The Dodgers' 2013 payroll is already around $200 million. Is the Dodgers' 2013 roster a good roster?
You know all about the money. The Dodgers’ new ownership group has taken on the ungodly sum of $260 million in contracts from the Red Sox, and $400 million in total salary obligations (including acquisitions and re-signings). These figures are wholly abstract; they’re so vast that our brains can’t even process them. Us normal folk have no frame of reference.
There’s no question that the moves Colletti and company have made improve the team in the short term. Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez are massive upgrades over Dee Gordon and James Loney. Shane Victorino is better than the three-headed left-field monster of Tony Gwynn, Jr., Juan Rivera, and Bobby Abreu. In a tight National League West race, these late additions might be enough to put the Dodgers over the top. And once a team reaches the playoffs, we all know that just about anything can happen.
Using PECOTA to figure out how much each of this year's moves affected the playoff odds.
Last week, in his post at Baseball Nation about the five best moves of the trade deadline, Grant Brisbee wrote, “If you don't pick the winners or losers of the trading deadline, a man comes to your door, stuffs you in a sack, and throws you in a trunk.” I’ve been afraid to open my door ever since. We’ve written a ton about transactions lately, both before and after the non-waiver trade deadline, but we haven’t really ranked the moves. We’re still susceptible to being stuffed in a sack.
That’s a shame, because it really might make more sense not to rank trades right after they happen. Some of the deals that went down at the deadline involved players who are signed beyond this season. Most of them included prospects who won’t make it to the majors for a while. Because of those and other factors, we won’t know who “won” the deals for several seasons. So for the moment, let’s not even speculate about which teams will have gotten the most surplus value by 2016. Every team that added talent and salary over the past few weeks is interested in making the playoffs in 2012, though some have hedged for the future to a greater extent than others. What we can say with a fair degree of confidence, without waiting to see what else happens, is how each midseason trade affected a given team’s chances of making the playoffs this season. So let’s pretend playing games in October 2012 is all anyone thought about in trade talks. We’re still picking winners, but we’ve made the victory conditions more manageable.
Derek takes a look at top players who might become available in AL-only leagues.
Of all the leagues I play in, one of my favorite rule quirks is in the Draft Day AL-only league (formerly CardRunners). In Draft Day, owners are allowed to pick up any player in any baseball universe. If the player winds up playing in the American League, you get his stats. This applies not only to more common fair-game pickups like minor leaguers but also to National League players, allowing owners to speculate on potential mid-season trade candidates. Presently, there are seven National Leaguers owned in the league, so I wanted to take a look at each and see why.
Carlos Quentin | San Diego Padres | OF
In just nine games since coming off the disabled list, Quentin has already blasted five home runs for the Pads while triple-slashing .484/.543/1.097. The Friars aren’t going anywhere this season, currently sitting in the basement of the NL West, 19 games out of first. PECOTA has written them off entirely at this point, giving them a 0.0 percent chance of making the playoffs. Quentin is a free agent at the end of the year, and rumors are already circulating about potential trades with the Blue Jays mentioned as a specific possibility. The Padres are also talking about extending him, although that could just be to keep his value high.
The defending NL East champs should gather their titles while they may, since the same Phillies that flower today tomorrow will be dying.
It’s been six seasons since the Phillies finished anywhere other than first in the National League East. Last year, they led the major leagues with 102 wins, their highest total during their recent run of success. Over the winter, they signed Jonathan Papelbon, the top closer available on the free agent market, and saw their jilted former closer, Ryan Madson, blow out his elbow before he could throw a meaningful pitch for a competitor. Their starting rotation will be headlined by Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels, who project to be three of the 15 most valuable pitchers in baseball. Their lineup will be bolstered by a full season from Hunter Pence. On the surface, most signs point to continued success. But the Phillies’ competitive window may be closing quickly.
There are four Phillies ranked between 51 and 100 on ESPN’s list of the top 500 players for 2012: Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Shane Victorino. It’s conceivable that none of those four will be both ranked in that range and in uniform for the Phillies in 2013. Howard was worth less than two wins in each of the past two seasons and finished 12th on his team in WARP last season, so he’s already out of place that high on the leaderboard. This could be the season his reputation starts to reflect his recent performance: Even after he recovers from the ruptured and subsequently infected Achilles tendon that could cost him the first two months, his on-field decline will likely accelerate at age 32.
The Phillies lost a highly-regarded center fielder last winter, but they already had his replacement on hand.
With the departure of Aaron Rowand as a free agent last winter, the Phillies needed to find themselves a new center fielder. Rather than pick through the offerings in a thin free agent market-one that would result in Rowand's being overpaid significantly by the San Francisco Giants-they instead found their new center fielder in-house, shifting Shane Victorino from right field to center. As the Phillies were also lucky enough to get a quality season out of Jayson Werth (Victorino's replacement in right), they were able to replace a big part of their 2007 offense and still make it into the playoffs. Let's take a look at how Victorino ended up where he is today, the starting center fielder for the NL East Divisional champions.