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Friday, February 24, 2017

Inside Baseball with Jon Heyman: Final offseason grades

Lots to unpack here.

Jake Arrieta and the Cubs were supposed to speak about a potential contract in January, but if they did, there is no sign of optimism. Cubs management weighs age heavily in their calculations, and there’s no indication they were willing to go more than four years, if that. Arrieta is expected to be one of the biggest free agents in a strong market this winter, and he will undoubtedly cite the Max Scherzer $210-million deal as a comp…..


The Royals and Eric Hosmer are expected to have negotiations, and word is, he’s the top free agent on their “keep” list (Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain also are free agents after the year). The team has conceded he’s worth more than Brandon Belt, who got a $75-million deal with the Giants, and the number would almost certainly hit nine figures. But it is believed he might at least look at something in the range of the Mark Teixeira deal ($180 million, eight years), or perhaps even more years considering his relative youth (Hosmer was quoted recently saying he never said anything about 10 years). Agent Scott Boras isn’t commenting on the coming talks or the asking price, but word he is he views Teixeira as “old money,” considering skyrocketing MLB revenues in the eight years since.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2017 at 11:23 AM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: eric hosmer, jake arrieta, jon heyman, michael brantley

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   1. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 24, 2017 at 11:36 AM (#5408052)
Cubs management weighs age heavily in their calculations


As evinced by the fact that they had a 37-year-old John Lackey earning $16M in their rotation last year.
   2. JJ1986 Posted: February 24, 2017 at 11:44 AM (#5408060)
24 teams had above average offseasons. 3 were below. What a great time to be a baseball team.
   3. Tom Nawrocki Posted: February 24, 2017 at 11:49 AM (#5408063)
24 teams had above average offseasons. 3 were below. What a great time to be a baseball team.


Everybody is gonna win 90 games this year.
   4. Spahn Insane Posted: February 24, 2017 at 11:52 AM (#5408066)
1:

Which is why they gave Lackey a two-year deal, rather than more than that. Pretty sure the point was whether the team favors long-term deals for guys over 30 or whatever, not whether they would or would not ever use an old guy in a key role on a short-term basis...
   5. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 24, 2017 at 11:54 AM (#5408072)
Which is why they gave Lackey a two-year deal, rather than more than that.


Still seems weird that they'd be willing to guarantee Lackey's age-37 season, but not that of a much better pitcher like Arrieta.
   6. Sebastian Posted: February 24, 2017 at 11:59 AM (#5408077)
As evinced by the fact that they had a 37-year-old John Lackey earning $16M in their rotation last year.
I’m sure they’d be happy to pay Arrieta $16M for his age 37 season. If they could have him for that for all the years until then.
   7. Spahn Insane Posted: February 24, 2017 at 12:07 PM (#5408083)
Still seems weird that they'd be willing to guarantee Lackey's age-37 season, but not that of a much better pitcher like Arrieta.

No, not really, given that Lackey was already 37 when they brought him on board while they'd be guaranteeing Arrieta's age 37 season when he's 30-31 if they extended him now (thus, they had a substantially better idea what 37-year-old Lackey would look like than they do now of the future 37-year-old Arrieta). Lackey was limited upside, low risk.

If they guaranteed the age 37 season of a then-31-year-old who was pitching like John Lackey v.2016 at age 30 while not considering extending Arrieta, I agree that'd be weird.
   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 24, 2017 at 12:26 PM (#5408104)
they had a substantially better idea what 37-year-old Lackey would look like

They decided he looked like a workhorse.
   9. Spahn Insane Posted: February 24, 2017 at 12:56 PM (#5408138)
Happy to tee it up for you, sir.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 24, 2017 at 01:33 PM (#5408178)
Still seems weird that they'd be willing to guarantee Lackey's age-37 season, but not that of a much better pitcher like Arrieta.

Think about it like life expectancy.

You're in much, much, much better health than every 88 y.o. in the world. But they still have much better odds of reaching 90 than you do.

   11. Eddo Posted: February 24, 2017 at 03:45 PM (#5408332)
24 teams had above average offseasons. 3 were below. What a great time to be a baseball team.

I'm sure that the percentage of teams having good offseasons is too high, but there's no reason to believe team-building has to be zero-sum. Something like the Sale trade looks like it could very well be really beneficial for both sides, because the teams have different objectives.
   12. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: February 24, 2017 at 03:51 PM (#5408340)
The team has conceded he’s worth more than Brandon Belt, who got a $75-million deal with the Giants,


What's the argument that Hosmer is worth more than Brandon Belt?
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 24, 2017 at 04:16 PM (#5408370)
What's the argument that Hosmer is worth more than Brandon Belt?

Stupidity?

Belt has been literally twice as good as Hosmer on a per season basis. Hosmer should be making less than half of what Belt deserves.
   14. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2017 at 04:20 PM (#5408375)

What's the argument that Hosmer is worth more than Brandon Belt?


RBI. Gold Gloves. All-Star Game MVPs. World Series-winning runs home. Handsomeness. The things that matter.
   15. Zonk is One Individual Posted: February 24, 2017 at 04:23 PM (#5408381)
Which is why they gave Lackey a two-year deal, rather than more than that. Pretty sure the point was whether the team favors long-term deals for guys over 30 or whatever, not whether they would or would not ever use an old guy in a key role on a short-term basis...


Right. The 16 mil per for 2 years is no big deal - especially since they already got one solid year off the deal. He goes poof this season, it's an immediate problem (since we have some significant thinness beyond the front 4), but not a longer term issue.

I've flip-flopped an awful lot on the extension stuff for Arrieta... and at the moment, I'm back to potentially letting him walk (especially if he wants anything approaching Scherzer money).

He picked up in 2016 right where he left off from 2015 -- BBREF is having trouble showing splits for me at the moment, so I can't give any numbers -- but round about Juneish, he suddenly stopped being old Jake (or maybe new old Jake is a better description).

He'd still show flashes -- but the BBs spiked, the Ks dropped (though perhaps not alarmingly), and especially down stretch - he'd suddenly hit a wall the 2nd or 3rd time through the order... and not just a "gassed" wall, but he'd start missing badly, the BBs would pile on, the hits would come... I'd be tempted to say it was just league make a counter-adjustment (read: laying off that wipeout slider), but his WPs also spiked up.

He came up big in the WS, I guess... but he still wasn't quite the same Jake once you got past the ~4th inning or so.

The Cubs got some great work out of him by just letting throw across his body as he does naturally, but there's a reason the Orioles tried to "fix" that -- it's both stressful and can have deleterious effects on command.

Losing him would make for a gaping hole, of course - and I'm not saying I don't want him back... even at a big AAV... I'm just really, really, really concerned about anything beyond 3-4 (maybe 5) years and of course, he'll want (and probably deserve) more than that.

I think it's right back to the "wait and see".... If he continues to scuffle a bit - and even a scuffling Jake is still a solid rotation member, even if it's far from his inhuman 2nd half of 2015 (but who besides Kershaw is that anyway)... but paying him Scherzer money at a Scherzer length if he's basically turning into a latter model Zambrano doesn't seem like a good idea.

I would note that while the Cubs farm doesn't have a whole lot of rotation help for 2017 available - beyond a couple retread/former prospects like Butler and Mills - they DO potentially have some help on the way that might be options as soon as 2018.

Duane Underwood hasn't been able to stay healthy, and while he's got decent stuff, it hasn't translated into results... He looks like Pierce Johnson part II - but he probably does have one more year before he reaches the Pierce well done cooked state.

After that, though - Trevor Clifton is a strong comer and a strong follow-up at AA following his PoY for the Carolina league last year could very line him up to get a shot as soon as 2018, at least at some point. Dylan Cease has the best stuff in the org - and while he's behind Clifton development-wise (thanks to HS TJ surgery that cost him a 1st round draft slot), he put up strong numbers with electric stuff (albeit in shortseason ball). He'll get his first full-season taste this season -- and he could very well start moving really quickly.

   16. Walt Davis Posted: February 24, 2017 at 05:46 PM (#5408475)
The better Cub analogy is probably Zobrist for his age 35-38 seasons. It's not big money either but Cub secret analysis must show something nobody else has ever been able to find about the typical age 35-38 seasons of a guy like Zobrist.

Like Zonk, I waver on the wisdom of an Arrieta extension. As to the intro ... Scherzer hit the FA market entering his age 30 season and the contract takes him through 36. Arrieta will be hitting the FA market at age 32. There's no way he's getting 7 years. Teams still seem to think there's something magical about age 36 (although less so for SPs) so I doubt anybody will offer Arrieta more than 5 years ... maybe if there's competition. The AAV is the big unknown to me ... I don't think he'll be seeing $30 but I can see him doing better than Zimmermann/Cueto (5/$110 entering age 30 for Zimm; 6/$130 with opt-out after this year, entering age 30 for Cueto). Call it 4/$100 to 5/$140 range. I'm not sure the Cubs should want him at those prices, I'd want to see how this season goes.
   17. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: February 25, 2017 at 09:51 AM (#5408656)
Belt has been literally twice as good as Hosmer on a per season basis. Hosmer should be making less than half of what Belt deserves.


I was initially thinking the same thing, but your statement is literally not true.

Hosmer is at 10.1 WAR, Belt is at 16.9, both through 6 seasons. BUT...Belt is two years older.

Belt, 23-26, his 1st 4 seasons, was worth 8.7 WAR
Hosmer, 23-26, his 3-6th seasons, was worth 9.0 WAR

Now, obviously Belt has been much better the last two seasons, at ages 27 & 28, accumulating 8.2 WAR, something I doubt Hosmer is going to do, but his 3.6 in 2015 and 3.5 in 2013 suggest he certainly could get to 4 WAR the next two years.
   18. QLE Posted: February 25, 2017 at 02:56 PM (#5408718)
That argument is misleading, however, due to one other element:

Belt: 419 G, 1487 PA, 125 OPS+, 4.0 WAA
Hosmer: 606 G, 2561 PA, 110 OPS+, 0.1 WAA

Looked at this way, it becomes clear that what Hosmer had was basically just durability, and I'd rather take the very good player who might miss time over the one who I can count on to be average, especially when the latter wants that much money.
   19. Khrushin it bro Posted: February 25, 2017 at 04:09 PM (#5408747)
Plus Hosmer has that hideous haircut.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: February 25, 2017 at 04:53 PM (#5408765)
#18 ... fair point. But that's one thing that makes decisions like this tough. Hosmer debuted at a young age and guys who debut young are generally pretty talented. Obviously his talent with the bat has flashed on and off (and never been awesome) but it's pretty clear he had more talent at his early ages than Belt did -- Belt wasn't hurt so much as he had trouble convincing the Giants he deserved a full-time spot.

Also Belt's contract total is reduced because it covers his last 2 arb years. He's paid $16 per in his FA years. If the Royals have "conceded" he's worth more than Belt, they're in trouble. KC fans can chime in -- is Hosmer really popular with the locals? Moreso than Moose, Gordon, Cain, Perez? I would have thought that Gordon and Perez were sufficient "faces of the franchise" as to not worry about giving Hosmer a salary boost to avoid angering fans. Roundabout way of me saying that, among Moose, Cain and Hosmer, I'm not sure I'd re-sign any of them but Hosmer would definitely be my third choice.
   21. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 25, 2017 at 05:08 PM (#5408766)
KC fans can chime in -- is Hosmer really popular with the locals? Moreso than Moose, Gordon, Cain, Perez?


Yes, Hosmer is seen as the superstar of the team and the face of the franchise, but many feel like he is probably overrated as well. But I don't think that's why they want to retain him, I think management (a) is the one that drafted him and sees the "superstar" tools in him even if he hasn't produced superstar results; and (b) they feel like the metrics don't accurately measure him (UZR is way off on him, hitting numbers are depressed by Kauffman). I don't agree with those excuses (Hosmer's road numbers are pretty much the same), but those get trotted out a lot when discussing Hosmer.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: February 25, 2017 at 05:13 PM (#5408767)
Finally reading the article ...

The Red Sox valued Moreland for his ability to hit to LCF?

The Tigers get a B ... for doing nothing apparently. The D-Backs get a B- even though their only move seems to have been the Segura-Walker trade which doesn't look overly brilliant (I guess just firing Stewart gets them up to a B). He says the Nats would have been a C if not for signing Wieters ... despite an excellent Eaton trade ... all because they decided not to spend $90 M on a closer.
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 25, 2017 at 05:15 PM (#5408768)

I was initially thinking the same thing, but your statement is literally not true.

Hosmer is at 10.1 WAR, Belt is at 16.9, both through 6 seasons. BUT...Belt is two years older.

Belt, 23-26, his 1st 4 seasons, was worth 8.7 WAR
Hosmer, 23-26, his 3-6th seasons, was worth 9.0 WAR

Now, obviously Belt has been much better the last two seasons, at ages 27 & 28, accumulating 8.2 WAR, something I doubt Hosmer is going to do, but his 3.6 in 2015 and 3.5 in 2013 suggest he certainly could get to 4 WAR the next two years.


No. You're unfairly dinging Belt for partial seasons.

For his career, Belt has averaged 4.6 WAR and 3 WAA, per 650 PAs. Hosmer has averaged 2.3 WAR and 0 WAA.
   24. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: February 25, 2017 at 05:24 PM (#5408773)
He says the Nats would have been a C if not for signing Wieters ... despite an excellent Eaton trade ... all because they decided not to spend $90 M on a closer.


Some people are really fixated on the closer thing for the Nats. I heard the Post's beat reporter on a podcast, and she was basically saying that the lack of a closer was what separated the Nats from the Dodgers and Cubs, and cited something about how the bullpen has "been on the mound when they lost" in the playoffs in the last few years. That strikes me as missing the forest for the trees, but apparently it has become the conventional wisdom.
   25. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: February 25, 2017 at 05:24 PM (#5408774)
For his career, Belt has averaged 4.6 WAR and 3 WAA, per 650 PAs. Hosmer has averaged 2.3 WAR and 0 WAA.


2. WAA

Hosmer is the new Saberhagen. Odd numbered year OPS+: 118, 118, 122. Even numbered year OPS+ 81, 99, 101. So, he should have a 124 this year.
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 25, 2017 at 06:23 PM (#5408792)

2. WAA


Weird BRef math error. I checked the summary table says 3.
   27. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: February 25, 2017 at 08:09 PM (#5408820)
[25] Seems more Reggie Sanders to me.
   28. Bote Man Posted: February 25, 2017 at 09:58 PM (#5408838)
I heard the Post's beat reporter on a podcast, and she was basically saying that the lack of a closer was what separated the Nats from the Dodgers and Cubs, and cited something about how the bullpen has "been on the mound when they lost" in the playoffs in the last few years.

The ghost of Drew Storen still haunts us.
   29. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: February 26, 2017 at 07:59 PM (#5409117)
No. You're unfairly dinging Belt for partial seasons.


I am not sure how I 'unfairly' dinged Belt for partial seasons. Injuries, manager decisions, other players, whatever, Belt has reached 650 PA's exactly once. Why would you assume he can maintain that amount of PA when 5 years of NOT reaching it are in Belt's history. Durability matters.

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