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Sunday, December 09, 2012

Gammons: Greinke deal signifies baseball’s shifting landscape

The ultimate legend is here…Gammo.

Yes, there is a pattern here. The game is trending West. In the week that the bidding for Greinke heated up, the Yankees were beaten out for Jeff Keppinger and Nate Schierholz.

Now, there are going to be a lot of people within the industry who can rattle through the reasons for their disbelief with Greinke’s contract. Five of the six years will be after he turns 30. He is 41-25 with a 3.83 ERA since winning the American League Cy Young Award in 2009. He has a lifetime 3.77 earned run average—3.53 for the Angels after his trade to Anaheim was thought to insure a playoff berth in Orange County. He has made three postseason starts in his career and allowed 15 runs in 16 2/3s innings. His WAR ranks 21st among active pitchers.

But he was the best pitcher on the free-agent market, and the deals Cain, Cole Hamels and Greinke have signed in this calendar year speak to how difficult it is to get to free agency healthy and productive enough to let the bidding begin.

...The baseball world changed when former owner Frank McCourt went into bankruptcy. The cash spinning around the industry is so staggering that the $260 million the Red Sox got from Los Angeles hasn’t bought them A-list players. Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes and Koji Uehara are nice players that Boston signed out of a Tiffany catalog, and the Red Sox may do the same for Sanchez, Dempster and/or Stephen Drew. But they haven’t been able to put a Joe Mauer or Shin-Soo Choo on their company credit card.

If you’re the Rays, Indians, Marlins or Pirates, turn off the Lessons and Carols from the King’s College Choir for a few moments, and listen to Warren Zevon’s “if California slides into the ocean like the mystics and statistics say it will”—and try not to think about what a David Price might someday look like on a Dodger mobile device.

Repoz Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:00 PM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers

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   1. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4320299)
Looks like the Dodgers felt the need for an albatross deal of their own.
   2. Dale Sams Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4320301)
Mark Walter and The Guggenheim Group paid the Red Sox $260 million for Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett.


And $75 for every uniform that gets shredded.
   3. cardsfanboy Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4320309)
Five of the six years will be after he turns 30.


Isn't this the case for almost all free agent contracts? Aren't a vast majority of their years after they turn 30. I don't have any problems with a team signing a player through age 34 season. If it requires you to sign them another year to get their peak years, then that shouldn't be a problem.
   4. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: December 09, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4320328)
Isn't this the case for almost all free agent contracts? Aren't a vast majority of their years after they turn 30. I don't have any problems with a team signing a player through age 34 season. If it requires you to sign them another year to get their peak years, then that shouldn't be a problem.

Indeed. If anything, Greinke is on the young side for a free agent. BTW, if Mike Trout performs at his 2012 level through his first six full years, he will be:

1) One of the youngest free agents ever, and
2) The highest paid ever.


   5. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: December 09, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4320330)
The few games I went to at Chavez Ravine post Sox trade the seats were less than half full. Magic was down by the field rail shaking hands with every one he could reach. The second and third decks from first and third base all the way to the bleachers were empty. Not a soul. Dodgers were still in contention.

   6. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: December 09, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4320332)
The Phillies extended Cole Hamels for six years back in July and he turns 29 in a few weeks.
   7. Shock Posted: December 09, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4320336)
Learn to swim.
   8. Dale Sams Posted: December 09, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4320337)
Let's talk about AGon for a second. Was he just swinging for the fences in SD? 2011's numbers close enough to be a statistical aberration and 2012 he either stopped caring or was trying to hack his way out of a slump?

I think his skill set is still worth the money, but I hate to think of him as being permanently injured.
   9. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: December 09, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4320338)
If you’re the Rays, Indians, Marlins or Pirates, turn off the Lessons and Carols from the King’s College Choir for a few moments, and listen to Warren Zevon’s “if California slides into the ocean like the mystics and statistics say it will”—and try not to think about what a David Price might someday look like on a Dodger mobile device.


Wha
   10. Dan Posted: December 09, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4320340)
I think his skill set is still worth the money, but I hate to think of him as being permanently injured.


He hit 3 home runs in 36 games after the trade. He certainly looks like a different hitter. The easy opposite field power appears to be completely gone.

Maybe he retools this offseason and comes back as the power hitter he used to be, but right now he looks like a .300/.350/.450 guy.
   11. catomi01 Posted: December 09, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4320363)
so he's slowly turning into James Loney?
   12. asinwreck Posted: December 09, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4320364)
Has anyone counted the total number of Zevon references Gammons has made over the years? And did the number increase or decrease after Zevon's September 2003 death? (I used to enjoy seeing lyrics as section headings during PG's Sporting News and Sports Illustrated days.)
   13. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: December 09, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4320370)
Mark Walter and The Guggenheim Group paid the Red Sox $260 million for Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett.


No they didn't.
   14. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: December 09, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4320375)
the Yankees were beaten out for Jeff Keppinger and Nate Schierholz.

Sentences I never thought I'd read for $400, Alex.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: December 09, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4320382)
Those are some pretty incomprehensible sentences in that excerpt.

As we've been noting in other threads, most of the young stars are already tied up through their early-mid 30s, generally at reasonable prices. That includes smaller market teams like the Rays, Rox and Brewers. The Rays have price through at least 2015 (age 29) and let's see if he signs a buyout this offseason before we start assigning him to the 2016 Dodgers. And the Dodgers splurged $150 M on Greinke because Hamels and Cain were extended by their teams. The Greinke and Hamels contracts are pretty much the same -- which would you rather have?

BTW, if Mike Trout performs at his 2012 level through his first six full years, he will be:

1) One of the youngest free agents ever, and
2) The highest paid ever.


There's virtually no chance he'll get to FA.
   16. Bob Tufts Posted: December 09, 2012 at 06:30 PM (#4320397)
Has anyone counted the total number of Zevon references Gammons has made over the years? And did the number increase or decrease after Zevon's September 2003 death? (I used to enjoy seeing lyrics as section headings during PG's Sporting News and Sports Illustrated days.)


Considering Greinke's psychological background and my personal loathing of anything Dodgers, I believe that "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day is the appropriate song to be used in this case.

   17. Greg K Posted: December 09, 2012 at 06:48 PM (#4320406)
mlbtraderumors saying the Dodgers signed Ryu, 6/36 with a chance for Ryu to opt out of the sixth year.

Is there a reason it would be described that way rather than a 5 year deal with a player option?
   18. Randy Jones Posted: December 09, 2012 at 06:54 PM (#4320410)
There's virtually no chance he'll get to FA.


Ehh, you never know. Maybe he decides he wants to be the first player to sign a $400M contract.
   19. Bitter Calculus Instructor Posted: December 09, 2012 at 07:08 PM (#4320419)
[17] Because the opt out is dependent on him pitching 750 innings in the first 5 years.
   20. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: December 09, 2012 at 07:15 PM (#4320423)
Ehh, you never know. Maybe he decides he wants to be the first player to sign a $400M contract.


He might get more. ARod got 10/$275 6 years ago. Trout would look to be a better free agent than that, if he's even within 30% of last year's level. And by the time he'd hit FA, it'd have been 12 years since that ARod contract. I think you can hear the 'half billion dollar contract' articles writing themselves already. Ya, he'll never get there, but fun thought.
   21. jacjacatk Posted: December 09, 2012 at 07:24 PM (#4320426)
The Greinke and Hamels contracts are pretty much the same -- which would you rather have?


Just looking at ERA+, Hamels appears to have pretty obviously established himself at a higher level than Greinke, and for a bit less money committed, with the main difference that Hamels long past major outlier season was to the downside.
   22. Dan Posted: December 09, 2012 at 07:28 PM (#4320429)
There's virtually no chance he'll get to FA.


With the money in the game and the lack of competition for other marquee FA to take that money, at some point agents are going to advise players to stop taking these sweetheart deals and test the market again. I wouldn't be surprised to see Trout and/or Harper try to hit FA ASAP and get an ARod contract.
   23. Swedish Chef Posted: December 09, 2012 at 08:02 PM (#4320442)
I see a market opportunity here. If the prospect of not getting FU money keeps players from holding out for free agency it would be eminently solvable with an insurance policy. Just see how many stars flame out before they hit six years, and then offer star-level youngsters $50 million guaranteed for a suitable premium (say $10 million).

Hell, I don't get why Boras hasn't already arranged this.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: December 09, 2012 at 08:13 PM (#4320448)
Maybe he decides he wants to be the first player to sign a $400M contract.

Sure ... but what better team than the Angels to give it to him?

But, fair enough, when I said "virtually no chance" I really did just mean "I am of the opinion that this will 'never' happen."
   25. Cooper Nielson Posted: December 10, 2012 at 01:47 AM (#4320652)
the Yankees were beaten out for Jeff Keppinger and Nate Schierholz.

Sentences I never thought I'd read for $400, Alex.


Seriously. The only words that make sense to me are "the," "for" and "and."
   26. Dan Posted: December 10, 2012 at 03:48 AM (#4320704)
It will be interesting to see if the Rays are able to get Myers to sign a deal before coming to the majors like Longoria did. The prospect of playing on opening day in 2013 instead of some indeterminate future date has to be tempting for a kid like that, in addition to the guaranteed multi-millions.
   27. bunyon Posted: December 10, 2012 at 09:24 AM (#4320751)
There's virtually no chance he'll get to FA...

But, fair enough, when I said "virtually no chance" I really did just mean "I am of the opinion that this will 'never' happen."



I read it as a threat.

   28. Shoebo Posted: December 10, 2012 at 09:30 AM (#4320754)
The few games I went to at Chavez Ravine post Sox trade the seats were less than half full. Magic was down by the field rail shaking hands with every one he could reach. The second and third decks from first and third base all the way to the bleachers were empty. Not a soul. Dodgers were still in contention.


And yet they sold 3.3 million tickets and ranked 5th in MLB in attendance. LINK

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