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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Mets close to 3-year deal for K-Rod

The Mets appeared to be closing in early Tuesday on a deal to bring star free-agent closer Francisco Rodriguez to New York.

The deal, expected to be completed very soon, is likely to be for three years and about $37 million, according to people familiar with the discussions.

There’s still a lot of work for Omar to do but this is a good start assuming it’s true.

Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: December 09, 2008 at 11:49 AM | 65 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. RollingWave Posted: December 09, 2008 at 01:19 PM (#3023648)
All these guys to choose from, and Omar picks the most latino one!!!
   2. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 09, 2008 at 01:28 PM (#3023649)
The contract is a very reasonable one for the Mets in that Rodriguez will make only about $3 million more than he was offered by the Angels in spring training, before he set the single-season record for saves in a season with 62. It is also $6 million less over its term than the Mets paid to Wagner three winters ago.



3/37 sounds pretty reasonable to me from a Mets' perspective. I think I'd go there. I just didn't want to see some team go to five years.
   3. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 09, 2008 at 01:33 PM (#3023652)
I agree with Erik, although the comparison to Wagner's contract is kind of deceptive, K-Rod is making nearly 20% more per year than Wagner, it's just a shorter deal.
   4. AROM Posted: December 09, 2008 at 01:59 PM (#3023661)
Shorter term, true, but this is half the money K-Rod was rumored to be getting. Too bad reality didn't hammer him until after his talks with the Angels broke off. First evidence of deflation? This is an inferior contract to Cordero's, and Mets get the better Francisco. Best of luck in your new bullpen, Frankie.
   5. Frisco Cali Posted: December 09, 2008 at 02:40 PM (#3023677)
Wood and Fuentes will be lucky to get 3/30
   6. Sam M. Posted: December 09, 2008 at 03:47 PM (#3023745)
First evidence of deflation? This is an inferior contract to Cordero's, and Mets get the better Francisco.

Slight evidence, I think. It does show that the mid-market teams with needs for a closer weren't going to push the market and force the Mets' bid up (especially in years). Once they cleared the field, the Mets were left as the only big checkbook standing with this particular need and simple old-fashioned supply and demand kicked in. They were able to just tell K-Rod that if he wanted four years, they'd go to Fuentes. It's usually the FA who has many choices/teams to pick from and his agent uses that leverage to get what he wants. This time, the team had several choices/closers to pick from, and Omar used the leverage.

Or so it appears. The deal isn't done until it's done, of course.

Assuming it does get done, I have to wonder if the smart (albeit risky) play for K-Rod wouldn't have been a one-year deal somwewhere, and then see if the market for closers isn't different next December. I guess $37M is $37M, though . . . .
   7. Cowboy Popup Posted: December 09, 2008 at 03:51 PM (#3023749)
Nice work by Omar if he can close this.
   8. aleskel Posted: December 09, 2008 at 03:59 PM (#3023753)
that's an awful lot of money for a guy with declining peripherals and not much of a fastball left ... still, 3 years is a good deal for the Mets
   9. AROM Posted: December 09, 2008 at 04:10 PM (#3023765)
that's an awful lot of money for a guy with declining peripherals and not much of a fastball left ... still, 3 years is a good deal for the Mets


His fastball is still pretty good, and he can dial it up when needed. He changed his pitching style last year, adding the changeup and using a delivery that produced less velocity, but was easier on his body.

It's a trade-off, with the new style he'll strike out 9-10 per 9 innings instead of 11-12, and give up a few more runs. But he'll still save 90% of his chances and should be less of an injury risk.
   10. aleskel Posted: December 09, 2008 at 04:12 PM (#3023770)
using a delivery that produced less velocity, but was easier on his body.

Did he really alter his mechanics? Because that might scare me even more if I'm the Mets.
   11. RJ in TO Posted: December 09, 2008 at 04:14 PM (#3023774)
Did he really alter his mechanics? Because that might scare me even more if I'm the Mets.


Given that most people seemed to think that his old mechanics were an accident waiting to happen, I'd imagine that most teams would probably be more confident of his long term health now.
   12. formerly dp Posted: December 09, 2008 at 04:34 PM (#3023794)
Would be a great move if it happens...it's only money...

They still need another 8 relievers...

With all the good LFs on the market, I'd think the Mets would be able to snag a cheap upgrade. Burrell, Church, Beltran and Tatis would be a nice set of OFs.
   13. robinred Posted: December 09, 2008 at 04:41 PM (#3023800)
With all the good LFs on the market, I'd think the Mets would be able to snag a cheap upgrade. Burrell, Church, Beltran and Tatis would be a nice set of OFs.


I think I would rather have Abreu than Burrell if I were the Mets.

Any new stuff on that project you were telling me about dp?

3/37 is a good price for F-Rod.
   14. John DiFool2 Posted: December 09, 2008 at 05:06 PM (#3023819)
Is Wagner out for most or all of next year? I know the Mets lost confidence in him even before his injury, but does he figure to make any sort of contribution?
   15. Sam M. Posted: December 09, 2008 at 05:10 PM (#3023822)
Is Wagner out for most or all of next year?

He's definitely out until at least August. And every indication seems to be that it would be a very big longshot for him to get back at all in 2009. He and the Mets all talk as if his Mets' career is over.
   16. Old Matt Posted: December 09, 2008 at 05:12 PM (#3023827)
All of next season.

If the terms are correct, well done, Omar.
   17. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: December 09, 2008 at 05:20 PM (#3023841)
Still a solid pitcher, but this year there were obvious signs of decline:

1) reduced velocity on his fastball

2) a slight decrease in K rate (more pronounced in the first half which may have had to do with ankle injuries)

3) pretty steep increase in BB rate (more pronounced in the first half)

But, his change-up is a difference making pitch. It is stunning when he is commanding it well. He can live with 91-93 on his FB if his change-up is as good as it appears. His control is still a bit of a problem, but a good signing at the reported price - I wish the Halos could have swooped in for that offer, actually.
   18. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: December 09, 2008 at 05:21 PM (#3023843)
Assuming this is a done deal, where do we go from here? The 8th inning definitely needs some work. I can't believe Omar didn't trade Feliciano/Heilman for Street.
   19. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: December 09, 2008 at 05:21 PM (#3023842)
Seems like a steal compared to recent signings. The concept of having ~10% of your payroll locked up in a closer still shits me tho...
   20. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: December 09, 2008 at 05:52 PM (#3023904)
Apparently the Royals and Braves are seriously considering a Frenchy for Greinke deal. I'll consider lighting myself on fire if that happens.
   21. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: December 09, 2008 at 05:58 PM (#3023916)
I read that too. If it's straight up, it has the potential to be the worst trade ever. I can't believe no team would give up than friggin Frenchy...
   22. Rodder Posted: December 09, 2008 at 06:06 PM (#3023932)
If true, it is pretty much the same deal Lidge got. From Cots, here is Lidge's deal:

09:$11.5M, 10:$11.5M, 11:$11.5M, 12:$12.5M club option ($1.5M buyout)

So the question is, who would you rather have? Last year, the hits and walks per inning were about the same, with Lidge obviously having a much higher (& non-declining) k rate. K-Rod is 5 years younger and has been more consistent. I would say injury concerns are about the same.
   23. flournoy Posted: December 09, 2008 at 06:14 PM (#3023957)
If it's straight up, it has the potential to be the worst trade ever.


Naw, don't worry, the Mets are still king of this category.
   24. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 09, 2008 at 06:25 PM (#3023977)
Naw, don't worry, the Mets are still king of this category.

At least you could make a case Frenchy has upside...
   25. 100MPH Posted: December 09, 2008 at 06:44 PM (#3024011)
Still a solid pitcher, but this year there were obvious signs of decline:

1) reduced velocity on his fastball

2) a slight decrease in K rate (more pronounced in the first half which may have had to do with ankle injuries)

3) pretty steep increase in BB rate (more pronounced in the first half)

.


Not buying this "decline". Complete BS.

K:BB ratio after the break, 4:1. K/9 36/26. These are both better than his 3 year averages, and comp to career, and a guy that basically has been the arguably most durable and consistent reliever in the major leagues for five years, and getting him to a contract that runs through his age 29 season.

Best signing for the Mets since Carlos Beltran, perhaps best FA/offseason move ever for Mets when you consider need, cost, risk/reward. If they get a 3/37 for this guy, that's simply great.
   26. AROM Posted: December 09, 2008 at 07:01 PM (#3024037)
So the question is, who would you rather have? Last year, the hits and walks per inning were about the same, with Lidge obviously having a much higher (& non-declining) k rate. K-Rod is 5 years younger and has been more consistent. I would say injury concerns are about the same.


I think they are pretty close. For the K rate, keep in mind that K-Rod is striking out better hitters in the AL. It's not as big as the difference for starters, who get to strike out other pitchers, but with the documented PH penalty, pinch hitters are not as good as designated hitters, and the overall talent of the rest of the batters is a bit higher in the AL.
   27. Mom makes botox doctors furious Posted: December 09, 2008 at 07:55 PM (#3024098)
3) pretty steep increase in BB rate (more pronounced in the first half)

2007: 67.1, 34
2008: 68.0, 34

steep?
   28. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 09, 2008 at 07:57 PM (#3024102)
This would be nice.
   29. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: December 09, 2008 at 08:02 PM (#3024109)
Apparently the Royals and Braves are seriously considering a Frenchy for Greinke deal. I'll consider lighting myself on fire if that happens.

Wow. If Wren can pull that off, I take back every nasty thing that I said about him when he was with the Orioles.
   30. Chase Utley, Shooty's Favorite Robot (Joey Belle) Posted: December 09, 2008 at 08:40 PM (#3024159)
Apparently the Royals and Braves are seriously considering a Frenchy for Greinke deal. I'll consider lighting myself on fire if that happens.


Why he'll be the handsomest man in Kansas City.
   31. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 09, 2008 at 08:46 PM (#3024166)
As I said in my NYT piece (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/07/sports/baseball/07score.html), I think $12M per is still rather exorbitant for a closer this side of Rivera, even if the years are nice and short. 70 innings are 70 innings, no matter how you slice it.
   32. Toolsy McClutch Posted: December 09, 2008 at 09:19 PM (#3024219)
As you say Dan, he's fourth in WPA amongst "closers" in the AL, that's not bad. And for a team that suffered from a poor bullpen this year, this is a huge salve for both the public and player confidence.
   33. formerly dp Posted: December 09, 2008 at 09:19 PM (#3024220)
I think I would rather have Abreu than Burrell if I were the Mets.

Abreu is a lefty. The Mets have Church and Delgado already. Unless they platoon Church and Tatis, that could present a problem. Plus Burrell is younger.

I'll send you an e-mail about the project, been meaning to respond to your very helpful message. Haven't been online much lately...
   34. PreservedFish Posted: December 09, 2008 at 09:23 PM (#3024226)
ESPN says it's official - pretty cool! I think fans have to be happy about this deal.

Still want more relievers though
   35. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 09, 2008 at 09:29 PM (#3024230)
No, it's not bad. But his ERA is more likely to be around 3 next year than around 2, and a 3 ERA in 70 relief innings isn't worth even two wins, or as much as a league-average position player. As I say in the piece, unless you're basically a lock to make the playoffs, an ace closer is an overpriced luxury compared to strengthening a club in other areas. I think that "public confidence" could easily be restored by a nice series of 7-2 leads in the ninth, which a mediocre bullpen allows to close to 7-4 before sealing the deal.
   36. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: December 09, 2008 at 09:30 PM (#3024234)
Late to the party, but if it happens, I'm a happy Mets fan. I was very much against K-Rod when it seemed it'd require something like 5/75. 40% fewer years and less money per year is enough for me to get over it. I'm less confident in Rodriguez going forward than I would have been a year ago at this time, but he's still a guy with a 189 career ERA+. When the concern about a pitcher is that his K rate dropped from 13/9 to about 10/9, it's not something to lose sleep over.

Fuentes as a set-up guy would be nice now, Omar :)
   37. Sam M. Posted: December 09, 2008 at 09:31 PM (#3024236)
I think $12M per is still rather exorbitant for a closer this side of Rivera, even if the years are nice and short. 70 innings are 70 innings, no matter how you slice it.

When those 70 innings are being allocated in one-inning doses that make a whole lot of six, seven and eight inning performances that come before them meaningful instead of wasted, that $12M is money well spent. Think of it as leveraging the $20M they are already spending on Johan Santana to make sure that money translates into more wins, instead of being turned into very nice seven-inning stints that look great on Johan's stat sheet but end up as NDs for him and losses for the team.

Personally, I'd have rather had Fuentes for probably $3-$4M a year less for the same three years, because I think what the Mets needed most was a very good closer and not necessarily a great one. So I think they paid for more than what they needed. And a lefty fits their particular needs better. But I'm sure as hell not going to quibble. This was absolutely priority # 1 this off-season, and so long as it gets done, the details are just that. Details.
   38. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: December 09, 2008 at 09:35 PM (#3024240)
No, it's not bad. But his ERA is more likely to be around 3 next year than around 2, and a 3 ERA in 70 relief innings isn't worth even two wins, or as much as a league-average position player.

True when that 3 ERA is replacing normal relief work, but the Mets bullpen was absolutely horrendous last year. It really couldn't be as bad this year, but the upgrade is bigger for the Mets than it would be for most teams.

If the Mets only had the money for one $10mil/year FA and chose KRod, I'd be annoyed. But given their FA options, the composition of the team, and what the deal appears to actually end up being, I have a hard time arguing against.
   39. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 09, 2008 at 09:36 PM (#3024243)
I don't understand that logic. Couldn't they "leverage the $20M they are already spending on Johan Santana" just as easily by getting a better second baseman or left fielder? Why is winning games 3-2 preferable to winning them 7-4?

...and it is likely to be far less horrendous this year just due to regression to the mean. Heilman in particular seems like a nice candidate to rebound to the strong setup man he was from '06-'08, and you can pick up 95 ERA+ relievers off the scrap heap in the offseason by the truckload.

Put another way, I'd rather have three Jeremy Affeldts than one Francisco Rodríguez.
   40. PreservedFish Posted: December 09, 2008 at 09:43 PM (#3024256)
a 3 ERA in 70 relief innings isn't worth even two wins


Difficult to believe when you watched the Mets in the last two Septembers. This is a team that consistently was ahead by scores like 7-4 but began a systematic implosion starting in the 7th inning. Mets had a wonderful offense, a wonderful rotation, and a horseshit bullpen. I think that conventional wisdom gets this one right.


... they still need three Jeremy Affeldts too, but getting a young marquee closer for an apparently bargain price should get a big thumbs up.
   41. tribefan Posted: December 09, 2008 at 09:45 PM (#3024257)
Looks like a done deal.

But of more interest (to me at least), <A HREF="http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20081209&c>Wood</A> to Indians maybe.
   42. Sam M. Posted: December 09, 2008 at 09:46 PM (#3024260)
Couldn't they "leverage the $20M they are already spending on Johan Santana" just as easily by getting a better second baseman or left fielder? Why is winning games 3-2 preferable to winning them 7-4?

Not in my humble opinion, but then I am already on record as being crazy over the top in my opinion of Daniel Murphy, whom I would absolutely make the 2B if he can handle the position defensively (doubtful, but he apparently did OK in his audition in the AFL), and the LFer if he can't. I think in terms of the composition of the roster the way in which they can most efficiently and clearly add wins is by improving the bullpen. While I agree with your general approach as a matter of philosophy, there are conditions in which a particular team is best off using its resources to bolster its bullpen, and in which that is the # 1 priority. The Mets are such a team: strong offense already in place, roster assets there to fill other needs . . . but nobody and nothing on hand to fill the bullpen needs except Wilpon's $$$.

As for regression to the mean, I am willing to believe that among the holdovers, there will be some of that, and the Mets should utilize it for the guys who fill the lesser roles and give them innings they will undoubtedly need, in the 6th-7th innings most nights, sometimes the 8th. If he's not traded, Heilman can/should be in the mix for that if he shows improved performance early on next season. They should not, however, count on those guys bouncing back for the high-leverage innings. They need new, better pitchers for that. K-Rod is the first (but I hope not the last) of that.
   43. formerly dp Posted: December 09, 2008 at 09:51 PM (#3024264)
Sam, what happens to Murphy if 1) he doesn't pan out at 2B, and 2) they sign a corner OF? Do you have enough confidence in him that you'd pencil him in for LF and not go after a FA outfielder? Actually, that's a dumb question- I know you do, should the Mets have that much confidence? Because if they sign Abreu/Dunn/Burrell/ect, and Murphy fails at 2b, he's without a position. Although, with one of those corners, they could punt 2B defense IMO...
   44. AROM Posted: December 09, 2008 at 09:52 PM (#3024267)
a 3 ERA in 70 relief innings isn't worth even two wins


It is when you account for leverage. About 2.5 wins *4.8 = 12 million. If it's official this is a perfectly fair deal for all parties involved.
   45. PreservedFish Posted: December 09, 2008 at 09:56 PM (#3024270)
KRod is great but he merely replaces Wagner. They are now back to their July bullpen, which was better than the September one but still pretty scary.

The Mets are, possibly, one good reliever away from having a great bullpen. They need an 8th inning man that can go the entire inning and beat batters of both handedness. I suppose it is possible that Heilman can be that guy again, but it would be madness to count on it.

With that mystery pitcher in place, Smith/Feliciano/Show/Sanchez lock into their natural roles as 6th-7th inning guys that do mostly OOGY work. They can all excel at that job. And suddenly the bullpen looks very muscular. Without that 8th inning guy, you have to stretch the OOGYs out uncomfortably and you are soon in Matchup Hell.
   46. villageidiom Posted: December 09, 2008 at 09:57 PM (#3024273)
...it's only money...
And the 25th overall pick in the 2009 draft.

Angels, as of now, have the 25th, 33rd, 34th, and 66th picks through Round 2 if this is a done deal. The 34th pick is the first sandwich pick, which (along with the 2nd-round pick) will downgrade as other Type-A players sign.
   47. Sam M. Posted: December 09, 2008 at 09:57 PM (#3024274)
Sam, what happens to Murphy if 1) he doesn't pan out at 2B, and 2) they sign a corner OF? Do you have enough confidence in him that you'd pencil him in for LF and not go after a FA outfielder?

Should the Mets have that much confidence? You bet. Have some damned faith in your farm system. They haven't shown that faith in a position player since Wright, for goodness sake. Granted, you could make the case that nobody other than Milledge even made a case for a job, and they believed (right or wrong) that Milledge had other issues and maybe they didn't think he made a good enough case with his performance. Fine. But Murphy HAS made the case. If they want to start him off in a platoon with Tatis, fine. He'll win the full-time job soon enough.

They should take whatever money they are considering spending on a FA outfielder and pour it into an offer for a starting pitcher, which they need a hell of a lot more, and which they have no obvious way of filling from within.

1) Sign a good FA pitcher.
2) Trade Heilman and a decent prospect for Street.

Call if an off-season.
   48. The Original SJ Posted: December 09, 2008 at 10:03 PM (#3024276)
It is when you account for leverage. About 2.5 wins *4.8 = 12 million. If it's official this is a perfectly fair deal for all parties involved.

I know it is cliche, but you can not always break down life into numbers. The Mets simply had to improve their bullpen, for the morale of the team and for the morale of their fans.

they could not go into spring training with the cloud of an iffy bullpen hanging over them yet again.
   49. HowardMegdal Posted: December 09, 2008 at 10:06 PM (#3024279)
They should take whatever money they are considering spending on a FA outfielder and pour it into an offer for a starting pitcher, which they need a hell of a lot more, and which they have no obvious way of filling from within.

1) Sign a good FA pitcher.
2) Trade Heilman and a decent prospect for Street.


Assuming the FA pitcher is Oliver Perez, I'd sign on for that.

A defense-first 2B and righty OF bat for the bench would be nice, too.
   50. Raskolnikov Posted: December 09, 2008 at 10:09 PM (#3024282)
I would prefer the Mets waiting for Sabathia to sign first. But to get K-Rod on a 3 year deal, not too much to complain about there.

Again, I want to point out that Fernando is doing extremely well in the Dominican Winter League. If he looks good in spring training, I would be comfortable with him starting in LF. No need to spend on the OF.
   51. Sam M. Posted: December 09, 2008 at 10:10 PM (#3024283)
A defense-first 2B and righty OF bat for the bench would be nice, too.

They'd have to find someone to dump Castillo's contract on for the first part, and I don't know if Omar's going to be able to pull that off. They may just have to cross their fingers that the smoke they are blowing about him getting into better shape isn't actually . . . well, just blowing smoke.

And they have a RH bat off the bench in the OF. His name is Fernando Tatis. SOB can really hit, too. If they just give Murphy the LF job like they should, the OF is taken care of.
   52. formerly dp Posted: December 09, 2008 at 10:11 PM (#3024284)
They should take whatever money they are considering spending on a FA outfielder and pour it into an offer for a starting pitcher, which they need a hell of a lot more, and which they have no obvious way of filling from within.

I'm not with you on this- if Murphy does stick at 2B (which would be awesome), then they're stuck with Tatis, Chruch and Beltran. Evans doesn't look ready at all to me. The Mets got too many weak ABs from their corner OFs last season, and I don't want to see a repeat this year.

If Murphy tanks at 2B, then they're back with Castillo. I think they've got to make a call on where they want to slot him sooner rather than later.
   53. Swoboda is freedom Posted: December 09, 2008 at 10:16 PM (#3024290)
1) Sign a good FA pitcher.
2) Trade Heilman and a decent prospect for Street.


Sign Dunn. He is truly only money. No draft picks and he takes over at first after next year.
   54. Sam M. Posted: December 09, 2008 at 10:17 PM (#3024291)
I'm not with you on this- if Murphy does stick at 2B (which would be awesome), then they're stuck with Tatis, Chruch and Beltran.

Well, yes. If they are willing to commit to Murphy at 2B, then they need an outfielder. But I'm not in favor of that. I think it's too risky to take a kid who has almost no experience at a key middle infield position and expect him to hold up defensively. A few AFL games just doesn't cut it for me. If he could have played the whole AFL season, then winter ball at second base, and spring training . . . maybe. But it didn't work out that way. I just make him the left fielder, and be done with it. It's the simplest path, and it's the one most conducive to Murphy's own success. I'm always partial to the decision that gives a young player the best chance of reaching his ceiling. Not asking him to do too much, too soon is the best thing for Murphy, and thus the best thing for the Mets.
   55. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 09, 2008 at 10:19 PM (#3024297)
No, dude. I do account for leverage--read my NY Times piece linked above. Your own CHONE forecast for Rodríguez comes out to about a 2.0 WPA for next year, assuming average closer leverage of 1.80, and after chaining, that's 1.6-1.7 wins above replacement--NOT 2.5. Here is the full math:

AROM's CHONE forecast for Francisco Rodríguez (assuming neutral parks, unearned-run rates, and 2008 run environments):

AL: 68 IP, 3.23 ERA/3.47 RA in a 4.78 RA league = 10 runs above average = 1.0 wins above average; NL 69 IP, 2.79 ERA/3.00 RA in 4.54 RA league = 12 runs above average = 1.2 wins above average; neutral-league projected unleveraged value of 1.1 wins above average, and leveraged value of 2.0 wins above average.

OK, the average bullpen for the last 5 years looks as follows (these are real numbers taken off Fangraphs):

Rank   IP   LI  WPA
1    64.6 1.81 1.53
2    63.2 1.42  .77
3    59.6 1.16  .50
4    54.7 0.97  .17
5    53.4 0.80 
-.03
6
+   60.2 0.64 -.05
TOT 355.5 1.16 2.90 


OK, replace the ace with K-Rod and we get:

Rank   IP   LI  WPA
1    68.1 1.81 1.99
2    63.2 1.42  .77
3    59.6 1.16  .50
4    54.7 0.97  .17
5    53.4 0.80 
-.03
6
+   60.2 0.64 -.05
TOT 359.1 1.16 3.35 


Finally, using Tangotiger's estimate that a replacement reliever is a .470 winning percentage pitcher (so -.2 wins per 60 IP at a LI of 1), let's promote everyone up a role and insert the replacement reliever in the 6+ slot:

Rank   IP   LI  WPA
1    68.1 1.81 1.06
2    63.2 1.42  .65
3    59.6 1.16  .22
4    54.7 0.97 
-.04
5    53.4 0.80 
-.06
6
+   60.2 0.64 -.13
TOT 359.1 1.16 1.70 


So, the difference between the Average Bullpen With K-Rod and the Average Bullpen with Replacement Reliever is 3.35-1.70 = 1.65 wins.

Although I suppose one flaw in this logic is that it does not hold if you have a truly craptastic bullpen. Let's say every single one of your relievers is replacement, .470 WPCT/-.20 WPA per 60 IP at a 1.00 LI. In that case, your overall 'pen will be -.2*1.05*355.5/60 = 1.24 wins below average. There is no "chaining" to be accounted for in this hypothetical sh!t show, since all the P are the same, so you can just plug K-Rod right into the ace closer role (in 64.6 innings) and improve the bullpen total to 1.14 wins above average, a gap of 2.38 wins.
   56. Gaelan Posted: December 09, 2008 at 10:20 PM (#3024299)
There is no reason for the Mets not to platoon Murphy and Tatis in the outfield. Every team in the majors should have at least one platoon. Most should have two.
   57. Sam M. Posted: December 09, 2008 at 10:26 PM (#3024303)
There is no reason for the Mets not to platoon Murphy and Tatis in the outfield.

Have you seen Tatis play defense in the OF? Murphy is no great shakes, but given that he's young and inexperienced out there, you can at least hope he'll get better. Tatis is pretty much a lost cause. That's at least one reason not to platoon them; Tatis gives back a lot of the value of his bat when he goes out there with his glove.
   58. HowardMegdal Posted: December 09, 2008 at 10:31 PM (#3024306)
And they have a RH bat off the bench in the OF. His name is Fernando Tatis. SOB can really hit, too. If they just give Murphy the LF job like they should, the OF is taken care of.

I'm totally on overload- yes, totally agreed.

I don't mean a big signing at 2B- and yes, might have to live with Castillo there- but bring in a defense guy like Punto, someone who could fill in if Castillo gets hurt, can replace him late in games if the offense returns but the defense doesn't.
   59. billyshears Posted: December 09, 2008 at 10:41 PM (#3024312)
For the price, this is an excellent deal. I'm not generally in favor of spending big money on the bullpen, but after the way the Mets' pen collapsed the past two years, the only way the Mets could have justifiably forgone expending significant resources on the bullpen this offseason would be if they decided to make a ######' A signing like Sabathia. That doesn't seem as if its in the cards, so sometimes you have to make a sacrifice to the gods of chance and sign a closer.

The Mets should at least play on the corner OFs. Considering the market, it seems as if at least one of Abreu, Dunn or Burrell could be had for a discount. If the Mets could get one of those guys for a good price, or even swoop in with a 1 year deal if somebody would rather come back on the market next year, they should do so. I particularly like the idea of signing Dunn and moving him to 1b next year.

I like Murphy and I would love to put him at 2b, but there just doesn't seem to be enough evidence that he could handle the position. Ideally, it would be nice to give him a chance to win the LF job, but when your RF is Church, who isn't exactly durable, I don't think you can have the uncertainty in LF that a Tatis/Murphy platoon would entail. I think Murphy's best fit this year might be as a supersub at LF/RF/3b/2b/1b.
   60. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: December 09, 2008 at 10:44 PM (#3024315)
I know it is cliche, but you can not always break down life into numbers. The Mets simply had to improve their bullpen, for the morale of the team and for the morale of their fans.

I couldn't agree with you more.

As I say in the piece, unless you're basically a lock to make the playoffs, an ace closer is an overpriced luxury compared to strengthening a club in other areas. I think that "public confidence" could easily be restored by a nice series of 7-2 leads in the ninth, which a mediocre bullpen allows to close to 7-4 before sealing the deal.


This team has a championship calibre core signed for the next three seasons. Santana, Beltran, Reyes, Wright, and K-Rod are all in the top-5 at their respective positions and all are close to or in the midst of their prime. It's not like K-Rod's contract is going to prevent them form doing other things. Sabathia looks like he wants to be on the West Coast and even if he doesn't, the Yanks aren't going to be outbid.

This was an obvious move and Minaya made it.
   61. Sam M. Posted: December 09, 2008 at 10:46 PM (#3024316)
Ideally, it would be nice to give him a chance to win the LF job, but when your RF is Church, who isn't exactly durable, I don't think you can have the uncertainty in LF that a Tatis/Murphy platoon would entail.

I wouldn't be at all shocked if the Mets sign an OFer and trade Church, by the way. That would open up RF for either the guy they sign, or for Murphy.
   62. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: December 09, 2008 at 10:49 PM (#3024319)
According to Rosenthal and Sherman, there's performance bonuses as well as a vesting option for the 4th year at $14,000,000.
   63. Famous Original Joe C Posted: December 09, 2008 at 11:05 PM (#3024339)
I wouldn't be at all shocked if the Mets sign an OFer and trade Church, by the way. That would open up RF for either the guy they sign, or for Murphy.

Sam, can we make an over/under bet on Murphy's 2009 OPS? Make the stakes to something like a $10 BB-Ref page of the winners choosing?
   64. Sam M. Posted: December 09, 2008 at 11:45 PM (#3024393)
Sam, can we make an over/under bet on Murphy's 2009 OPS? Make the stakes to something like a $10 BB-Ref page of the winners choosing?

Sure. But we have to agree on a minimum number of PAs, too. I've seen too many young Mets get buried on the bench or in the minors because of their obsession with Proven Veterans™, and if Murphy isn't given a real opportunity then I don't want to be on the line because of the Mets' stupidity.

Let's say . . . 800 OPS, at least 400 PAs?
   65. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: December 09, 2008 at 11:54 PM (#3024401)
One club in particular stands out as a strong team that lacks a top reliever in an otherwise weak division. Moreover, its penchant for low-scoring games means it can derive extra regular-season utility from a bullpen ace. It is Rodríguez’s current employer, the Los Angeles Angels, perhaps the only club that could pay him $8 million to $10 million a year and still make a profit. Sometimes, home cooking is the best recipe.
Dan--in what sense (other than the extra couple of million) do the Mets not also fill this description? Btw, I approve of the KRod signing, if only to keep Sam from a nervous breakdown.

The Mets seem to have decided on NOT trying Murphy at 2b, and will platoon him w Tatis in LF. This, imho, was the only remotely sane thing to do with Murph. Putting him at 2b risked his learning curve at the plate, risked minor and major injuries, and surely would have given away much of the gain of having his bat in the MI by having his defense in the MI. AND, it would have left the Mets with the problem of finding a real OFer when their greatest need is a #2 starter. I'm not thrilled with Church in RF when LF is also something of an experiment, but I prefer that to committing to one of the FAs for umpteen years when the chances are good that Murphy and Fernando will pan out, and cheaply at that. Everyone here knows there's a HUGE benefit to having your young, cheap players pan out. Fifteen million a year not spent on Dunn because Murphy winds up providing 85% of Dunn's production means Ollie in the rotation instead of farting around with Chan Ho Park.

edit: and what Howard said in 58.

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