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  1. So who gets bumped up to #10 once opening day rolls around and Oswalt still hasn’t signed?

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — February 7, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

  2. Hello… Matt Moore!

    Comment by Jesus Freak — February 7, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

  3. The Reyes signing is #2?

    The oft-injured Reyes is a solid player but his 2010 season has “contract year” written all over it. Plus you pissed off the teams best player.

    Comment by Shane — February 7, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

  4. I doubt that happens, but if it does, I’d probably promote the C.J. Wilson contract as the best of the honorable mentions.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — February 7, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

  5. Reyes was worth +6.2 WAR last year. If that was “contract year”, how do we explain 2008 (+6.4 WAR), 2006 (+6.1 WAR), or 2007 (+5.8 WAR)?

    Comment by Dave Cameron — February 7, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

  6. Also the royals bringing back Yuniesky Betancourt

    Comment by Jesus Freak — February 7, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

  7. 6 years of Sergio Santos for someone who might maybe possibly perhaps become a 3rd-5th starter doesn’t even get an honorable mention?

    That being said, I mostly agree with you, but I’d put #3 ahead of #2, there’s less of a chance there that the four players all fail than just the one Reyes, who is just an injury away from making everything look bad. He’s a good deal, but.. one vs four in terms of chance, especially given the franchise situations, the Padres look like really smart bandits here.

    Comment by sc2gg — February 7, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

  8. “and they did it without putting a serious dent in their farm system.”

    Not sure how trading a team’s #1 prospect isn’t a serious dent.

    Comment by Spike — February 7, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

  9. the defending champs may even have a better team next year than they did in 2011

    Considering the first half bullpen of 2011, it would be surprising if they didn’t. (Also helped by Furcal over Theriot and Wainwright pitching.)

    Comment by Anon — February 7, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

  10. I’d say that Molina has a higher impact ceiling if he remains a SP. Santos has a great contract but he’s still a 60 inning pitcher. Chances are good that it’ll end up as a solid value deal for TOR.

    Comment by Spike — February 7, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

  11. I thought that bringing back Scott Hairston was a stroke of genius for the Mets or maybe that was just a Sandy Alderson stroke. I don’t remember which now…

    Comment by Spike — February 7, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

  12. I don’t think it’s Top 10, but the Jays acquiring a young, cost controlled Sergio Santos for a prospect who’s upside is thought to be either a back end starter or another Sergio Santos was pretty decent.

    But I’m nitpicking, great list overall!

    Comment by Eric — February 7, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

  13. How about the Scutero trade.

    Comment by Matt — February 7, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

  14. If nothing else, the Cards will be infinitely more watchable this year with Theriot and his myriad of bone-headed plays at shortshop and on the base paths gone.

    Comment by johnorpheus — February 7, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

  15. I was hoping for a “someone signs Manny Ramirez for something”.

    Comment by TheGrandslamwich — February 7, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

  16. They have a top3 offense in baseball with or without Montero. A pro-DH is a complete waste of a roster spot for the Yankees.

    Comment by Tom B — February 7, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

  17. It might not register as such right now, but I feel confident saying the Sean Marshall for Ronald Torreyes, Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt trade will go down as an absolute steal for the Cubs.

    Comment by harryddunn — February 7, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

  18. because a playoff lock team that loses it’s 2nd best hitter and only protection for their masher going out and getting a LH monster cleanup hitter with a big OB% for their collection of 5-7 hitters is TOTALLY worse than teams signing old and/or injury prone SS to big deals…

    #tigerhaterseverywhereinstatnerdland

    Comment by Tim — February 7, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

  19. The team’s best player? Josh Johnson or Mike Stanton? What beef do they have with Reyes?

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — February 7, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

  20. if you start with the premise that elite bats are more difficult to come across than elite arms, then Monero should be more valuable and that doesn’t include the additional year of control.

    I would argue further that the Yankees are due to regress a bit offensively due to age (Jeter, ARod), decrease in skills (Teixeira), normal regression (Granderson was unrepeatably out of his mind vs. LHP), and retirement (Posada). I think they will miss Montero’s bat way more than most think.

    Moreover, with CC, Nova, Noesi, the kids who are close – Banuelos, Betances – and Kuroda, Garcia & AJB, the need for Pineda wasn’t so great for them. Not saying he won’t do well there, but I think Montero is a big loss.

    Comment by Spike — February 7, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

  21. in what way? who are projecting big things for?

    Comment by Spike — February 7, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

  22. I have to agree here; I thought the Marlins signing Reyes for that much guaranteed money was insanity. I’d put the over/under on number of games played by Reyes during the life of the 6 year contract at 600 — and completely aside from that, much of Reyes’ value is tied up in his speed and quickness, attributes that will start to fade almost immediately as soon as his hamstrings dissolve right after spring training.

    I’d be SHOCKED if the Marlins manage to get more than 15 WAR out of Reyes over the life of the contract. For a team with ostensible budgetary constraints, this was an Alfonso Soriano level disaster of a contract.

    Comment by JimNYC — February 7, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

  23. Yes, Prince was one of the best players signed this year. But there’s the whole issue of his ridiculous contract, which is what this article is about.

    Comment by suicide squeeze — February 7, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

  24. It’s odd to use a hypothetical $/WAR scale for this analysis. San Diego & NYY aren’t competing for the same players, they aren’t budgeting the same way and the metric that holds them equal seems goofy. Its like comparing deals at Wal Mart and Whole Foods. Instead of hand-fed, smug-validating chicken, the Yankees (and their ilk) pay for redundancy and compete for the top 3 guys available at each position. San Diego and their ilk don’t shop in that market, they want the cheapest frozen nuggets they can find. Shouldn’t they be judged on that basis?

    [To be fair, your write up is sensitive to context and I’m ranting more about the generic mainstream Best OffSeason Moves features]

    Comment by Steve Balboni — February 7, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

  25. just a nitpick – the premise is flawed – it’s generally thought that elite arms are harder to find than bats – that’s why good young pitching is so valued.

    Comment by KG — February 7, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

  26. That may have been the case at one time, but it certainly has turned around in recent years.

    Comment by Spike — February 7, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

  27. The Nationals are at least the third best team in the N.L. East. The marlins basically only added Reyes. The already had a decent closer, they just had to sign bell cuz Nunez is in trouble. And Mark Buerhle isn’t exactly a game changer. And then of course the Zambrano trade, IMO, thats pretty much a wash. Adding one Jose Reyes does not make the marlins all that better.

    Comment by Jimmy jon — February 7, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

  28. I’m surprided the Yankees and M’s were not both listed. the deal works well for both. its a rare win/win that reminds me of the hamilton deal between CIN and TEX a few years back, with both teams giving up a valuable piece that was potentially more valuable elsewhere.

    Comment by bri87 — February 7, 2012 @ 1:02 pm

  29. “…the Nationals are probably still the fourth best team in the NL East..”

    I don’t see how the Marlins, at 72-90 last year (I’m assuming you have the Mutts in 5th) can be expected to leapfrog the Nationals (80-81) in 2012. Yes, Reyes and Buerhle were great additions, and Heath Bell should be a solid closer. But the Nats are replacing Livan Hernandez, Jason Marquis and (presumably) John Lannan in their rotation with Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson. That is a MASSIVE upgrade.

    Comment by Phalanx — February 7, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

  30. I would have the Reyes signing #1, but aside from that, a solid list.

    I think non-moves should count, too. Like not re-signing Jonathan Papelbon.

    Comment by Joel — February 7, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

  31. Yep. Nats should be very good in 2012 as long as Stras is all the way back.

    Comment by Spike — February 7, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

  32. Josh Hamilton has been exceedingly more valuable than Edison Volquez. The Reds would take that trade back 100 out of 100 times.

    Comment by GrittleTooth — February 7, 2012 @ 1:12 pm

  33. I don’t really think there’s much of a point in using last year’s record as a base for projecting 2012 performance. Too much changes from year to year.

    And, honestly, the Nationals rotation upgrades aren’t as significant as you might think. Last year, the Nationals got 87 starts and 505 innings from Hernandez/Marquis/Lannan/Strasburg (who basically replaced Marquis after he was traded). In those innings, they posted a 103 ERA- as a group. Those performances might not have been sustainable, but these guys were basically league average last year.

    Even if you project 30 starts for each of Strasburg/Gio/Jackson this year, you’re probably not looking at more than 550 innings total, as the team is still going to be pretty careful with Strasburg. So, in terms of quantity, it’s not much of a change.

    In terms of quality, you’ve got Gio and Jackson as ~95 ERA- guys, and Strasburg probably as somewhere around an 80. Given a 200/200/150 inning split between them, that would put the group’s ERA- at 91.

    Going from an ERA- of 103 to 91 in ~550 innings translates to a difference of about 30 runs, or about +3 wins. It’s an upgrade, but it’s not the massive upgrade you might be expecting.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — February 7, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

  34. Relievers generally have pretty short shelf lives. We can’t really project Santos to be a good pitcher five or six years from now.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — February 7, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

  35. Isn’t everybody just an injury away from making a contract look bad?

    Comment by johng — February 7, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

  36. Tim, that’s a terribly written sentence.

    Comment by vivalajeter — February 7, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  37. Lots of people, from analysts like Will Carroll to projecters like Szymborski (sp???) to veteran fantasy players, believe we can project future injury risks pretty well. Arguing with all those, I think you have some small obligation to explain yourself, Dave.

    Odds are one of your top 2 picks blows totally up on the team(s) rather than returns surplus value.

    Comment by Richie — February 7, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

  38. Actually, Nestor Molina’s upside is considerably higher than that, but it does make the trade sound worse to call him a back end starter. Why not just call him a total bust and go for total hyperbole?

    Comment by johng — February 7, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

  39. I don’t really accept that premise, so… oh well.

    Pitching prospects are the coin of the realm, and now the Yankees have a pile of them. If they all work out then the extra parts can be moved for elite batting talent at a useful defensive position. Obviously they won’t all work out, but it will leave the Yankees with a young cost-controlled pitching staff and plenty of money to spend on the lineup.

    What’s safer, spending $20mil a year on a pitcher or $20mil a year on a batter?)

    Comment by Tom B — February 7, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

  40. Brandon Morrow extension?

    Comment by benk — February 7, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

  41. yeah they should be around an 85 win team. Assuming stiffer competition in the entire division (Mutts aside), 85 wins should make a lot of noise and be in a race a pretty long way.

    Comment by Spike — February 7, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

  42. History doesn’t lie – projection systems have been notably terrible at projecting future playing time using past playing time information. They’re pretty good at estimating rate performance, but they’re not very useful at projecting quantity of playing time.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — February 7, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

  43. Great points, Dave. The NL East should be the most exciting division is baseball in 2012, in my opinion.

    Comment by Phalanx — February 7, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

  44. Bell and Buehrle might not have been huge moves like Reyes, but they still add a couple wins. And Reyes adds more.

    Think I agree with your overall point, though. Nats are probably #3 on paper.

    Comment by Ari Collins — February 7, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

  45. Are you forgetting about Jordan Zimmermann?

    Comment by Swarls — February 7, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

  46. Not a fan of the Wally Joyner comparison for Yonder Alonso. Wally had a very low K% at all levels always — 11.3% MiLB, 10.2% MLB — while Alonso’s minor league figure is 15.2% — higher than any individual season Wally ever had. Even Bill James’ optimistic 16.4% for him in 2012 is several percentage points higher than any season Wally put up.

    I get the point — they’re both left-handed first-basemen with less-than-ideal power. But considering there’s about 50 pounds between the two and Wally is putting the ball in play in 5% more of his plate appearances, while not sacrificing power, Wally’s a pretty optimistic projection for Alonso.

    Lyle Overbay is probably closer to the truth and while there’s value to Lyle Overbay, there’s nearly a 30 win difference between those two career paths.

    Comment by Marver — February 7, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

  47. I gave him a “-” because I couldn’t even understand what he was saying.

    Comment by Baltar — February 7, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  48. B. Chen: 2 Years, 9 Million.

    Comment by Sammy — February 7, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

  49. certainly they would take it back now, but at the time i believe it was looked at as a fair deal in terms of upside for each team.

    Comment by bri87 — February 7, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

  50. Have to look at K% in context of the time. Strikeout rates have gone way up over the last 20 years, so relative to league norms, they’ve demonstrated about the same ability to put the bat on the ball.

    Overbay is basically the worst case scenario (barring an injury, of course) for Alonso – he wasn’t anything close to the kind of player Alonso has been as a prospect. 18th round pick, always much older than competition, spent minor league career in extreme hitters parks and still didn’t show much power, and didn’t become a big league regular until age 27.

    Overbay is Alonso’s downside. Joyner with worse defense is more realistic.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — February 7, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

  51. Dave, while I think Reyes is pretty good for the price I have two complaints with your thinking.
    One, just because first basemen are overpaid doesn’t mean reyes is a better deal. Yes they chose not to sign fielder, but you’ve got to look at reyes alone. (That being said, I’d bet they wish they could trade Cabrera for hanram! In fact the fate of the two former teammates is hilariously similar.)

    Second, as others have pointed out, I just don’t see how they are winners now. We’re not even sure that they’re better than the nats, let alone the braves. The farm sucks and the fans have yet to show interest in coming. The big problem for them building a winning team is frankly getting johnson, hanram and reyes to all gel at the same time. 2/3 isn’t enough to overcome the braves and phillies.

    I’d put reyes top ten signings, because he’ll live up to his value, and its a huge value. Still feel like he would have been a way better fit for someone like the red sox or the cardinals.

    Comment by Jesse — February 7, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

  52. You have to add in that Strasburg and Zimmerman will likely have a lot more IP this year (though be unavailable for post-season play).

    That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Marlins beat the Nats in head to head games in 2012. I remember a game last year where the Nats announcer said in the eighth, regarding the advertisement for the Marlins game, “This doesn’t feel like a fish fry.” At the time the Nats were down by 6 or more and he assumed nobody was listening.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — February 7, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

  53. I guess you disagree with the fans’ projection, then.
    Alonso’s 2012 projection:10.1%, 18.7%, .344 WOBA.
    Lyle Overbay’s career numbers: 11.3%, 18.5%, .344 WOBA.

    Yes, they followed different career paths to get where they did; however, that doesn’t mean they won’t produce similar numbers.

    Additionally, why do you contextualize the K% numbers, but then not contextualize the power numbers? If you’re normalizing their — Wally/Yonder — K% numbers in order to say ‘they’re equal’ at least note that normalized power statistics would point favorably towards Wally.

    Comment by Marver — February 7, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

  54. Good luck to your Tigers Tim. As pointed out, you might have misunderstood the article’s intent. I am glad you are excited about your team. Perhaps there is hating going on which has made you raw and trigger happy. I get that. I don’t think you will be as excited about this deal in a few years though….check back in around 2018ish, give or take.

    Comment by The Dude — February 7, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

  55. I’m not sure many are projecting Molina to be a good pitcher ever.
    Most Jays fans weren’t aware he was on the radar until last year.
    Compared to other ML-guys for texas-leaguer deals in the honorable mention section, and based on the response to the deal at the time, I was surprised it wasn’t mentioned.

    Comment by yt — February 7, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

  56. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/miguel-cabreras-trade-value/

    “However, straight up, given his estimated talent and large contract, Miguel Cabrera’s intrinsic trade value appears to be… nothing?”

    Comment by the fume — February 7, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

  57. Torreyes, specifically, but it’s not hard to see all three being able to put up some 3-WAR seasons (though a little less so, for Sappelt).

    What makes Torreyes so intriguing to me is how superlative his hitting skills are at this stage of his development.

    He gets a lot of comparisons from scouts to Jose Altuve, but in the minors Altuve had a 10.6% K rate and .353 BABIP, while being two years older at each stop. Torreyes has achieved a 5.4% K rate and .375 BABIP so far. ISO has been virtually identical for both.

    There’s not really a good precedent for a player being able to post such a miniscule K% while maintaining such a high BABIP, as Torreyes has done so far, all the while being one of the youngest players in his league.

    Comment by harryddunn — February 7, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

  58. Santos has posted great numbers as a reliever, his stuff is impressive, the statistical trend is good, and he’s under contract at a reasonable rate for six years. He may or may not pan out, but he looks like a pretty darn good acquisition, potentially giving the Jays a good closer or setup man for the next half-decade. I would have included him on the list, at least as an honourable mention (he’s probably a more meaningful acquisition than Andrew Bailey, say).

    Comment by greenfrog — February 7, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

  59. If you don’t like the Overbay comp. based on career path, then why not someone who produced the same as Overbay with a career path closer to Alonso’s?

    J.T. Snow: 11.6%, 17.4%, .343 WOBA. Made a BA Top 100 list, first starting gig at 25 (Alonso turns 25 on April 8). Worth 25 WAR less than Joyner in career, 16 WAR less in the first six seasons.

    Comment by Marver — February 7, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

  60. So why include Andrew Bailey as an HM but not Santos, who has done a pretty amazing job since being converted to a reliever? They’re around the same age and Santos hasn’t had the arm issues Bailey has.

    Comment by greenfrog — February 7, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

  61. :)

    Also, wouldn’t Molina’s floor pretty much be Santos? (a high leverage relief arm with 6 years of team control).

    If Sabean makes this deal I think a lot of folks view the trade differently and folks are saying a starter prospect for a bullpen arm?

    Comment by Joe — February 7, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

  62. Every time Cameron gets accused of hating the Tigers, I hear a piano playing.

    Tiger’s Fan: “You despise me, don’t you?”
    Dave Cameron: “If I gave you any thought I probably would.”

    Comment by McE — February 7, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

  63. I was thinking this as well…. Scutaro for organization filler?

    I think the trade was in the wrong direction for it to be considered good? (i.e the Rockies getting the good end of it and the Red Sox getting zero return for a reasonably priced middle infielder)

    Comment by Tom — February 7, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

  64. Hell yes.

    No Ryan Franklin, Tallent, and Trevor Miller also means that the 7th – 9th innings can be watched without breaking stuff.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 7, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

  65. I think what you’re saying about K rates is fundamentally wrong anyway. Yes, the K-rates of the leagues have changed — 15.3% in 1986, 18.0% in 2011 — but Wally (~10%) still greatly exceeds the league average while Alonso is projected to be (slightly worse than) league-average.

    Comment by Marver — February 7, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

  66. Dan Sz does state that Zips is not a playing time projector. I’d definitely be curious to hear what Will Carroll has to say about Reyes’ future durability.

    Comment by Bookbook — February 7, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

  67. Not to troll Dave, but not placing the Santos deal, while mentioning Bailey’s deal is baffling. It’s as though he forgot it, and is just failing to admit it.

    Comment by Shane Leavitt — February 7, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

  68. Hmm. This is a highly dubious article, Dave. If you really want “the 10 moves that [you] feel helped the organization improve their overall talent levels and put them in a better position to win either now or in the future” how can you not include Albert Pujols? If we’re just going on this sentence alone, he certainly improved the Angels’ overall talent level and puts them in a better position to win, at least for the next 4-5 years. Mark Trumbo to Albert Pujols is a pretty big jump, probably a 4-6 WAR jump. Yeah, the money is huge but you make it vague to what degree that matters for the purpose of this article.

    I’d also think that you’d give Iannetta at least an honorable mention, considering the jump in 2011 WAR values between Mathis (-1.0) and Iannetta (3.3), which is a whopping 4.3 WAR. Let’s say that Mathis is actually a -0.5 WAR player and Iannetta is actually a 2 WAR player, that’s still a +2.5 WAR different with one player upgrade.

    Comment by Angelsjunky — February 7, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

  69. Will there be a “10 Worst Transactions of the Winter” ?

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — February 7, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

  70. You do realize that Reyes has produced 22.1 WAR in his last 614 games. Even if he only plays 600 games in the next 6 years (an unliklihood) he would have to be 75% or less of the player that he has been which includes the nadir of his struggles in order to produce 15 WAR or less. Really, if the Marlins only get 600 games out of him in the next 6 years and he is a 5 WAR per 162 games player, then his production will fall slightly MORE than what he is getting paid.

    Comment by Vegemitch — February 7, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

  71. You guys are being unfair to the White Sox in this. Sure, Molina may not pan out, but clearly the White Sox and their new scouting director they hired from the Blue Jays think that he will. It’s not like they picked up the phone and said, “Hey AA, i gotta get rid of Santos, fleece me.” They clearly view Molina as a potential front of the rotation starter and paid the price of a 30-year old closer on a good contract. What is wrong with selling high on your closer while you’re rebuilding?

    Yeah, the deal sucks if Molina sucks, but KW thinks Molina is good, and I can’t hate the premise of trading Santos for someone I think is a top fo the rotation prospect.

    Comment by Eminor3rd — February 7, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

  72. I think Pujols’ massive contract falls under cost to acquire the player. That’s key to any analysis.

    Simply ranking the best players to change teams is a much less interesting exercise.

    Comment by todmod — February 7, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

  73. I’d like to see a source for that, Dave.

    In particular because I don’t care if future playing time doesn’t much correlate with past playing time. But if future time missed due to injury correlates with past time missed due to injury. That’s just a small subset of that broader data set. And one in which Carroll certainly sees a causal correlation (“health is a skill”) and I believe Rick Wilton does, too.

    Comment by Richie — February 7, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

  74. He’s also reliant on speed, with leg injuries, who turns 30 in a year, and has missed at least a month if not more each of the last 3 years. If healthy 75% of the time, it’s a great deal. But if, and it’s a legit if, he’s injured 75% of the time, or his speed goes on the next injury sapping his effectiveness, then what?

    Comment by Rudegar — February 7, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

  75. “You have to add in that Strasburg and Zimmerman will likely have a lot more IP this year (though be unavailable for post-season play).”

    I have a feeling that the Nationals will in general be unavailable for post-season play…

    Comment by B N — February 7, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

  76. I think the Reyes contract is reasonable, and WAR may be on his side, but I don’t agree whatsoever that Reyes is a better player than Prince Fielder. Part of what makes a player elite is his ability to be consistent and stay on the field, Reyes has trouble with both of those things.

    I’d take the Pineda/Montero trade off the list(fair trade for both teams) and I’d take the Rollins contract off(rollins won’t live up to that deal at all). I’d replace them with the Wilson signing and Rizzo trade.

    Comment by TheOneWhoKnocks — February 7, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

  77. Yes, did you read the opening paragraph?

    Comment by Max — February 7, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

  78. Dave, should I take this to mean that you don’t agree with the various projection systems’ love of Yu Darvish? Or perhaps you just thought it was too much money?

    Comment by Prashanth Francis — February 7, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

  79. That’s like saying every player’s chance of injury is a coin flip, though. And it’s not. Cano or Weeks playing over 140 games…who ya got? Oswalt or Buerhle hitting the DL in 2012…who ya got?
    Sure anyone *could* get hurt. Just like anyone *could* strike out Pujols in late inning high leverage situation. But you’re probably going to use common sense a little and say, “Wakefield could strike him out…but Bard gives us a better shot.”
    More to the point. No. If you sign a player with a track record of being healthy, and some jackass replacement levels him on the basepath, breaking his leg…the contract doesn’t look bad. The contract doesn’t hurt any less going forward…but it doesn’t become a bad decision because some freak event occurred. Now if you sign JD Drew and he hits the DL during a pennant push…

    Comment by KDL — February 7, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

  80. I agree with your last sentence but read Dave Cameron’s criteria above: “Expected on-field performance, cost to acquire the player, and how important the transaction is in terms of affecting the team’s ability to contend either now or in the future.”

    The cost is only one of three criteria he lists. Obviously $250 million is a big deal, but first let us consider how back-loaded it is, inflation, and the fact that Mr. Cameron himself said a few months ago–if only in chat (iirc)–that he’d pay 10/$250MM for Pujols, Now let’s look at the two other criteria: on-field performance (6 WAR would be very conservative; I think 7-8 WAR more likely) and how much Pujols affects the teams ability to contend now and in the future…well, I’d say you have a pretty potent transaction, and one that certainly helps the Angels’ “overall talent levels” and puts them in a “better position to win now and in the future.”

    Comment by Angelsjunky — February 7, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

  81. I’ll gladly take the over on 84 wins (or worse, since you suggest we don’t take last year’s standings as a base); I’m not sure about your math, here. An extra 135 IP from Stras, extra IP from Zimm, Gio over their fourth, Jackson over their fifth, plus (positive) regression to be expected from R. Zim and Werth and I’ll happily take that bet…

    Comment by will h — February 7, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

  82. Should we not also expect a healthy R. Zimmerman to give them at least 4 more wins over their 3b production last season? I would also expect J. Werth to improve, last year’s production is a floor, it’s possible he gives a 1-2 win improvement. Morse should regress some but the other younger players should balance that out and then some with their own progression.

    I’m no Nats fan but I like this team on paper and it should be fun to watch. It looks to me like this team would only need a little luck to take the NL East. Now if they manage a trade with J. Lannan and P. Bourjos as the centerpieces, then they’d be the favorites!

    Comment by Vegemitch — February 7, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

  83. The issue for the Yankees is that their fanbase demands that they contend every year. Waiting on prospects when you can get a Pineda today is unacceptable.

    Comment by jeffrey smith — February 7, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

  84. Speaking as a Tigers fan, I do like P. Fielder and “going for it” when you have guys like Cabrera and Verlander in their prime but…. I’d like that team a lot better right now if they had signed Reyes and Beltran (even if it took more money) and slid Peralta back to 3b and either played Beltran in LF or moved Boesch there (as it is, any option Detroit has to play LF is a butcher). They’d be as good or slightly better on the field now and have a lot more flexibility with the wallet and on the field especially when VMart gets back.

    I don’t get how “Rollins won’t live up to that deal at all”. All he needs to do is garner 7-7.5 WAR over 3 years, he’ll likely produce somwhere around 9-10.

    Comment by Vegemitch — February 7, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

  85. You conveniently left out 2009 (0.8 WAR) and 2010 (2.9 WAR)…

    Comment by Randy Sutton — February 7, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

  86. Not very closely, apparently.

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — February 7, 2012 @ 7:14 pm

  87. He didn’t leave them out, he was refuting the contract year argument.

    Comment by Deelron — February 7, 2012 @ 7:19 pm

  88. #10 – Phillies Sign Jimmy Rollins for 3/$39M

    #2 – Marlins Sign Jose Reyes for 6/$106M

    Color me confused. Reyes is probably better than Rollins. But he’s not twice as good as Rollins. How does this ranking make sense?

    Comment by Phrozen — February 7, 2012 @ 7:44 pm

  89. What about locking up Matt Moore for 5 years for a measly 14 Mi??

    Comment by Andrew — February 7, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

  90. Actually, it’s not outside the realm of probability that Reyes will produce twice the WAR as Rollins in the next 3 years. Reyes is almost certainly worth more than twice as many WAR as Rollins on a per game basis.

    Comment by Vegemitch — February 7, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

  91. I strongly disagree with your use of “almost certainly.” Reyes is almost certainly more valuable than Rollins. He’s not twice as valuable as Rollins, no matter how you look at it.

    Comment by Phrozen — February 7, 2012 @ 9:32 pm

  92. Woo I’m glad the top two on the list produced a champtionship for the Mets, that makes me feel a lot better about losing them.

    Comment by BlackOps — February 7, 2012 @ 10:02 pm

  93. Given that in 2011 Reyes produced a hair short of twice the WAR that Rollins put up on a per game basis, and that Rollins is likely to continue to decline over the next three years while Reyes’ production will probably hold steady, that would make Reyes twice as valuable as Rollins. Reyes may produce more than double the WAR that Rollins does over the time of Rollins’ contract. How is that not twice as valuable? Especially “no matter how you look at it”?

    Comment by Vegemitch — February 7, 2012 @ 10:20 pm

  94. Being “reliant on speed” does not mean once that elite speed is gone, he won’t be worth a shit. It means his speed will still be an asset when he’s 35, and that he could possibly play til 40. Look at Kenny Lofton, Tim Raines, Rickey, etc. Heck, even Otis Nixon played til he was 40.

    Comment by bstar — February 7, 2012 @ 10:31 pm

  95. I’m real sorry, the Reyes deal isn’t good. He’s going to be often injured and fall of an ability cliff. he’s already 28.

    I know it’s not an acquisition, but how about the Rays extending Matt Moore? If the Phillies resiging old ass declining Rollins is in there, surely the Rays locking up Moore to what could be a “Evan Longoria deal for pitchers” has to be on there.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — February 7, 2012 @ 10:38 pm

  96. it’s under “honorable mentions”

    Comment by jim — February 8, 2012 @ 12:12 am

  97. I’m just curious where you put the Brewers signing Aramis Ramirez to take over at 3B, replacing a defensive and offensive liability in Casey McGehee? I only ask because I could make all the same arguments to describe his value, that were used to explain why Caros Beltran is the #1 Best Transaction of the Winter. Cardinals fan?

    Comment by SecondHandStore — February 8, 2012 @ 12:34 am

  98. Johnson? Really?

    Comment by Undocorkscrew — February 8, 2012 @ 12:53 am

  99. I was so scared you were going to put the Mariners trading for Montero as the #1 and every FanGraphs Troll would flock to the comments to write #6 Org, haha

    Comment by Matty Brown — February 8, 2012 @ 1:06 am

  100. 2 major league starts

    Comment by jim — February 8, 2012 @ 1:10 am

  101. Cespedes hasn’t signed yet – that should be considered a “major” transaction…

    Comment by Spitta — February 8, 2012 @ 2:21 am

  102. “how do we explain 2008 (+6.4 WAR), 2006 (+6.1 WAR), or 2007 (+5.8 WAR)?”

    We look at how many games he played in 2008 (159), in 2006 (153), and 2007 (160).

    I’m not a SABR guy (don’t have the math chops); but since he played in only 126 games in 2011, he couldn’t be expected to add or prevent as many runs above replacement level as he did in years when he had far more chances in the field and far more at-bats, could he? Yet, his 2011 WAR was still comparable to those previous years you listed.

    Last year, his BA, OBP, and SLG were all career highs. His BA was .045 higher than his seasonal average BA, his OBP was .043 higher, and his SLG was .052 higher.

    Sure looks like a classic example of what people are talking about when they reference walk-year performances, doesn’t it?

    Comment by MisterE — February 8, 2012 @ 2:36 am

  103. Also germane to this discussion is the structure of the contract. This is the salary schedule by years:

    12:$10M, 13:$10M, 14:$16M, 15:$22M, 16:$22M, 17:$22M, 18:$22M club option ($4M buyout)

    Reyes will be 30 in June of 2013. When he’s 34, they’ll be paying a shortstop with chronic leg issues $22M.

    To me, a Mets fan who was happy that Alderson let him walk, this contract looks foolish. But Loria might be in handcuffs when the SEC finishes their investigation, so, till then, eat, drink, and be merry, I guess.

    Comment by MisterE — February 8, 2012 @ 2:51 am

  104. 2 major league starts, insane stuff, number 1 pitching prospect, arguably number 1 overall prospect. The risk/reward of the deal should easily make it top 10. The risk/reward of the Reyes deal is probably worse. At best, he’s an all star 5 WAR for the next three years, at worst (and in my opinion, likely) he spends a lot of time on the DL the next few years, the years he’s healthy, if he’s ever healthy, he’ll be in his mid 30s and a shell of his former self.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — February 8, 2012 @ 2:52 am

  105. PLAYOFF LOCK?!?!?!?!?!?!

    We won’t have to wait until 2018 to register your disappointment there.

    Good luck buddy.

    Comment by Ewaf — February 8, 2012 @ 5:13 am

  106. Smug-validating? Chortle. Handfed chicken indeed, so it would appear.

    Comment by Ewaf — February 8, 2012 @ 5:14 am

  107. Reyes will be 30 in June of 2013. When he’s 34, they’ll be paying a shortstop with chronic leg issues $22M.

    Nah, they will pay him the 2 years at $10M, then trade him to the Red Sox once his salary goes up.

    It’s called Delgado’ing

    Comment by Steve — February 8, 2012 @ 8:56 am

  108. The issue for the Yankees is that their fanbase demands that they contend every year. Waiting on prospects when you can get a Pineda today is unacceptable.

    The yankees traded 2 players for 2 players. The 2 players they recieved are younger than the 2 they gave up. They traded a guy with one month of MLB experience for a guy with 6 months or experience. Montero is completely ready for the bigs, the fans would not have to “wait” for him.

    This comment, while I am sure you have dusted it off many times in the last 20 years, isn’t really relevant to this trade.

    This was a challenge trade, not prospects for veteran.

    Critical thinking is your friend.

    Comment by Steve — February 8, 2012 @ 8:59 am

  109. Freddy Garcia 1 year, $4M > Chen for 2 years

    Comment by Steve — February 8, 2012 @ 10:10 am

  110. Yea Dave clearly forgot about the Moore extensions

    Comment by Tyler — February 8, 2012 @ 10:34 am

  111. Do front office moves count? Because replacing Jim Hendry with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer has to be #1.

    And you whiffed bad on the shortstops. The Marlins will have serious clubhouse issues and the Phils are starting to look old as Washington and Atlanta look younger and better.

    Comment by themightygin — February 8, 2012 @ 10:45 am

  112. Thee’s a lot wrong with Dave’s graf on Reyes:

    “Reyes is a better player than Prince Fielder and signed for half of the total guaranteed money. Yes he’s had leg problems, but at this price, Reyes could miss a significant chunk of each season and still be worth the money. The guy is a legitimate +5 win player in the prime of his career,… ”

    1) It’s only wishful thinking that makes Reyes better than Fielder. Reyes has played 295 games over the last three seasons. Fielder has played 485 games. That’s a full season, and another month, and change.

    2) When they’ve both been in the lineup Reyes in practice is about as good as Fielder, not better; nowhere near better. Reyes doesn’t stay in the lineup.

    3) When you adjust for BABIP, for Reyes’ fluke 2011, Reyes isn’t as good as Fielder. Did I mention Reyes can’t stay in the lineup, either? So, the Marlins have the weaker player who’s not nearly as durable.

    4) Calling Reyes a legitimate +5 win player is nuts. He wasn’t a legit 5 win player last year. He was extraordinarily lucky, as in 2 wins lucky. That’ll happen, and more power to him, but you have to be dreaming to call luck a skill.

    5) Reyes can’t miss a significant chunk of time and “still be worth the money”. He missed significant chunks of time in 2009 and 2010 and in neither season was he “worth the money” the Marlins will be paying him, particularly if you project and discount for age.

    At the end of the deal Reyes will be old, for a SS. The Marlins had to overpay to get one of the better FAs, and that’s what they did. There’s no shame in that. Team’s have to start somewhere, and this beats the tar out of the deal the Nats had to give Werth.

    Incidentally, comparing *any* deal with the Fielder deal is going to make the former deal look pretty damned good, but it doesn’t make the comparison meaningful or illuminating.

    Comment by Jack Straw — February 8, 2012 @ 11:18 am

  113. Yu forgot to mention someone?

    Comment by Talented Imports Inc — February 8, 2012 @ 11:44 am

  114. Mark Buehrle #1
    Matt Kemp, honorable mention

    Comment by pr0ject2501 — February 8, 2012 @ 11:55 am

  115. Since 2006, Reyes has accumulated 28.2 WAR including his two injury-plagued years. Over the same period, Fielder totaled 23.4. Reyes had four seasons of 5.8 or better with a high of 6.4. Fielder had three of 5.1 or better with a high of 6.4. The problem with Prince isn’t his hitting, it’s teh -36.3 Fielding WAR and -28.4 Baserunning WAR he’s piled up in his career. Do you think as he gets older and fatter, those numbers will improve?

    Comment by Dave I — February 8, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

  116. Using Baseball-Ref, Reyes’ 2011 was 5.8WAR, compared to Rollins’ 3.7. In any case, that’s only one season. Look at 2010, when Rollins put up nearly as much WAR as Reyes in only a half season.

    Yeah, Reyes “may” produce double or more the WAR as Rollins over the next three years. He may not. You can’t call that “almost certainly.”

    Comment by Phrozen — February 8, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

  117. Matt Moore’s contract should absolutely be on the list.

    Comment by Phrozen — February 8, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

  118. Semi-surprised the cubs acquiring Rizzo isn’t on this list. It’s not a move that immediately will pay off but it seems to have a higher return on value than the A’s and/or Padres giving up top SP’s for a trove of guys. Cashner hadn’t lived up to his potential and had injury issues and apparently now will be a reliever for arguably the largest piece in the trade for Adrian Gonzo the previous season. Seems like a case of the Cubs getting a great value on a regime change in SD for a player both Hoyer and Theo love.

    Trying to remain objective here but as a fan I honestly love the moves the Cubs made this offseason. I don’t think they will be a contender the next 2 years but 3 years from now they could be very interesting if they continue to make moves as well as they have….. now if only they could get rid of Soriano’s huge contract…. maybe at the deadline someone will get desperate and willing to eat it.

    Comment by yojimbo — February 8, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

  119. As a fallback plan, Oswalt should consider the M’s. He can pretty much guarantee he’ll be playing for a contender after the trade deadline.

    The M’s might consider over-paying for this.

    Comment by Daryl — February 8, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

  120. Wouldn’t over-paying a contract by $5 mil be worth grabbing the next Smoak? (even if you didn’t pass on the cost to the trade partner)

    Comment by Daryl — February 8, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

  121. The very first post should have an addendum:
    Who gets bumped in when Oswalt doesn’t sign by opening day, and who gets bumped OUT when YU dominates on opening day?
    #WorldChampionGers2012

    Comment by LoewenBird — February 8, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

  122. 5 years of Travis Wood could easily be a lot more valuable to the Cubs than having Sean Marshall in 2012. The other two players can be complete busts who never reach the MLB level with Chicago and still have the trade work out very well.

    Comment by pete2286 — February 8, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

  123. As mentioned numerous times, Moore’s deal should be on the list, if not at the very top. A true number 1 starter getting paid $3.1 and $5.1 during his prime years (2015-2016), and friendly club options for 3 more prime years on top of that is insane. Even if he doesn’t reach his potential, 5 years/$14 million is a good price for an above average major league starter, and absent injury does anyone really think Moore won’t at least be that? Considering the Rays probably have insurance to cover some of their loss in case of major injury, what a win-win for both sides. If he is smart, which hopefully he is, Matt is set financially for life and can focus on baseball. If he does that and the Rays keep him healthy (and their track record on that is pretty good) the Rays will have an absolute bargain in their rotation for the next eight years.

    Also, adding Pena’s 30 home runs and high obp for 1 year, $7.25 seems like it should have at least received a mention.

    Comment by Mike — February 9, 2012 @ 10:33 am

  124. Spike, I think you have repeatedly missed the point in this whole article. I skipped commenting on your ramblings further above, but your opinion on this is sadly mislead. One year of a setup man for a solid mid-rotation starter, a very nice prospect, and outfield depth. You need a ‘Top Prospect’ for Sean Marshall? Really? That’s almost as mind-numbingly dumb as saying that a DH should be valued far higher than an elite pitcher… oh wait…

    Comment by SKob — February 9, 2012 @ 11:36 am

  125. That trade will never happen.

    Comment by Undocorkscrew — February 10, 2012 @ 12:34 am

  126. People look at the Fielder contract in somewhat of a vacuum, while the Adrian Gonzalez deal looks excellent. BUT consider what it takes to acquire a Gonzalez, a Cabrera, via trade. Boston gave up 3 young players. I have seen Rizzo’s war estimated at 6 for the next 5 years, let’s guess that because of the risk involved Kelly may only be a war of 2, and Fuentes a 1. That’s 9 war, a value of $45m+ with inflation bringing it closer to $50m over 5 years. Add that to Adrian’s team-friendly deal $154m+50m brings that to 7 years, 205million. So Fielder’s contract is only 2 years, 14m more than that! Imagine if Fielder is still providing .250/.350 at age 35, with 25hr/80rbi that’s 7 million fairly spent 8 years from now when guys Bryce Harper are signing on with the Yankees at 10 years/$350m.

    Comment by Ken — February 10, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

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