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Offseason Notes for December 19th


Tyler Greene is literally behind Rafael Furcal in St. Louis.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Assorted Headlines
2. Projecting: ZiPS for St. Louis
3. Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: Detroit Television

Assorted Headlines
Baltimore Signs Outfielder Chavez
The Baltimore Orioles have signed outfielder Endy Chavez to a one-year, $1.5 million deal, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Chavez, who turns 34 in February, had a bounceback season in 2011, posting a 1.5 WAR in 274 plate appearances without the aid of a particularly inflated BABIP (.321) or UZR (2.1).

Milwaukee Wins Bid on Japanese Outfielder Aoki
The Milwaukee Brewers’ bid of $2.5 million have won them the rights to negotiate a contract with Japanese center fielder Norichika Aoki, reports ESPN. Aoki’s NPB team, the Yakult Swallows, announced the news on Friday night. Our Patrick Newman (also of NPB Tracker) gave Aoki a pretty excellent scouting report last August, but notes that his (i.e. Aoki’s) stock has dropped in 2011.

Winning Darvish Bid to Be Announced Monday Night
The Nippon-Ham Fighters are expected to accept the bid they’ve received for Yu Darvish around 8-9pm ET tonight (Monday), reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

Projections: ZiPS for St. Louis
Dan Szymborski has published his ZiPS projections for the St. Louis Cardinals. Below are some of the notable ones. (All numbers assume major-league competition. OPS+ and ERA+ are park-adjusted.)

Rafael Furcal, SS, 34: .263/.331/.389, 96 OPS+, AV/112 @ SS
Tyler Greene, SS, 28: .233/.309/.364, 84 OPS+, AV/123 @ SS
Ryan Theriot, SS, 32: .269/.324/.332, 80 OPS+, PO/96 @ SS

Furcal recently signed a two-year, $14 million contract with the Cardinals. The deal means that neither Greene (who’ll likely make the 25-man roster anyway, because he’s out of options) nor Theriot (who was recently non-tendered by the club) will be the starting shortstop for St. Louis. How much more valuable is Furcal than either? The players’ wOBAs are projected by ZiPS at something like .318, .297, and .295, respectively. (League average was .316 in 2012.) Offensively, over 600 plate appearances, that would make Furcal about 11 runs better than Greene and about 12 runs better than Theriot. Omitting defense, that’s about a win difference. Of course, ZiPS only projects Furcal for ca. 430 plate appearances. Really, even then, Furcal is still probably at least a two-win player given this projection.

Adam Wainwright, RHP, 30: 173.1 IP, 155 K, 48 BB, 13 HR, 121 ERA+
ZiPS doesn’t know that Wainwright missed all of 2011 recovering from Tommy John surgery, of course. That caveat caveated, ZiPS projects Wainwright to be the ace of the staff, with Chris Carpenter‘s 108 ERA+ second among the team’s starters.

Shelby Miller, RHP, 21: 132.1 IP, 126 K, 68 BB, 10 HR, 94 ERA+
Marc Hulet ranked Miller, the Cardinals’ first-round pick in the 2009 draft, 14th overall on his pre-2011 top-100 prospect list. Then Miller struck out 170 batters 139.2 innings this year between High- and Double-A in his age-20 season. Which is to say, it’s unlikely that Miller’s prospect status has declined at all.

Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: Detroit Television
This offseason, FanGraphs is asking readers to rate the broadcast teams for all 30 major-league clubs. (Click here for more on this project.)

Rate other teams: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago (AL) / Chicago (NL) / Cincinnati / Cleveland / Colorado.