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Sunday, November 04, 2012

Davidoff’s list of the top 30 baseball free agents—and where they’ll end up - NYPOST.com

I know this is just a goofy article to meet a deadline but…if B.J. Upton gets six years and $100 million, assemble your loved ones, give them all the love and affection you can muster because the Apocalypse is surely imminent.

11. B.J. Upton, OF

He lives year-round in Tampa. The Phillies train in nearby Clearwater. The Phillies need a center fielder.

Prediction: Philadelphia, six years, $100 million.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 04, 2012 at 09:29 AM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: free agency

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   1. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: November 04, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4292510)
I know this is just a goofy article to meet a deadline but…if B.J. Upton gets six years and $100 million, assemble your loved ones, give them all the love and affection you can muster because the Apocalypse is surely imminent.


Fangraphs salary value system has him pegged at around $100 million for the previous 6 seasons of his career. Maybe it isn't so crazy or maybe their valuation system is nutty.
   2. Jim Furtado Posted: November 04, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4292518)
They also have him with a 23.1 WAR compared to the 13.6 WAR at baseball-reference.com. It's a valuation disparity of over $55 million.

His stats don't suggest ongoing development. He's not trending up.

In another linked article David Cameron pegged him as a good value at 4 years, $52 million which is reasonable, considering the amount of money in the market and the quality of the free agents B.J. Upton, OF: 4 years, $52 million. Adding an extra two years and $48 million to that, however, is foolish.
   3. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 04, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4292526)
They also have him with a 23.1 WAR compared to the 13.6 WAR at baseball-reference.com. It's a valuation disparity of over $55 million.
It's mostly defense. UZR rates Upton as a roughly average defensive CF over his career, while DRS rates him as a nearly -10 per season fielder. That's a difference of about 6 wins on defense. Then on top of that, B-Ref thinks Upton is a slightly above average baserunner (+10 for his career), and Fangraphs rates him as an excellent baserunner (+29). There's nearly eight of your ten wins of difference.

I think the Fangraphs ratings are more likely correct on both counts than the B-Ref numbers, but if I had to bet I'd take something pretty close to the midpoint.
   4. Jim Furtado Posted: November 04, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4292536)
I think the Fangraphs ratings are more likely correct on both counts than the B-Ref numbers, but if I had to bet I'd take something pretty close to the midpoint.
Why? This is an important question when so much of his value is related to fielding and baserunning.
   5. McCoy Posted: November 04, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4292537)
NM
   6. TerpNats Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4292571)
Haven't heard Swisher discussed much for the Nats -- the talk has centered more on the team at the other end of the B-W Parkway. I suppose if LaRoche can't be signed, he might make a good plan B if they don't believe Morse or Moore are capable of being an everyday first baseman.
   7. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4292598)
He has the Carl Crawford skill set, except he's not nearly as productive. DANGER!
   8. Jim Wisinski Posted: November 04, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4292609)
Why? This is an important question when so much of his value is related to fielding and baserunning.


The fielding reason would be because he's definitely an above average defensive center fielder.
   9. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4292635)
Why? This is an important question when so much of his value is related to fielding and baserunning.
Yeah, sort of what Jim (the second Jim) said. BJ Upton runs extremely fast. When I've watched him on the bases and in the field, I've thought, that guy is good at running the bases and fielding CF.

I wouldn't offer him 6/100 either way. I think 5/65 would be pretty fair. He's really young for a free agent.
   10. Jim Furtado Posted: November 04, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4292707)
OK, so that judgement isn't based on anything to do with either system.

He is young. With his lack of any real progress as an offensive player (including a large drop in his walk rate in 2012), I'd have trouble giving him the 4th year, never mind a fifth year at $15 million per year.

Ultimately, we'll see what kind of risk his signing team is willing to take on.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: November 04, 2012 at 05:29 PM (#4292771)
While I wouldn't, I don't see any reason why Upton at 6/$100 would be apocalyptic, especially in this weak FA market and with all this money flowing around. Carlos Lee got 6/$100 6 years ago; Soriano did better than that. Jayson Werth got Soriano money at the age of 32, Bay got 4/$66 at 31. The glory days of Pierre, Matthews and Rowand are not that long ago. Granted all of those are exemplars of why you might not want to hand out contracts like that to non-great players but I fail to see why I would be shocked that a team would do it again.

Remember, the qualifying offers are $13.3 M. $13 M per year is just no big deal now and I suspect Tampa would have made the QO if they had a higher payroll (they just can't risk him saying yes).

Somebody's gonna hit the jackpot this offseason. Swisher, Upton, Greinke, Hamilton, Sanchez -- somebody's gonna get silly money.

As to Upton, it all comes down to what you think about his defense. Even bWAR gives him 9.7 oWAR over the last 3 years. If that's with average defense, that's worth $15-16 M. And he's just entering his prime.

The obvious comp to me is Mike Cameron (with less defense). Looking just at oWAR, Cameron had 20 oWAR from ages 28-33. That's with better baserunning, Rdp value than b-r would project for Upton so dock 1-2 wins off of that and you've still got a guy putting up 3+ oWAR per year.

Hunter's not an awful comp either -- fewer walks, more power. Hunter actually took a step up as a hitter at age 30 and produced 18 oWAR from ages 28-33.

There are of course similar guys who didn't turn out so well -- Rowand, Preston Wilson, Wells.

By the way, Hunter showed no progress as a hitter until age 30; Cameron showed no progress as a hitter ever. But $16 M per year is no longer superstar money. You don't have to think that BJ is going to start hitting like Justin to offer him that contract. You just have to think his CF defense is average or better such that he will stick in CF most of that time and keep hitting as he has through age 33. That might not be a good gamble but it's not crazy.

But I do find him hard to project. He had a bad rep for a while, that might still keep teams away from long-term. Cameron was an excellent, valuable player for years who never go a long-term big-money contract. And presumably teams are also quite varied in how they view his defense. And there are a lot of potential CFs on the market -- Victorino, Pagan, Bourn -- and the Angels, Dodgers, Red Sox, Tigers and Yankees are all set in CF. That leaves the Phils and the Rangers really.
   12. Hack Wilson Posted: November 04, 2012 at 06:45 PM (#4292826)
Upton ...That leaves the Phils and the Rangers really.


I think the Cubs have to do something to make a statement, no more 100+ loss season, and Upton could/should be the guy. Having said that, from an average fan's POV, "Who is this guy?" "Why should I care?" and that is Theo's audience. Over pay for Hamilton may be required.
   13. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 04, 2012 at 06:48 PM (#4292828)
almost all the gms have to know that with hamilton they are signing a guy who will likely average 120 games played and who will be in a corner outfield spot sooner rather than later.

that doesn't sound like a 115 million player. it sounds like ken griffey jr's career in cincy
   14. Walt Davis Posted: November 04, 2012 at 08:09 PM (#4292859)
I think the Cubs have to do something to make a statement, no more 100+ loss season, and Upton could/should be the guy.

While I suspect you are right that they will, I'm not certain they will be making that statement. But I also think they'll be making that statement on the pitching side. I'm not sure they can/will get Greinke but they've already tried for Haren and some combination of Dempster/Sanchez/Jackson/Lohse (please no!) will likely end up there. The rotation is just a shambles at the moment and while the Cubs do have a few hitting prospects (a ways away), the starting pitching is still mighty thin in the minors I believe.

The Cubs are a logical landing spot and I would be OK with the Cubs signing Upton (to the Soriano Memorial contract!) but it either means they've given up on Jackson (understandable) or one of the two is moving to a corner in 2014 which would be kinda counter-productive I'd think.

What the Cubs really need is the "superstar". That's always been part of the secret of their fan success -- team might suck but there was almost always that legit star to cheer for and be proud of. Whether it was Madlock or Reuschel and Sutter (the down years) or Sandberg and Dawson or Sosa, the Cubs almost always had legit stars. They might only get one AS rep but it was almost always a legit AS. Castro's supposed to be that guy (Rizzo as the wingman) but it hasn't quite worked out that way yet ... although he's a legit AS I think.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: November 04, 2012 at 08:28 PM (#4292867)
almost all the gms have to know that with hamilton they are signing a guy who will likely average 120 games played and who will be in a corner outfield spot sooner rather than later.

that doesn't sound like a 115 million player. it sounds like ken griffey jr's career in cincy


I agree but ...

whoa! Hold on a second. Davidoff is predicting Hamilton to Texas for 4/$110!! $27.5 M per year for Hamilton? OK, that is crazy town.

5/$115 I can see happening. Not necessarily that it should happen -- which is HW's point -- but I'm also not sure what folks are looking for in FAs.

1. Most guys don't hit FA until they're at least 30. So even most of the very best FAs have that risk attached to them. If you don't like that risk, you're not going to be in the big-time FA market until maybe Trout or Harper become FAs in 5-6 years.

2. Some guys are not only 30 but they've got some sort of warning flag -- some injuries, possibly downward trending production, a likely loss in defensive value, whatever -- those guys are still gonna get 4-5 years at big money because ...

3. The other guys are the ones who are under 30 or who've made it to 30+ with no warning flags and they're gonna get 6-9 years.

Basically, Hamilton at 5/$115 (especially with extra revenue and no other impact hitters available) doesn't strike me as much/any riskier than Teixeira at 8/$180 at the age of 29; or Fielder at 9/$214 at 28 or Gonzalez at 7/$154 at 30 (signed at 29 I believe). It looks better than Howard's silly contract or AROD's second contract. Those guys do have the advantage of past durability but their age advantage is wiped out by the longer contracts.

In essence, we are where we always are -- none of those contracts looked great to us at the time, so far we are "right" about those contracts and yet MLB will keep signing players to those sorts of contracts. Somebody is missing something here ... and those guys offering and paying those crazy MLB contracts are making a lot more money than I am (maybe not more than HW does! :-) so obviously I've got something wrong somewhere even if that something wrong was not cozying up to people rich and dumb enough to buy a baseball team. (I would have if I'd had the chance!)

But I don't know if HW meant 5/$115 for Hamilton.
   16. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 04, 2012 at 08:37 PM (#4292873)
walt

i figure hamilton will get more than 100 million. i didn't estimate years. i just thing any type of long term deal with hamilton is kind of loony 'unless' you stick him in a corner spot 'now' and tell him to not be stupid on defense
   17. Honkie Kong Posted: November 04, 2012 at 08:48 PM (#4292876)
I still think the numbers being tossed about are low. All we have to do is see the Pujols / Fielder / Wilson(!) deals to see that there is more money available than we think. And baseball just got richer this year.

I can see Hamilton and Greinke nudging $150 bucks..even on a 6 year contract. But that said, I would be leery as an NL team to sign Hamilton or Swisher. And one team which we shouldn't count out is the Mariners. They need impact hitters badly and they have $.
Will be interesting if the Pirates make a play at one of the outfielders.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: November 04, 2012 at 10:33 PM (#4292949)
CJ Wilson was 5/$77 -- that's hardly crazy money these days, it's less than AJ Burnett got 4 years ago.

I can see somebody going nuts over Hamilton, remembering his 2010 and being the only impact bat on the market. But it's hard for me to see teams going that gaga over Greinke. Matt Cain gaga maybe but teams still seem more results-oriented than projection-oriented. He's got to have an "underperforming" tag by now I'd think. Great peripherals but his actual performance the last 3 years is no better than Sanchez or Garza or Dempster or Jackson ... except in the win column which might carry the day. Anyway, he's just not a proven workhorse like CC or Verlander. You mentioned Wilson:

CJ 2010-12: 630 IP, 126 ERA+, 44-25
ZG 2010-12: 604 IP, 106 ERA+, 41-25

Here's Ian Kennedy:

624 IP, 116 ERA+, 45-26

He's got the highest upside of any pitcher on the market but, in the end, he's had just that one great season.

Cole Hamels matches Greinke on peripherals and wins while smoking him by nearly 30 points on ERA+ and he got 7/$153. Cain got a 5/$100 extension. I suppose Greinke might nudge $150 in a 7 year deal but he'll come in below Hamels.

i figure hamilton will get more than 100 million. i didn't estimate years.

I think he'll top 5/$100, I don't think he'll top $25 M AAV. And I'd move him to a corner immediately and I'd be happier signing him if I was an AL team so I can rest him at DH. He's much less of a risk in the AL -- his realistic downside there is, what, Victor Martinez DH? That wouldn't be a good return on $100+ M but it's livable.
   19. Honkie Kong Posted: November 04, 2012 at 10:56 PM (#4292963)
CJ Wilson was 5/$77 -- that's hardly crazy money these days, it's less than AJ Burnett got 4 years ago.

Except we are talking of a 2 year track record as a starter. Which should be a significant risk factor. Greinke has a record of durability ( His 2 occasions to miss time are an anxiety issue and a basketball injury ). As has been noted, pitcher durability is undervalued, esp by the rate stats.
To put it another way, after one more year of pitching at his new level, do you think C.J.Wilson would have gotten 5/77 this offseason? I think he would have gotten much more, atleast AAV wise.

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