CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Premium and Super Premium Subscribers Get a 20% Discount at MLB.tv!

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Schrodinger's Bat: Ech... (12/07)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Prospectus Today: Domi... (12/06)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Prospectus Today: Wint... (12/11)
Next Article >>
Future Shock: Rule 5 D... (12/07)

December 7, 2006

Prospectus Today

Last Call

by Joe Sheehan

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Firing away in the hours before the first-ever Rule .5 Draft.

    Jason Schmidt really does look like he'll be a Dodger, following some talk late yesterday that his three-year, $47-million deal with the team was not going to be closed. I love this contract; it's the second time in two offseasons that the Dodgers have stretched the average annual value of a contract on a deal that's a bit shorter than what a typical player will land. Rafael Furcal, one year ago, signed a three-year, $39-million deal, a contract I also loved.

    Say it with me now: it's not the money, it's the length. We just aren't good enough at player projection--and players aren't good enough at sustaining their value--to make contracts of longer than three years a good choice. This deal commits the Dodgers to Schmidt for about as far out as you can reasonably project his performance, and limits their exposure down the road.

    Nate Silver, in Unfiltered, had Schmidt's 2007 PECOTA-projected ERA as 4.13, a sign that PECOTA's been hanging out with the wrong crowd again, doing lines off hookers' backs after Nate goes to bed at night. Schmidt is a power pitcher with pretty good durability and solid peripheral numbers, and he's going to another home park that treats power pitchers well. Schmidt's most recent win-loss records may have contributed to the idea that he's something less, but those numbers are tainted by the support he's received. There's not much reason to think Barry Zito will outpitch him over the next three seasons, and for 2007, I think there's a better chance that he challenges for the ERA title than a mark above 4.00. This is an excellent signing by the Dodgers, who are rapidly becoming the Sybil of the transaction wire.

    The Dodgers also added Luis Gonzalez and Mike Lieberthal, upgrading their bench in two spots with guys who could still start for some teams. The addition of Gonzalez, who can only play left field because of his arm, makes me think the Dodgers may sell high on Andre Ethier, using him to help fill out the bullpen or even add a starting pitcher.

  • Forty-seven million for Jason Schmidt, or $40 million for Ted Lilly? It's in comparison to contracts like the other big one handed out yesterday that you start to see the value in the newest Dodger. Lilly has never thrown 200 innings in a season, and has one ERA below 4.00--that in a shortened campaign--in his life. He's not improving significantly as he crosses 30 years old, and it's not like he has hidden value when you go into his peripherals. The going rate for a mid-rotation free-agent starter without much upside is eight figures a year, and the Cubs paid it. I just don't see where this pushes a team that much closer to a title.

    Prediction: the Cubs will lead the league in walks allowed, going away.

  • The storm of activity that passed through didn't miss Pennsylvania, although just one of the state's two teams actually closed the deal. Late in the evening, the Phillies and White Sox swapped some pitchers, the White Sox sending Freddy Garcia out in exchange for Gavin Floyd and prospect Gio Gonzalez. (The latter, listed as a player to be named, was an open secret even before Kenny Williams let slip the name during the press conference announcing the deal.)

    The deal was a surprise not because the Sox moved Garcia, but for how little they received in return. Garcia is a horse, someone who's made 31 starts and thrown 200 innings in every year since 2001. His peripherals have been moving southward a bit, especially his home-run rate, although I suspect there's a park effect in play there. He's certainly not an ace, but he's right in line with the Lilly class of guys who have been getting rich the past few weeks. He'll make $9 million in 2007 and be a free agent after, so he's incredibly affordable. He even closed the year well. The Sox like Gonzalez--who they traded to the Phillies in the Jim Thome deal--and he's considered a good prospect, but this is a weak return for a starting pitcher in the current market. I like that Brandon McCarthy will likely get a job out of this, and there's something to the idea that Williams could use the savings on outfield or bullpen help. I just don't think it was a good use of the resource.

    Even though the Phillies make out on paper, the deal does create a logjam for them, with six starters and no good candidates to be bumped. (Me, I'd lose the paperwork on the Adam Eaton contract, which is sponsored by Bad Idea Jeans and now just seems superfluous.) Jon Lieber trade rumors have been running rampant, although the deal that seemed closest, with the Brewers, is now supposed to be dead. The Phillies have essentially traded places with the White Sox, now having an extra starting pitcher to move. With holes in right field and, in my opinion, at third base, the Phillies need to leverage their edge better than the team they just traded with did.

  • The Pirates were on the brink of acquiring Adam LaRoche all day long, but the trade seems to have fallen through. It was something of a surprise that they could get LaRoche without trading one of their young starting pitchers; the most common version of the rumor had them swapping Mike Gonzalez for the first baseman. I think LaRoche just had his career year, but even if that's the case, he's an inexpensive left-handed bat who can impersonate Tino Martinez for a few years. That's not a bad haul for a reliever if you can do it, especially for a team sorely lacking in left-handed power.
  • The Braves did complete a different deal for a reliever, sending Horacio Ramirez to Seattle for Rafael Soriano and, presumably, a car with no plates to drive off in. Soriano can be dominant at times, and he returned from surgery to throw 60 innings with a 2.25 ERA last season. He's immediately the best relief pitcher on the roster, the closer-in-waiting behind Bob Wickman and a guy fantasy players will be drooling over come March.

    The deal doesn't make much sense for the Mariners, who acquire a left-hander with lousy peripherals and some problems staying healthy. They already have Jarrod Washburn, who's basically a better version of Ramirez. The new lefty has very little upside and might, if everything works, be back-of-the-rotation filler. Soriano was better last year and has more to offer going forward. The Ms will miss him.

  • Today's Rule 5 draft will not be terribly active. The new CBA extended the amount of time during which teams can protect players from the draft, leaving a fairly narrow window between eligibility for it and eligibility for minor-league free agency. The pool of players has been shrunk considerably.

    Moreover, with this being the first draft after the change, what you have is a group of players who were mostly eligible last season and who didn't find their way onto a 40-man roster this year and are now one year older.

    Don't look for any Dan Uggla picks in this year's draft, and it may be that the Rule 5's days of being an interesting part of the offseason are over.

Unfiltered posts as warranted, meetings wrap-up Friday. Thanks for taking the ride with us this week, as it's been a blast for me.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

Related Content:  Deal,  The Who,  Peripherals

0 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Schrodinger's Bat: Ech... (12/07)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Prospectus Today: Domi... (12/06)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Prospectus Today: Wint... (12/11)
Next Article >>
Future Shock: Rule 5 D... (12/07)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Article Deep Impact: Week 20
Fantasy Article The Stash List: 18th Edition: The Final Ques...
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Monday, August...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: August 19, 2014
Notes About Baseball: Rain Delay Theater: Ba...
Premium Article Going Yard: Four Impressive High School Hitt...
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: Becoming An Adult f/x

MORE FROM DECEMBER 7, 2006
Future Shock: Rule 5 Draft
Premium Article Schrodinger's Bat: Echoes of the Past

MORE BY JOE SHEEHAN
2006-12-19 - Prospectus Today: Looking Back
2006-12-12 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Tender Day
2006-12-11 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Winter Meetings Review
2006-12-07 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Last Call
2006-12-06 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Dominoes Start to Fall
2006-12-05 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Flying into Inactivity
2006-12-03 - Prospectus Today: Winter Meetings Preview, P...
More...

MORE PROSPECTUS TODAY
2006-12-19 - Prospectus Today: Looking Back
2006-12-12 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Tender Day
2006-12-11 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Winter Meetings Review
2006-12-07 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Last Call
2006-12-06 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Dominoes Start to Fall
2006-12-05 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Flying into Inactivity
2006-12-03 - Prospectus Today: Winter Meetings Preview, P...
More...