Adrian Beltre is looking for a three-year deal worth nearly $60 million
Adrian Beltre is entering the final year of his contract, which means it’s time for the 36-year old to seek one final big payday. According to Jon Heyman, Beltre is seeking at least a three-year deal that’s worth $19 million per year. Beltre’s camp is using Pablo Sandoval’s contract as a baseline here, and if you value performance over age in these sorts of things, then Beltre is warranted.
Beltre has made plenty of indications that he’s ready and willing to retire as a Ranger—four years and an extra $57 million from now, at least. However, it’s understandable for Texas to be wary of committing that much money and that many years to a player who will be entering his age-37 season in 2016. Only 13 third baseman since the Deadball Era have produced at least 2 WAR in a season at 37 or older, and only four have managed two such seasons. (Only Chipper Jones produced four.) Further, the future is already knocking. It’s Joey Gallo, so the knock is loud.
Beltre hasn’t shown any significant slide in production during his first four years in Texas. He had a TAv of .279 in 2015, and PECOTA projects his TAv to stay around .270 for the next three seasons. If there was ever a case in which giving a three-year, $57 million contract extension to a third baseman pushing 40 could be seen as anything but a horrible move, it’s the case of Beltre. With that being said, it’s still a risky move—so expect to see a year or two and a few millions lopped off, or else expect to see this conversation tabled for another eight months.
Braves will trade Erick Aybar for a “significant return” only
When news broke that Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta was going to miss 2-3 months with a torn ligament in his left thumb, a few solutions became clear for St. Louis. One was to stick with their internal options, which would make this an extremely important spring training for Jedd Gyorko, Greg Garcia, and Aledmys Diaz—all of whom are candidates to potentially replace Peralta at shortstop in the short term.
But the world is big and full of non-Greg Garcia options, including Erick Aybar of the Braves. The 32-year old is entering the final year of his contract, and when you consider that Atlanta’s rich minor-league system has more than one promising shortstop prospect—it always does, seems like—there’s no reason to count Aybar as the Braves’ long-term option at the 6.
Braves General Manager John Coppolella told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that it will take a “significant return” in order for Atlanta to trade Aybar. It’s understandable for the Braves to put a high price tag on Aybar, considering how well they understand that it only takes one sucker. But there’s also a realistic chance that Aybar rebuilds his value after an outlier season—his past five True Averages: .271, .277, .250, .270, .237. If he does, he could bring back more at the trade deadline.
Ruben Amaro Jr. claims that he’s always believed in analytics and just kept it “close to the vest”
Ruben Amaro Jr.’s tenure as General Manager of the Philadelphia Phillies was marred by the fact that it seemed as if the organization was extremely resistant to embrace analytics. The current first base coach of the Boston Red Sox repeatedly made comments in the media which indicated that he was somewhere between uninterested and hostile. Then the Phillies lost a ton of games and Amaro got booted.
Now, Amaro has declared that the Phillies just wanted the rest of baseball to believe that this was their position, and that Philadelphia actually did use analytics while he was the GM there. In an interview with David Laurila of FanGraphs, Amaro claimed that he “always believed in analytics” and that “you can’t ever deny the numbers.” So, why did the Phillies appear to do the opposite? It was all a ruse—keeping their evaluation tactics “closer to the vest” was all part of a greater effort to give the team a “competitive advantage.”
Under Amaro, the Phillies did eventually try to embrace analytics, but that was only at the tail-end of his tenure as GM, and they only went further down that road after Amaro was fired. Even if they ended up being the last team in baseball to utilize analytics, Philadelphia appears to be on the right track now—Hi, Lewie! Unless, that is, their analytical tilt is all part of a ruse…
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