CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

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

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Checking the Numbers: ... (12/28)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Wh... (12/21)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Se... (01/04)
Next Article >>
Prospectus Q&A: Eric K... (12/29)

December 29, 2009

Ahead in the Count

For the Long-Term Investors

by Matt Swartz

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.

Last week, we discussed when bad teams should attempt to sign free agents. The primary scenarios in which this makes sense are when the team stands an outside chance of competing, and when there also will be a valuable market for that player at the trade deadline in the likely scenario that the team is not competitive. In this case, the premium that competitive teams should place on having players for the stretch run is often to allow the team to recoup some of their lost money on the player.

On one hand, signing players for which there is commonly a lot of demand, such as starting pitchers, makes a lot of sense. On the other hand, if you believe that your team is going to be competitive in a year or two, you may risk having an opening at a certain position where there is not free-agent talent available. This is why I have looked at what type of players are usually available on the free-agent market, and whether it may be advantageous to sign them in advance of being competitive. I looked at the top 50 MLB Free Agents as listed by MLBTradeRumors.com and recorded what position they played and what type of production they provided over the life of the contract.

Firstly, starting pitching is always available. Going into the 2005-06 offseason A.J. Burnett, Kevin Millwood, Jarrod Washburn, Matt Morris, Esteban Loaiza, and Braden Looper all signed deals of three years or more. Burnett, Looper, and Millwood all provided a WARP3 of at least 2.0 to their new teams in 2006. However, none of them provided a WARP3 of 2.0 in the second or third year of their contracts. During the 2006-07 offseason Barry Zito, Jason Schmidt, Vicente Padilla, Ted Lilly, Gil Meche, Jeff Suppan, and Adam Eaton all signed deals of three or more years, and both Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kei Igawa were posted by their Japanese teams. That list is certainly less than attractive for teams considering improvement a couple of years down the road. Only Gil Meche, Vicente Padilla, and Ted Lilly provided WARP3 of 2.0 or higher in the second year of their contracts, and only Ted Lilly did so in the third season of his deal. In 2007-08, very few pitchers signed multi-year deals. In fact, only Carlos Silva and Hiroki Kuroda did, and neither provided a WARP3 above even 0.2 in the second season of their deals. Going into the 2008-09 offseason, many pitchers signed deals of three or more years: CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe, Ryan Dempster, and Oliver Perez all agreed to long-term pacts. Obviously it is too soon to look at the second and third years of their contracts, but this certainly seems like a more promising group.

Among players who signed two-year deals in 2006-2008 off-seasons, only Mike Mussina in the second year of his deal in 2008 provided a WARP3 above 2.0 in the latter years of his deals-indeed, he provided a WARP3 of 5.0 in 2008 for the Yankees.

What we can gather from this is that there is almost always starting pitching available, and that these starting pitchers are always risky quantities. Therefore, if you do sign starting pitchers to a team that is not that competitive, it had better be on short deals and it had better meet the criteria that we discussed last week.

Turning to relief pitching, we also see that there are frequently relief pitchers available, although this is less certain from year to year. However, they are more volatile and provide even less help in latter years of deals. Of the free-agent relievers going into the 2006 off-season, Billy Wagner provided a second year of solid performance (3.9 and 3.4 WARP3 in 2006 and 2007) before unraveling in the third and fourth years of his contract (with WARP3 of 1.4 and 0.6 in 2008 and 2009). Trevor Hoffman also maintained a solid performance in the second year of his two-year re-signing with the Padres (4.1 WARP3 in 2006 and 2.5 in 2007). Bob Howry stayed good both years with WARP3 of 2.3 and 2.4 in his two years. The 2007 relief crew was essentially fruitless with only swingman Miguel Batista even signing a multi-year deal, and he provided no real benefit in the second and third years of his deal. The 2008 reliever market found Mariano Rivera back with the Yankees with obviously strong performances in both years, and two solid years to start off Francisco Cordero's deal with the Brewers. Last offseason provided a number of attractive relievers at first glance-Francisco Rodriguez, Brian Fuentes, Kerry Wood, Jeremy Affeldt, Damaso Marte, and Jose Cruz-but only Fuentes and Affeldt provided WARP3s above 2.0.

All in all, we see that teams looking to build for the long-term should look within to find pitching as the common perception about pitchers available on the free agent market is true. Both starters and relievers frequently provided most of their benefit in the first year of their deal, and teams can hamper themselves dearly with empty, expensive performances towards the back end of deals.

However, when we look at position players, we do not see the same kind of security that talent will be available the following season, although we see the same indication that hitters taper off over the course of their contracts as well.

The catching position is a particularly difficult place to find talent on the free agent market. This year's top catcher available is Bengie Molina-and he's not a reliable guy to add wins to your club. The only catcher to receive a multi-year deal going into the 2009 season was Jason Varitek, and he has already been displaced by Victor Martinez and is still with his club only by virtue of a player option that he picked up. Going into 2008, both Jorge Posada and Yorvit Torrealba were available and signed multi-year deals. Posada struggled mightily in the first year of his deal, but bounced back to provide a WARP3 of 3.7 in his second year. Torrealba, on the other hand, produced a combined WARP3 of 1.0 at a cost of $7.25 million in 2008-2009. No catchers signed multi-year deals in the offseason before 2007, and the 2006 offseason yielded Brad Ausmus, who obviously disappointed in his two-year deal, and Ramon Hernandez signed a four-year deal with the Orioles. Hernandez provided a WARP3 of 3.7 in 2006 and a combined WARP3 of just 2.6 in 2007-2009, all at a cost of $28 million. The catching position provides too much wear and tear on the body to trust a catcher who already has six years of service time to last through multiple years of a contract.

The first-base market does not always provide a major contributor either. In the 2006-2009 offseasons, the major signings included Paul Konerko's five-year, $60 million deal with the White Sox in 2006, and Mark Teixeira's eight-year, $180 million deal with the Yankees in 2009. Konerko performed best early in his nearly expired deal, with a WARP3 of 3.8 in 2006 and 2.5 in 2007. However, it fell to 1.5 and 1.9 in the previous two offseasons. Teixeira's deal is far from complete and is tough to evaluate. This offseason, the only free agents available at first base are Russell Branyan, Adam LaRoche, and Carlos Delgado, and Nick Johnson signed a one-year deal to be the Yankees DH. Signing free agents at first base is not always easy to do, and therefore, this may be a position that you may want to sign a player to a long-term deal. However, up-and-coming teams should be careful to grab players who age well, as teams risk signing Mo Vaughn-type players and being stuck with the bill years later.

Second basemen are particularly hard to come by on the free-agent market. Since 2006, the largest contract given out to a second baseman was to Kaz Matsui in 2008, when the Astros inked him to a three-year, $16.5 million deal. Unsurprisingly, he provided only 3.7 WARP3 during this time period. Jose Valentin signed a two-year, $4.7 million deal in 2006 and provided a WARP3 of 5.3 in the first year, but this plummeted to 1.0 in the second.

Shortstops have reached free agency more often in recent years. Rafael Furcal signed a three-year, $39 million deal with the Dodgers going into the 2006 season, producing WARP3 of 5.6, 3.9, and 2.1 in 2006-2008, respectively. Julio Lugo signed a four-year, $36 million deal going into the 2007 season, but has failed to put up a WARP3 higher than 0.8 in any of the first three seasons. No free-agent shortstops signed multi-year deals going into 2008, but both Furcal and Edgar Renteria signed major deals going into 2009. Furcal put up a solid WARP3 of 4.7 this season, while Renteria only reached 1.0. The lesson for shortstops seems to be that if you signed Rafael Furcal, at least, you can do well in the first year of the contract.

This offseason, Chone Figgins and Placido Polanco have signed contracts to play third base for big money, and Adrian Beltre and possibly Mark DeRosa may do so as well. The free-agent market has not typically been a fruitful place to find third basemen in recent years, with the obvious exceptions being Aramis Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez re-upping with their old teams. Both of these players declined as the deal moved into even its second year as well.

There have been major beneficiaries of large free-agent contracts among corner outfielders in recent years. The 2005-06 class boasts Hideki Matsui, who soon became a DH, though he provided an average of 2.2 WARP3 for his four-year, $52 million contract. It also yielded Brian Giles, who for three years and $30 million provided WARP3 of 2.9, 1.0, and 4.3 from 2006-08 with the Padres, Jacque Jones, with WARP3 marks of 2.8, 2.3, and -1.5 with the Cubs, and Juan Encarnacion, who provided a combined WARP3 of 0.1 for $15 million for 2006-2008. In 2007, Alfonso Soriano led the class with an eight-year, $136 million contract. His WARP3 has gone from 7.4 to 3.9 to 0.3 in his first three years with the Cubs. Frank Catalanotto signed a three-year, $13.5 million contract and provided 1.7 WARP3 during 2007-09. Dave Roberts provided 1.6 WARP3 for $18 million over 2007-09, and David Dellucci provided only 0.3 WARP3 for $11.5 million over the same time span. Jose Guillen declined rapidly after the first year of his deal with the Royals as well, putting up a negative WARP3 in 2009, after producing only 1.0 in 2008, but 3.1 in 2007. The 2008 market was particularly rough for corner outfielders, as the only player to sign a multi-year contract, Geoff Jenkins, was released before the second year of it was completed. There were an abundance of corner outfielders who signed before the 2009 offseason, including Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Raul Ibanez, Pat Burrell, and Milton Bradley; excepting Ibanez and Ramirez, it is likely that the other three teams regret their signings at this stage. Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, and Johnny Damon all stand to receive multi-year deals this winter. This group of players also has shown to be a group that does not age particularly well either.

There have been center fielders who have signed multi-year deals in four of the previous five offseasons, including Mike Cameron this winter. Johnny Damon was useful throughout his four-year deal with the Yankees from 2006-2009, though he did finish as a left fielder, rather than in center. It's safe to say the 2007 class of center fielders-Gary Matthews Jr., Juan Pierre, and Jim Edmonds-all provided lessons to their teams about the risks of signing free agents. The 2008 class was stronger, but still weak, consisting of Torii Hunter, who provided his highest WARP3 in the fourth year of his five year deal with 4.0 in 2009, but also including Aaron Rowand, who has been disappointing for the Giants, dropping from 2.9 to 1.3 WARP3 in 2008-2009. Then there was Andruw Jones, who was released before the second year of his two-year deal with the Dodgers, and Kosuke Fukudome, who bounced back after an ugly second half of 2008 that left him with only 1.6 WARP3 (playing right field for the most part) back up to 5.0 in 2009 while playing center. So, center fielders also have proved to be a risky crop.

Looking at this list of recent signings, it is quite clear that signing free agents long-term is not a reliable way to improve your team. Combining all players from 2006-08 who signed multi-year deals, we see that the WARP3 is reasonably close in the second year of deals as compared with the first year-138.9 to 114.7. However, looking at 2006-2007, we see that among players who signed deals for three or more years, they fell severely by their third seasons-going from 80.8 in their first years, to 59.6 in their second years, and 31.7 in their third years.

Many players do provide benefits for a couple of years, but they typically decline quickly as their contracts go on. This is primarily because of the age of players by the time they reach free agency. Players need six years of major-league service time to reach free agency, and few players are able to do so while on the right side of 30. By the time they do sign, free agents are typically past their prime and can hamper teams. It's not that teams are stupid-it is very clear that signing a free agent can put you over the top. The point to be made here is that they typically provide most of their value early in contracts, and are therefore a poor way to gradually build up your team. Teams should improve by building within, and perhaps should only sign free agents when they expect them to put them over the top, or at least when they expect to be able to trade them for a gain early in the deal.

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

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

BP Comment Quick Links

mattseward

Excellent article Matt, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm sure it won't make Scott Boras' statistical profile!!

Dec 29, 2009 08:28 AM
rating: 1
 
krissbeth

What about expanding the years covered in a future article? Was it always this way, or has the market changed recently?

Dec 29, 2009 08:51 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Matt Swartz
BP staff

I will try to do so, but it is tough to find complete data on free agents prior to 2006. MLBTradeRumors.com does a very good job at consolidating all this information, and it was hard to get information from before they existed. I certainly will be expanding this area of research going forward, though.

Dec 29, 2009 17:32 PM
 
Richie

The Nationals regret signing Dunn? Really?

Dec 29, 2009 09:35 AM
rating: 6
 
BP staff member Matt Swartz
BP staff

I can't tell if this is a joke. I hope so. He's been a defensive disaster and he didn't exactly make them contenders.

Dec 29, 2009 17:32 PM
 
Brian Kopec

Were either of those 2 things unexpected?

If they were happy with the contract the day it was signed, they should be happy with it today.

Dec 30, 2009 09:16 AM
rating: 1
 
GoTribe06

I highly doubt that the Nationals are disappointed in the Dunn signing. An over-3 WARP for $8 million. And they only inked him to a two-year deal, which fits nicely with your conclusion.

He was part of an exciting offense that I found myself watching a disproportionately-large amount for a 60 win team. Zimmerman, Willingham, and Dunn were always capable of some fireworks. And I love the way Nyjer Morgan plays the game.

Dec 30, 2009 13:14 PM
rating: 0
 
Richie

One conceptual problem. Teams don't sign players, GMs do. So the rule oughta be, GMs with multiple years left to them shouldn't sign free agents, GMs who have to win or git this year should. How much does this rule hold? I'd like to see.

Dec 29, 2009 09:39 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Matt Swartz
BP staff

You are absolutely correct that there is a moral hazard problem with GMs and owners, and this is widely accepted. However, this article focused on teams that are out of contention and owners should be aware of this and be against wasting money on inefficient resources.

Dec 29, 2009 17:32 PM
 
Matt L.

Not that it really changes the analysis, but when Looper was signed by the Cardinals prior to the 2006 season, he was a relief pitcher and had never started a game in the Majors.

Dec 29, 2009 09:54 AM
rating: 0
 
oira61

Nice job, Matt. It seems that major league GMs have finally learned this lesson, which is why Holliday, Bay and Damon aren't signed yet.

Dec 29, 2009 10:11 AM
rating: 0
 
jpm9263

I didn't see Scott Linebrink mentioned as an example of what not to do. The White Sox still have two more years of his awful contract.

Dec 29, 2009 10:43 AM
rating: 0
 
jseely

No Mike Lowell mention? I would have thought him the poster boy for year 2 declines.

Dec 29, 2009 11:06 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Matt Swartz
BP staff

I left out Lowell and Linebrink mentioned above, as well as a few others. There are a number of examples of bad signings that I had to leave out to make it flow.

Dec 29, 2009 17:32 PM
 
philly

I really hated this conclusion:

"The catching position provides too much wear and tear on the body to trust a catcher who already has six years of service time to last through multiple years of a contract."

It sounds reasonable and may very well be true, but you apparently based it on 6 catchers and two of them - Varitek and Posada - were extremely durable and productive well past thier first 6 years of service time. Their contracts that you used to support your conclusion were, in fact, their second post-FA contracts. Their intitial ones turned out just fine.

And I must say, that I kept waiting for a summary table to show the data. All of the quick sentences - this guys signed this and did that - tended to blur together. If this was a BP Idol submission I'd definitely be criticising on readabililty and flow. Don't be afraid to give us tables of data when they'd so obviously help readers digest a lot of data.

Dec 29, 2009 11:31 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Matt Swartz
BP staff

Posada signed with a year remaining of arbitration, so this is not relevant. Varitek was a free agent, and did provide good value in the first year of the deal. The latter three years of a deal were somewhat of a wash with 1.3 WARP3 in 2006, 4.2 in 2007, and 2.0 in 2008, given the AAV of $10MM for the deal. This is maybe a slight bargain, but certainly would be questionable to pay for his excellent 2005 for a non-contending team to get fair value for 2006-2008? Few catchers do provide value and the fact that you may have found a borderline exception and an irrelevant case is hardly enough to dismiss the range of players cited here. Ausmus, Torrealba, and Ramon Hernandez would all have been ill-adivsable signings for rebuilding teams. There will always be exceptions, but it certainly is a valid statement to say that it is usually a bad decision for a rebuilding team to sign a free agent catcher in the hopes that he will provide value later in the contract.

Dec 29, 2009 17:33 PM
 
philly

That's really a terrible answer. I guess in the narrow, narrow little world that you're tyring to constrain yourself to it makes some sense, but look again at your conclusion.

"The catching position provides too much wear and tear on the body to trust a catcher who already has six years of service time to last through multiple years of a contract."

Posada in years 7+ has produced WARs of 6.3, 5.2, 3.6, 4.7, 7.1, 0.8, 3.6. That's an average of 4.5/year over seven years. All post-FA.

Varitek in years 7+ has produced WARs of 4.7, 4.6, 1.2, 3.0, 1.3, 1.3. That's an average of 2.7/yr over 6 years all post-FA.

Both of those catchers were valuable players after their FA service time. Posada was extremely valuable.

Your summary conclusion is based on dismissing Posada's first 4 years post-FA because he signed before he was a FA. I get that FA signings are the focus of your article, but your conclusion is written much more broadly. And Posada must definitely is not an irrelveant case.

At least 2 of the 6 catchers that you named were very good and valuable players in service time years 7+.

I'm completely flabbergasted that you think ignoring Posada because it's not convenient, calling Varitek borderline and apparently using the other 4 catchers that you have conveniently in your sample is anything close to reasonable evidence for your conclusion.

And then to accuse me of "dismissing the range" of players that you cited? Just astounding. It's your range of players that is tiny and you're the one dismissing players within that range!

I mean I guess the conclusion you really want to write is:

The catching position provides too much wear and tear on the body to trust a catcher who already has six years of service time to last through multiple years of a contract, however years 7-10 might also be really valuable if you can sign that worn down catcher before he becomes a FA.

Posada certainly is a relevent example for that conclusion...

Dec 29, 2009 21:49 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Matt Swartz
BP staff

It's not a terrible answer, but perhaps it was not blunt enough. I'll be clearer.

You found a couple of examples for two large market teams who developed good catchers who lasted a long time. If you tried, I'm sure that you could find quite a number of other catchers who aged well, and I could sit there and trying to dig up several catchers who did not age well for each one catcher who did if I really had the time.

The fact that catchers generally do not age well is a widely accepted fact and my conclusion was hardly a revelation. That you can think of a couple counterexamples is hardly going to change the fact that catching provides wear and tear on the body. Your counterargument amounts to the following: "I heard of two guys who aged well who also played catcher. Therefore, it's impossible to say that catching accelerates the effects of aging." Is this your conclusion? No, your conclusion is that you think I didn't prove something that is already proven when I merely gave examples-- that's true but I'm still right, and the goal of this article wasn't to provide a scientific study but to show through repeated examples who unlikely it is that a rebuilding team helps themselves by signing free agents. Do you disagree with me? I suppose you probably could find a counterexample but I'd still be right.

Listen: the plural of anecdote is not data. Posada's first contract before he signed as a free agent merely highlights the fact that you were unable to cook up better examples easily. If you could not come up with the minority of catchers who did age well when we provide you with a search tool and comparable players in each PECOTA card, you're not trying. However, catching is grueling and it's effects make it harder to age gracefully. That's not my a conclusion I can claim credit for, because it's obvious.

Dec 30, 2009 03:31 AM
 
philly

Well we're just going to have to agree to disagree.

The language you used in your conclusion is too broad for the piece it's in. That seems pretty simple to me.

I really don't like the attitude that says I didn't mean this to be a scientific study, I didn't specifically allude to any such studies, but I still know that I'm right.

I must say Matt that you seem to be fitting in at BP quite well. Unfortunately.

Dec 30, 2009 06:06 AM
rating: -2
 
philly

You know... I was going to edit out that last bit after a half second of reflection (although still do kind of think it's a fun bit of snark).

Forget it if you will. I've liked many of your pieces both in Idol and since. I think you could have done better with this one though.

Take care.

Dec 30, 2009 06:09 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Matt Swartz
BP staff

Here is Nate Silver's article from a few years ago:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4464
Note that the catcher's aging curve not only peaks a year sooner, but it also starts to peak even earlier, meaning that the length of time where a catcher is a major league quality catcher is much shorter.

Dec 30, 2009 13:13 PM
 
kdringg

Brilliant analysis of showing how GMs love to dish out multi-year deals that hamper & destroy teams long after the worthless "free" agents have been dumped from the roster. Case in point - I was at an Avs hockey game in Denver last week and I saw Denny Neagle, who along with Mike Hampton and their two ludicrous long-term deals hampered the Rockies financially for years after those bums were shipped out of the Mile High City....come to think of it, that massive Helton contract has been quite an albatross around the Rockies' neck too but at least in the last few years he's morphed into a Mark Grace-like first bagger...that actually makes me sick to type that but at least he's putting some value now.....

Dec 29, 2009 12:01 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Matt Swartz
BP staff

I'm not sure that I would say these signings are useless-- these players provide good value early in contracts. I'm simply expressing how much they make up for this by being bad value later in the contracts, and therefore concluding they are detrimental to rebuilding teams.

Dec 29, 2009 17:33 PM
 
TGisriel

The best free agent signing that I can remember, although little commented upon, was the Orioles signing of Rafael Paleiro for the 1994-1998 seasons (age 29-33). In those 5 years he put up WARPs of 4.5, 5.8, 4.5, 2.0 and 5.5

Dec 29, 2009 15:23 PM
rating: 0
 
rweiler

I think you have to make exceptions for super stars. Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez were both great free agent signings, and when Hanley Ramirez's current contract is up, I doubt the winner of the bidding will be disappointed. Of course, given that he plays for the Marlins, Ramirezwill probably be dealt the year before that and will have his contract extended. For the acquiring team that isn't all that different than signing him as a free agent. You lose some prospects instead of draft picks.

Dec 29, 2009 17:41 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Matt Swartz
BP staff

I never thought that free agents were universally bad deals. I thought that they are generally most valuable in their first season, and thus, they are of limited use to rebuilding teams.

Dec 29, 2009 18:11 PM
 
sockeye

I was glad to see the concluding assessment that multi-yr FA deals are often bad simply because they're handed out fairly late on the player's service time (and thus aging) curve. This may explain a high proportion of the long-term deals that do work out (a commenter above referenced Bonds and A-Rod) - they reached FA earlier on. Can you classify the data by age to present an analysis with a second layer?

Also, I caught myself wishing there was a table with column to show the WARP3 values in yrs x, x+1, etc. I see this point has been made above (albeit a little harshly), and would like to repeat it, but perhaps more constructively.

Nice work, matt.

Dec 29, 2009 19:20 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Matt Swartz
BP staff

Thanks. I will work on making a chart for the next time I visit this topic. This probably will be part of a series of articles on the same topic.

Dec 30, 2009 13:17 PM
 
ScottyB

Really good article!!!
I suppose one secondary reason for the majority of FA signings not going to plan is- teams have gotten smarter about signing younger players to contracts (e.g., Wright, Longoria, Santana) that take them through their early FA years.

Dec 29, 2009 19:50 PM
rating: 0
 
gazoo1

Not sure what conclusions can be drawn from this analysis. The underlying reasons for them becoming free agents are multi layered (who is their agent, their health, family issues, is there a prospect coming up, are his demands unreasonable etc. etc). In a nutshell, free agents are a very small percentage of baseball players and become free agents for a wide variety of reasons, and I don't think we can draw conclusions by looking at a few years back. Not a stats major but in theory, wouldn't the proper way to approach the problem be to relate WAR by position to years of controllable service/age and than draw conclusions based upon those results?

Dec 30, 2009 20:30 PM
rating: 0
 
Ira

One more point of clarification. In your initial statment about pitchers you said, "Going into the 2005-06 offseason A.J. Burnett, Kevin Millwood, Jarrod Washburn, Matt Morris, Esteban Loaiza, and Braden Looper all signed deals of three years or more. Burnett, Looper, and Millwood all provided a WARP3 of at least 2.0 to their new teams in 2006. However, none of them provided a WARP3 of 2.0 in the second or third year of their contracts." Well, first off, Burnett posted a Warp3 of 2.4 in the second year of his contract. Also both Millwood and Washburn provided 4.7 and 3.5 WARP3 for their signed teams in the FOURTH year of their contract, and Looper came awfully close to providing 2 WARP3 (1.9) in the third year of his contract.

I think your conclusion can be specious. I think that there is value to signing a Free agent to a multi year deal in a rebuilding team if you are careful. I just think that few teams do it right. Gil Meche being a prime example of a mistake.

Jan 04, 2010 16:36 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Matt Swartz
BP staff

Oops, I think I meant to make the cutoff 2.5 or just meant to say "one of them" and wrote "none of them." Either way, I did miss the Burnett 2.4 in my article. You're right about Millwood and Washburn, but in reality, both of those were BABIP luck mostly. Of course there are exceptions but the general rule is that you generally get most of the value from free agent deals up front. Especially coupled with the more recent article, this seems particularly important to note.

Jan 05, 2010 18:50 PM
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Premium Article Checking the Numbers: ... (12/28)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Wh... (12/21)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Se... (01/04)
Next Article >>
Prospectus Q&A: Eric K... (12/29)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Rounders: The Slump Buster
Premium Article What Scouts Are Saying: July 1, 2015
Premium Article Going Yard: Futures Game: USA Bats
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Tuesday, June ...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: July 1, 2015
Premium Article Notes from the Field: July 1, 2015
Premium Article The Call-Up: Miguel Sano

MORE FROM DECEMBER 29, 2009
Premium Article Future Shock: A's Top 11 Prospects
Prospectus Q&A: Eric Kubota

MORE BY MATT SWARTZ
2010-01-18 - Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Revising Player Contract...
2010-01-11 - Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Part 2 of Service-time C...
2010-01-04 - Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Service-Time Contracts a...
2009-12-29 - Premium Article Ahead in the Count: For the Long-Term Invest...
2009-12-21 - Premium Article Ahead in the Count: When Bad Teams Land Good...
2009-12-17 - Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Anatomy of a Blockbuster
2009-12-08 - Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Shifting in the Third-Ba...
More...

MORE AHEAD IN THE COUNT
2010-01-18 - Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Revising Player Contract...
2010-01-11 - Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Part 2 of Service-time C...
2010-01-04 - Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Service-Time Contracts a...
2009-12-29 - Premium Article Ahead in the Count: For the Long-Term Invest...
2009-12-21 - Premium Article Ahead in the Count: When Bad Teams Land Good...
2009-12-17 - Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Anatomy of a Blockbuster
2009-12-08 - Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Shifting in the Third-Ba...
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2010-01-11 - Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Part 2 of Service-time C...
2010-01-04 - Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Service-Time Contracts a...