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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Rubin: Jon Niese, New York Mets Agree on 5 Year, 25M Deal

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.—New York Mets left-hander Jon Niese has agreed to a five-year, $25.5 million deal with two team options that can raise the value to $46 million, according to two sources.

The completion of the contract is pending a physical. Niese would have been under the team’s control for another four seasons before the deal.

The first contract ever based primarily on FIP?

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:47 PM | 51 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets

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   1. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:54 PM (#4097481)
388 IP, 388 H, 192 R, 49 HR, 138 BB, 254 K, 92 ERA+, 2.3 WAR - Wade Davis

370 IP, 417 H, 208 R, 37 HR, 123 BB, 315 K, 88 ERA+, 1.0 WAR - Jon Niese

Davis signed this offseason for 4 years, 13M, with club options for three years beyond that. Niese's contract looks like a really big overpay.
   2. PreservedFish Posted: April 05, 2012 at 12:18 AM (#4097511)
Davis signed this offseason for 4 years, 13M, with club options for three years beyond that. Niese's contract looks like a really big overpay.


Urf.

I think there's a good chance that Niese is worth the contract, but this is tough to refute.

But hey ... look at those peripherals. DIPS is real, right? Come on!
   3. Randomly Fluctuating Defensive Metric Posted: April 05, 2012 at 12:35 AM (#4097531)
The contrast between Lannan and Niese this week is pretty fascinating. I think Lannan deserved better and Niese was overpaid, but going forward I think Niese will be the better pitcher, if that makes any sense at all. Contradictions... clocks, watermelons... FIP...
   4. Dr. Vaux Posted: April 05, 2012 at 04:36 AM (#4097590)
Does anyone think this could cause the Players' Association to ask for a component of pay-for-performance in the next CBA? They've got to be disconcerted by the Lannan thing, and veterans like Lannan are probably disconcerted by this kind of thing.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: April 05, 2012 at 06:04 AM (#4097595)
The Lannan thing could get pretty ugly. He's only got 4 years and 11 days of service time. He was scheduled to be FA after 2013 but if they keep him down for a month or 6 weeks, he won't reach 5 years of service time this year, meaning no FA until after 2014.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 05, 2012 at 07:51 AM (#4097605)
The Lannan thing could get pretty ugly. He's only got 4 years and 11 days of service time. He was scheduled to be FA after 2013 but if they keep him down for a month or 6 weeks, he won't reach 5 years of service time this year, meaning no FA until after 2014.

It would be pretty easy to fix though. They should just change the rule so that you use an option for every year in which you spend at least 1 day on the 25-man roster.

It's silly that a guy who have been up and down over three years with <1 year of service time can be out of options, but a guy who has been a major leaguer for 4 straight seasons still has them.
   7. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: April 05, 2012 at 08:12 AM (#4097613)
Clearly a bet that Niese puts it together the next year or two. Sandy obviously believes in the peripherals. It isn't as though they were dangling this deal to Pelfrey after 2010. This doesn't seem like a Jeff Wilpon move.
   8. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: April 05, 2012 at 08:20 AM (#4097616)
The Lannan thing could get pretty ugly. He's only got 4 years and 11 days of service time. He was scheduled to be FA after 2013 but if they keep him down for a month or 6 weeks, he won't reach 5 years of service time this year, meaning no FA until after 2014.

This could be similar to Milwaukee's treatment of JJ Hardy a few seasons ago. When they sent him down in the middle of '09, it halted his service clock enough to put FA off for another year. He was hitting pretty poorly at the time, so the move was defensible even if there were rumors that it was motivated by service-clock reasons.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 05, 2012 at 08:53 AM (#4097626)

Davis signed this offseason for 4 years, 13M, with club options for three years beyond that. Niese's contract looks like a really big overpay.


Davis is also in the pen now, not because he sucks, but because he's the Rays 6th (7th?) best starter. Niese, is what, the #2 for the Mets? You overpay for what you're desperate for.
   10. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: April 05, 2012 at 09:11 AM (#4097638)
Niese is under team control for the next 4 years without this deal. They aren't desperate for him.
   11. zack Posted: April 05, 2012 at 09:12 AM (#4097640)
Hey, on the bright side, the Mets spent money on someone that isn't an old middle reliever.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 05, 2012 at 09:13 AM (#4097643)
Godd idea, bad overpay.

Are we really to believe Niese wouldn't have signed for $20M, or even $15M?

A better deal would have been to offer ~$12-15M for the four control years, and they an option or two at ~$10M p.a.
   13. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 05, 2012 at 09:13 AM (#4097644)
Right. They have Niese - they have no need to offer him anything more.

It's certainly plausible that Niese is as good as his component numbers, and a pitcher as effective as Niese's FIP would be a reasonable signing at 5/25. I just think that if Niese actually pitches up to his FIP, they could have signed him to a very similar contract next winter. And if they're willing to commit to Niese before he demonstrates he can get big league hitters out, they should have been able to get a deal along the lines of Davis'.
   14. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: April 05, 2012 at 09:22 AM (#4097657)
I just think that if Niese actually pitches up to his FIP, they could have signed him to a very similar contract next winter.


Doubtful. Gio Gonzalez got $42MM.
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 05, 2012 at 09:29 AM (#4097661)
Doubtful. Gio Gonzalez got $42MM.

That's a lousy comp.

Gio was coming off two years of 402 IP at a 129 ERA+. Niese has two years of 331 IP, 89 ERA+.

One season at a ~3.70 ERA would not put Niese in Gio's class. Also, Gio strikes out more batters (22% vs. 19%), and has a much lowed LD% (17% vs. 20.5%). Gio should pitch better, relative to FIP, than Niese.
   16. PreservedFish Posted: April 05, 2012 at 09:32 AM (#4097663)
I think I'll be looking at this like #11 did.

Let's say Niese ends up a reliable 200 IP, 100 ERA+ guy. We know those guys can make 8-10 million on the market. How much do they make in arbitration over the years?
   17. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: April 05, 2012 at 09:32 AM (#4097665)
That's a lousy comp.



You're a lousy person.

Niese's xFIP in 2012 was 3.28, about half a run better than Gonzalez. $25MM would be a substantial discount.

EDITED for clarity.
   18. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 05, 2012 at 09:42 AM (#4097674)
We know those guys can make 8-10 million on the market. How much do they make in arbitration over the years?
Arbitration contracts tend to come it at about 40%, then 60%, then 80% of free agent value. So if he's a $10M per year pitcher, he'd make $18M in his arbitration years instead of $30M. Pitchers who sign long-term contracts usually give some value back to the team, in exchange for the financial security of the first contract.

On Gonzalez, (1) he'd done it for two years in a row, with no years nearly as poor in run prevention as Niese's two seasons, and (2) pitchers don't (usually) get paid for their xFIP. Gonzalez' ERA has been in the 3.20 range for two seasons.

Also, xFIP does not add value to traditional FIP. Regressing HR/FB rate to the mean just decreases the variance significantly, which produces a better correlation within the population without telling you anything about individual pitchers. See Colin Wyers on SIERA, xFIP, and FIP:
When you create an expected home run rate based on batted ball data, what you get is something that's well correlated with HR/CON but has a smaller standard deviation, so in tests where the standard deviation affects the results, like root mean square error, it produces a better-looking result, without adding any predictive value.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 05, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4097678)
You're a lousy person.

Niese's xFIP in 2012 was 3.28, about half a run better than Gonzalez. $25MM would be a substantial discount.

EDITED for clarity.


Ah, yes, I forgot what a pleasant individual you are.

Niese's career xFIP is 3.64, FIP 3.77, but nice cherry picking. The point is he gives up a 20.5% LD rate (vs. 17% for Gio). We should expect him to have a higher BABIP, and perform worse relative to peripherals than Gonzalez. He's also given up 27 unearned runs in the last two years, vs. 14 for Gio, in 70 fewer IP.

Stop fixating on xFIP. Teams don't pay for xFIP.
   20. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: April 05, 2012 at 09:53 AM (#4097682)
Ah, yes, I forgot what a pleasant individual you are.


Pot, kettle, etc.

nice cherry picking


cherry picking ... last year.

Stop fixating on xFIP. Teams don't pay for xFIP.


More evidence that you don't understand the conversation you invaded. We are discussing what would happen if he performed up to his peripherals over the next year or two.
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 05, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4097691)
More evidence that you don't understand the conversation you invaded. We are discussing what would happen if he performed up to his peripherals over the next year or two.

The question is what is he worth now, since the contract was signed now. My point is he would have very likely signed for $15M.

The fact that he might be worth $42M in two years is completely moot. Even if he's worth $100M, paying $25M is stupid if the market price is $15M.
   22. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 05, 2012 at 10:07 AM (#4097706)
More evidence that you don't understand the conversation you invaded. We are discussing what would happen if he performed up to his peripherals over the next year or two.
Right, he'd have one good season and two poor ones. He wouldn't get paid for his FIP numbers in the past two years. That's where he is distinguished from Gonzalez, who was paid for his actual performance in two excellent seasons.
   23. JPWF1313 Posted: April 05, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4097732)
Stop fixating on xFIP. Teams don't pay for xFIP.


explain then why Niese got this contract and Lannan is in the minors?
   24. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: April 05, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4097733)
My point is he would have very likely signed for $15M.


It doesn't really look that way.

Right, he'd have one good season and two poor ones. He wouldn't get paid for his FIP numbers in the past two years. That's where he is distinguished from Gonzalez, who was paid for his actual performance in two excellent seasons.


Your use of different adjectives to describe the same performance isnt too compelling. The point is that if he put up a season like Gonzalez's last couple, Gonzalez's contract would be a point of reference for Niese. This contract is a hedge against that.
   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 05, 2012 at 10:34 AM (#4097748)
The point is that if he put up a season like Gonzalez's last couple, Gonzalez's contract would be a point of reference for Niese.

No, he'd have to put up two.
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 05, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4097749)
explain then why Niese got this contract and Lannan is in the minors?

Because Lannan had options, and none of the other Wash pitchers did.
   27. billyshears Posted: April 05, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4097760)
My point is he would have very likely signed for $15M.


Maybe not. We know the Mets think Niese is better than his ERA. Maybe Niese thinks he is better than his ERA too. The marginal value of the first few million is pretty high, so we expect players to grab it. But maybe Niese realized that the marginal value of pitching like he thinks he can for one season is higher. Comps are a good way to judge a contract, but we have to remember that all people are different and may not accept the comps as valid. In that case, you just have to ignore where the contract falls in the market rely on your determination as to whether the actual contract will provide value.
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 05, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4097766)
Maybe not. We know the Mets think Niese is better than his ERA. Maybe Niese thinks he is better than his ERA too. The marginal value of the first few million is pretty high, so we expect players to grab it. But maybe Niese realized that the marginal value of pitching like he thinks he can for one season is higher. Comps are a good way to judge a contract, but we have to remember that all people are different and may not accept the comps as valid. In that case, you just have to ignore where the contract falls in the market rely on your determination as to whether the actual contract will provide value.

Of course that's possible. But, it's not like going year-to-year for 4 years was such a lousy option. They only gained 1 year of control.

If the guaranteed deal is not saving the team significant money on an expected value basis, there's no point in taking the blowup risk.

Basically, if a player is not risk averse, then long-term pre-arb deals don't make sense.
   29. JPWF1313 Posted: April 05, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4097775)
With regard to Pelfrey's peripherals, I ran his entire opponent batting line into my run estimator, he gave up 197 runs, he "should" have given up 187, not a huge difference, well within random chance, still that's about 4-5 points of ERA+, if he gave up 187 instead of 197 he'd still have an ERA+/RA+ under a 100, and he'd still be under performing his peripherals.

His HR rate, SF rate, WP rate gdp rate etc, are all unremarkable- slightly below average- but he's really good at cutting off the running game so....
XBH rate- almost dead average...

.337

That's it. That is what it really comes down to. His BABIP is high, and it's been consistently high. More to the point those extra hits are literally all singles too- hell he gives up LESS doubles and triples than his teammates- so it's not like he's being hit HARDER either.

last 20 years 522 pitchers have 500+ IP, the highest BABIP? Glendon Rusch, .331
I saw a study 2-3 years ago, BABIP given up by non-pitchers pitching- that came out to something like .330

Is a .337 BABIP a true "talent" level of Niese? It could be scarily enough (Manny Parra in 454 IP gave up a .342)- if it was .360 I'd say no, no one is that bad, no one CAN be that bad, but .337, yeah...

Of course if his BABIP drops to .290, Niese will be a 110-120 ERA+ pitcher, which I assume is the upside that Alderson is banking on.


   30. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 05, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4097782)
Is a .337 BABIP a true "talent" level of Niese?

I'm seeing .329 career at Fangraphs, where do you get .337 BABIP for Niese?

What's his expected BABIP given his 20.5% LD%? Anyone know the formula?
   31. billyshears Posted: April 05, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4097787)
They only gained 1 year of control.


They also have 2 options years (which granted, aren't cheap, but also aren't ridiculous), so they gained 3 years of control with the ability to go year-to-year with Niese for each of the last 3 seasons.
   32. Dan Posted: April 05, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4097801)
What's his expected BABIP given his 20.5% LD%? Anyone know the formula?


I don't know the advanced formulas for xBABIP, but the rule of thumb is usually to add .12 to LD%. So something around .325 maybe?
   33. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: April 05, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4097803)

Hey, on the bright side, the Mets spent money on someone that isn't an old middle reliever.


This is so, so true. Niese's a very young, decent homegrown lefty who's a little eccentric (the nosejob thing.) 25M seems reasonable once taxes are accounted for (though I'm not familiar enough with rates to know how big the disparity is between Niese's effective compensation and Davis'.)

While I think there is genuine predictive value in FIP, I can't help but think that defense-independent stats for pitchers are still pretty primitive. We attribute a lot to "luck", but there are pitchers who consistently and significantly exceed their predicted performance, and vice versa.

Sandy Alderson's been around the game for a long time, is clearly open to advanced stats, and is as sharp as they come. What we don't know is whether or not Alderson is betting on Niese's improvement coming from living up to his peripherals or continued strong development based on scouting. It's probably both.
   34. PreservedFish Posted: April 05, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4097808)
Man, when DIPS came out, I was sure that Rusch was going to turn into Warren Spahn. Screw you Voros!
   35. JPWF1313 Posted: April 05, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4097821)
I'm seeing .329 career at Fangraphs, where do you get .337 BABIP for Niese?


BBREF

Ok I just calculated it myself (h-hr)/(Ab-k-hr) and I get .337 for Niese
   36. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 05, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4097827)
BBREF

Ok I just calculated it myself (h-hr)/(Ab-k-hr) and I get .337 for Niese


Don't you have to do something with sac flies and sac bunts?
   37. thetailor Posted: April 05, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4097851)
Disclaimer: I'm a Mets fan. Disclaimer: I like Sandy Alderson. However:

Sandy Alderson's been around the game for a long time, is clearly open to advanced stats, and is as sharp as they come.


Sentiments like this drive me absolutely insane. If I had a nickel for every move Alderson has made that, by all accounts, has been bone-headed, that people have refused to pan simply because it's Sandy, I'd have a lot of nickels. If Omar Minaya was doing exactly what Alderson has been doing on this rebuild, Flushing would be burning.

Extending Niese like this isn't the end of the world, and worst-case scenario they lose by only a few million, but it's really hard to justify this deal in light of what was said in #1, #3, #12, #13 above.
   38. PreservedFish Posted: April 05, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4097868)
and worst-case scenario they lose by only a few million,


Don't they lose $25 million in the worst case scenario?
   39. formerly dp Posted: April 05, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4097957)
If I had a nickel for every move Alderson has made that, by all accounts, has been bone-headed, that people have refused to pan simply because it's Sandy, I'd have a lot of nickels.

I'm not saying you're wrong, but can you give a couple of examples?

I like this move, even if it looks right now like an overpay. $25 M is chump change to the Mets under normal circumstances, so unless this move keeps them from doing other things, it's hard to see the downside.

Really psyched about Johan today, helps take the sting out of seeing Beltran and Reyes in other uniforms last night.
   40. thetailor Posted: April 05, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4098070)
I'm not saying you're wrong, but can you give a couple of examples?
Yeah sure. I mean, as you know, it's been little drips-and-drabs here and there because Alderson hasn't been allowed to make big moves yet, but the sabermetrically-minded Mets community (like Amazin Avenue for instance) seems to be giving Alderson 100% amnesty for now.

Here are some moves that I think someone other than Alderson would be getting killed on: 1) Losing F-Mart in Rule V rather than some old retread, 2) Losing Reyes, 3) Putting a ton of money into the bullpen on a bad team, 4) Not trading Reyes if he wasn't staying anyway, 5) Drafting Nimmo, 6) Playing the final ST game in Florida rather than coming to Citi Field, 7) Keeping Pelfrey at like $6MM ... these aren't the best examples, but this is off the top of my head.
   41. JPWF1313 Posted: April 05, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4098096)
Here are some moves that I think someone other than Alderson would be getting killed on:
1) Losing F-Mart in Rule V rather than some old retread, (meh, I don't think FMart should have been eating up 40 man roster space, but since a team took him perhaps there was trade interest that should have been explored

2) Losing Reyes, (I don't think Wilpon gave him the $)

3) Putting a ton of money into the bullpen on a bad team, (agree)

4) Not trading Reyes if he wasn't staying anyway, (perhaps)

5) Drafting Nimmo, (??? can't say I know enough to agree or disagree)

6) Playing the final ST game in Florida rather than coming to Citi Field,

7) Keeping Pelfrey at like $6MM (Pelfrey needs a new team/coaching staff as much as any player on the team)
   42. thetailor Posted: April 05, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4098110)
Also, to clarify what I meant by that ... I have disagreed with some of the moves Alderson had made. But my BIGGER point is that I think Alderson gets the benefit of the doubt to a crazy degree. The sentiment even among smart fans is that, well, Alderson is smart and awesome so I'm sure this is okay. Want to go on Twitter and make jokes, Sandy? Go for it.
   43. JPWF1313 Posted: April 05, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4098125)
But my BIGGER point is that I think Alderson gets the benefit of the doubt to a crazy degree.


well look at the trio of clowns who preceded him with the Mets...
   44. PreservedFish Posted: April 05, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4098184)
The sentiment even among smart fans is that, well, Alderson is smart and awesome so I'm sure this is okay. Want to go on Twitter and make jokes, Sandy? Go for it.


Eh, I don't see anyone calling Alderson awesome anymore. He definitely gets slack, but for two good reasons. He's the new guy, and he's got a strong record.
   45. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: April 05, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4098360)
An important note: even if BABIP was completely random (it isn't), we would see guys with 2000 IP careers with deviations from expected BABIP by enough to significantly affect their ERAs.

Basically if you take 100 guys and give them all roughly 2000 IPs (around 6000 BIP) and aBABIP of around .291, generally you'd expect to see a spread of around .014 in each direction from the mean in those hundred guys (.277 to .305), and certainly as much as .020 would not be all that unusual to see. And _somebody_ has to be those guys.

Lower that to 1000 IPs (six years or so worth of pitching for most) and it's now .021 in each direction (.270 to .312) and it's not out of the question for it to be as high as 30.
   46. PreservedFish Posted: April 05, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4098679)
Hey, Sandy's three relievers did it today.
   47. formerly dp Posted: April 05, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4098681)
1) Losing F-Mart in Rule V rather than some old retread,

This bugged me at first, but I've since come around on it-- F-Mart does not look like he'll ever stay healthy for a full season, and has lost so much development time that his skills haven't been able to advance.

2) Losing Reyes,

See below.

3) Putting a ton of money into the bullpen on a bad team,

This doesn't bother me one iota, especially since the deals are all short-term, and it doesn't look like they had any impact on their ability to sign players going forward. If you had $20M to spend this past off-season, where would you have spent it, without making significant commitments beyond 2012? LF has Bay, for better or for worse, RF has Duda, Murphy's at 2B, Thole at C, and the rotation is set, albeit pretty bad. The Mets after last year needed arms in the 'pen who could produce outs. 2011 was a grind both on the starters and relievers. I do think having Nickeas as the backup C is a mistake, but not a huge one.

4) Not trading Reyes if he wasn't staying anyway,

My half-baked theory-- before Reyes got injured for the second time, I think there was a chance they ponied up the money for him. After that, he looked too fragile to make sense as a long-term commitment. And I don't think it was the wrong call, especially with Tejada ready to step in and provide at least some of Jose's skills (similar OB%, better defense) for the league minimum.

5) Drafting Nimmo,

Don't know how I feel on this.

6) Playing the final ST game in Florida rather than coming to Citi Field,

Don't care, and we don't know if it was his decision, do we?

7) Keeping Pelfrey at like $6MM

Depends on what they would have done with that $6M, and how Pelfrey performs this year. Personally, I'm sick of him, but if he has a good first half, he's flippable for something at the deadline. Probably not for much of anything, but still...

I think Murphy at 2B again is a mistake, hoping to be wrong and not looking to have that debate for the 1000th time, but the Met defense is going to be terrible this year, and without producing a ton of offense to compensate for it.

Edit: Great to see an awesome start by Johan today, couldn't watch the game b/c of MLB's blackout restrictions, but a great start to the season. I'm in Braves country, and I know at least one of my students was absent today watching the game.
   48. thetailor Posted: April 05, 2012 at 05:47 PM (#4098874)
I'm in Braves country, and I know at least one of my students was absent today watching the game.
The real question is... will he be in trouble tomorrow?
   49. formerly dp Posted: April 05, 2012 at 08:26 PM (#4099051)
The real question is... will he be in trouble tomorrow?

I figure watching the Met bullpen shut down your offense for four innings is punishment enough...
   50. JJ1986 Posted: April 05, 2012 at 09:12 PM (#4099064)
Fartinez wasn't lost in the Rule 5. He was DFA'd to make room for Ronny Cedeno.
   51. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 05, 2012 at 09:33 PM (#4099069)
Depodesta's comments on Brandon Nimmo in the recent BPro chat was interesting:

Brandon still played plenty of baseball, it was just Legion instead of high school. He also played in various showcases during the summer with the best high school talent in the country, and he performed well. Above all of that, though, was that we believed in the person. Chad MacDonald said it best when he said, "I don't know where the walls in CitiField are going to be, but I know Brandon is going to run through them." There is no doubt in our minds that Brandon will get the absolute most out of his ability, which makes it a lot easier to sleep at night after making the selection.


This actually reminds me of Billy Beane letting Nick Swisher's personality/makeup influence his judgement, and is making me wonder how much this sort of thing will be valued in future drafts/international signings, especially from the more analytical teams. The playing field for procuring talent through the draft is a lot flatter, and the intense workaholic gym rat ballplayer with a very good skill set may be valued more than the elite all-world talent who coasts on his skills.

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