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Wednesday, January 01, 2014


Byrd's OPS+
2013: 138
2010-2012: 93

I wonder which one shows up in 2014...

The byrd is the word.

His market will never be better coming off this article. Let's see what we can do to trade him please.

Oh, you haven't heard?

"awh- it's a false choice you are giving when you are saying "If we don't spend on Tanaka then who?" "

TTI, go back and review my post(s). I specifically stated "who/what".

You answer "international and MiL development".

I maintain that they have the money to spend on those areas right now, but chose "operating profit" ("OP", what's left over AFTER they pay themselves) over doing so. And I am right - they do.

In fairness, the covenants they have on the ballpark bonds probably require that they generate a certain amount/ratio of minimum OP, but they are probably taking out millions for themselves - which, of course, is their right as owners (even though they received PUBLIC assistance to finance the ballpark).

But to the original point of my post - they HAVE additional money RIGHT NOW to spend on the areas - if they want to.

Now, you've changed your tune and state that "I would take that 17 million and sign depth guys this year that can be flipped if they perform well-..."

OK, WHO? Who will sign in Philadelphia and accept the limited playing time offered?

As much as you take issue with DPat on this board, you're basically regurgitating his prescription for the Phillies - from LAST offseason.

"...spend big bucks on depth...".

OK, identify depth guys who will sign here for big bucks because you'll probably have to significantly overpay to get them to accept the limited playing time, because the limited playing time will hurt their value for their next contract. Or, you could sign them to two-year deals and overpay in length.

I've named a name - Tanaka - on who I would spend the money.

Now, in the name of the "consistency" you claim to value, it's on you to do the same.

Even if the Phillies WERE willing to spend the $17M elsewhere, you can color me exceedingly skeptical that there is some combination of FAs out there who can't find a starting job anywhere, yet are good enough to: (a) command a total of $17M; (b) be meaningful upgrades over the Phillies' current depth (Ruf, Cesar, Galvis, Mayberry, etc.); and (c) put up the kind of numbers that would make them "flippable" for a worthwhile prospect. I mean, who exactly are we talking about? About the only "depth guy" left on the FA list who has meaningful upside is Grady Sizemore -- and he won't cost $17M.

Posted by: bay_area_phan | Wednesday, January 01, 2014 at 12:04 PM"

bap, excellent post, but that won't stop TTI from engaging in his obfuscating fantasy.

What a bunch of chronic whiners called fans. Oh, lets see what he does first, how about no moron, we know what he can do, why don't YOU wait on ripping him!!!! The same bunch of mommas boys can win a million dollar lottery then cry about getting pid in 100's! SHUT THE HE!! UP

NEPP, I get that Byrd's 2013 season at the plate was an outlier. I agree with that viewpoint.

But if he puts up an OPS+ of 100 and still plays above average defense he'll represent a big upgrade in RF.

That is very true.

"But if he puts up an OPS+ of 100 and still plays above average defense he'll represent a big upgrade in RF."

Only because Delmon Young was terrible. Would a 100 OPS and above average defense represent an upgrade over Ruf? Even accounting for Ruf's terrible defense (which has actually gotten better), that's debatable.

If Byrd is the answer, we'd better rephrase the question. That said I hope he performs up to last season's numbers.

The Phillies need to be bold. We've only got one or two years left of Cliff Lee, Howard, Utley, Rollins and Chooch. It's probably too late anyway so go big. If we stand pat we win 80 games.

So: The Brewers would love to get rid of Ryan Braun. He's too expensive for a small market team and his guaranteed salary is big and long. Plus, the fan base wants his rear end out of town.

So, swap Braun for Kyle Kendrick, Dom Brown, Asche, and Ruf (they need a first baseman). Keep Franco, Biddle and Morgan although that's who the Brewers would ask for.

Now that's bold. Here's the line-up now with a right-handed bat between Utley and Howard:

Revere CF
Utley 2B
Braun LF
Howard 1B
Byrd RF
Rollins SS
Franco 3b
Chooch C

Now we just have to hope that Braun can hit without the juice!

awh: I'm glad you read one post and decided to write a long missive towards me saying "Sign who??" Then took the time to write a second jackass fueled post towards BAP bashing me.

This of course all led to you ignoring my post where I did specifically mention guys.

I then even took to time to write a nice long post about my reasons for avoiding Tanaka which some might agree with but I at least tried to lay out a coherent argument. You ignored that. I guess you were furiously pounding your computer desk in fury.

So how about you read everything written junior before you start spouting your mouth off and looking like a complete dope in the process?

Now hopefully you've read this far into the post and your head is not blowing up like the dude in Scanners so you can respond to specifics.

So I will give you a copy of what I said at the end of last thread:

I think the Phillies are in for a run of 75-85 win seasons with or without Tanaka. Short term they have a ton of money locked up in a limited number of guys (problems they created) and owners who are more about filling their coffers than letting the GM spend some money out of mistakes. Also, their farm system- while improved from last year, has a long way to go yet and a few years until guys like Crawford, Biddle, Dugan, etc. can even be thought of as contributing at a major league level.

The Phillies do have a decent core of guys but they are obviously aging. Revere, Brown, Ruf, Asche are all young but get individually slagged on here.

Seeing as I think this is a team that can fluctuate quite a bit win wise I think the key to hitting gold is spreading money around as opposed to locking it into another long term deal. It's not a knock on Tanaka. It's an indictment of how the ownership group wants to do business and that trickles to the FO. They want to limit spending, there is a way to win with that strategy and it isn't 17 million plus contracts when you are already busting at your self-imposed seams.

Except for last season, Byrd has played very little RF in recent years. Single season UZR150 (or even plain UZR) for outfielders is pretty worthless.

Here's Byrd's total UZR150 for all OF spots the past 5 years: -9, +10.8, +3.2, -0.3, +2.8.

Anyone want to guess what his UZR150 will be in 2014 based on that random collection of junk?

Now also for your benefit awh here is another post where I outline some guys. I know what you are saying to yourself, "TTI I don't have enough time to read one post before typing myself into an idiotic tizzy, why do you expect me to read two posts?"

Well- here's hoping..

For this year I would take 17 million (which is probably the low end of what Tanaka gets AAV) and spend it thusly (I'm not going to go contract specifics but will be fair and try to be realistic):

- Sign Grady Sizemore to a one year deal.

- Sign Mark Reynolds to a one year deal.

- Sign Andrew Bailey to a one year deal with incentives

- If there is enough left (would be close) try to sign Paul Maholm at one year with a second year option.

- I'd then ask my scouts to find me a prospect in another team's system that has a good upside but may be overlooked some. Then I'd try and pawn Mayberry off on that team. I'd like to do that with Frandsen too but that would be much much harder.

That gives me:


a bench of:

Sizemore, Reynolds, Ruf, Galvis, Nieves

A rotation of:


A bullpen of:

Adams (if healthy)
Martin/Pettibone in the long man role

I think that gives you some pop off the bench from both the left and right side of the plate- and it gives you plenty of right handed options for first and third. Reynolds is a butcher at third but can play some first. You could also late game pinch hit for Asche with Reynolds and then put Galvis in defensively.

The rotation would be a little more stable through the top 4 and it would allow you to move MAG to the bullpen where he might be better suited initially. The bullpen is stronger and then Bailey coming back would remove DeFratus and that is better.

Obviously it is one year stop gap stuff- but if the season is crashing and you are out you can move one year guys. You may not get top tier prospects but the Phillies need depth up and down the system and those guys can help with that.

As I said- this to me is a team that is destined for a lot of 75-85 win seasons with some deviation based off of the moves they make.

I've answered your question awh, now answer mine: "How many wins does Tanaka add to this team over the next 5 years?"

And it should go without saying that I advocate getting rid of Amaro but I don't think that is going to cure the ills of the team right now.

Byrd may be better than all the RF-ders the Phils had last year but I just can't get past what they signed him for.

"How many wins does Tanaka add to this team over the next 5 years?"

The answer is unknown of course. Just like any other player. But over the next couple of years he makes the rotation very formidable indeed. That's why you try to get him.

"And it should go without saying that I advocate getting rid of Amaro but I don't think that is going to cure the ills of the team right now."

That's correct. Firing RAJ would cure the ills of the team. Especially since he created a lot of them salary-wise. wise.

But would a new GM be given the freedom to do so on his own, with no input from Monty? Because that's the only way it'll get done.

DPat: Yes we know- because they could've gotten him for 8 million total.

i think even the most ardent detractor to the Byrd deal would readily admit he is an upgrade in whatever corner spot he plays in the outfield. He also will be an upgrade on days he slides into center instead of having Triple A Berry out there.

The key will obviously be what he does offensively. He changed up his swing last year and had his best year since 2008. If he can give you the 105 from 2010 he is going to be fine. If he gives you the career outlier of 2012 obviously he sucks. If he gives you 2013 he is great. My guess is he is closer to the 2010 Byrd maybe with a little more power.

DPat, are you serious? Firing Amaro would "cure the ills of the team"?

I disagree. The ownership group, particularly Dave Montgomery, are as, or more, responsible than Amaro.

He's just the mouthpiece and the scapegoat.

AWH~ Sorry I meant it WOULDN'T cure the ills of the team. My bad there.

And yes TTI, I believe they could've signed him for less. That's my opinion. I just don't believe that's market value for him. What I believe is that RAJ wasn't gonna shell out big bucks for any other Of-der available, so he made sure Byrd wouldn't get away. If that's so then so be it. But I still don't agree with it. If he hits .265 with 20 hr and 75 RBI in each of the next 2 seasons then it'll be worth it. If not he'll be just another old over-paid player.

DPat: So two sources independent of each other say Byrd is worth 15-16 million dollars and that is wrong because DPat says so?

Please explain the research you used based off the market to come to what you believe he was worth.

I don't have a problem with the Byrd signing at $8 million. My problems start with what did not happen after that:

-- No real starting pitching help. Hernandez is not enough and Gonzalez is a big unknown.
-- We need one more impact bat and, to me, Rajai Davis at a "mere" $4.5 million (two years, Detroit) would have made our four-man outfield an excellent one.
-- We're probably still one bullpen piece short but on this one, I give Amaro benefit of the doubt. He did acquire two 'pen pieces in Lincoln and Munson (possibly). Either Gonzalez or Pettibone could end up there as well.

One guy I wouldn't mind seeing the Phils take a flyer on is Scott Baker on a heavily incentivized one year deal. He's often hurt, but when he's right, he's a decent starter, and the kind of guy the Phils could flip for a decent prospect at the deadline.

Not going to say high upside guy, but a mid 3 ERA is his ceiling and his floor is about a mid 4. Kind of guy the Phils could use on a cheap deal.

TTI~ I didn't say it was wrong. I said I didn't agree with it. That's why they call it opinion. And I'm entitled to mine.

He's had 2 good years is his career. 2. Does that justify an increase in salary from 700k to 8 million? I don't know. We'll find out.

So, let me ask you the same. Is Tanaka worth 100 million plus? If he is, based on what? If he isn't, one could say that he's only pitched in Japan. Is Pence worth 90 million? Was Werth worth 126 million when he signed with Washington? It's the same with Byrd. That's the trouble with you. You just disagree to disagree. If you've have said they overpaid Byrd and I've have said no they didn't, your comments would be the same as they are now.

Any reliever who is signing for outrageous money is said to be over-paid. Yet that's what the pitching market is costing. I get that. But Byrd? IMO opinion the jury is still out.

Let's go to Howard. Hypothetically, if he wouldn't have gotten hurt and continued to produce as he had, and the Phils would've waited to sign him to his present contract or more, would that have been considered an overpayment? Who knows? But based on the fact the Pujols and Fielder were FA's the same year that Howard would have been, to keep Howard, the Phils would've had to pony up to keep him. And that's the point. If the market is dictating what Byrd should've gotten, then that's a little different. But based in his career, I just don't think so. I hope he proves me wrong.

Now granted, I do believe that if ones shows he can consistently produce, then yes, by all means pay him.

Heather: How is Baker better than Pettibone?

DPat: You are entitled to your opinion but your opinion is not based in reality. THat is the difference. It isn't me disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing- I'm not a child.

It is me looking at the market, and predictions and seeing "Hmm. people felt 8 million for Byrd was what he was worth and the Phillies paid that."

Your response is, "We could've gotten him for 8 million total and that is what I believe." That isn't an opinion- it is a delusion.

Weird thing is, $8 million a year on a two-year deal for even a mediocre, everyday right fielder -- isn't that much money any more. The 2013 Byrd, at least, was better than mediocre.

And, Byrd can play CF in an extreme pinch, which makes him insurance if (please) Mayberry is dealt or waived.

Byrd will be a complete bust in 2014-15. He can't risk losing his $16 million by trying to mask PEDs and with new testing agents developed for the Olympics he probably can't beat MLB tests anyway. All he has to do is show up for two seasons, be drug free and he gets his $16 million as he reverts to his pre 2013 nonproductive metrics. Look for a Byrd/Dugan platoon in right sooner than later this season.

I didn't say you were a child. I'm also not delusional. I'm saying in my opinion, they could have signed him for less, which amounts to the same thing as someone else opining that Tanaka is or is not worth $100 million plus. That's all.

I'm not saying Byrd isn't a valuable piece of the club or anything like that. I'm saying that based on his career numbers at the present time they paid too much. It's the same as if they would've signed player X to 5/75. People would say he isn't worth that contract. That's what you don't understand. It doesn't make them wrong it's just their opinion. It's not that they're delusional.

DPat: I hope you live in a padded room. Cause otherwise you are a danger to humanity.

Your Tanaka analogy doesn't work but you wouldn't understand why.

Player X doesn't work either.

Again- this is not an opinion. This is you completely ignoring the market and applying your own warped value which is not based in anything other than "DPat economics."

This is why your GM speak falls flat. You have to look at the market and apply the market to your situation. Amaro overinflates, you severely underinflate.

When you look at RF last year for the Phils, it really has been a hodge-podge of crappy options:

J. Mayberry (71 G - 161 ABs)
D. Young (64 G - 232 ABs)
Ruf (28 games - 93 ABs)
Nix (25 games - 65 ABs)
Bernandina (12 games - 23 ABs)

Also had Carrera, Brown, Wells, and M. Martinez there last year.

It was a steaming pile of mess including Nix somehow staying on the roster until Aug 4 despite hitting well under .150 (58 ABs) after Memorial Day and well under that as a PH.

Nix, Wells, and Bernandina haven't even received minor league deals/spring invites.

Overall they put a .243/.305/.405 (.709 OPS) but they did hit 22 HRs and drive in 68 RBIs. Amaro stated that one of the key reasons for signing Byrd was 'more production' out of RF. Byrd is almost a lock to not hit more than 22 HRs and I would even take the 'under' on the 68 RBIs too.

Byrd if he simply stays healthy enough to start 140 G, plays even average defense with an above average arm, and has modestly better numbers than last year the Phils' RF (.260/.310/.420) it will be a notable improvement.

Basically even 'average' would be a notable improvement because of how terrible the players were who manned RF for the Phils most of the season last year.

Biggest concern I have about Byrd is the Phils counting on him to be an everyday starter in RF and counting on him to start ~150 G or so.

This horrendous production & defense though goes back to the Phils trading Pence in what was purely a salary dump because the Phils were already well under the luxury tax threshold at the deadline.

It was what I call the 'Circle of Stupidity' because Amaro overpaid for Pence and then traded him away less than a year later for .40 on the dollar and not getting a real building block moving ahead forward.

Pence wouldn't have made this a playoff team but he likely would have helped them towards .500. That's how bad the players were the Phils trotted out in RF were last year and how good of a season he had offensively.

Firing Amaro won't solve all their woes but it is a good start.

To me the biggest f@ckups the last 2 years with this team have been in-season roster management and how they deal with injuries of which I imagine Amaro either calls the shots or has a very key role.

Anyone else see this item about Doc dressing up as Jamie Moyer?:

Decision I don't get this offseason was to bring back Mayberry though especially if they plan on keeping Ruf on this roster and giving Ruf at least 200-250 ABs.

Yeah the system has essentially zero OF depth (you saw that last year with the parade of bench OFs the Phils went through including Wells, Carrera, and Bernandina) but what this team really needs is another OF who can play CF.

Sandberg even directly said as much when he was interviewed for an article in the Inquirer in late Nov.

Bench is one of the areas I was hoping Amaro might be able to tweak the team and it has been horrendous. Brought back Frandsen which is a real head-scratcher instead of trying to sign him on a minor-league deal, brought in Nieves, and brought back Mayberry along with Ruf.

Just a bench that doesn't make much sense strategically or give you any kind of hope the Phils can expect much out of this season.

Check out Jimmy and Howie at the same party:

Mulder is off the board. IMO he would have been worth a MiL, but he signed with the Angels.

Mulder would've been but my guess is he wanted to go to a team that had a chance to be a winner.

I doubt very seriously that Mulder will ever pitch an inning for the Angels this year, but he has already shattered the all-time record for the most attention ever paid to a free agent who hasn't had an ERA under 7.14 in 9 years.

MG, Mayberry makes sense if they use him properly - to spell Byrd in RF (against LHP ONLY), and to spell Brown in LF occasionally against LHP. Byrd can be used to give Revere off days is CF.

Ruf and Mayberry can both be used to sub for Howard.

Actually, against LHP, they could be a half-decent lineup if they played Ruf at 1B and Mayberry in LF.


Actually, if you replace Asche with Frandsen the above lineup might be better.

The Phillies were only a defensive HOLE in RF because they stubbornly put Brown in LF so that they could put Delmon Young in RF. Then when they finally gave up on Young, they refused to "overload" Brown with a position switch so Darin Ruf got the nod.

Ok Byrd in RF. Now sign Cruz for LF. Revere it D. Brown in CF. Brown played CF in the minors and hit well while playing there. Then Kendrick Tyler Cloyd, and either Brown or Revere to Tampa for starter ace #3. Now we are getting somewhere.

Al K, Cloyd is no longer in the organization.

I think Tanaka is worth no more than 6/$50MM.

Baker is better than Pettibone for the reason that the Phils could and should flip him at the deadline for a decent prospect, whereas presumably they will want to hold on to Pettibone.

It's basically taking a few million dollar gamble with a decent prospect as the payoff.

And, over his last full season, in 28 games in 2011, he posted an ERA of 3.14. Granted, that's his extreme upside, but don't the Phils need to take gambles like that to compete?

So you sign Baker on the off chance he has another career year and the team is competitive, or so you can flip him for a prospect.

The only downside is a few million bucks-I'm guessing 1/$6 gets it done, maybe with some incentives thrown in.

TTI~ I don't underinflate. I'm all for paying a guy, if I believe it's warranted. In Byr'd case, I don't believe that because of one very good year, his salary should be 8 million. Didn't Schierholtz have a similar year? But his contract won't be near Byrd's.

Look don't get me wrong. 8 million for a staring everyday player in today's market is not a bad number. Very reasonable in fact. But to me it's too much of a reward for one year's worth of performance.

And please don't tell me what I wouldn't understand. I'm a lot smarter than you think. You show absolutely no respect for anyone here who doesn't agree with you. I guarantee I'm not the only person in Phillies land that thinks Byrd was paid too much, just like you're not the only person who thinks he wasn't. Learn to see both sides. You'll be better off.

Dollars aside, I'm not thrilled with the Byrd signing. Yea he'll be an upgrade over D. Young and Ruf defensively, but that's not setting the bar too high.

I have a lot of trouble believing Byrd will come close to last year's numbers at the plate. They're called career years or outliers for a reason. He went over 20 bangs and 80 RBI's twice in his career. Even with those two "big" years he's slugged at a .425 clip for his career. He's averaged a HR every 45 PA's in his 12 seasons. He's a mediocre player who played well in a contract year. I've seen this too many times to believe at his age he's been transformed into a RH power bat.

The Phillies were only a defensive HOLE in RF because they stubbornly put Brown in LF so that they could put Delmon Young in RF. Then when they finally gave up on Young, they refused to "overload" Brown with a position switch so Darin Ruf got the nod.

Posted by: SDJegs | Wednesday, January 01, 2014 at 10:24 PM

Did you watch Dom Brown play defense in LF? You really think that RF wouldn't have been a defensive hole if Brown would have been there?

TTI, you seem silent. Just admit that I beat you handily in the debate and move on. Loser.

I do like that there is a fake DPat. Maybe fake DPat is DPat's source.

I do respect people's opinions who disagree with me. I don't respect your opinion DPat because it is not based on reality. It is based off the delusions of someone who created fake sources to impress Internet people.

Where's the creativity Ruben?

I can't believe I licked all those old man balls down at the parade yesterday. Oh well, clout will take me back.

42 days until pitchers and catchers

3 weeks until the Phillies caravan saunters onto the Sands in Bethlehem. Just in time For Ruben to toot Tanakas horn.

Suk-Min Yoon? Anyone ?

DPat.. Let me show you examples as to why 6/50 for Tanaka is extremely under inflated figure.. Here goes: Kazmir... 2 yr/22; Boone Logan(!) 2/16.5; Nathan (at least he's "top tier") 2/20; Nolasco 4/49; Wandy Rodriguez 1/13; Jason Vargas 4/32. Most of these guys are league average pitchers who are making the same or more than your prediction. Assuming Tanaka is perceived as a #2 or better, you can double it to 6/100. The posting fee is pocket change. The bidding war may START at 6/70..

CS: He is an interesting guy to look at. The book on him seems mixed on whether he is a starter or a reliever in the majors. But he might work well as a swing man in the bullpen.

Phils really need another veteran starter who could be penciled in for the No 5 slot/swingman given Pettibone/Morgan/MAG durability and health concerns going into the year.

If those 3 were at least healthy going into camp, I can understand why the Phils would be content to let one of them win the job. Gammons implies the phillies inquired on Brett gardner

Beltran got 3 yr/$45M and was out of the Phils' price range.

Only comparable FA OF this year was McLouth (2 yr/$10.8M) and he is LH. Phils weren't going to sign a guy who has a .196/.285/.306 (.591 OPS) the past 3 years vs LHP and start 3 LH OFs with a LH bat at 1st, 2nd, and 3rd potentially too.

Really comes down to what Cruz eventually gets. Funny thing is that he was also universally predicted before the start of FA that Cruz would be arguably the biggest overpay/worst value.

Increasingly, it looks like he might be sandwiched into what happened with Bourn where teams don't want to give up a 1st round pick & they have already spent there dollars. Rangers signed Choo already and the Mariners are supposedly tapped out too now.

Bourn got a decent overall deal at 4 yr/$48M but it wasn't 5 yrs or the $15M AAV that was initially possibly rumored too.

Not saying the Phils should have signed Cruz either especially having to surrender a 1st round pick.

Supposedly stinks in the field and the Phils already have issues with Howard defensively and health-wise at 1st and no DH possibility.

Any team that signs Cruz to say a 4 year deal probably wants to be able to move him to a DH role in 2 years.

Oogie Urbina:
What Tanaka's worth and what he'll actually get are two very different things. As Tanaka's got a good deal more mileage on his arm than the normal 25-year-old MLB SP, is reliant on plus control with a baseball whose physical dimensions are different than the one used by MLB, and has never faced an MLB hitter, there's no small amount of risk there. Something in the $10MM AAV range is probably most appropriate in light of such.

Now, there's no question Tanaka's going to get far more than that, because the FA market for starting pitching is just that weak and because, under the new posting system, Tanaka's a de facto free agent. The latter point in Tanaka's case nicely illustrates why it's going to be much harder, going forward, to find value coming from Japan: If someone's good enough to make an impact in MLB, they're going to get paid like an MLB FA.

It makes me wish that Yoshio Itoi would get posted, simply to put an exclamation point on this. Given that he profiles identically to Shin-Soo Choo and was expected to command a 3yr/$25MM deal with a $15-20MM posting fee under the old posting system, it'd be fascinating to see what he'd make under the new one. (I would think Granderson's deal with the Mets would probably be a good comparable.)

@Ken_Rosenthal: Mulder, who signed with #Angels, also had been a target of #Phillies.
Dumpster diving, implies they'll bring at least 1 project sp to camp

Mulder isn't even 'Value Village' shopping. It is going directly to the landfill and hoping you find something of value.

Amaro is pretty desperate for starting pitching but they apparently just don't have even another $4-$5M to sign another backend veteran starter.

Juums..Good point about worth vs. cost, I just felt that DPat's opinion ignores the market and becomes irrelevant due to the current economics of free agency. Hell, I think Boone Logan is only "worth" 6 mil/AAV. in fact, most, if not all FA are not worth the $$ they get. If Amaro (or any other GM) had this mindset, he'd just throw up his hands and sign no one.

When Baer does posts like this, they are still really worth reading and looking at. Just raw data with some limited yet insightful talking points/conclusions.

I don't even think Michael Bourn's deal is comparable, because while it was commonly accepted he probably wouldn't live up to his eventual contract, nobody ever questioned that he'd provide value once signed. With Cruz, though, you have to wonder whether he'll be able to provide value going forward due to the PED issues and that in the best-case scenario he's basically Mark Trumbo, with better contact skills but worse defensive instincts. It's getting harder and harder to get by in MLB with a resume that consists of just hitting home runs, especially when you're asking for a ~$17MM AAV.

I wonder if it might not be in Cruz's interest to just go on a nice, long holiday and sit out baseball until early June, as he's certainly not going to earn a big payday this off-season. That'll free of draft pick compensation and likely guarantee him a nice payday for half-a-season, as he'd immediately become the biggest bat available as teams start thinking about improving themselves to make their playoff runs. (Who also would only cost money.) Hopefully he hits well enough to earn another QO, which you'd hope he'd be smart enough to take this time, or enter the FA market without draft pick compensation attached with the hopes of earning a 3-4 year deal in the $10-12MM AAV range.

"He went over 20 bangs and 80 RBI's twice in his career."

If we're signing guys based on bangs, then we may want to see if Pat Burrell can be coaxed out of retirmeent.

Juums - Good points and an interesting take.

oogie-- "PDat"'s comment was facetious.

What someone is worth is always an interesting question. The best answer I can come up with is you're worth what someone is willing to pay you. How many players actually earn their money by performing up to expectations after signing free agent deals is a different question.

Free agency has become the land of overpay and too many years imo, but I don't see it changing any time soon. The owners continue giving out massive, long-term deals, getting burnt and coming back for more. Look what the Halo's got from Pujols and they jumped right back in to sign Hamilton the next year. How'd that work out? Pujols will make $140 of the $240 mil contract he signed in the last five years of his 10-year deal. Talk about dead money.

I went over 20 bangs with Jen Utley.

"Amaro is pretty desperate for starting pitching but they apparently just don't have even another $4-$5M to sign another backend veteran starter."

MG, it may not be that, exactly.

It may be that they have $4-8MM to spend on a guy in 2014, but only want someone on a ONE-year deal. The top guys still out there are all looking for multi-year deals, and with relievers now getting 2 and three year deals, it changes the market a bit even for back-end starters.

Someone like Maholm would be nice to add as depth, but he's probably looking for 2-3 years. given that he's averaged 168 IP the last three seasons with a 3.89 ERA.

It may not be that Montgomery won't make a payroll exception, but I'd wager that it's the length of the contract more than the dollar amount.

"The best answer I can come up with is you're worth what someone is willing to pay you."

That is something many posters here forget.

TTI, they don't "forget" it. They don't understand it.

In their heads they set arbitrary levels of what players should be paid, and if a player's salary is above or below the arbitrary number that they themselves determine, then it's an overpay or underpay.

Fortunately, the free market takes care of itself.

On the question of player valuation, I think the intellectual quandary most SABR-minded folks face is this: If player valuation will always be a function of whatever the market will bear, what is the point of laboring with WAR or advanced defensive metrics? As the first principle of sabermetrics is that on-field performance not captured by the traditional counting stats can be objectively quantified, and that such quantification can be used to assess player value more rationally than traditional methodologies. If you concede the point that player value will always be determined by something which is as fundamentally subjective as the market's carrying capacity, then you might as well just go back to relying on "looking good", "clutchness", and "guts" as meaningful contributors to player valuation too.

Which is why pretty much everyone persists in believing that there is such a thing as objective player valuation, and that is possible to overpay or underpay that sum, with the rest of the world still playing catch-up to the concept. The alternative is to simply give up on argumentation entirely. Not that I think anyone consciously plumes these intellectual depths in the course of talking about such, of course. Most have rather thoroughly internalized these points.

"If player valuation will always be a function of whatever the market will bear, what is the point of laboring with WAR or advanced defensive metrics?"

C'mon Juums, that's an easy answer that you should know.

TheMick: Pretty good summary. Baseball is structured so that players are underpaid in their early years and overpaid in their late ones. Virtually every debate here about who is or isn't overpaid post-free agent eligibility, is a total waste of time for that reason (among others.)

Anyone who doesn't think Tanaka will get $100M or more just hasn't been paying attention.

Why is Adam Morgan being mentioned as if he's on a par with Pettibone? Pettibone isn't a high-ceiling guy, but he has proven that he can pitch 100 IP in MLB at a journeyman level. Are all of you so certain that Morgan can?

I agree...clearly Ryan Howard's contract is awesome as all veterans are overpaid to a certain extent.

NEPP: You got it backwards: "Clearly Ryan Howard's contract sucks as all veterans are overpaid to a certain extent. Thus bloviating about it constantly makes one look like an idiot."

clout, I'm going to disagree slightly.

Juums post referenced the SABR community using advanced metrics so that a players value can be "objectively quantified, and that such quantification can be used to assess player value more rationally than traditional methodologies."

I agree with that viewpoint, but Juums errs in trying to relate it to contracts. The quantification to which he refers is an objective one that DOES NOT involve dollars and cents.

It involves quantifying a player's worth against an objective "replacement level" player.

WAR is the result of objectively trying to quantify a player's value. Notwithstanding the fact that there are problems with WAR (there's not even universal agreement on how it should be calculated), WAR does not attempt to place a dollar value on a player's worth.

The free market does that when they are FA's.

As you pointed out, players there are paid more than they are before they become FA's - when can freely negotiate with any team.

There is a lot of analysis out there on $/WAR and what teams pay for it in the FA market. and with new revenues coming into the game, the prices foe FA's are going up.

To call a player "overpaid" or "underpaid" is somewhat of a subjective call.

Oops, this sentence should read like this:

"As you pointed out, FA players are paid more than they are before they become FA's - when can freely negotiate with any team."

clout: Believe it or not, I think almost every single regular poster actually understands that all veteran players are overpaid. But it is still possible for a player to be overpaid relative to the rest of the league. You know, kind of like it's ok to say that cancer is a bad disease -- even though all diseases are bad.

bap, you raise an interesting point:

Is a player "overpaid relative to the rest of the league" or is he overpaid relative to what he actually produces on the field?

Just like there are different calculations for WAR, those two questions could yield different answers as well.

BAP: Ryan Howard is a cancer on the Phillies.

awh: Good question. How does Ryan Howard's contract compare to the contracts of other post-free agency former HR champions?

Great question...I've compiled a list of all former HR champs that were given contract extensions a full two years prior to their contract year. Here's what I've assembled so far going back to 1875:

1. Ryan Howard

****************NOTHING FOLLOWS*************

Your point about my conflating the purposes for determining WAR and the intertwined, but severable, discussion about $/WAR is a good one. Mea culpa for missing that, though I also think it's splitting the hair a bit thin. As once you establish a baseline against which to objectively compare players in the archetypical replacement player, it takes only a herculean effort to not include looking at contracts amongst the things being compared. (Which is why there is so much discussion about $/WAR.)

As we're talking about money, though, I think we'll all agree that baseball's got more money than it knows what to do with and that the current system is not producing optimum results for teams or player. The current system suppresses wages to one degree or another for a player's first six seasons, and then the pendulum shifts to the other extreme, as large paydays are had which leave teams paying for past performance once a player does hit free agency. It's a system that, due to its perverse financial incentives, squeezes pre-arb players and financially privileges those who can be durably mediocre over the long-term.

So, fellow Beerleaguers, a question for your Thursday afternoon: How would you reform the player compensation system, if given the power to rewrite the system? Just a few shots in the dark:
1) Raise the league minimum to some number greater than where it is, and then graduate it with incremental increases based on service time.

2) Abolish absolute team control through a player's arbitration years and replace it with a form of restricted free agency.

...which is really all I've got, without getting into tinkering with how the draft works and access to the international talent pool. Which are somewhat beyond the scope of my initial question.

> 1. Ryan Howard
> ****************NOTHING FOLLOWS*************

Reminds me of this clip from the Simpsons.

Juums: Cut FA eligibility from 6 years to 3 years.

Juums, I wasn't being critical of your post, and I don't think you really "missed" anything.

I was only pointing out that analytics need to be APPLIED to the evaluation of contracts.

The calculations themselves to not involve dollars.

Juums, here's the running list:

"Just a few shots in the dark:

1) Raise the league minimum to some number greater than where it is, and then graduate it with incremental increases based on service time.

2) Abolish absolute team control through a player's arbitration years and replace it with a form of restricted free agency."

3) clout: "Cut FA eligibility from 6 years to 3 years."

4) Abolish the draft, which was instituted by MLB in 1964. (Prior to that any player - HS, college, independent leaguer, et al. - could sign with any team at a negotiated value. MLB instituted the draft to cut down the huge (at the time) signing bonuses. BTW, this is Scott Boras' prescription.) Cuban and other international players operate exactly on this type of system. MLB teams try to sign these kids at very young ages in order to minimize the bonuses (because younger players are harder to project. also, the poverty in places like the DR lend itself to teams taking advantage of the desperation of some of these families.)

5) Keep FA eligibility at 6 years, but include minor league service time. This would remove the incentive for teams to manipulate MLB service time.

awh - Maybe so but the Phils being linked/mentioned to every ex-starter who is possibly looking to get back into the game this offseason and Hernandez's very cheap price tag lead me to believe they don't have much financial flexibility left given their desired Opening Day payroll.

Maholm is likely out of the Phils price range anyways. I would be surprised if he doesn't get a least $7-8M AAV on a 2 yr deal.

If we can't get Mulder, maybe Sculley is available?

Zito is still available!

Hey, Zito's due for a good year. He was so bad for so long while making so much with the Giants that the pendulum's due to turn and have him put up a Cy Young-caliber year when he's on an MiLB deal and making peanuts.

I mean, sure, he could just stink out loud now, but that's not very narratively interesting, is it?

Christ, Stephen Hawking in right field would be a defensive upgrade.

Not too good a bat, though.

kuvasz, you're wrong. Stephen Hawking would bring a Big Bang to the Zen!

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