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Monday, December 10, 2012

red sox - Reassessing risk: How many years is too many for Josh Hamilton? - WEEI | Alex Speier

Three years and no more.

All of that being the case, it’s not only Hamilton who represents a cautionary tale for a deal of more than three years at his age. It’s virtually anyone with his track record, regardless of background, who reaches the point of potentially precipitous decline in value by the time he turns 35.

The Sox in recent years have received some brutal lessons in the payroll-choking impact of having high-salaried players who were unable to stay on the field. The team was unable to maneuver in response to needs last offseason in no small part because it had so much money tied up in players who weren’t going to be on the field (Carl Crawford, John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Bobby Jenks, among others) for significant stretches of 2012.

If the team hopes to avoid a repeat of such scenarios, and to remain true to the mantra of fiscal discipline, then it is difficult to see how pursuing Hamilton for more than three years makes sense.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 10, 2012 at 09:08 PM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: free agency, josh hamilton, red sox, sabermetrics

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: December 10, 2012 at 09:46 PM (#4321386)
an OPS+ (OPS as compared to league average, adjusted for park) between 130 and 140, meaning a player whose OPS was 30 to 40 percent better than that of his peers during the same period.

Grrr...
   2.   Posted: December 10, 2012 at 09:52 PM (#4321391)
How can you phrase that in a terse way that is valid? "...meaning a player whose OBP compared to average and his SLG compared to average, averaged out to being around 30 to 40 points higher than the average...combined OBP above average and SLG above average. Sort of but not exactly..."
   3. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: December 10, 2012 at 10:24 PM (#4321416)
Yeah, OPS+ is sort of difficult to interpret, and baseball-reference isn't very forthcoming on how they intend it to be explained. When a hitter does have a 140 OPS+, you know he's better than league average, but how much better? 40 "OPS+ units" better? What does that mean, exactly? It's not that clear.

Don't get me wrong, I love OPS+ - it may be my favorite stat - but explaining it is tough.
   4. Dale Sams Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:08 PM (#4321454)
For the billionth time, what moves were they too crippled to make? Hmm? Kuroda didn't seem interested in them, and they wern't (And still arn't) interested in Edwin Jackson.

and to remain true to the mantra of fiscal discipline


Again, you don't get awards for that. Orioles made the playoffs last year, Jays and Rays have made big moves, the Yanks MIGHT sort of sit pat this year, but you know they won't next year. What a CF at all levels. Next they'll probably trade Ellsbury for Justin Masterson, a reliever and a C prospect.

edit: and tons of people will laud that trade.
   5. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:09 PM (#4321455)
5.
   6. Busted Flush Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:23 PM (#4321468)
6.
   7. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:30 PM (#4321475)
I'd go five for Hamilton. Yeah it's a gamble but you win with stars.
   8. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:38 PM (#4321483)
And here we go again...4/110-5/135 works fine. Anything towards 6 years or over $140 mil is just too much of a risk. Besides I rather they spend the $27 mil per on Sanchez and Jackson and get some decent pitching.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:56 PM (#4321493)
How can you phrase that in a terse way that is valid?

I agree it's a challenge but an OPS+ of 140 is, approximately, an OPS 20% above (park-adjusted!) average, not 40%. That's just too big of a difference to overlook -- it's not "inaccurate but close enough".

In this particular case you'd probably be better off anyway just saying where his OPS+ ranks over the time period being looked at. For those who aren't familiar with the stats, neither a 140 OPS+ nor an OPS approximately 20% above average really tells them that much.

Yes, life would have been easier had they gone with the awkward equation:

OPS+ = 1 + .5*[(obp/lgobp)-1] + .5*[(slg/lgslg)-1]

or the blood simple:

OPS+ = OPS/lgOPS

but it's a bit late for that.
   10. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 11, 2012 at 01:08 AM (#4321522)
No more than 4 at most.
   11. Dan Posted: December 11, 2012 at 01:28 AM (#4321532)
I'm on board with Hugh - anything under 6 years and ~$140M committed is fine by me. They need to add another impact bat to this lineup.
   12. DFA Posted: December 11, 2012 at 02:20 AM (#4321554)
4/100...too much injury history and other baggage.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: December 11, 2012 at 02:23 AM (#4321555)
As I've tried to show in the other FA market threads, teams seem comfy signing "stars" through age 35-36. Maybe they shouldn't but that marks Hamilton for 4-5 years and he might be able to leverage a 6th. I certainly don't expect anything more than 6 guaranteed or less than 4.

Granted, Hamilton is really tough to project ... by WAR starting in 2008:

5.2, .4, 8.4, 3.5, 3.4

If we just average those, he comes out around 4.5 WAR per full season. With standard decline that would suggest somewhere between 17 to 20 WAR over the next 5 years. With that projection anything around 5/$100 to $120 is probably OK. But those last two "stable" years scare me a bit and if he's starting as a true 3.5 WAR player then he's gonna project more like 12-15 WAR and now 5/$100 is a clear overpay.

I don't see a problem with the numbers in the column but the results don't quite smell right to me. These suggest he'll be below-average by 35 (at least once playing time is taken into account) and pretty much useless at 36. He even took out a couple of guys who were already pretty much done by 32. I guess a good chunk of that WAR does depend on how much CF he plays which is not likely to be a lot ... but he had more innings in CF this year than any since 2008 (though his Rdef is not good).

As a rich team, I guess I'd go 5/$100, maybe higher depending on when my TV deal expires. :-) As always, I'm more willing to take this risk as an AL team where I can stash him at DH if need be.
   14. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: December 11, 2012 at 02:54 AM (#4321564)
I'm With Hugh. Reliable, work horse pitching would be a beautiful thing.

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