One-year contracts are perfect fodder for analysis after just half of a season.
In April, we wondered whether the Angels had made a terrible mistake by signing Albert Pujols to a 10-year contract over the winter. In June, we wondered whether we might have made a terrible mistake in April. We won’t actually know whether the Angels got a good or bad deal on Pujols until he’s much closer to the end of the contract, but that won’t prevent us from prematurely passing judgment at many more points along the way to November 2021. Only 112 more months to go!
So no, we can’t get a great handle on contracts that won’t expire until the end of 2013, 2014, 2015, and beyond. But one-year deals—those, we can say something about.
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The Yankees' double switch on Saturday leads to a dumbshow in the outfield.
In the eighth inning of Saturday's Yankees-Nationals game, Joe Girardi attempted to double switch. The goal was to replace pitcher Cory Wade with Boone Logan, shift DeWayne Wise from left to right field, and bench Andruw Jones in favor of Jayson Nix. But the Yankees, being an AL team, don't double switch often. All hell broke loose.
What should the Braves do absent their third baseman, and should they do anything?
There's something very wrong with the picture: the Braves, in a pennant race for the first time in five years, Bobby Cox's last stand, and Chipper Jones is out. Not just out, but out for the season, and depending on how he feels about trying to come back, possibly out for forever.
In this week's analysis of undervalued corner infielders and DHs, Michael Street discusses the unlikely fantasy additions Andruw Jones and Brandon Inge.
Several Value Picks continued to shine this week, but two are worthy of replacement: Brandon Wood and Fernando Tatis. Wood has continued to struggle, shortening his leash considerably with the last-place Angels, though he’s still someone to follow in case he can turn it around. Fernando Tatis went 1-12 on the week, an admittedly small sample, but there are also rumors the Mets will call up 1B prospect Ike Davis, buzz lent credence by their designation of Mike Jacobs for assignment. A struggling part-timer whose replacement is looming, Tatis can’t be called a value pick anymore.
Andruw Jones, however, has worked his way into more playing time—and my Value Picks—with his hot bat, driving up his ownership in some leagues, though he still remains available in 97 percent of ESPN and 77 percent of CBS leagues. Jones seemed poised for a rebound in his first year in the AL, when he hit .231/.332/.538 in the first half with the 2009 Rangers. But then a hamstring strain shut him down in August, a month where he’d hit just .167/.259/.208, raising doubts about whether his comeback was for real.
Sometimes teams have to bite the bullet and pay players just to go away.
When the Dodgers signed Andruw Jones to a two-year deal worth $36.2 million following his terrible 2007 campaign, their decision was predicated on the belief that the man known for covering the third of the planet that water did not would bounce back in quite the big fashion. His production would help lock up the National League West title, and allow the team to fully reap the rewards of their risk.
One last major signing saw the Dodgers apply at least some concept of sunk costs.
As another slow day in Nashville came to a close-one signing, one trade-the Los Angeles Dodgers made their best move in a very long time. Showing an appreciation of sunk costs and the value of short-term deals, the Dodgers signed center fielder Andruw Jones to a two-year, $36.2 million contract. The deal looks outlandish for its annual salary of $18 million, but the overall commitment makes it one of the great bargains in recent memory.
A break from the Matchups this week to look at the man who won the last four MVPs, and a top candidate for this year's honors.
Obviously, given his career-high .311 EqA in 2005, he's hitting better than ever, so what's the holdup? It's his defense, which is experiencing a down year. Looking at his Batting Runs Above Replacement and Fielding Runs Above Replacement, we find that he is, conversely to his offensive output, having his least successful year with the glove. Combining the two, we get this:
The NL MVP Award should come down to the two best players in the league. It's increasingly likely that it won't.
AVG OBP SLG PA EqA EqR VORP Def WARP
Derrek Lee .343 .425 .673 590 .354 125 93.0 +21 11.2
Albert Pujols .334 .430 .617 607 .346 121 88.7 +11 9.6
Lee's edges in power and glovework translate to a WARP edge of more than a win and a half. Even if you care to grant Pujols extra credit for being part of a successful Cardinals' team (or, as I prefer to think of it, penalize Lee for not working under better management), I don't see how you make up more than a win on bonus points. Derrek Lee has been the most valuable player in the National League, and that argument should be enough to carry him to the top of most ballots.