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Monday, August 27, 2012

ESPN: Szymborski:  Big Trade a Disaster for Dodgers (INSIDER)

One of the fun things about language is those little metaphors that spice things up, like hot peppers on a juicy sandwich. One of my favorites is a reference to a Greek king that fought the Romans and, despite winning a war, faced casualties and destruction on such a large scale that he allegedly remarked that another such glorious victory would utterly destroy him.

That king, Pyrrhus, provides the historical background for the commonly used term “Pyrrhic victory,” and no metaphor as accurately describes the situation the Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves in after rolling the dice on one of the biggest blockbuster trades in baseball history.

 

Dan Szymborski Posted: August 27, 2012 at 11:39 AM | 76 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers, red sox, sabermetrics, trade value, zips

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   1. Fresh Prince of Belisle Posted: August 27, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4219366)
Are ZiPS going to be on BTF this year or elsewhere?
   2. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: August 27, 2012 at 04:13 PM (#4219376)
no metaphor as accurately describes the situation the Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves in


It's definitely become a whole new ball game in the NL West. One might say that the train wreck that was the 2012 Red Sox season, combined with the expected "TV rights bubble" and the liberation from that rat Mccourt, created a perfect storm- Boston's toxic assets make great lipstick on LA's bankrupt pig of a team, and this really bails Boston out. It's a shining example of the invisible hand in action. Still, despite this tsunami of a trade, the Giants remain the class of the division; they'll weather this storm like it's 1962.
   3. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 27, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4219381)
So, the Sox got Allen Webster, a so - so prospect (which is better than being a non-prospect)

Ivan De Jesus (non-prospect)

2 to be named (assume non-prospect)

and James Loney's desiccated corpse...

and oh, the Sawx also got several metric tonnes of salary relief...

I mean jeebus that's a lot of money, sure the 2012 Dodgers are in the hunt, sure even if in decline AGon is a big improvement over Loney, and they didn't give up anyone they were gonna use in 2012 or even 2013, but wow there's gonna be a lot of deadweight in 2013/2014 on that payroll
   4. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 27, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4219385)
Are ZiPS going to be on BTF this year or elsewhere?


fangraphs
   5. JJ1986 Posted: August 27, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4219386)
2 to be named (assume non-prospect)


No. One of them is Rubby de la Rosa, a prospect.
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 27, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4219394)
but wow there's gonna be a lot of deadweight in 2013/2014 on that payroll


I guess I typically think of deadweight as players that are of absolutely no use anymore, but are paid a lot of money (John Lackey for example). Carl Crawford is proably dead weight, although he's still young enough that he can bounce back and give you decent value. Beckett is a decent bounceback candidate. AGone will almost certainly bounce back. Yea, they're overpaid, but looking at the Dodgers 2013 payroll, it seems like deadweight would be like $7 million for Juan Uribe. The Crawford contract is really problematic in that he'll be a millstone in 2016, 2017, etc. and by then who knows what the Dodgers financial situation will be.
   7. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: August 27, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4219395)
3) why are you assuming? - we know who they are. sands (corner of/1b, bit better prospect than dejesus) and de la rosa (not quite as good of a prospect as webster, but pretty good). sickels has them as 2 B+, a C/C+, and a C.
loney, presumably, is gone at the end of the year (non-tender).
   8. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 27, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4219397)
No. One of them is Rubby de la Rosa, a prospect.

And a very, very good one, despite a lot of commentary to the contrary.

(EDIT: I was referring to media types, not 'Der_K's #7.)
   9. Guapo Posted: August 27, 2012 at 04:45 PM (#4219409)
One of the fun things about language is those little metaphors that spice things up, like hot peppers on a juicy sandwich.


Hey! That's a simile!

EDIT: Removed profanity lest it be construed as a sincere attempt to insult Dan
   10. ColonelTom Posted: August 27, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4219419)
It's worth contrasting Dan's piece with Jonah Keri's on Grantland. Keri's point is basically that the Dodgers are laughing at the whole luxury-tax concept, basically exposing baseball's luxury-tax threshold as an easy excuse for rich teams to cap their spending at an arbitrary level and rake in more profits as a result. If the Dodgers continue to be the only team ignoring the tax, they'll have a huge competitive edge.

From a baseball standpoint - man, I don't know. It seems like a horrible deal from the current snapshot - Gonzalez having his worst year, Crawford hurt, Beckett mediocre, and all three wearing the stench of the clubhouse disaster at Fenway. That said, Crawford's been riddled with injuries, and he's only 2 years removed from posting 7.6 WAR in 2010. The Dodgers are obviously banking on Crawford's returning to form and figuring that they'd rather throw that kind of coin at him than, say, Josh Hamilton, who comes with his own suitcase full of baggage. If Crawford can return to the star-level performance of 2009-10 for a few years, the Dodgers won't think twice about what he's being paid. That's a hell of a risk, though.

Did anyone else notice that their entire outfield (Crawford/Kemp/Ethier) is locked up through at least 2017, by which time Yasiel Puig will be earning $8.5M in the final year of his 7-year, $42M contract?
   11. Dale Sams Posted: August 27, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4219427)
I think Josh is going to go sub 4.00 ERA til the end of the season, and that the Dodgers are stacked for the next two years at least.

And there's a lot to be said for Mediocre. Dice-K's mediocre 2007 netted 3.8 WAR....or . 7 WAR more than anyone else on the 2012 Sox right now.

   12. tjm1 Posted: August 27, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4219429)
Did anyone else notice that their entire outfield (Crawford/Kemp/Ethier) is locked up through at least 2017, by which time Yasiel Puig will be earning $8.5M in the final year of his 7-year, $42M contract?


Or Ethier will be playing elsewhere.
   13. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: August 27, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4219432)
I don't see why Crawford is so widely considered a lost cause. He's averaged 4.1 fWAR/600 PA for his career excluding his Age 20 and Age 21 seasons. Fast players and players who make the majors early are considered better bets to age, right? He was a decent hitter in limited action in 2012 with a shredded elbow. Even if he's a 3 WAR player over the rest of his contract that's Market Value as Swartz reckoned on Fangraphs. He's got upside beyond that level. Isn't he just the kind of player a big market team with a gaping hole in LF should take on? Is he worse than signing Shane Victorino to a multi-year deal? Is there a better FA option? Maybe Hamilton, but there's no guarantee they'd actually be able to sign him in a free market. The only really bad contract I see is Beckett's and it's only for 2 years. It's not that big a deal.
   14. AROM Posted: August 27, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4219437)
Did anyone else notice that their entire outfield (Crawford/Kemp/Ethier) is locked up through at least 2017, by which time Yasiel Puig will be earning $8.5M in the final year of his 7-year, $42M contract?


Maybe Kemp will need to move to a corner and Ethier to first...Oh yeah, Adrian Gonzalez. I guess we'll be seeing a trade before then, assuming Puig pans out.
   15. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 27, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4219438)
It's worth contrasting Dan's piece with Jonah Keri's on Grantland. Keri's point is basically that the Dodgers are laughing at the whole luxury-tax concept, basically exposing baseball's luxury-tax threshold as an easy excuse for rich teams to cap their spending at an arbitrary level and rake in more profits as a result. If the Dodgers continue to be the only team ignoring the tax, they'll have a huge competitive edge.

They might have a competitive edge, but their finances might not look so great. I'm still trying to figure out how owning the Dodgers is going to be great for Guggenheim's investors. Even if the Dodgers clear $50 or $75 million year after year in pure profit, that seems like a lousy ROI on a $2.15 billion "all cash" investment. Oddly, T.J. Simers has been the only one even inquiring about the financial aspects of the sale, Guggenheim, etc.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 27, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4219444)
that seems like a lousy ROI on a $2.15 billion "all cash" investment.

Why would you think the capital structure is going to remain 100% cash?

As soon as they get their shiny new TV deal, I'd expect them to borrow out the wazoo to pull cash out of the team.
   17. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 27, 2012 at 05:11 PM (#4219450)
I don't see why Crawford is so widely considered a lost cause.


I don't consider him a lost cause; I consider the contract to be a vast overpay.

The contract was silly when signed; he HAD to be as good as the extreme measures of his defense, and even then he was moving into Fenway's LF. Since then, he's two years older and has done very little in the two years except gotten hurt. And yet the Dodgers picked up the rest of his contract anyway. It was assumed that the deal would at least provide good value on the front end, and that hasn't happened. No team in their right mind would have signed him to this deal now. (Granted the Dodgers took it on in order to get Gonzalez/Beckett along with it, but that doesn't mean the deal is suddenly a good one.)
   18. God Posted: August 27, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4219452)
Ethier is a guy who has always, and still does, need a platoon partner. Combine that with Crawford's health history, and I don't see why they couldn't keep and utilize all four guys.
   19. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: August 27, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4219461)
The Crawford contract is really problematic in that he'll be a millstone in 2016, 2017, etc. and by then who knows what the Dodgers financial situation will be.


He'll be a Yankee.

Seriously, I think the odds of him being a Dodger in 2017 are less than 50%.
   20. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: August 27, 2012 at 05:29 PM (#4219473)
Crawford can be the final piece of the puzzle for the Red Sox's 2015 stretch run.
   21. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 27, 2012 at 05:35 PM (#4219482)
Why would you think the capital structure is going to remain 100% cash?

As soon as they get their shiny new TV deal, I'd expect them to borrow out the wazoo to pull cash out of the team.

But borrowing out the wazoo would require MLB approval, and it's unclear that MLB would allow them to do so while leaving the advantageous McCourt agreement intact. As it is, MLB owners are likely to go nuts if the rumored McCourt deal is true — per Forbes, only $84M of the Dodgers TV money will need to be declared for revenue-sharing purposes — so I doubt any additional financial favors will be granted by the Commissioner's Office anytime soon. Time will tell, I guess.
   22. Kyle S at work Posted: August 27, 2012 at 06:34 PM (#4219533)
modigliani-miller says valuation should be independent of financing (of course, due to tax deductibility of interest, it isn't, but anyway...).

did deadspin ever get leaked dodgers fiancials? i'd love to know what their P&L looked like. at $2.1bn, even if they're clearing $100mm of ebitda per year that's still a 21x multiple, which is super high. they must be anticipating ebitda to double (or more) under the new tv deal.
   23. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: August 27, 2012 at 06:43 PM (#4219547)
18 -- maybe they re-sign Victorino. A Victorino/Ethier platoon would be one of the better outfielders in the league (if paid as one person and taking up only one roster spot).

I haven't done a lot of analysis on the subject, but a small sample-size look at Victorino's arm leads me to believe it doesn't belong in any outfield.
   24. God Posted: August 27, 2012 at 06:51 PM (#4219556)
If Victorino's annoying look-at-me shtick were combined with Ethier's self-entitled pouting, that player would easily be the biggest douche in the league. Or maybe second behind Nyjer Morgan.
   25. Kyle S at work Posted: August 27, 2012 at 06:52 PM (#4219557)
looks like dodgers holdco ebitda was less than $20mm (see page 7) for june 2011 - sept 2011. i have no idea how the seasonality of baseball earnings is (do players get paid all year? how are broadcast and ticket revenues recognized?) but this suggests to me that Dodgers' ebitda was at most $60mm. so guggenheim paid at least 35x ebitda? wow.
   26. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 27, 2012 at 06:55 PM (#4219564)
I don't see why Crawford is so widely considered a lost cause.
"Lost cause" is an absolute descriptor that I don't think anyone has used. If you're wondering why people consider his contract an albatross, consider:

2011 WAR: 0.0
2012 WAR: 0.4

He's been a replacement level player for one season, and lost a second to injury. He certainly could bounce back, but I don't think anyone would bet 5/90 on it. Projection systems are going to expect him to be a below average player next year. You say, "even if he's a 3 WAR player" as if that's his worst case scenario. I don't see how that can be a worst case scenario when you have 2011 and 2012 as the most recent evidence of Crawford's baseball value.
   27. Dale Sams Posted: August 27, 2012 at 06:59 PM (#4219571)
Right before the 2013 season I'll be making some kind of Bref bet about how AGon, Beckett and Crawford will accumulate 11 WAR among them. I need to get a handle on when Crawford will be coming back first.
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 27, 2012 at 07:00 PM (#4219572)
But borrowing out the wazoo would require MLB approval, and it's unclear that MLB would allow them to do so while leaving the advantageous McCourt agreement intact. As it is, MLB owners are likely to go nuts if the rumored McCourt deal is true — per Forbes, only $84M of the Dodgers TV money will need to be declared for revenue-sharing purposes — so I doubt any additional financial favors will be granted by the Commissioner's Office anytime soon. Time will tell, I guess.

But, they can borrow up to the MLB limit (60%??) without approval.
   29. Jose Canusee Posted: August 27, 2012 at 07:04 PM (#4219580)
Scene: Dodgers win WS on Gonzalez homer. Mattingly interviewed on TV, says "I must admit, without the trade there would have been no victory."
Little green head pops in and says "Victory? Victory, you say? Master Obi-Don, not a victory. The shroud of the Evil Empire has fallen. Begun, the Bidding War has."
   30. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: August 27, 2012 at 07:21 PM (#4219596)
do players get paid all year?


The uniform player contact (at least the one used through 2011) said they were only paid during the regular season.
   31. God Posted: August 27, 2012 at 07:22 PM (#4219597)
Scene: Dodgers win WS on Gonzalez homer. Mattingly interviewed on TV, says "I must admit, without the trade there would have been no victory."
Little green head pops in and says "Victory? Victory, you say? Master Obi-Don, not a victory. The shroud of the Evil Empire has fallen. Begun, the Bidding War has."


Except Tommy Lasorda is not green.
   32. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 27, 2012 at 07:49 PM (#4219616)
But, they can borrow up to the MLB limit (60%??) without approval.

I thought any loan needed MLB approval, with the debt limits simply providing a general ceiling.
   33. Hit by Pitch Posted: August 27, 2012 at 07:51 PM (#4219617)
guggenheim paid at least 35x ebitda? wow.


Didn't the deal also include a partnership with McCourt that owns 250 acres of prime real estate. What is the value of that? The revenue generated by the land is likely not recorded in the books of the teams operating company which would through the 35x multiplier out of whack. I also remember hearing that McCourt couldn't raise the money to develop the land. Now that he has Guggenheim as a partner raising capital should be easier.
   34. Dale Sams Posted: August 27, 2012 at 07:53 PM (#4219618)
I will say this about the trade:

The fact that the Sox held out for prospects tells me they got away from "This is how good the players are now" and correctly put more weight on "Come on. This is what's going to happen. AGon is a great upgrade, Josh will be happy to get out of town and Crawford will love playing in a bigger stadium and not under the microscope. Take it or leave it, cause if you leave it then, I'm not going to cry about having an elite 1B and a LF who looked like he was coming back before his surgery.We're rich and we'll live".
   35. Honkie Kong Posted: August 27, 2012 at 08:10 PM (#4219626)
One thing that cannot be discounted is the dollar value of being in the playoffs and seriously contending for the WS ( even winning it ! ).
So the increased revenue from that is worth a marginal investment of $100 mill over the $2.1 bil.
The 2.1 bil is definitely an overpay, if the Dodgers be a boring, middle of the road team. But if they are flashy, show they are serious about winning the whole shebang, they might get the whole Dodger faithful back along with a X4 load of LA bandwagoners.
   36. God Posted: August 27, 2012 at 08:15 PM (#4219631)
Walter O'Malley's formula in the sixties was, get the movie stars interested in the Dodgers and they'll get everyone else interested in the Dodgers. They could do worse than trying that philosophy again.
   37. Dale Sams Posted: August 27, 2012 at 08:20 PM (#4219634)
Dodgers vs Yankees.

Beckett pitchs a series-winning shut-out...Dodgers carry him around the field. Yank fans say "they don't care, as beating the Red Sox in 2003 is all that counts."
   38. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 27, 2012 at 08:53 PM (#4219646)
Auspicious start to Josh's LA career.
   39. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 27, 2012 at 09:33 PM (#4219675)
And a very, very good one, despite a lot of commentary to the contrary.


Not in my book. He's a smallish pitcher with command issues, both in and out of the zone. Sometimes these guys become Pedro Martinez, more often they don't.

-- MWE
   40. Kyle S at work Posted: August 27, 2012 at 10:08 PM (#4219696)
I only remember one Pedro.
   41. Kyle S at work Posted: August 27, 2012 at 10:10 PM (#4219699)
Also what is the market value of 250 acres near dodger stadium... 2mm per acre? Seems high. Back off 500mm from the purchase price and you're still talking >25x ebitda
   42. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 27, 2012 at 10:12 PM (#4219700)
I only remember one Pedro.


Well, actually there were two Pedro Martinezes, so Mike is covered either way :-)
   43. Walt Davis Posted: August 28, 2012 at 12:55 AM (#4219801)
Fast players and players who make the majors early are considered better bets to age, right?

Grrr....

The first is fine. The second is clearly spurious.

Being fast makes you a better player (all else equal) and being athletic (as indicated by speed) might be a good predictor of aging well.

But you're not a good player because you make the majors early, you make the majors early (in general) because you're a good player. Good players are more likely to "age well" (by which we primarily mean remain productive) and good players are more likely to make the majors early. But the Rays deciding to promote Crawford at age 20 didn't (in any obvious way) make him a better player.

Crawford's early promotion is probably more the result of the 2002 Rays sucking (55-106) and the 2002 Rays playing Jason Tyner in LF at the start of the year (was this the Bobblehead year?), then an aging unproductive Vaughn, then a couple guys sitting around on the bench. Crawford making the majors at 20 tells us the same thing about him as Kranepool making the majors at 17-18 tells us about him -- nothing really. This must be doubly true now that he's got 6000 PA. (2*0 is still 0 :-)

Sorry, that one's been bugging me for a while. But the most you can conclude from a player making the majors early is that somebody in that organization thinks that player is gonna be good. And even that is stretching things a bit when you have a context like the 2002 Rays where probably the most you can conclude is that somebody decided he was their best option at the time. Now if the guy comes up at 19-20 with huge prospect buzz that might tell you something -- mainly that a lot of people think he's gonna be pretty good which is more reliable. I'm sure there was some buzz about Crawford at the time but I don't recall anything like a Starlin Castro much less a Griffey level of buzz.

As to Dan's shocking headline! Yeah, this might be a trade that's bad for both teams. As I said in the Simmons thread, from Henry's perspective, this looks like a great deal. But that doesn't make it a good deal from the Red Sox baseball perspective. And the risk here for the Dodgers is obvious. Putting the most "rational" spin on it from the Dodgers' perspective, I assume their thinking is something like this:

a) Gonzalez is going to return to form -- big baseball value, reasonable return on contract.

b) thinking of the pitching FA market, do we really think Beckett is a worse bet than Edwin Jackson, Anibal Sanchez, Dan Haren, Kyle Lohse? Can we get those guys for less than $12 per? Doesn't Beckett have a higher upside than any of those except maybe Haren?

c) Crawford -- and this is where it just all breaks down. 5/$102 left on that contract. OK, 5/$90 with the money from the Sox. But, really, you're pushing it to think you're gonna break even on Gonzalez and Beckett. And you've given up some talent to get them. It does seem that for this trade to work well, Crawford has to be about a 3-WAR player. He might, it's maybe even a reasonable upside but why would you bet on it after his 2011-12.

Mainly I just can't believe the Dodgers couldn't get more cash out of this than they did. Or if Bud was putting pressure on not to set some sort of precedent by tossing in $50 M or something (not sure that's a precedent), keep one of DeLaRosa or Webster or ship another crappy contract along or get back a young reliever, something.

So in the end, the most rational explanation may just be that Colletti ain't the brightest bulb. And was Kasten still with the Nats when they offered Werth that contract? I forget, did they make that offer to Werth only after losing out on Crawford? Maybe Kasten does think Crawford is that good.
   44. Dan Posted: August 28, 2012 at 03:14 AM (#4219832)
Right before the 2013 season I'll be making some kind of Bref bet about how AGon, Beckett and Crawford will accumulate 11 WAR among them. I need to get a handle on when Crawford will be coming back first.


Even if they do... So what? They'll cost nearly $60 million combined. Obviously any time you can get 11 WAR out of three players it's a good thing due to scarcity, but that's basically FA market rate for 11 WAR. If the Red Sox can replace 9 of that WAR at market rates and still have 3 solid prospects and a minimum salary UIF out of the deal they still come out ahead.
   45. Dan Posted: August 28, 2012 at 03:17 AM (#4219834)
was Kasten still with the Nats when they offered Werth that contract? I forget, did they make that offer to Werth only after losing out on Crawford? Maybe Kasten does think Crawford is that good.


Actually I think it was the converse of this situation. The Red Sox missed out on Werth, so they decided to overpay Crawford.
   46. tjm1 Posted: August 28, 2012 at 03:56 AM (#4219845)
Being fast makes you a better player (all else equal) and being athletic (as indicated by speed) might be a good predictor of aging well.


I think for very fast players, the general pattern has been early peak, and very slow, steady decline.

Raines, Lofton, Henderson all follow this pattern. Johnny Damon, too, to a lesser extent. I see Crawford as basically Lofton without the throwing arm, but with a bit more power. Lofton was never a great player after age 32, but hung around as a legitimate major leaguer until age 40, and was a 2.3 WAR player who could handle centerfield even then, and it was surprising that no one picked up him for another season. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Crawford turned out similarly - that he never has another all-star caliber season, but that he's also able to stay on a roster and contribute well past age 35.
   47. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: August 28, 2012 at 05:21 AM (#4219849)
This is a dumb trade, but its about goddam time the Dodgers started acting like Yankees west
   48. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: August 28, 2012 at 05:52 AM (#4219858)
If the Red Sox can replace 9 of that WAR at market rates and still have 3 solid prospects and a minimum salary UIF out of the deal they still come out ahead.

And if there's one thing the Red Sox have shown the ability to do it's get WAR at market rate. What could go wrong?

The Dodgers traded a couple of good-ish pitching prospects for Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett. They won. Crawford was just the cost of doing business. It's just money folks, and we've got plenty of it out here.

   49. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 28, 2012 at 08:43 AM (#4219895)
The Dodgers traded a couple of good-ish pitching prospects for Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett. They won.


+1. About as succinct as description of what happened as you can get.

-- MWE
   50. ColonelTom Posted: August 28, 2012 at 09:27 AM (#4219937)
Putting the most "rational" spin on it from the Dodgers' perspective, I assume their thinking is something like this:

a) Gonzalez is going to return to form -- big baseball value, reasonable return on contract.

b) thinking of the pitching FA market, do we really think Beckett is a worse bet than Edwin Jackson, Anibal Sanchez, Dan Haren, Kyle Lohse? Can we get those guys for less than $12 per? Doesn't Beckett have a higher upside than any of those except maybe Haren?

c) Crawford -- and this is where it just all breaks down. 5/$102 left on that contract. OK, 5/$90 with the money from the Sox. But, really, you're pushing it to think you're gonna break even on Gonzalez and Beckett. And you've given up some talent to get them. It does seem that for this trade to work well, Crawford has to be about a 3-WAR player. He might, it's maybe even a reasonable upside but why would you bet on it after his 2011-12.


(a) Gonzalez's trajectory looks like a pretty typical aging curve - peak around 28 and a slow decline from there. I view him a lot like Mark Teixeira - he'll fall short of the MVP-like expectations people had at the start of the contract, but he'll provide decent value for the buck for the next several years. He's a very solid pickup for a team that has been depending on James Loney at 1B for years.

(b) Fair point, and more importantly, Beckett doesn't require a long-term commitment. Of course, if they hadn't made the deal, they already had 5 starters under contract for 2013 (Kershaw, Billingsley, Lilly, Capuano, Harang). I'm not sure Beckett's all that much of an upgrade on the last two, and even if he is, they'd probably have had Rubby de la Rosa returning to take over one of the two slots at some point next year.

(c) Would you prefer Michael Bourn or Crawford at 5/$90M? If Crawford's elbow isn't a problem going forward, I'm not sure which way I'd go on that. Bourn's a safer bet for steady performance but Crawford has way more upside. Given the Dodgers' resources, I'd probably go with the upside play.

I guess my big issue with the deal, surprisingly, isn't the money itself. The Dodgers have boatloads of it, by all appearances. The bigger issue is giving up de la Rosa and Webster in a deal where they were giving a team a quarter-billion dollars of salary relief. One of the two, maybe, but I can't imagine the Sox would have walked away from this if the Dodgers said either/or on those guys. If that's the quibble on it, though - keeping in mind TINSTAAPP - the deal accomplishes what both teams set out to do.
   51. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 28, 2012 at 10:29 AM (#4219983)
b) thinking of the pitching FA market, do we really think Beckett is a worse bet than Edwin Jackson, Anibal Sanchez, Dan Haren, Kyle Lohse? Can we get those guys for less than $12 per? Doesn't Beckett have a higher upside than any of those except maybe Haren?


2 of Beckett's last 3 years has been terrible, the good year was marked by a career low BABIP- 40 points below his career average,
his K rate is way down (though it did go down to this level once before in his career and he bounced back).

FWIW 3 of the 4 have more WAR over the past 3 years than Beckett, and Lohse is pretty close...

anyway, my guess is that at least 2 of those 4 are going to seriously disappoint their new teams... Beckett likely has good years left (and bad ones)

Of course, if they hadn't made the deal, they already had 5 starters under contract for 2013 (Kershaw, Billingsley, Lilly, Capuano, Harang). I'm not sure Beckett's all that much of an upgrade on the last two,


2010 and 2012 Beckett is clearly NOT an upgrade.

(c) Would you prefer Michael Bourn or Crawford at 5/$90M?

neither, if I had to choose, I guess Crawford
   52. phredbird Posted: August 28, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4219988)
ya, the thing that bothers me most about this deal is shipping de la rosa. i can live with all else. i mean, look at the roster we had before the trade.

somebody upthread mentioned something i said elsewhere. the dodgers have a big enough market that they can spend like the yanks and sox, they just never have. now they have to learn to exploit that opportunity.
   53. PreservedFish Posted: August 28, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4220044)
The Dodgers traded a couple of good-ish pitching prospects for Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett. They won.



+1. About as succinct as description of what happened as you can get.

-- MWE


So obviously the theory here is that one should entirely ignore the money involved. Why? (I get that that is one perspective to look at the trade from, one useful perspective, but it seems like it can't be the bottom line.)
   54. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 28, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4220081)
Even if they do... So what? They'll cost nearly $60 million combined. Obviously any time you can get 11 WAR out of three players it's a good thing due to scarcity, but that's basically FA market rate for 11 WAR. If the Red Sox can replace 9 of that WAR at market rates and still have 3 solid prospects and a minimum salary UIF out of the deal they still come out ahead.


If the Red Sox can replace 9 of the 11 WAR at market rates (with only three players) then they are still winning two fewer games. At a certain point wins matter more for good teams. If a team wants to maximize production at a position then they need to draft and develop incredibly well or overpay on the free market. There is no championship based on the value teams get from positions.
   55. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 28, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4220089)
I am really interested to see what the Red Sox do at 1B next year. I can't imagine they'll go with Mauro Gomez, and I don't see anything really appealing on the FA market (maybe Carlos Pena?). That leaves the trade front. Maybe they go for Brandon Belt? That makes a lot of sense. Do they go for a 1B a team doesn't want to pay for anymore (Michael Young? Justin Morneau? Ryan Howard?) Would they go for a guy like Billy Butler (Allard Baird connection!) and look the other way on his defense? What 1B might be available in a trade this winter?
   56. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 28, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4220090)
So obviously the theory here is that one should entirely ignore the money involved. Why?


perhaps the new owners don't care?
   57. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 28, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4220093)
I am really interested to see what the Red Sox do at 1B next year. I can't imagine they'll go with Mauro Gomez,


If I were them I'd give up on Lavarnway as a C and shove him out there...
I'd also have Sands ahead of Gomez on the depth chart
   58. Nasty Nate Posted: August 28, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4220095)
What 1B might be available in a trade this winter?


Corey Hart? Victor Martinez?
   59. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: August 28, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4220100)
This assumes little to no opportunity cost. Even if you think that the free agent market will be weak this offseason - and accounting for loss of picks and not having these players available to LAD this year - this is a huge overpay. The Dodgers not making this deal hardly would preclude them from making other ones, now or in the future.

Put another way, there's overpaying and then there's *this*.

(Mind you - I'm not giving LA bonus points for picking up famous guys, which is part of what this seems to be about.)
   60. Dan Posted: August 28, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4220122)
I am really interested to see what the Red Sox do at 1B next year. I can't imagine they'll go with Mauro Gomez, and I don't see anything really appealing on the FA market (maybe Carlos Pena?). That leaves the trade front. Maybe they go for Brandon Belt? That makes a lot of sense. Do they go for a 1B a team doesn't want to pay for anymore (Michael Young? Justin Morneau? Ryan Howard?) Would they go for a guy like Billy Butler (Allard Baird connection!) and look the other way on his defense? What 1B might be available in a trade this winter?


I would expect a Nick Swisher signing (he's a free agent and I don't see the Yankees re-signing him with Granderson and Cano also needing contract extensions) or a trade for someone like Morneau. Morneau platooning with someone like Gomez or Sands is actually a good bet to out-hit what Adrian Gonzalez would have provided at the position, though it would also include a bit of a defensive downgrade. Morneau this season against RHP: .309/.375/.574 (150 sOPS+). Morneau would probably also see a boost in his numbers going from Target Field to Fenway Park. His home/road sOPS+ splits for 2012: 101/139. Almost all of that difference comes in HR rate, as he has only 5 homers at home compared to 12 on the road.
   61. Dale Sams Posted: August 28, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4220167)
Any vet, a Carlos Pena, a Nick Swisher is an utter waste of money since the Sox can't win. If you think Swisher can still be effective in 2015, then by all means, but 5 mill so Carlos Pena can be one of the weakest 1B in the league is just Boston giving money to Lugo, Jenks, Cameron...
   62. Nasty Nate Posted: August 28, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4220173)
Ha, you're writing off 2013 and 2014? Ha
   63. Dale Sams Posted: August 28, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4220192)
They laughed in May when i said the Sox would end up below .500. They laughed last September too.

You think the Red Sox have some magical ability to turn cash into championships when this regime has shown nothing but incompetence? You don't win awards for losing bad contracts. Sox ALREADY HAD TONS OF CASH. You've watched this clownshow for the last 12 months, a sudden influx of cash and a "Pwomise to be weawwy weawwy gooood." is going to turn it around? ha indeed.

But we can do a bref bet.
   64. Dan Szymborski Posted: August 28, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4220194)
Thanks for reading, guys. My editor tells me it was got more hits than any ESPN thing I've ever written and was the most-read MLB thing on ESPN.com yesterday, including non-Insider stuff.
   65. Nasty Nate Posted: August 28, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4220209)
You've watched this clownshow for the last 12 months, a sudden influx of cash and a "Pwomise to be weawwy weawwy gooood." is going to turn it around?


It may or may not turn it around - I am curious on what the 2013 roster will look like. I'm not necessarily confident that it will look great, but I'm not going to moan and groan about the 2013 roster until I actually know what it is.

But here's a question for you: you've also watched this clownshow for the last 12 months, AND YOU ARE MAD THAT THEY BLEW IT UP? WHAT!?! You are mad that they didn't preserve this wretchedness! What?
   66. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: August 28, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4220222)
But you're not a good player because you make the majors early, you make the majors early (in general) because you're a good player. Good players are more likely to "age well" (by which we primarily mean remain productive) and good players are more likely to make the majors early. But the Rays deciding to promote Crawford at age 20 didn't (in any obvious way) make him a better player.

Crawford's early promotion is probably more the result of the 2002 Rays sucking (55-106) and the 2002 Rays playing Jason Tyner in LF at the start of the year (was this the Bobblehead year?), then an aging unproductive Vaughn, then a couple guys sitting around on the bench. Crawford making the majors at 20 tells us the same thing about him as Kranepool making the majors at 17-18 tells us about him -- nothing really. This must be doubly true now that he's got 6000 PA. (2*0 is still 0 :-)

Sorry, that one's been bugging me for a while. But the most you can conclude from a player making the majors early is that somebody in that organization thinks that player is gonna be good. And even that is stretching things a bit when you have a context like the 2002 Rays where probably the most you can conclude is that somebody decided he was their best option at the time. Now if the guy comes up at 19-20 with huge prospect buzz that might tell you something -- mainly that a lot of people think he's gonna be pretty good which is more reliable. I'm sure there was some buzz about Crawford at the time but I don't recall anything like a Starlin Castro much less a Griffey level of buzz.


OK, let me rephrase. Crawford was above replacement level at Age 20, and a league average player at Age 21. Doesn't that qualify him as a "good player" in your parlance, and therefore likely to age well. Whether there was "buzz" about him or not, and I don't remember either, isn't the more important thing how he actually played?
   67. Dale Sams Posted: August 28, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4220223)
AND YOU ARE MAD THAT THEY BLEW IT UP? WHAT!?!


They blew up the Globe? Diabolical! NESN FTW!

I've said elsewhere, within the constraints of their implied budget...it's a coin-flip as to whether it was a good idea or to keep Crawford and Beckett as lottery tickets. I'm not moaning and groaning, I'm telling you what will happen and what would be a really really bad idea. Signing Carlos Pena would be a bad idea. Can Swisher stay relevent? If not, let Mauro Gomez 105 OPS+ it until the troops get here.
   68. Nasty Nate Posted: August 28, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4220228)
Signing Carlos Pena would be a bad idea.


I am in agreement 100% with this.
   69. PreservedFish Posted: August 28, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4220231)
Grushenko, consider two players, both 30 years old, both very consistent 3-5 WAR outfielders. The first guy established that level of production at age 21, the second guy at age 25. Do you think the first guy is likely to age better? That's what you seem to be arguing. I don't know if there's any evidence for that.
   70. zenbitz Posted: August 28, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4220239)
Does this deal screw the As? Or move them to Portland?

I cannot see the Giants giving up their San Jose rights if the Dodgers are running a $190M payroll.

I think MLB (other than cheapskate NL owners) would love Giants / Dodgers to become Yankees/Red Sox (or even Mets/Phillies 2010 or Rangers*/Angels) but I don't see how can do it with the As around. SD/Arizona/Colorado are non-starters as well.

The Giants, BTW have a 25 year partnership with CSN/comcast - they simply get something like 30-33% of the revenue. (source). I have no idea if this is a good or bad deal for the Giants.


*Rangers don't actually have a significantly higher payroll than the Giants in 2012.
   71. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 28, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4220243)

Does this deal screw the As? Or move them to Portland?


All the cool kids are moving to Virginia Beach.
   72. DL from MN Posted: August 28, 2012 at 02:16 PM (#4220258)
more hits than any ESPN thing I've ever written


How many other Red Sox articles have you written?
   73. DL from MN Posted: August 28, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4220260)
first guy established that level of production at age 21


Well, he's obviously lying about his age then.
   74. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 28, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4220266)
You don't win awards for losing bad contracts.

You obviously missed last year's big "Alex Anthopoulos is Executive of the Year!" threads.
   75. Dan Posted: August 28, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4220275)
I don't understand why Dale is continually ranting about the Sox signing Carlos Peña. Who the hell thinks the Sox would sign him anyway? Dude is putting up his 2nd terrible year out of the last 3, with the only good year coming in the NL Central with half his games in Wrigley.
   76. Dale Sams Posted: August 28, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4220285)
I don't understand why Dale is continually ranting about the Sox signing Carlos Peña. Who the hell thinks the Sox would sign him anyway?


Who would buy high on Nick Punto? Who would sign that paradigm of health Bobby Jenks? Pena is exactly the type of upside project the Sox would blow money on.

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