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November 29, 2009

On the Beat

Thanksgiving Weekend Update

by John Perrotto

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Albert Pujols admitted earlier this week that one of his goals is to be inducted into the Hall of Fame someday. While that it certainly a realistic goal for the Cardinals first baseman, it is rare to hear Pujols ever mention anything about personal goals or the place he is taking in baseball history.

However, when Pujols told reporters his ultimate goal is to be immortalized in Cooperstown, he quickly qualified it. "I want to win some more World Series first," said Pujols, who helped power the Cardinals to the 2006 World Series title by beating the Tigers in five games that year. "I want to win as many as Derek Jeter [five]. I always joke that I want to have a ring for each finger on both hands. I'd like to win 10 of them. That would be great."

The question of what team Pujols will be trying to win those next nine rings for remains to be seen. While the Cardinals' focus at the present is on re-signing such free agents as left fielder Matt Holliday, utilityman Mark DeRosa, and right-hander John Smoltz, Pujols' seven-year, $100 million contract expires after next season, though the Cardinals hold a $16 million club option for 2011 that they certainly would exercise barring a totally unforeseen circumstance.

Pujols, though, is not getting antsy to work out a new contract. However, that is not a sign that he is thinking about exploring the free-agent market after the 2011 season. He makes it clear that he wants to stay with the Cardinals for life and be as much a part of the franchise's lore as Stan Musial and Bob Gibson. "They don't need to deal with me right now," Pujols said. "They need to deal with their free agents. What do we need? Or what did we miss to get to the next level, which is the World Series? That's kind of where I am. This is my place. This is where I want to be. I don't hide that. I'm still going to be a Cardinal for two years and hopefully 15 more years, if I can play that long, and retire as a Cardinal."

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak is certainly agreeable to that idea, and makes it sound as if ownership will make it a reality. "I think our goals are all the same," Mozeliak said. "We're going to want him to be here. We want to do it when we think the time is right. Right now, he does not want the organization to feel we need to be focusing on anything else but putting our club together."

Pujols led the major leagues in WARP1 (12.1), VORP (98.3), and EqA (.362) this past season, and one can only imagine what kind of contract he might command when it comes time to negotiate. He is just the 10th player to win at least three MVP awards and one of five to win three in a five-season span, joining Yogi Berra (1951, 1954-55), Roy Campanella (1951, 1953, 1955), Barry Bonds (1990, 1992-93, and 2001-04), and Alex Rodriguez (2003, 2005, and 2007). Over the five-year span in which Pujols has gained his three MVPs, he has combined for 50.4 WARP1, a VORP of 446.1, and a .355 EqA. Rodriguez's aggregate numbers weren't nearly as good in those categories from 2003-07: 33.3, 376.6, and .320. Rodriguez earned a combined $114.3 million during those five seasons as part of the 10-year, $252 million contract he signed with the Rangers during the 2000 winter meetings.

Bonds' five-year totals were in another realm of the universe during his second MVP run, specifically in the five seasons from 2000-04. During that time, he had 57.0 WARP1, a VORP of 606.5, and a .416 EqA. Bonds made $69.4 million in those five years.

Rodriguez would be a more apt comparison in an effort to guesstimate what Pujols might ask for in his next contract. We won't factor inflation, figuring it will be a tradeoff that the slugging first baseman will make to stay in a market that isn't among the nation's top five. Rodriguez averaged $22.86 million from 2003-07. Figuring Pujols' agents at the Beverly Hills Sports Council will want eight guaranteed years in this contract, a deal at Rodriguez's average salary would bring the total value to $182.88 million. Round that figure upward a bit and a $200 million deal does not seem out of the question.

However, Pujols insists he isn't looking that far ahead, just like he rarely thinks about personal achievements. "I really try to take my life and my career one day at a time and be thankful for the blessings God has given me," Pujols said. "It's not like I go to spring training and say to myself, 'Well, I'm going to be the MVP this year.' My goal every year is the same and that's to win the World Series. If you concentrate on the team goals, the individual stuff takes care of itself."

---

Rich Thurman, the agent for Giants right-hander and 2008-09 NL Cy Young Award-winner Tim Lincecum, is not tipping his hand about what salary figure he will ask for his client in arbitration this winter. However, it doesn't take Ben Bernanke to know that Lincecum will get a huge raise over the $650,000 he made this past season while winning his second straight Cy Young.

One theory being floated in baseball circles is that Thurman-at the urging of new Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Michael Weiner-will ask for $23 million when the sides submit their arbitration figures on January 19. That is the average annual salary of Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia, who became the high-paid pitcher in baseball last winter when he signed a seven-year, $161 million contract as a free agent.

Normally, agents can only use players who play the same position and have roughly the same amount of major-league service time in making comparisons for the sake of setting their arbitration figures. However, Thurman will be able to take advantage of a special provision in the collective bargaining agreement that will allow him to compare Lincecum to any major-league pitcher. Article VI, Rule F (12) reads in part: "This shall not limit the ability of a player or his representative, because of special accomplishment, to argue the equal relevance of salaries of Players without regard to service, and the arbitration panel shall give whatever weight to such argument as is deemed appropriate."

Winning back-to-back Cys is a pretty special accomplishment. Thus, if the case goes the distance to a hearing in February, the old arbitration record of $10 million, awarded to Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard in 2008, is sure to be shattered. Howard avoided arbitration last winter after he asked for $18 million, the Phillies filed at $14 million then the sides agreed to a three-year, $54 million contract. With that as a guide, Giants general manager Brian Sabean said there would be no chance of signing Lincecum to a multi-year contract until after the January 19 filing date. "Because of the potential number it could go to, we may be guarded, not wanting to talk about a long-term situation until you know the range," Sabean told the San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea. "We could get something done in and around filling the numbers."

Regardless of how it turns out, this figures to be one of the more interesting arbitration cases ever. "This is one I have not been through, nor many in baseball have been through," Sabean said. "The union on their side will be very in how it turns out, and Major League Baseball will be very interested."

---

The latest Hall of Fame ballot has been released and has 26 names on it, including 15 newcomers: Roberto Alomar, Kevin Appier, Ellis Burks, Andres Galarraga, Pat Hentgen, Mike Jackson, Eric Karros, Ray Lankford, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Shane Reynolds, David Segui, Robin Ventura, and Todd Zeile. The 11 holdovers are Harold Baines, Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Don Mattingly, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Tim Raines, Lee Smith, and Alan Trammell.

The Mariners sent out an e-mail to the voters this week stumping for Martinez, who they say redefined the position of designated hitter as injuries forced him to move off third baseman early in his career. One of the more interesting factoids the Mariners dug up is that Martinez is one of just 20 players to exceed .300/.400/.500 in the slash stats categories for his career. Of the 12 eligible for the Hall of Fame, all but Lefty O'Doul have been elected. Joe Jackson was ruled ineligible as a condition of his lifetime ban from baseball for allegedly taking part in the White Sox throwing the 1919 World Series. Pujols, Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez, and Braves third baseman Chipper Jones are still active, while Larry Walker and Frank Thomas have not been retired the necessary five years before they can appear on the ballot. Martinez is also one of eight .300/.400/.500 players with at least 300 home runs, 500 doubles, and 1,000 walks. The others are Stan Musial, Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams, Ramirez, and Helton.

It will be interesting to see how Martinez fares in his first time on the ballot. To gain election, candidates need to be named on 75 percent of the ballots, which are cast by Baseball Writers Association of America members with 10-plus years of service. Many voters have long held to the idea that DHs are not Hall-worthy players.

Players can stay on the ballot for as long as 15 years if they continue to gain at least five percent of the vote. Martinez believes his candidacy will be one that takes time to evolve. "I think, with time, people might see there's more to my numbers," Martinez told the Seattle Times' Larry Stone. "I always have been realistic. I think of guys like Jim Rice. He had pretty good numbers and it took him 15 years. I don't put too many hopes on it. I think it's easier to deal with the outcome that way."

---

MLB Rumors and Rumblings: It appears that the market for Blue Jays right-hander Roy Halladay has been narrowed to the Red Sox and the Yankees, as they have both the prospects to make a trade and the financial wherewithal to sign him to a desired long-term contract extension, though the Angels and Phillies still remain dark horses. . If the Red Sox fail to land Halladay, they will consider trying to trade for Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera. ... The Red Sox have also stepped up their pursuit of free-agent infielder Marco Scutaro now that shortstop Alex Gonzalez has signed with the Blue Jays. The Angels are starting to look more and more like the likely landing spot of free-agent outfielder Jason Bay, unless the Mariners offer a four-year contract, which doesn't seem likely. Reliever Brandon Lyon's insistence on a multi-year contract all but rules out a return to the Tigers. The Pirates would be interested in signing free agent Hank Blalock to play first base if he would take at least a 50 percent pay cut from last season's $6 million salary.

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

Related Content:  The Who,  Year-to-date,  Manager Of The Year

33 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

amazin_mess

The Bosox are really going to get desparate if the Yankees land Halladay. That said, I still don't get why Toronto considers the division rivals there best bet. If you do that, you ensure that Doc comes back to SkyDome complete with all the bad press that will bring. If I were Anthopoulus, I'd be pressing the Cubs for a trade of Halladay for Starlin Castro and Geo Soto. The NL Central is very winnable and Halladay might tip the balance.

Nov 29, 2009 09:50 AM
rating: -3
 
Rob_in_CT

I think the idea is to get the Sox and Yanks into a bidding war.

Nov 30, 2009 08:14 AM
rating: 1
 
CRP13

One of the greatest active pitchers for a 20 year-old shortstop and a catcher whose career minor league numbers indicate that his Quad-A 2007 and decent 2008 are an aberration?

This belongs in the 'absurd trade rumors' thread.

Nov 30, 2009 08:54 AM
rating: 2
 
CRP13

Also: J.P. Arencibia. The Jays don't need Soto.

Nov 30, 2009 08:58 AM
rating: -1
 
mswain784

If you think J.P. Arencibia > Geo Soto you're nuts.

Arencibia OPSed 728 in AAA this year in the PCL perhaps the most hitter friendly park in the minor leagues, with a BB/K ratio of 26/114.

Nov 30, 2009 11:08 AM
rating: 0
 
BillJohnson

This is one of the more interesting Hall of Fame rookie classes in recent memory, with a complete lack of inner-circle candidates but an unusually large number of marginal-but-not-ridiculous newcomers and some returnees that make you scratch your head and say "huh?" I'll be even more interested than usual in seeing what the BP staff's ballots would look like. FWIW, my own would be Alomar, Larkin, Blyleven, McGwire (I mean, really...), Raines; whether I include Martinez would depend on how grumpy I happen to be about the DH at the moment, and I might add one or more of McGriff, Smith and Trammell, pending further research.

Nov 29, 2009 12:04 PM
rating: 2
 
smallflowers

If Manny's going to the Hall playing shitty defense, Edgar should certainly go playing none at all.

Nov 29, 2009 14:24 PM
rating: 0
 
R.A.Wagman

' Tis the age old question. Is it better to have fielded and failed than to never have fielded at all?

Nov 29, 2009 14:47 PM
rating: 16
 
John Douglass

Manny Ramirez will, when finished, have hit at least twice as many homers as Edgar Martinez, driven in at least 700 more runs, finished in the Top 10 of MVP voting at least 9 times to Martinez's 2, played in 4 World Series and won 2 WS rings to Edgar never having played in a single series. Any comparison of the two has to go beyond their slash-stats.

Nov 30, 2009 00:02 AM
rating: 8
 
mcbmd2

Do we continue to use counting stats, popularity votes, and home team to determine the merits of a player's HOF worthiness?

And for a completely different discussion, for a sport that puts so much value in batting abilities and so little in comparison to defense, how is it the DH is even questioned as unqualified for the HOF?

Nov 30, 2009 06:03 AM
rating: 0
 
thenamestsam

I agree that team success is a flawed measure of individual greatness, and that MVP votes are fickle, but the suggestion that we avoid counting stats in measuring a careers greatness is taking a good idea to the level of becoming asinine. While homeruns may not be the greatest stat to use, I'm willing to bet that Manny having twice as many home runs means hes piled up a whole bunch more value than Edgar over his career. If you're only willing to use rate stats than taking your logic to the extreme, the best career is one at-bat with one home run; the greatest player ever. Not sure where that leaves us exactly.

Nov 30, 2009 11:43 AM
rating: 2
 
John Douglass

I don't think we consider only counting stats when gauging a player's HOF-worthiness, especially in the context of a conversation on BP. But we can't discount them either, especially until they cease having persistence as a measuring stick for who's in and who's not.

Manny Ramirez is in the 500+ HR club, and has a reasonable shot at the 600+ club. No one in that club who is eligible, save Mark McGwire, is not enshrined. Edgar Martinez is in the 300 club--by a small margin--which is a club that has several players eligible for but not in the HOF. It's possible Martinez will get in on his very good slash-stats (22nd in all time OBP, 39th in all-time OPS speaks for itself, we'll have to wait and see how voters react.)

If there were multiple HOFs--the Starting Pitching HOF, the Relief Pitching HOF, the Middle Infield HOF, the DH HOF, then I'd gladly sign up as a charter member of the Put Edgar Martinez In Committee. And it's not that I don't like the DH in concept, as much as I think in the scope of HOF-worthiness it has to be discounted--largely--because of the overwhelmingly low amount the player has to do. The middle infielder or catcher who is involved in his 4.5 or so PA per game is also present, alert and aware for the other team's 25-40+ PA per game, while the DH is spitting sunflower seeds on the bench thinking about his next at-bat. Edgar was able to compile the stats he did in his slash-stats because all he had to focus on was hitting and, to a far lesser extent, baserunning. He didn't have to take grounders daily or work on hitting the cutoff man. Just hit, baby, hit. It gets easier to do just one thing when that's all that's expected of you.

My ballot this year would be Larkin, McGwire, Alomar and Blyleven.

Dec 02, 2009 13:02 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Larkin's counting stats aren't all that hot either.

On that note, I'm not entirely sure what the HOF argument for him is besides he was an above average hitter for a shortstop. Sure, he dominated the league for a few seasons, but he spent an entire decade injured and only had four seasons where he played in at least 140 games. That's a HOFer?

Dec 02, 2009 16:59 PM
rating: -1
 
Patrick

I see seven seasons in which he had at least 140 games: 1988, 1990, 1992, 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2002. A .295/.371/.444 line in 9057 PA over 19 seasons from a shortstop is really good. Good enough for 86.2 WARP3.

Dec 03, 2009 07:14 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Edgar also had a shorter career which also counts against him.

Nov 30, 2009 08:54 AM
rating: 2
 
BurrRutledge

Very intriguing to compare these two. A slow day back at the office this post-Thanksgiving let's me share a little bit o' research...

As most of you probably know, due to managerial/GM discretion, Edgar didn't get his MLB start until he was already at/near his 'peak' age. Through his age-26 season, he had only accumulated 280 total MLB PAs.

Here's a comparison of their 'shared player-age seasons'. I've also thrown in two mystery players to make it seem like this trivial investigation is more important than it really is... or to let you draw some more contextual conclusions. You choose.

Age / Edgar / Manny / Plyr C / Plyr D
<27 / -0.2 / 18.9 / 16.4 / 39.0
>37 / 12.5 / ---- / 00.0 / 07.7

Shared player-age seasons:
@27 / 3.2 / 7.6 / 1.2 / 7.8
@28 / 4.8 / 4.4 / 1.9 / 6.8
@29 / 7.6 / 5.2 / 1.8 / 7.6
@30 / 0.0 / 5.8 / 3.5 / 3.4
@31 / 2.9 / 4.5 / 3.6 / 2.5
@32 / 8.6 / 3.8 / 2.0 / 5.8
@33 / 6.2 / 4.4 / 5.1 / -.1
@34 / 6.6 / 4.1 / -.6 / 2.1
@35 / 6.0 / 2.0 / 0.4 / 4.6
@36 / 4.7 / 8.0 / -.9 / 2.5
@37 / 6.0 / 4.4 / --- / 0.6

11-year TOT**/ 56.6 / 54.2 / 18.0 / 45.2
<27 + >37 TOT/ 12.3 / 18.9 / 16.4 / 46.7

Comparing Edgar and Manny in their player-age seasons of 27 through 37, Edgar would appear to have enjoyed a higher level of play when actually playing. He had six seasons at/above 6.0 WARP3, to Manny's two. Edgar edged Manny in seven of their shared 'player-age' seasons. I think we can all agree that he enjoyed a very nice late-career. I'm disappointed that he wasn't brought up, and kept up, a couple or three seasons sooner.

However, even ignoring his late start, Edgar had two other shortened and ineffective seasons in his already-short career. His candidacy to the HoF definitely suffers from the lack of MLB playing time as a youngster. I'm sure Mr. Jaffe will enlighten us on exactly how far his career stats fall below the "JAWS standards." I love that analysis each year, and this year is no exception.

In comparison to Edgar, Manny's candidacy relies on his early career to demonstrate that he's more Hall-worthy. And his early career is certainly beneficial to that cause. His Age 23-26 seasons have WARP3s of 4.4, 4.6, 4.4, and 4.3. Not too shabby, though they are slightly below his career average. Therefore, they don't help his low peak score compared to Edgar, but make a much stronger case for his career accomplishments.

I know a lot of people who put more weight on the counting stats than the rate stats when it comes to the HoF, so Manny's consistency over the years plays very well to that audience.

Mystery player C is an awful statistical foil for comparison to Hall-worthiness. I admit his stats are sure to make otherwise-borderline candidates look exceptional. Even so, I chose to include him, since, well, the writers thought he was worthy - please welcome, Mr. Jim Rice. I loved watching him, but he is not one who I thought was worthy for enshrinement.

Player D raked has a youngster. What a phenom! Later in his career, however, he was not nearly as dominating as in his youth. His career is a big neon warning sign for long term contracts. Please give a hearty welcome to Mr. Frank Thomas! I included him in the comparison because his late-career decline demonstrates just how impressive Edgar's performance was, and it also shines a spotlight on Manny's health and amazing consistency for his age.

Please draw your own conclusions...

Nov 30, 2009 13:36 PM
rating: 1
 
BurrRutledge

Does a list exist for the highest WARP3 totals for players from their age-27 season til retirement? Is it easy to create one? Would be interesting in context of Edgar's HoF candidacy... I'm not guessing he's at the top, but I bet he's keeping respectable company.

Dec 01, 2009 10:33 AM
rating: 0
 
BurrRutledge

Failing such a list forthcoming, I created one. Sort of. Below is a list showing only the modern-day position players who have been enshrined in Cooperstown since 1999. We should know these fellas and whether they are 'worthy'. Imagine if Edgar had been given the opportunity to play more than 280 PAs before he was in his age 27 season...

First number is the player's WARP3 from his age 27 season through retirement. The second number is his career WARP3.

WARP3 / WARP3 / PLAYER
27-on / TOTAL / NAME
----- - ----- - ---------------
79.1 / 119.4 - Rickey Henderson
78.6 / 84.6 - Wade Boggs
75.7 / 90.0 - Ozzie Smith
69.1 / 68.9 - Edgar Martinez
58.0 / 104.3 - Cal Ripken, jr
55.9 / 78.5 - Tony Gwynn
52.9 / 65.9 - Carlton Fisk
52.5 / 75.7 - Paul Molitor
50.3 / 78.2 - George Brett
49.3 / 59.0 - Tony Perez
46.6 / 69.1 - Ryne Sandberg
46.2 / 72.7 - Eddie Murray
43.6 / 62.6 - Dave Winfield
35.4 / 43.4 - Kirby Puckett
34.2 / 68.5 - Robin Yount
34.1 / 61.6 - Joe Gordon
18.1 / 48.6 - Bill Mazeroski
17.8 / 34.2 - Jim Rice
16.5 / 51.3 - Orlando Cepeda

... and, if you're still reading this thread, please hit the '+' or '-' sign, below... much appreciated!

Dec 02, 2009 22:25 PM
rating: 2
 
John Douglass

To play devil's advocate to the notion of "...if Edgar had been given the opportunity to play more than 280 PAs before he was in his age 27 season": Perhaps if he was not a defensive liability, and was a better baserunner, and as such had been a little more well-rounded out as a player, he would have not been *given* the opportunity to play, but would have *earned* the right to play before he was 27.

Dec 03, 2009 08:21 AM
rating: -1
 
BurrRutledge

No argument from me on his defensive shortcomings at 3B! You also have to keep in mind that the Mariners did have him blocked by two of their best hitters at 1B and DH (Alvin Davis and Ken Phelps), whereas 3B was a real weak spot (Jim Presley). So they kept trying to mold him into a 3B. They never even tried him at 1B in the minors, as far as I can tell. We know how well that worked out for them.

And, I suppose the Mariners are to be commended for finally realizing that they had a position on their roster that didn't require "fielding skillz" as a pre-requisite.

The minor league stats I've been able to find are scarce, but they do show some bits and pieces of his hitting potential. Not nearly the hitting superstar he became later in life, but still enough to make this writer wonder, "what if?"

For instance, in '85, at age 22, he worked his way up from AA to AAA. He didn't mash at AA, but after getting moved up to Calgary he hit .353 AVG and .485 SLG in 20 games. Note that the stats I can find don't show PAs or walks (baseball-reference.com).

He toiled in '86 back in AA, with sub-standard results (.264 avg, .390 slg).

In '87 he was in Calgary (24 years old) in the PCL, for 129 games and 438 AB, hitting for a .329 avg and .473 slg. Again, no mention of OBP or BB, but simple math shows he was getting just 3.4 ABs/game, so he must have been getting a few walks in there. When he got to the majors that year, he didn't do so badly, either: .372/.413/.581 in 13 games.

In '88 he was back at AAA for more practice on his fielding, because he hit for a .363 AVG and .517 SLG in 95 games. In just 38 PAs in the majors that year, he hit .281/.351/.406.

In '89 he was back at AAA for 32 games, with a .345 AVG and .522 SLG. (His time in the majors was a disappointment in comparison, just .240/.314/.304 over 65 games.)

So, up til 1990, he wasn't hitting too badly at all, but his team couldn't find a place for him at either of the two positions where his glove might play: 1B or DH. Just bad luck on his part that he was blocked. And proof that not every good hitter is a third baseman.

But "wow," when they finally did give him a chance to put the lumber to good use. I mean, that list shows his bat is in very very good company, once he was "allowed" to use it.

Dec 03, 2009 10:57 AM
rating: 0
 
John Douglass

"Just bad luck on his part that he was blocked." I fundamentally disagree that bad luck had anything to do with it. Being a two-tool player in a sport that puts a premium on players with four or five tools (even though his two tools were excellent) is what kept him out of the majors, either via promotion to the parent club in Seattle or via a trade to another organization that had a need for his services.

Were you a GM, who would you be more interested in developing: A speedy contact hitter with a great infield glove and above-average arm (ie a guy with four good tools); or a less athletic player who can naturally hit a ton and hit for power but not run, field or throw well (ie a guy with two out-of-this-world tools and the potential for nothing more)? As GM, I'd be far more interested in the development and progress of the former. It's what kept Edgar from moving faster, despite his great bat. It's what makes Edgar questionable to me as a HOF candidate, but Ozzie Smith an obvious first-ballot member.

I'd say, if anything, Edgar was "lucky" that a slot came open for him where his shortcomings could be ovrlooked enough to allow his natural gift for hitting to be showcased.

Dec 03, 2009 11:42 AM
rating: 0
 
John Douglass

...also, I don't think it's necessarily a good idea to reduce everyone's career to 27+. You're handicapping against players who were very good very early, based on your notion that Edgar Martinez was somehow unlucky. Albert Pujols, for example, has already established himself as a first-ballot-as-close-to-unanimous-as-it-gets-HOFer. And he's just out of his 29-year-old season. After they retire, should we discount what Tim Lincecum or Zack Greinke or Adam Wainwright have done to date, and continue to forget it until they're each 29 since Randy Johnson didn't get good until 26 yrs old, and great until 29?

Dec 03, 2009 12:05 PM
rating: 1
 
BurrRutledge

I think you misunderstand the comparison, and I realize that I haven't done a good job of explaining it. You may have missed that elsewhere in the thread I already agreed with you on the point that Edgar is not a Hall of Famer.

The analyses and comparisons I've been posting are to show that he sure did a good job of impersonating a Hall of Famer once he was "given the chance."

The question is, if he was able to do so well so late in his career, what might have happened if he'd been given the chance earlier? Nobody can answer that definitively.

I am simply suggesting that if he'd been able to play at 1B from age 24-26, or DH, perhaps he'd have put up another ten or twelve points of WARP3. Not that he'd be Pujols, who is in an elite class so rarely seen.

Why did the organization keep trying to make him into a third baseman when they knew he wasn't mobile and didn't have the glove for it? Is it because their organizational need was at 3B, and they already had 1B and DH filled with above-average players? Could they have made some trades to open up room, or move Edgar to bring in a better option at 3B? Maybe, but they didn't.

It's all fantasy-land hypotheticals. Nobody knows. And that's perhaps why it fascinates me. What we do know is that once he did stay up for good, he contributed more to his team's Wins, on an age-for-age basis, than 15 of the Hall of Famers in the recent past.

To be perfectly honest, I think it's unfair to judge him against Pujols. I was actually thinking Ryan Howard might be a better comp to Edgar's situation, but in reverse. If Thome had never been injured, Ryan Howard might have been tooling around in AAA for another two seasons waiting for a spot to open up for him, or to get traded away. Instead, Thome did get injured and we now have "Ryan Howard."

Dec 03, 2009 13:50 PM
rating: 0
 
BurrRutledge

And if Howard keeps up hitting at a 5+ WARP for another 10 seasons, he will be much like Edgar but in the N.L.

Dec 03, 2009 15:24 PM
rating: 0
 
John Douglass

I think the answer to "why couldn't Edgar play 1B from 24-26" is a fairly easy one. There were 26 better options for the 26 available jobs, from Darrel Evens in Detroit to Joe Carter in Cleveland to Jack Clark in St. Louis...well, maybe not Willie Upshaw, but the Blue Jays had a 23 year old Fred McGriff parked in the DH slot ready to take over at 1B the following year. Edgar just wasn't the right solution for the Mariners or anyone else at the time.


Dec 04, 2009 12:21 PM
rating: 0
 
Travis Leleu

For a BP discussion, this thread isn't very smart. Quick lookup for Manny versus Edgar, career numbers:

Manny: 18 seasons, 9437 AB, 5589 outs. 68.6 WARP1, 73.1 WARP3. FanGraphs has him at 1870 wRC carrer. FWIW, fielding wise, Manny was about 100 runs below average in the field.
Edgar: 18 seasons, 8672 AB, 5083 outs. 64.3 WARP1, 68.9 WARP3, 1601 wRC (partially a result of injuries).

Seems to me that these are some pretty similar numbers when taken at face value. I do, however, believe that even Manny's poor defense is still worth 10-20 runs / season above a full time DH (yes, defense played poorly is better than no defense at all; unless we're talking Dunn-levels of incompetence). Manny looks to have a slight advantage over Edgar, pure hitting wise. No comment on HoF candidacy of Edgar.

Nov 30, 2009 12:52 PM
rating: 1
 
smallflowers

If a tree falls in left field, and no one's there to hear it...

Nov 29, 2009 15:22 PM
rating: 2
 
Richard Bergstrom

Then it means Alfonso Soriano is on your team...

Nov 30, 2009 08:52 AM
rating: 6
 
greenengineer

Trammell, Blyleven and Raines need to be in the Hall. Now that Rice is in there, we can expect Dawson this year. Dave Parker is saying if Rice is in there, he should be too.

http://tinyurl.com/ykveqfh

The floodgates have opened.

Nov 30, 2009 04:57 AM
rating: -1
 
Richard Bergstrom

I think McGriff will be the interesting one, and in a way, another litmus test of how steroid-inflated numbers affect the HOF voter perception. McGriff, for all we know, has been clean and he has 493 home runs and 2490 hits. Can or should he be held out while a Rice and maybe a Dawson gets in?

Nov 30, 2009 06:06 AM
rating: 0
 
BillJohnson

I'd certainly vote for McGriff before Rice, and probably before Dawson. As greenengineer says, the floodgates have been opened.

It's interesting that a Hall of Famer who appears on the top-10 comparables list (B-R version) for all three of McGriff, Rice and Dawson is Billy Williams. In my opinion the circumstances are quite different, because Williams played most of his productive career in a pitchers' era, which the other three did not. Would Williams be considered a strong HoF candidate today if he'd put up the same line in the last 20 years? I'm not sure.

Nov 30, 2009 06:30 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

The 80s were considered a pitcher's era too from what I understand, or maybe I just read too much about the Cardinals.

Nov 30, 2009 08:50 AM
rating: 0
 
BurrRutledge

I can't reply to BillJohnson for some reason, but I've got my provisional ballot below.

New guys on the ballot:
Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin

Holdovers:
Bert Blyleven, Mark McGwire, Tim Raines, Alan Trammell

Maybe, worth further consideration:
Lee Smith

Just missed:
Edgar Martinez (too short a career, not his fault)
Fred McGriff (young phenom who hung around a long long tie... memorable Berman-nickname, too)

Nov 30, 2009 18:28 PM
rating: 0
 
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