Gonzalez vs Beltre

Faced with a decision between two Adrians, the Red Sox finally settled on the younger, left-handed one, and have agreed to a deal that will bring Adrian Gonzalez to Boston. In return, the Padres are getting three of the Red Sox better prospects, but no players off their major league roster. Was this a better use of resources compared to re-signing Adrian Beltre?

Until we know what kind of money the Red Sox have to give Gonzalez in a long term extension, it is tough to say. However, we can look at the projected performances of Beltre and Gonzalez and come up with an estimated value difference, add in the cost of losing the three prospects, and come up with a spread between the two options that would make this choice more palatable for the Red Sox.

Gonzalez will be 29 next year, and is coming off the two best seasons of his career. He was worth +6.5 WAR in 2009 and +5.3 WAR in 2010, and while this will probably represent his peak, he has the well rounded skillset to keep producing at this level for a bit longer. And while WAR is park adjusted, so it accounts for how hard it is to hit at Petco, Gonzalez has been harmed more than a normal player by its dimensions (career .343 wOBA at home, .393 on the road). Switching to Fenway will certainly boost his raw numbers, but may even serve to increase his value as well.

Even adding in some decline for aging and a bit of regression to account for the fact that he’s only played at this level for two years, I’d still feel comfortable estimating Gonzalez as a +5.5 win player for 2011. He is legitimately one of the best players in baseball.

If we use an aging curve of losing about +0.5 wins per year off his value, and the Red Sox end up signing Gonzalez for seven years, then they’d get something like +28 WAR from Gonzalez in 2011 to 2017. If we estimate the cost of a win at $5 million this winter and project 5 percent annual salary inflation (which I will readily admit is a total guess – you can argue for almost anything here), that would make Gonzalez’s performance worth about $159 million over the next seven years.

Beltre’s true talent level is a bit tougher to pin down, as his performances have varied greatly over the last seven years. He’s been a monster in each of 2004 and 2010 – the last two years in which he wasn’t playing half his games in Safeco Field – but was simply a good player instead of a great one in his five years in Seattle. He’s also three years older than Gonzalez, and while he hasn’t shown any signs of decline yet, we have to assume some is coming.

Given Beltre’s volatility, I’ll project him as a +3.5 win player in 2011. He blew that away last year, but I’d expect a pretty significant step back from his 2010 performance. Given that the Red Sox seem to have drawn a line in the sand at four years with Beltre, we’ll only project his value going forward through 2014. Using the same aging curve and dollar to win values, Beltre would be worth about +11 WAR and $58 million over that time.

Gonzalez offers $158 million in projected value over seven years, Beltre $58 million over four. If we simply restrict Gonzalez’s value to the first four years for an apples-to-apples comparison, we get a difference of +8 WAR, or about $43 million in value.

Adding in the lost value of the three prospects cuts into that difference significantly, of course. Kelly’s stock waned a bit with a down year, but he’s still one of the better pitching prospects around. If we estimate him as a back-end Top-100 guy, with Rizzo as a fringe Top 100 prospect and Fuentes as a bit more of a project, those three guys would be worth about $20 million, based on Victor Wang’s research.

So, over the next four years, Gonzalez will be worth about $20 to $25 million more than Beltre and the prospects. Given that Gonzalez’s contract in years 5-7 won’t provide much additional value above and beyond having that money available to spend, as they would with a shorter deal for Beltre, that number seems to be about the spread in cost that the Red Sox should be looking for here.

If they were willing to give Beltre $60 million over four years, then going with Gonzalez makes sense if they get him for less than $85 million over those same years. If he ends up getting significantly more than that, or they have to give him an eighth and ninth year as part of the extension, then they may have better off with Beltre and the kids. Given that Gonzalez seems legitimately interested in playing in Boston, however, I expect they’ll get him signed to a not-crazy contract, and this decision will prove to be the better one.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


115 Responses to “Gonzalez vs Beltre”

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  1. Mark says:

    Jacoby Ellsbury, Jose Iglesias, Papelbon for J-Up

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  2. Kevin says:

    I feel like you left out an important part of the equation in the effect on Youkilis’ value in moving to 3rd base and what that does to the teams projection going forward.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      IMHO, that’s the most important aspect.

      Is AG + KY (3B) better more valuable than AB (3B) + KY (1B) + prospects.

      I thought one the major points of a trade like this was being able to have KY at 3B and another superstud hitter at 1B … at least that was the thinking when Mike Lowell was at 3B and defense was an issue.

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      • James Smith says:

        I completely agree with this. Going from Youk (1b) -> AGon (1b) is probably a wash, however going from Beltre(3b) -> Youk(3b) is an enormous downgrade even if Youk is still serviceable at 3b, which I am skeptical about. Part of me believes that one of Youk/Agon will be playing Dh if not this year in the foreseeable future once Papi’s time with Sox ends.

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      • Lee says:

        I’m not sure what everyone is getting at.

        From where I’m sitting Youkilis is at WORST a league average 3B, and will easily post a top 5 WAR at 3B next year, likely top 3.

        There’s no way that Beltre’s defense edge over Youk is bigger than AGone’s offensive edge over Beltre, which is what is comes down to.

        Of all the FAs out there, this literally the only move I wanted the Sox to make this offseason.

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      • Jason B says:

        “going from Beltre(3b) -> Youk(3b) is an enormous downgrade”

        I’m guessing you mean defensively? Offensively, or in terms of total value, that’s just demonstrably wrong.

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      • heironymous says:

        Circle – you always want KY when you reach 3B…

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      • What’s missing from your equation is how much better AGon could be manning first. He DOES have the perfect swing for Fenway, so he SHOULD become a massive force there.

        And in which case, AGon and Youk is far better than Youk and Beltre, regardless of the 10 defensive saves Beltre contributes over Youk.

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    • Bernard says:

      Completely agreed – his production will be relatively stronger at 3B (compared to other 3B) but how will his defense age and how will the more rigorous 3B requirements impact his aging? He’ll be 32 by next opening day…

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    • enemyoftheworld says:

      WAR includes defensive metrics as part of the equation.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Really? *grin*

        The thing is that IMO most of the “Youk at 3rd” defensive metrics are based on data from a few years (and pounds) ago. Youk might not be the same 3B defensively as he might have been a few years ago, when the discussion was about Youk replacing Mike Lowell, for the overall betterment of the team.

        I do think BOS will be fine with Youk and Agon (as silly as that sounds). I can see AGon absolutely tearing up the short porch in right.

        Youk would have to be downright horrendous at 3B to make this a bad deal … I just wanted to see that data-based aspect included in the article, as it’s important when doing a thorough comparison.

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      • enemyoftheworld says:

        That would be a different article. This article is determining the long-term value of a trade for Gonzalez versus the long-term value of keeping the prospects and re-signing Beltre. An evaluation of the short-term implications for Boston’s defensive configuration would be interesting and prescient, just not relevant to the current article’s determination of dollar value.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Fair point.

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      • Red Sox prospects are fungible and there is no short RF porch at Fenway. The park, in fact, is death on LHB who pull the ball. Please pay attention.

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  3. Kevin says:

    Could the Padres have gotten more for Adrian Gonzalez? A “back-end Top 100 guy” doesn’t seem like a great deal in return for one of the best players in baseball

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  4. JP says:

    How does this impact the RedSox for 2011?

    In 2010, the Red Sox rolled out a corner infield combo of Adrian Beltre and Kevin Youkilis. Both were excellent, though Youkilis missed some time. Together, they were good for about 11 WAR.

    If we assume Gonzalez is around a 5-6 WAR player, and Youkilis when healthy is good for another 5-6 WAR, then for 2011, the Red Sox should expect about 10-12 WAR from their corner infielders, or basically the same thing they got last year from Beltre/Youkilis.

    This is a good long term move, but I question how much of an upgrade it represents over the 2010 team.

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    • N00bious says:

      You’re assuming Beltre will repeat his performance from last year … which he probably won’t.

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    • John says:

      I would say that locking in a 10-12 WAR contribution that was one of the major strengths from 2010 is huge. The move maybe isn’t a “major upgrade,” but the Red Sox will get most of that “major upgrade” from the improved health of Beckett, Pedroia, Youkilis, and Ellsbury (not to mention another outfield upgrade in Werth/Crawford.) Locking that 10-12 WAR value in from 2010 is a major part of success. “Upgrade” seems to imply that the rest of the team from year to year is static. I think underlying your comment (although obliquely) is the assumption, too, that Beltre would perform as well again.

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      • JP says:

        No, I don’t think Beltre is likely to repeat his performance from 2010. And yes, setting up a likely 10-12 WAR 1B/3B combo is huge. But the Red Sox were about 9 games behind the Rays and Yankees based on pythagorean record, and that was with Beltre’s outlier season.

        My point is that if we assume that the Yanks/Rays are roughly as good as in 2010 (decent shot for Yanks, less so for Rays), even AFTER this mega-trade, the Red Sox still have to go find another 9 wins some where. That’s not even taking into account the loss of Victor Martinez who gave them 4 WAR last year.

        If the Red Sox really go with a Varitek/Salty combo, they could be looking at something like a 11-12 win gap to make up, even after adding Adrian Gonzalez.

        That’s still a lot of ground to make up, even if they also add Crawford or Werth.

        They’d better hope the Yankees and/or Rays get worse.

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      • Jonathan says:

        “My point is that if we assume that the Yanks/Rays are roughly as good as in 2010 (decent shot for Yanks, less so for Rays), even AFTER this mega-trade, the Red Sox still have to go find another 9 wins some where. That’s not even taking into account the loss of Victor Martinez who gave them 4 WAR last year. ”

        It’s also not accounting for the fact that Cameron missed 2/3 of the year, Ellsbury mised the whole year, Pedroia missed 1/2 of the year and Youkilis missed 1/3 of the year, and that’s not even touching the lost time between Beckett and Matsuzaka in the rotation.

        The Sox finished nine games behind the Yankees and Rays with what was essentially a Triple A lineup. Add Gonzalez to that lineup and shore up the bullpen and you’ve got a playoff capable team competing heavily for the division.

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    • Lee says:

      Of course it’s not a major upgrade. It’s hard to squeeze more than 12 WAR out of two positions. But Beltre’s line last year was clearly an outlier, and just being able to match that output again next year would be fantastic.

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  5. Julian says:

    Also, if the Red Sox don’t sign Beltre, there’s value in the compensation picks they’ll get, increasing the gap between Gonzo and Beltre

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  6. Will says:

    In addition to Kevin’s point, I think we need to consider a decline due to playing in a better division/league. Also, AGon is coming off a recent surgery, and the early word is he might not be ready by Opening Day.

    Finally, Keith Law had Kelly at 18 and Rizzo at 53 in his pre-season rankings. Both may have slipped, but they still seem better to back-end and fringe top-100. Also, Fuentes stock has risen, so I think he might qualify as more than a project.

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    • Bernard says:

      Right on about the prospects. Baseball America ranks Kelly as the Sox #1 prospect (Rizzo 3 and Fuentes 6 as of November 10) and they’re almost certainly a top 10 farm system. I think it’s reasonable to think Kelly is a lot closer to the back end of the top 50 than the back end of the top 100.

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    • HotPinS says:

      I’m might be inclined to disagree with you on that. If you average out the NL West’s and the AL East’s era for 2010 you get 3.942 and 4.108, respectively. And since Gonzalez is known for the long ball, the NL West gave up an average of 151.2 HRs this year while the AL East gave up an average of 168.4. That means Gonzalez terrorized a division that was statistically much harder to produce runs in and is now moving to a division that statistically gives up more runs and homers. Therefore an increase in Gonzalez’s numbers is a bit more favorable; just by pure statistics alone.

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      • DickAlmighty says:

        Yo, what? That is some half-baked statistical analysis.

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      • Matt says:

        Or, the difference in era and homers could be due to the fact that the NL West has much weaker hitters on average than the hitters in the AL East. New York, Boston, Tampa Bay, and Toronto arguably had better offenses than any team in the NL West.

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  7. MauerPower says:

    Great articale, as always. One thing I want to know though is how do you figure out projected value & WAR?

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    • John says:

      “Even adding in some decline for aging and a bit of regression to account for the fact that he’s only played at this level for two years, I’d still feel comfortable estimating Gonzalez as a +5.5 win player for 2011. He is legitimately one of the best players in baseball.”

      It’s just a rough estimation based on the idea that Gonzalez has hit his peak and will be descending in a roughly linear fashion (.5 WAR every year). WAR is a measure of value and not a separate thing.

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  8. James says:

    Calls says Kelly in the top 30-50. And Rizzo is not a fringe top 100. Klaw had him in the top 100 going into this year, granted it was agressive.

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    • sean says:

      Rizzo’s pretty much the definition of a “fringe top-100″ prospect. He’s a 1B prospect who has a good, not great, bat. The bar is set higher than you think for a 1B prospect.

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      • Thomas says:

        1B have to really hit? Wow, tell me more.

        I’m simply pointing out that one objective source ranked him 53 prior to his best season yet in the minors.

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      • Eric M. Van says:

        Just a good bat? He was promoted so aggressively that it’s hard to get a handle on just how good a year he had. The only person I know of who has attempted a comprehensive solution to the age vs. level conundrum is Clay Davenport over at BP, with his Peak Translations. Rizzo had the 6th or 7th highest peak projection in the minors, after Montero, Freeman, Hosmer, and just a shade behind Moustakas and Dominic Brown (Nicholas Weglarz is just ahead of him too, but in an injury-shortened season). And there’s a pretty big drop-off after Rizzo to the next guy.

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  9. George Purcell says:

    You are confusing completely separate calculations by mixing together Gonzalez’ value through an extension.

    The better way to think about the trade is that the Sox purchased:
    1 year of Gonzalez
    A 1 year option to NEGOTIATE with Gonzalez

    and for this they will pay:
    Gonzalez’s 2011 salary
    The prospect package

    Let’s go with your assumption Gonzalez is a 5.5 WAR player next year. That’s worth $27.5 million at $5 million per year.

    For this they are going to pay $5.5 million in 2011 directly to Gonzalez. In addition, they are giving up a package of prospects worth $20 million (we’ll go with your ballpark figure).

    If those calculations are right, then the Sox net $2.5 million in value in the deal…and thus there is no excess value to the Padres to account for the value of the signing period option (if there was it would be functioning equivalent to a posting fee in assessing the deal). Note that if you assume Gonzalez is a 5.0 WAR player the Sox net of +$2.5 goes away.

    The implication of all this is that Adrian Gonzalez’ extension should be compared directly to a potential Beltre free agent signing without complicating that calculation with the trade that brought him to Boston.

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    • John says:

      But isn’t Boston in a more unique position with free agents than, say, the Marlins? That is, doesn’t the negotiating value go way up if you are A) sure that you have the finances to afford the player and B) pretty sure that the player wants to stay on your team? I would be pretty surprised if the extension did not happen. I would also say that there would be 2 first round prospects to calculate in the situation in which Adrian and Beltre leave that wouldn’t have happened at all if Beltre stayed, thus adding to the 2.5 million you calculated.

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      • George Purcell says:

        I was a little surprised to find that there was no net surplus value on the Padres side of the equation that would account for the value of the option/posting fee.

        Possible reasons:
        1) Overvaluing AGonz (possibly there was a discount factor due to his injury);
        2) Undervaluing the prospect package in our assessment.

        My hunch is that the $20 million figure for the prospects is on the light side. But it’s clear that the option wasn’t a big value generator for the Padres in this trade.

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    • BillWallace says:

      I agree with your point, but don’t the Red Sox also get the value of the Type A status of AGon next season? Whether they see that value in actual picks (unlikely) or in the lower price for his extension (likely), they still get that value.

      It seems as though those prospects netted them a fair bit more than $20 mil.

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      • BillWallace says:

        FWIW in the previous AGon article, Dave Cameron pegged AG’s value this offseason at $25-$30mill for precisely these reasons.

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      • George Purcell says:

        Nope, it’s a wash in calculating the effects of the trade (unless you think there is a differential value in the way the picks would be used by the clubs…a bone I have to pick with Wang’s valuations). The Padres give up the picks and the Red Sox get them. Where that value will show up is in the decision of the Red Sox to extend AGonz. In that case the forgone picks will show up as an additional COST of the extension.

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      • George Purcell says:

        Now that I think about it, I’m wrong about the wash. Never mind!

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    • Ben says:

      Good thought, except isn’t the deal contingent on the Red Sox and Gonzalez reaching an agreement during the 3-day negotiating window? If there’s no extension, no trade. If the trade goes through as expected, the Sox will be getting Gonzalez for however many years and dollars they negotiate this weekend.

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      • redsfandan says:

        Not necessarily, the Sox may decide to go through with the trade anyway even if an extension can’t be reached by the 2 pm deadline. It’s their call.

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  10. GiantHusker says:

    Good deal for the Padres–3 good prospects for 1 year of Gonzales. And that is a year the Padres had already given up on. Bell is next.
    The deal will only work out well for the Red Sox if they sign Agon to a long-term deal and he plays up to what they pay him.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      This, IMO, would have been the year to trade AGonz for max value (b/c the team acquiring him gets 1.5 years of awesome value), but the dang Padres had to go lead the division for the bulk of the year … and then missing the playoffs.

      Tough, tough, break for the Padres. R

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  11. Mike Ketchen says:

    As a sox fan I want Beltre back. I am willing to stick Youk in LF. The team can afford the cost and I think it is the best way to allocate resources.

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    • Lee says:

      Disagree for two large reasons:

      - Youk sucks in the OF, and is above average in either corner IF position

      - Beltre is such an enormous risk. There is literally no way to know what he’s going to do next year at the plate.

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      • Joe R says:

        I do have to weigh in, though, this I disliked this trade initially a lot, solely because it meant casting aside Beltre.

        Unpredictable, sure, but all the talent in the world to do what he did in 2010 (which, FWIW, is just as good as what Gonzalez would provide for about $7-$8 mil / yr less). And of course, no loss in prospects, which is what really irks me.

        I mean this is a complicated analysis, it looks like the Sox won if you measure solely on expected prospect value v. expected value of Gonzalez over his contractual cost, it looks like a bit of a win for Boston (though not the purge some want people to think). But there’s so many other market factors in this one (like is the value of Beltre over contract + prospect value > AGonz value, how does this affect the pursuit of Werth, Crawford, etc).

        I sometimes wish I was a regular brained guy and could just be happy we have a new face of the franchise, but no, I have to hyper-analyze everything.

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  12. Scout Finch says:

    If Gonzalez has a full recovery and stays healthy, he could be an absolute monster at Fenway.

    Indeed, hitting against NL West pitchers in 3 of the NL West yards has not a picnic but also consider the effects of being protected in the lineup over various iterations by the likes of Kevin Kouzmanoff, Yorvit Torrealba, Ryan Ludwig, Miguel Tejada, & Chase Headley.

    His great power the other way is going to play nicely off and over the Green Monster. Surround him with Boston payroll hitters and Gonzalez could blow those value projections out of the water.

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    • Daikon says:

      Thank You finch why has no one else said this yet! Gonzalez is moving from one of baseballs worst hitting environments to one of baseballs best! Comparing his numbers in petco to project hie performance in Fenway is, IMHO, a flawed idea, albeit the only real cocktail napkin one we have. I’ll bet that the Sox FO and statisticians has his projections range a great deal higher than 5.5 WAR. No way to tell how he’ll handle AL east pitching and how those 2 factors mitigate themselves against each other. No way to tell until next winter

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    • Jason B says:

      The hitting environment for AGon will improve greatly – and the writer makes that point:

      “it accounts for how hard it is to hit at Petco, Gonzalez has been harmed more than a normal player by its dimensions (career .343 wOBA at home, .393 on the road). Switching to Fenway will certainly boost his raw numbers, but may even serve to increase his value as well.”

      But the idea about improved lineup protection is fairly overrated. I’m pretty sure studies have shown that lineup protection just doesn’t matter all that much.

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  13. Brian says:

    One thing you have to count against Gonzalez: hitting in a stacked lineup, he won’t get IBB’d nearly as much as he did in SD (57 times in the last two years). This could take as much as .025-.030 from his OBP. He’ll get that and more back on the SLG side getting out of Petco, but people shouldn’t expect a huge OPS leap.

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    • Scout Finch says:

      those IBB’s that turn in 4 baggers will be warmly welcomed

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      • Brian says:

        Absolutely. But obviously they will be in the minority. Even .400+ wOBA hitters make outs more often than not when pitchers actually pitch to them. Gonzalez, in moving to the Sox, turns from a guy with .400/.550 upside to a guy with .375/.600 upside. And the latter is probably more truly indicative of the kind of hitter he is (as well as being totally OK with me as a Sox fan).

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      The IBB’s won’t be as big of an issue as AGon being pitched around. In the SD lineup, walking AGon was likely much less detrimental than it will be in the BOS lineup.

      It’ll be interesting to see how his “swing stats” change, if at all. My guess is he’s going to see more pitches in the zone.

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  14. phoenix2042 says:

    AGon is going to be huge. he is a truly talented hitter. power, contact, discipline is all there. his skillset will probably age pretty well, at least compared to most 1B mashers like howard. i think a 5/125 extension would be fair to both sides. what the red sox (may) overpay per year is balanced by not being forced to tack on 2-3 extra years. i feel the same way for cliff lee’s next contract: overpay per year so that you don’t have to overpay in years. AGon is going to be a huge addition to the red sox, but i would be cautious when saying they still have money for werth. yes, this year they have the money, but if they extend AGon, its going to be at least 20m per year, if not more. can they fit werth’s 18-22m (depending on how much boras can jack it up) and AGon’s 20-25m in 2012 and after without sacrificing in other areas?

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  15. JGH says:

    Kelly is a beast—dont look at raw numbers…he was 20 in AA, which is extremely aggressive. His FB rose from 88-89 to a consistent 92-93, while working on and improving his secondary pitches. He is easily a top 10 pitching prospect, and one of the 20-30 best prospects in the game. Rizzo was only 20! last yr, and he had cancer a few years back. He raked in AA as a 20 yr old. He has pretty good plate discipline and pitch recognition as a 20yr old. I am eager to see how he does next season, but he is easily a top 50-70 prospect in the game. Fuentes is still young and improving. He is a very similar player to Ellsbury, at least will be in the long run. This is a great package for one yr of Adrian. And they will be getting a 4th prospect in return also, but its not a highly touted prospect. Theo probably said to Hoyer that this is ur last opportunity to get Kelly, and he jumped on it. Great trade for both parties involved.

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    • Brian says:

      It’s not a package for one year of Adrian. There is no way on heaven, hell or earth this deal goes down if they can’t work out an extension.

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      • George Purcell says:

        Yes, it is a package for one year of Gonzalez. That plus an option to negotiate is all the Padres can sell.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        What he was saying is that BOS was likely assured (either by SDP or AG) that an extension would be worked out and likely indicated what the figures and duration would be.

        He’s not saying that it was a written part of the trade, but that the conversations likely took place.

        If BOS is doubtful that an extension can be reached, they probably don’t make this trade, and just keep Beltre. That’s what he is saying.

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      • apalmer18 says:

        I think we was looking at it from SDP pov. They had no chance of resigning after the year. So he’s looking at it as trading AG’s production for the Padres this year for the prospects. Might as well get Kelly and Rizzo while they had the chance.

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  16. Pat H says:

    Dave,

    You also have to take into consider the increasing probability that the Sox will probably not sign another type-A this off-season, meaning the Sox will have picks 1.19 (from DET signing Martinez), 1.24 (1st round pick), 1.20-1.33 (if Beltre signs with one of those teams), 1.37 (comp for Martinez), 1.42 (comp for Beltre), and 1.51 (possibly comp for type-B Felipe Lopez) in an absolutely LOADED draft class. So yes, San Diego did get a nice little package coming back, but Boston’s farm will be replenished with this next draft.

    Just something to consider.

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    • John says:

      Why wouldn’t they sign Werth/Crawford?

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      • JGH says:

        They still can, and probably will….

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      • Pat H says:

        Because they’ve already replaced Victor’s production and then some. Why would they sign another offensive piece when offense wasn’t what hurt them last year? Why wouldn’t they work on fixing their bullpen and re-allocating that money there than pay 5/90 for Werth/Crawford? Why not see what Kalish can do for a full-year? Isn’t that exactly what they did when they let Loretta go and gave the position to that one kid, er, Pedroia! Yeah, that’s his name. Yeah… why wouldn’t they do that? I don’t know. Why wouldn’t they think about having a surplus of draft picks in an absolutely loaded 2011 draft class? I don’t know. Maybe you could fill me in.

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  17. CircleChange11 says:

    but Boston’s farm will be replenished with this next draft.

    Isn’t it always?

    BOS always seem to have a bunch of highly rated prospects, that are simply replaced by the following year’s highly rated prospects.

    So does this mean Lars Anderson is just waiting to be the DH post-Ortiz, or will the #1, 3, or 4 (depending on year) Red Sox prospect be dealt to another team where he won’t pan out as expected?

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    • Cleveland Indians says:

      What? Boston’s prospects get to hyped up a bit? (you mean folks like Gammons, K Law, ESPN in general tend to be a little optimistic on the Boston farm system?)

      Look at us we got 2 really great pieces for VMart!. Masterson might some day be a #3 or 4 starter (or a 5th starter/reliever) and that Hagadone has been more than advertised – he only walks over 6 per 9 innings and isn’t quite exactly starting full time in AA. (Of course we may have eventually gotten better players by just letting him walk in FA…)

      I’m surprised Doubront wasn’t the pitching centerpiece of the Gonzalez trade – is he available?

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  18. waynetolleson says:

    I don’t know if Adrián Beltré has some naughty pictures of Dave Cameron or something, but Beltré was not “simply a good player” his five years in Seattle. Beltré was a really bad player two years he was in Seattle. He was a good, but not great, player two years in Seattle. He was a mediocre player the other year.

    I’m sorry: despite what WAR might say, Beltré’s tremendous defense did not compensate for the two pitiful seasons he had in Seattle where he batted .255 with a .716 OPS and .265 with a .683 OPS.

    Adrián González is a far superior hitter to Adrián Beltré. Beltré is a streak hitter. He has had two seasons where he has remained hot most of the season. He has had two or three years where he has remained cold most of the season. Most years, he’s up and down, with torrid stretches followed by prolonged slumps.

    I understand that this doesn’t take into account the financial implications of deciding which Adrián is the better value, but I’m tired of people making Adrián Beltré out to be so much better than he actually is.

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  19. Mr. wOBAto says:

    If the Redsox had planned on making this trade why re-up Papi? his money would be better spent offsetting the first year of a Beltre contract then the Red Sox would have 3 elite bats with elite defense instead of an aging big bate who cannot play anywhere but DH

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  20. mikedressner says:

    Compare Adrian Beltre and Larry Parrish

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  21. Bert says:

    This analysis seems slightly ridiculous to me. A-Gon is a 5.5 WAR player but Beltre is only 3.5 WAR in 2011? Based on what?

    Not that this is a very precise forecasting method (at all), but if you just do a 50/30/20 projection using their last three WAR totals, you get A-Gon at 5.4 WAR and Beltre at 5.1 WAR. Beltre is older, but certainly that’s more than made up for by the fact that Gonzalez just had shoulder surgery.

    They seem like roughly equivalent players to me, given Beltre’s consistently outstanding defense at a more premium position. Given what it’s going to cost Boston – three of their top prospects and the inevitably risk that goes along with a mega-extension – I just don’t see how anyone can say it made more sense to go for A-Gon rather than Beltre.

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    • vivalajeter says:

      Bert, Beltre has had a WAR at or above 5.0 exactly twice in his career – and both were in contract years. I wouldn’t expect him to have it in 2011, regardless of how great he was last year.

      Also, I might be in the minority but I think that, while WAR is good on average, it can be misleading at the extremes (i.e. elite defensive players like Beltre, or horrendous defensive players like Dunn). A lot of Beltre’s value comes from his defense, and I have a hard time believing he’ll be worth over 5 WAR unless his magic potion lasts another year.

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      • Bert says:

        And A-Gon has had a WAR at or above 4.0 exactly twice in his career (and never anywhere close to the great 7.1 or epic 10.1 Beltre seasons that you cite)

        I’m not a fan of the “only performs in contract year” thesis, and I tend to think WAR and defensive metrics do a pretty good job, so I guess we may just have to agree to disagree. I think Beltre is being underrated and A-Gon is being way overrated in the discussion of this trade though.

        If you’re going to argue that Beltre only gives his full effort when he knows there’s a contract on the line or whatever, couldn’t it also be that he only gives his full effort when he has a good team surrounding him (i.e. not the Mariners), as he would continue to have in Boston?

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      • Joe says:

        Thank you! Finally someone else has pointed out how WAR can be way off. Players like Dunn are a perfect example. Dunn in 2009 split time between, LF, RF and 1b with a terrible UZR all around. Batting line .267/.398/.529, .394 wOBA, and earned a 1.2 WAR. I have no idea how 38 bombs can be worth barely a win. Now Carl Crawford has a .307/.356/.495, .378 wOBA and 19 bombs. Granted SB and defense helped him a lot, but he had 6.9 WAR last year! Are we really going to say that Carl Crawford was worth 5.7 wins greater than Dunn?

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      • vivalajeter says:

        Bert, I wasn’t trying to compare him to A-Gon. Just saying that Beltre’s only had 2 great years – and one in the last 6 years – so I wouldn’t expect him to replicate it.

        As for the contract year, I don’t know that he gives exceptional effort in a contract year. He certainly didn’t in 2009, which was also a contract year. But when someone has 2 phenomenal years and both were in contract years, it does raise a flag.

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    • waynetolleson says:

      “A-Gon is a 5.5 WAR player but Beltre is only 3.5 WAR in 2011? Based on what?”

      It’s based on the fact that Gonzalez has had five straight good-to-great seasons, while Beltre has had two great seasons spaced six years apart, with a whole lot mediocre seasons in between.

      Having lived in Seattle a while, I saw Beltre do what he did last year for one or two-month stretches. Those streaks were then followed by stretches where he couldn’t make contact with the baseball.

      2010 is over. Beltre had an unbelievable 2010. I don’t, however, bank on his repeating that performance, whereas Gonzalez’ approach at the plate seems more likely to produce consistent results.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  22. RayB says:

    I read there was a negoiting period also associated with the trade, my guess is if there isnt a longterm deal in like 48 hrs, deal is off…..let alone the physicals….he will sign a 5yr 100 mil extension i bet

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    • redsfandan says:

      The physical has already been done.

      And the 2 pm deadline is really for Boston to back out of the deal. If an extension isn’t done by then BUT they feel they’re close enough to getting one done they might let the trade go through anyway.

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      • RayB says:

        well, looks like the deal is done….he was seeking 8 years….that is crazy…..i say go get Grienke and Carlos Quentin in trade instead, then resign Beltre…..

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  23. Max says:

    Isn’t the third option to sign a 1 year stopgap (in a position with seeming excess supply) and sign Gonzalez at the cost of a 1st round comp pick as a free agent? (which they would effectively get back if Beltre walked)

    It doesn’t make sense to explicitly tie or limit this decision to Beltre as he was not the only option for either this year or long term (even if Gonzalez did extend elsewhere there would be other 1B options on the market next year too).

    Doesn’t the trade really represent Gonzalez’ value in 2011 (minus the stopgap solution) + the risk of him signing an extension should he be traded elsewhere?

    The 3 (or 4) prospects is really just the risk of Gonzalez not being available next year and whatever performance gap in 2011 between Gonzalez and the temp solution they would have used, plus the 1st rd comp pick for signing Gonzalez as a FA. If looked at that way, the Red Sox paid a lot for fear of Gonzalez extending elsewhere (assuming of course SD traded him elsewhere which I think is a safe bet). There’s a question of whether he would get more money as a straight free agent vs extending a year early, but that’s probably not that much (if it was why would Gonzalez agree to an extension?)

    This seems similar to the situation with what the Yankees did with Santana vs Sabathia – if you are going to give a big payout anyway (extension or FA contract), does it make sense to give up a bunch of prospects for just 1 year? I think the analysis of multi-years of Beltre vs Gonzalez is a somewhat artificial way of spreading the prospect value over multiple years instead of the 1 year those prospects are really buying.

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    • pft says:

      Gonzalez is paid only 6.5 million in 2011. There is about a 14 million value by doing a deal now, which pays for 70% of the potential value of the lost prospects.

      Also, the Red Sox needed a 1Bman or a 3Bman for 2011. Another poor year in 2011 and the Red Sox would take a significant revenue hit. Waiting 1 more year was not an option, especially when they lost V-Mart and would be looking at less offense at C, and at 3B unless they sign erratic Beltre to Boras money and years..

      Prospects tend to be overvalued. Nobody can project guys like Kelley and Rizzo with any degree of certainty, and young pitchers (20-21) are very fragile. No guarantee that any of the players given up become players who are much above league average, and even if they do, we are looking several years down the road.

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  24. TheImpossibleMan says:

    If the loss on the Red Sox side is only in money, isn’t that a BIG win for the Red Sox? If A-Gon is incredible but maybe falls off towards the end and isn’t worth maybe every penny, don’t you take that as a pretty big win for them, and a trade that gives them a shot at a championship? That’s the difference between the best teams like Bos/NY/LAA/SF/etc. and my team, the Baltimore Orioles – who are considering trading for JJ Hardy and Mark Reynolds and other shitty players while a player like Gonzalez, who would fit damn near perfectly into the O’s lineup, instead goes to a division rival offering a package Baltimore could have easily surpassed. Isn’t Hobgood, Arrieta, Caleb Joseph and a PTBNL better than Boston’s four players?

    Some teams trade for championships, and some teams trade for last place.

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  25. pft says:

    The Red Sox may have been the only team with the prospects and the money who needed someone at 1B (so Youk could play 3B). Other teams might have matched the Red Sox in prospects, but could not afford what he wants after 2011. The 5 additional W’s for an 80 W team or below just does not do that much for them. Better keep the prospects and spend the 23 million per year for cheaper FA to fill multiple holes.

    The Red Sox are also moving the fences in in RF 10 ft to widen the bullpens (they say). Adrian could hit 60 HR if he can adjust to playing in the AL and his shoulder is healthy, especially with the Red Sox lineup sandwiched between Pedroia and Youkillis. If the Red Sox get Crawford or Werth as well, they have a lineup looking like

    Ellsbury
    Crawford
    Pedroia
    A-Gon
    Youkillis
    Ortiz
    Salty
    JD
    Scutaro

    or

    Ellsbury
    Pedroia
    A-Gon
    Youkillis
    Ortiz
    Werth
    JD
    Salty
    Scutaro

    Assuming health, both could be pretty good lineups (imagine V-Mart at C, sick)

    Despite the high cost of 3 prospects, with the loss of V-Mart, Beltre and Lopez, they will have 5 additional 1st round/sandwich picks (or 4 if they sign Werth or Crawford) in 2011 in what is supposed to be a great draft year, and maybe the last year where compensation for losing FA is given.

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    • num8 says:

      With all the protection in the lineup, A-Gon is gonna break Bonds HR record. They sign Werth and he’s a good bet to hit triple digits in long balls. This team is gonna be sick.

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    • vivalajeter says:

      Sort of unrelated, but am I the only one who thinks Crawford doesn’t make sense for the Red Sox? So much of his value is tied to incredible LF defense, but Fenway is the one park that can tolerate a butcher in LF. They’d get a lot more value with a masher who can’t play defense. I thought Dunn would be great there since his defense in LF wouldn’t be as bad as it is in any other park, and he can DH once Ortiz is let go.

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  26. Thomas says:

    “What? Boston’s prospects get to hyped up a bit? (you mean folks like Gammons, K Law, ESPN in general tend to be a little optimistic on the Boston farm system?)”

    God, this is the biggest small-market insecurity-inspired fallacy. So Keith Law is in the Red Sox pocket. Is Baseball America as well? Because they graded the Red Sox as having been the best drafting team in baseball this decade.

    I guess when we find a prospect ranker that doesn’t like the Red Sox, they can be considered objective.

    You’re right though, their system doesn’t produce any actual results. Pedroia, Lester, Youkilis, Ellsbury, Papelbon, Bard, Hanley, Buchholz, Murphy.

    Every team over-hypes prospects, and the media over-hypes them in general. It’s not just the big bad meanie Red Sox with their big payroll. Grow up.

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    • Not a Cleveland Fan says:

      Nice logic the media overhyping some prspects is some sort of evaluation/statement that the Red Sox system hasn’t
      produced quality results? Need to work on the reading comprehension (or logic) as I made no comment about the actual quality just how the media covers it

      Someone having a bias, means he’s in the pocket of someone? (Yeah that;s pretty much what I was saying…)

      You could have the best draft ever, does that make it somehow impossible to hype the prospects even more? The #1 pick can be overhyped as much as the #453 pick (or can you not understand this?)

      And to assume I’m arguing this is a big market thing and couldn’t be something else? Personal ties to people in the organization, a particular view of the front office people (which colors how people view their drafting), heck maybe’s it a simple geographic thing.

      Over-react much? You’re the one who needs to grow up… saying the media hypes the Red Sox prospects is not an indictment of the quality of the prospects, just the coverage of them.

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  27. Dan G says:

    Even after the Sox expand the bullpens, RF in Fenway is not a short porch. What I do hope happens is that he wears out the Monster in left and the short porch in the Bronx.

    Kelly is the best player in the Sox system and Rizzo and Fuentes are better than average prospects. The circumstances are pretty similar to the Beckett for Ramirez and Sanchez deal (Lowell was a salary dump that worked out well for the Sox). Both teams probably make the trade again. The Sox won a World Series and have a top of the rotation pitcher. The Marlins got an all-star shortshop and a pitcher who last year put up a 4.3 WAR season.

    It would be interesting to know if Hoyer had the choice of Anderson or Rizzo as a 1B prospect and if there was a choice on the younger toolsy pick that turned out to be Fuentes.

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  28. Steve_in_MA says:

    I think the compensatory picks issue is a lot larger in terms of value than it is being made out to be.

    First, the sandwich round pick for Beltre is a guaranteed 1st round equivalent pick, no matter who signs Beltre. The Sox have typically used these to draft guys who are top 10 picks in terms of talent, but drop down due to bonus or injury considerations. To wit: Ranaudo was the 2010 example of this. As our 7th ranked prospect, he’s certainly worth at least a few million in terms of the Wang calculation. Then, taking into account the risk/reward on the second compensatory pick (i.e., probability that it could be either the Angels (1st round pick) or the A’s (2nd round pick) who sign Beltre, the second pick is probably worth a risk adjusted $1MM.

    The same type of calculation can be applied to the guaranteed two compensatory picks the Sox would get if A-Gonz did not sign an extension, versus the option value of the exclusive right for one year to negotiate an extension with him.

    I also subscribe to giving A-Gonz a higher beginning WAR because of the adjustments to the parks, pitching and line up he will be playing in/with.

    By my estimation, if the Sox end up signing A-Gonz to an extension at $25MM per season, they would come out ahead on value by a few million dollars.

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  29. JohnnyK says:

    Heyman just tweeted the deal fell through as Sox and Gonzalez could not agree on a deal.

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  30. Name: Mark says:

    Theo has a recent history of wanting short contracts, ie Bay, Martinez. Since the contract is just now being written, it should be limited for 2010 to the 6Mil range, not heavily effecting negotiating position for other trades this year. So, length of contract is probably the hangup. When you are in the 50% tax bracket, it doesn’t make too much diffence to delay payment some.

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  31. William says:

    it seems like the gonzalez extension will be 7/154 – almost exactly what he is projected to do over the next 7 years. So it seems like gonzalez offers no surplus value, and the red sox are “getting what they pay for.” Gonzalez will get less than 85 million over the next 4 years (6.3 in 2011 plus a little over 60 mil the next three years) making it a good aquisition

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  32. William says:

    plus, beltre signed with the rangers for 6/96, much more than 4/60. Plus, he will net the red sox a first round and suppelmental round pick in one of the deepest drafts in recent memory. Overall, what the red sox did looks really smart right now

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  33. Sucked into an outdated thread, oh my!

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