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Corey Patterson, based on UZR, is no longer the fielder he once was. During his last three seasons, he's played 262 games in CF and put up a 1.4 UZR. He was elite, but it seems that status is more than in question now. He's below replacement level at this point. Pie's career UZR/150 is 8.3 in his three seasons. Good? Yes. Elite? No. Gomez's 14.2 mark IS elite. In total value, I do think Pie is reasonably similar to Gomez, so I suppose its a relevant point, but if the Brewers are willing to pay $1 mil for that type of player, there may be others who are as well.
I wasn't making the Gomez vs. Cameron comp for the sake of saying its likely Gomez will be that good, Cameron had certainly displayed considerably more upside by this age. But, his overall production wasn't that different. I don't know the EqA formula, so I used wOBA. Through age 25, Cameron had a career .305 wOBA. Gomez has only played through age 24, and also came up at a considerably younger age, and has a career .286 wOBA. Cameron had shown better walk rates and more power, yes, but he'd also struck out at least 25% of the time in each of those seasons. Gomez has never struck out more than 25% of the time in a season. Again, I don't think Gomez has Mike Cameron's upside, but he certainly could get better than he is right now, and in fact, its a little unreasonable to expect him not to. The Bill James projections have him posting a .302 wOBA this year, which would be a career high, and combined with +15 defense, would make him soundly 1-2 wins above replacement level.
And as for Cameron's age 24 season, you should also mention that following his age 25 season, the age 24 season looked like the abberation, as Cameron went right back to sub-replacement offensive production, before arriving and staying the following season.
I think the way you state "without costing a major league shortstop" is really the misnomer here. Yes, Hardy is a major league shortstop, and in 2007-2008 incredibly valuable. But in 2009, he was only worth slightly more than the salary he earned. Obviously, I don't think he's as bad as he was in 2009, but probably not as good as he was in 2007-2008 either. He's a valuable player, but his surplus value on the $5+ million he's going to earn isn't as much as a lot of people are making it out to be, I'd guess $10 million at most (~$15 million value - ~$5 million salary = $10 million). Gomez was worth about $10 million in 2008 in a full season, and $3 million in 2009 in about 350 PAs and 850 defensive innings, earning about a half million in each season. Even if you figure his actual value is somewhere in between those marks, if he earns $1 million, he's a pretty safe bet to be worth at least $4-5 million more than that over a full season. Which is similar to the surplus Hardy will give you unless he bounces all the way back to his 2007-2008 level of production, in which case he'll probably have a surplus value in the $20-30 million range over the next two years. Unless he does that, there's a good chance the surplus value on Gomez over the next four years will be greater than that of Hardy over the next two years.
Also the axiom "pitching wins championships" assigns elements to pitching that properly belong assigned to defense.
Again, I want to emphasize that I don't think defense is underrepresented on the media or blogosphere, or claim that I'm saying something cutting edge or groundbreaking. Simply that the rate of dollars per run is much lower when speaking about a defensive run than an offensive run. That's my thesis. And that's why a guy like Jason Bay is going to make more money than a guy like Mike Cameron ever made (relative to the market anyway), even though for most of his career, Cameron was a much better player than Jason Bay is right now.
First point aside, when you have a guy who you already think is reasonably similar to Hardy (and considerably cheaper), which in this case the Brewers do in Alcides Escobar, is this point even relevant? It doesn't matter nearly as much how hard a Hardy is to find if you already (at least believe) you have another one.
I think I understand what you're saying, but in relation to this particular deal, I'm not clear on the relevance. Are you saying that the Brewers were just so sick of Hardy that they undervalued him? That the Twins were more willing to buy into his talent as opposed to his recent struggles?
I don't necessarily disagree with either of those points, if they're the ones your making, but I still think Gomez is getting a bad wrap in terms of his value from many would-be pundits. He has a concrete and repeatable skill that makes him, as is, a greater value than the money his organization pays him, and there is some chance he can get better.
Right, but here are three things that can be said about Gomez but can't be said about "speedy no-hit centerfielders" from the open free agent market.
A. Gomez isn't just good defensively, he's elite
B. Gomez does have some upside offensively, even if its a slim margin to become just average, it still upside guys on the open market don't have
C. Gomez is under team control, but not guaranteed any particular salary, or even a salary at all, for the next four seasons.
Gomez's contract will either be set by an arbiter, or the team can choose not to pay him at all and let him hit the open market. That's not an option for a fourth outfielder type free agent. And if you look at his offensive numbers, while they may not reveal the same type of upside, they're really not all that different from what a guy like, say, Mike Cameron did at the same age. This isn't to say Gomez will become like Mike Cameron, but it is to say there is some probability that is not infinitesimally small that Gomez can become a respectable offensive player, while a free agent who could provide similar production to Gomez almost certainly will not become such.
I understand what you're saying, but I still disagree. I do think you pay less in dollars for 10 defensive runs than 10 offensive runs. I'm not saying defense wins championships, just that the amount of money paid for quantity of defense is lower than it is for offense. I'm not talking about playoff success, or team-wide defense, just individual player evaluation. And part of this may simply be the arbitration process.
Hypothetically (strictly), lets just say Gomez starts hitting .280 / .320 / .400 for the next two years (or whatever it would take to combine with his defense to make him roughly as valuable as Hardy). Is he going to get paychecks upwards of $5 millon in arbitration? No, he's going to get $2.5-3 mil per year, and he's going to be better than 3 wins above replacement level. Maybe at this point there are enough smart GMs that its just the arbiters who undervalue defense financially, but it is still a way to find excess value.
I'm not sure its necessarily being that desperate for defense, just recognizing that defense is the most undervalued skill on the market. As a replacement level hitter, Gomez is still about 15 runs above replacement for his defense alone. If he gets any better, he's an average major league player. And he'll cost about a million bucks a season, and is controlled for four season. This as opposed to Hardy, who's solid and all, but also going to cost at least $10 million over the next two seasons, and can be a free agent afterwards. The surplus value on both players is reasonably similar, especially since Gomez has more service time left, and if Gomez does become anything resembling respectable offensively, even if there's only a 10-15% chance that's possible, that 10-15% chance is pretty much freeroll. Its pure upside, upside that Hardy didn't have.
What, no token Josh Thole mention after reaching base four times again? 13 BBs against 5 Ks in ~80 PAs, yeah I'd say he's a bit advanced offensively for the VWL, but then again, offense isn't really why he needs to be in winter ball is it?
How many 130 strikeout, single digit homer guys succeed in the majors?
Plus walks (at least hopefully he can translate that up, not a given unless he can hit with a bit of pop), minus juice.
Yeah there was actually a quote from Thole about how he changed his approach last year because he was getting more hits with two strikes than early in the count, so he started shortening up and generating more contact. It will be interesting to see if as he finishes maturing physically, he'll find a way to take a step back from the extreme and take a bit more advantage of his strength. He's definitely not a power guy, but he did have five FSL bombs in just over 400 PAs last year at 21. That's not stunning, but it indicates a bit more raw strength than we've seen this year.
If the Mets are getting Chris Carter as a return, as has been speculated, how do you feel about that?
But aren't those "non-difference" situations the most negligible of all the outcomes in terms of likelihood? That is, aren't there more balls that if the Murphy can go first to third if he were not in motion, that he could score on if in motion rather than just go first to third? Don't a good percentage of the number of non-double play grounders become infield hits or at least "high risk error" situations for the defense as well?
I don't see how this is any different from accounting for the possibility that a swing and miss would result in a double-steal. The play certainly had sneak attack value, and I forget who was catching for the Phillies, but even if it was Ruiz, its hardly guaranteed he'd be able to convert the second part of the strike-em' out throw-em' out. So you're accounting for the negligible non-differences in a groundout or a single, don't you have to account for this too?
I'm not even saying hit-and-run was a great play, nor am I any friend to Jerry Manuel, but it seems like the analysis here is a bit slanted to make it seem like a worse situation than it was, even judging by the crazy triple-play result.
Francoeur is a poor contact hitter but has good power? Pretty sure he's got his K% down to 14.9%, not terrible at all, and before coming to the Mets, his HR/FB had dropped in every subsequent season. He's flashed some of the "good power" again, but I actually think he's a decent "hit and run guy," if there is one, since he's had lots of practice making contact on all kinds of different pitches. His Contact% is 81.9%, slightly above the MLB average, and his O-Contact% is 66.2%, quite a bit above the MLB average.
It was an absurd sequence of events, you could make a case that a Hit-and-run was a poor decision. Maybe it was even a straight steal, and Frenchy being Frenchy, took a hack anyway, there were two strikes. The most curious part was that it was a 2-2 count, kind of a strange count to call a hit and run or straight steal with no outs.
Hah, this is what I was going to ask, fair enough.
Beltran classified the cortisone shot he received as "successful". Heard anything like that? Or might he just be toeing the company line?
Yeah I'm curious about this too, I guess adding to that the fact that he's pretty young and untested as a guy whose expected to pitch everyday.
Also, any indication as to what happened to Beltran? He said it was bruised and he didn't even know how he did it. Also, he's listed in the lineup for tonight's game. As is Ryan Church, bad hip/hammy and all. Alas, my dream of getting a quick look at Fernando Martinez will have to wait :(.
If you're going to depress us Mets fans by talking about Carp, can't you at least give Ike Davis some love for finally going yard?
The odds of catching a foul ball in the seats of the new Yankee stadium: Two to the power of two hundred and seventy-six thousand, seven hundred and ninety-nine to one aainst.
By a totally staggering coincidence, that is also the telephone number of an East Village Flat where Derek Jeter once went to a very good party and met a very nice girl whom he totally failed to get off with.
Jon Niese pitched on Tuesday, so he would be available to make Pelfrey's start if necessary.
Yeah this has been floating around the Mets interwebz quite a bit today.
Is having Livan Hernandez any worse than Chan Ho Park? Do the Phillies not have similar questions at C and 3B (instead of 2B)? Have the Phils not also made a questionable decision about their LF? Do they not also have questions in the middle of their rotation?
The Braves pick is interesting. I understand it, the Braves made some serious upgrades, but I just can't help feel like this is deja vu with them. Each of the last three years, I was convinced the Braves were at least as competitive as the Mets and Phillies, and they just couldn't sustain. I have similar concerns this year. Their rotation is much improved, but if the risks in the bullpen and the lineup don't play in their favor, it could wind up looking like the Texiera trade (the first one) did, too little too late. These were the upgrades they needed last year, while Chipper Jones was flirting with .400 but Jair Jurrjens was the #1 and Jorge Campillo the #2. But I've followed the NL East long enough to feel like I can't ever underestimate the Braves, especially when they can pitch.
You could make a similar case with the Mets and the bullpen makeover, but the difference is there's less risk in the Mets core. They don't have a Chipper Jones or a Jeff Francouer that they're relying on to either stay healthy or bounce back. Their big stars have been relentlessly dependable, and though the offense is top heavy, and for all the downside in the corner OF, there's a lot of upside there too. They may not have a slugger out there, but they're six deep in above replacement level corner OFers (Murphy, Church, Tatis, Reed, Sheffield, Evans). If just one of those guys overperforms just a bit or even just has a flukey strong year, the offensive attack will balance out considerably. If, for example, Murphy goes .290 / .360 / .450, or Church goes .275 / .345 / .465, or Sheffield goes .260 / .350 / .455. None of those are necessarily likely, but they're all within the realm of possibility, and any one would go a long way to transforming the Mets offense from a good one to a complete one.
He's also been talking about Wright and Beltran being interchangeable vs. LHP. So I wonder if on days he gets Tatis/Sheffield/Castro in there, he might consider something like:
I've always felt like Beltran is the kind of hitter who thrives significantly more when he's protected in the lineup. I don't believe that's a huge issue for most hitters, but Beltran is a guy who just seems to need to see a certain percentage of fastballs, especially up in the zone, to be as productive as he can be. Meanwhile, I feel like Wright is better at adjusting to offspeed stuff and protecting the plate with two strikes, so I wouldn't mind quite as much if a lefty pitcher felt like he didn't have to go right after him every PA.
What, no Ken Takahashi love for the Mets? They do need another lefty!
No I completely agree with you, I think its absolutely absurd to call Wright "un-clutch". But the question I'm asking isn't whether or not Wright is clutch, its whether or not the idea that he's not has effected his mentality or even the team's mentality.
Regardless of whether he is or isn't clutch, this idea that he isn't is out there in full force. Wright's "unclutchness" is an NY sports media meme, not a fact. But big, prevalent memes like that are often harder to ignore than facts are.
Here's a good analogy: remember Y2K? It was such a big deal, everyone talked about it...until it actually happened. David Wright's "unclutchness" is probably something like the Mets version of Y2K. It may freak some people out, but its also not exactly true. The only damage that could be done is if someone panics and makes a poor decision or series of decisions as in a reactionary way.
Now, if we were talking about A-Rod....that would just be a completely different "On The Couch" (you might have to make it a four-parter).
I don't know if its that Wright is a head-case so much as this is a case of external and internal pressure. It always seems like the weight of the Mets, and therefore by proxy the weight of the world (with this team), is placed on Wright's shoulders. With the brutal season endings, though very little of the blame should actually be placed on Wright, a lot of it winds up there. This offseason, all we've heard is how "un-clutch" Wright is, which is a gross overstatement, but you have to figure Wright thinks about it regardless of the media with the massive disappointments this team has suffered. With the NY media thrown into the mix, these feelings are probably increased exponentially. It did seem like as last season wore on, he would press more and more in big spots, and it did manifest in some "un-clutchness" at the end of the season (for anyone who follows the Mets, remember Murphy's and Wright's subsequent punchout in a massive game the last week of the season? Wright was clearly pressing).
A reader on Amazin' Avenue made an interesting point though: Will Wright's big hit in last night's WBC game allow him to relax a bit more this year in big spots? I certainly hope so, because with a 26 year old as talented as Wright is, that's the only thing that could possibly hold him back.
I dunno, if Pedro's getting his Smoltz money is this really what the Astros should be doing? In any other division, I'd definitely think not, but in the NL Central adding about 75 years of age to your battery in the form of former studs with a questionable amount left in the tank might just be crazy enough to work.
I have a hard time watching ST, but I do follow my Mets when I can, and there are two guys who have at least been worth a second glance on the position side: Nick Evans and Jeremy Reed.
Through 40 ABs, Evans is hitting .325 / .400 / .600 with a pair of homers, three doubles, a triple and six walks. He's been serving as the Mets primary starting first baseman this spring with Delgado playing for Puerto Rico in the WBC.
Similarly, Reed is hitting .343 / .425 / .543 through 35 ABs with four doubles, four walks, and a homer. He has been filling in for Carlos Beltran in center (though he's been splitting his time with the lighter hitting Corey Sullivan and also taking some reps in the corners), the Mets other Carlos contribution to team Puerto Rico.
Normally, I wouldn't get too excited about these guys, but the Mets have just had so much extra playing time early in games for these reserve types with so many big names in the WBC. There's been no worries about sending these guys on long bus trips even though they've often started the home games as well. They've gotten as much action as you possibly can in March, and a lot of it has come against quality opposition.
The Mets wide open corner outfield situation is well documented, and the real positive here is just that there might be two more candidates who are about as viable as the guys who are expected to to play most days (Murphy, Church, Tatis, all of whom are also have nice springs). Evans looks like a nice little insurance policy for Tatis, and Reed's probably locked up a reserve spot and will likely be the first fill-in if Murphy or Church struggles. Although he's no Endy with the glove, he won't hurt you, and looks like he'll probably maintain more offensive value.
I heard Santana did throw his slider. This is a quote from Omar taken from WFAN.com:
“He felt great… All indications are he threw great. Schneider told me he was unbelievably sharp, he threw his slider and felt good. We’re still in March, as far as Opening Day, we are a ways away. But, right now, he feels pretty good and I feel good about it.”
Was Omar just sugar coating the session by saying he threw his slider?
Fair enough. I guess the question is then is the back end of the top 50 a little weak this year? Asked another way, is the gap between a guy like Jackson and a guy like Rasmus larger than you\'d usually expect in comparing the 2nd best outfield prospect to the 11th best? How about comparing Carrasco to Bumgarner? It almost does seem like the formers in this case should be given a lower \"grade\" than the latters, giving them all five stars doesn\'t quite do justice to their respective statuses as prospects.
This is exactly what I was going to ask.
I think Mr. Dierkes did collect a bunch of \"learned a new pitch\" cliche\'s last spring. Either way, keep up the great work Will!
Interesting, because this was the very same flaw Perez seemed to correct when Dan Warthen took over as Mets pitching coach. Ollie added a little hitch to his windup, where instead of just going straight into his leg-lift, he\'d rock himself straight back before lifting his leg. The phrase that we kept hearing was that Warthen suggested this to get Ollie to \"keep it within the door-frame,\" he had too much movement side to side in his delivery, and once he got things moving straight band and forward and driving his towards the hitter things really picked up for him, at least until September, when he lost it again.
I\'m not finding a sortable WARP3 stat, but what about the other O(liver) Perez? Jim Edmonds, Paul Byrd and Odalis really were higher?