how to combine his away splits easily at BR, so, as you’ve noticed, I didn’t do it.)

    Comment by André — January 25, 2011 @ 12:26 am

  90. Hyperbole at it’s finest. I’d expect better on a site like this.

    Comment by R M — January 25, 2011 @ 12:38 am

  91. As excited as Giants fans are about their WS win, I’m sure they’d be more excited if they won the WS and could be in on big free agents by not owing Zito and Rowand so much money. Imagine if after their win they were able to get Lee or Crawford instead of basically standing pat. You wouldn’t be more excited about that than waiting for Rowand and Zito to expire, so you can get a big free agent again?

    The moves that led Sabean and the Giants to take the series are almost entirely the moves that were cheap risks and building through the farm system.

    Comment by Reuben — January 25, 2011 @ 12:48 am

  92. At least the Angels didn’t forfeit any draft picks or real talent. Napoli can’t field (he’s a horrible horrible catcher, I think non-Angels and even Angels fans can’t grasp this. even if his position is techincally catcher, that doesn’t absolve him of horrible defensive skills) and isn’t an optimal allocation of resources at DH.

    Why do people overlook the cost of forfeiting minor league talent? The Angels farm system has been replenished in the last year. The major leagues don’t exist in a vacuum. Angels just had to hand over a wad of cash to extend their protection of Morales in the lineup.

    Comment by biga — January 25, 2011 @ 2:05 am

  93. Napoli’s bat is extremely overrated. For a defensively challenged player whose job it is to drive in baserunners, he’s pretty average. Check out his numbers with guys on base and in scoring position.

    Comment by jkafka — January 25, 2011 @ 3:00 am

  94. This IOU is for $75 million…might want to hold onto that one.

    Comment by Harry Dunne — January 25, 2011 @ 7:06 am

  95. Since their first round pick was protected and they forfeited their 2nd round pick to sign Scott Downs, the Angels would have only lost a 3rd round pick to sign another Type A free agent. Keeping Napoli and Rivera and signing Beltre > Trading for Wells and keeping a 3rd round pick. Plus, since there was apparently interest in Napoli, they could have traded him in a separate deal and gotten salary cap relief – although many on here insist that the Angels have endless financial resources – or another player of equal value.

    Comment by hk — January 25, 2011 @ 7:22 am

  96. Driving in runners is a function of having runners on base to drive in. For his career, Napoli’s OBP and SLG% are greater than Wells’s OBP and SLG%. Therefore, if Napoli’s bat is extremely overrated, what is Wells’s bat (especially considering Wells’s only good year in the last four, last year, was largely a product of his significant home vs. road splits).

    Comment by hk — January 25, 2011 @ 7:24 am

  97. There actually is a way to measure catcher defense, and according to it, Napoli costs the Angels about five runs per year. That’s it. Among the catchers who rank lower than Napoli on defense: Jeff Mathis.

    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2010/11/10/1803183/2010-beyond-the-box-score-catcher-defense-rankings

    Comment by Paul SF — January 25, 2011 @ 7:38 am

  98. Many people “run the numbers” each year. It’s a pretty simple equation, really:

    (Aggregate FA dollars spent) / (Aggregate projected WAR from FAs) = $ per FA Win.

    Keeping in mind that the projections do account for the aging curve.

    Comment by Adam W — January 25, 2011 @ 9:16 am

  99. Actually, R M, it’s not hyperbole at all, it’s a *reductio ad absurdum*.

    Comment by The Ancient Mariner — January 25, 2011 @ 9:54 am

  100. Angles in the outfield? literally?

    Comment by halebm — January 25, 2011 @ 9:57 am

  101. Well true, but like you stated earlier, relievers totally skew the numbers every year. Might make more sense to use a little sharper tools (like, say, average dollars per win paid to hitters, and average per win for pitchers, or further segment pitchers into starters and relievers) rather than using the bluntest tool possible (average per player).

    It’s akin to saying an apple averages $1, an orange $2, a mango $4, a bunch of elderberries $8, and a banana $50, so a piece of fruit is generally $13 on average. That information doesn’t really tell me what I should expect to pay for my next orange, and the outlier tends to skew the average beyond having much meaning.

    Comment by Jason B — January 25, 2011 @ 11:01 am

  102. Reuben for the win. As we stated earlier, they won the WS *in spite of* those ridiculous contracts, not *because* of them. Doesn’t cheapen the win in any way, and everyone would love to have done the same, but the whole notion of “well we won so all our moves are totally awesome” is just patently ridiculous.

    Comment by Jason B — January 25, 2011 @ 11:04 am

  103. Except Mathis is rated worse than Napoli according to BtB’s catcher defense ratings.

    Comment by Anon — January 25, 2011 @ 11:21 am

  104. R M:

    Using normal, down-to-earth examples apparently isn’t working, so we have to go big (or go home).

    Comment by MCR — January 25, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

  105. Consider this–the Angels HAD to do something because season ticket sales are down. The increased payroll can now be defrayed somewhat by increased attendance and greater sales of concessions. Arte Moreno did not suddenly become stupid.

    Comment by Mike Friedman — January 25, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

  106. Simplistically, it is one guy who once had a lot of blue sky, who goes to a team where he does not need to be ‘da man… for two guys not at all in favor with their former employer.. and that very big cost to make such a move. We can say TOR did the right thing, and LAA hopes Wells has a couple of nice years, to justify it from their end.

    Comment by george — January 26, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

  107. This said, when you spend all that money one one guy, you probably need to have more than a couple nice years, out of four!

    Comment by george — January 26, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

  108. Thats why we still need firebriansabean.com How else can we spread the word? Keep Dick Tidrow and his awesome mustache around to develop the arms, but hire some brains to know how much players are actually worth in the future, not the past.

    Comment by AK707 — January 26, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

  109. So Dave,

    Care to update this post with the news that the Jays are eating 16 million of the 86 million remaining on Wells contract ?

    Comment by shoewizard — January 28, 2011 @ 7:12 am

  110. Not much to update, since the rumoured $4 million per year is inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. The Blue Jays would have to pay at least $30 million more to make this trade remotely equal value.

    Comment by Fallen Leafs — February 5, 2011 @ 1:48 am

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