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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Mike Lupica on D&C: ‘Mystified’ by Yankees’ ‘dumber contract’ with Jacoby Ellsbury

“What the one doesn’t have, the other is missing.”

“Jacoby Ellsbury has been on two World Series-winning teams, I love watching him play baseball, has anybody ever thought of him as being one of the top five players in baseball?” Lupica said, adding: “And now you’re paying him like one of the very best players in baseball, even though he’s three or four years past the best numbers he’s ever put in the books?”

The deal, orchestrated by agent Scott Boras, is similar to what Carl Crawford received from the Red Sox in 2010. Crawford, an outfielder who relies on his speed like Ellsbury, got seven years and $142 million from the Red Sox entering his age-30 season.

“You know that Boras came into this thinking, ‘I’m going to get him more than Carl Crawford,’ but the Carl Crawford deal is universally analyzed as one of the dumbest the Red Sox ever made in all of recorded history,” Lupica said.

After his breakout campaign in 2011, Ellsbury struggled with injuries in 2012, and, to a lesser degree, in 2013. He missed 116 games in the last two seasons. Additionally, Ellsbury missed almost all of the 2010 season.

“I’m just more mystified that you’re taking a fragile player, who depends on his legs, who played [134] games last year, we don’t even have to go back to where he missed [almost] a whole season,” Lupica said.

...Cano left Boras in April and signed with Jay-Z’s sports agency.

“At the end of the day, it’s almost like [the Yankees are] in this weird poker game with Cano and they’re saying, ‘We’re not going to sign a really dumb contract with you, so here’s what we’re going to do to force your hand, we’re going to sign an even dumber contract with Jacoby Ellsbury,’ ” Lupica said.

Repoz Posted: December 04, 2013 at 11:19 AM | 132 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox, yankees

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   1. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: December 04, 2013 at 11:57 AM (#4610385)
Something tells me the Yankees won't be filing Chapter 11 any time soon. Hey, the Angels are picking up 19 million of Vernon wells 21 million this season.
   2. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 04, 2013 at 11:57 AM (#4610386)
stupid midget
   3. zonk Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4610395)
Well, Lupica is no brain surgeon and I don't have a lot of use for his opinions... but frankly, I agree with just about he's saying here.

If nothing else, I'm glad my team didn't sign an oft-hurt guy who's one stellar season looks like an outlier to this contract... of course, my team hasn't won a world series in a century and Ellsbury's new team has won bushels of them so what do I know.
   4. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:14 PM (#4610405)
If the Yankees can sign Cano, this is a pretty formidable lineup -- well except for Jeter, A-rod and Ichiro.
   5. SteveF Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:22 PM (#4610413)
What's the starting rotation if the season started today? Sabathia, Nova...then what?
   6. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:23 PM (#4610414)
What does Tex do this season? Does he earn his 22.5?
   7. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4610419)
It's more than I'd have paid, but I think this contract can be defended in a few different ways:

1. Fewer top-tier free agents hit the market these days, a fraction of the number that used to in decades past. Thus, there's less supply, so greater demand, which increases (and makes reasonable) a greater price.

2. Via the CBA, MLB teams have suppressed the costs needed for incoming young players via the draft and from international channels (posting fees). This frees up money to invest elsewhere.

3. Ellsbury is a speed player so should age well.

4. If he plays at least at an ok level they can move the contract (e.g., Crawford; Fielder; Adrian Gonzalez).

   8. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:33 PM (#4610423)
That is one hell of a contract for a good, but not great player. But the Yankees have the cash and sticking it to a hated divisional rival was probably worth some of the extra cash. Man, the Yankees starting 11 could buy Greenwich, CT at this pace. I know the Yanks aren't on the hook for Wells and all of Soriano, but that is a team of wealthy dudes. I'd love to open a Bentley distributorship in left field.
   9. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:35 PM (#4610424)
If the Yankees can sign Cano, this is a pretty formidable lineup -- well except for Jeter, A-rod and Ichiro.


Don't worry, A-Rod won't be playing and Jeter will be on the 60-day before Memorial Day.
   10. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:37 PM (#4610429)
If nothing else, I'm glad my team didn't sign an oft-hurt guy who's one stellar season looks like an outlier to this contract... of course, my team hasn't won a world series in a century and Ellsbury's new team has won bushels of them so what do I know.

IIRC, both major injuries to Ellsbury -- ribs and collarbone -- were the result of collisions from opposing players and ought not affect his play going forward. Has he ever had a bum hamstring or ankle?
   11. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:38 PM (#4610430)
What does Tex do this season? Does he earn his 22.5?


He was facing a career crisis before the wrist injury, with a plummeting BA. I'm not optimistic. Which is not to say that I think he's done, but an excellent season out of him would surprise me. The power and walks appear to still be there (though it's tough to get a handle on his power ability with the injury), so I think he can still contribute.
   12. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:39 PM (#4610432)
It's a silly contract. The Yankees have virtually no chance of getting full value back.
   13. tfbg9 Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:39 PM (#4610433)
Good points in #7.
   14. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:41 PM (#4610436)
What's the starting rotation if the season started today? Sabathia, Nova...then what?

Well, let's assume they sign Kuroda--there seems to be interest on both sides--they'd have:

1. Sabathia
2. Kuroda
3. Nova
4. Michael Pineda (remember him???)
5. David Phelps
6. Adam Warren / Vidal Nuno / David Huff

So...Assuming they re-sign Kuroda, I'd say they're still looking at one more free agent starter.
   15. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:43 PM (#4610438)
Good points in #7.

Hmmm, I suspect Ray is merely agreeing with Joe Sheehan. :-)
   16. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:45 PM (#4610441)
That is one hell of a contract for a good, but not great player


Only 18 players have two seasons of 5.5 WAR or greater the last four years. Selective end points etc...but I think Ellsbury IS a great player. The problem of course is counting on him to stay in the lineup. For this deal to work he needs to be healthier in his 30s than he was in his 20s. Not impossible but that's a lot of money to risk.

JE's point about the injuries being catastrophic rather than recurring is a fair one but Ellsbury plays the game in a way where you would expect these types of things to happen. This isn't Bobby Abreu backing away from a wall, this is a guy who goes full speed until he crashes into something to stop. He's a lot of fun to watch play the game for just that reason but he's going to get banged up.

I will say I think he's going to become a 15-25 home run guy with this move. NYS is absolutely tailor made for his swing.
   17. tfbg9 Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:46 PM (#4610443)
It's a silly contract. The Yankees have virtually no chance of getting full value back.


But they don't really care about that kind of stuff. They needed more eyeballs on the TV sets. They operate in a different universe than the next tier down: Sox, Phillies, Angels, etc.

And they like to stick it to Boston. The Red Sox won yet another WS, so the Yanks had to do something. And they did, because they can. Even though they had a perfectly good CF, a 4-5 win guy, they signed another CF for crazy money.

   18. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4610445)
Would you rather sign Cano to a mega k, or Ellsbury? We know which one the Yankees chose.

I think it's a close call and would probably have gone with Cano. Although 2B do tend to crash and burn as they approach their mid-30s. Utley for example is still playing well but his BA has dropped a bit and he can't stay healthy -- and he's a relative success story for the class.
   19. zonk Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4610447)
IIRC, both major injuries to Ellsbury -- ribs and collarbone -- were the result of collisions from opposing players and ought not affect his play going forward.


If A-Rod were to ever embrace his role as a heel, I see the perfect opportunity for it...

NY POST: DRUNK CENTAUR TRAMPLES ELLSBURY
   20. tfbg9 Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4610449)
We know which one the Yankees chose.


No we don't.
   21. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4610450)
If it hinders them from resigning Cano and getting more pitching then it is a bad deal, if not then not. The yankees are not like other teams (as was said above multiple times), so what would be a TERRIBLE deal for the Twins (for example) is fine for the Evil Empire.
   22. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:51 PM (#4610451)
Would you rather sign Cano to a mega k, or Ellsbury? We know which one the Yankees chose.

I think it's a close call and would probably have gone with Cano. Although 2B do tend to crash and burn as they approach their mid-30s. Utley for example is still playing well but his BA has dropped a bit and he can't stay healthy -- and he's a relative success story for the class.


I don't think it was either/or, I think they'll sign Cano.

I would rather take Cano. I feel like the path to "not worth it" is a bit shorter for Ellsbury. Cano's durability is a real asset for him and I think his bat would allow him to make a move (3rd? 1st?) that is not a great option for Ellsbury. That assumes similar contracts, I think Cano is going to get a much bigger deal and that makes it a trickier question or at least tilts it in Jacoby's favor.
   23. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:51 PM (#4610453)
If A-Rod were to ever embrace his role as a heal

You spelled hoof wrong.
   24. zonk Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:54 PM (#4610455)
If A-Rod were to ever embrace his role as a heal

You spelled hoof wrong.


Heh... both, actually...
   25. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:56 PM (#4610456)
I like the deal, he will have great numbers in that park. This is how the Yankees should operate.
   26. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4610459)
The Yankees have virtually no chance of getting full value back.

The Yankees don't need to get full value back. Even this is couch money for the Steinbrenner boys, and when the time comes to back up the money truck in Mike Trout's and/or Bryce Harper's driveway, they'll eat 90% of the remaining cost to dump him off on the Padres or Royals or Twins.
   27. bunyon Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:02 PM (#4610460)
They didn't stick it to Boston if it's a bad contract. One or the other, not both.
   28. bunyon Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4610462)
The Yankees don't need to get full value back. Even this is couch money for the Steinbrenner boys, and when the time comes to back up the money truck in Mike Trout's and/or Bryce Harper's driveway, they'll eat 90% of the remaining cost to dump him off on the Padres or Royals or Twins.

Or plant some steroids on him.
   29. Bob Tufts Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4610463)
I await the first article that discusses Ellsbury not being a true Yankee and unable to compete under the bright lights of NYC.
   30. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:07 PM (#4610464)
I don't think it's a matter of "sticking it to Boston." That seems a rather dumb way for a winning franchise to operate. Silly fans get wrapped up in that stuff, but serious organizations don't, especially not to the tune of $150 million.

What IS at play here is that it provides a swing: Ellsbury's 5 WAR (or whatever) coming off of Boston's team and onto the Yankees' team.

Also, as noted, Ellsbury was one of the few top FAs available.
   31. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:07 PM (#4610465)
If a True Yankee isn't someone who sells his soul to the highest bidder, then what is?
   32. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4610468)
I like the deal, he will have great numbers in that park. This is how the Yankees should operate.


Yeah, I like it as well. He's also a really fun player to root for.
   33. tfbg9 Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4610470)
I don't think it's a matter of "sticking it to Boston." That seems a rather dumb way for a winning franchise to operate.



It's how Uday and Usay operate. It was part of their thought process IMO.
   34. catomi01 Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4610471)
The Yankees don't need to get full value back. Even this is couch money for the Steinbrenner boys, and when the time comes to back up the money truck in Mike Trout's and/or Bryce Harper's driveway, they'll eat 90% of the remaining cost to dump him off on the Padres or Royals or Twins.


This has been mentioned a couple of times, but I'm struggling to remember anything similar happening. Burnett is the only one they've been able to unload that I remember - Giambi and igaw they held onto, Arod, Jeter,and Texeira they've held onto...seems like once a guy signs for big and long term with the yankees, they usually finish out the contract - if anything it just turns into a diminished role.
   35. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:17 PM (#4610475)
What's the starting rotation if the season started today? Sabathia, Nova...then what?

I think that the Braves' third starter may still be available. And he's the only starter I know that can sometimes even go three days in a row.

------------------------------------------------

What does Tex do this season? Does he earn his 22.5?


He was facing a career crisis before the wrist injury, with a plummeting BA. I'm not optimistic. Which is not to say that I think he's done, but an excellent season out of him would surprise me. The power and walks appear to still be there (though it's tough to get a handle on his power ability with the injury), so I think he can still contribute.

I agree, but it's hard to imagine at best more than about 140 games with a .250 / 30 HR / 120 OPS+, and that's not exactly what I'd want to be paying $22.5M to get. I'm afraid this is going to be another year of seeing those chickens coming home to roost, with everything dependent on keeping a bunch of Medicare patients out of the hospital.
   36. tfbg9 Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:23 PM (#4610482)
I'm afraid this is going to be another year of seeing those chickens coming home to roost, with everything dependent on keeping a bunch of Medicare patients out of the hospital.


Cry me a river.
   37. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:23 PM (#4610483)
I already thought this was a decent deal for the Yankees, and now that Lupica hates it I think it's even better!
   38. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:24 PM (#4610485)
part of these contracts is that the fans, even good ones like us, have to catch up to what inflation is doing to contract prices in a given year.

that and teams have clearly accepted that at minimum the last 2 years in a contract is money paid for prior performance of the given contract. that the player's value will have regressed to where he may not even be average.

so it's possible that ellsbury is the first 30 million a year player
   39. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:25 PM (#4610486)
IIRC, both major injuries to Ellsbury -- ribs and collarbone -- were the result of collisions from opposing players and ought not affect his play going forward. Has he ever had a bum hamstring or ankle?


Not really. The only other issue Ellsbury has really had comes from fouling pitches off his right foot/ankle, which he does more than most. It's never been a huge problem, though.
   40. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:27 PM (#4610487)
Only 18 players have two seasons of 5.5 WAR or greater the last four years. Selective end points etc...but I think Ellsbury IS a great player. The problem of course is counting on him to stay in the lineup. For this deal to work he needs to be healthier in his 30s than he was in his 20s. Not impossible but that's a lot of money to risk.

JE's point about the injuries being catastrophic rather than recurring is a fair one but Ellsbury plays the game in a way where you would expect these types of things to happen. This isn't Bobby Abreu backing away from a wall, this is a guy who goes full speed until he crashes into something to stop. He's a lot of fun to watch play the game for just that reason but he's going to get banged up.

I will say I think he's going to become a 15-25 home run guy with this move. NYS is absolutely tailor made for his swing.


I remember when the Red Sox stuck it to Tampa Bay by signing Crawford. He was worth 22.9 WAR in his last 713 games, 14.5 WAR his previous 3 seasons, and his down years were explainable by injury.

Now NYY sticks it to the Red Sox by signing Ellsbury. He's been worth 21.9 WAR his last 715 games. 14.8 WAR his last 3 years, and his down years are explainable by injury.
   41. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:29 PM (#4610490)
that and teams have clearly accepted that at minimum the last 2 years in a contract is money paid for prior performance of the given contract. that the player's value will have regressed to where he may not even be average.


I think Harvey is pretty clearly correct here.
   42. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4610493)
that and teams have clearly accepted that at minimum the last 2 years in a contract is money paid for prior performance of the given contract. that the player's value will have regressed to where he may not even be average.

so it's possible that ellsbury is the first 30 million a year player

By this logic wouldn't A-Rod be like a $100M/year player?
   43. tfbg9 Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:36 PM (#4610494)
IIRC, both major injuries to Ellsbury -- ribs and collarbone -- were the result of collisions from opposing players and ought not affect his play going forward.


And lets not forget that medical malpractice played a part in the rib issue causing him to lose so much time.
   44. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:42 PM (#4610504)
What IS at play here is that it provides a swing: Ellsbury's 5 WAR (or whatever) coming off of Boston's team and onto the Yankees' team.

That is sticking it to them! It's kind of the definition of it.
   45. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:47 PM (#4610507)
that and teams have clearly accepted that at minimum the last 2 years in a contract is money paid for prior performance of the given contract. that the player's value will have regressed to where he may not even be average.




I think Harvey is pretty clearly correct here.


Yes, but it's not necessarily the last 2 years. E.G. Lackey, Beltran with the Mets, etc.
   46. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4610511)
I still love how people are tossing around the idea that Ellsbury isn't fragile as though it weren't basest nonsense. The man has played a full season twice in his career. You can make up as many excuses as you like, but that's not a dude you can count on to go out there every day.

Like I said before, I suspect that almost every fragile player has had similar excuses made for him at some point, but health is still a skill, and these dudes ain't got it.
   47. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4610513)
nasty

without being tedious my mindset on the post is for any deal of 4 years or more teams are expecting to pay for non-performance on the back end of the contract. it's a 'given' in their assessments

that's my perception anyway
   48. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4610515)
By this logic wouldn't A-Rod be like a $100M/year player?

I cannot recall when a-rod resigned with the yanks but my guess is that they figured the last 3 years minimum of that last deal would be money spent on at best average player if not below average

so it was 275 for 7 years more likely. before this latest stuff blew up
   49. villageidiom Posted: December 04, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4610519)
The collisions that sidelined Ellsbury were with an infielder teammate on a shallow fly, and with a SS landing on him when he slid into 2b breaking up a DP. If Ellsbury is to avoid these kinds of collisions he will be running slow enough not to get in them. They are a byproduct of his play.
   50. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4610522)
without being tedious my mindset on the post is for any deal of 4 years or more teams are expecting to pay for non-performance on the back end of the contract. it's a 'given' in their assessments

that's my perception anyway


Yes I agree. I was just pointing out that it's not always easy to predict which of the years, specifically, will be the non-performance ones.
   51. tfbg9 Posted: December 04, 2013 at 02:12 PM (#4610529)
They are a byproduct of his play.


One can only hope. Hey, he got his money. He went to the Yankees. Fair's fair. I get to hope he's on the DL a lot. Fair's fair.
   52. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4610544)
To justify an 8 year contract, Cano has to stay very good for at least 5 years, preferably 6. That's not a gamble I like.
   53. donlock Posted: December 04, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4610550)
Not sure who the other teams in the bidding for him were.That is a very expensive contract when no one else is offering that kind of money or years. Angels and Dodgers already have crowded outfields. The other NY team has just signed their center fielder of the future.
   54. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 04, 2013 at 02:34 PM (#4610555)
zeth

given cano's history of excellence he is a better bet than most
   55. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2013 at 02:42 PM (#4610572)
To justify an 8 year contract, Cano has to stay very good for at least 5 years, preferably 6. That's not a gamble I like.


Or have his not-great years be decent and productive.
   56. zonk Posted: December 04, 2013 at 02:49 PM (#4610584)
The collisions that sidelined Ellsbury were with an infielder teammate on a shallow fly, and with a SS landing on him when he slid into 2b breaking up a DP. If Ellsbury is to avoid these kinds of collisions he will be running slow enough not to get in them.


So you're saying there's an upside to keeping the statue of Jeter at SS?
   57. catomi01 Posted: December 04, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4610587)
given cano's history of excellence he is a better bet than most


Cano 28-30 - avg 686 PA
.309 .371 .533 .904 - 142 OPS+

Utley 28-30 - avg 669 PA
.301 .395 .536 .931 - 139 OPS+

A lot of prime-age 2B are good bets...until they aren't anymore.
   58. TJ Posted: December 04, 2013 at 02:55 PM (#4610592)
I'll be looking to see if a Red Sox fan can come up with an Ellsbury sign to rival the Johnny Damon "Looks like Jesus, acts like Judas, throws like Mary" one for when Ellsbury returns to Fenway...
   59. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2013 at 02:58 PM (#4610596)
I'll be looking to see if a Red Sox fan can come up with an Ellsbury sign to rival the Johnny Damon "Looks like Jesus, acts like Judas, throws like Mary" one for when Ellsbury returns to Fenway...

I think Red Sox fans should have a Give Back the Tacos! Night
   60. Chip Posted: December 04, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4610608)
So you're saying there's an upside to keeping the statue of Jeter at SS?


I don't know, the one thing Jeter still seems to do well, which he's always done well, is go back on balls to the shallow outfield. Makes him more likely than the average SS to run into a charging Ells.
   61. SG Posted: December 04, 2013 at 03:24 PM (#4610622)
I'll be looking to see if a Red Sox fan can come up with an Ellsbury sign to rival the Johnny Damon "Looks like Jesus, acts like Judas, throws like Mary" one for when Ellsbury returns to Fenway...


Are you saying that Ellsbury is a trader?
   62. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 03:55 PM (#4610668)
Are you saying that Ellsbury is a trader?


Sweet jesus people are ####### dumb.
   63. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2013 at 03:57 PM (#4610672)
Sweet jesus people are ####### dumb.

Did they call him a looser, too?
   64. Sonic Youk Posted: December 04, 2013 at 04:03 PM (#4610677)
Keyword searching billions of tweets for something dumb and then vomiting out the results is the laziest, sub-buzzfeed level of content.
   65. zonk Posted: December 04, 2013 at 04:31 PM (#4610699)
Keyword searching billions of tweets for something dumb and then vomiting out the results is the laziest, sub-buzzfeed level of content.


Heh...

I've admitted previously that I actually LIKE twitter and believe it to have redeeming value but yeah - pretty much this... when folks do that, it's kind of kind like opening up the comments section of of any mid-size burg newspaper and getting out the fainting couch over the results...
   66. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2013 at 04:41 PM (#4610704)
when folks do that, it's kind of kind like opening up the comments section of of any mid-size burg newspaper and getting out the fainting couch over the results...


like Buzz Bissinger
   67. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 04, 2013 at 04:51 PM (#4610710)
The best part about those tweets is that the people who posted them have ZERO clue what they are being mocked for.
   68. AROM Posted: December 04, 2013 at 05:49 PM (#4610749)
Even this is couch money for the Steinbrenner boys, and when the time comes to back up the money truck in Mike Trout's and/or Bryce Harper's driveway, they'll eat 90% of the remaining cost to dump him off on the Padres or Royals or Twins.


Or they can just move Ellsbury to left, Trout in center, Harper in right, and have the first billion dollar outfield.
   69. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 04, 2013 at 06:05 PM (#4610754)
I remember when the Red Sox stuck it to Tampa Bay by signing Crawford. He was worth 22.9 WAR in his last 713 games, 14.5 WAR his previous 3 seasons, and his down years were explainable by injury.

Now NYY sticks it to the Red Sox by signing Ellsbury. He's been worth 21.9 WAR his last 715 games. 14.8 WAR his last 3 years, and his down years are explainable by injury.


I think this is fair. On the day the contracts were signed, the Sox/Crawford deal looked very similar to the Yanks/Smells deal.

Doesn't mean that it'll turn out that way.
   70. tfbg9 Posted: December 04, 2013 at 06:16 PM (#4610759)
Except Ellsbury can play center, and Crawford can't.
   71. Walt Davis Posted: December 04, 2013 at 06:17 PM (#4610760)
It is easy to find similar contracts but you do wonder how these negotiations go.

"You want 7/$153?"
"Yep, Crawford got 7/$143 and that was three years ago, inflation."

"Crawford, interesting. Who else?"
"Well, Soriano got 8/$136 and that was seven years ago, this is easily in line with that."

"Another interesting comparison, I'm still not convinced though."
"Wells got 7/$126 and that was 5 years ago and an extension not an FA contract."

"You've almost got me convinced but got any more?"
"Sure. Carlos Lee 6/$100 7 years ago; Jayson Werth 7/$126 three years ago; Matt Kemp 8/$160 two years ago; Hamilton 5/$125 just last year."

"OK, I'm convinced. Where do I sign?"
   72. Lars6788 Posted: December 04, 2013 at 06:22 PM (#4610764)
The best part about those tweets is that the people who posted them have ZERO clue what they are being mocked for.


I read it as they were goofing on the first guy and decided to have some fun with it.
   73. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 04, 2013 at 06:25 PM (#4610766)
Walt, Ellsbury and Crawford are similar-type players, plucked with a long-term contract from an AL East foe recently. They are (of course) not identical situations, but are much less dumb than a lot of the situations this has been compared to.
   74. Walt Davis Posted: December 04, 2013 at 06:34 PM (#4610769)
Cano 28-30 - avg 686 PA
.309 .371 .533 .904 - 142 OPS+

Utley 28-30 - avg 669 PA
.301 .395 .536 .931 - 139 OPS+

A lot of prime-age 2B are good bets...until they aren't anymore.


But they generally are. I've looked at the comps (Alomar, Sandberg, Carew, Morgan, Whitaker, Grich, Kent, etc.) and you get an almost guaranteed minimum of 20 WAR and a max of 30 WAR from ages 31-37.

From ages 31-34 Utley has produced 16 WAR and ZiPS projects him to another 3 WAR this year so he's about to join that bunch.

Yes, even Alomar put up 20 WAR, all from ages 31-33.

It is actually rather hard to find good 2B who fell off cliffs in these years. I looked at the Kinsler comps ... a lower level of production than the elite guys above ... and they averaged about 10-12 WAR over ages 31-34 which is about all he's being paid for. You did find a couple of disasters in that gruup but you also found a couple of gems (Whitaker, Kent).

A projection of 20-25 WAR with a chance at 30 is gonna cost you at least 7/$150 in this market. And given that guys like Ellsbury, Crawford, etc. that I don't think did project to 20 WAR (I might be wrong) get that kind of money ... well, it's a very strange system ain't it.

Anyway, point is Cano projects to be a very, very good player for another 3 years and possibly a good player for another 4 after that. Unless you happen to own the rights to Mike Trout or Bryce Harper or a few others, you will not have access to many (any?) players who project better over the next 6-7 years than Cano. That makes it a question about money not about production.

If teams are willing to spend 7/$153 to secure the age 30-36 seasons of Ellsbury (and the comps I gave above would seem to show that they are and have been for some time) then something like 7/$175 or 8/$200 for Cano shouldn't be scary.

For those of us who wouldn't sign Ellsbury for 7/$153 ... we end up with Beltran for 2/$35 or Byrd for 2/$16 or hoping we can figure out how to make Carlos Gomez a hitter or praying that Junior Lake is actually a ML CF ... and Mark Ellis at 2B.
   75. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 06:35 PM (#4610770)
Walt, Ellsbury and Crawford are similar-type players, plucked with a long-term contract from an AL East foe recently. They are (of course) not identical situations, but are much less dumb than a lot of the situations this has been compared to.


Why do people keep saying they're similar players? Ellsbury plays CF, is younger, walks more, is a better base stealer, and has more home run power.

Other than that, yeah, exactly the same.

   76. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2013 at 06:47 PM (#4610774)

Why do people keep saying they're similar players? Ellsbury plays CF, is younger, walks more, is a better base stealer, and has more home run power.


People are comparing Ellsbury now to Crawford at the time of his free agency. At that time, Crawford was roughly the same age as Ellsbury now, had also led the league in SB multiple times, and also had roughly the same HR/PA rate in the majors. Those are similar situations and - what a coincidence - they got similar contracts.
   77. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 04, 2013 at 06:50 PM (#4610775)
Cano 28-30 - avg 686 PA
.309 .371 .533 .904 - 142 OPS+

Utley 28-30 - avg 669 PA
.301 .395 .536 .931 - 139 OPS+


Utley also led the NL in HBP all three of those years, with a total of 76. His injury issues have been at least partly related to that particular tendency.
   78. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: December 04, 2013 at 06:51 PM (#4610776)
The Yankees have virtually no chance of getting full value back.


In terms of making money on the deal or because they'll end up paying more per win than the MLB average? Because I think the Yankees financial plan depends on keeping the brand strong, and part of that is showing the fan base that they're willing to pay for players.
   79. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 06:56 PM (#4610778)
Except Ellsbury can play center, and Crawford can't.


1. Don't see how this is relevant to how they project.
2. Not "can't", won't.
   80. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 06:56 PM (#4610779)

People are comparing Ellsbury now to Crawford at the time of his free agency. At that time, Crawford was roughly the same age as Ellsbury now, had also led the league in SB multiple times, and also had roughly the same HR/PA rate in the majors. Those are similar situations and - what a coincidence - they got similar contracts.


Crawford did not play CF.

And market factors have changed a little since then.
   81. Publius Publicola Posted: December 04, 2013 at 06:58 PM (#4610780)
Well, if the Ellsbury contract works out as well for the Yankees as the Crawford one did for Boston, baseball fans outside Gotham will rejoice.
   82. Walt Davis Posted: December 04, 2013 at 06:58 PM (#4610781)
Walt, Ellsbury and Crawford are similar-type players, plucked with a long-term contract from an AL East foe recently. They are (of course) not identical situations, but are much less dumb than a lot of the situations this has been compared to

In which sense? Even using your intra-division criterion -- Werth was plucked by the Nats from the Phils; Hamilton by the Angels from the Rangers; Lee by the Astros from the Brewers.

On HW's point ... I'm not sure I'd have put it quite that way. I think teams are (trying to) price them based on something like total WAR projected but realizing that the value is front-loaded while the money is back-loaded.

Obviously everybody would rather have Ellsbury at 4/$88 than 7/$153. But I think it's more likely they're pricing at about $7 M per WAR (there was that fangraphs article not long ago suggesting this is the real price once you start looking long-term), figuring he'll produce about 20 WAR ... but that the production will probably go 4/4/4/3/2/2/1 or something. At 15 WAR and about 7-7.5 M per WAR, signing him for those first 4 years would be 4/$105-115. So they're getting the last 3 years at $35-50 M in 2018 dollars.

Throw in NPV, consider the last 2-3 years to be deferred compensation and some of these contracts start to look less crazy. I'm just not sure Ellsbury should be projected to that many WAR (ZiPS does put him at 4 in 545 PA for 2014 so I could be wrong). It's also possible that the Werth contract will work out OK albeit not in the trend we might have expected -- i.e. hopefully his two crappy years are out of the way and he'll give them another 13-14 WAR over the next 4 years.
   83. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:00 PM (#4610782)
People are comparing Ellsbury now to Crawford at the time of his free agency. At that time, Crawford was roughly the same age as Ellsbury now, had also led the league in SB multiple times, and also had roughly the same HR/PA rate in the majors. Those are similar situations and - what a coincidence - they got similar contracts.




Crawford did not play CF.


Right. They are not the exact same - thus the word "similar."
   84. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:04 PM (#4610783)
Right. They are not the exact same - thus the word "similar."


A LF is not a similar player to a CF. Thus, that word doesn't fit either.
   85. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:05 PM (#4610785)
Well, if the Ellsbury contract works out as well for the Yankees as the Crawford one did for Boston, baseball fans outside Gotham will rejoice.


But one of the points I've been trying to make is that the Red Sox got out from under the Crawford deal fairly well.
   86. tfbg9 Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:11 PM (#4610787)
@79-I was responding to this:

I think this is fair. On the day the contracts were signed, the Sox/Crawford deal looked very similar to the Yanks/Smells deal.


The deals are similar, and perhaps the two players project quite similarly as well. But a CF who is the produces the same offense for his club as a LF does for his? That's a more valuable player, that CF, no?

This is what I was getting at. The Ells deal is a better deal for the NYY's than the Crawford deal was for BOS, IMO, because Ells plays CF, and the money is almost the same. Durability issues aside, of course.
   87. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:11 PM (#4610788)
A LF is not a similar player to a CF. Thus, that word doesn't fit either.


Wrong again.
   88. madvillain Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:11 PM (#4610790)
A LF is not a similar player to a CF


just because a guy can play CF doesn't mean he should. Don't think Ellsbury is that long for CF IMO.
   89. tfbg9 Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:12 PM (#4610792)
But one of the points I've been trying to make is that the Red Sox got out from under the Crawford deal fairly well.


Spectacularly well. The NYY's can't expect that kind of luck if their big contracts get old and stinky.
   90. tfbg9 Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:15 PM (#4610796)
Personally, I never thought Ells was all that great in CF, he's just so insanely fast that he gets positive results. He's not that good at going back on balls near the wall, and famously blows at throwing.
   91. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:17 PM (#4610797)
just because a guy can play CF doesn't mean he should.


But it does mean that he can, whereas Crawford can't.

   92. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:18 PM (#4610798)
Spectacularly well. The NYY's can't expect that kind of luck if their big contracts get old and stinky.


Even with the luck of finding the Dodgers in that unique position, it still cost them $30-$40 million for 160 not-great games.
   93. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:20 PM (#4610800)
A LF is not a similar player to a CF. Thus, that word doesn't fit either.

Wrong again.


Serious question: Do you understand the concept of positional value?

To be similar players, the players would have to be interchangeable and provide similar value. But they're not. Crawford can't play CF.
   94. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:27 PM (#4610805)
Serious question: Do you understand the concept of positional value?


Yes.

Serious question: Do you understand the word "similar"?

If a LF can never be considered similar to a CF, why did you even bring up their ages, BB rates, HR skills, and base-stealing skills? A skeptic might suspect that once it became apparent that you mistakenly thought people were comparing present-day Crawford with Ellsbury, you all of a sudden conjured up the weird law that players at different points on the defensive spectrum cannot be considered similar to each other.
   95. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:32 PM (#4610808)
Serious question: Do you understand the word "similar"?


Yes.

If a LF can never be considered similar to a CF, why did you even bring up their ages, BB rates, HR skills, and base-stealing skills?


To show all the ways they weren't similar. Why would I be limited to showing just one way?

A skeptic might suspect that once it became apparent that you mistakenly thought people were comparing present-day Crawford with Ellsbury,


I did mistakenly think that, but your next comment is deceitful:

you all of a sudden conjured up the weird law that players at different points on the defensive spectrum cannot be considered similar to each other.


Nothing was "all of a sudden" about it. In my first post on the subject, post 75, I said this:

Why do people keep saying they're similar players? Ellsbury plays CF, is younger, walks more, is a better base stealer, and has more home run power.

It was the very first thing I brought up.


   96. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:39 PM (#4610811)
Ellsbury's deal tops Crawford's by $11 Million, so maybe that makes up for the positional adjustment because besides that, they seemed to be very similar players and deals.
   97. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:46 PM (#4610818)
Except that when he signed his contract Crawford had played 140+ games seven times, whereas Ellsbury, the same age, has done so three times.
   98. Walt Davis Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:53 PM (#4610823)
Crawford, prior to the contract, also had much better durability than Ellsbury. Crawford was a year younger at the time of the contract. Crawford in the three years prior had 14.5 WAR and 1.5 dWAR and 11.2 oWAR (comped to LFs) and was coming off a 6.9 WAR season. Ellsbury had 14.8 WAR, 3.5 dWAR, 12.3 oWAR. In terms of regular numbers:

CC 297/349/454, 115 OPS+, 132/33, 42 HR
JE 303/356/469, 122 OPS+, 105/22, 45 HR

Given the offensive edge is Ellsbury's crazy 2011 (32 of his 45 HR in that year), I don't know how much closer you think you can get. Crawford always seemed to have the skills to play CF, he just got pushed to LF early by Baldelli and he was so good out there it didn't make any sense to shift him to CF later. And Ellsbury got pushed out to LF for a while too. But, sure, that you know Ellsbury can play a good CF is more valuable than knowing that Crawford could play a very good LF. But then so was the extra year younger and greater durability of Crawford coming into 2011.

You'd be hard-pressed to come up with a more obvious or better comp.

Another obvious comp is Damon. He never had a year like 2011 and was inconsistent in his prime but still, from ages 25-29 he put up 22 WAR so a 4-4.5 WAR player. He's one of the success stories with 26 WAR over the next 7 years. Of course he was signed at pretty reasonable prices even for the day -- 4/$32 with Boston at age 28 then 4/$52 by the Yanks at 32. Even that's not too far out of line -- his age 30-36 cost about 7/$75 but that was 10 years ago. Baseball salary inflation probably hasn't been quite that high but it's "only" a doubling over 10 years.

Hunter is another success story with 28 WAR from ages 30-36. Those cost $112 M starting 7 years ago (different contract circumstances of course). From 2000-2013 there are 3 other success stories (>= 20 WAR from 30-36) in Edmonds at 38 WAR (not a good comp), Beltran at 27 WAR (better than Ellsbury) and Cameron at 22 WAR (not a particularly good comp).
   99. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:58 PM (#4610824)
You'd be hard-pressed to come up with a more obvious or better comp.


Any CF is a better comp, so it's not hard to come up with one at all. Or several of them.

Crawford was good enough to play CF but got pushed to LF? That and 75 cents will get you a copy of the USA Today. He wasn't a CF. That's the relevant point. And that actually was the major problem with his contract, as I pointed out at the time: signing a player with that offensive profile to huge money as a LF especially since the defensive value of an excellent LF is capped by Fenway is a major blunder.
   100. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:59 PM (#4610825)
*bump*
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