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Friday, November 24, 2006

MLB: Astros reportedly reel in Lee

The Astros have scheduled a 4 CT press conference, during which they are expected to announce the signing.

According to Jayson Stark, the deal is for 6 years, $100 million.

 

Mike Emeigh Posted: November 24, 2006 at 08:46 PM | 138 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, business

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   1. snakestl Posted: November 24, 2006 at 08:50 PM (#2245064)
What an awful deal for Houston.
   2. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: November 24, 2006 at 08:51 PM (#2245065)
guh. 16-17m for Carlos Lee?

the Soriano deal seems sane.
   3. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: November 24, 2006 at 08:52 PM (#2245066)
Yeah, I don't think the Brewers could have matched that.
   4. The George Sherrill Selection Posted: November 24, 2006 at 08:54 PM (#2245069)
> examine Lee signing

Carlos Lee signed for $100 million over 6 years.

> hit head against wall

You crack your skull against the wall.

** You have died **
   5. Danny Posted: November 24, 2006 at 08:56 PM (#2245071)
Berkman's under contract until 2010 (with an option for 2011), which means Lee will have to remain in the OF.
   6. caprules Posted: November 24, 2006 at 08:56 PM (#2245072)
This overpay is closer to what was expected than others have been. The most common guess I saw was 5/$75 million, so he got an extra year and an extra $2 mil per year.
   7. Shredder Posted: November 24, 2006 at 09:02 PM (#2245076)
Did the owners just feel like there wasn't enough conflict in the latest labor negotiations? It's like they're setting this all up so they can cry poor again in a couple of years. This is insane.
   8. philly Posted: November 24, 2006 at 09:04 PM (#2245078)
This overpay is closer to what was expected than others have been.

So the bubble has burst and the Sox are going to still sign Drew for 2yrs/30M? Awesome.
   9. Шĥy Posted: November 24, 2006 at 09:05 PM (#2245079)
Looking back, deciding that they couldn't give Beltran a no trade clause was a very wise move. They were able to find a guy who would accept slightly less money and not demand a no trade clause. Astros managment in underrated.
   10. snakestl Posted: November 24, 2006 at 09:06 PM (#2245081)
So the bubble has burst and the Sox are going to still sign Drew for 2yrs/30M? Awesome.


JD Drew at 2/30 would be the steal of the off-season at this point.
   11. CraigK Posted: November 24, 2006 at 09:07 PM (#2245083)
Primey for #4.
   12. Raskolnikov Posted: November 24, 2006 at 09:12 PM (#2245087)
My first impression is that this isn't a bad deal. It's only a 6 year commitment, as opposed to 8 for Sori. And CLee is a couple of notches above Pierre and Matthews as players. 17M is the going rate for very good players like Sori and Lee.
   13. CraigK Posted: November 24, 2006 at 09:13 PM (#2245088)
And I think the only way the Cardinals could screw up this offseason would be to sign Barry Bonds for 5 years/300M.
   14. bibigon Posted: November 24, 2006 at 09:23 PM (#2245096)

My first impression is that this isn't a bad deal. It's only a 6 year commitment, as opposed to 8 for Sori. And CLee is a couple of notches above Pierre and Matthews as players. 17M is the going rate for very good players like Sori and Lee.


Is Carlos Lee a very good player? That's the real issue. Accounting for defense, it's not clear to me that he's an above average talent.
   15. billyshears Posted: November 24, 2006 at 09:26 PM (#2245098)
At least Carlos Lee is a guy who I thought was a pretty good player before today.
   16. villainx Posted: November 24, 2006 at 09:30 PM (#2245100)
I think this is insane. But Carlos Lee will probably hit a bunch and if he bats in the middle of the lineup get a lot of rbis. So from that standpoint, it's not the end of the world. Limiting the spending for the team, compromising the team defense, and getting a non dynamic player that's the problem.
   17. mgl Posted: November 24, 2006 at 09:32 PM (#2245103)
This is the worst signing of the off-season. It is horrendous. I defended the Soriano and Matthews signings. This one is indefensible. Lee, by all rights, is a terrible defender at this point in his career (interestingly, prior to 05, his UZR was above average). His baserunning lwts also took a nose-dive in 05. That and his UZR decline suggests that he has lost his speed. He is an average left fielder overall at best. At best.

This signing has all the earmarks of a stupid team overvaluing a player - signing for big bucks a corner outfielder (not properly adjusting for defensive position) who is past his prime, just had a career year in offense, has good garbage stats, and is a terrible defender.
   18. Anonymous Observer Posted: November 24, 2006 at 09:33 PM (#2245104)
And I think the only way the Cardinals could screw up this offseason would be to sign Barry Bonds for 5 years/300M.

No. Jason Marquis is still available...

AO
   19. AJMcCringleberry Posted: November 24, 2006 at 09:36 PM (#2245106)
And I think the only way the Cardinals could screw up this offseason would be to sign Barry Bonds for 5 years/300M.

This offseason it might be one of the best contracts.
   20. Sparkles Peterson Posted: November 24, 2006 at 09:40 PM (#2245107)
MGL, head over to the scout.com Cardinals board and tell all the Carlos Lee fans that they are statistically illiterate dipshits. You might actually have the gravitas to not get banned. I don't.
   21. J. Michael Neal Posted: November 24, 2006 at 09:41 PM (#2245109)
At least Carlos Lee is a guy who I thought was a pretty good player before today.

He plays worse defense than the Republican Guard.
   22. Rich Rifkin I Posted: November 24, 2006 at 09:51 PM (#2245114)
Lee, by all rights, is a terrible defender at this point in his career (interestingly, prior to 05, his UZR was above average).

Any chance he just had two bad years and will bounce back defensively?
   23. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: November 24, 2006 at 09:59 PM (#2245119)
Any chance he just had two bad years and will bounce back defensively?

I remember when Lee first came up. He was an absolute butcher in left field. He looked completely clueless out there. (I still have a memory of Kenny Mayne on Sportscenter saying just before a commercial break, "when we get back we'll give you the top plays of the week. Of course they're not all necessarily best plays, but most memorable ones, or else how could we show you this one" and as he spoke ESPN rolled a clip of Lee doing an absurdly bad job getting the ball.

Lee worked hard at it, and improved himself, eventually becoming reasonably competent. Reading on this site today people say he was a good defender when younger (well, I'll be danged). I guy works hard to get up to competence and then regresses . . . my guess is he's not too likely to bounce back. He had his fielding prime/peak and is now on the long march downward.
   24. snakestl Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:03 PM (#2245120)
He had his fielding prime/peak and is now on the long march downward.


More like falling off a cliff.
   25. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:04 PM (#2245121)
LF in Houston, like LF in Fenway, is one place where you might be able to get away with playing a less-than-stellar defender - some of the difference between Lee and other LFs are plays that can be made on a normal field but can't be made by anyone in Houston because of the Crawford boxes.

-- MWE
   26. Rough Carrigan Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:05 PM (#2245123)
Carlos Lee's VORP with Milwaukee: 27.2 runs in 435 plate appearances

Luke Scott's VORP with Houston: 29.9 runs in 249 plate appearances.
So, it looks like the Astros are paying $100 million for diminished production.
   27. rudy Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:07 PM (#2245125)
Deosn't this contract send Drew into the stratosphere? There is no chance that Boras settles for 4/$56 as was reported a week or so ago...
   28. stubbyc Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:15 PM (#2245131)
Carlos Lee's VORP with Milwaukee: 27.2 runs in 435 plate appearances

Luke Scott's VORP with Houston: 29.9 runs in 249 plate appearances.
So, it looks like the Astros are paying $100 million for diminished production.


Except that Lee won't be replacing Luke Scott. He'll be replacing Jason Lane.
   29. Rear Admiral Piazza Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:17 PM (#2245132)
I play this entirely on Houston's fans, who were promising to riot unless Purpura "did something." Well, he did something, and these same fans will ##### when two years from now Luke Scott will be putting up similar numbers for Kansas City.
   30. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:19 PM (#2245133)
Lee won't be replacing Luke Scott. He'll be replacing Jason Lane.


And Preston Wilson.

-- MWE
   31. Raskolnikov Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:20 PM (#2245134)
Carlos Lee's VORP with Milwaukee: 27.2 runs in 435 plate appearances

Luke Scott's VORP with Houston: 29.9 runs in 249 plate appearances.
So, it looks like the Astros are paying $100 million for diminished production.

Except that Lee won't be replacing Luke Scott. He'll be replacing Jason Lane.


One thing that makes it tough to understand this move is figuring out where Houston plans on playing Pence, who should be ready in 1-2 years. Can Pence play CF? Scott and Lee are not bad bookends for the corners, ignoring the price tag for Lee.
   32. Joltin' Joe Orsulak Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:22 PM (#2245135)
The owners could have used some good old-fashioned collusion this offseason...
   33. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:23 PM (#2245136)
and yes, I did know that Wilson was gone, but he was actually the third starting OF for most of the season, with Scott's initial PT coming at Lane's expense first.

The Lee signing will probably eat into Chris Burke's time, though.

-- MWE
   34. stubbyc Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:25 PM (#2245138)
This signing has all the earmarks of a stupid team overvaluing a player - signing for big bucks a corner outfielder

MGL you think every team is "stupid". The Astros have had one losing season in the past 15 years. Maybe they have a ####### clue what they're doing. Jermaine Dye was the worst signing of '04-05 offseason. Remember? Alfonso Soriano for Wilkerson was the worst trade ever. etc. etc. etc.

This signing looks like too much time and too much money, but the Astros were under a lot of pressure from the fans and media to improve the offense. If this increases the chances that Clemens/Pettitte return than it can't be too bad.
   35. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:27 PM (#2245139)
Hopefully this will safeguard the O's from undertaking any disastrous signings this offseason. Sometimes their inertness works in their favor.

so does Lane get another shot somewhere else? If so, will he bounce back from his horrible '06? I've nursed a pet theory that the friendly Minute Maid LF homer porch has caused him to contract pull-the-ball homeritis, but I don't see enough Astros games or really know Lane well enough to know if it holds any water.
   36. Srul Itza At Home Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:28 PM (#2245141)
The Lee signing will probably eat into Chris Burke's time

Biggio's chase for 3,000 is what will really eat into it. But for that, I think Biggio would be done and Burke would be manning second, where his offensive numbers would be a plus.
   37. Rough Carrigan Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:29 PM (#2245142)
Isn't this almost the same money they wouldn't give Beltran along with a no trade clause. And now Lee gets 4 years of complete no trade then 2 more years of limited no trade. Which outfielder would you rather have?
   38. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:29 PM (#2245143)
#4: awesome, a fellow interactive fiction aficionado.

And the money flying around these days in the game is just incredible.
   39. stubbyc Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:30 PM (#2245146)
One thing that makes it tough to understand this move is figuring out where Houston plans on playing Pence, who should be ready in 1-2 years. Can Pence play CF? Scott and Lee are not bad bookends for the corners, ignoring the price tag for Lee.

Pence recently got kicked off his AFL team for a DUI. He wasn't going to have a starting spot on this team this year either way.

They played him in CF in CC even with a few better defensive CFs on the team to see if he could be a long term fit there. He played some CF in the AFL and got lauded for his defensive improvements.
   40. The Bones McCoy of THT Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:32 PM (#2245148)
Lee won't be replacing Luke Scott. He'll be replacing Jason Lane.


And Preston Wilson


And Mike Crudale.

Best Regards

John
   41. stubbyc Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:33 PM (#2245149)
Isn't this almost the same money they wouldn't give Beltran along with a no trade clause. And now Lee gets 4 years of complete no trade then 2 more years of limited no trade. Which outfielder would you rather have?

Beltran never had any plans of staying in Houston. Boras blocked off face to face conversations between the Astros and Beltran.
   42. bibigon Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:33 PM (#2245150)

MGL you think every team is "stupid". The Astros have had one losing season in the past 15 years. Maybe they have a ####### clue what they're doing. Jermaine Dye was the worst signing of '04-05 offseason. Remember? Alfonso Soriano for Wilkerson was the worst trade ever. etc. etc. etc.


Did MGL call Dye the worst signing of the '04-'05 offseason?
   43. S.E. Kaufman Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:34 PM (#2245151)
Carlos Lee = Grue?
   44. stubbyc Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:38 PM (#2245154)
Did MGL call Dye the worst signing of the '04-'05 offseason?

After re-checking the thread he called it "one of the worst signings" and "terrible" but not the worst.
   45. stubbyc Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:40 PM (#2245158)
The Lee signing will probably eat into Chris Burke's time, though.

Burke will see more time at 2b this year though and has been recently rumored in a few trades.
   46. Steve Threadair Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:46 PM (#2245160)
#4: awesome, a fellow interactive fiction aficionado.

Joey B, I think you would enjoy this post
   47. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:49 PM (#2245162)
This is the worst signing of the off-season. It is horrendous. I defended the Soriano and Matthews signings. This one is indefensible. Lee, by all rights, is a terrible defender at this point in his career (interestingly, prior to 05, his UZR was above average). His baserunning lwts also took a nose-dive in 05. That and his UZR decline suggests that he has lost his speed. He is an average left fielder overall at best. At best.

*making note to draft Lee for my fantasy team*
   48. Raskolnikov Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:57 PM (#2245165)
One thing you have to give mgl credit for. He never sits on the fence. He may be right. He may be wrong. (ducking) But he never sits on the fence.
   49. FredUD Posted: November 24, 2006 at 10:58 PM (#2245167)
Hope they have the press conf. on ESPNews, but probably not.

stubby's got it right, he's replacing Lane/Wilson, who were absolutely horrible. Looking forward to a very deep middle of the order. Still have a hard time with the bottom 3 (Everett, Ausmus, Pitcher), who are 3 of the worst offesnive players in MLB. Everett I can handle with his defense, but Ausmus is getting tougher to stomach if I'm going to accept Everett.
   50. Steve Threadair Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:04 PM (#2245169)
MGL wasn't the only one thinking the Dye signing was bad. Just read the first three posts from this thread.
   51. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:05 PM (#2245170)
I'm sitting on the fence on this one.
   52. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:07 PM (#2245174)
I'll join the squad of those who were wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong about Dye. I said "Kenny Williams of the Chicago White Sox signed Dye for two years, 10.15 million, thus proving that there will always be people with more money than sense." Mea culpa, Kenny.
   53. Foster Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:08 PM (#2245175)
Burke's a good player. He'd make someone a fine second baseman, if the Astros would trade him for something reasonable.
   54. Zach Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:09 PM (#2245176)
I play this entirely on Houston's fans, who were promising to riot unless Purpura "did something." Well, he did something, and these same fans will ##### when two years from now Luke Scott will be putting up similar numbers for Kansas City.

Would somebody else please rhetorically trade a top prospect to Kansas City, too? This offseason has been murder for Royals fans. No juicy KC rumors, not even any free agent contracts you can get steamed at the front office for missing out on.
   55. FredUD Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:11 PM (#2245177)
Woody Williams is being announced too as joining Houston.
   56. Steve Threadair Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:17 PM (#2245179)
Woody Williams: 5/75
   57. FredUD Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:20 PM (#2245181)
Woody Williams: 5/75


..or maybe 2/12.5 Not a bad deal for a league average innings eater these days.
   58. akrasian Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:22 PM (#2245182)
5 years to Woody Williams? He's thrown enough innings to qualify for the ERA title twice in the past 5 years - 3 years ago most recently. He's 40. No team could be that foolish, surely?
   59. akrasian Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:23 PM (#2245183)
ah, 2 years makes much more sense for Williams.
   60. FredUD Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:23 PM (#2245184)
It was tounge-in-cheek.
   61. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:25 PM (#2245185)
5/75 for Woody Williams!?!? No way. You are kidding, right?
   62. Steve Threadair Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:25 PM (#2245187)
Good, since the beginning of the offseason I throw stupid 5/50 and 8/135 numbers around and get it right. 2/12.5 is not bad.
   63. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:28 PM (#2245188)
Well, if they're buying his '05, it's not worth half that. And he goes from a great pitchers' park to a park that's, well, just horrible in every conceivable way. That's going to be worth the money!
   64. Steve Threadair Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:28 PM (#2245189)
Sorry about that. I just realised after posting that my 5/75 post might actually be believable. I was kidding...
   65. The Bones McCoy of THT Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:29 PM (#2245191)
It was tounge-in-cheek.


Are we talkin' about Jeter's date again?

Best Regards

John
   66. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:30 PM (#2245192)
The longer this off-season goes on, the better I feel about what I wrote at the top of post #2 of this thread.

Let's flip the question around: how much money would have to be floating around MLB in order for the recent big signings (Thomas, Soriano, Pierre, Hairston, Lee) to by and large make sense? Doesn't mean they all would have to make sense, but that on the average they'd be normal. Clearly there's a considerable uptick in how much players are worth.
   67. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:32 PM (#2245193)
Er, there should've been a link in post #66's first sentence. Oops. Let's try that again.

The longer this off-season goes on, the better I feel about what I wrote at the top of post #2 of this thread.
   68. 1k5v3L Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:34 PM (#2245197)
Jermaine Dye had the excuse of being horrible in Oakland due to injuries. So there was the "he might start hitting again when he's healthy" excuse. I reckon one can be wrong about the Dye deal and still be very much right about the Carlos Lee signing. Plus, the Dye deal was for 2 years and $10m or so. That's pocket change compared to what Lee got. Lee's contact can choke a franchise; the Dye deal was a small misstep in comparison, at best.

And you would think the Astros would've learned from the financial sinkhole that the Jeff Bagwell contract proved to be. And Jeff Bagwell was a much much better player than Carlos Lee can ever hope to be.

I said it in the other thread, but I'll repeat it here: I'd rather have Scott Hairston in LF for the next six years than Carlos Lee.
   69. stubbyc Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:40 PM (#2245202)
The longer this off-season goes on, the better I feel about what I wrote at the top of post #2 of this thread.

I think that post is pretty accurate. Every offseason we go through the same thing. 90% of the signings are retarded and we find out how every GM is "stupid".

In a market where Soriano is worth 8/136 how can Lee be worth much less than 6/100? In a market where Padilla is "seeking" 4/44 how can Woody Williams be worth much less than 2/12? Maybe these contracts seem absurd now, but 2 years from now the going rate for these guys might be even more.

Despite the absolute statements of so many posters on this board the BTF consensus is wrong quite often. Remember when signing Lieber, Benson, etc. to 3/21 seemed absurd? I'd say that MLB teams have a better handle on what market value is.
   70. bob gee Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:44 PM (#2245203)
umm, stubby...

most of the signings DON'T have a major positive effect on the team which signs the free agent...
   71. Foster Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:52 PM (#2245205)
I think that post is pretty accurate. Every offseason we go through the same thing. 90% of the signings are retarded and we find out how every GM is "stupid".

It's not the money that's been bothering me.

It's the fact that the Astros have guys like Burke who will produce as much (or close to) as much on the field value, at a fraction of the cost.

The Angels could have brought in a half-dozen NRIs or traded for "AAAA" guys to find the next Gary Matthews (or at least provide 90% of his production.)

It's not my money, but it still offends my sensibilities. It's like a really rich guy paying $100 for a pizza; just because he can afford it doesn't mean it's not a ripoff.
   72. Foster Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:53 PM (#2245206)
Or, what #70 said more succintly.
   73. Flynn Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:54 PM (#2245207)
Somewhere Bill Stoneman is running around screaming, "I'm off the hook! I'm off the hook!"
   74. A Day In the Park Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:54 PM (#2245208)
I'm hijacking this from a prior "Lee to Houston" thread from a few days ago...a post that I made.

Just for your convenience:

Carlos Lee's Top Ten PECOTA comps, and what their age 31 season looked like:

Ivan Calderon: (31) .209/.274/.280, (Car) .272/.333/.442
Kevin McReynolds: (31) .259/.322/.416, (Car) .265/.328/.447
Ted Kluszewski: (31) .302/.362/.536, (Car) .298/.353/.498
Jeff Conine: (31) .242/.337/.405, (Car) .286/.348/.445
Willie Horton: (31) .298/.361/.529, (Car) .273/.332/.457
Eric Karros: (31) .304/.362/.550, (Car) .268/.325/.454
Jim Rice: (31) .280/.323/.467, (Car) .298/.352/.502
Kevin Young: (31) .258/.311/.433, (Car) .258/.324/.438
Joe Carter: (31) .273/.330/.503, (Car) .259/.306/.464
Torii Hunter: (31) .Not Yet 30 years old, (Car) .269/.323/.463

Carlos Lee Career through Age 30 season (2006): .286/.340/.495

Just based on the 10 comps final career SLG it seems Lee will go through a drop as he ages. Most of them ended up with SLG's below .465. It seems his OBP may drop a bit as well, but not as much as the SLG.

I'm not going to try and value Mr. Lee here, because in this market he could be worth $1,000,000,000.

So I'll let you draw your own conclusions.
   75. stubbyc Posted: November 24, 2006 at 11:59 PM (#2245210)
It's the fact that the Astros have guys like Burke who will produce as much (or close to) as much on the field value, at a fraction of the cost.

Burke's the future 2b or possible trade bait. He'll split time with Biggio at 2b this year (at least after Biggio gets to 3000) and he'll get some starts in CF, RF, and possibly a few starts at SS.
   76. Walt Davis Posted: November 25, 2006 at 12:07 AM (#2245213)
Remember when signing Lieber, Benson, etc. to 3/21 seemed absurd?

You have a point but I don't think this is not a good example to support your argument. Lieber, Benson, Milton, Wright, Pavano, Odalis Perez, Matt Clement ... those are the guys who come to mind.

And in the first two seasons of those contracts, those 7 guys combined for 1877 IP (average 134 per player-season) with a substantially below-average ERA. Lieber and Benson have been fine, the other five have pretty much been disasters so far.

OK, Derek Lowe has worked out very nicely though also one of the higher paid.
   77. bigcpa Posted: November 25, 2006 at 12:12 AM (#2245214)
How long have we heard that Pat Burrell's 6yr/$50M was a foolish contract, and that was for his age 26-31 seasons. Burrell's closest b-ref comp when he signed the deal was... Carlos Lee. And the 2005 White Sox were supposedly upgrading in the Lee-Podsednik deal. Madness, all of it.
   78. S.E. Kaufman Posted: November 25, 2006 at 12:14 AM (#2245215)
That's going to be worth the money!

To watch, maybe. Williams in that bandbox--with Lee "ranging" in the OF--will get ugly, and fast.
   79. 1k5v3L Posted: November 25, 2006 at 12:39 AM (#2245223)
The Astros lose their first round and second round picks at once! Attaboy!

Astros signed RHP Woody Williams, who had been with the Padres, to a two-year, $12.5 million contract.

The Astros are nothing if not predictable. We don't have a problem with this signing. Sure, Williams would have been better for one year than two, but it looks like every free agent will get at least one extra year this winter. The trouble with Williams is that his innings count has fallen every year lately, dropping to 145 2/3 last season. Also, he's not someone a team can have a lot of confidence in come playoff time. In an NL Central filled with mediocre, right-handed heavy lineups, he should post a pretty good ERA when healthy. The Padres will get a supplemental first-rounder and the Astros' second-round pick for losing him. Nov. 24 - 5:30 pm et
   80. Benny Distefano's Mitt Posted: November 25, 2006 at 12:52 AM (#2245228)
In unrelated news, Shipley Donuts stock tripled.
   81. Foster Posted: November 25, 2006 at 01:01 AM (#2245229)
most of the signings DON'T have a major positive effect on the team which signs the free agent...

I remembered another one I was thinking of -- Nomar. They already have Loney and Betemit (neither a sure thing, of course, and Nomar is very popular.)
   82. Joe Cowley's #1 MVP choice Posted: November 25, 2006 at 01:28 AM (#2245238)
And the 2005 White Sox were supposedly upgrading in the Lee-Podsednik deal. Madness, all of it.

Remember though that the money they freed up in that deal was used on AJ Pierzynski and Tadahito Iguchi, and considering who they had at 2B and C before then, it was pretty siginficant.
   83. mgl Posted: November 25, 2006 at 01:36 AM (#2245242)
I have no idea whether his defense might "bounce back." Normally, the best predictor of a player's future performance, offense or defense, is past performance weighted and age adjusted. If, however, there is a significant, articulable reason for a decline (or in rarer cases, an increase) in performance, then maybe it doesn't work that way. If Lee has gained a lot of weight or lost his speed more than expected through normal aging, then I suppose he might not "bounce back." In general, though, we often understate the importance of all of a player's past performance in predicting future performance.

Of course I don't think all teams are stupid. In any case, what does that even mean? Saying someone or some entity is "stupid" has little meaning in and of itself. I explained what that means in this case and why I don't like the signing. There is nothing left to say.

As far as being "wrong" about any particular projection, I would hope that I or the best forecasters in the world are going to be "wrong" (again, whatever that means) some percentage of the time, otherwise there would be something seriously wrong with the universe.

All I can do is take the data and come up with a projection for total player performance in terms of marginal runs above or below an average player at their defensive position. That is not that difficult to do. At least for me and other professional and amatuer forecasters. Everything else (good/bad signing, stupid/smart team, etc.) follows from that tautologically.
   84. mgl Posted: November 25, 2006 at 01:43 AM (#2245247)
BTW, I know of no research that suggests that the size of the OF has a significant effect on a fielder's value. And I don't think that it is intuitively obvious either. If I am wrong about the research/studies, MWE, please correct me. For example, Manny's UZR is historically just as bad at home (with a very small LF of course) as on the road, IIRC.
   85. stealfirstbase Posted: November 25, 2006 at 01:59 AM (#2245253)
That Dye thread is really something. We should pull out more of those threads from the past just to get an idea of how wrong we were, myself included. My favorite line?

One last thought: the Dye signing is yet another reminder of how ill-advised the Freddy Garcia trade was. Jeremy Reed could have provided superior production for the league minimum over the life of this contract.


Man oh man. Levski, you also made an appearance:

God dammit, another freaking owner overpaying for crap.

A boatload of primates from here could do a lot better.

Why don't baseball owners just hire a few primates for 06?

I find this poetically just, since the D-Backs were the team that competed with the White Sox for Dye. The story is that Dye agreed in principle to a deal with the Sox, only to have the D-Backs call and offer more money during his physical. Needless to say, he turned them down, and the rest is history (See Series, World. 2005).

Baseball's a funny game. I'm sure if I looked hard enough I could find the comments in various threads over the 2005-2006 offseason where I pushed for the Sox to trade Crede and Garland for Blalock. Urrgh. What a bad idea that was.
   86. akrasian Posted: November 25, 2006 at 02:24 AM (#2245271)
I remembered another one I was thinking of -- Nomar. They already have Loney and Betemit (neither a sure thing, of course, and Nomar is very popular.)

Loney appears to be slated to replace Drew in right when Nomar is in the lineup, so he apparently isn't being blocked at all.

In a market where Soriano is worth 8/136 how can Lee be worth much less than 6/100?

They've been roughly equal at the plate over their careers, though Soriano is coming off of a season better than any Lee has had. However, Soriano is better defensively (and likely to improve as he gains experience at his new position). He's also a much better baserunner. Thanks to his speed and to Lee's apparent love of food, Soriano strikes me as being a much better candidate for aging well.

It's not that the Cubs didn't overpay in some sense, in order to make sure they got the player they wanted - it's that the Cubs at least got a player who is reasonably likely to be a plus player for much (though not all) of his contract. It's not clear that Lee is a plus player now, once defense and baserunning is factored in - and unless he controls his weight almost certainly won't be even an average player in a few years. The Astros are gambling that (1) they are very close to being able to win it all this coming season; and (2) that Lee will work harder to stay in shape now that he's set for life than when he was facing free agency.

Maybe this move gets Clemens and Pettite to re up with them - we don't know what the Astros have been told on that. That's about the only thing that makes sense to me, though. I don't see how the Astros can consider themselves a Carlos Lee short of championship caliber without those two, though.
   87. Rear Admiral Piazza Posted: November 25, 2006 at 02:29 AM (#2245274)
I think Pettite comes back, but Clemens is done. Which is too bad, since, while Williams is getting paid a bit much, he is getting paid to be the fourth or fifth starter. "IF" everyone is healthy, a team with Williams as the fourth or fifth starter is a team with a pretty formidable rotation.
   88. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 25, 2006 at 02:34 AM (#2245277)
Wow. I am stunned. At least I think Soriano and Pierre will age well. This has Greg Vaughn written all over it.
   89. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 25, 2006 at 02:38 AM (#2245279)
MGL wasn't the only one thinking the Dye signing was bad. Just read the first three posts from this thread.

Cool! I defended the Dye signing!

On the down side, I also thought Richard Hidalgo would receive a 2 year $9 million deal. What ever happened to that guy?
   90. 1k5v3L Posted: November 25, 2006 at 02:43 AM (#2245282)
Man oh man. Levski, you also made an appearance:

God dammit, another freaking owner overpaying for crap.

A boatload of primates from here could do a lot better.

Why don't baseball owners just hire a few primates for 06?


Obviously, someone needs to buy a dictionary and look up the word "sarcasm".

I find this poetically just, since the D-Backs were the team that competed with the White Sox for Dye. The story is that Dye agreed in principle to a deal with the Sox, only to have the D-Backs call and offer more money during his physical. Needless to say, he turned them down, and the rest is history (See Series, World. 2005).


Is that right? I find that highly improbable given the fact that the Dbacks spent pretty much the entire winter before the 2005 season trying to engineer a three-way trade to send RJ to NYY so that Jeff Moorad could acquire Shawn Green from the Dodgers. And the player they had as a backup plan for RF was Jeromy Burnitz, not Dye. They even had Burnitz fly to AZ to meet the owners but once it became clear they would be able to acquire Green, they pulled off the offer to Burnitz off the table. But hey, the "White Sox steal Dye from AZ => World Series" is a cool story. Something Kenny W can tell his kids one day.
   91. JC in DC Posted: November 25, 2006 at 02:58 AM (#2245290)
As far as being "wrong" about any particular projection, I would hope that I or the best forecasters in the world are going to be "wrong" (again, whatever that means) some percentage of the time, otherwise there would be something seriously wrong with the universe.


That's breathtakingly awesome spin. "I would hope that I am 'wrong' some of the time...'" Hello? Why is "wrong" in scarequotes? Is there some way in which you weren't wrong? And, isn't the question not that you were wrong, and you were wrong emphatically (maybe it should be WRONG!), but how often are you right ("right?")? My kids can be wrong about this stuff. You're supposed to know something. You shouldn't be THIS wrong. You should view that as a failure.
   92. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: November 25, 2006 at 03:04 AM (#2245293)
For example, Manny's UZR is historically just as bad at home (with a very small LF of course) as on the road, IIRC.
I think the implication--not sure about this exactly--is that with notably small LFs like Fenway or Houston, certain of the PBP zones that appear standard in other parks are entirely uncatchable balls there, so anyone you stick in those positions will come up with terrible numbers. And, by extension, since there's less ground for them to cover, you can get away with a slightly inferior outfielder
   93. Andere Richtingen Posted: November 25, 2006 at 03:14 AM (#2245298)
That's breathtakingly awesome spin. "I would hope that I am 'wrong' some of the time...'" Hello? Why is "wrong" in scarequotes? Is there some way in which you weren't wrong? And, isn't the question not that you were wrong, and you were wrong emphatically (maybe it should be WRONG!), but how often are you right ("right?")? My kids can be wrong about this stuff. You're supposed to know something. You shouldn't be THIS wrong. You should view that as a failure.

'Wrong' is appropriate. All one can do is make the best projection based on the data available, and you will do that and be 'wrong' fairly frequently. You're still making the best projection. People drive drunk and make it home safely -- that doesn't make it a good decision. The fact that baseball players and teams surprise us is one of the reasons baseball is worth watching. There may or may not be justification for referring to teams as dumb for failing to make the 'right' projection, but it's a fair caveat.

Regarding Lee, I watched the guy play this year, and I simply do not understand how he stole 19 bases and was caught only twice.
   94. Srul Itza At Home Posted: November 25, 2006 at 03:16 AM (#2245299)
Manny's UZR is historically just as bad at home (with a very small LF of course) as on the road, IIRC.

Does your UZR correct for balls taht are considered "in zone" but are, in fact, unplayable off teh wall?
   95. Steve Threadair Posted: November 25, 2006 at 03:21 AM (#2245302)
You're supposed to know something. You shouldn't be THIS wrong.

Don't you think you're going a little bit far? What do you mean? Should he be able to predict every player's output within a certain range 100% of the time? If he's right on 50% of his predictions and normal people are right 25%, can't it be good?

Man, it's trying to predict the future...
   96. S.E. Kaufman Posted: November 25, 2006 at 03:23 AM (#2245305)
Regarding Lee, I watched the guy play this year, and I simply do not understand how he stole 19 bases and was caught only twice.

Probably for the same reason Soriano was caught 17 times, i.e. some players are better baserunners than others irrespective of speed. (I say this having Lee play once, maybe twice this season, so I don't know. But 19 out of 21 tells me he knows when to pick his spots.) Now, if you combine Soriano's speed with Lee's instincts, you might have a player worth either of their respective contracts...
   97. Gaelan Posted: November 25, 2006 at 03:23 AM (#2245306)
This is the worst signing yet. Dan's comparison of the Catalanatto signing is very apt. I'd bet the Catalanatto + platoon partner will out produce Lee with money left over to upgrade elsewhere. Not only that the Astros have an in-house option in Hunter Pence. If the Astros really wanted to improve their offense they'd stop playing Ausmus. Instead they keep Ausmus, sign Lee, and look like they're going to get rid of Ensberg. Completely ass backwards.
   98. stealfirstbase Posted: November 25, 2006 at 03:25 AM (#2245307)
Obviously, someone needs to buy a dictionary and look up the word "sarcasm".

Sarcasm: A sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter gibe or taunt. Now usually in generalized sense: Sarcastic language; sarcastic meaning or purpose.

"Muse, shew the rigour of a satyres art, In harsh sarcasmes, dissonant and smart."
- H. Hutton. Follie's anatomie: or satyres and satyricall epigrams. With a compendious history of Ixion's wheele

Hmm. That definition doesn't seem to fit, and neither does the quote. Oh, silly me, you meant retroactive sarcasm. Here you go:

Retroactive sarcasm: The act of covering your ass for being incredibly and aggressively wrong by pretending you were actually being "dissonant and smart."

"I was just being sarcastic about WMDs in Iraq. You actually took me at face value?!"
- Donald Rumsfeld

And since I've enlightened you once today, I'll go for the two-fer. Here's an article about Jermaine Dye turning down more money from the D-Backs to play in Chicago. Happy Thanksgiving!
   99. stealfirstbase Posted: November 25, 2006 at 03:28 AM (#2245309)
Nanny missed that one, didn't it?
   100. pkb33 Posted: November 25, 2006 at 03:32 AM (#2245311)
As post 94 notes, one conclusion to draw from the Manny data is that UZR isn't properly adjusting for the Wall. I know mgl has worked on that issue and maybe he's gotten it right...I haven't seen the data to know. Or else there's still an issue there, which I know has been discussed over time. Curious what mgl might say on that.

One possibility about the 'smaller field doesn't change fielding value' suggestion (though it wouldn't necessarily apply to Fenway very well) is that the great majority of BIP might be in a range that all fields possess. Or, in other words, the 'excess' room in a 'big' OF versus a small one might come into play for so few balls that it doesn't really change uzr ratings much.

This signing seems clearly better than the Matthews signing to me, only because Matthews has really only had one year (or a year and a half) where he's a playable hitter. So not only are there questions about his defensive value depending on what metric you prefer, he very likely begins the contract as a mediocre bat as well. Lee is at least likely to hit for power with a passable (but not good) OBP for a few years.
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