The 2016 Free Agent Landmines

On Tuesday, I looked at five free agents who I think have a chance to provide some positive value for the team that signs them, based on our expectations of what the market will pay out this winter. Today, we’re going to look at the flip side of that coin, and I’ll identify five players who I think pose the highest risk of ending up as expensive disappointments.

Of course, based on my recent suggestions, maybe teams should just sign all of these guys. Last year, I warned teams off of Max Scherzer, Nelson Cruz, and Edinson Volquez, all of whom went on to have one of the best years of their careers. At least I got Victor Martinez right, and I did a little better a couple of years ago, but even Curtis Granderson‘s appearance on that list is a reminder that these guys aren’t fated for disaster. Or that I’m an idiot, depending on your interpretation.

But for various reasons, I’m still skeptical of the five players listed below, and wouldn’t want to approach their expected market price this winter.

#5: Dexter Fowler, CF
Crowd’s Estimate: 4 years, $56 million
Dave’s Estimate: 4 years, $56 million
2016 Steamer Projection: +1.7 WAR

Fowler is maybe one of the best current examples of an average Major League player; for his career, he’s at +51 OFF and -52 DEF, as his solid bat and baserunning have been offset by occasionally suspect defense in center field. Over his career, he’s been worth almost exactly +2 WAR per 600 plate appearances, and heading into his age-30 season, he should probably be expected to produce something close to that level next year before heading into his decline.

For a team with a lot of money to spend, $56 million for an average player isn’t a terrible use of resources, but Fowler actually costs more than that, since he’s attached to draft pick compensation after turning down a qualifying offer from the Cubs. Any team without a protected first round pick has to add roughly a $10 million tax to the calculation, since they’d be surrendering the ability to add a valuable asset to their farm system next summer. So now, Fowler’s real cost to a contender — the teams with protected first round picks are mostly teams that shouldn’t be paying market rates for league average 30 year olds — is probably more in the $65 million range, while a +2 WAR projection for 2016 with a standard half-war-per-season aging expectation would put his value around $42 million over four years.

And when you see what guys like Aaron Hicks and Leonys Martin are getting traded for, it just doesn’t seem that wise to spend north of $60 million on the decline phase of a player with similar overall value. Fowler could be a useful piece for a team at a lower price, and maybe he’ll be one of the guys who get most affected by the qualifying offer, sitting around on the market until his price comes down to justify the value. At the expected price and a first round pick, though? I’d pass.

#4: Yovani Gallardo, SP
Crowd’s Estimate: 4 years, $56 million
Dave’s Estimate: 4 years, $56 million
2016 Steamer Projection: +1.7 WAR

No, I didn’t forget to change the numbers from the Fowler entry; Gallardo has the exact same contract prediction from both the crowd and myself, as well as the same Steamer forecast for 2016. They’re even the same age, having been born a month apart in 1986. Gallardo is Fowler’s pitching equivalent in this free agent market.

Except, instead of a long career of average production, Gallardo actually used to be quite good, topping out as a +5 WAR pitcher in 2010. But age hasn’t been kind to his ability to miss bats, and his core metrics have been steadily trending downwards for five years, with his strikeout rate reaching a career low 15% mark after moving to the American League last year. Gallardo is now a run-of-the-mill pitch-to-contact innings eater, which isn’t a bad thing to have, but not something a team should be eager to pay a high price for. But thanks to a 3.42 ERA — built almost entirely on the back of a .239 BABIP with runners in scoring position — Gallardo is going to be looking for a nice payday this winter, and like Fowler, he turned down a qualifying offer, so his actual price is higher than just the salary he’ll be paid.

If Gallardo had a history of outperforming his peripherals, this might be a different story, but his career 3.66 ERA is a near match for 3.74 FIP, and there’s no real reason to think he can strand as many runners going forward as he did last year. Without the ability to get strikeouts, Gallardo should be seen as a back-end starter, but he’s probably going to get paid at a level that requires more production than that. He does enough things well to be useful, but I wouldn’t be all that interested in dropping $50+ million on a low-upside innings-sponge.

#3: Justin Upton, OF
Crowd’s Estimate: 6 years, $120 million
Dave’s Estimate: 7 years, $140 million
2016 Steamer Projection: +3.0 WAR

Upton is a weird player, a former elite prospect who is simultaneously valuable and disappointing. He’s a power hitter who doesn’t hit for as much power as his reputation suggests — he’s only cracked 30+ homers once — and strikes out too much to be an elite hitter in seasons when he only hits 25 home runs. But he’s actually a very underrated baserunner, so even though he doesn’t hit as well as people thought he would coming up through the minors, he remains a valuable part of a team’s line-up, and he’s good enough defensively in the outfield to not be a liability out there even as he gets older.

Given Upton’s age, he’s probably one of the safest bets in this class to not crater, and maybe has the highest floor of any of the guys who are expected to get $100 million deals this winter. But at $140 million or more — with all due respect to the crowd’s estimate, I can’t imagine a scenario where he takes less than Shin-Soo Choo got two years ago — he’d have to be a high-end performer for the next couple of years to justify the albatross the deal would almost certainly become by the end of the contract. And Upton just hasn’t been a star player since 2011, the one year he did manage to hit 31 homers. A seven year deal with at least a $20 million AAV is a bet on Upton turning back into that kind of hitter for at least a little while, and it’s likely that someone will pay for that perceived upside.

But more likely, I think I’d expect something like +3 WAR for the next couple of years before aging starts chipping away at his value, and for that, I’m probably not going much over $100 million. I don’t think Upton presents a lot of risk of total failure, but at the price he’s likely to get, I don’t see him performing at a level that justifies the expenditure.

#2: Jordan Zimmermann, SP
Crowd’s Estimate: 6 years, $126 million
Dave’s Estimate: 7 years, $140 million
2016 Steamer Projection: +2.8 WAR

A year ago, this kind of contract for Zimmermann would have looked perfectly rational, as Zimmermann had cut his walk rate and increased his strikeout rate at the same time, and looked like a frontline starting pitcher who might be a reasonable alternative to David Price as the best pitcher on the market. 2015, though, didn’t go so well; Zimmermann saw his fastball drop by nearly one mph, gave back most of his strikeout gains from the year before, and started giving up home runs for the first time since becoming a regular member of the Nationals rotation. The result was his worst performance since 2010, a year in which he was pitching with a bum elbow that required Tommy John surgery.

Of course, even Zimmermann’s worst performance in years was still quite good, as he was a +3 WAR pitcher by either FIP or RA9, so it’s not like he imploded, but the regression does rain some concerns about what Zimmermann is going to be long-term. A significant part of Zimmermann’s prior success was based on not allowing home runs, and as examples like Matt Cain show, very good pitchers can fall apart if and when their home run prevention skills erode.

Without home run suppression, Zimmermann is merely an above average starter headed into his 30s, with an already-repaired UCL that has five years of wear on it. Given that some data shows that the repaired ligaments have a shelf life of roughly five years, there’s some significant injury risk in play as well. At $120 to $140 million, Zimmermann would need to start out at around a +4.0 WAR level and stay healthy for the duration of his contract to return value for the signing team. A year ago, that might have been a solid bet, but coming off a bit of a down year — by his lofty standards — I’d be wary of going too far north of $100 million for his services. As noted in the bargains post, if the goal is to add a strike-thrower with an average strikeout rate, just sign Wei-Yin Chen for half the price instead.

#1: Chris Davis, 1B
Crowd’s Estimate: 5 years, $100 million
Dave’s Estimate: 5 years, $130 million
2016 Steamer Projection: +2.4 WAR

Note: I’ll take the over on Steamer’s projection here, as it looks quite pessimistic to me, projecting Davis to hit worse than his career average, despite the fact that he’s been significantly better than those totals over the last four years. So this skepticism isn’t based on Steamer’s very bearish number, but instead, on the historically poor aging curve demonstrated by players with Davis’ particular skillset.

Davis has basically one elite major league tool; legitimate 80 power. When he makes contact, he does as much damage as anyone not named Giancarlo Stanton. The rest of his game is mediocre at best, as he’s an average defensive first baseman with no baserunning value, so all of his value is derived at the plate, but he also happens to swing and miss about as much as anyone else in baseball. Without power, Davis is a replacement level player, but he has so much power that his carrying tool has made him a quality player for the Orioles.

As that skill erodes, though, Davis’ entire value will go with it. And history suggests that his power is probably going to erode fairly soon.

That is a pretty stark downwards drop, and if Davis’ ISO goes, he doesn’t really have anything left. The scary scenario is that Davis follows Josh Hamilton‘s career arc, as Hamilton went from a +4 WAR player with 43 homers in 2012 to putting up +3.3 WAR and 39 homers over the next three seasons combined. One trick ponies aren’t so much fun when the trick stops working, and so while Davis can be an impact player as long as he retains top-shelf power, the end could come quickly once he loses that skill.

I think there’s enough short-term upside that a high-AAV contract for four years could probably work out just fine, but with Scott Boras publicly proclaiming that Davis is the best position player on the free agent market, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. At anything more than five years without a serious AAV discount, I’d be a hard pass, and even at five years, I don’t know that I’d be in for more than $25 million per season. There’s just way too much risk here to put out anything close to $30 million per year for six years, so if predictions of a $180 million contract prove anywhere near correct, I wouldn’t be surprised if the signing team ended up with an extreme case of buyer’s remorse.



Print This Post



Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
#6 org
Guest
#6 org
6 months 9 days ago

Your Nelson Cruz landmine was well off last season.

Justin
Guest
Justin
6 months 9 days ago

One good year does not mean the whole thing’s gonna be good though.

That said, he probably did just about provide the whole contract’s value in that one year.

BBWAA Writer
Guest
BBWAA Writer
6 months 8 days ago

Pfft. The Mariners didn’t even make the playoffs, how could Cruz have provided any value at all?

Los
Guest
Los
6 months 8 days ago

Except the one guy who ranked Cruz ahead of Trout on his MVP ballot.

good job, internet
Guest
good job, internet
6 months 8 days ago

Good job not understanding the sarcastic reference.

Nathaniel Dawson
Guest
Nathaniel Dawson
6 months 8 days ago

Good job not understanding the sarcastic reference

Exactly. Good job not understanding the sarcastic reference.

Willy
Guest
Willy
6 months 7 days ago

Youre kidding right? One player, in particular a DH, isnt going to carry the whole team on his back. They have a new GM & Coach & theyve made a few trades, what does that tell you? That they were disfunctional!

I can cherry pick, too!
Guest
I can cherry pick, too!
6 months 9 days ago

Victor Martinez looks like a good pick for a landmine.
So does Markakis.

Ben
Guest
Ben
6 months 8 days ago

As he acknowledged in the second paragraph.

John Salek
Guest
John Salek
6 months 5 days ago

I am really surprised Cueto was not on this list…really think he is a high risk of blowing up

Eddie Bird
Guest
Eddie Bird
6 months 9 days ago

Surprised not to see Cespedes. Think he’ll get less than Upton?

The Maddness
Guest
The Maddness
6 months 9 days ago

Cespedes is a better athlete.

I think he’ll cost less and give about equal if not more value.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
6 months 9 days ago

Cespedes is 2 years older and steamer has him at 3.1.

It kind of blows my mind how conservative people get with guys like Upton. He’s entered his prime and already has shown glimpses of greatness – why wouldn’t he blow up next year or the year after? Cespedes wasn’t that good until he joined the Mets but he’s a lesser risk? I don’t get it. You always hear “Upton’s a known quantity” but never “This looks like the year Upton puts it all together” – but he’s 28 in 2016, why would you think he’s incapable of hitting his ceiling?

Otter
Guest
Otter
6 months 9 days ago

I’m with you, Upton’s been so much better at getting on base in his career, that alone should be make him one of the ‘safer’ bets in FA this winter. Seven years, $140m is probably on point, and I would guess that Upton lives up to that contract. If my team signed him, I’d be happy but probably not breaking open the champagne at the same time. And while I wouldn’t count on a 5 WAR year in the next three years or so, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities.

Meanwhile, I’d also worry about Cespedes’ glove as it ages. It’s not hard to envision a team having a 33 year old, below average left fielder who doesn’t get on base AND is signed for two or three more years at $20m per in Cespedes.

Curious Gorge
Guest
Curious Gorge
6 months 9 days ago

Are you related to Upton? Why so defensive?

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
6 months 9 days ago

why wouldn’t he blow up next year or the year after?

I feel like we have the same discussion about Upton every damn year.

He may have already had his career year … in 2011.

Not every player has that “Joe Mauer” year where the experience career highs in BABIP, HR/FB, etc … or basically where “everything goes your way” and people act like that’s your new “talent level” or “expected performance”.

I like Justin Upton … but he’s no longer that 20yo with unlimited potential. At 28, he’s the established player his stats say he is. I wouldn’t want to be the team that’s paying him for “what he may become” at this point. He is who he is.

The Maddness
Guest
The Maddness
6 months 8 days ago

We already know what Uptons ceiling is as a player though.

In 2011 he had 6.3 WAR and hasn’t even sniffed that since. His defense is not that great and he strikes out more than Cespedes does.

Everyone sells Cespedes shorts because he doesn’t take walks. But the difference in K% and BB % between the 2 isn’t that much (Cespedes strikes out 3.1% less of the time, but walks 4.2% less of the time, it’s almost a wash).

I think the main issue is most people believe Upton will sign for longer and for more money.

Also, Upton defensively is already where you think Cespedes might be in 3 years….so wouldn’t you Upton continue to also get worse defensively as well? As long as they keep Cespedes in LF, where he has 32 DRS in just 3300 IP, he’ll be fine. Just keep him out of CF.

Upton has 19 DRS in RF in nearly 10,000 IP.

Willy
Guest
Willy
6 months 7 days ago

Take a closer look at Upton’s stats. He’s stopped hitting Lefties. What good is a right handed hitter that doesnt hit lefties? Upton is also a sub-par fielder. Cespedes, though still a big risk to throw huge money at is a better risk then Upton.

cradish
Guest
cradish
6 months 9 days ago

Agreed. He is my #1 landmine choice. Cespecdes can’t play for a contract every year!

Willy
Guest
Willy
6 months 7 days ago

Cespedes deserves to be on this list above Davis & Zimmermann.

Ian Desmond
Guest
Ian Desmond
6 months 9 days ago

Man, I was sure that I was going to be included on this list. Good thing Dexter Fowler bumped me off!

Only Glove, No Love
Guest
Only Glove, No Love
6 months 8 days ago

I am surprised at Fowler being here. I think he has a decent floor whereas some of these others…. And Desmond is a good example of large downside risk…

Noah Baron
Member
Noah Baron
6 months 8 days ago

Yeah, I really expected you to be on the list. You’ve been striking out like crazy out of nowhere and play in an extremely weak division. The defense has never been great.

At least Chris Davis might receive the “I finally left the AL East bump” (or just the AL to NL bump), which might give him a bit of a higher ceiling than expected (see Granderson, Curtis). He also has the exit velocity to back up his power, which is a characteristic that he shared with Cruz from a couple years ago that may allow his power to play in any ballpark.

Baseball Guy
Guest
Baseball Guy
6 months 8 days ago

The AL East is the best division in baseball for power hitters (though weak overall) and the NL actually has better pitching than the AL. So, you’re two for two!

Wikipedia Proofreader
Guest
Wikipedia Proofreader
6 months 8 days ago

Citation Needed

Cool WHIP
Member
Member
Cool WHIP
6 months 9 days ago

I could’ve sworn power peaked later than the curve suggest. I must be mis-remembering

acommenter
Guest
acommenter
6 months 9 days ago

Aging curves likely misrepresent reality towards the left side due to selection bias. Only top players will get opportunities while 21-24. The rest is likely more stable, though.

Furthermore, for a category like ISO, this curve is pretty useless. It’d be better if it showed how power hitters aged to at least provide a somewhat more accurate comparison to Davis.

Eno Sarris
Guest
Eno Sarris
6 months 8 days ago

Batted ball distance seems important to power, no? It ages even worse than that graph above. http://www.hardballtimes.com/how-batted-ball-distance-ages/

Noah Baron
Member
Noah Baron
6 months 8 days ago

I was going to point this out, because ISO is obviously reliant on other factors (like K%). Glad Eno provided batted ball distance aging curves.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron
6 months 9 days ago

I’m worried about Johnny Cueto. He’s a good pitcher but someone will likely pay elite pitcher type money. Most of the peripherals suggest a guy who will put up ERAs closer to 4.00 than 3.00. Maybe he can sustain low BABIPs but that number has jumped around for him a bit in his career. In the ’10’s, Cueto has the fifth lowest ERA-FIP. I wouldn’t pay him.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
6 months 9 days ago

As a Cardinals fan, I was hoping the Cubs would give a big contract to Fowler and Zimmerman.

Coolio
Guest
Coolio
6 months 8 days ago

Cool.

Curious Gorge
Guest
Curious Gorge
6 months 8 days ago

Best Fan in Baseball…

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
6 months 8 days ago

Well played.

irony
Guest
irony
6 months 8 days ago
Only Glove, No Love
Guest
Only Glove, No Love
6 months 8 days ago

MOZ doing his usual obsessive due diligence.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
6 months 8 days ago

I hope not. I know Matt Adams and Mark Reynolds are not long-term solutions, but let’s not give Chris Davis 20-25M/y for 5-6 years.

Let’s sign Heyward and find another option for 1B, even if it’s a platoon situation.

I’d much rather add a player like Zobvrist for money and have him be able to play 1B, some IF if needed and a corner OF spot.

1B is essentially a position where you can put anyone defensively. You don;t need to find someone that is “1B Only”.

Heyward over priced
Guest
Heyward over priced
6 months 8 days ago

Heyward is not coming back to St. Louis. He is not worth 200 million.

Potential First Basemen
Guest
Potential First Basemen
6 months 7 days ago

Put Grichuk at first. Use the 1B money to resign Heyward (need his defense). Zobvrist would be nice, but this team needs power at 1B, Grichuk provides more while retaining flexibility.

Painfully Real
Guest
Painfully Real
6 months 7 days ago

As a Portland Trailblazers fan…well, that’s about as relevant as what you just said.

Dooduh
Guest
Dooduh
6 months 8 days ago

A little surprised Shark got no mention here.

The Maddness
Guest
The Maddness
6 months 8 days ago

I’m not sure he signs for more than 2 or 3 years.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
6 months 8 days ago

Shark might actually be a bit of a bargain, coming off a crappy year.

Dayton Moore
Guest
Dayton Moore
6 months 8 days ago

All 5 Royals FA are landmines and could comprise the entire list:
Gordon
Cueto
Zobrist
Young
Madson

Gordon & Cueto have to be near the top, with their injuries this year. Gordon missed 1/4 of the season by pulling his hammy running back to the alley to catch a fly ball. If he’s hurt on plays like that, you can bet he’s only going to break down worse as he ages. 4/65 is ok for Gordon, but more? Crazy.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
6 months 8 days ago

I’d hardly call it crazy to take a bit more than a 4/65 bet on a guy who has been one of the best players in baseball for the past few years.

Only Glove, No Love
Guest
Only Glove, No Love
6 months 8 days ago

4 years is nothing these days. I’d think 4/80 would be a steal for Gordon. The issue with him is age and not propensity toward injury.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
6 months 8 days ago

I’d rather pay a bigger contract for a guy that contributes in multiple ways (Heyward, Gordon, Zobrist, etc) than for a guy that can do just one thing really well. Granted the latter get more attention and recognition, but don’t hold their value as well.

BurleighGrimes
Guest
BurleighGrimes
6 months 8 days ago

Gordon pulled a groin muscle not a hamstring, FYI, on a play that had him contorting in a relatively unusual way. It would be hard to call him injury prone since he hasn’t had any other major injuries and he came back earlier than expected from this injury. I dunno, a dude who is good at getting on base, hits for a bit of power, doesn’t K too much, plays elite D, and runs the bases well seems like a decent enough bet to produce at better rates than you’re giving him credit. 4/65 is an insanely lowball offer for one of baseball’s best players of the last several years, IMHO. In a world where people are anticipating fowler will get 4/56, Alex Gordon is gonna get way, way more (and be worth way more too).

dbminn
Guest
dbminn
6 months 8 days ago

Fine article. I am less worried about Gallardo than the other four. He has been trending as an E-F gap pitcher over the past four years. While he doesn’t have a ton of upside, I think he’ll continue to be a consistent innings eater with who averages 3 RA9-WAR. On a good fielding contender, he’s a bit overvalued but not a landmine.

dbminn
Guest
dbminn
6 months 8 days ago

*who, not *with who

Jerkbutt
Guest
Jerkbutt
6 months 8 days ago

*whom

blurp
Guest
blurp
6 months 8 days ago

nope

Cognitive Dissonance
Guest
Cognitive Dissonance
6 months 8 days ago

Yeah, the Gallardo of this year looks like a guy who has changed his pitching style enough that his previous stats don’t tell the whole tale. He suddenly became a pitch to contact guy – I could see him floating around as a Mark Buehrle type for some time.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
6 months 8 days ago

We should probably never ever project anyone to become a Mark Buehrle type. He is a big outlier in a lot of ways.

Biff
Guest
Biff
6 months 8 days ago

Except he’s not an innings-eater anymore. He very rarely lasted 6 IP during the 2nd-half of last season because he racked up high pitch-counts early due to nibbling. Almost every game he was already up to 90+ pitches by the 5th-inning. He has to nibble because he can’t K anyone thanks to reduced FB velocity. Not to mention he was very hittable – allowed an .895 OPS post-AS break.

Shirtless Bartolo Colon
Guest
Shirtless Bartolo Colon
6 months 5 days ago

I can teach him a thing or two about eating.

Oh, innings? *sigh* nevermind.

Mike Z
Guest
Mike Z
6 months 8 days ago

Fowler here is surprising considering how bullish Dave was on Heyward (Fowler is 3.5 yrs older) since they have been the exact same player offensively the last 3 yrs. No mention that players with Fowler’s speed and athleticism profile age well. I wouldn’t be surprised for Fowler to maintain his current level of production over the life of a 4 yr deal as not defense dependent. Dave’s line about Upton “a weird player, a former elite prospect who is simultaneously valuable and disappointing” is my thoughts on Heyward who I think should be on this list. Lots of Heyward’s value is tied up in elite corner OF defense that typically doesn’t age well – Michael Bourn, Mike Cameron, Carl Crawford, Dave Parker, Lloyd Moseby, Andruw Jones, Torri Hunter, Alfonso Soriano, etc. I’m skeptical Heyward’s offense blossoms and/or elite RF D sustain him to be a Value at 9yrs/$200 M.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
6 months 8 days ago

So, you basically said that …

1. Fowler is 3.5 years older.

2. Nowhere as good defensively.

3. Similar offense

There’s enough there to warrant two very different contracts. However ….

1. Heyward is better offensively, and by a decent amount.

2. The knock on Heyward has been injuries and he’s played more games than Fowler 2010-2015.

IMHO, Heyward is better than Fowler in pretty much every way and he’s 3.5 years younger. Let’s not make it sound like that’s “just a tad”. 3.5 years for long-term veterans is a third of a career.

cornflake5000
Guest
cornflake5000
6 months 8 days ago

Cubs fan here… Circle’s got it right… Would much prefer Heyward over Fowler. Would take Fowler back for a year or two, but nothing long term. When Heyward is in year 4 of his next contract, he’ll be as old as Fowler is right now.

Mike Z
Guest
Mike Z
6 months 8 days ago

The durable HR hitting Heyward hasn’t been around for awhile. Over the last 3 yrs :

Heyward
(PA/HR/SB/CS/AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS/OPS+)

1699/38/45/11/0.274/0.353/0.415/0.768/113

Fowler
1687/37/50/20/0.262/0.361/0.406/0.768/110

I’m saying soon – possibly very soon – Heyward’s defense will decline and Fowler and Heyward will both be corner OF putting up good offense and league average defense. Fowler’s plate patience, speed, and pop were an underrated part of Cubs 2nd half surge.

All things being equal give me Heyward in a heartbeat. For $140 M and 6 yrs less I’d take Fowler – especially in the Cubs situation with crop of OF’s on the farm – Almora, McKinney, Happ.

couth
Guest
couth
6 months 8 days ago

I prefer Heyward too, but if we’re worried about landmines, I’m not looking at Fowler. His WAR was 3.2 last year, Steamer seems entirely too pessimistic on his defense. A four year decline of 2.5/2.0/1.5/1.0 seems about right, and that’s worth $56 million.

bookbook
Guest
bookbook
6 months 8 days ago

I just checked Baseball Reference. I’m not sure why you say that Mike Cameron didn’t age well? He had an off year or two, but seems to otherwise have held up to age 36 quite nicely.

Matt R
Guest
Matt R
6 months 6 days ago

He also cited Cameron and Andruw Jones as examples of corner OFs and Alfonso effing Soriano as an example of “elite” defense.
You can safely disregard the entirety of his post.

Biff
Guest
Biff
6 months 8 days ago

Gallardo can’t be counted on as a workhorse SP anymore. Very rarely lasted 6 IP during the 2nd-half of last season because he racked up high pitch-counts early due to nibbling because he can’t K anyone thanks to reduced FB velocity. BORP at this point maybe.

dom
Guest
dom
6 months 8 days ago

I’m struggling to think which teams it would make any sense to give up a pick for the privilege of paying Gallardo or Fowler $14mm/yr and committing a roster spot for 4 years

Art Vandelay
Guest
Art Vandelay
6 months 8 days ago

It doesn’t have to make sense. As a Twins fan, I can assure you that some team will pay them anyway, maybe the Twins!

OaktownSteve
Guest
OaktownSteve
6 months 8 days ago

The one thing about Cespedes that makes him a landmine for me is not quantifiable. He really seems like a guy who is going to start phoning it in once he gets paid. I know this is an un-Fangraphian stance, but were I a GM I would be very, very reluctant to hand him guaranteed money.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
6 months 8 days ago

I’ll be honest … even if a guy were s super hard worker and stared me in the eyes and guaranteed me that he’d work super hard and his references said the same thing … I’d still be worried.

1. Players don’t control everything.

2. Guys that work very hard have a tendency to do more harm than good sometimes.

I don;t see Cespedes as someone that would “coast” once they “got paid”. I’m assuming Yoenis, right now, has more money than he’s ever had and is living a lifestyle he never dreamed he’d have.

OaktownSteve
Guest
OaktownSteve
6 months 8 days ago

I know guys who know him from his time in Oakland. Definitely some red flags. Also, check out how many times a year he either misses games or leaves games early with “flu like symptoms.”

baycommuter
Guest
baycommuter
6 months 8 days ago

Not working hard may be endemic to Cubans the way it was in the Soviet Union, because as long as you say the right things, you keep your job.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
6 months 5 days ago

“Guys that work very hard have a tendency to do more harm than good sometimes.”

lolwut

bjoak
Member
bjoak
6 months 8 days ago

Sorry but just assuming that the audience has Davis’ age memorized is shady. After I looked that up I had to click on the hyperlinked article to understand that the decimals on the graph are percentages.

pft
Guest
pft
6 months 8 days ago

You can count on Dave to warn everyone off any hitters with any power at all. LOL. I do agree with him on Fowler, Gallardo and Zimmerman though. Shelf life on TJS is thought to be 7-8 years by many teams which explains why the Nats won’t be signing Zimmerman, or Strasburg next year

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
6 months 8 days ago

I think Dave warns everyone off any hitters with power as their only, or almost only, asset. Unless you can find me an article where Dave disparages Trout, Harper, Arenado, Donaldson, Goldschmidt…

Hidell24
Guest
Hidell24
6 months 8 days ago

You may be right about Davis, but having watched him play in practically every game for the last three years, I would take issue with a couple of observations. First, he is definitely a better than average first baseman, and saves many runs merely by picking throws that are in the dirt. Second, while he will never be a base stealer, he runs quite well for a big man (unlike, say, Matt Weiters). He does strike out an awful lot, but even that shows signs of changing. In the second half of last year, he made pretty consistent contact, and was hardly a one-trick pony. He got a good number of singles and doubles, and his batting average improved a lot. Will this continue? Who knows? But he has more upside than has been suggested.

Only Glove, No Love
Guest
Only Glove, No Love
6 months 8 days ago

He had a great second half. 187wRC+ and better BB% and higher AVG. But it was really a HR frenzy: singles and doubles etc all stayed the same. I don’t think it is fair to say that his approach or even skill set changed.

James
Member
James
6 months 8 days ago

I’m with you. I watched him as a Ranger and his defense is great. I’m not sure how accurate defense metrics for 1B can be, but I saw him do the splits and scoop so many bad throws that I thought his defense alone was worth putting up with his bad AVG (at the time). He makes every other infielder better. His height and ability to effortlessly do the splits gives him extra reach. He’s fun to watch over there.

Rod Kimble
Guest
Rod Kimble
6 months 8 days ago

I go to about 30 Orioles game a year and agree that he passes the eye test. He also is at least a slightly below average corner outfielder, if not better in my opinion, and that is only with 29 games played. If he were to get more experience I could see him being an option as an average defensive outfielder.

James
Member
James
6 months 8 days ago

I feel like that ISO curve would look quite different if we seperated the He-Mans from the rest of the pack. It seems obvious that Jim Thome’s power plays for a longer time than Eric Chavez’s power. Nelson Cruz and David Ortiz (late bloomer He-Mans like Crush) have power that is going to last longer than the power that Jason Bay and Chase Utley have/had.

The ISO peak there is at age 24-25. When Davis was 25 he played 45ish games in the majors and hit a whopping ONE home run. If he’s been an exception to that “rule” then there’s reason to believe he can continue to be an exception, just like Thome, Cruz, Ortiz, and other physical beasts.

Noah Baron
Member
Noah Baron
6 months 6 days ago

Ryan Howard begs to differ.

lil jon
Guest
lil jon
6 months 8 days ago

TURN DOWN FOR WAT?!?

Eric
Member
Eric
6 months 8 days ago

What about Johnny Cueto?

Rocktober
Guest
Rocktober
6 months 8 days ago

The 5 years of wear on Zimmerman’s ligaments remind me of the John Lackey clause with the Red Sox: pre-designated injuries add a year to the contract at league minimum salary.

After seeing Lackey’s example, does this type of contract structure hold merit for both the team and the player, or will Lackey’s situation be unique to him in?

Eric
Guest
Eric
6 months 8 days ago

I want to see Chris Davis in Colorado.

Paul G.
Guest
Paul G.
6 months 8 days ago

So are these literal landmines? I’m waiting for the instant replay ruling about the basestealer’s foot being on the bag when the rest of him is scattered about the upper deck. Bonus points if it is Chase Utley.

Willy
Guest
Willy
6 months 7 days ago

I agree with all But Zimmermann, who was on a messed up team in which if you actually look at each pitcher except Scherzer they ALL had an increase in ERA, sometimes by as much as a run & a half higher. If someone seems Zimm for $20m a yr their getting 1 h*ll of a pitcher. The other player I disagree with is Davis. In case the writer hadnt noticed HR hitting has gone down drastically. Since testing for PED’s there has been a sharp decline in HR’s so when you find a guy who can hit as many as Davis does you pay them But I wouldnt go crazy giving him a $25-30m a yr deal but id say he’s worth $22m or so a year without question.

Willy
Guest
Willy
6 months 7 days ago

Signs, not seems

wpDiscuz