Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Boras, Holliday & The Quest For A Shorter Contract

Now that the Bay shoe has finally dropped into the misguided orange-and-blue sea, all focus shifts to the guy everyone wanted in the first place.  HoF voter and Nashville aficionado Tracy Ringolsby of the Foxes is reporting that, although the Cardinals have offered an 8-year package in the vicinity of $140 mil, Boras & Co. are seeking a shorter deal with a higher average annual salary.  According to Ringolsby's sources, Holliday would prefer a 7-year deal that will exceed the $18M annual offer that he rejected from the Rockies in 2008.   Now, either Scottie B. has been spending a day too many in the opium den, or Ringolsby's credibility standard for his sources has fallen by the gin side.

The Math:

Let's assume Holliday (H) can pull in a 7-year/$130M deal at an average annual of $18.57M (good luck).  Thus, he is forgoing $10M in guaranteed money and assuming that he can command a new deal at age 37 that will exceed the $10M + league minimum for subsequent years.  Thus, we get

E(H37,38...) > E(H38,39...) + $10M

That is to say Holliday will need have a strong year in 2016 to command a multi-year deal for his age 37+ seasons that exceeds the $10M he could guarantee right just now.  We don't have to check the actuarial tables to predict that aging outfielders of Matt's skill set are not in high demand, at least not at those prices.

The Digest: Did Scott Boras forget to do the math?  BorasGlobalCorp that produces reports for prospective GM's that deforest small logging communities?

Or maybe Ringolsby should check the integrity of his sources.  Or just, I don't know, open his bloody head. Mathematics!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Why Billy Beane is Smarter than You and I

Upon reading that J.P's former-BFF signed an outfielder that stays crunchy in milk, I really thought I couldn't care less.  Likely a $1.25M, 1-year deal.  Not bad for a fourth outfielder with character on a rebuilding team.  Someone pass me the doughnu......


Look, I love and value good D as much as the next guy.  I know that Crisp's UZR in '09 was a sizzling 19.6.  I also know that they need to protect those young arms in the spacious Coliseum, and an outfield of Crisp, Rajai Davis and Ryan Sweeney will scoop up a good deal of hits in the 500-Up style of play that has beset the franchise in recent years.  All good things.  Find your chi.

But let's take a look at the valuation going on here.  Jeff Zimmerman (no, not THAT Jeff Zimmerman) pegs Coco for a 1.5 WAR in 2010.  Let's paint a rosy picture and assume Coco plays to a 2.0 War, just because I'm feeling bullish.  Valued at $4.4M, this seems to be somewhat of a small bargain.  What troubles me, however, is that this deal does not exist in a vacuum.  Oakland already has 2 Coco clones in Davis and Sweeney.  Coco still has a soggy arm (sorry, couldn't resist) and will be getting paid like a fourth outfield for the Yankees (though, thankfully, not like a fourth outfielder for the Angels.)  So who, then, in the name of Dave Littlefield, was Beane bidding against?

Turns out that Santa Claus isn't real after all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A For Reals Letter to Mr. Griffin

Few people can really move you.  When someone can express their thoughts in a manner that changes the better part of your day, you know that something squishy has just happened.  And though he's moved me several times before, something clearly reached into the narrowest sub-cockle of my heart today.  So instead of jumping on the ever-so-slightly less-trendy trend of Griff Bashing, I went ahead and wrote a nice little letter to Tricky Dick himself:

UPDATE: It appears Griffin exercised his whiteout pen and rewrote almost the entire post.  You can piece the original post together by reading the early commenters' posts or from ketchup packets.

"In that scenario, the Jays look like losers. If it goes down that way I will be surprised and the Jays should be embarrassed."

In this scenario, (1) Halladay is moved to another league and, most importantly, is not a Yankee or Red Sock; (2) The Jays receive the Phillies best prospect (Drabek - I'll agree with you that Happ is a marginal player at best and thus undesirable) whom projects as a top-of-the-rotation starter. Will he be Halladay? Of course not, but then again, who is? (3) Taylor is only slightly less regarded than Brown, and projects as upper-tier five-tool centerfielder, in the mold of Adam Jones, Sizemore, Pence, with a floor of at least Mike Cameron. Add in the fact that Taylor bats right-handed, and you have a perfect compliment to lefties Lind and Snider. Valuable indeed, and I think we can all agree (and the metrics dictate) that this team needs a new centerfielder, or one that can at least handle centerfield defensively at a replacement level. (4) A solid catching prospect.

"The problem here is that since Jays' GM Alex Anthopoulos is so tight-lipped about his dealings with other clubs, all of the jigsaw puzzles of prospects that are being put together are being put together through other teams' sources."

I'm fairly certain that AA's manner in which he conducts his business has absolutely nothing to do with the actual chips being traded. Where do you see a problem in this?

"But a three-way needs to be a three-way with players from at least one of the teams going to two other teams -- otherwise it's just two trades. "

I think you are getting caught up on semantics, Richard. Again, how in any way does this impact the end results of all three parties involved?

"The Roy Halladay deal, if it goes down as outlined by, is not enough of a return for the Jays and the best pitcher in baseball to make it worthwhile."

The only manner in which we can evaluate the return for Halladay is to measure it against recent and similar trades:

1) Sabathia - Cleveland received LaPorta, Bryson, and Jackson
Granted, this was only for a half-season for CC, but the overall return is essentially one (potential) impact bat from a guy without a position.

2) Beckett/Lowell - The Marlins received Ramirez and some potential players that never realized their modest ceilings. Lowell was at his lowest value, and due to his salary, had negative value, thus increasing the cost for Beckett, whom this deal was all about.

3) Santana - Self-explanatory. Almost zero value realized.

4) Cliff Lee - the Indians received quantity in this trade, but no potential franchise-caliber players.

5) Randy Johnson - the M's got Garcia (dependable #2-type starter), Halama (four years of league-average starting with a 103 ERA+), and defensively challenged shortstop (Guillen) that never panned out for them (92 OPS+).

6) Hudson/Mulder - Oakland received virtually nothing for arguably the best starting pitcher in the league (Hudson), but picked up a gem with Haren for Mulder.

On paper, Drabek/Taylor/d'Arnaud for Halladay looks like a well-brokered transaction from rookie GM Anthopoulos. I have high hopes that you will respond. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Starting Off on the Wrong Foot

The hardest part of starting a new Blue Jays blog has to be the fact that we won't have a rich, frothy double-velvet smooth auto-pilot post every fifth day for the better half of the year.  There will be no T-1000s sporting a curiously-intimidating chinstrap and a penchant for poorly-conceived youth-oriented baseball apparel for us ignorant tools. (Oh, I just got that. It's a pun. It's clever, see?) But just then thoughts shift to all the fodder for the Nancies, with not only three young players to second-guess and cannibalize, but literally tens of other players discussed in the molds Woulda, Coulda, and Shoulda.  Marvelous. 

We like to take the business approach to baseball.  Ball players are assets, containing both intrinsic and monetary value.  Sell high.  Buy low.  Buy a Beemer, but not before the home is gutted and upgraded.  Defense matters. Prospects are overrated.  Everything we knew about baseball statistics for the first 150 or so years doesn't really matter.

Bang-bang plays at first base. Striking out the side.  Nineteen-Ninety-Two and Three.  Triples.  Pretty girls wearing Jays jerseys.  Brooks Kieschnick.  Yeah, I think we'll make do.