Saturday, January 10, 2004

Rafael Palmeiro has signed a $4m/1year deal with Baltimore. For the curious, their lineup looks something like this:


One can only imagine what the lineup will look like if Guerrero signs with Baltimore; the Marlins are apparently denying that they've made an inquisitive offer.

Of course, when your best pitcher is arguably Rodrigo Lopez...
Rumor has it that Vladimir Guerrero is leaning towards signing a $10m/1year deal with Florida.

This is good news, I guess, in that it means he'd be available against next offseason, when we'll have to replace Edgar Martinez (Olerud too, for what it's worth).
The Texas Rangers might rival the Mariners as having the worst beat writers in the league.

Jim Reeves seems to think that the problem with Texas is the ballpark, saying (and I quote): "I love The Ballpark in Arlington, but it has surpassed Coors Field as the most prolific hitting park in baseball."

Other than "you are completely and utterly incorrect", I don't know what to tell him.
The Life & Times of Bill Bavasi, as explained by the Talking Heads.

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself-Well...How did I get here?

Bavasi had an up-and-down tenure in Anaheim, eventually resigning (under pressure) in 1999 when the team imploded. Despised in Anaheim by players and fans alike (as exhibited by the boos he received when introduced before a game last season), he hopped on I-5 and drove to LA, where he acted as the head of a perennially disappointing farm system. Players who looked so promising in the lower levels would stall against tougher competition. Bavasi found himself in a wholly undesirable situation, having been run off from one city and failing to do his job in another.

Enter Howard Lincoln, professional motivator. Nevermind his past; Bavasi was handed the keys to the Mariners, a profitable and, more importantly, competitive franchise that has been on the verge of serious contention for four years. The team had challenged the Yankees in recent years, and as far as 2004 hopes were concerned, the Mariners, with the right moves, looked to have reason for optimism. This didn't really mean much for Bavasi, though, as his every waking moment was spent pondering the eternal question, "What did I do to deserve this?" Ever since, Bill's been toying with the roster, each additional transaction another pinch on the cheek, intended to wake Bavasi from this magnificent dream.

And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!

Astounded to discover that none of this has, in fact, been a dream, Bavasi was left confused and befuddled. Unaware of what he was doing at the time, his attempts to awake himself from the dream left the roster in shambles; certainly salvageable, but in considerably worse shape than when Bill inherited it. Bavasi became indignant with his associates for not preventing him from wrecking the future of the club. "It must be a dream! It must be!" he claimed, unable to believe that Gillick and Pelekoudas would allow him to venture so far astray from the intended path.

Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was

At the end of it all, Bavasi had replaced his young, cheap talent by making large commitments to older, more expensive players. Fortunately for him, this had been the status quo in recent years, with few exceptions. Bill hoped that nobody would notice what a mess he had made; heck, the fans might even be excited about all the new names he was going to put on the field in 2004. Feeling quite content with himself and his rational conclusion, Bavasi was left with only one question...

What does the future have in store for this team?

And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right?...Am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself

Friday, January 09, 2004

Congratulations to Brian Boucher, for setting one of the most impressive records in all of sports.
Is Roger Clemens coming back?

Gee...I didn't see that one coming...
Ryan Anderson was DFA'd today.
It appears as if Vladimir Guerrero will sign either a $65m/5year deal with Baltimore, or a $30m/3year deal (with $10m of incentives) with the Mets.

This irks me.

Update: The Marlins have jumped in with an offer of one year and >$10m.
In case you were wondering what Bill Bavasi saw in Ramon Santiago, I found the answer:

"He can pick it up and throw it," Bavasi said.

This comes as opposed to Carlos Guillen, who is apparently quadriplegic.
Many thanks to Steve in advance for all his help improving the aesthetic value of this site.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

A day that began so poorly has ended so well.

I'd like to take this opportunity to say "Suck on that!" to Darcy Tucker.
I'll direct you to the blog of a friend of mine, a Texas fan who couldn't be enjoying our offseason any more than he currently is.
Although I don't like the idea of replacing Guillen with an older, otherwise equivalent version of himself, if Rich Aurilia's contract is worth the rumored $3-4m, it's not a bad deal. If he can repeat last year's 25.9 VORP, he'd be worth about $4.5m.

As I was writing this, Carlos Guillen was traded to Detroit for Ramon Santiago and minor league 3B Juan Gonzalez. We have already discussed Santiago to the fullest extent (that he deserves), but Gonzalez only adds to the pain. As you can see from his résumé, he's not a very good hitter, having posted a .268/.358/.363 line in his brief career (including a .684 2003 OPS).

This is just another inexcusable Bavasi transaction. I'd analyze it further, but it would just wind up sounding the same as all the other columns I've written.
While I don't like the idea of replacing Guillen with an older, otherwise equivalent version of himself, paying the rumored $3-4m for one year of Rich Aurilia isn't a bad deal by any means. If he were to repeat last year's 25.9 VORP, then he'd be worth about $4.5m.
While I don't like the idea of replacing Guillen with an older, otherwise equivalent version of himself, paying the rumored $3-4m for one year of Rich Aurilia isn't a bad deal by any means. If he were to repeat last year's 25.9 VORP, then he'd be worth about $4.5m.
While I don't like the idea of replacing Guillen with an older, otherwise equivalent version of himself, paying the rumored $3-4m for one year of Rich Aurilia isn't a bad deal by any means. If he were to repeat last year's 25.9 VORP, then he'd be worth about $4.5m.
In other news, Tampa Bay has signed Aubrey Huff to a $14.5m/3year contract.
Rich Aurilia is finally ours, according to the AP. I imagine we'll find out who we're getting for Guillen before nightfall.
The P-I says we'd be getting minor leaguers for Guillen, and doesn't mention Santiago.

Given the condition of Detroit's farm system, I think it's safe to assume that we'd still be getting ripped off. Still, getting ripped off is a better option than the coerced anterior copulation Bavasi would be receiving in a deal for Santiago, I guess.

Update: Unfortunately, the Times cites sources as saying Santiago, not minor leaguers, is likely to come in return.
Wait for it - wait for it...

All right, you ready for this?

We already knew that Carlos Guillen was as good as gone, and that Rich Aurilia is essentially ours, right?

Well, Detroit news sources are indicating that we might be dealing Guillen for Ramon Santiago (he of the .576 OPS in 444 at bats). That's not it, though; the article also mentions that Santiago is likely to assume Ryan Anderson's spot on the 40-man roster.

This would be more of a symbolic thing than anything else; Anderson isn't likely to have an ML career. But it would be very appropriate, given the way this offseason has gone, for Death Spiral to take the roster spot of Little Unit. Like with Anderson, there remained a tiny glimmer of hope in the back of all our minds that some way, somehow, we could salvage this winter and storm into 2004 as a miraculously competitive team. Some optimism amidst a fury of cyber-vitriol. By kicking Anderson off the roster and handing his spot to Santiago, you remove said optimism. It would be the anvil on top of the coffin, after the nails have already been driven in.

Completely and utterly...fitting.
If only we had known at the time.

"During Friday's press conference, Bill Bavasi expressed admiration for Gillick's ability to manipulate a roster, and for San Francisco GM Brian Sabean's ability to recognize veteran players who bring the right competitive spirit to the clubhouse. He also praised Anaheim's 2002 offensive style of putting the ball in play and moving runners around the bases, rather than waiting for the big blow."

That quote says it all.

To quote Derek from the same USS Mariner post:

"Bavasi's a caretaker GM, a safe an inoffensive pick."

If only.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Jarvis, a 34-year-old who has pitched for seven other teams, has a 5.83 career earned run average and went 4-8 in 16 starts last year with the Padres. With the Mariners' starting rotation full, Jarvis will compete for a job in long relief but brings considerable starting experience. He will make $4.25 million in 2004.

"Last year this club did something I'm absolutely amazed at, (going) wire-to-wire with five starters," Bavasi said. "You can't plan on that. It's important to have a guy like (Jarvis)."

I continue to be awe-struck.

Bavasi thinks Jarvis can be useful. Sounds like a challenge to me.
Brian Boucher is riding one hell of a streak.

He's got Minnesota next, so if he's going to break the record, he's facing the right team.
I realize that it's mostly a local problem, but I know that hundreds of thousands of people would appreciate any help you can provide to resolve this horrifying showdown.

Tell all your friends. We SoCal'ers need all the assistance we can get.
For everyone who criticizes us bloggers for having nothing better to do, at least we aren't doing this.
Preorder your Baseball Prospectus 2004 today!
Sign the petition to make Bavasi go away. It's the least you can do, and every two minutes you spend signing it is two minutes you're impervious to news of another terrible transaction taking place. Ignorance is bliss.

Pass it on.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Great news is flying in from every direction.

Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi said in a statement. "We think this deal gives us flexibility in 2004 and 2005 that we did not have with Jeff on the roster, and helps fill some needs on our big league club."

Note the line where Towers says that none of the guys he dealt have future value, as well.

This entire offseason is one huge synaptic misfire.
That makes ten.

Ottawa hasn't lost since December 13th.

And speaking of the Sens, their official website has a really cool feature. I mean, seriously, how many teams out there have highlights of every goal scored by either team on their site, free to download?

Neat photo here. To quote reader Devin: "Wish that was Jarvis."
The complete trade:

Mariners send to San Diego:

Jeff Cirillo, Brian Sweeney, $4.775m payable in 2005

San Diego sends to Mariners:

Wiki Gonzalez, Kevin Jarvis, Dave Hansen, Vince Faison
The trade is official. I'm not completely sure about the cash we're sending over, but Vince Faison is ours.

(And there was much rejoicing.)
March 17th, Mariners practicing before an ST game:

Melvin: "All right, Jamie, you'll be throwing BP. I want Scott to get some work in at third, so try to keep the ball in against righties. Raul, you're up first."

Ibanez and Moyer: "Sure thing, coach!"



*pop up*


Melvin: "All right, now let's try a hitter who isn't a complete retard. John, get in there."

Olerud: "Sure thing, coach!"


*pop up*

*pop up*

Melvin: "All right, this isn't working. Do we have anyone who can lay a bunt down the third baseline?"

Suzuki: "Where I come from, bunting is a sin."

Melvin: "Where's Big Ben? I remember he had that bunt off Schilling a few years ago."

Howard Lincoln: "He's been exiled to Milwaukee. Didn't like the clubhouse deli bar."

Melvin: "Raul, get back in there, drop us down a few bunts and get Scott some work."

Ibanez: "Sure thing, coach!"



*pop up*


Melvin: "Good going, Raul. Let's all have fun out there today."

Players: "Sure thing, coach!"

Martinez: "My knee's a little sore. I think I'm taking today off."

Lincoln: "That's it, you're gone."
Both Derek and Jeremy hit the nail on the head, concerning Benard.
Peter Gammons is one jive turkey.
Terrific news tonight.

We could be sending $8m to San Diego for the privilege of taking Cirillo off our hands, and we're also in contact with Marvin Benard.

Here is the relevant contract information:

Jeff Cirillo:

2004: $6.725M
2005: $7.025M
2006: Team option $7.625M or $1.25M buyout

Kevin Jarvis:

2004: $4.25M
2005: Team option $5.25M or $0.5M buyout

Wiki Gonzalez:

$3.7M over the next two years

Dave Hansen = league minimum.

Without throwing any cash to San Diego, we'd be saving $6.25m (assuming both Cirillo and Jarvis are bought out). However, we're apparently going to send a sum somewhere around $8m to the Padres, meaning that we're actually losing both money and roster spots. I can only hope that all three of the incoming players get cut, but even if that's the case, why not just cut Cirillo and make things that much easier?

And explain something else: why would Marvin Benard have to be an NRI when Quinton McCracken is apparently worthy of being dealt for?
Jeff Cirillo is a Padre.

So is Brian Sweeney.

And a lot of cash.

Wiki Gonzalez, Dave Hansen, and Kevin Jarvis are Mariners.

The cash is supposedly enough to even out the salaries.

I don't have anything to say.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Thanks to our good friend Steve, the spreadsheet I used for all of these calculations can be found here.

Thanks, Steve.

In order to make all this more reader-friendly, I'll organize my calculated values into one post.

CATCHER: 3.3 VORP/million

I'll have the spreadsheet I used to do all this online as soon as I'm able to re-create all the data I deleted and get in touch with Steve about getting the file online. In the meantime, perform your own contract evaluations to your liking. Here, I'll start us off:

Miguel Tejada
2001: 45.9
2002: 67.5
2003: 50.4

2/3/5 weighted 2004 VORP projection: 54.6.

Average shortstop VORP/million for players who have received a non-arby-influenced contract: 5.8

Suggested contract for Tejada: $9.4m per year



I am aware that, according to this system, no 2003 pitcher deserved a contract worth more than $6.9m per year. This has a lot to do with the fact that low-price pitchers like Esteban Loaiza, Jose Lima, and Darren Oliver put up decent-to-terrific stats with sub-$1m salaries. These deals tend to skew the numbers; If you exclude these three pitchers, the average starting pitcher VORP/million declines to 5.83, a much more reasonable number.


Since I know you're curious, this system suggests $4.1m a year for Ibanez and $2.48m for Spiezio. Given that this calculation generally undervalues age-related decline, you can do your own adjustment: decrease each player's VORP by 5% for each year they're 30+ years old. If you do this, then it spits out a $3.85m value for Ibanez and $2.41m for Spiezio. It also says that Quinton McCracken should owe us about $5m for the privilege of being on the roster. Sure, it's probably just an error with negative VORP values, but I think it's justified in this case.

8.9 VORP/million

10.8 VORP/million

I won't do relief pitchers, due to the relationship between saves and money. Besides, I think we're all well aware that seven-figure contracts to fungible relievers are bad.
I'm taking a short break before I get into pitchers and/or designated hitters; now that I look at the results I'm getting, there is a distinct pattern here. Weird coincidence? Perhaps.

5.8 VORP/million

4.9 VORP/million

5.6 VORP/million

5.8 VORP/million

7.8 VORP/million

Sunday, January 04, 2004


5.4 VORP/million
Today's project: the Fair Market Value Calculator for players due new contracts.

I'm going to use something I've used before, and something that I'm sure people have seen elsewhere: VORP per million dollar spent. For example, Bobby Abreu's 2003 VORP was 39.1, and he was paid $8.5m (excluding his bonus). Thus, the Phillies "got" 4.6 VORP points from Abreu per million dollars they spent on him.

I'm going to break up the rest of this column (or series of columns) by position. I'll explain what I think needs to be explained in my first section. So, without further ado...

Brad Ausmus: -17.9 VORP, $5.5m, -3.3 VORP/million
Brook Fordyce: 4.4 VORP, $3.5m, 1.3 VORP/million
Charles Johnson: -3.2 VORP, $7m, -0.5 VORP/million
Jason Kendall: 45.5 VORP, $8m, 5.7 VORP/million
Mike Lieberthal: 36.4 VORP, $7.25m, 5.0 VORP/million
Javy Lopez: 75.9 VORP, $7m, 10.8 VORP/million
Brent Mayne: -5.1 VORP, $2.75m, -1.9 VORP/million
Damian Miller: 1.8 VORP, $2.7m, 0.7 VORP/million
Mike Piazza (averaged 2002/2003 stats): 39.2 VORP, $12m, 3.3 VORP/million
Jorge Posada: 56.5 VORP, $8m, 7.1 VORP/million
Ivan Rodriguez: 46.3 VORP, $10m (includes deferred money), 4.6 VORP/million
Benito Santiago: 19.9 VORP, $1.775m, 11.2 VORP/million
Jason Varitek: 33.5 VORP, $4.7m, 7.1 VORP/million
Dan Wilson: -4.0 VORP, $3.5m, -1.1 VORP/million
Gregg Zaun: 0.2 VORP, $1.2m, 0.2 VORP/million

In all, these catchers contributed 50.2 VORP points per $15m ($1m each). That means that they contributed an average of 3.3 VORP points per $1m.

So let's consider what this means. Say you're a team who wants to sign Pudge Rodriguez, but doesn't know how much money to give him. In 2003, he had a VORP of 46.3, 39.6 in 2002, and 44.2 in 2001. Weighing these numbers using the 2/3/5 method, we get a projected 2004 VORP of 43.9 (we'll ignore age-related decline for now, as it only makes this more complex).

Recall that catchers who have signed multiyear contracts contributed an average of 3.3 VORP per $1m in 2003. Using this number, we infer that Ivan Rodriguez, for 2004, deserves a $13.3m contract, given his peer group.

That amount seems high, and it probably is; Ivan Rodriguez has missed an average of 41 games per year since 2001, and as a 32 year old catcher, it will be difficult for him to come close to repeating last year's performance. Catchers are more difficult than other positions in this respect, because a typical starting catcher won't play as often as a typical starting shortstop or left fielder.

I wouldn't want to give Pudge $13m to play for the Mariners in 2004. Given his age and injury history, I'd probably have to settle somewhere around $10m. Even so, this VORP/million calculation provides a ballpark estimate that should be more accurate with different positions.

1b, 2b, 3b, ss, lf, cf, rf, sp, and possibly dh will be covered later tonight, assuming I have enough time to get around to it.
Juan Gonzalez has signed with Kansas City for one year and $4m, with incentives that could push it to $6m. I don't need to say anything else about this, I'm guessing, since I've had a generally consistent theme here.
Well, I'm over it.

Sports are a complete and utter waste of my time.
It's about damn time the Senators hit their stride, and according to Eric Lindros, nobody will be able to stop them now.

Shawn McEachern agrees.

So does Sergei Gonchar.

Oleg Kvasha would say the same thing, too, if he could speak anymore.

I also thought I'd take this opportunity to point out that Zdeno Chara is a big dude. And also that Toronto sucks.