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  1. Sadly, you are correct. Ruben is addicted to the heady rush of the big deal, even when it means bidding against himself. I think you’re low on the contract Madson will get, though. I’d guess 3years/$33 mm or maybe some Ruben Amaro Jr. Jr. will go nuts and offer 4/$40.

    Comment by Chris R — December 2, 2011 @ 9:34 am

  2. the phillies also give up a draft pick because they signed him before the new CBA right? that makes this even worse.

    Comment by phoenix2042 — December 2, 2011 @ 9:36 am

  3. I’m not railing them, i’m just calling them risky an foolish.

    Comment by jesse — December 2, 2011 @ 9:45 am

  4. When comparing ‘cisco to ‘bon, why leave out the WAR numbers, especially when you’re trying to make a point about salaries?

    Pitcher X (09-11): 6.2 WAR
    Pitcher Y (09-11): 2.6 WAR

    Assuming 5 MM/WAR, Papelbon is still an overpay, but the greater overpay is actually a 2 year/16 MM deal to francisco, assuming that AAV and not years is what hurts phillies financial flexibility.

    Comment by jcxy — December 2, 2011 @ 10:07 am

  5. I’m not really a proponent of using WAR for relievers. They are very tricky to evaluate and I feel much more comfortable using the underlying numbers.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — December 2, 2011 @ 10:09 am

  6. Honestly I’d rather have Papelbon at 3.5M/year more than Bell. Its really just the 4th year that hurts the Phils.

    Comment by Nik — December 2, 2011 @ 10:10 am

  7. I am not really a proponent of how often WAR gets overused on this site period, especially in single year format. I think the worst thing you guys could have done to the borderline stathead community is introduce an “all encompassing” value stat, and then repeatedly try and back off of it as all encompassing. The first message was received, the second, not so much.

    Comment by Colin — December 2, 2011 @ 10:12 am

  8. Then help a non-stathead out:

    Is your objection to using WAR for relievers based more in that it uses FIP instead of xFIP or SIERA or K/BB (because those are better measures of reliever performance), or because WAR lacks validity–it doesn’t actually measure what it says it’s measuring (player value) at such small (50-65 IP/year) sample sizes?

    Or both?

    I guess my difficulty is that by only looking at underlying numbers, a person can’t really criticize the Papelbon deal in anything but a relative sense (which is your conclusion, right?). But then, that sort of makes the general point that “you shouldn’t spend X% of team budget on closers/relievers” not really correct either.

    @ Colin Fwiw, I used the 3-year WAR (150-200 IP) for Francisco and Papelbon. But I guess if WAR doesn’t have great validity for relievers, that doesn’t matter. Fair enough.

    Comment by jcxy — December 2, 2011 @ 11:08 am

  9. But you could have neither, and that would be the best situation.

    Comment by RationalSportsFan — December 2, 2011 @ 11:18 am

  10. They will receive a pick in the first round right after the team who signs Madson, not forfeited by the signing team. Also they still get a compensatory pick.

    Comment by DD — December 2, 2011 @ 11:31 am

  11. This comment was made the last time Fangraphs compared a better-known reliever to Frank Francisco — see the comments to Franscisco is not durable and can’t stay healthy.

    By citing only rate stats, not any counting stats, in comparing Pitchers A and B, the comparison is misleading and overstates Francisco’s worth. Given that this has now happened twice in the past two weeks or so, it’s either intentionally misleading or you’re not keeping up with what other Fangraphs’ writers have done recently. Please don’t twist the facts to match your narrative.

    Comment by Detroit Michael — December 2, 2011 @ 11:56 am

  12. But if they let Madson walk, didn’t give Paps 50mill, and signed some cheaper option, they would still get the picks for Madson and have their own.

    So, they are still down a draft pick.

    Comment by RationalSportsFan — December 2, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

  13. Not if you’re the Phillies it’s not. They’re a high revenue team coming off of 5 straight playoff appearances, with another couple appearances on the horizon before they fall off a cliff. They’re in a position where they: a) can afford to overpay due to their revenue, and b) can’t afford to have a mediocre closer. With Papelbon on the team, at least they know he’s not gonna suck (well, anybody can suck, but there’s much more certainty of greatness with Papelbon).

    I like Bell, but looking at his K rate, would anybody be surprised if he was subpar over the course of the contract? Madson might have been a better option than Papelbon, but the other options aren’t in the same class.

    Comment by vivalajeter — December 2, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

  14. Jcxy,

    Problem is with relievers like you mentioned in your comment, you still only have a 150-200 inning sample at best. Making even a three year WAR somewhat unreliable for projection.

    Comment by Colin — December 2, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

  15. True, but if they resign Madson at 4/44 as reported, they are overpaying for a closer and not getting a comp pick, nor moving up in the first round (provided the team signing him doesn’t have a top 15 pick).

    Comment by DD — December 2, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

  16. Perhaps the Phillies liked the dependability and durability that Papsmear has shown under the spotlight and pitching in a hitters park in the most difficult division in baseball over the last six years. What sets his price tag apart from the Francisco’s and Bell’s of the world is less variability in that you pretty much know what you’re going to get. Of course injuries can happen at any time, but they’re a greater likelihood for pitchers that have already shown an preponderance to being injured. Or maybe the Phillies just didn’t want to have to settle out of court the next time Francisco felt like turning the bullpen into Monday Night Raw complete with chair shots on loud-mouthed fans.

    Comment by Sandy Kazmir — December 2, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

  17. Not to say I didn’t enjoy the read, but it could have made mention of the fact that the Phillies are operating on a different section of the win curve than just about any other team while having such great revenue streams that they don’t need to worry about squeezing nickels. Teams like this define a guy that they want to sign and then go get him. As a Rays fan I can honestly say that that is an enviable luxury.

    Comment by Sandy Kazmir — December 2, 2011 @ 2:07 pm

  18. not for much longer

    Comment by bSpittle — December 2, 2011 @ 9:51 pm

  19. Hmm, lose a draft pick or win a World Series.. lose a draft pick or Win a World Series.. I just cannot decide what to do!

    Comment by The Real Neal — December 3, 2011 @ 9:08 am

  20. Innings pitched is an underlying number and you disregarded it completely.

    Comment by The Real Neal — December 3, 2011 @ 9:14 am

  21. @DD. Well, they probably shouldn’t resign Madson either.

    @The Real Neal. You act like getting Papelbon = winning world series. That is just silly.

    Comment by RationalSportsFan — December 3, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

  22. 2009-2011
    ShutDowns / Meltdowns

    JP: 102/18
    FF: 46/20

    Comment by CircleChange11 — December 3, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

  23. Holy shit.

    Comment by wat — December 4, 2011 @ 2:42 am

  24. Don’t think the point was really pap vs FF, more over waiting longer in the FA market when there are less jobs left available people get desperate, Mads still not signed if they waited til pap and bell were off the market they could probably now play hardball with him and maybe get a 2 maybe 3year deal. Similar argument as to why the dodgers were retarded for giving out the contract they did to the average outfielder i cant even remember hes so average right at the start of Free agency.

    Comment by aj — December 4, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

  25. I think there are 2 points which are separate discussions.

    The first was looking at rate stats and implying similar performance. I don’t think that’s always accurate, but can be.

    The second point is jumping the gun with a contract. I think the Phillies knew who they wanted and just signed him and didn’t worry about what other teams are going to do. I also think PHL, perhaps due to the ups and downs of Brad Lidge wanted reliability.

    Philly probably is not in a “be cautious wih your money” situation, although the case could be made (is being made) that they could be smarter. I think Philly is basically playing the next 4 years and will then see how things go.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — December 4, 2011 @ 7:14 pm

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