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  1. Good call, Dave. My thinking regarding Ramirez has been pretty similar of late: he’s pretty damn underrated (best shortstop in the AL?), but the contract he just signed seems unnecessary given the minimal savings.

    Did Kenny feel like he needed to make up for the awesome initial bargain signing of Ramirez by overpaying him?

    Comment by Satchel Price — February 1, 2011 @ 11:50 am

  2. Went over and checked the Stark article. That list is a farce. Anybody who follows baseball and considers his choices at,1B, 2B, SS, CF, LF, and CL underrated probably lives in a cave in Mongolia somewhere.

    Comment by Big Jgke — February 1, 2011 @ 11:55 am

  3. It’s hardly a perfect correlation between “underpaid” and “underrated”. I’m pretty sure Alexei Ramirez will continue to be underrated despite being slightly overpaid.

    Comment by Ari Collins — February 1, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

  4. So far as I can tell, the extension actually covers his last two years of arb and his first two years of free agency. Since his 2011 was already locked in, it extends him for 2012-15. Thus, it’s more like $37.25 million over the next 5 years.

    Comment by Josh — February 1, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

  5. Yep, that was my mistake. I just updated the post to reflect that information, and the conclusion is now quite a bit different.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — February 1, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

  6. My understanding after reading the initial announcement was that Ramirez’s $2.75 million dollar salary for this year remains in effect, and the Sox bought out the final two years of arbitration and 2 years of free agency? If correct does that change the equation?

    Comment by ek_wins — February 1, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

  7. Sorry, hadn’t seen this comment, ignore my post below.

    Comment by ek_wins — February 1, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

  8. I thought this deal is an extension (covering 2012 – 2015 plus club option 2016 which would be 2 arb years, 2 fa years +cl option) in that case, does the deal look more club friendly? (I think yes)

    Comment by Mike — February 1, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

  9. There also appears to be a team option for 2016 at $10M. For the record.

    Comment by Newcomer — February 1, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

  10. C Mike Napoli
    1B Daric Barton
    2B Orlando Hudson
    SS Alexei Ramirez
    3B Ryan Zimmerman
    LF Josh Willingham
    CF Angel Pagan
    RF Shin Soo Choo
    P Jered Weaver

    Comment by Guy — February 1, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

  11. Alexeeeeeeeiiiiiiiii!!! (Oh, we had to say it once).

    Alexei was his own worst enemy in the regards of creating inflated expectations. When he burst on the scene, flashing some talent and ability, Ozzie got carried away dubbed him the next great SS and all that.

    The possibilities were endless, he’d bat .300, he’d hit 30 HR, and he’d steal 50 bases, all the while playing really good defense.

    So, when he did not play up to the level, it was easy for others to think maybe he just wasn’t that talented.

    I think he’ll continue to perform at a level for some years, likely in between his ’10 and ‘9 seasons, a 3 WAR SS.

    I think 8M/y for Alexei is a plus for the team. Throw in Dunn’s deal, and KW & the CWS are making some very good moves.

    I saw that Dan (ZiPS) has CWS as his ALC division champ.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 1, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

  12. Alexeeeeeeeiiiiiiiii!!!

    YES…. YES….. YES…… YES………… YES…………………

    ::shoots self in face::

    Comment by Lee — February 1, 2011 @ 1:17 pm

  13. No, not the best in the AL…

    Comment by jaywrong — February 1, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

  14. You ain’t kidding.

    I agree with Guy’s list. Good selections, man.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 1, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

  15. To be fair, not many people follow baseball like the community here at fangraphs. One man’s treasure is another man’s mystery.

    Comment by jaywrong — February 1, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

  16. Cuddyer on the all underrated team? Apparently not enough people appreciate a “winner” who can wOBA 329 and play a negative corner outfield and 1B. Wow.

    Comment by glassSheets — February 1, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

  17. Yeah, that Stark team is a mess. Starlin? Cuddyer? Dunn? What a joke.

    Comment by Evan Kirkwood — February 1, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

  18. Oh, and Ryan Braun lololol no one knows who he is.

    Comment by Evan Kirkwood — February 1, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

  19. What scout said about Carlos Ruiz “I think he’s the best catcher in the game — other than [Joe] Mauer, who’s on a different planet.”

    I’m a huge Phillies fan, and even I would say this guy is nuts. Um, Brian McCann?

    Comment by bill — February 1, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

  20. What exactly is Ramirez’s worth, overall and defensively? From 2008 to 2010, he accumulated a total of 6.9 WAR (avg 2.3 per season). His UZR/150 has ranged from poor in 2008 to very good in 2010, but over 3 years is roughly average. He’s also likely past his physical prime at this point and will likely be declining in skill towards the end of the contract.

    So is he a 2 WAR player getting paid $8 million per year for 4 years during which he’ll be decining in value? Or is he more like a 4 WAR player (and much more of a bargain)?

    Comment by Eric — February 1, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

  21. Keep in mind that he played CF and 2B his first year (mostly 2B). 2009 was his first year as a MLB shortstop. Coming out of Cuba, the scouting reports on his defense were very positive, so 2010 might be close to his true defensive value, though likely somewhat high. He’s probably a +5 defender at SS for the life of this contract. And I expect he’ll average about 90 wRC+ for the deal, too. So he’s about a 3-4 win player right now. But if he can manage 2008’s offense with 2010’s defense, his ceiling might be 5 wins (not likely). But even if he only averages 2 wins during the extension, he’s still a bargain.

    Comment by Josh — February 1, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

  22. Wow, your list is pretty similar to one I did at BlueJays blog Bluebirdbanter (, comments section):

    C – Brian McCann
    1B – Daric Barton
    2B – Chase Utley
    SS – Alexei Ramirez
    3B – Ryan Zimmerman
    RF – Shin-Soo Choo
    CF – Angel Pagan
    LF – Seth Smith

    Utley and McCann are considered stars by most, but their value compared to one-dimensional sluggers (like Dunn) is underrated. Hudson might be a better selection than Utley though, now that I think about it.

    Comment by woodman — February 1, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

  23. If he’d start hitting in April instead of starting up in mid-May or June every year, he might actually get to that 5 wins one of these next couple of years. Pretty hard when you end up with an OPS around .550 for the first month though. And he’s been consistently terrible in April each of his first three years.

    Comment by Yinka Double Dare — February 1, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

  24. Baseball fact #38: Scouts of the old guard love nothing more than a bona fide blue collar catcher with sound fundamentals and a deferential scowl.* If he handles the bat pretty well and has a knack for clutch hits? Whoa. You’ve got yourself a championship-caliber field general in the Johnny Bench mold.

    *Also acceptable: glowering, glaring, or squinting in a boyishly handsome Cowboy sort of way (hey, it works for Rob Johnson). Grimacing, however, is outright.

    Comment by Choo — February 1, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

  25. Following baseball fervently or not isn’t really the point. As a paid baseball writer I think you have the responsibility to do more than look at the guys with the best stats who aren’t on the Yankees or Red Sox and call them ‘underrated.’

    Actually scratch that, the fact the list wasn’t entirely Dustin Pedroia, and Nick Swisher is I suppose a small mercy.

    Comment by Big Jgke — February 1, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

  26. My only concern would be that maybe (like a lot of latin players) he’s actually a couple years older than he says. Then they are paying him through 37 or 38.

    Comment by MikeS — February 1, 2011 @ 6:01 pm

  27. The market for shortstops at least at the MLB level is weak as well. Good deal.

    Comment by Mark — February 1, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

  28. well who’s better, andrus?

    Comment by fredsbank — February 1, 2011 @ 7:43 pm


    Comment by fredsbank — February 1, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

  30. Averaging 2 WAR per year for 4 years at 8 million per year isn’t really a bargain. I mean if you go exactly at maybe 4.5 to 5.0 million per WAR per year, it would be a bargain in that sense. But in the sense that you are guaranteeing $32 million to someone that might get hurt on a relatively long term contract it isn’t the same bargain that a series of 1 year, 8 million dollar contracts would be for the same player over the same time frame.

    Remember, the market value of 1 WAR for free agents doesn’t mean that’s what they are worth, it just means that’s what the highest bidding team for a player is willing to pay at that point. And for free agents with every team free to bid, their contract is essentially guaranteed to be an overpay compared to what most experts (i.e. 29 other GMs) believe they are worth.

    I hestitate to call this contract for Ramirez a bargain. For one thing, a lot of his value is built on his defense and we are still a long ways from having defensive metrics that are equivalent to offensive metrics in terms of reliability and projectability. And the last 3 years for Ramirez defensively aren’t nearly as flattering as just looking at 2010.

    Time will tell, but while this is probably a fair contract it does not appear to be a huge bargain.

    Comment by Mike — February 1, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

  31. I think once that started to impact large contracts, the level of scrutiny skyrocketed. Although, if he weren’t latin would he maybe have gotten more??? The deal certainly seems fair-to-favorable enough to the team that perhaps that played a role. Interesting point you raise.

    Comment by Jimbo — February 2, 2011 @ 1:39 am

  32. yeh, i’d take andrus… and as overrated as he is, jeter is still better. in a year or so, maybe even adrub.

    sexyalexei also has severe cold streaks that are quite blizzard like.

    not saying he’s bad, just not the best. it’s a reach for me.

    Comment by jaywrong — February 2, 2011 @ 6:33 am

  33. see!


    Comment by jaywrong — February 2, 2011 @ 6:34 am

  34. Huh? Explain to me how Elvis and his sub .300 wOBA is better? Jeter used to hit at such an extreme rate you could make an argument but who is going to bet on that again. No at this point Alexei is the best all around SS in the AL.

    And its not bizarre random cold spells. Its pretty much the same one. April to mid-May

    Comment by Terry — February 2, 2011 @ 8:50 am

  35. There is zero to no evidence that Alexei’s age is a concern. He came after a great deal more scrutiny was cast on the subject.

    Comment by Terry — February 2, 2011 @ 8:56 am

  36. You can throw that first year out altogether. He was out of position and in a totally new situation. Even if you don’t think 2010 was his true defensive level, he pretty much still ranks toward the top for the combined 2 years in UZR and plus/minus. Eric’s point is a bottom line of 2 WAR would at least justify the deal. Alexei is quite likely to exceed that 8 WAR for 4 years. As far as injury risk that’s standard for any deal.

    Comment by Terry — February 2, 2011 @ 9:02 am

  37. don’t act like it’s a done deal. if going by woba alone, sure, i guess 20 less points is worse. and that was one year. what was his woba the year before? yeah… 0.322 (with a career ML woba of around the same.) that number matches what alexei puts out good sir.

    i like the fielding better, the speed more, and the lack of waste for two-two/half months (1.5 months is being kind) with andrus.

    i kinda lean your way with jeter, but let’s see what happens this year.

    i think their WAR’s will be a lot closer than you think with all three. and there is not enough difference to anoint him the best.

    Comment by jaywrong — February 2, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

  38. I think this deal is simply a reflection of the shortstop market today. I believe the contract terms, “may” be a slight overpay towards the end of the deal. The fact is the SS market is still heavily being impacted by guys like Tulo and recollecting of Jeter’s prime. For a guy that can give you 20HR and solid defense at a premium position, I believe the first 2-3 years of this deal will be good for the Sox. I’m curious to see how a guy with Alexi’s body type responds to age and attrition. Given the power he provides and solid defense, I believe it is safe to say he is a Top 3 shortstop in the AL and being paid as such.

    Comment by Sox2727 — February 2, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

  39. I’m a Cards’ fan and damned near every Cards’ fan thinks Molina to be the best C in the NL and maybe only 2nd in the bigs behind Mauer. I, however, know that Ruiz is very good and quite possibly the 3rd best C in the NL, behind McCann and Posey. He’s certainly underrated (except in the playoffs when Buck and McCarver won’t shut up about him).

    Comment by chuckb — February 3, 2011 @ 10:04 am

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