Mets Add Bay

The inevitable finally happened today, as the New York Mets added LF Jason Bay on a four-year deal with a vesting option for a fifth. Bay will, of course, be the next starting left fielder for the Mets and will likely push Fernando Martinez to either the bench or the minor leagues.

This deal definitely improves the Mets’ offense for 2010. Bay’s roughly +30 run bat replaces Martinez’s, which only projects at -5 to -10 runs against average. Bay’s bat combined with Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and David Wright gives the Mets a scary top of the order for opposing pitchers.

That’s about where Bay’s effectiveness ends. Bay’s defense is questionable at best. Even with the park effects with the Green Monster on Boston LFs, it’s hard to imagine Bay as an above average defensive left fielder. UZR has Bay at -54.7 runs over four years, including 1.5 poor years in Pittsburgh. TotalZone thought Bay was decent last year, at +4, but still rates him at -40 runs overall in the last four years. The Fan’s Scouting Report has Bay as a below average LF.

His non-SB baserunning numbers do look decent, as he is roughly a +1 to +2 runner by Baseball Prospectus’s EQBRR statistic. Still, that’s pretty insignificant, and it’s safe to say that his value comes from his batting.

Of course, the real interesting point of the contract is the dollar value. The Mets will pay Bay 66 million dollars over the four guaranteed years of the contract, and the vesting option reportedly pays an amount similar to that 16.5M AAV. Given the current market, $3.5M per WAR, the Mets are expecting 4.5 wins per season out of Bay. Is Jason Bay the type of tier-2 superstar that deserves this contract?

As a 31-year-old with what we tend to call “old people skills” – high power, poor defensive range and average-at-best speed – Bay can be expected to decline at a faster rate than the average player. He has averaged 2.1 wins per season since 2007, although giving higher weight to his better 2008-2009 seasons vs. his replacement-level 2007 gives a weighted average closer to 2.8-3.0 wins, close to the 3.1 wins that the fans have projected him to at the time of this writing. Yes, it’s possible his defense is better than UZR/TZ/FSR think, but it would take a 15-20 run swing in his defensive value to produce market value with this contract. This is without even considering the effect that playing in Citi Field could have on his offensive value.

The Mets can afford to overpay given their place on both the revenue curve and the win curve. However, this contract could really hamstring their situation in 2012/2013 as Bay declines, and it could also severely hamper the development of Fernando Martinez. This move appears to be one of the more significant overpays of the offseason, and it by no means vaults the Mets into the playoffs. Much needs to go the Mets’ way for this contract to work out as planned, and it appears that this is just yet another example of Omar Minaya overpaying for a veteran presence.




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102 Responses to “Mets Add Bay”

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  1. Anonymous Coward says:

    He has averaged 2.1 wins per season since 2009

    Typo. You probably meant 2007

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  2. fire jerry manuel says:

    This has little to do with Fernando Martinez or veteran presence. If Bay signed for Boston at 4/60, is that a significant overpay? So an extra 1.5 makes it one of the more significant overpays?

    Is it really pertinent to talk about old player skills when the guy is 31?

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    • Jack Moore says:

      I believe that would’ve also been a significant overpay, and since the contract runs through age 35/36, it does seem pertinent to discuss old player skills to me. Decline phase could start soon.

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      • fire jerry manuel says:

        yes, they’ll prob take it on the chin with him in the last year of his deal. That doesn’t mean it’s not alarmist to suggest that a decline is likely/more than possible. He went to the tougher league, in the toughest division, and did better. Not much of a decline.

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      • vivaelpujols says:

        Right, you should apply some adjustment for Bay’s season beyond a simple park adjustment (which actually hurts him). Playing in the AL East can’t be good for you offense.

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      • djw says:

        Fire Jerry Manuel,

        I don’t take Dave to be saying Bay is in the midst of decline right now. I take him to be saying that the general type of player that Bay is tend to have earlier and more precipitous declines than the median player. Given the length of the contract, this is quite relevant.

        Even if you believe his defense is actually moderately above average in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, this signing would still be a modest overpay.

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      • willl says:

        Is there any evidence that playing on a better team elevates an individuals level of play?

        But did Bay actually “do better” with Boston? He posted wOBAs of .378, .413, .394 and then .326 with the Pirates. In the year he split between Pitt and Boston his wOBA was .387, then .397 in his only full year with Boston. That’s pretty much in line with his career average, 2007 excluded.

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    • tom s. says:

      don’t forget that if bay’s defense goes (further?) downhill, boston could have hidden him at DH and kept decent value from him. NY does not have that luxury.

      i wonder if bay’s D + martinez pushing up from the farm puts bay at 1b?

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  3. Max says:

    I know Bill James originated the “old player skills age faster” theory. Although I’m pretty sure he wasn’t including defense into his argument, rather defining it as a player with poor average, good patience, good power.

    I was trying to find any sort of study confirming or disproving this theory and was terribly unsuccessful. Anecdotally, it seems to make sense but I’d like to see some proof. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

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    • wobatus says:

      I think if the old player skills are combined with someone being a lard-ass, then true. That type of player breaks down. See Mo Vaughn. But Bay doesn’t have old player skills caused by being overweight to begin with. He is a decent runner if not blazing with speed. Fielding isn’t his thing and isn’t likely to cause too much more of a problem near term then it already does. His power isn’t going to disappear (other than by virtue of citifield, but that has little effect on his actual value-he will hit fewer home runs, but not relative to the ballpark).

      Bay had his knee scoped before 2007 season. I think that effected him, although he didn’t go on the DL. His fielding numbers that year were worse than in 2006 and 2005. And I do think there is something to a Green Monster effect on lf numbers. And frankly I am far more confident in saying he is a good hitter than in saying he will cost you a ton of runs in left. At least at the beginning of the contract I think he will be worth it.

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      • wobatus says:

        Sam Page at amazinavenue.com had an interesting article that addresses the same issue with the 2007 knee injury in Pitt and the Fenway effect, and he does it more thoroughly than I could.

        http://www.amazinavenue.com/2009/12/30/1224941/on-jason-bay#comments

        He also points out that Dewan has him rated as closer to average than UZR does last year. FWIW, Bay’s Rtot last year was +7.9 per baseball_reference (Carl Crawford was 12.2+ I think) . Second most lf put-outs with 310, 15 assists, zero errors (Crawford had 327 putouts, 6 assists, 4 errors), he isn’t a complete slow-poke. I know that is old-fashioned bare bones analysis, but i find it hard to believe he cost the Sox oodles of runs allowed last year. UZR has Crawford and Bay as about 30 runs difference. I’d think it is slightly less than that, although not nearly as close as Rtot suggests. Not sure how many runs saved Dewan has for Crawford (just using Crawford as a great fielding lf example).

        Bay may be sligthly below average (he was SO steady last year that I don’t think he could possibly have been much below average) but he isn’t Dunn-esque. I think his partially UZR-derived WAR in Fenway and dollar values are slightly deflating his “actual” value.

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      • Nathaniel Dawson says:

        I’ve also been looking for any compelling studies on the same issue, and I have yet to see them or have anybody point me to any. It seems like everybody espouses the theory that a player with “old player skills” declines more rapidly than other players, but where’s the evidence for it?

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    • pounded clown says:

      Your best bet is to read about the science of sports training to better understand what an athlete’s body is expected to undergo in their given sport relative to their sport’s particular training methods. Unfortunately baseball is in many ways still in the Dark Ages. Basic physiology in particular the central nervous system is a good primer. Try reading stuff by T. Bompa or by the trainers who publish with Stadion Press.

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  4. Justin says:

    The option seems pretty bad, but the rest of the contract doesn’t seem a significant overpay. Perhaps slightly, but significant? I can’t agree with that.

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  5. Joe R says:

    I’d have loved to have Bay back in the 4 year / $50 mil range tops, but this just seems like too much.

    Still want to see who the Red Sox end up going with in CF. I know they want to develop Ellsbury (has the tools, needs the instincts), but I think letting him watch and learn from one of the better ones in our generation will be better for him, and the Red Sox, than learning on the job. I’ve been critical of Ellsbury for having all the skills that in 1999 would have made him one of the most overrated players in MLB, but that being said, a speedy, .350-.360 OBP hitter + good defender (which he can become) plays out well in MLB. Either way, we threw the big money at the right guy, and played the value game at the position the free agent market dictated we could.

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    • Brad C. says:

      Wasn’t Mike Cameron signed to play CF with Ellsbury switching to LF?

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      • TsB says:

        According to Terry Francona, that is as yet undecided.

        Switching Ellsbury would, for the reasons Joe R mentioned, be a good idea though.

        Agree with everything you said Joe R.

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      • Joe R says:

        Cameron was signed for the fact that he provides more bang for the buck than Bay. The Red Sox want Ellsbury to be the CF going forward, but it will be nice to have Cameron available to switch in, just in case Ellsbury continues to take his fielding classes from the Juan Pierre school of route-running.

        I’ll back whatever decision Francona ends up making, each has the pros and cons. Ellsbury’s talented, no reason to believe, in my opinion, he lays up another clunker of a season in terms of UZR.

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      • MC says:

        I just want to say that I do not agree with the Red Sox’s strategy of signing Cameron, and all of these people’s beliefs that Cameron is a great defender. I really don’t care what the UZR says – for instance, it rates Cameron as a better defender in CF than Beltran. I watched Beltran and Cameron both in Met games – let me tell you this: Beltran is head and shoulders, a far, far better defensive outfielder than Cameron. Like I said, I can see this is plain as day with my own eyes and I don’t need UZR to tell me otherwise. Beltran has much better range, he’s much more athletic, etc, etc. I actually think Cameron is one of the most overrated defensive players in baseball. You may disagree, but please don’t try to persuade me otherwise because I watched Cameron play for 1-2 seasons with the Mets. As for his offense, he strikes out way too much, and he doesn’t hit for average. And I like guys who can hit for some kind of average. Maybe by now you can tell that I really don’t like Cameron at all.

        I would bet that Ellsbury is much better than Cameron defensively also.

        That said, the Mets definitely overpaid for Bay, especially because he doesn’t address their most glaring need: starting pitching. I’d much rather have seen them pay $16M/year to a top flight starting pitcher than to Bay.

        However Bay is a good player and there isn’t a team in the majors that wouldn’t like to have them in their lineup. Again I watched Bay play outfield and he didn’t seem as bad as people make him out to be. I think he’s about average; I wouldn’t say he’s below average, or that far below average. I mean, the UZR for Manny Ramirez the last 3 years is: -28, -3, -15; while for Bay, it’s -11, -18, -11; -46 compared to -39; this is hogwash, again I have seen Bay play the outfield and he is day and night compared to Manny Ramirez.

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      • Joe R says:

        UZR for Cameron in NY: 4.7
        UZR, Beltran, 06-08: 15.3 (~5.1 UZR/150)

        BP rates Cameron at +7.5 runs / 150 in CF. Fangraphs has him at +5.7. B-r has him at +7.6 per 1250 innings.

        But you saw him for a year. I’m on board.

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      • MC says:

        Joe R, can’t you read?

        I said, in my original post, “You may disagree, but please don’t try to persuade me otherwise because I watched Cameron play for 1-2 seasons with the Mets.”

        No body even knows how UZR is calculated, and frankly, IMO, you don’t need it. You can tell how good a player is defensively from just watching them, baseball is not rocket science and I don’t really identify with people who think it is. Case in point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YKxf3OkpJc

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      • Joe R says:

        No, you can’t “just watch it”. “Just watching” is why Derek Jeter has so many gold gloves. “Just watching” is why Torii Hunter won a GG in 2009 while 90% of baseball fans don’t know who Franklin Gutierrez is. And by “just watching”, you’re probably only “watching” one guy, per position, in all of MLB closely. That’s asking for bias.

        Obviously one’s eyes can detect a good defensive player, but they can also be very, very wrong. And when you say things like “My opinion is set and I don’t care what yours is, or the evidence behind it”, well, that’s just close-minded and bullish. Every defensive metric under the sun (included the less popular, but still useful ones) cite both Beltran AND Cameron as plus defenders in center field. And frankly, “I saw him play” doesn’t cut it anymore. Could you tell the difference between a .250 and .300 hitter without looking at data, for example? That’s one extra hit per week.

        Besides, even if you think Beltran is a better fielder than Cameron (their CF rate differences are pretty small), you’re not exactly putting Cameron into the Dunn’s of the world. Also, Mike Cameron routinely delivers wRC+’s in the 110′s, despite his meh BA and his strikeouts, and now will play in a park tailor made for his swing.

        So really, outside of some weird bias against him, what’s the issue?

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      • Joe R says:

        RAGIN’ GUYZ

        UZR is a proprietary figure, of course I don’t know the inner workings. I do know it takes into consideration all the defensive elements (range, errors, arm, double play turning, etc) and puts them into a metric. And from these, and other defensive ratings, and from what I’ve seen aesthetically, I can very safely say that Cameron is a plus fielder.

        And of course you’re entitled to your opinion. However, when your opinion is pretty much the opposite of almost everyone else’s, well, be prepared to defend it better than stating you saw him play for a year, taking a dig at a statistic that’s not in accordance with your thought, and all caps.

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      • MBD says:

        MC sounds like the kind of person who would go to an auction, make a bid on a painting, and then say “no one should try to outbid me because I colored with crayons for years and almost never went outside the lines. Didn’t you hear me? Don’t try to outbid me. How dare you make bids at this public auction!”

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      • Scottwood says:

        MC, you do realize that our eyes and mind plays tricks on us and our memory is really not that good, right? That is fine if you want to use your own observations with rating a defensive player. But, imo, you should use your own observations and then balance them with UZR and the other fielding metrics. To completely ignore the fielding metrics would put you on par with Dayton Moore and that is never a good thing.

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      • MBD says:

        I feel certain from watching him that “MC” IS Mike Cameron.

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      • wobatus says:

        I am trying to comment on the MC thread. First, UZR did suggest Beltran was slightly better as cf than Cameron. So it sort of agreed with your eyes. Cameron had more problems in rf as a Met than cf.

        Cameron also has been better in Milwaukee last 2 years than he was his 2 years in SD or his year as cf with the Mets.

        Baseball_reference has Cameron having an Rtot of -1.8 as Mets cf. He was -6.4 with SD 3 years ago, +7.5 and +5.5 with Milwaukee last 2 years. UZR also has him worse in SD and then better in Milwaukee 9although it gave him a +8.9 in SD in 206).

        I think Cameron is pretty good in CF. Beltran is better (watching them that certainly seems to be the case, even if you can’t trust your eyes, but the advanced metrics seem to back that up, at least until a year or so ago). And yes, watching him play for the Mets, I didn’t see the great fielding he had evidently exhibited in Seattle, and this is borne out by UZR, rTOT, not sure what Dewan says but would be curious.

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      • Joe R says:

        MC is pretty much making the reverse point of anyone who defends Ellsbury’s 2009 UZR, that he watched him play constantly and made a judgment.

        1) Eye check is deceiving sometimes.
        2) Saying you watch player X play every day means you don’t watch player Y, Z, A, B, C, D, etc every day. Ellsbury looked great defensively via spectacular plays and speed, but guys like Nyjer Morgan made those plays effortlessly.
        3) He’s using Beltran as a point of reference and one year of Cameron in CF. Fair? Probably not.

        But I agree, we should always trust scouts, at least on a player’s actual ability, what do they say about his defense?
        http://www2.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/players/Mike_Cameron/

        Oh, oops.
        Even though he walks plenty, discipline isn’t Cameron’s problem, it’s contact.
        I digress, usually claiming enlightenment on a position you and only you hold, isn’t the way to argue said position.

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    • ericinboston says:

      i’d give ells a smooch on the cheek if he could provide a .360 obp consistently.

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    • MC says:

      Oh man, I wish you’d just let me say my side of it and left it at that.

      Well, my first issue is you’re putting your faith in a number that you haven’t demonstrated any kind of understanding of. A person who makes a decision solely on the basis of a statistic is no more right, in my mind, than a person who makes a decision solely on the basis of how something looks.

      For example, anyone who decides to hire someone solely based on GPA is not someone I would respect very much. Conversely, anyone who decides to hire someone solely on the basis of whether they “like” that person, or because they think that person is “cool” I would respect very little also. I hope I am making myself clear.

      You, and many people like you, are making a decision based on whether to hire a baseball player based on a statistic that you do not understand; or at least, of which you have not demonstrated a thorough, clear, and nuanced understanding. Even if you tell me how UZR is calculated, with any statistic there is experience required to accurately understand the layers of meaning (and misinformation) inherent in ANY statistic, even a relatively simple statistic such as batting average, let alone a more complex (and perhaps bad) statistic like UZR. There is a very wise, IMO, expression about statistics that I can only paraphrase because it’s in another language: a statistic is like a feeding trough; you pour something in, and where you turn it determines where that thing comes out.

      I think, over the course of the season, you can definitely, absolutely, without a doubt, in most cases, tell the difference between a .300 and .250 hitter. Just like, although I have not been able to watch him for a long period, one can most times tell the difference between a .300 and .350 hitter like Ichiro, or a .200 and .250 hitter.

      The Derek Jeter and Torii Hunter examples are red herrings, or at least have the chance of so being. Who are the people who “watched” these players? ESPN guys who need to get ratings? Adolescent teenage girls who like Derek Jeter? Or professional scouts? Even among professional scouts, who do this for a living, there will probably be a difference of opinion.

      Evaluating players is an art, not a science, and a statistic is just 1 component in that artform, just like a color of paint is just 1 ingredient in making a painting.

      As for my watching Mike Cameron, why is my opinion not valid just because I am NOT a computer? WTF? You believe a computer, but you don’t believe me? Again WTF??!!! YES I watched Mike Cameron. NO I think he’s a crap player. I DON’T LIKE MIKE CAMERON and I am entitled to my f*cking opinion for f*cks sake.

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    • wobatus says:

      JowR, I know the eyes can’t be completely trusted. But MC wasn’t completely off-base. UZR suggests cameron was not a great rf with the Mets, and was good in cf, but not the fielding god he was in Seattle before and Milwaukee recently. UZR also said he was sub-par 2 years in a row in SD. It fluctuates, and a year is a small sample. Cameron is not so bad as MC thinks, but UZR suggests he can have some tough stretches. Having also watched him with the Mets, I gotta say he didn’t look like a fielding god, and it is nice to think stats seem to back that up. He was not Franklin Gutierrez or Nyjer Morgan the year he played mostly cf with the Mets, or Beltran. Of course, those are some great fielders.

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      • Joe R says:

        Oh I agree, I never went after him for saying Beltran is better, or even that Cameron wasn’t as advertised in NY.

        What I went after was the claim that Cameron is “overrated” and Ellsbury is better, having nothing but anedoctal evidence and an anti-nerd statement to back it up. That’s weak.

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  6. AB says:

    FWIW the old player skills claim seems counter-intuitive to me (I would also be interested to read whatever the latest study is)….because a guy with great plate discipline should be able to retain that offensive value as his bat speed declines, and very good raw power gives the player a better “margin for error” if you will during his decline, where if he regresses from plus power to average power coupled with good plate discipline he should remain servicable offensively even with some physical/talent regression

    Compare to a player with poor secondary skills, they are not only more vulnerable to the effects of BABIP swings in overall offensive value/ability to reach base, but if they rely on speed to create infield hits as well that doesn’t seem like something that would age well (compared to plate discipline), and if they had little power to begin with a loss of bat speed to handle say, the inner half of the plate, compared to a lack of walk rate would render them pretty much worthless offensively

    Power I guess I could be convinced about “falling off a cliff with age” at a comparable rate as speed, but it seems to me plate discipline will always help a guy’s aging vs a player who lacks it but may have other younger skills like speed

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    • JR says:

      The argument is: Once the power goes, the patience is useless, and pitchers figure that out.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        “The argument is: Once the power goes, the patience is useless, and pitchers figure that out.”

        [1] I thought power was one of the last things to go (provided it wasn’t PED-enhanced)
        [2] I would imagine most hitters would like to be challenged “in the zone”. That would seemingly help them, rather than hurt. (Again, provided their bat speed is still “MLB quality”)

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    • Max says:

      See intuitively, I feel the opposite. If a player has power and patience and the power goes, the patience should suffer as well. For every Luis Castillo who can somehow magically will the pitchers to walk him, there are armies of punchless players whom pitchers refuse to pitch around.

      But I was recently having this exact argument with someone and I realized I was just parrotting a widely held sabermetic belief without having seen anything concrete about it. That’s why I’m curious.

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      • Bronnt says:

        I feel that, one way or another, Chipper Jones is a walking case study. Never had a ton of power, and his primary skill is pitch recognition. He’s aged exceptionally well, up until last year. His power took a sudden dip, and he was still above average.

        Either the bottom is about to fall out, or perhaps old people skills don’t necessarily decline rapidly.

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      • Gary says:

        Same thing applies to Todd Helton, way below average slugging, amazing batting eye.

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      • JR says:

        Those guys (Jones and Helton) always had high batting averages. Thus, they are not examples of “old player skills.”

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      • Kevin S. says:

        In what world is Todd Helton’s SLG% “way below average”?

        http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/heltoto01-bat.shtml#batting_advanced

        Last year, he was 12% better than LA, and that’s adjusted for Coors Field.

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      • R M says:

        Kevin S, I think he means below average for his position.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        But in terms of getting a guy to respect your power enough for you to draw a walk, the positional adjustment is irrelevant.

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      • CaR says:

        ‘Old player skills’ may be a science studied by guys who are pros in the field. As such, I wouldn’t be qualified to critique the concept. In practice, the term is used and abused quite a bit by the neo-analytical crowd. When used to bolster arguments over expected aging traits, all that I’ve seen that has been consistent is simply that better athletes last longer. I wouldn’t think that to be particularly ground-breaking.

        The abuse component enters where said analyst either doesn’t understand nuances of the idea, or hasn’t the ability to apply it accurately. One of the main authors in here has been burned for most of this decade claiming that a player exhibited ‘old-player skills’ and thus should be dumped post haste. So to me either the concept hasn’t been fully researched, or its application shouldn’t be practiced (and used as primary reasoning for decisions) by laymen.

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  7. Jimbo says:

    When someone is past their prime…meaning their prime isn’t coming back…and they’ve posted 2.9 and 3.5 WAR in the last two seasons, how in the world do you pay for a 4.5 WAR player??? I think “significant” overpay is being pretty generous.

    I’d be willing to bet a lot of money that Bay doesn’t average even 3.5 over the next four years. Forget ‘old guy skills’, he doesn’t have to decline at all to make this insane.

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    • wobatus says:

      People take WAR way too literally. Nyjer Morgan was worth 50% more WAR than Bay last year. Reallly? Did all that ground he cover really way more than make up the difference of 29 homers, 14 doubles, 54 walks? Exactly how many more homers and doubles do we think he is taking away? I know there is also a position adjustment, but I always suspect there is a little something screwy with UZR and the WAR’s and dollar values resulting. I’m not the guy to do it math-wise, but I think eventually we’ll find some thing is being missed here. Probably by me. :)

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  8. OremLK says:

    Seems like a pretty bad contract to me. He’s a bad fit for their ballpark and he wasn’t even worth what he’s now being paid in the much-friendlier confines of Fenway.

    As a Houston fan, this contract reminds me of Carlos Lee’s, except likely without the first couple of good years. It’s an overpay right now, and will only get worse as Bay ages.

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  9. Preston says:

    This is admittedly not related directly to the Jason Bay signing (although I suppose one could apply it), but as long as we’re assessing value:
    As you noted, the value of adding a win changes based on where you are on the win curve. What seems often not to be considered when assessing whether players have been over or underpaid is the fact that a single 6 WAR player is certainly more valuable than three 2 WAR players, or two 3 WAR players (due to increased roster flexibility, etc). So theoretically while teams are paying about $3.5 million/WAR at the moment, it really should be more of a sliding scale. I wouldn’t begin to attempt those calculations myself, but it seems to me like something worth considering and studying further.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      Not just that but the Mets …

      [1] are a very talented team.
      [2] are in THE major market
      [3] are a team where each additional win is more important

      They aren;t the nationals signing a name to finish 20 games out instead of 24 … they’re the Mets who are a really good team (forget the injury-plagued 09 season), who should compete with PHL for the division title, and whoever else in the wild card.

      In short, they can overpay a little for WARs, without it being the travesty.

      Now, I do have a question …

      Fangraphs basically says EVERY single signing is “over-paid”, and it is by using the 4.5M/WAR figure. But, by definition, shouldn’t the value of a WAR change based on what teams are paying for them? If every signing is “over-paying”, then maybe WAR is not correctly assigned the proper “going rate” for wins?

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      • Steven Ellingson says:

        “Fangraphs basically says EVERY single signing is “over-paid””

        Really? I’m not going to look, but there have been plenty of articles saying the opposite. It’s usually the big ones, like Bay, that get more attention, and these are the guys that are usually overpaid.

        Also, they didn’t just make up the 3.5 mil/WAR mark. That’s what it’s been at this year so far. In years past, it’s been closer to 4.5. The Bay signing will raise that 3.5 some, but it’s still a pretty remarkable overpay compared to other contracts signed this season.

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      • Gary says:

        Chone Figgins, big contract, fangraphs agreed is a good deal.

        I think people generally agree that this free agent class is pretty flawed. Lackey, Wolf, Pineiro, and Bay are all walking land mines. Holliday however, with his superior defense and patience, will probably be a much better deal even with the bigger contract.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        My point exactly. Figgins seems to be the “only” one where a team is going to “get what it paid for” (strictly in terms of WAR).

        That’s likely due to much of his WAR being defense and positional adjustment.

        If the vast majority of his WAR was offense, he’d have received much more money per year. Defense is an undervalued commodity … and THAT’s assumming we measure it correctly (i.e., in terms of runs saved or fielding runs or whatever).

        There aren’t many Figgins types, so naturally most players aren’t going to get contracts that fit into the “WAR/4=good value” methodology.

        That’s why I stated perhaps we need to look at the 4M/y for a “win” number, because lots of players are getting more per “win”.

        If I understand correctly the 4M/win number comes from the market, so perhaps the market has shifted?

        Beltre may get a “good contract” (in terms of WAR/4M), because much of his value is in defense.

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      • R M says:

        Gary, how will Holliday, who is looking for a contract similar to Teixiera’s that would bring him through his age 38 season, be a better signing than any of the other overpays this offseason? He may be good now, but who knows how a player is going to age that late into his career? It’s a complete gamble.

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  10. JR says:

    By the way, isn’t there an argument that Bay never exhibited true “old player skills” at all because he had too many SBs?

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  11. Jimbo says:

    I wonder what Mr. Matt Holliday’s agent is thinking…

    Removes one of the few remaining big spenders, but also takes Bay out of the equation as Plan B for St. Louis.

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  12. Scottwood says:

    Has the “old player” skills ever been proven or is that just a theory? If possible, I’d like to be pointed to a study done on this.

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  13. Joe says:

    Can someone explain to me why there is a fan projection system now here at Fangraphs?

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  14. Edwincnelson says:

    Clearly Bay’s bat will play. On the other hand I am a big Pirates fan and Bay was not the same after he injured his knee. Either in the field, or on the basepaths he simply lacked the ability to make quick turns rounding the bases, or make quick jumps on the ball in the field. Now, between Beltran’s knees, and Bays knees, and the size of that outfield, how exactly is this going to work going forward?

    The Met’s should have overpaid for Holliday if they were going to overpay.

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    • wobatus says:

      This is something I heard. He was an ok fielder prior to the knee in 2007. Is it possible 2008 and 9 were a bit of a Fenway thing? Speed isn’t everything for SBs, but I asume with 13 SBs he isn’t Bengie Molina out there.

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  15. Ryan says:

    “and it could also severely hamper the development of Fernando Martinez”

    Why?

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  16. hernandezhof says:

    I think its pretty obvious that the development of Martinez will be HELPED by the signing of Bay. It was evident to everyone watching Martinez play last year that he wasn’t ready for the big leagues. Now, he gets to go to down to AAA and get another developing, and then replace Franceour in 2011.

    If Beltran’s knees do significantly reduce his range, Martinez can play CF with Beltran shifting over to RF.

    Franceour is just a place holder – someone to hold the position until Martinez is ready.

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  17. Paul says:

    Hey, would this be better at all if they switched Bay to 1b where they could theoretically hide his bad defense (assuming he’s average at first) and then sign maybe someone like Endy Chavez or someone who is a league average bat with +OF defense?

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    • wobatus says:

      Someone like Endy Chavez? Can’t give Putz back for him.

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      • joser says:

        Chavez is a free agent. But with his leg injury, I wouldn’t be counting on him playing the field better than Bay at the start of the season.

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    • pounded clown says:

      that’s not such a bad idea

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      Good point.

      I don;t see any reason why Bay couldn’t play 1B if he demonstrates he cannot handle the OF, or if there is better overall replacement/shift for the team.

      ala, Lance Berkman.

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      • Jim says:

        Not a bad idea to shift Bay to 1B, but doesn’t that also block prospect 1B Ike Davis as well?

        What are the scouting reports saying about Davis? Likely future stud or league average regular? If Bay is a better bet to put at 1B then a young Davis, then I guess Davis could be traded to acquire pitching, too.

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  18. West says:

    I’m going to bet the house that Bay will have a better WAR than Cameron the next two seasons. People forget that Cameron was suspended for amphetamines 2 seasons ago and at his age and moving to the tougher league, he won’t have that added boost. I have nothing against Cameron, I just think his career will come to a halt real soon. He saw a drop off in his ability to hit the fastball last season, he’s moving to a league with better pitching, and he’s old.

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    • MBD says:

      That seems unlikely to me. With the positional adjustment, Cameron starts out 1 win ahead of Bay. Based on their recent defense, he could easily lead Bay by 3 marginal wins before offense is even considered. Cameron is usually good for 10 batting runs, or 1 win, so Bay would have to produce 4 marginal wins with his offense to catch Cameron, and Bay has done that only once (and he came close a second time). Bay is moving away from a RH-pull-hitter’s park, and Cameron is moving TO that park.

      The only effect of Cameron’s suspension on his value was that it reduced his playing time and cost him some WAR points. He may be older but he has been consistent for a long time.

      Sure, Cameron could see his foot and bat speed continue to decline, and Bay could turn his defensive numbers turn around a bit, but I wouldn’t *bet* on Cameron’s falling more in the next 2 years than Bay.

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    • Joe R says:

      Even if Bay does outperform Cameron: 4 years, $66 mil vs. 2 years, $15.5 mil.

      Red Sox didn’t sign Cameron to be better than Bay. If Cameron is better than Bay, or even equal, then the Red Sox have registered a huge FA market win.

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    • MBD says:

      Sure, it’s possible that Ellsbury will stay in CF, and he may do a nice job there. But I don’t see why the Sox would announce that there will be a meeting with Ellsbury and Cameron if they’re just going with the status quo. It seems like a good way to get Ellsbury and the fans used to the idea of Cameron in center in stages.

      As Joe R notes, Cameron doesn’t have to surpass Bay’s WAR to be a great value. Cameron is making less than half as much per season. Does anyone think Bay will contribute more than TWICE as much as Cameron? Their track records predict that Cameron will at least equal Bay, and I don’t believe that Bay has hidden potential at this point.

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      • West says:

        If Cameron plays left or even right I see him having a negative WAR, I really see him putting up an OPS under .730. He posted a .600 OPS in interleague play last season, AL pitching will murder his aging bat.

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      • MBD says:

        That’s 60 PAs. You can’t tell anything from that. I’m starting to think I should take your money.

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  19. R M says:

    “This is without even considering the effect that playing in Citi Field could have on his offensive value”

    What effect? Is the park specifically bad for Jason Bay’s power? I guess it’s possible, but doesn’t seem likely.

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  20. Edwincnelson says:

    Bay’s home run totals will definitely come down. The height of the fence in the LF power alley is going to hurt him just like it hurt Wright.

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    • wobatus says:

      Hmm, rotographs says (I think per James) Citi is a 99 home run park for righty hitters; it suppresses lefties more power wise. Fenway is worse for righties home run wise, a 91 I think it was. Fenway inflates doubles.

      I thought Wright was effected because he has power to the power alleys side to side, but I could be wrong. But I don’t think you can take one player’s struggles in one year and say Citi is death to righty power hitters. Wright didn’t hit many homers anywhere in 2009. And I also read the Mets had tracked his home run paths and most of homers would have been homers at Citi.

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      • 080808 says:

        if you have one, please check the article written by hittracker people in 2009 hardball times.
        if Bay hits around 30 HRs in RS uniform, he is supposed to hit around 25 in Mets uniform in 2009.
        I think they used the data of the trajectories in 2008.
        another thing is he is kind of lucky on HR/FB in 2009.

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  21. rohit says:

    not a real fan of fangraphs logic of calculating player values via WAR alone. Do these guys realize that teams know that they overpay when they sign high-end FA’s??? Mets have been derided in local media for last 2-3 yrs and need to sign a big FA to create a buzz, their attendance will be drastically down next yr if they don’t compete, as they also lose the new ballpark factor. If Bay helps sell even 50k more tickets next yr that is 5mn in additional revenue. That too is factored in while team makes the decision. Mets had an opening day payroll of 150mill last yr and they had money to spend. Players are worth more to NY teams as additional seats they help sell bring in more revenue.

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  22. BX says:

    I don’t think the signing of Bay hampers F-Mart’s development. Easy. Jeff Francoeur should NOT be a starting OFer. I don’t think the Mets will let Angel Pagan block F!.

    If not, F-Mart will be traded for the pitching the Mets desperately need.

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  23. recca says:

    I guess the real question is why didn’t the Mets fork over the extra $5-6MM and sign Holliday? Seems like the Mets made Bay their ‘A’ plan when it should have been Holliday.

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  24. BIll says:

    What happens if we look at State income taxes and cost of living in comparing a Boston/New York deal?

    If we can look at backloading and total value, I would imagine this can also be calculated. I don’t know the answer, but I am curious the effect.

    Finally, personal preference comes into play. I am not saying that Bay prefers Boston over NY, I am just saying his living preference may have some value to him as a person. This cannot really be calulated. Maybe he likes NY more than Boston, or maybe he likes Boston more than NY. I am just saying that may have value to Bay.

    To put it in some level of perspective, just ask yourself would you move yourself and your family for a 10% bump?

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  25. Luca says:

    All these fancy pants stats you give and I LOVE how his HR and RBI production isn’t mentioned. You know….the reason he was signed. The Mets leader in HR’s last year had what? 12? RBI leader had what? 80? The Mets drastically needed another POWER bat in their lineup and Bay is a power bat. He is a dead pull hitter who hits high flyball moonshot HR’s, so his production shouldn’t be hampered by Citifield much. Enough of the overanalyziation. The Mets needed more power and they got it.

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  26. I don’t know who have created this painkiller but it is a rescue for everybody suffering from pain. That’s what i want to say here.

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  27. Griffo says:

    Sounds to me like the entire Mets offense needs to go back to school.

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