Yunel Escobar Has Some Great Representation

The Toronto Blue Jays signed shortstop Yunel Escobar (28) to an extension over the weekend. The contract reportedly includes two guaranteed years at $5 million each buying out his last two years of arbitration (2012 and 2013) as well as club options for 2014 and 2015, also at $5 million each. After impressing both at the plate and in the field with the Atlanta Braves during his first three seasons, Escobar had a rough 2010 and was traded to the Blue Jays. He’s recovered quite nicely this season, and it is hard to see how the Blue Jays could lose out in this deal. The only question is why Escobar agreed to it.

From the Blue Jays’ perspective, what is important is the guaranteed portion of the contract: $10 million over two years. To properly analyze these years, we need to remember that these would have been Escobar’s second and third years of arbitration, when, as a general rule a player is on average paid 60 and 80 percent of his open market value. So we should compare this deal to something like an open market two-year, $15 million deal. Assuming a conservative rate of increase in average player salary and standard rate of attrition, that is paying Escobar as if he will be a 1.5 WAR player in 2012. Given that in Escobar “disaster” 2010 season he was worth two wins, and that he’s been worth about two wins already in 2011, this already looks good for Toronto. To get a better idea of the value Toronto is getting, let’s take a closer look at Escobar.

Escobar’s bat was the primary culprit behind his poor 2010 and one-way ticket out of Atlanta. From 2007 to 2009, Escobar hit well, especially for a shortstop, with a nice blend of contact, walks, and a little bit of pop: .301/.375/.426 (.352 wOBA/113 wRC+). In 2010 his patience and ability to put the ball into play stayed basically the same, but he seemed to lose the ability to hit the ball hard, and both his BABIP and power suffered accordingly as he fell to .256/.337/.318 (.301 wOBA/88 wRC+) for the year. Escobar provides another lesson in the prime importance of plate approach: his walk, strikeout, swing, and contact rates indicate that he hasn’t started hacking, he just waits for his pitch and does a good job of connecting when he sees one he likes. His .280/.357/.428 (.347 wOBA/1119 wRC+) line so far in 2011 indicates that his “bounce back” comes more from an increase in power rather than an inflated BABIP.

There might be some concern over Escobar’s increase in ground balls at the expense of line drives and flies. However, Escobar will never have the kind of power to drive fly balls out with great regularity, so while the short term increase in HR/FB rate is nice, that is more of a return to his pre-2010 days and will regress some. While grounders won’t go out of the park, he’s also avoiding the infield flies that killed his BABIP last season. His current ZiPS’ RoS projection (.272/.346/.391, .328 wOBA) is probably in the right neighborhood of his current true talent: about seven runs above average per 700 plate appearances in the current run environment

Escobar has always had a good reputation as a fielder, but the defensive metrics leave it open to question whether he’s elite or merely above average. Leaving aside the small sample of 2011, here are his UZR/DRS/Total Zone with hit location (TZL) from recent years: +3/+12/+14 (2008), +2/+13/+28 (2009), +4/+19/+1 (2010). The numbers are all over the place. It’s probably a good idea to turn to his Aggregate Defensive Ratings, which also includes input from the Fans Scouting Report. His ADR for 2009 and 2010 (the seasons that includes fan input) are +14 and +8. Adding in some regression and adjusting for age, let’s conservatively call Escobar a +5 fielder.

Putting it all together: we have Escobar as a +7 hitter, +5 fielder, +7.5 positional adjustment, +25 AL replacement level, adjusted for about 85% playing time and taking off about half-a-win for general aging and attrition, and we have about a 3.5 WAR player.

Even if you think that’s too generous and want to knock him down a bit to three wins, the Blue Jays are still getting a great deal given that they are paying Escobar as if he’s a 1.5 WAR player. That’s before even considering that they also have options on what would have been his first two years of free agency. Unless there’s a horrible injury or unforeseeable collapse (it would have to be far worse than what happened to Escobar in 2010), picking up his options already seems like a no-brainer. If Adeiny Hechavarria miraculously learns how to hit well enough to back up his reportedly otherworldly glove, Escobar becomes a coveted trade asset given his salary or perhaps moves to second. Either way, Escobar is under the Jays’ control through the seasons he’s likely to still be an above-average player. As with Jose Bautista, the Blue Jays aren’t waiting around for free agents to fall into their laps, they are extending their good players now so that they (hopefully) can be joined in the near future by additions from the farm and add a fourth team to the American League East bloodbath.

The curious part about the contract is that Escobar and his representatives agreed to it. Escobar and the Blue Jays avoided arbitration with a $2.9 million contract for 2010. If they did go to arbitration after this season, it is hard to imagine Escobar getting much less than $5 million even if he mailed it in for the second half. And if he got $5 million after 2011, barring some bizarre boating accident or the like, he’d get substantially more than that in arbitration after 2012. Perhaps Escobar and his representatives thought the (slightly) greater security of the guaranteed money and avoiding the discomfort of two arbitration hearings was worth giving up what might have turned out to be a million or two or three… but why give up not just one, but two years of free agency? Maybe the Blue Jays, Escobar, and his advisors know something I don’t (in fact, I’m sure they know a many things I don’t, but I can only go on the information I have), but to me it seems that a) Escobar isn’t getting any more money than he’s likely to have gotten for his two arbitration seasons (in fact he is probably getting less), and b) is very likely giving up quite a bit of money for his first free two agent years, since the Jays are only going to turn the options down if he’s so bad he’ll get less than $5 million in free agency. I just doesn’t see that Escobar is really getting much, if anything, out of signing this deal.

I understand why most other people don’t really care about this aspect. However, from my perspective, it’s hard to decide whether it’s more appropriate to applaud Toronto’s front office or jeer Escobar’s representatives.




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Matt Klaassen reads and writes obituaries in the Greater Toronto Area. If you can't get enough of him, follow him on Twitter.


75 Responses to “Yunel Escobar Has Some Great Representation”

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  1. Danny says:

    What a brilliant trade by AA – signed Alex Gonzalez for basically peanuts, traded him midway through the season for a young, well above average shortstop and then signed that well above average shortstop to a deal well below market value.

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    • ayjackson says:

      Jo Jo Reyes, Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky will also have a say in how this trade is measured in the coming years.

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    • ddriver80 says:

      And getting Jo Jo Reyes and turning him into a decent end of rotation lefty. Hard to find solid lefties, Reyes looks like he gets it.

      Looks like they are using the Sternberg/Silverman/Friedman approach of buy low, sell high.

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      • Undocorkscrew says:

        Reyes pretty much sucks. His ERA on the year is good and all, but he has a WHIP near 1.500 doesn’t he? He’s improved on his BB rate though, at least through 80 innings. Wouldn’t count on his ERA staying there with as many hits as he allows……

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      • Danny says:

        “Reyes pretty much sucks.”

        No, he doesn’t. ERA and FIP just above 4 (nearly equal) and he’s accumulated nearly 1 WAR in less than half a season. That’s a pretty valuable commodity there…especially for someone who was an afterthought in the deal for most observers.

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      • joser says:

        You’re using WHIP and ERA in an argument? In an un-ironic way? On Fangraphs?

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    • JT Grace says:

      Still cannot believe the stupidity of Atlanta’s FO for trading Escobar and receiving nothing in return but an old all-glove shortstop and a couple of midling prospects.

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      • Aaron Whitehead says:

        To be fair, the situation in Atlanta with Escobar did sound untenable. We can’t discount these aspects just because we can’t see them. That said, the problem for me isn’t that they traded Escobar (and more), it’s that they got SO little in return.

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      • Luke says:

        I’m still livid about this trade and I still miss Yuney every day but Pastornicky is playing pretty well in AA at 21. .301/.346/.417 with 14 steals (albeit 7 CS) and 5 HR.

        I expect the Braves to give Gonzalez another 1-year deal while they wait for Pastornicky. If he can make it to the bigs as even as an average every day SS, then the trade looks fine.

        Still, I think that the clubhouse concerns Escobar supposedly was giving the Braves front office would have been tolerable had he been hitting like the 2009 version of himself and that it was an overreaction to deal him when they did.

        Miss you Escy, can’t wait to see you in the Ted tonight.

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      • Bronnt says:

        Yeah, they were just too eager to get rid of him. They called him a clubhouse cancer, but he was such a distraction that the Braves were well in first place at the time they traded him. He proceeded to post better offensive numbers than Alex Gonzalez over the remainder of the season while continuing to provide similar defensive value. Then this year, he’s clearly been the superior player.

        The telling quote about Yunel Escobar is this from (I think) Chipper Jones. “He was less annoying when he was hitting well.” That says it all…the Braves didn’t think he was always clubhouse cancer, but be annoying AND struggle for half a season? Get your ass out.

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      • joser says:

        The irony is that the guy who wanted him gone the most is no longer in the clubhouse either, but is enjoying his retirement. Meanwhile, the Braves must go on.

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  2. TFK says:

    Can’t wait for Atlanta apologists to come here and start trashing Yunel with the same old tired arguments. That’s easier than admitting that they traded a top 6-7 shortstop and a passable 5th starter for Alex Gonzalez, a borderline replacement reliever and a future utility infielder.

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    • JT Grace says:

      Not all Braves fans are apologists. I thought it was stupid trade then and I still think it was a stupid trade. Had they gotten something more of value for him than Alex Gonzalez then it wouldn’t have been so bad.

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    • Brian says:

      I guess you could ignore the 2 Braves fans above you who did that very thing, if you wanted to.

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      • Undocorkscrew says:

        I think it’s kind of funny that Escobar’s name can’t be brought up without somebody trashing the Braves front-office. Aaron made a solid point, call him an apologist if you want but do you really think the FO wanted to get rid of a talent like Escobar for peanuts without something else working behind-the-scenes? Bobby Cox said before the 2010 season that Escobar could easily become the best SS in the NL.

        No real Braves fan likes this trade.

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      • Undocorkscrew says:

        And if you could read you’d see that only one Braves fan did that…..

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    • Scott says:

      Yunel is definitely a great defensive shortstop and a pretty good offensive one. But the fact is, he thought he was the greatest thing on the Braves roster, despite how bad his bat was last year. Now I don’t necessarily like the trade, but I think it had to be done. And as far as Reyes being a passable 5th starter…maybe on the Blue Jays. On the Braves, he would be 9th or 10th behind Hanson, Jurrjens, Hudson, Lowe, Minor, Beachy, Medlen, Teheran, and possibly even Delgado. So he was nothing for the Braves besides AAA filler.

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  3. dfghj says:

    Maybe Esco is just good buddies with Bautista and wants to chill with him for a while.

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    • Scott_Hayter says:

      You know… that comment is actually “dumb enough” to be true… it seems like the young/latin clubhouse is really gelling. I dunno, maybe money really isn’t everything for a guy who rode a raft across the ocean to escape cuba.

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  4. Eminor3rd says:

    The options make this deal insane. I can see wanting to lock-in $10m for arbitration as a protection against injury, but he could just about get 2 more years a $5m if he played the rest of his career like 2010.

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    • PiratesBreak500 says:

      Fantastic deal for Toronto, gotta love their front office. I’m not an Atlanta apologist, but the general idea bandied about was that Escobar wasn’t trying hard, focused, whatever… Not saying that’s why he struggled, but maybe they wanted to trade him for clubhouse reasons as much as anything else. True? Intelligent? No doubt they gave up a better talent, but there’s no guarantee Escobar would’ve been playing like this in Atlanta.

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      • ddriver80 says:

        Thats true, alot of Yunel’s maturation has been attributed to Jose Bautista’s mentorship and creating a bridge between the Latino cast of Toronto and the management, something that was sorely lacking in Atlanta,.

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  5. ddriver80 says:

    Judging by WAR so far through 1 season essentially from the trade.

    Escobar: 2.9 WAR
    Reyes: 0.9 WAR
    Total: 3.8 WAR

    Gonzalez: 1.9 WAR
    Ankiel: 0.6 WAR
    Farnsworth: 0.3 WAR
    Total: 2.8 WAR

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    • TFK says:

      uhm, no, more like 3.8 vs 1.8
      .

      Escobar: 2.9 WAR
      Reyes: 0.9 WAR
      Total: 3.8 WAR

      Gonzalez: 1.9 WAR
      Collins: -0.1 WAR
      Pastornicky: NA
      Total: 1.8

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      • ddriver80 says:

        Collins never played for the Braves and Collins was directly a part of the Ankiel Farnsworth trade.

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      • ddriver80 says:

        Unless you just want to look at the Toronto side of the trade

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      • TFK says:

        what? I thought we were evaluating the actual Yunel Escobar trade. Farnswerth and Ankiel were acquired in separate trades, i don’t know how those trade change how bad the Escobar trade was.

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      • ddriver80 says:

        But how can you actually evaluate the trade without the direct results.

        If you want to say Collins was worth NA WAR that would be okay too.

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  6. SC2GG says:

    The resigning of Y.Escobar was something in my personal “Jays Salary Tracker” that I pegged to average out to about 10mil/yr for the next four, which I figured was still a reasonable deal for the Jays considering the player they were employing. Apparently it turns out they only have to pay him for two years, and he’ll play for four. Does anyone know where he ranks in the league in terms of SSs overall? like, 8-10th or so?

    As a funny aside, a comment from the BlueBirdBanter SN Blog:
    “Who wouldn’t want an above average SS for 5M a season?”
    Response 1 – The Yankees
    Response 2 – The Atlanta Braves

    haha.

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    • Scott says:

      I think he is 8th, maybe 9th behind:
      Tulowitzki
      Jose Reyes
      Hanley Ramirez
      Elvis Andrus
      Asdrubel Cabrera
      Alexei Ramirez
      Starlin Castro
      Stephen Drew(this one is arguable)
      Yunel Escobar

      That said, I have Escobar starting in front of Hanley Ramirez on my fantasy team. He has had an awful year. And I am a Braves fan, if that means anything in this.

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  7. Jays2010 says:

    The Blue Jays could have given up six 1 WAR players for all I care. The player that can put up 3-5 WAR by himself is worth a lot more.

    Perhaps this isn’t a bad trade for ATL in that we don’t know what else their FO could have received and we don’t know that Escobar could have resurrected his career in ATL. But it’s a massive win (so far) for the Jays.

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    • Bronnt says:

      “Resurrected his career?” That’s weird. He certainly wasn’t on the verge of being dropped out of the laegue in 2010. He dipped below his career averages for offensive input for about half a season. Since the trade, he’s back up to approximately his career levels of offensive production.

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  8. Telo says:

    This deal is mind bottling. AA is… a jedi?

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  9. everdiso says:

    If there was a clubhouse conflict for real, the Braves should have dumped good ole boy Chipper instead.

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    • Undocorkscrew says:

      How does that make any sense whatsoever?

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      • everdiso says:

        I’m taking a wild stab that good ole’ boy and team leader chipper was the main source of the “conflict” with young showboating no-speak-english Escobar. And dumping the banged up 39 year old would have made much better baseball sense than dumping the 27 year old top SS.

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      • From all accounts, Bobby Cox simply lost his patience with Yunel Escobar and was unwilling to countenance him on the team any more. At that point, the opinion of any other player didn’t matter, and Frank Wren’s hand was forced.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        Didn’t Chipper recently say that he didn’t want Escy to leave? I mean yea, maybe it’s a calculated comment. However, I doubt Chipper is the reason he’s gone.

        Who’s to say that he’d ever succeed in Atlanta? You can’t see how he’s playing in Toronto (more latin players) and say he’d be doing the same in Atlanta because I don’t think he would be. I think he’d still be struggling.

        I just wish Atlanta would have gotten more than Gonzo for him.

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  10. Dang says:

    It’s all fine and dandy to look at the stats between the players traded (I understand this is fangraphs) and call this a steal or win for the Jays but I don’t really think that is a fair evaluation of it. As some have noted you don’t know if Yunel would have turned things around in ATL or how good/bad he was off the field for them either. Was it a fair swap or talent, not as of today. But you can’t put a statistical value on something like the mood in a clubhouse or the cohesiveness of a team. I do think there is a reason Alex Gonzalez was given a standing ovation from 24 other players the day he walked into the Atlanta clubhouse for the first time. I don’t think that happens very often for a traded player. However this doesn’t make the signing any less significant or solid for the Jays. They took very little risk and have the ability to reap a solid reward/return for a player who is already very solid with even more potential in the future.

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  11. Bpdelia says:

    Wow. Agreeing to the second arb buy out with zero raise is weird. The two fa yr buyouts at 5 mil? How many above avg ml ss who are fa eligible make 5 mil.

    I dont like it at all. Maybe one fa year MAYBE but 2????

    Bad representation imho.

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  12. rob norton says:

    i’m certainly not as much of a WAR guy as most of the people in here, but after the signing i went and looked up alexei ramirez’ recent contract extension – (theyre both making 2. something this year, and alexei is a year older) – 4 more years at 5 mil, 7 mil, 9.5, and 10 , with a fifth year option at another 10 mil – then i took a look at his season by season numbers in comparison to escobar, and was left with the same impression i started with – thank you god, for alex anthopulous

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  13. Josh says:

    I’m sure there are a lot of factors which went into Escobar signing this deal. One of my theories (which is completely devoid of evidence, but still fun to think about) is that Escobar really wants to win and understands that Toronto is at a disadvantage in the AL East. Therefore, he was willing to leave money on the table so that Toronto has more flexibility for signing free agents and draft picks, thus making the team better. Maybe I’m way off base, but it’s a nice thought.

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    • everdiso says:

      might have some merit. The guys AA signs seem to believe enough in the team and vision not to haggle too much about getting every last penny, that’s for sure.

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  14. cthabeerman says:

    The Yunel trade, from the Braves’ side, was almost purely a damage control move. At that point in the season, the rift between Yunel, his teammates, management and FO was already irreparable. He and Bobby were not close friends from the start, but losing the support of his teammates in such a situation pretty much doomed him.

    Toss in that Fredi Gonzalez was already fired by the Marlins a month earlier for a highly-publicized argument with his All-Star SS, the fact that he was clearly going to be named as the manager following Bobby Cox’s last season, and you can start seeing the framework that really drove Yunel out of town. His offensive struggles probably didn’t factor into the actual decision to trade him all that much. It just drove his asking price into the ground.

    On one hand, the Braves clearly gave up the superior player. On the other, they’re received a veteran presence that would not have the same motivation/focus/attitude problems that plagued Yunel’s career as a Brave.

    The Braves got fleeced, without a doubt, but that is mitigated by the need to move Yunel combined with his poor offensive showing up to that point. The Braves just couldn’t risk a recurrence of the Hanley issue occur in Atlanta with Yunel. As you can see already this season, Fredi’s already under fire often enough without having to deal with problems of that sort.

    Could and should the Braves have received more for Yunel?? Probably. Fortunately for the Blue Jays, they came in with their offer at precisely the right time and it’s paid off pretty well thus far.

    The idea that the Braves did not provide the framework for Yunel to succeed irks me. The Braves system is flush with Latin players, two great examples being Martin Prado and Omar Infante, fellow infielders from abroad. Both are notorious hard workers…Yunel was never been known for being that. Maybe that’s why he didn’t fit in as well in the Braves clubhouse.

    It doesn’t really surprise me that another Latin player that had struggles early on in his career before putting it all together (boy, has he…) for another team is doing wonders mentoring Yunel. And good for Yunel, too. It’s encouraging to see him back on track, even if it isn’t for the Braves.

    -C

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    • Undocorkscrew says:

      It’s much more logical to assume that the Braves front-office is retarded and they thought that Alex Gonzalez was the superior player though…..

      What I like the most is the Jays fans that go on about how he’s gotten much more mature since the trade, yet still claim that the Braves traded him based on nothing but him disappointing at the plate. It’s absolutely remarkable how many times I’ve seen that since this past ST.

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      • ddriver80 says:

        If he wasn’t disappointing at the plate, his antics wouldn’t have been so cancerous to the Braves, so really it was solely because of it, but then it wasn’t solely because of it.

        Trippy

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    • Luke M. says:

      Yep. And Yunel’s best friend from the time he was a little boy in Cuba, Brayan Pena, came up through the system with him and was on the team for a year or two.

      I think it’s hilarious that apparently Toronto is the Latin ballplayer’s paradise and Atlanta is inhospitable to them. Forgetting of course that the Braves are one of the pioneers of scouting and developing Latin America and that the roster has a lot of likeable Latin players.

      The only notion funnier is that Yunel’s career needed saving. He was a career .300 hitter who had a bad start to the season, big deal.

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      • Alan says:

        I think that you would have to actually say that the Jays of the late 70’s and throughout the 80’s were pioneers in latin America. Epy Guerrero brought over to the Jays many young latin ballplayers, and for a while in the 80’s, the Jays were THE team as far as young ballplayers from this area of the world were concerned. Players like Roberto Alomar, Carlos Delgado, Alfredo Griffin, Tony Fernandez, Damaso Garcia, Kelvim Escobar, Junior Felix, Juan Guzman, George Bell among others were all products of Toronto’s extensive scouting in the area. It wasn’t till the Jays started bringing great players out of this area that other teams began to extensively scout the area.

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      • Mr. wOBAto says:

        Wasn’t Alomar aquired in trade with SD?

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      • alan says:

        Not saying that all of the players were international free agents signed by the Jays. George Bell was acquired via trade with the Phillies, and Guzman came over from the Dodgers. The point I think i was trying to make is that the Toronto organization has been, and now is again, a large player in the Latin American region.

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  15. Anon says:

    It was a bit of an unlucky situation for Atlanta. They had to get rid of Escobar and I guess they had decided that Alex Gonzalez was their guy, so they decided to get a deal done quickly instead of trying to get other baseball teams to make better offers and complicating things. So strictly looking at WAR it’s not a great deal but I doubt the Atlanta front office is too hung up about it. It’s tough to criticize an organization with such a great track record as well.

    So lucky for the Blue Jays to have the guy that Atlanta wanted to play SS. Hopefully for them some other team develops an infatuation with Corey Patterson.

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  16. Bill says:

    Now explain why they traded for Rick Ankiel.

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      McLouth wasn’t hitting for shit and they felt he was the best thing for them. They made the playoffs and played a hard fought series against the eventual champs with a ton of injuries and Brooks Conrad doing his damndest to screw things up. I don’t think they’re too stupid.

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      • Jason B says:

        “McLouth wasn’t hitting for shit and they felt he was the best thing for them.”

        Because anytime you can replace someone who can’t hit with someone who can’t hit, you *HAVE* to pull the trigger!!

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  17. jesse says:

    Chalk up another W for AA. if he can just solve the drebeck issue now

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    • Danny says:

      Drabek issue?

      The kid is 23 years old. He posted a FIP of 4.08 last season. Give the kid a little time in the minors to improve his command. Remember the guy he was traded for? Yeah, that guy got sent back to A ball after a failed stint in Toronto early in his career too and now he’s the best pitcher in the game.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        Remember, like 80% of pitching prospects fail. 23 is fairly old for a prospect. Of course, there are a handful of examples where guys get sent down and blossom in their mid-late 20s. However, time isn’t on Drabeks’ side. I’d be surprised if he becomes as good as Bronson Arroyo, which wouldn’t be bad, but I don’t think he will.

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      • Jesse says:

        that more or less what i was refering to, while we wont know the answer for a year or two, is keeping him in the majors the right answer for a guy would walks more than he Ks over 14 starts?

        That just it, I dont know. does he need to work on things in the minors that he can’t solve in the majors?

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      • MattK says:

        @Antonio Bananas: 23 is still young for a pitching prospect. Ricky Romero didn’t pitch in the majors till 24 and people were ready to consider him a bust before he made it. Arroyo didn’t become a full time player till he was 27.

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  18. Too Conservative? says:

    Why is double regression built in? If you’re already taking a half win off for general attrition and aging during his age 29 thru 32 seasons, then why are you knocking down his fielding to adjust for age and regression?

    Also, what does adjusting for regression defensively even mean? Is he playing over his head defensively? You gave two seasons of ADR data for comparison and they average 11. How does he regress to 5? Maybe adjust for aging, but not regression. But if it is aging you’re adjusting for, why double dip if you’re knocking a half win off the top? Why adjust for aging at all? They’re prime years.

    Just trying to understand. Would like to hear any explanations. Thanks!

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      Maybe SS lose their defensive ability earlier than other positions. It takes a ton of athleticism and while males can gain strength and mass into their early 30s, I’d venture your explosive lateral movement peak is around 27 for world class athletes.

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    • Bronnt says:

      I think that’s the “UZR has never liked this particular player” regression.

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    • Thanks for commenting. There are two separate issues here, a) regression to the mean, and b) aging

      1) When I write “regression,” I mean “regression to the mean [see http://www.fangraphs.com/library/index.php/principles/regression/. Whenm estimating a player’s true talent in any skill, due to the limitation on any practical sample size, they are likely closer to average than their observed performance (whether that observed performance is above or below average). We generally regress more for defensive metrics than, say, offensive stats, because a) the number of chances is lower, b) the type of chances vary greatly, and c) because defensive metrics generally are in their infancy and there are other kinds of error. I know it looks pretty conservative in this case, and I “eyeballed” it, but I’d rather err on the side of conservative here since I’m raving about what a great deal the Jays got, anyway… if I am being too conservative, they still got a great deal.

      2) This is a separate issue from taking off a the standard half-a-win for a player getting a year older, which is a shorthand for a number of factors in overall physical decline (general increased injury risk with age, decline in physical skills, etc.).

      Hope that helps clear things up a bit.

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  19. Rob says:

    Leaving aside the deal with Atlanta and focusing on the extension itself, maybe Yunel wanted to save the Jays some money to help the team out, have some security, whatever. But as his agents, if you’re giving up 2 years of free agency so cheaply, don’t you at least guarantee them to protect yourself in case of something drastic?

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    • Jimbo.v1 says:

      “But as his agents, if you’re giving up 2 years of free agency so cheaply, don’t you at least guarantee them to protect yourself in case of something drastic?”

      Maybe, just MAYBE, he actually believes he shouldn’t get paid millions if he’s injured? It’s possible. I don’t know what is more depressing, that such a motive would be scoffed at by many or the fact such a thing happens so rarely.

      I’d really like to think if I were a multi-millionaire and had a career ending injury, I wouldn’t collect any money still due to me. That money does, after all, come from the wallet of supportive fans.

      As someone above mentioned, after rafting the ocean for freedom’s sake, perhaps a few million is *enough* for Yunel. Sooo many, myself included, seem to forget such a word exists.

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      • Rob says:

        This kind of thinking is all well and good, and could actually be accepted if baseball teams paid players what they were worth every year, from their rookie year onwards. Certainly there is something to be said for not accepting money when you’re injured if you were paid what you were worth up to that point.

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      • gerard says:

        Except that generally speaking, guaranteed contracts act as a kind of insurance for the individual player, who bears a far greater risk of economic damage in the event of a career-ending injury than the teams, which spread such a risk out over many players.

        Your theory may be correct, but if so, it reflects even worse on his agent than the contract alone.

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  20. rotofan says:

    In my A.L.-only keeper/auction league, I traded for Escobar before the 2011 season, swapping a $15 Justin Smoak for a $4 Escobar (in a $260 roto league in which I had as keepers a $4 Mitch Moreland and $8 Kendrys Morales but lacked middle infielders). (It’s a 12-team keeper league with 40-man rosters)

    Then, 16 days ago, I traded Escobar to a team out of contention for C.C. Sabathia ($40), John Danks ($24 – just before he won his first game), Michael Young ($32) and Marco Scutaro (in final year of a fantasy contract and just before Lowrie went n the shelf with a shoulder injury).

    Both transactions, though especially the second, show Escobar to have a far higher fantasy value than what Escobar and his agent deemed to be his real value. I guess truth is stranger than fiction.

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    • rotofan says:

      For the sake of being complete, in the second deal I also gave up a $1 Brandon McCarthy, Jacob McGee and Dellin Betances. I was last of my league in wins and also hurting in qualitative pitching stats while being fairly dominant in hitting categories. If McCarthy bounces back from injury and either McGee or Betances make some noise next year, it’s a pretty good haul for my futures-building trade partner.

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  21. Alan says:

    Something else to be considered here as well… he was basically run out of Atlanta, and was welcomed quite warmly by the management and clubhouse in Toronto. Players give “hometown” discounts all the time. It is quite possible that Escobar just plain enjoys playing for this team, and signed the contract that was offered so he could continue doing so. It’s not always about dollars and cents when it comes to contracts.

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  22. Nga Mustafa says:

    definitely incredible article, thanks

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