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  1. Mauer and…. Wright?

    Comment by aj — July 16, 2009 @ 3:44 pm

  2. This is a great series. I always loved with Simmons did this for basketball, it’s just that I don’t care about basketball. Was hoping that someone would eventually do this for baseball.

    Regarding this list, I love Colby Rasmus but I find it impossible to think that the Cardinals would turn down the Marlins if they offered Josh Johnson straight up.

    Comment by Jeff Akston — July 16, 2009 @ 3:46 pm

  3. That leaves Utley, Hanley, Pujols, Lincecum, Upton, Wright, Greinke, Sizemore, Kemp, Wieters, Haren, Mccann, Braun, and Longoria adding up to 14. Panda, Youkilis, Votto or Porcello for the 15th?

    Comment by Tom — July 16, 2009 @ 3:47 pm

  4. If you believe that Pujols was really born in 1980, then he’s the other guy.

    Comment by Jeff Akston — July 16, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

  5. they already said that this panda fat guy will not be in the top 50

    Comment by Matthew — July 16, 2009 @ 3:50 pm

  6. I just can’t buy into Rasmus without seeing a little more offensive prowess. Not that a .350 wOBA for a guy his age is bad or anything, but his WAR is hugely derives from his defense. I’m sure the bat will come along even stronger, but to group him in between Reyes, AJ, King Felix, and Mauer may be a little much.

    Comment by Pat Andriola — July 16, 2009 @ 3:50 pm

  7. Considering where Granderson placed, I’m actually kind of interested to see where Sizemore falls.

    Comment by TomG — July 16, 2009 @ 3:53 pm

  8. Same with Youkilis.

    Comment by Teej — July 16, 2009 @ 3:57 pm

  9. .350 wOBA, plus great scouting reports, plus great defense, plus he’s 22? That’s fantastic package.

    Comment by ebc — July 16, 2009 @ 4:03 pm

  10. Question for you guys:

    Felix Hernandez, in his first year of being arbitration eligibile last year, got $3.8 million (he and the mariners agreed on that number rather than go to an arbitration hearing).

    My question: What does Felix get this year? What is a reasonable estimate of what he WILL get this year in arbitration, not what he should get or what you think he should get. Based on whatever past rulings and players and ages and performance, what is your best guess? Thanks in advance.


    Comment by Jason — July 16, 2009 @ 4:04 pm

  11. Service time, my friend. No one’s saying he’s as good as Mauer or Felix right now. But he’s the only one of those five guys who’s under team control for five more years, which gives his value a boost.

    Comment by Teej — July 16, 2009 @ 4:06 pm

  12. Technically, we have to consider Pujols a 29 year old.

    Comment by Scottwood — July 16, 2009 @ 4:15 pm

  13. Justin Upton.

    Comment by Matt B, — July 16, 2009 @ 4:17 pm

  14. Mccann won’t be on this list. There is zero chance he is listed above Mauer. I’m not sure if Grienke is going to make it either.

    Comment by Joe — July 16, 2009 @ 4:18 pm

  15. I knew we couldn’t possibly have an entry where Sandoval wasn’t mentioned. The readers of this site have a HOF plaque all polished up and ready to go for him.

    Comment by CH — July 16, 2009 @ 4:19 pm

  16. people say lincecum will get 10 million in his first year in ARB. is that true?

    Comment by Matthew — July 16, 2009 @ 4:19 pm

  17. How about a 10 year 200 milliong dollar contract? As a huge M’s fan, that’s what I’m hoping for. Lock this guy up long term before he becomes a FA and the Yankees offer him 50 million a year.

    As far if he goes to arbitration I’m not really sure. Say he has an awesome second half and wins the Cy Young and leads the M’s to the playoffs he would probably make around 10+ million.

    Comment by Joe — July 16, 2009 @ 4:21 pm

  18. Joe,
    McCann is signed through 2012 w/ a club option for 2013; Mauer is a free agent after 2010. So, he just might be ahead of Mauer.

    Comment by Tom — July 16, 2009 @ 4:24 pm

  19. I was going to respond to: “He’s just one of two guys in their 20s in baseball that you can look at and say with confidence that he’s an easy Hall Of Famer as long as he stays healthy” with Sandoval as being the other, but then decided the Sandoval jokes have run their course. I think we’re definitely way beyond the point of bringing him up anymore.

    “The readers of this site have a HOF plaque all polished up and ready to go for him.”

    More like the Giants fans…

    Comment by B — July 16, 2009 @ 4:24 pm

  20. Try this, although it doesn’t take into account the biases in arbitration for AVG/RBI and against position/fielding:

    40% of FA value in first year of arb
    60% of FA value in second year of arb
    80% of FA value in third year of arb

    Comment by Sky — July 16, 2009 @ 4:24 pm

  21. I don’t see any reasonable argument he gets even close to that. Hamels (the best comparison for Lincecum to date) is making $4.35M in his first year of arbitration (agreed to that with the Phillies). Lincecum obviously has a better resume than Hamels, but he has a long way to go to get to $10M.

    Comment by B — July 16, 2009 @ 4:27 pm

  22. Wow. You’re really demanding. A 22-year-old putting up a .350 wOBA at an up-the-middle position isn’t displaying enough offensive prowess? If he doesn’t improve at ALL, he’s still a 4-win player. Assuming a semi-normal growth curve, he can develop into a 5-6 win guy easily.

    Comment by JH — July 16, 2009 @ 4:29 pm

  23. Pablo Sandoval. Ok, that’s a joke. But I’ll say David Wright.

    Comment by Richie Abernathy — July 16, 2009 @ 4:29 pm

  24. Raul Ibanez!!!!

    Seriously, though, Chad Billingsley and Adam Wainwright could be up there. Both are locked up until 2013.

    Also Jayson Werth has1.5 years left on his contract for a total of 9 mil good and is good for ~7 wins in that period, but I can’t see him in front of Jones and Rasmus.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — July 16, 2009 @ 4:36 pm

  25. If Gallardo isn’t in the top 50 then it isn’t a good top 50.

    Comment by Ender — July 16, 2009 @ 4:39 pm

  26. A 10 year 200 million dollar contract to a pitcher!? Not to mention at pitcher that has already thrown almost 800 innings at the age of 23.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — July 16, 2009 @ 4:39 pm

  27. “Blue Jay fans, forget it – you’re not getting this kid for Halladay.”

    I hope not.

    Comment by Nick — July 16, 2009 @ 4:41 pm

  28. Billingsley is at #28. I’m guessing Dave isn’t as high on Gallardo as you, Ender, because of Gallardo’s FIP. I don’t see Wainwright up there, he starts making some decent money in the next few years, though he is locked up until 2013.

    Comment by B — July 16, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

  29. FIP is a flawed stat over such a small sample, his xFIP is as good as Billingsley’s, he has more service time left. He has 249 IP of a 3.29 ERA now and it is only that high because of one terribad start in Coors. I stand by the statement, if Gallardo isn’t in the top 50 then the top 50 is flawed.

    Comment by Ender — July 16, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

  30. Mccann For sure be on this list without a doubt

    Comment by Matthew — July 16, 2009 @ 5:08 pm

  31. I really doubt they would trade him straight up for Johnson. Johnson is closer to free agency and has been hurt in the past. Colby for Lincecum on the other hand…..

    Comment by VolsnCards5 — July 16, 2009 @ 5:11 pm

  32. I was actually starting to get skeptical of Rasmus early in the season when all he did was walk and single, but he is a notorious slow starter and he’s really shown it. His OPS hit .666 May 9, and he’s hit .291/.320/.540 since and looked the part. The only thing lacking is the walks, which is a skill he’s shown plenty of in the past. If he can combine the eye he showed early with the power he’s shown lately, he’s an offensive superstar.

    Comment by cpebbles — July 16, 2009 @ 5:28 pm

  33. Utley has to be the other HOF lock in his 20s…am I right??

    Comment by Ryan — July 16, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

  34. fail

    Comment by BIP — July 16, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

  35. except Utley is 30… It’s either Wright or Pujols.

    Comment by Skelly — July 16, 2009 @ 5:45 pm

  36. I’m not too sure about Reyes. So much of his value is tied to his basestealing ability, and I don’t know how much longer that’s going to be there for him. Remember Quilvio Veras? Luis Castillo? I think Reyes might be one that flames out prretty quickly, like those guys. He already has a pretty bad history of leg injuries.

    Granted, Reyes has got some pop in his bat too, but so maybe he develops into more of a power hitting SS (with good speed) vs. the blazing-speed leadoff type that he’s been known as thus far. (Thoughh I don’t know about that either, unless they do something about the fences at Citi Field.) He certainly doesn’t strike me as the Rickey Henderson/Vince Coleman type, who had speed throughout their major league careers. Other guys on this list, even much lower down, seem like much safer bets to me.

    Comment by DavidA — July 16, 2009 @ 6:01 pm

  37. McCann will absolutely be on the list.

    Comment by DavidA — July 16, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

  38. Power at citi field is a tricky thing though – he won’t develop hr power, but he could lose a few steps speed-wise and still hit 20 triples a year in that ballpark (if he stays healthy, which is always the key issue)

    Comment by Eric — July 16, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

  39. Awful comparison. You just compared a shortstop with some pop to two second basemen with sub .100 ISOs. Reyes does not derive much of his value from basestealing. His value is that he’s an above average shortstop who swings an above average stick. This is a rare combination, which is by definition, quite valuable. IF he loses his ability to field SS well along with his speed due to leg issues, his value will be severely impacted.

    Comment by MetsFan — July 16, 2009 @ 6:11 pm

  40. Do you think Reyes will ask for top SS in the league money this time around? Last time out on free agency he earned a lot less than many would have expected. His contract is 4 years (2007-2010)/ $23.25M with a 2011 $11M club option.

    Comment by Brian Recca — July 16, 2009 @ 6:12 pm

  41. What about Quentin?

    Comment by Kaplan — July 16, 2009 @ 6:22 pm

  42. well i also compared him to 2 outfielders :)

    you’re right, though. it’s a rare combination. i would say that the way Reyes has played TO DATE would definitely rank him high on the list. i just think that going forward, his future looks a little cloudier than some of these other guys.

    Comment by DavidA — July 16, 2009 @ 6:22 pm

  43. He was never a free agent before, so yes he is going to ask for a lot more money.

    Comment by Skelly — July 16, 2009 @ 7:19 pm

  44. Well, Reyes is only under contract through 2011 and I doubt his base running will decline much through then. I mean 2 years and it will drop off that much? Unless you think his current injury will really hamper him in the next couple years, this doesn’t make much sense.

    Comment by Skelly — July 16, 2009 @ 7:25 pm

  45. HAHAHAHA that’s ludicrous! Colby straight up for Lincecum. You are high.

    Comment by Slick — July 16, 2009 @ 7:32 pm

  46. Interesting point, was not aware of that. So I’m assuming he’s let up a lot of HR’s then? Any further evidence that it may or may not be a fluke?

    Comment by B — July 16, 2009 @ 7:47 pm

  47. It’s obviously Pujols but i’m slightly offended that Cabrera didn’t get a nod. There are probably several twenty-somethings who are sure things “if” they can stay healthy. Of course it’s always a big if.

    Comment by brett — July 16, 2009 @ 7:57 pm

  48. I’d go so far as to say Pujols doesn’t have to stay healthy anymore. Plane crash tomorrow and the guy makes The Hall.

    Comment by Fresh Hops — July 16, 2009 @ 8:21 pm

  49. If McCann is not on this list, it’s pretty flawed. He’s the same age as Mauer, has a track record of comparable wOBA, a little worse behind the plate, great reports on his work ethic, and, as Tom pointed out, is on a way below market contract. Indeed, he might have one the most club friendly contracts in baseball.

    Comment by Fresh Hops — July 16, 2009 @ 8:25 pm

  50. I believe Billingsley has already been mentioned.

    Comment by Big Oil — July 16, 2009 @ 9:41 pm

  51. Lincecum will get $10 million easily.

    Comment by ebc — July 16, 2009 @ 9:46 pm

  52. It’s a pretty silly thing to say, really — there are plenty of players in their twenties on a hall of fame pace. Presumably he’s saying that Mauer & Pujols have already accomplished enough that even if they spend the rest of their careers as thoroughly mediocre players, they’ll still make the Hall.

    Comment by ebc — July 16, 2009 @ 9:49 pm

  53. Pujols is 29, making him the obvious answer.

    Comment by Benne — July 16, 2009 @ 10:19 pm

  54. A Mauer who was mediocre from this point on would not make the Hall. Just sayin’…

    Comment by KingCorran — July 17, 2009 @ 1:29 am

  55. “A 10 year 200 million dollar contract to a pitcher!? Not to mention at pitcher that has already thrown almost 800 innings at the age of 23.”

    Flawed logic. Most 23 year old pitchers throw that many innings in college/the minors anyways.

    Comment by Patrick — July 17, 2009 @ 3:24 am

  56. Mauer? No. Mediocre from here on out isn’t going to do it.

    Comment by twinsfan — July 17, 2009 @ 4:30 am

  57. Adam Jones will be better than Colby Rasmus defensively, has more speed, and hits for better average. i don’t understand this ranking.

    Comment by Bmore — July 17, 2009 @ 7:23 am

  58. his WAR is way inflated, no arguing that. u honestly think he can keep up his ridiculous UZR numbers?

    Comment by Wrighteous — July 17, 2009 @ 8:19 am

  59. Thanks for the opinion, ebc, I’m glad you backed it up with some actual reasoning. What case does Lincecum have for $10M? What precedent is there for that?

    Comment by B — July 17, 2009 @ 8:42 am


    Comment by Alex — July 17, 2009 @ 9:00 am

  61. I’d be shocked if he was on there.

    Comment by Chris — July 17, 2009 @ 9:06 am

  62. Under Felix Hernandez:

    “he’s capable of blowing hitters every time out.”


    Comment by Chris — July 17, 2009 @ 9:11 am

  63. What precedent is there for a guy just entering arbitration possibly coming off of back to back Cy Young’s? If anything I’d probably point to Howard as a comp and he got 10 million the first go round.

    Comment by Alex — July 17, 2009 @ 9:14 am

  64. If Mauer changes position, as has been speculated in the past that he may, and this year is just an outlier in his power performance. It is possible he may not see the hall at all in my opinion. A .320-.330ish 1B/DH with ~150 HRs and >50% of his career at catcher would be borderline for me.

    Comment by Bmore — July 17, 2009 @ 9:17 am

  65. Even if we give you those things, Rasmus is still under team control for an extra year which would make up the slight advantages that Jones may have.

    Comment by Alex — July 17, 2009 @ 9:21 am

  66. Apparently you can see the future. Both guys have like half a season of MLB experience under their belts. How about we wait and see how they pan out over a season.

    Better yet, this article is purely about speculation and isn’t the definitive list of the century!

    If you don’t understand go back here and read this:

    Comment by Slick — July 17, 2009 @ 9:23 am

  67. Not a regular until he was 26, going to be tough unless he has a sustained run into his 30′s.

    Comment by Bill — July 17, 2009 @ 9:26 am

  68. As others have said, while Mauer is the better player right now, in terms of trade value it really isn’t even close. Mauer is signed for 1 more season at 12.5 million. McCann is signed for the next 4 seasons at just over 8 million a year. That difference in their contracts is just huge.

    Oh, a slight correction for Fresh Hops, McCann is actually a year younger than Mauer is.

    Comment by Alex — July 17, 2009 @ 9:33 am

  69. Tulo, Victor Martinez, Votto, or Porcello?

    Comment by Scott — July 17, 2009 @ 9:36 am

  70. Mauer is already the only AL Catcher to win a batting title, and he’s done it twice. If he wins his third this season, I don’t care if the second half of his career is at first base. It’s not like he’s moving next season, as he’s still quite young. If anything, there will be a transition period (see Victor Martinez) a few years down the road. But as long as he keeps hitting .330+ and posting .400+ OBP, he will be in The Hall.

    Comment by rw23 — July 17, 2009 @ 9:38 am

  71. How much better would Felix or Verlander have to be than Jon Lester or Josh Johnson or some of the other pitchers lower down that they’d actually be worth making the contract swap?

    Comment by Judy — July 17, 2009 @ 9:40 am

  72. Sorry, .320+

    Comment by rw23 — July 17, 2009 @ 9:40 am

  73. Tulo just hasn’t done enough since 2007 and there is no way Martinez is ranking ahead of Mauer when they are locked up for the same amount of time. Votto and Porcello are definite possibilities but Votto would seem to be held back by playing 1B and I’m not sure I can see the justification for Porcello being ahead of the other young pitchers that have already been listed given his lack of a minor league track record and not so impressive peripherals this year.

    Comment by Alex — July 17, 2009 @ 9:53 am

  74. Howard isn’t a pitcher, though, and hitters have a much longer history of receiving much, much more in arbitration than pitchers. The highest any pitcher has ever gotten in their first arbitration eligible year is Hamels at $4.35M. I don’t know the arbitration process well enough to know how much Lincecum’s extra performance is worth over Hamels. I do see Hamels as the baseline, though (not necessarily a comparison as much as a starting point for determining pay), and then it depends on how much gets added on for Lincecum’s extra performance. I think more than doubling what Hamels got is pretty outlandish.

    Comment by B — July 17, 2009 @ 10:06 am

  75. As long as he continues to outperform Jeff Kent’s career, I think he’s likely to make it:

    Assuming health he is likely to finish his career with between 350-400 HR, 100 SB, a good BA, and solid RBI and run numbers–which is what the HoF is all about.

    Comment by Davidceisen — July 17, 2009 @ 10:28 am

  76. Since when did assuming health equate to assuming 200-250 HR after the age of 30? Besides Kent is a huge exception to the rule. Its very rare for a player to keep performing at that high of a level for that long. Its certainly possible Utley could do these things, but you have to realize that you’re assuming a lot more than just him being healthy.

    Comment by Alex — July 17, 2009 @ 10:36 am

  77. haha good catch, but I assume he meant just meant that Felix can stoke off a bunch of guys.

    Oops, typo. ‘strike out’

    Comment by Bmore — July 17, 2009 @ 10:40 am

  78. The point though is that Lincecum would be far beyond comparisons to any pitchers that went through the process and as the winner of the CYA (possibly multiple times) he deserves similar compensation to what Howard got as an MVP winner. As I remember, Howard also set the record for hitters by a large amount when he went through the process.

    The difference between Hamels and Lincecum is also going to end up being pretty large in terms of the numbers they’ll be looking at. Lincecum is already 35-12, while Hamels was 38-23. He’s got almost a half run advantage in ERA and that’s likely to widen. You can also throw in strikeouts, where Lincecum should end up with about a 150 K advantage. Oh, then there’s a CYA or two, which should have some value attached to it.

    I’m not saying he’ll definitely get 10 million, but I wouldn’t be all that surprised if he did, especially if the Giants go too low with their offer.

    Comment by Alex — July 17, 2009 @ 10:44 am

  79. Maybe you’re right, maybe not, I don’t really know what’s going to happen. We’ll see. :)

    At this point my only real objection is still the Ryan Howard comp, because arbitration has never treated hitters and pitchers alike, so I just really think Howard’s contract has absolutely no effect on what Lincecum gets. The year before Howard won his case, Miguel Cabrera got $7.4M in arbitration, so you’re looking at a $2.6M increase in the record. Maybe that has some bearing on the increase Lincecum gets over Hamels – $4.35 + 2.6 = $6.95M – but I don’t know.

    Comment by B — July 17, 2009 @ 10:55 am

  80. Let’s also not forget the guy was Baseball America’s #3 prospect coming into the year. Rasmus could be one of the 5 best players in baseball at his peak.

    Comment by Chris — July 17, 2009 @ 11:53 am

  81. No, but he is easily well above average in CF. I’ll agree that the 3.0 half-season WAR is inflated, but I don’t think 6 WAR seasons are out of the question because he’s already better than a .350 wOBA offensive player and he’s 22.

    Comment by cpebbles — July 17, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

  82. The problem with the Cole Hamels comparison, aside from the fact that Lincecum will likely have a far more impressive resume by the time they enter the hearing room, is that Hamels never went to arbitration. When players sign three-year deals, they’re almost always giving up something in annual salary. And still his annual salary was just under $7 million, not $4.35 million.

    I don’t think anyone has ever entered the arbitration years with Lincecum’s credentials. He’s clearly more valuable than Ryan Howard was at the same point, though arbiters may well be overly smitten with home runs and rbi’s. Regardless, if the Giants offer anything less than $10 million, I bet they’re going to lose.

    Comment by ebc — July 17, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

  83. Sky:

    What is Felix’s FA value? 2009 WAR x $4.5M? 2007-2009 weighted WAR? What am I using here?

    What is your best educated guess? Thanks.

    Comment by Jason — July 20, 2009 @ 9:20 am

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