Is Jose Reyes Suffering From Crawford Backlash?

Last week, the Marlins made an offer to every free agent with a pulse. At the heart of their “Sign Everyone!” plan is Jose Reyes, who reportedly received a six year, $90 million offer to move to Miami. While this was just an initial offer and Reyes will likely extract a bit more from whoever ends up signing him, it seems likely that he’s going to end up getting significantly less than Carl Crawford received from the Red Sox last winter.

That seems a little odd to me, given that they’re almost identical players.

Source: FanGraphsCarl Crawford, Jose Reyes

Both reached the Majors at age 20 and became free agents after their age 28 seasons, and both players rely on the same basic offensive skillset to provide value. Here are Crawford’s numbers from 2002 to 2010 compared with Reyes’ same numbers from 2003 to 2011.

Crawford 5395 5.40% 14.20% 0.148 0.331 0.296 0.337 0.444 0.347 113 21
Reyes 4840 6.90% 10.50% 0.149 0.314 0.292 0.341 0.441 0.346 112 18.5

Low walk, high contact, gap-hitting speedsters with nearly identical offensive results over 5,000 plate appearances. You really don’t find two more similar hitters than this very often, and for them to hit free agency at the same age in back to back years makes the comparison even easier. In reality, there are only two differences that should significantly affect their value:

1. Health. Both have had leg problems and experienced periods of down performance directly related to their inability to run at full speed, but Reyes’ injury problems lingered a bit more than Crawford’s did, causing him to spend a bit more time on the DL overall. He also had a DL stint in his walk year, which Crawford did not, so there’s a recent health issue with Reyes that Crawford didn’t have.

2. Position. While Crawford was considered an elite defensive player for his position, he was still a left fielder, and those are easier to find than shortstops. While our framework shows that they’ve accumulated similar defensive value over their careers (Reyes’ UZR+POS is +60.1 compared to Crawford’s +58.9), defensive value that comes from playing an up-the-middle spot is still more easily accepted than premium defensive performance at a corner outfield spot. You don’t have to buy into something like UZR to believe that Reyes’ defense is a significant asset, so his defensive value is perhaps a bit more of a known quantity.

Obviously, the former difference works against Reyes, while the second one works in his favor. Both essentially are tied to risk tolerance, and deal with how certain teams feel about making projections of future value due to some specific uncertainty. In Reyes’ case, the uncertainty is playing time, while in Crawford’s case, it was the predictive nature of defensive metrics. Both players essentially had established themselves as elite players, but their value came with one caveat.

In Crawford’s case, that caveat didn’t stop him from landing a seven year, $142 million contract. In Reyes’ case, it seems unlikely that he’s going to get very close to that number, and could come in with an overall guaranteed dollar figure that is just 65-70% of what Crawford got. Is the health risk with Reyes so much more of a concern than the questions surrounding Crawford’s defensive value, or perhaps more likely, is Reyes suffering from the fallout of Carl Crawford’s miserable 2011 season?

Given that there’s such a natural comparison between the two, it’s not hard to imagine that teams are re-evaluating whether or not players with this type of skillset are worth investing significant money in after Crawford’s face-plant in Boston last year. If teams see Crawford as Reyes’ most comparable player in the sport, then having just watched the worst case scenario play out in front of a national audience would understandably make them a bit gun shy. Any big contract is going to come with risk, but it’s harder to justify the risk when you’re watching the last guy who just jumped out of the same airplane still fumbling around with his parachute and hoping to God that it opens pretty soon.

It isn’t often that we see salaries for similar free agents retreat from one season to the next. Given the contract that Matt Kemp just got, as well as the spending we’ve seen on lower-tier free agents to date, it seems unlikely that we’re about to see a total market reversal from last year’s established prices. Instead, it seems that Reyes is simply not getting the same offers that rolled in a year ago because Crawford was a miserable failure in his first year in Boston.

I’d argue this probably isn’t fair to Reyes, and may actually be serving to make him something of a bargain relative to other free agents. After all, at $90 million over six years, the Marlins are essentially valuing Reyes as about a +4 win player going forward. Given that he was a +6 win player in 126 games last year, that kind of contract would allow Reyes to earn the money even if he experienced significant regression and continued to miss a decent amount of time.

It’s understandable why teams would hold Crawford’s 2011 failures against a nearly identical free agent a year later, but it’s hard for me to see how Reyes’ market value could actually be $50 million below what Crawford was worth just 12 months ago. Crawford’s failures might highlight the possible downside of signing Reyes, but his collapse doesn’t mean that Reyes is going to follow in his footsteps.

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

60 Responses to “Is Jose Reyes Suffering From Crawford Backlash?”

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  1. mister_rob says:

    I didnt get the Crawford deal from the get-go. Never could have predicted such a dropoff, but it still didnt make sense on a long term basis

    Game-changing speed is not something that ages well. Take away the speed and in both cases here you are left with guys with pretty blah OPS’s and diminishing defensive value

    Tim Raines and Ricky Henderson forged on for years after their breakaway speed diminished because they were still very good at other things (namely getting on base). Guys such as Eric Young faded away because they didnt have enough other skills to overcome the loss of the blazing speed

    Carl Crawford is one blown quad away from becoming Marlon Byrd
    Jose Reyes is one blown quad away from becoming a less powerful Michael Young

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      • mister_rob says:

        Take a look at all the 30/30 guys throughout history
        Regress a little for age and look for the last time each guy posted either a 25HR or a 25SB season

        Notice a pattern?

        Which do you think is more likely for Ryan Braun at age 35, 30 HRs or 30 SBs? Heck, how about 30HRs or 15SBs? I’ll take the 30 HRs both times

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      • Dave Cameron says:

        Evaluating players by HR/SB is a really great way to be wrong about something. It’s probably worth your time to read the linked study.

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      • mister_rob says:

        I did read it.
        Is Carl Crawford exceptionally good at getting on base? NOPE
        Is Carl Crawford exceptionally good at hitting for power? NOPE
        There is one thing he is exceptionally good at
        and guys usually arent as good at that at 33 as they are at 27

        When Crawford becomes a 20 SB guy, what is he supposedly going to be good at?

        did you see Carlos Beltran and his 4 SBs this season?
        Soriano has 16 over the last 3 years combined
        Both can still hit with power no problem though. Crawford wont have that luxury and neither will Reyes

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      • waynetolleson says:

        “Evaluating players by HR/SB is a really great way to be wrong about something.”

        With all due respect, Mr. Cameron, you’re not always right about everything, either. (Ahem, Robinson Cano. Ahem.)

        I must say that while I appreciate the time and effort you have put into your research, I find the snarky attitude as embodied in the selected quote above to be a little toxic to enjoyable discussions about baseball.

        If you have something to say to educate us, that’s great. But just telling someone something like “Evaluating players by HR/SB is a really great way to be wrong about something” is a snide comment that might do something to serve your own ego, but does nothing to educate us about how different profile players might be expected to age.

        The only reason I bring this up is that you influence so many people. Again, I mean this sincerely when I say I think it’s great that people emulate your research and analysis. People are having far more intelligent discussions about baseball do to your work, and the work of Fangraphs, THT, USS Mariner, etc…

        However, many readers also emulate your snark and condescension. You were completely dismissive of the point the other person was making, and that’s someone who took the time to visit your site, read your article, and respond. It’s not as though the point he was making about Ryan Braun was completely ludicrous, and that’s how you treated it.

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      • Dave Cameron says:

        Your assumption is that players basically age like this:

        Walk rates – no change
        Power – no change
        Speed – goes down

        That is just categorically wrong.

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      • mister_rob says:

        THat walk rate is going to have to improve alot

        no matter how you slice it, Crawford is a guy with 15-20 HR power and a 333 career obp getting paid like a superstar

        By your logic, Shannon Stewart should have been a stud well into his 30’s

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      • Yirmiyahu says:

        Dave, regardless of mister_rob’s misunderstanding, he does have a legitimate point about not “getting” the Crawford contract.

        I mean, how much of this is Reyes being underpaid, and how much of this is Crawford being overpaid? I think it’s a combination. You’re also comparing a 6-year deal to a 7-year deal. If Reyes gets $121/6, the total value may look very different, but it’s the same AAV as Crawford’s deal.

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      • JayT says:

        I appreciate what Tango is trying to do there, but I think that there are two fairly major problems with his approach.

        The first is that he’s using stolen base runs to decide who is a “speed player”. The problem here is that there are a lot of guys that rely on their speed, but at the same time are terrible base runners. I just looked at the last four years real quick, and guys like Nyjer Morgan, Scott Podsednik, and Juan Pierre would not be considered speed players even though by any normal definition they would be considered speed players. I realize that he was only looking at great players and that these guys aren’t that, but I don’t have a database handy to look up who is and isn’t a great player, so I was pretty much just looking at stolen base runs over the last four years to get an idea of what kinds of guys could be left off the study.

        Secondly, he’s treating all people with speed as one group, which I don’t think is fair. If Barry Bonds never stole a base in his career, he would have still been a Hall of Famer because he had other skills. However, when you are looking at a Carl Crawford or Jose Reyes, a lot more of their value is tied up in their legs.

        I’d like to see a similar study done that looks at how well players that rely primarily on speed age versus players that have speed, but also have some power, or a good eye.

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      • SchmidtXC says:

        We brought this up around AA several times when that deal was announced, but it would be really interesting to see that same study done after removing all catchers from the data pool. If memory serves, there is a study out there that showed catchers aged significantly faster than other position players, and I’d guess that 99% of all catchers have probably fit into the non-speed based players section of that study. Just a hunch, but I think without catchers you’d find very little difference in the aging patterns of those two groups (but I’d be ecstatic to see the results sometime).

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    • RC says:

      Game changing speed is exactly what ages well.

      Plate discipline tends to get better as players get older, as does power, while contact ability and speed get worse.

      Guys who are already marginal in contact ability and speed tend to fall off a cliff. Guys who are great with those things get worse with them, but it tends to be more than offset by the increases in power and discipline.

      IsoP is largely multiplicative (not additive, like people assume).

      So, when your .250/.350/.500 hitter drops to .200, he turns into something like .200/.290/.400

      Guys who rely entirely on power are the guys who age poorest.

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    • Greg H says:

      I disagree with your assertion that speed doesn’t age well because the numbers prove you wrong. But I thought it was a bad deal for Boston at the time because Crawford wasn’t a good fit. I know I wasn’t alone. As Dave points out, Crawford’s value was tied up in his ability to run and play defense in LF. And the effects of Fenway Park diminish the value of those skills. If Boston had been able to get a leftfielder with Carl Crawford’s skill set for a bargain, then fine. But sinking $142 million and the attached opportunity cost on a guy who will play deep shortstop 81 games a year and in all probabilty won’t be given the green light to steal bases like he did in Tampa made no sense to me. And I came to this conclusion with the assumption that Carl Crawford would continue to play like Carl Crawford instead of turning into Doug Glanville.

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    • sheath1976 says:

      I’ll tell you what would make Crawford age better after watching him for a full 162 last year. Fix his swing. The man strides directly torward first base with his right foot when swinging the bat. The man is big, strong, fast and has remained remarkably healthy over the course of his career. Whatever the statistics say these things should allow him to age well if he works on some basic fundamentals. He never has had great hitters hands and never will yet his approaach could be greatly improved upon. I also think Fenway plays different than most ballparks and although his arm is not elite he should be roaming the vastness of right field at Fenway even if a few extra runners go first to third. Especially if the other corner outfielder for the Sox ends up with a strong arm. Strong arms in Left at the Fens can turn doubles into singles or outs. Keeping men off second base obviously keeps double plys in order. Crawford has a chance to age well if he is willing to change his identity at the plate. He has the body to age well. Does he have the drive and the mind to make it happen?

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      • vivalajeter says:

        He had that swing when they gave him the contract. He had the swing when he was putting up great numbers in Tampa. If the swing is his problem, then it should have come to fruition before 2011.

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      • Walter Guest says:

        I didn’t see much of Crawford but when I did, the swing surprised me. It did look kinda weird. Of course, as the man said, that’s what got him here. If the swing is the problem then it’s a big, big problem.

        Try telling a guy who’s been ultra successful that he has to change something.

        Won’t happen.

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  2. vivalajeter says:

    I didn’t follow the Crawford negotiations very thoroughly, but were there any indications that another team came close to Boston’s offer? If his second best offer was something like 7 years, $110MM, then Reyes might be valued comparably by 29 GMs.

    Either way, I’d be shocked if Reyes signed for $90/6. If other offers are in that range, I’d assume he’d just stay in NY.

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    • Peter G. says:

      Impossible, Boston’s FO never makes mistakes. Although with Theo gone, I assume it’s ok to start bashing him??

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      • NBarnes says:

        Trust me, plenty of Boston fans wondered what Theo was smoking with the Lackey contract. The Crawford contract had a lot more going for it.

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    • JimNYC says:

      I think you’re VASTLY underselling the injury angle. Here in New York, that’s basically all anybody talks about with Reyes — heck on the talk radio shows, everybody’s been saying that they don’t feel comfortable offering Reyes more than three years because of the injury risk!

      I don’t think that Crawford last year is his best comparison. I think the better comparison would be Nomar Garciaparra circa 2003 — yeah, he’s still managing to perform, and yeah, he was sorta-kinda healthy this year, but people are betting that, more likely than not, his injuries will reduce him to utility infielder status within the next two to three years.

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  3. Brad Johnson says:

    Just a reaction to the title.

    Jose Reyes is suffering from being Jose Reyes. The guy is hurt frequently and heals slowly. I haven’t seen anyone who looks so much like Rafael Furcal since…Rafael Furcal. At least when it comes to staying healthy or getting back on the field once hurt.

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  4. “”but it’s hard for me to see how Reyes’ market value could actually be $50 million below what Crawford was worth just 12 months ago.”

    Even granting that Reyes and Crawford are the same player, and no one but the most ardent adherents of the clearly flawed metric fWAR thinks that they are, I find it more than a little odd that youve elected to write an entire 1000+ word article on the topic given that Reyes didn’t actually SIGN for $90 million and $50 million less than Crawford but was simply OFFERED $90 million.

    It was one offer. Relax.

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      Indeed. I’d be shocked if he signs for less than $120M.

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      • Mitch says:

        prepare to be shocked.

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      • JimNYC says:

        Well, you’re going to be shocked.

        The six year, $90 million deal shocked the heck out of me. It’s mind-boggling that somebody would offer somebody as fragile as Reyes a six year contract — Any team signing him should feel lucky if they get “Ken Griffey Jr. in Cincinnati” levels of field time out of him.

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  5. WilsonC says:

    The skill sets are similar, but the durability isn’t. While Crawford has had injuries, he had two consecutive healthy seasons prior to free agency, whereas Reyes has missed time in each of the last three years.

    With questions surrounding defensive metrics, that’s something that’s probably more of a question for us than for MLB teams. There may be volatility with regards to the metrics, but teams have both the metrics and a scouting staff to inform their decisions about a player’s defense. I’d have to think that a team spending on defensive value has a fair degree of confidence in their defensive evaluations, whereas injury risk is by nature unpredictable.

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  6. Mitch says:

    We shouldn’t really be drawing any premature conclusions about the contract Reyes will sing for at this early date… however, market price is determined by forces of supply and demand… for some reason, many so-called experts or industry insiders kept telling everyone that there would be a long list of teams pursuing Reyes… when the real analysis revealed that most teams either didn’t have a need for a SS, weren’t able or willing to commit $100M especially for a player with known leg issues, or had other fish to fry…

    Moreover, aside from maybe a 1 off situation (Marlins), teams like the Angels or Rangers who already have young SSs aren’t going to reconfigure their rosters just so that they can pay Jose Reyes a lot of money and take on all that risk.

    When you break it down, the only logical pursuers of Reyes come down to Miami, Milwaukee, SF, the Mets, and possibly Detroit or Washington. Whether or not Milwaukee or SF actually step up at this price remains to be seen… ditto Washington and Detroit. Who else is there?

    It’s early, but this, and the fact that recent expensive FAs have failed miserably, are the reasons keeping the field small right now. This is not a new phenomenon either. Two years ago we saw the same thing happen with Matt Holliday and Jason Bay… both those cases there were no reported teams chasing either guy aside from StL and NYM respectively. Got to remember that there are only a handful of teams who will consider a player at an 8 figure annual salary to begin with.

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    • Greg H says:

      Sure. Or perhaps one year after $268 million went to the likes of Crawford and Werth, the dreaded “C” word has reared its ugly head again. Let’s see how much money is thrown at Pujols, Fielder, and C.J. Wilson. If all of them get low-balled, I’m calling shenanigans.

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      • Mitch says:

        You call it shenanigans, others will simply look at the results of big FA spending and determine that more often than not it doesn’t work out.

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      • JimNYC says:

        Pujols and Fielder are both worth 8 figure commitments. If I was a GM looking at Reyes, I wouldn’t budge a step beyond 4 years, $60 mill. Just way too much downside injury risk — if my Yankees signed him, I’d immediately start referring to Reyes as “Carl Pavano.”

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      • Yirmiyahu says:

        Hard to see any evidence of collusion when the only two significant signings (Kemp and Papelbon) have gone for an amount way over last year’s market value.

        I think that the Marlins just made a lowball offer, but folks are pretending its a fair market offer.

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  7. Jason says:

    I think the article is conceptually backwards. Carl Crawford was never a $142 million dollar player. I would be shocked if any other team valued him close to that. In fact I think every other front office in baseball was laughing about that contract. Outside of Barry Zito, it might the biggest contract ever given to a mediocre player. It was as if the Redsox looked at the Jayson Werth signing and said “We’ll really show you how to overpay for a role player!!!!”.

    So, if Reyes gets less than Crawford it might just be because the market never valued players like Crawford and Reyes that high. Perhaps there is no one willing to Tom Hicks or Theo Epstein Jose Reyes this offseason.

    ….for what its worth, I suspect few front offices think of Reyes in the same way they think of Crawford. Every team except Colorado would be better with Reyes playing shortstop. On the other hand, many teams would be significantly worse with Crawford playing LF. Most dream of 30+ HR and 100+ RBI from their left fielder. Few want what Crawford brings in left field.

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    • Greg H says:

      Well put. The Carl Crawford contract was Boston’s ode to excess. They blew $142 million simply because they can. And after they signed the Carl Crawford contract, they paid $80 million for a Jackson Pollock painting and then kicked a hole in it. Because that’s how they roll.

      Theo Epstein was like a trust-fund, Ivy League frat boy in Las Vegas with his daddy’s AmEx card. In other words, Theo was just being Theo.

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    • Aunt Baby says:

      Calling Crawford a “mediocre player” is just plain wrong. From 08-10, the three years before his deal, he was 8th in all of baseball in WAR. Even if you don’t believe in UZR (which most people just say when convenient), you could still see that he was an excellent defensive player, and if you take UZR out of his WAR he still was a great player.

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      • Jason says:

        I like how even supporters of UZR treat it as a matter of faith. It is something you “believe” in.

        When I am given a reason to accept UZR I will. Until then I will continue to ignore it whether it is convenient or not.

        A huge amount of the supposed value of Crawford is his defense. I don’t think defense is that important for a left fielder. They just don’t get enough difficult chances for it to matter much. Relative to other left fielders, Crawford’s bat is middle of the pack: well below many of his contemporaries. Even in his best year 2010, there were several better hitting left fielders (Holiday, Braun, Gonzalez, Hamilton, Huff). I don’t feel I was being unfair to him by describing him as a mediocre left fielder.

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      • Brad Johnson says:

        Ok Jason, ignore UZR entirely.

        Just focus visually on what you can see. Did you watch a lot of Crawford in the ’08-’10 time frame? If so, you would have quickly noted that he simply ‘looked’ like the best left fielder in baseball. Certainly Top 3 without any doubt. What that means is that his defense was worth at least several runs above average and probably at least a win.

        You say that left field defense is unimportant. Why? If Crawford is making catches on plays that would be RBI hits or doubles at a rate higher than his colleagues, he’s saving quite a few runs over the course of a season.

        Admit it, you stepped a little far into hyperbole land by saying mediocre. You meant to say something along the lines of “good but not great.”

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      • Jason says:


        Thanks for telling me what I meant to say.

        Observationally, I think Crawford is a good defensive left fielder. However, left field is not shortstop. A shortstop might get multiple difficult chances a game. A left fielder might get a few a week. How many GMs do you hear say things like “what I really need is a great defender in left field”. You just don’t need to be Carl Crawford to corral bleeders through the shortstop hole or shag lazy fly balls. GMs rightly want a power bat out there. I think Crawford saves runs with his defense but not nearly as many as he gives up with his offense.

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      • Jason says:

        ….now if Crawford could play center field it would be a different story. But he won’t (can’t?).

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  8. mister_rob says:

    regarding the crawford contract it is real simple
    can anyone name an OFer the last few decades who thru age 29 had a career obp in the 330’s, had never hit 25 HRs or more in a season, and by age 33 was producing enough to quantify being one of the highest paid players in baseball?

    I cant think of anyone even close

    you dont pay a non premium position guy with middling obp skills and middling power 20m per year. I dont care how fast he is. Because history shows that most guys stealing 50+ bases in their mid twenties arent doing it when they are 33

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    • Henry says:

      Here are a few:

      Johnny Damon
      Tim Raines
      Rod Carew
      Maury Willis

      If your question is whether there are any 33 year old players that have stolen a lot of bases, the list grows longer.

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      • mister_rob says:

        I see you missed the whole OBP qualifier

        Tim Raines was an onbase machine. Once he lost his great speed, he was still really really good at getting on base

        Rod CArew was putting up OBPs in the 420’s-430″s in his upper twenties. He put up a 409 obp at age 37

        Johnny Damon is pretty close. But when he was 33 and putting up a 270/351/396 line with 12 HRs and 27 SBs, do you think he was worthy of one of the game’s top contracts? Of course not

        Again, Carl Crawford is the owner of a lifetime obp of 333. THe last 4 years he has 2 horrible obps, 2 ok obps, and zero good obps. He has yet to break 20 HRs in any season. His high worth comes almost solely from his speed. Regardless of what Tango came up with, history tells us most 33 yr old guys dont maintain their elite speed

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    • JimNYC says:

      There’s a very easy one: Roberto Clemente. Crawford signed his deal after his age 28 season; after Clemente’s age 28 season, he had a .337 OBP and a 109 OPS+. Clemente had hit 23 home runs his age 26 season; other than that, his high was 17. Actually, Clemente and Crawford ha almost identical triple slash lines, in very similar offensive environments: .296/.337/.444 in 1235 games for Crawford; .303/.337/.439 for Clemente.

      Crawford signed an 8 year contract; over the 8 years following his age 28 season, Clemente put up the following WAR totals: 6.5, 6.7, 8.0, 8.5, 7.2, 7.5, 5.2, 7.1.

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      • JimNYC says:

        Oh, and I meant to say in 1213 games for Clemente. Park and era adjusted, they were basically the same exact hitter through age 28. Clemente couldn’t run at all, but he was a much better defender than Crawford (usually regarded as the best defensive right fielder of all time).

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      • mister_rob says:

        Now look at the most recent 4 years culminating in their age 28 season

        clemente ages 25-28…….325/364/486 849ops 130ops+
        crawford ages 25-28…….302/351/457 807ops 115ops+

        Clemente responded the next 4 years (which would be the good part of crawford’s contract) by posting the same exact batting avg, increasing his obp 10 points, and increasing his slg 14 points

        Best case scenario (before this years disaster) is Crawford can do the same and add 24 points to his ops for those years. That makes him an 830 ops corner OFer. Big deal. For comparison, that is 30 points less than Corey Hart has managed the last 2 years

        And this doesnt even bring in to account years 5-8 of the contract

        It was a dumb deal from the get-go

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  9. In business, this is called opening negotiations, and rarely do they end that close to what was originally offered, unless it is arbitration where the team is only allowed one try at an offering or if the business is not entirely serious about the bid.

    And given that the Marlins are reportedly flinging offers around, one has to wonder how real this offer was, that is, whether they actually put a lot of thought into the bid, because they already have a great, tempermental, frequently injured SS in Hanley Ramirez, who, according to the linked article, has not even been approached about moving to 3B. At $15M per year, that’s just below what Hanley’s making, which makes me think they just did it to make a bit of a splash in the news, as Hanley might not be happy if someone is making more than he is on the team AND he’s pushed to a new position.

    So it seems extremely premature to write about how the market is valuing Reyes so much less than Crawford, because we have no idea whether the Marlin’s bid has anything to do with the market. It might just be marketing on their part, for all we know.

    In addition to which, commenters above make the good point that whether Crawford was an overpay in the first place, which seems arguable and which complicates any effort to compare the two players contracts, once Reyes is actually signed.

    Furthermore, it ignores the economic climate that each market has. Last year the world economy looked like it was on its way to a nice recovery but now it looks like the EU is headed into another recession that threatens to drag the rest of the world’s economies along with them. That would put caution in the sails of teams bidding on his services.

    Lastly, how likely is it that he’s +6.2 WAR again, after seasons of 0.8 and 2.9? He had a career year in 2011. If he’s closer to his career wOBA of .346 and plays 126 games again, he’s down to roughly 4.5 WAR, which is roughly what you say he’s being paid at with a 6 year, $90M contract. And most players, once they regularly get injured, it is not like they will suddenly get healthy, they will see regularly time on the DL.

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  10. Jordan says:

    My take on the Marlins “pursuit” of all these FA’s is that it’s largely a PR move. Loria probably instructed his front office to come up with offers that sound reasonable to the public but that are very unlikely to actually be accepted. It’s a win-win for the Marlins – either Reyes turns down a legitimate-sounding offer and the fanbase comes away disappointed but believing that their team is and will continue to be in the bidding for elite FA’s, or (unlikely) he accepts and they get him at a bargain. Either way, I don’t think we should read much into the overall market for Reyes based on the Marlins’ initial offer.

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  11. SchmidtXC says:

    While their offensive skillsets are the same, they really are two very different players when considering a contract. Reyes brings a superior bat for the position he plays, and he hasn’t been above average (according to UZR) defensively for years. Crawford was probably light on the offensive side of the ball for his position, but his defense was second to none. I think it’s a bit unfair to Reyes if he really is getting backlash due to Crawford’s season, especially when you consider that their value over replacement comes from totally different sources despite their very similar offensive profile.

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  12. CircleChange11 says:

    IMO, BOS overpaid on Lackey and Crawford, in part, to remove those players from teams they were competing against in the playoffs.

    Removing those players from the Angels and Rays hurts both of those teams because they don’t have the depth to replace that production. Combine the reduced value of LAA and TB due to losing those players with the added value they were supposed to provide for BOS and that’s a helluva swing.

    Unfortunately for BOS, both guys underperformed their projections. While some may have thought both contracts may be overlays, I doubt anyone foresaw their underproduction to the degree that occured.

    Some could say in both cases that the BoSox outbid themselves on those deals. But signing Crawford should have helped the BRS while hurting the TBR just as signing Lackey should have helped the BRS while hurting the LAA … resulting in the BRS improving their playoff chances.

    Crazy crap happened for BRS in 2011.

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      This makes no sense. If the Sox signed neither Crawford or Lackey, the Rays an Angels still would’ve been hurt by their absences. Neither of those teams (especially the Rays) made serious attempts to retain them.

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  13. CircleChange11 says:

    Likewise, if MM signs Reyes and NYM can only replace him with a league average SS, the MM likely gains 3WAR while NYM lose 3 WAR. Moving Hanley to 3B, likely increases their WAR as well.

    So when you add it up, signing Reyes could be a 8 WAR swing between MM and NYM, which is what you want if you’re MM trying to leapfrog teams in your division and trying to make the playoffs. Help your team while hurting a rival is like a double bonus, if all works out.

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      I thought about this in the “opportunity cost of the Yankees” article. I remember hearing someone on ESPN saying “Brian Cashman is so smart picking up guys on waivers so teams above him can’t” which isn’t really smart, but more having the resources to just carry extra weight. However, it makes sense in free agent signings too.

      That said, if the Mets lose 3 more games and the Marlins win 3 more games, that’s really not that big of a deal because wouldn’t other teams in the east like the Phillies, Braves, and Nationals also possibly win more games against the Mets?

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  14. Walter Guest says:

    I have an evil streak. Every time Carl Crawford pulled an oh-fer, I got a warm feeling. That was an acquisition I didn’t like at all. When I posted at Fangraphs that they were paying Ted Williams money for a Juan Pierre skill-set there was a huge negative rain on me. Now Cameron is agreeing with me a year late.

    There were several other reasons I disliked that acquisition beyond the obvious of coming off by far the best season of his career. His lifetime OBP sucked eggs. They were paying for his range while he was going to the smallest left field in the majors. He’s a natural centerfielder who won’t play there.

    That was the thing that bothered me the most. When I played the outfield it ticked me off when the put me in a corner. I didn’t sulk but I resented that they didn’t think I was the best outfielder on the team. Crawford does not have that pride.

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  15. DJLetzler says:

    Granting that Reyes will sign for more than $90 M, I think you’re only looking at supply and not demand. Going into last offseason, there were two mega-spending teams with glaring left-field holes (BOS and LAA) who were clearly looking to give a lot of money to a star. Of course Crawford got overpaid.

    But there’s no team out there that really desperately needs a new star shortstop right now and really has lots and lots of money to spend. Most of the big-market teams have shortstops they’re happy with or are already at higher payroll than they want to be. As a result, Reyes isn’t going to get bid up the way Crawford was.

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  16. Dunston says:

    One other huge difference is that Crawford had the Red Sox, Yankees (fake or real) and Angels competing with one another. Jose Reyes’ suitors are the Marlins, Brewers, and Mets.

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