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Saturday, December 08, 2012

Dodgers to sign Zack Greinke

He’ll be closer to Brangelina…

The Dodgers have agreed to sign Zack Greinke to a six-year contract worth $147MM according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). The deal, which is still pending a physical, is the largest contract for a right-handed pitcher in baseball history.

The District Attorney Posted: December 08, 2012 at 10:10 PM | 82 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers, transactions, zack greinke

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   1. Darren Posted: December 08, 2012 at 10:40 PM (#4320153)
Wow. To comment further, that's a big number for someone who doesn't quite seem elite.
   2. valuearbitrageur Posted: December 08, 2012 at 10:45 PM (#4320156)
Free Agency is dead!
   3. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 08, 2012 at 10:52 PM (#4320157)
that's a big number for someone who doesn't quite seem elite


I think there's a tendency among some baseball folks to treat a player's absolute best season as his "true talent". Jim Hendry used to do that, especially if a guy's best season happened to come with the Cubs (Neifi '04, Glendon Rusch '04). Zack Greinke's 2009 season was the sort of thing that sticks with folks (also, he went 31-11 over the last two seasons; Colletti seems like the sort of guy who probably still looks at something like that, too).
   4. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 08, 2012 at 10:52 PM (#4320158)
Sanchez is going to be a bargain.
   5. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: December 08, 2012 at 10:52 PM (#4320159)
Crazyness. The Dodgers' payroll is going to be well over $200M. Meet the new Yankees.
   6. Depressoteric Posted: December 08, 2012 at 10:52 PM (#4320160)
I have a hard time seeing how this contract ends as anything other than a major overpay -- market inflation may be one way -- though Greinke is surely better off pitching in Chavez Ravine than the Ballpark in Arlington.

In related news: Jesus Christ the Dodgers are spending a ton of money. Is there any doubt (especially given the salary retreat of the ACTUAL Yankees) that the Dodgers are the New Yankees in terms of blowing their wad on every star they set their mind on? Only problem is, they didn't even make the playoffs last year.

EDIT: Coke to #5, though given the simultaneity of posting, I submit that we really owe each other cokes.
   7. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: December 08, 2012 at 10:56 PM (#4320161)
I'll split one with you, Esoteric.

The Dodgers are the second team to reach the $200M threshold. Philly's $175M last year was the closest before now.
   8. Depressoteric Posted: December 08, 2012 at 10:56 PM (#4320162)
Also: this is gonna be a pretty interesting experiment in whether pitch-framing really does affect a pitcher's performance, or whether a pitcher carries his 'strike zone' with him regardless of who his batterymate is. The drop-off from Jonathan Lucroy to A.J. Ellis (for now at least) is pretty damn steep in terms of pitch-framing skills.

EDIT: For more on this, see Jeff Sullivan's article at Fangraphs
   9. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: December 08, 2012 at 10:58 PM (#4320163)
Also: this is gonna be a pretty interesting experiment in whether pitch-framing really does affect a pitcher's performance, or whether a pitcher carries his 'strike zone' with him regardless of who his batterymate is.


What is this in reference too?
   10. Depressoteric Posted: December 08, 2012 at 11:02 PM (#4320164)
What is this in reference too?
See the link I added in my edit.
   11. Dan Posted: December 08, 2012 at 11:03 PM (#4320167)
The Dodgers are the second team to reach the $200M threshold. Philly's $175M last year was the closest before now.


Reached and blown by, to boot. This has to put them at nearly $220, doesn't it?
   12. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: December 08, 2012 at 11:07 PM (#4320169)
I wonder if this means they won't sign Ryu. Seven starting pitchers should be enough. And they still have a big hole at third base.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: December 08, 2012 at 11:09 PM (#4320171)
So where does Capuano or Harang go?

I'll admit to being surprised by this as it really makes no sense. But, hey, not my billions. Extra scary thing is this puts the Dodgers up to $164 for 2014 already and over $100 M guaranteed through 2017. This won't end well.
   14. Gamingboy Posted: December 08, 2012 at 11:10 PM (#4320172)
That's a lot of money.
   15. steagles Posted: December 08, 2012 at 11:20 PM (#4320173)
This won't end well.
they put 2 billion into buying the team, so i don't imagine they're overly concerned about any luxury tax implications.
   16. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: December 08, 2012 at 11:31 PM (#4320179)
In a way, this is a major victory for sabermetrics. FIP/xFIP are far kinder to Greinke than ERA has been, and Greinke really only has one truly great season to his name.

This really does strike me as a major overpay. Greinke has not had consistently ace-level results.
   17. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 08, 2012 at 11:32 PM (#4320180)
I have a hard time seeing how this contract ends as anything other than a major overpay -- market inflation may be one way -- though Greinke is surely better off pitching in Chavez Ravine than the Ballpark in Arlington.

I'm not sure what you mean by "major overpay", but all he has to do is average the 4 fWAR/year he's had so far, not counting 2006 when he was mostly in the minors, and at $6M/fWAR -- which Swartz reckoned was going to be the case in 2012 -- he'll be a market level contract. If he averages the 5.7 WAR he's averaged since 2008, he'd be a bargain. Sure, he could get hurt in 2013 Spring Training and never pitch again, but I don't see why this is any more horrible a deal for the Dodgers than any other 6 year pitcher contract.
   18. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 08, 2012 at 11:34 PM (#4320181)
$24.5M per year? Seems high for Geinke, who has yet to come all that close to repeating his excellent 2009 season. Must be a lot of money in MLB - quick somebody tell Glass & Loria.

Now, if folks are going to be consistent, there should be a lot of hating on the Dodgers for having such a high payroll. Or does that only happen if they win?
   19. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 08, 2012 at 11:47 PM (#4320187)
I think there's a tendency among some baseball folks to treat a player's absolute best season as his "true talent".
You bet. There's even a tendency on the site featuring baseball for the thinking fan to do this. Dickey's 2012 could well be a new but established level for him. Reyes' 2011 and Wright's 2012 meant we could essentially forget each players previous three seasons. I think for Wright his four good months in 2012 turned something like 4/55 into 7/122.

Over the last three seasons Greinke's been a nice number 2 pitcher. Durable, but without a whiff of greatness. He's hugely odds on to never get near 2009 again, but he still racks up 25m per?

To give it some context, if you cut Pettitte a little slack for his short 2004 season, Greinke from 2010 through 2012 was only as good as the three worst consecutive seasons of Andy Pettitte's career. Pettitte, for good reason, never signed a long deal at an AAV as high as any pitcher in the game.
   20. Balkroth Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:13 AM (#4320195)
Now, if folks are going to be consistent, there should be a lot of hating on the Dodgers for having such a high payroll. Or does that only happen if they win?


Now why would people ever do that?

Honestly though I think it depends. I've been complaining since the Dodgers signed the fox deal that they can basically operate somewhere around $250 million payroll (or is it $280?) and still be getting tons of money from their other revenue sources so they can out spend everyone basically. I don't see much complaining at this point in time though cause it's not like they didn't load up on a bunch of free agents by outspending people, a signing or two like that and the yells may come out.

Well, unless they decide to lose.
   21. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:16 AM (#4320196)
Now, if folks are going to be consistent, there should be a lot of hating on the Dodgers for having such a high payroll. Or does that only happen if they win?


The Dodgers still aren't close to the Yankee peak of outspending second place by 50%+. Short of a salary cap someone has to be #1, and it might as well be a team in a big market that does indeed market themselves well and generate tons of revenue. But 5 or 10%, not 50%.

Also: this is gonna be a pretty interesting experiment in whether pitch-framing really does affect a pitcher's performance, or whether a pitcher carries his 'strike zone' with him regardless of who his batterymate is. The drop-off from Jonathan Lucroy to A.J. Ellis (for now at least) is pretty damn steep in terms of pitch-framing skills.


He underperformed his peripherals just the same with Lucroy and non-Lucory, and his best season came without Lucroy. We know much more about Greinke than 59 starts with Lucroy. Now, maybe this eliminates one of the reasons he underperformed his peripherals (bad catcher), but I don't see much more than that.

To give it some context, if you cut Pettitte a little slack for his short 2004 season, Greinke from 2010 through 2012 was only as good as the three worst consecutive seasons of Andy Pettitte's career. Pettitte, for good reason, never signed a long deal at an AAV as high as any pitcher in the game.


This analysis is....wanting.
   22. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:23 AM (#4320199)
In a way, this is a major victory for sabermetrics. FIP/xFIP are far kinder to Greinke than ERA has been, and Greinke really only has one truly great season to his name.


Last 3 years he's about a 5 win player by fWAR and 3 wins by bWAR. If you assume slight age-related decline for the first 3 years and then more normal regression for the last 3, they're paying Greinke almost exactly what fWAR says. So they're basically spending to take the upside out of the deal, barring a return of 2009 or an ageless Greinke. Or they just don't care and are fine paying $7 or $8M per win.
   23. Jim Wisinski Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:36 AM (#4320208)
Greinke has always been a solidly above average pitcher (expecting his age 21 season in 2005 obviously) since he eats up innings even when his ERA is closer to league average so the chances are (as much as for most any pitcher really) he's going to be a worthwhile rotation member going forward so at least the Dodgers should expect to get a return on the investment even if this is an overpay. That being said I've been really puzzled by the ridiculous amount of press and praise he has received this offseason and all the comparisons to contracts of pitchers much better than him. He has gotten an insane amount of mileage out of one spectacular season that he hasn't come within a mile of repeating at any point in his career. It's nice that he has these great peripherals but he hasn't been living up to them for years now.

I'm not really being critical of the amount he's getting paid, obviously the Dodgers have tons of money to burn and don't give a #### about how high their payroll goes. They acquired the best pitcher on the market and have improved themselves for the coming seasons at a cost that doesn't seem likely to hamper them over that timespan so that's all that really counts. I'm just amazed that so many people have been viewing Greinke as this big-time ace when there's little rational reason to think he's one of the top pitchers in the game.

Edit: I find it interesting to compare Greinke to James Shields. Both have one fluke season but Greinke's was amazing while Shields' was terrible. They both tend to underperform their peripherals though one difference is that Shields has probably pitched in front of much better defenses so that's a point in Greinke's favor for sure. Still, the main difference is that one season each. The question is how much is that dramatic difference in outliers really worth?

To be fair I should acknowledge that Shields is probably overrated by the MSM too.
   24. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:39 AM (#4320210)
This analysis is....wanting.
And your comment isn't?

You have to lean entirely on fWAR, talk vaguely about taking the upside out of the deal (as though that wasn't a major negative), and follow it with a hefty dose of je ne sais quoi regarding paying 8m per win.

Funny stuff.

Among the bromides you missed were 'in any case, they're a big market team. Even if the contract goes south, they can well afford it. It won't keep them from acquiring the players they need if they happen to be close.'

I'm just amazed that so many people have been viewing Greinke as this big-time ace when there's little rational reason to think he's one of the top pitchers in the game.
This bore repeating.
   25. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:51 AM (#4320216)
You have to lean entirely on fWAR, talk vaguely about taking the upside out of the deal (as though that wasn't a major negative), and follow it with a hefty dose of je ne sais quoi regarding paying 8m per win.


I'm not leaning on anything -- just pointing out that the Dodgers are paying for fWAR, or they're the Dodgers and they don't care. It's pretty clear.

Among the bromides you missed were 'in any case, they're a big market team. Even if the contract goes south, they can well afford it. It won't keep them from acquiring the players they need if they happen to be close.'


Which you clearly understand and stated the same thing in a different way.

It's nice that he has these great peripherals but he hasn't been living up to them for years now.


He's underperformed peripherals for 3 straight years...and the three years before that he matched his peripherals almost exactly. Is 3 years enough time to definitively say we should predict on his ERA and not his FIP? Serious question. I'd be curious what his ZiPS is for next year, and/or if anyone has studied that.
   26. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:52 AM (#4320217)
The whole Dodger situation is unbelievable. From McCourt making out like a bandit to this unprecedented spending spree with no end in sight.
   27. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: December 09, 2012 at 01:01 AM (#4320219)
Is FIP not a rational reason?


I'll be the bad guy here: when a pitcher has significantly underperformed his peripherals in as large a sample as Greinke has,
It becomes reasonable to posit that said pitcher isn't "underperforming" so much as he is "not as good as FIP would lead you to believe."

Defense indepent pitching metrics are usually pretty good for projection, but there are certainly outliers. Greinke appears to be one and unfortunately (because as a fan, I'd love to see him do it again) Zack Greinke probably is a lot closer to his 2010-12 ERA in terms of true value than he is either his 2009 season or his xFIP.
   28. RJ in TO Posted: December 09, 2012 at 01:01 AM (#4320220)
I think there's a tendency among some baseball folks to treat a player's absolute best season as his "true talent"

When he was with the Jays, this was one of Gord Ash' specialties.

Also, this is one of those "Holy ####### ####, they spent how much?" deals.
   29. billyshears Posted: December 09, 2012 at 01:03 AM (#4320221)
You bet. There's even a tendency on the site featuring baseball for the thinking fan to do this. Dickey's 2012 could well be a new but established level for him. Reyes' 2011 and Wright's 2012 meant we could essentially forget each players previous three seasons. I think for Wright his four good months in 2012 turned something like 4/55 into 7/122.


This is silly. At the time Reyes signed his contract, he had 4 seasons of 5.8 WAR or higher. Wright had 5 seasons of 5.2 WAR or higher (and 3 seasons above 7 WAR). Their contracts weren't about pretending their best seasons were their true talent - they were about trying to determine whether they had reclaimed levels of performance they had both amply demonstrated. Especially with Reyes, the question was less "How good is he really?" than "Will he bust a hamstring?"
   30. Jim Wisinski Posted: December 09, 2012 at 01:07 AM (#4320223)
Is FIP not a rational reason?


If we were discussing a pitcher who suddenly underperformed his peripherals last season after pitching to them in the years before that then I'd say yes, it's a rational reason. Greinke has underperformed them for three years straight though so I'm not going to believe that he should be projected going forward based just on FIP. Looking at one big element of potential ERA fluctuation, BABIP, his numbers the past three seasons are normal for him so you can't say that it's just balls finding holes or bad defense. If someone wants to make a reasonable argument for WHY his FIP should be used to project him going forward I'm very willing to listen and learn but I'm not going to just accept the Cameron/Sheenhan-esque dogmatic, absolute belief in stuff like that.
   31. billyshears Posted: December 09, 2012 at 01:13 AM (#4320225)
Over the last three seasons Greinke's been a nice number 2 pitcher. Durable, but without a whiff of greatness. He's hugely odds on to never get near 2009 again, but he still racks up 25m per?


See, and I'll posit that a 10.5 K/9 and 4.5 BB/K is, in fact, more than a whiff of greatness. You can argue for ERA or xFIP or whatver, but if you can do that, you're more than just a durable innings eater.
   32. Jim Wisinski Posted: December 09, 2012 at 01:21 AM (#4320227)
He's underperformed peripherals for 3 straight years...and the three years before that he matched his peripherals almost exactly. Is 3 years enough time to definitively say we should predict on his ERA and not his FIP? Serious question. I'd be curious what his ZiPS is for next year, and/or if anyone has studied that.


I'm not the one to answer the question of how large a sample size is large enough for that but instinctively three full seasons seems plenty large enough for me to be inclined to think that his peripherals aren't a reliable gauge. What's key to me is that though he did perform to his peripherals in those three previous seasons he still was far from outstanding in two of the three. Even if you believe FIP is closer to reality then I don't think he should be viewed as better than a mid-120s ERA+ pitcher which would still put him short of the praise heaped on him.
   33. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 09, 2012 at 01:33 AM (#4320230)
This is silly. At the time Reyes signed his contract, he had 4 seasons of 5.8 WAR or higher. Wright had 5 seasons of 5.2 WAR or higher (and 3 seasons above 7 WAR). Their contracts weren't about pretending their best seasons were their true talent - they were about trying to determine whether they had reclaimed levels of performance they had both amply demonstrated. Especially with Reyes, the question was less "How good is he really?" than "Will he bust a hamstring?
" That isn't silly, billy, it's preposterous. It's not even possible to tell what it is you're claiming. Are you arguing that GMs collectively or Alderson specifically thought that 4 months in 2012 represented a return to a level of skills Wright hadn't demonstrated since 2008, and that those four months surely represented the reclamation of a 'level or performance he had amply demonstrated? No one would think it resembled a guarantee, or at the least should admit thinking that.

As for Reyes, he had hamstring problems, then averaged 158 games a season for four years, then had more hamstring problems. Are you arguing anyone paying attention to his career was going to be sure his hamstring problems were beyond him because, one year in three, he was durable? That after demonstrating four years of durablity was no guarantee of continuing durability, one year of durablity magically did?

See, and I'll posit that a 10.5 K/9 and 4.5 BB/K is, in fact, more than a whiff of greatness. You can argue for ERA or xFIP or whatver, but if you can do that, you're more than just a durable innings eater.
So, your point is that Grienke has been secretly great for the last three years? See, I'm sure that in order to be an argumentative pain in the ass, you'll be pleased to posit just about anything.



   34. PreservedFish Posted: December 09, 2012 at 01:51 AM (#4320232)
at $6M/fWAR -- which Swartz reckoned was going to be the case in 2012 -- he'll be a market level contract.


I did not read the linked article, but does anyone take this number seriously? Robinson Cano has averaged 6 WAR for the past four years ... would he be a bargain at $32 million per year? A slight overpay at $40 million?
   35. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: December 09, 2012 at 02:09 AM (#4320234)
Jack Carter is not doing a very good job with reading comprehension. Also, while it's possible that Greinke doesn't pitch as well as his (elite level) peripherals due to something we simply don't know, it's also possible that he's just had the bad luck to underperform them for three years.

I think the amount of money is silly, because pitchers get hurt and any time you sign someone for 5+ years I feel you have to assume that they'll be hurt for roughly a years worth of time and include age related decline, but trying to argue that Greinke isn't a special pitcher (and ignoring that he's by a significant amount the best pitcher on a scarce market with several teams looking for high quality starting pitching) is just silly. As is the insane argument that the only reason Reyes and Wright got their contracts was GMs beguiled by a single strong season.
   36. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: December 09, 2012 at 02:10 AM (#4320235)
at $6M/fWAR -- which Swartz reckoned was going to be the case in 2012 -- he'll be a market level contract.


I did not read the linked article, but does anyone take this number seriously? Robinson Cano has averaged 6 WAR for the past four years ... would he be a bargain at $32 million per year? A slight overpay at $40 million?


I think that is the contention, yes.
   37. PreservedFish Posted: December 09, 2012 at 02:26 AM (#4320236)
As is the insane argument that the only reason Reyes and Wright got their contracts was GMs beguiled by a single strong season.


According to that $6M/win number, Wright's deal is in fact a huge bargain. Wright averaged 3 WAR during his crappy years.
   38. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: December 09, 2012 at 02:33 AM (#4320237)
How many pitchers would you rather have over the next 6 years just based on performance alone? This is not some rhetorical or gotcha! question. Genuinely curious.

My list
Kershaw
Felix Hernandez
Verlander
Sabathia (although he started showing some wear and tear this season)
Maybe Jared Weaver
Maybe David Price

I'm probably missing a couple of people but I do think Greinke is elite.
   39. Depressoteric Posted: December 09, 2012 at 03:13 AM (#4320239)
How many pitchers would you rather have over the next 6 years just based on performance alone? This is not some rhetorical or gotcha! question. Genuinely curious.

My list
Kershaw
Felix Hernandez
Verlander
Sabathia (although he started showing some wear and tear this season)
Maybe Jared Weaver
Maybe David Price


Erm...Stephen Strasburg? Weird that you'd omit him, given that I'd take him over literally every single one you listed there (plus Greinke) if we're talking strictly about "for the next six years" proposition.
   40. Dan Posted: December 09, 2012 at 03:35 AM (#4320241)
It seems likely that a large part of Greinke's underperformance is probably due to pitching in front of poor defensive teams. The 2010 Royals and the 2011-2 Brewers both look like pretty poor defensive squads just from looking at the positional starters briefly on bbref. Of course that's likely to remain an issue for him since the 2013 Dodgers are probably below average defensively everywhere other than 1B and 2B, unless Crawford bounces back to being a plus in LF like he was in Tampa Bay.
   41. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: December 09, 2012 at 03:36 AM (#4320242)
Erm...Stephen Strasburg? Weird that you'd omit him, given that I'd take him over literally every single one you listed there (plus Greinke) if we're talking strictly about "for the next six years" proposition.

He probably just forgot him. He did say that he'd probably forgotten a couple guys.

I'd definitely take Kershaw and Verlander over the next six years. Those two are beasts and have the track record. I'd probably take King Felix as well but his results have been underwhelming the last two years. I think Sabathia is wearing down just a bit so I'd take Strasburg. I'd probably take Price over Strasburg as well. As talented as Srasburg is, he didn't average six innings a start last year and he has yet to prove that he is capable of 210-220 innings a year consistently.

Man, the Dodgers have some question marks but they have a huge upside. I'd probably rank them as the best team in the NL right now.
   42. Nasty Nate Posted: December 09, 2012 at 03:50 AM (#4320244)
I think there's a tendency among some baseball folks to treat a player's absolute best season as his "true talent".

You bet. There's even a tendency on the site featuring baseball for the thinking fan to do this. Dickey's 2012 could well be a new but established level for him. Reyes' 2011 and Wright's 2012 meant we could essentially forget each players previous three seasons. I think for Wright his four good months in 2012 turned something like 4/55 into 7/122.


This Wright stuff is weird. Even if Wright repeated exactly his 2011 in 2012, if he repeated his worst season out of 7 in the league, there is no way in hell he would be willing to sign anything close to a 4/55 extension. If evaluations of Wright are too past-driven, it's not at all about 4 months in 2012, but the thousand games before that.
   43. Depressoteric Posted: December 09, 2012 at 03:55 AM (#4320245)
I'd definitely take Kershaw and Verlander over the next six years. Those two are beasts and have the track record.
I understand where you're coming from, but the only reason I'd still prefer Strasburg over them is because Kershaw has already demonstrated serious hip injury issues (Strasburg had TJ surgery, yes, but they're very different beasts in terms of effectiveness of reparative surgery and lingering issues) and because Verlander has been SUCH a workhorse for SO long that, when thinking of the next six years, you just have to assume that the innings will eventually add up. (Then again, he could turn out to be the next Nolan Ryan -- a genetic freak of nature in terms of his physical indestructibility...but the odds by definition have to be against that.) Strasburg simply has less mileage.
   44. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: December 09, 2012 at 04:02 AM (#4320246)
Dickey's 2012 could well be a new but established level for him.

RA Dickey in 2010: 138 ERA+, 6.7 IP/S.

RA Dickey in 2012: 140 ERA+, 7.1 IP/S.

RA Dickey was a very good pitcher in 2010-2011. Giving him a two year extension at less than Anibal Sanchez will likely get is not overpaying.
   45. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 09, 2012 at 04:05 AM (#4320247)
Greinke hasn't been pitching for random teams, he's been pitching for the Royals and Brewers, who have generally had pretty lousy defenses.
   46. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: December 09, 2012 at 04:10 AM (#4320248)
Kershaw has already demonstrated serious hip injury issues

He did put up a 0.77 ERA last September with that hip injury. Maybe it will cause him problems in the future but right now, he's outstanding.

Verlander has been SUCH a workhorse for SO long that, when thinking of the next six years, you just have to assume that the innings will eventually add up

I know what you are saying about the wear and tear but I'd rather bet on Verlander staying healthy than a guy who has yet to show he can put up 210-200 innings consistently. Will Strasburg stuff hold up after two or three full seasons? It might but we won't know until he does it.
   47. Dan Posted: December 09, 2012 at 04:48 AM (#4320250)
The dollars and 6 year commitment are both high but I don't think either are full-on crazy. This, however, puts this contract fully into crazy town IMO:

@JimBowdenESPNxm: According to a Dodger source:Greinke has a full player opt out clause after 3 yrs & if traded during contract he can opt out at end of yr
   48. Dan Posted: December 09, 2012 at 05:02 AM (#4320252)
So the Dodgers now how seven viable starting pitchers and they still might sign Ryu before their 30 day window closes to get to 8:

Kershaw
Greinke
Beckett
Billingsley
Capuano
Lilly
Harang
[Ryu]

I know Lilly and Billingsley are both coming off of significant arm injuries at the end of 2012 but most teams would be happy with either of those guys as a #3 or 4 and its possible that neither guy makes it into this rotation. I assume at minimum Harang and Lilly are sent packing, with Capuano's fate probably dependent on Ryu signing or Billingsley's health.
   49. vivaelpujols Posted: December 09, 2012 at 05:46 AM (#4320253)
Depends on whether you think bWAR or fWAR is more predictive. I'd probably split the difference over the past 4 years, which makes this about a market value contract. Obviously that depends on inflation continuing to rise.
   50. vivaelpujols Posted: December 09, 2012 at 06:19 AM (#4320255)
fWAR since 2009: 5.1, 4.0, 5.1, 9.3

bWAR: 3.3, 1.4, 3.2, 10.1

I think ZIPS uses something like 7,5,3,1 for weighing yearly performance. Doing that for fWAR gives you 5.35. For bWAR it's 3.55.

Assuming 5.5 million per win, 5% inflation and a .5 WAR a year WAR decline, fWAR says 150 million and bWAR says 83 million. I'm guessing Greinke's true worth is somewhere around 110-120 million, so this looks a bit below market value. The upside is that he has another 9 WAR year and that's probably what the Dodgers are paying for. The downside of course is that he gets injured and ends up being a 1 WAR starter by the end of his contract. Santana has to scare the Dodgers a little.
   51. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: December 09, 2012 at 09:01 AM (#4320259)

Esoteric,

I like Strasburg and he might well be baseball's #1 SP over the next six years...but you're putting him above Kershaw because Kershaw has a history of injuries and over Verlander because Verlander... doesn't. You can't have it both ways! (Especially since, as mentioned, Strasburg's never thrown 200 IP yet).

As to the signing, Greinke's obviously a level below the Verlander/Felix/Kershaw/CC etc. class, but I don't see why he can't be very good over a lot of innings for the life of this contract. I think LA will be happy with it.
   52. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 09, 2012 at 09:25 AM (#4320261)
That isn't silly, billy, it's preposterous. It's not even possible to tell what it is you're claiming. Are you arguing that GMs collectively or Alderson specifically thought that 4 months in 2012 represented a return to a level of skills Wright hadn't demonstrated since 2008, and that those four months surely represented the reclamation of a 'level or performance he had amply demonstrated? No one would think it resembled a guarantee, or at the least should admit thinking that.

As for Reyes, he had hamstring problems, then averaged 158 games a season for four years, then had more hamstring problems. Are you arguing anyone paying attention to his career was going to be sure his hamstring problems were beyond him because, one year in three, he was durable? That after demonstrating four years of durablity was no guarantee of continuing durability, one year of durablity magically did?


If Wright replicates his "down" years for the next 8 years he sails into the HOF.

The reason Reyes only got $100 million is because of the hamstring problems. If he had been healthy during his career he gets at least 50% more.
   53. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: December 09, 2012 at 10:30 AM (#4320267)
Now, if folks are going to be consistent, there should be a lot of hating on the Dodgers for having such a high payroll. Or does that only happen if they win?

If a Dodger Clapper shows up and spends half his postings on whining on about how his team's owners are getting screwed out of money, then maybe I'll start hating the Dodgers as much as the Yankees.
   54. billyshears Posted: December 09, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4320269)
That isn't silly, billy, it's preposterous. It's not even possible to tell what it is you're claiming. Are you arguing that GMs collectively or Alderson specifically thought that 4 months in 2012 represented a return to a level of skills Wright hadn't demonstrated since 2008, and that those four months surely represented the reclamation of a 'level or performance he had amply demonstrated? No one would think it resembled a guarantee, or at the least should admit thinking that.

As for Reyes, he had hamstring problems, then averaged 158 games a season for four years, then had more hamstring problems. Are you arguing anyone paying attention to his career was going to be sure his hamstring problems were beyond him because, one year in three, he was durable? That after demonstrating four years of durablity was no guarantee of continuing durability, one year of durablity magically did?


The claim you were responding too was as follows: "I think there's a tendency among some baseball folks to treat a player's absolute best season as his "true talent"." That's a weird claim as applied to the Reyes and Wright contracts when both players had clearly demonstrated they were capable of that level of performance (and better) and were still within their primes. If you had argued that Reyes' contract was silly because of his hamstring issues, I would have had no issue with that, but you didn't make that argument. That's just a post hoc rationalization that you're clinging too instead of admitting your error. Also, while there is no validity in any case to breaking up the season in monthly increments, if Wright's season was buoyed by a crazy hot 1 month, instead of a merely normally hot 2/3 of a season, that might be more of a compelling argument.
   55. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: December 09, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4320272)
If a Dodger Clapper shows up and spends half his postings on whining on about how his team's owners are getting screwed out of money, then maybe I'll start hating the Dodgers as much as the Yankees.

Wouldn't that have to be Dodger Redneck?
   56. PreservedFish Posted: December 09, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4320276)
I understand where you're coming from, but the only reason I'd still prefer Strasburg over them is because Kershaw has already demonstrated serious hip injury issues ... and because Verlander has been SUCH a workhorse for SO long ... Strasburg simply has less mileage.


And Strasburg is on the team you root for, right? It would be so easy to use the same data and come up with the opposite conclusion, that the guys who have demonstrated extreme endurance are more likely to, you know, have extreme endurance.
   57. Chris Fluit Posted: December 09, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4320277)
Wow. To comment further, that's a big number for someone who doesn't quite seem elite.


This really does strike me as a major overpay. Greinke has not had consistently ace-level results.

Over the last three seasons Greinke's been a nice number 2 pitcher. Durable, but without a whiff of greatness. He's hugely odds on to never get near 2009 again, but he still racks up 25m per?


Where were you guys earlier? I got reamed on this site for saying that about Greinke a month or so ago.
   58. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: December 09, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4320278)
Erm...Stephen Strasburg? Weird that you'd omit him,


Doh! It was 1 am and I had some drink in me. But yeah, I'd take him over Greinke.
   59. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: December 09, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4320288)
Wouldn't that have to be Dodger Redneck?

Er, um, blush, yes. Apologies to the Clapper.
   60. Dr. House Posted: December 09, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4320289)
How many pitchers would you rather have over the next 6 years just based on performance alone? This is not some rhetorical or gotcha! question. Genuinely curious.

My list
Kershaw
Felix Hernandez
Verlander
Sabathia (although he started showing some wear and tear this season)
Maybe Jared Weaver
Maybe David Price


Making any baseball projection 6 years forward is silly, especially so when it comes to pitchers but I'd take your list, Strasburg and the following:

Gio Gonzalez
Cole Hamels
Mat Latos
Matt Cain
Madison Bumgarner
Chris Sale
Yu Darvish
Trevor Cahill

Independent of salary, there are another 10 or so pitchers that I find to be ~ even w/ Greinke making it pointless to distinguish between them.

Then there are another handful of guys that I could lean toward picking over him but the data is less reliable then I'd like to do so definitively. These would be guys incorporating MLE data and/or that have missed time with injury (Brett Anderson is one example of the latter).
   61. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 09, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4320290)
Wouldn't that have to be Dodger Redneck?

Er, um, blush, yes. Apologies to the Clapper.


Yeah, I'm the reason you hate the Yankees.
   62. DL from MN Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4320298)
Wright's deal is in fact a huge bargain


I agree, the Mets got Wright for a very good price. I think they're nuts not giving Dickey the 2 year $30M extension. They must really be broke.
   63. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: December 09, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4320323)
Trevor Cahill?
   64. Josh1 Posted: December 09, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4320324)
Having watched Greinke a fair bit in the past two years, I can certainly see why he has underperformed his FIP/fWAR. Other great K/BB guys like Pedro, Schilling, and Maddux were able to maintain their low walk rates while continually making pitchers' pitches on the corner of the zone. Greinke, on the other hand, makes a lot of mistakes in the middle of the zone, and often enough hitters are able to capitalize on the mistakes. Greinke's opposite is probably someone like Glavine who never gave in to the hitter even if it meant a walk. Greinke reminds me of another Brewer, Ben Sheets, who was able to put up several years of great K/BB ratios, but only one year did he manage the dominant ERA results you would hope to get from the fantastic peripherals. Ben's fastball was just a bit too straight, and he would leave it in the zone just a bit too much. Greinke can throw all types of great pitches, but he makes too many mistakes.

I wonder if the fact that Greinke is aware of DIPS (and perhaps intentionally pitches to the theory) causes him to underperform his DIPS.
   65. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: December 09, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4320350)
@JimBowdenESPNxm: According to a Dodger source:Greinke has a full player opt out clause after 3 yrs & if traded during contract he can opt out at end of yr


This doesn't really surprise me. Greinke has been far more involved in the process than most free agents are, and he knows himself well enough that he may not enjoy playing for the Dodgers very much.
   66. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: December 09, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4320354)
I'm content with this signing. Not elated, not horrified.

The weird part is coming to grips with the Dodgers as free-spenders. The last time us fans thought we pulled for a team willing to pony up the dough was... 1999, with the signing of Kevin Brown. That deal was worth $105M over 7 years, if you're wondering.

Doing the math, that's a 63% increase in AAV between the two contracts. Over 14 years... 4.5% annually.
   67. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: December 09, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4320356)
I think the option to opt out if he is traded is a nifty piece of negotiating. I'm not sure if I've seen that before.
   68. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 09, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4320358)
I think the option to opt out if he is traded is a nifty piece of negotiating. I'm not sure if I've seen that before.

It used to be standard in the players' agreement. A player traded during a long-term deal had the right to demand a trade to a team of his liking, and opt out if it wasn't granted.
   69. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: December 09, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4320359)
Interesting, thanks.
   70. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 09, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4320361)
i have written more than enough on zack and wish the young man all success with his new team
   71. Depressoteric Posted: December 09, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4320369)
And Strasburg is on the team you root for, right? It would be so easy to use the same data and come up with the opposite conclusion, that the guys who have demonstrated extreme endurance are more likely to, you know, have extreme endurance.
Yeah, homerism probably does play a role here.
   72. Dr. House Posted: December 09, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4320372)
Trevor Cahill?


Yes, though I'll hedge on that a bit. I think he's a case where I factored in his team friendly contract too much. They're probably closer to a push but they're certainly not dissimilar. Keep in mind that the question was "who you would want going forward for 6 years" and there's a 4 year age gap between them. That's not a trivial difference and pitcher performance at best tends to stay at a plateau before declining.

Greinke is already at the point of decline on the aging curve and it's evident in his K-rate. If you adjust for park (MIL is very beneficial for K-rate) and index his K-rate vs the league, 2012 was his worst rate of the last 3 years. I don't see much upside there (the Dodgers are going to regret this contract very quickly IMHO).

I also don't support a purely FIP/XFIP based approach to evaluation. If you're going to bother w/ regression (you should), look at the entire spectrum of performance and apply the right amount to each variable. With that understanding, Cahill's evaluation is a bit rosier than it 'should' be via a FIP/XFIP evaluation, while Greinke's looks worse.
   73. MHS Posted: December 09, 2012 at 04:54 PM (#4320384)
decline on the aging curve


Unless something has come out in the last several years that I may have missed, pitchers aging curve are shifted right and flatter than that of position players.

Based on that if I'm comparing pitchers for a 6 year term I would give no inherent or little advantage to a 25 year old relative to a 29 year old.

Zack Greinke is a much better bet than Cahill over the next 6 years.
   74. JJ1986 Posted: December 09, 2012 at 06:17 PM (#4320393)
Ryu has been signed.

I wonder if Billingsley is seriously injured. Otherwise, they're spending a lot of money to upgrade the fifth spot in their rotation.
   75. Depressoteric Posted: December 09, 2012 at 06:49 PM (#4320407)
Ryu has been signed.
Golly that's a lotta pitchers the Dodgers have.
   76. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: December 09, 2012 at 06:52 PM (#4320409)
Golly that's a lotta pitchers the Dodgers have.
Possibly on the block are Capuano, Harang and Lilly.
   77. Jim Wisinski Posted: December 09, 2012 at 07:05 PM (#4320416)
I don't see much upside there (the Dodgers are going to regret this contract very quickly IMHO).


Although I'm critical of the lavish praise heaped on Greinke I don't agree with this. As I said in my original post in this thread I think Greinke is a perfectly reasonable bet to continue to be a good pitcher for the length of his contract, I like his chances of throwing 200 innings with an ERA+ over 100 as much as many of the good pitchers in the game. The only quibble is the Dodgers possibly paying him excessively for that and since they obviously don't mind and are unlikely to be hampered by the contract regardless of his performance I doubt they're going to have any real regrets.
   78. Dan Posted: December 09, 2012 at 07:05 PM (#4320417)
I wonder if Billingsley is seriously injured. Otherwise, they're spending a lot of money to upgrade the fifth spot in their rotation.


Wasn't it basically a toss up whether they were going to do TJ or try to rehab his elbow? I doubt they're confident that his elbow will hold up.

The interesting thing will be seeing what kind of trades they're able to make with the likes of Capuano and Harang and Lilly in a market where Joe Blanton has already been snatched up for 2 years/ $15M total.
   79. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 09, 2012 at 08:33 PM (#4320455)
I think the amount of money is silly, because pitchers get hurt and any time you sign someone for 5+ years I feel you have to assume that they'll be hurt for roughly a years worth of time and include age related decline, but trying to argue that Greinke isn't a special pitcher (and ignoring that he's by a significant amount the best pitcher on a scarce market with several teams looking for high quality starting pitching) is just silly.
Curious. Scott's arguing against an argument no one is making. How's that working for you, overall?

This Wright stuff is weird. Even if Wright repeated exactly his 2011 in 2012, if he repeated his worst season out of 7 in the league, there is no way in hell he would be willing to sign anything close to a 4/55 extension. If evaluations of Wright are too past-driven, it's not at all about 4 months in 2012, but the thousand games before that.
Which, bizarrely enough, include three consecutive season's worth of games in which by his standards he was awful.

You're forgetting that there was some discussion after 2011 about whether the Mets should even renew Wright at 16m for 2012. The idea that Wright didn't need a huge season to get close to the money he got is, well, weird. You're saying a player not getting to three wins in a dog's age should sneeze at a 4/55 deal? That player should be glad you're not his agent.
   80. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 09, 2012 at 08:42 PM (#4320459)
If Wright replicates his "down" years for the next 8 years he sails into the HOF.
Yeah, no.

It gives him less than 60 bWAR at a position that's historically undervalued, and he hits no major milestones.

Not only doesn't Wright 'sail in', he probably doesn't get in, period, and that's even granting your implied premise, that he magically stays at 3B into his dotage.

The reason Reyes only got $100 million is because of the hamstring problems. If he had been healthy during his career he gets at least 50% more.
Yeah, no. Reyes playing another 20 games a season (he's averaged 136 a year since becoming a full-time player in 2005) doesn't grab 25 million a year on the free agent market. No one was going to confuse a durable, average fielding shortstop (below average at the time of free agency) with a 107 OPS+ with the top players in the game.
   81. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: December 09, 2012 at 08:48 PM (#4320460)
Let's say Hamilton signs with the Mariners. How does this affect Dickey and the Rangers?
   82. Nasty Nate Posted: December 09, 2012 at 08:54 PM (#4320461)
You're forgetting that there was some discussion after 2011 about whether the Mets should even renew Wright at 16m for 2012.


Not amongst sane people there wasn't.

The idea that Wright didn't need a huge season to get close to the money he got is, well, weird. You're saying a player not getting to three wins in a dog's age should sneeze at a 4/55 deal? That player should be glad you're not his agent.


My post said that he didn't need a huge season to get way more than 4/55, there's a huge difference between that and what he got. If you were his agent you would be the laughingstock of the business.

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