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Friday, November 09, 2007

U.S.S. Mariner: Cameron: 2007 Free Agent Landmines

Lohse & Bombs…PureVision by Cameron.

Every year, teams wander into free agency with money to spend and a desire to improve a specific area of their teams. Every year, a few teams end up giving huge amounts of money to the best guy available that winter because, well, he was available, and their goal for the winter was to get the best player they could for that position. It’s short-sighted thinking and almost always ends in disaster, but this kind of roster building will exist until the end of time.

This crop of players are the group I would consider Free Agent Landmines - players with enough value to appear to be an asset, but who are extremely unlikely to live up to the contracts they’re going to get this winter. Previous landmines include Carlos Lee, Barry Zito, Richie Sexson, Mike Hampton, Jarrod Washburn, Carlos Delgado, Pedro Martinez, and Jason Varitek. All good players in their primes, but not good enough to justify the salaries they demand on the open market.

Here are the guys that fit into the mold this winter. Teams who sign one of these players will be quite likely to experience significant buyers remorse a year from now.

Repoz Posted: November 09, 2007 at 08:38 PM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. mgl Posted: November 09, 2007 at 09:06 PM (#2610706)
I disagree with almost everything David says in this article. Hunter is a VERY good player. Here are his offensive lwts and UZR the last 3 years:

Batting
07 11.5
06 9.5
05 4

There is no "career year" in those numbers. If anything, the numbers suggest that he is aging well and should command MORE money than a typical 30-something.

His UZR

07 +13
06 +3
05 +9

Again, while 07 was his best year, it is not a "career" year in the usual meaning of the word. Not that too many teams look at UZR or similar defensive metrics anyway. He is a very good OF'er, as he is widely considered and the UZR numbers back that up.

Of course any player will get a little more (underserved) money if they are coming off a good year and less money coming off a bad year, but that applies to everyone and is well known, at least among analysts and knowledgable fans.

The fact is that Hunter is a 1 to 1.5 win above average offensive CF'er, and .5 to one 1 win above average in defense. That is around 3.5 to 4 wins above replacement. That should command around 15-18 mil a year for one year and 14-15 mil a year for multi years which is about what he is going to get, I think. He should not be on this list. Not even close.

Silva's skill set is easily found among pitchers? That is an absurd statement. A pitcher who throws a low 90's sinker and almost never walks anyone is easily found? Actually, he is not a very good pitcher because his sinker is not that good. But, he is not terrible either. He is probably around .3 runs per 9 worse than an average starter. That is worth 5 or 6 mil per year, maybe a little less than he is going to get. The fact that he IS an innings eater is worth something as well. Although it is close, I don't think he belongs on this list either. One of the interesting things (see Lohse below) is that if an NL team signs him, he is worth a lot more (because the pitching in the NL is substantially worse).

Lohse, like Hunter, definitely does not belong on the list. In the AL, he was a below-average pitcher. In the AL, he is average at least. Worth 8 mil per year. That is what average starting pitchers get paid. And I don't see him getting a huge contract. Who likes this guy? If anything, he is underrated. Unless some team pulls a "Jason Marquis" contract, I don't see him getting more than 6 or 7 mil per. Then again, I am not that good at predicting contracts.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 09, 2007 at 09:08 PM (#2610710)
All good players in their primes, but not good enough to justify the salaries they demand on the open market.

By this standard, isn't pretty much every free agent a "landmine"?
   3. rawagman Posted: November 09, 2007 at 09:20 PM (#2610723)
By this standard, isn't pretty much every free agent a "landmine"?

One day, general managers, in the mean, will grow smart enough to never sign anyone to a free agent contract.
   4. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 09, 2007 at 09:23 PM (#2610728)
Well, I’d like to try to free Joel Pineiro from the clutches of Gil Meche, as much as I can, anyways. It’s odd that I’m now going to bat for Pineiro’s reputation, considering I’ve never been a big fan and always felt that the hype far outweighed the actual talent. But, at this point, it’s pretty much undeniable; Joel Pineiro is underrated by most Mariner fans, and his guilt-by-association pairing with Gil Meche is simply unfair.

Basically, Gil Meche sucks and Joel Pineiro doesn’t.

---David Cameron, March 10th, 2006
   5. David Cameron Posted: November 09, 2007 at 09:31 PM (#2610738)
I disagree with almost everything David says in this article.

Well, that's disheartening.

Hunter is a VERY good player. Here are his offensive lwts and UZR the last 3 years:

Your lwts are per-150 games, correct? A playing-time neutral metric is going to miss the appearance of a career year, thanks to Hunter's counting stats reflecting that he actually played 160 games last year. Thanks to finally staying healthy for a full season, he managed career highs in Runs, RBIs, Hits, Doubles, and Total Bases. Now that he's hit the magic 100 RBI mark, he's viewed differently.

I agree that Hunter didn't actually have a significantly better '07 than '06, but I don't think major league GMs would agree with us. And they get to decide his paycheck.

The fact is that Hunter is a 1 to 1.5 win above average offensive CF'er, and .5 to one 1 win above average in defense. That is around 3.5 to 4 wins above replacement. That should command around 15-18 mil a year for one year and 14-15 mil a year for multi years which is about what he is going to get, I think. He should not be on this list. Not even close.

Carlos Lee got 6/100, has the same basic offensive skillset, and is an inferior defender. For Hunter to settle for 6/84 ($14 million per year), we have to believe that teams either value Lee higher than they value Hunter or that the market is going to recede. I don't believe either of those statements. I think Hunter ends up closer to the 7/126 that Soriano and Vernon Wells got a year ago. And that's just not a good contract for a guy of Hunter's abilities.

Silva's skill set is easily found among pitchers? That is an absurd statement.

I mentioned Nick Blackburn as one in the post, but yea, these sinkerball strike throwers are not hard to find in the minors. Teams just don't generally value this skillset in a pitcher until it's proven in the major leagues. But the skillset - the strike throwing, no outpitch sinker/slider guy is a very common skillset to see in minor league pitchers.

Unless some team pulls a "Jason Marquis" contract, I don't see him getting more than 6 or 7 mil per.

Rumblings have Lohse asking for 3/25.
   6. NTNgod Posted: November 09, 2007 at 09:36 PM (#2610742)
4. I'm an Joba Chamberlain Fan ('zop) Posted: November 09, 2007 at 04:23 PM (#2610728)

So, uhh, how do you think that Drew Henson guy is going to turn out?
:P

(alas, the archives from way back when are mostly gone - but no one's perfect; everyone here's had their statements and positions that are best lost forever and never spoken of again)
   7. NTNgod Posted: November 09, 2007 at 09:38 PM (#2610745)

Rumblings have Lohse asking for 3/25.

?
Who took over Scott Boras's body, then? Is there an ABP out on the real Boras yet?
   8. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: November 09, 2007 at 09:39 PM (#2610747)
I don't know what to make of Silva. Even with his disastrous 2006 season included, he has a 102 ERA+ the last four years. If you can get him for less than 30 million, I think he's a decent sign for a team with money.
   9. AROM Posted: November 09, 2007 at 09:42 PM (#2610750)
Carlos Lee got 6/100, has the same basic offensive skillset, and is an inferior defender.


Carlos Lee's contract is not explainable. I don't think Hunter will get as much as Wells or Soriano, because Wells was a few years younger and Soriano was looked at as a great hitter, as opposed to a good one. If Hunter topped 40 homers I think he would get Soriano money.

I guess it all depends on what somebody pays. You guys seem to agree on how many wins he's worth. If he gets paid like MGL suggests, the signing is reasonale. If he gets 120, then David is right and its a trap.

I like Hunter as the top CF in this market. Using raw multiyear stats I would initially give the edge to Jones, but the league adjustment puts Hunter up a bit. They are pretty close though in both offense and defense.
   10. AROM Posted: November 09, 2007 at 09:47 PM (#2610757)
Carlos Lee was paid about 8 million per win. If his contract was the going rate, Hunter should get 30 million per year and A-Rod 50.

Think Scott Boras will pick up and use this post?
   11. rfloh Posted: November 09, 2007 at 09:47 PM (#2610758)
#8

Would it be possible to get him for less than $30M? The established market for a 100 ERA+, >180 IP starter seems to be $40M-$60M.

I really don't see him going for what he is worth, per MGL, slightly more than $5M-$6M.
   12. baudib Posted: November 09, 2007 at 09:56 PM (#2610769)
I definitely see Silva getting $10 million per.
   13. Norcan Posted: November 09, 2007 at 10:08 PM (#2610783)
Three names, that was it? Seems kind of small and insignificant. And really, who didn't know that two below-average to slightly average pitchers might disappoint next year.
   14. David Cameron Posted: November 09, 2007 at 10:19 PM (#2610795)
By this standard, isn't pretty much every free agent a "landmine"?

The majority, but not all. I think Geoff Jenkins and Bartolo Colon are both likely to be bargains this year. Eric Hinske could be a useful, nearly free role player for someone. Tadahito Iguchi is a nice buy-low rebound candidate. Kosuke Fukudome, Jose Guillen, and Andruw Jones are all reasonable bets for multiyear contracts in the outfield crowd.

Carlos Lee's contract is not explainable.

Really? It seems to be that many teams overvalue the things Lee does well - hit for power, drive in runs - and undervalue the things he doesn't do well - play defense, mainly.

I don't think Hunter will get as much as Wells or Soriano, because Wells was a few years younger and Soriano was looked at as a great hitter, as opposed to a good one.

I don't expect him to get 7 years either, but I'm thinking 6/110 or something in that range.

I like Hunter as the top CF in this market. Using raw multiyear stats I would initially give the edge to Jones, but the league adjustment puts Hunter up a bit. They are pretty close though in both offense and defense.

I agree, but I don't think MLB GMs do. Did you see Stark's poll of 15 executives the other day? In a straight up Jones-or-Hunter question, it was 14.5 for Hunter and .5 for Jones.

Three names, that was it? Seems kind of small and insignificant. And really, who didn't know that two below-average to slightly average pitchers might disappoint next year.

I wasn't really trying to write a comprehensive piece, and I'm surprised it got a BTF link, honestly. It was a typical midweek post to keep content flowing on USSM.
   15. JPWF13 Posted: November 09, 2007 at 10:24 PM (#2610806)
Carlos Lee got 6/100, has the same basic offensive skillset, and is an inferior defender. ... I think Hunter ends up closer to the 7/126 that Soriano and Vernon Wells got a year ago. And that's just not a good contract for a guy of Hunter's abilities.


Lee was a year younger, coming off 3 years with OPS+s of 127, 109, 126 (career 113)
Hunter is a year older, coming off 3 years of 106, 112, 122 (career 104)

Carlos was grossly overpaid and Hunter has much more defensive value.
BUT Carlos hit .300-37-116, he had 100+ ribbies in 3/4 years- scarily enough that's enough for some traditionalists to regard him as an elite level hitter.

Vernon Wells was coming off a .303-32-106 season, he was also 4 years younger than Torii is now, also I suspect Toronto has a lot invested in Well emotionally in the idea that 2003 and 2007 really represents his true ability- and that he *could* go higher. I suspect most people in Baseball regard Torii's 2007 as Torii's absolute ceiling.

Soriano's been overrated for years, but he really is a better hitter than Hunter, his 4 best season are better than Torii's best and his career OPS+ is 12 higher.

Wow, now that I think about it, the Mets got a decent deal on Beltran

If he does get up to Soraino's and Wells' contracts, good for Torii, bad for his team
   16. Walt Davis Posted: November 09, 2007 at 11:49 PM (#2610868)
Carlos Lee got 6/100, has the same basic offensive skillset, and is an inferior defender. For Hunter to settle for 6/84 ($14 million per year), we have to believe that teams either value Lee higher than they value Hunter or that the market is going to recede. I don't believe either of those statements. I think Hunter ends up closer to the 7/126 that Soriano and Vernon Wells got a year ago. And that's just not a good contract for a guy of Hunter's abilities.

the other point on Lee is that he was the best or second-best hitter available. Just in CF, Hunter is competing with Jones, Rowand and Cameron.

And it did seem the general reaction within MLB at the Lee, Soriano and Zito contracts was disbelief.

I'm more in MGL's court on the pitchers. BIP pitchers, the extreme ones like Silva at least, walk a thin line and they need to excel either in control (very low BB rates, preferably with a good K/BB -- Tewksbury) or in HR (Wang). There are very, very few pitchers anywhere in baseball with Silva's control -- about 1.5 per 9 the last few years, including that amazing 1 per 21 IP year. And he does it while, in most years, having a decent HR rate. I'm sure there are lots of sinker control guys in the minors -- and very few of them have a prayer of posting a K/BB ratio better than 2/1 in the majors while keeping the ball in the park. Even I don't think baseball execs are that dumb -- almost every team is throwing away 30-40 starts a year on guys who end up posting ERA+ around 80 and you're telling me that there's free talent out there that could give them 32 starts at an ERA+ around 95-100? (Note, I agree it's hard for this type of pitcher to break into the majors ... but not that hard)

The reason to be wary of Silva has little to do with the availability of his skillset and has more to do with the fact that, for whatever reason, these guys tend not to age well. Presumably because they do walk a fine line and a little drop in stuff leads to a lot more line drives and HRs which leads to more nibbling which leads to more walks and by that point if not before, they're useless. So that's a reason to not sign Silva for many years.

As to Lohse, what's his skill set? 180+ IP 5 of the last 6 seasons (would be 6 if not for that awful half-season with the Twins and getting justifiably banned to the pen) with a slightly below-average ERA. His K-rate (5.7/9) is too high to put him in the Silva category and he also has a 2/1 K/BB ratio which is just fine. The times he's sucked have generally been the times his K/BB has gotten out of whack. His half-season of total crapitude is not enough to outweigh all of that.

What this comes down to for me is that I don't quite buy the concept of the FA "landmine." All FAs have a price at which they are reasonable or even bargains ... or at least any FA worthy of being in the majors as these three guys obviously are. Silva or Lohse at 3/$24 are not landmines (might not be good deals but not landmines); at 5/$60 they are. I realize that at some level what you're predicting is the contract they'll sign, but that's just setting you up for heartbreak.

By the way, if you're going to write about landmines, 3 sounds about right. Any offseason there are only a handful of FAs with a real shot at "big" multi-year contracts. If half of them are "landmines" then the imagery serves no purposed. Landmines should be the ones you wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole. :-) Say Paul Wilson or Fernando Vina from a few years back. (ahh, simpler, cheaper times :-)

In a straight up Jones-or-Hunter question, it was 14.5 for Hunter and .5 for Jones.

I wouldn't have expected that. Did Stark give an indication why? I was always under the impression that MLB folks all still thought Jones' defense is great but can't imagine Hunter's offense is that much more highly valued. Maybe the last season has even more influence than I thought.

But of course it's not quite the right question. If you give them a choice between Hunter at 6/$110 and Jones at 4/$60 (say), then what would they say?
   17. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 10, 2007 at 12:13 AM (#2610878)
But the skillset - the strike throwing, no outpitch sinker/slider guy is a very common skillset to see in minor league pitchers.


Yeah. Almost every AA team I saw this year had one of them. They generally don't even get a chance to go up to the majors, and they get even less of a chance to stay there.

-- MWE
   18. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: November 10, 2007 at 12:41 AM (#2610896)
But the skillset - the strike throwing, no outpitch sinker/slider guy is a very common skillset to see in minor league pitchers.
I'll concur as well - granted, of course, Silva is better than virtually all of those guys.
   19. PerroX Posted: November 10, 2007 at 12:53 AM (#2610898)
Was JD Drew the biggest free agent bust of 2007, or does a game 7 slam and a WS ring mean that a $14 million salary for a sub-800 OPS is forgotten?
   20. caprules Posted: November 10, 2007 at 01:06 AM (#2610902)
What is the market for Geoff Jenkins? Are there teams that look at him and see him as a solution for a year or two? I wonder what the odds are of him returning to the Brewers if he doesn't get a big offer elsewhere.
   21. mgl Posted: November 10, 2007 at 01:28 AM (#2610911)
I was a little harsh in saying that "I disagreed with everything you said." I just thought it was odd that of all the FA, you chose 3 players who it appears to me will get right around what they "derserve" in dollars per marginal win given the going rate (whatever you think of that) for FA wins.

And if you (or someone else who is credible) say that "that skill set is not uncommon" in the minor leagues, I can't really dispute that. I have no idea. But I don't really care about skill sets for established players. The only relevant question is, "How available is that level of talent (there are many, many ways to skin a cat in pitching)?" Since he is a little below average (in the AL), it can't be many. To say that a certain skill set is somehow important, independent of talent for getting players out, is kind of strange, unless you ar going to discuss how various skill sets might age or might develop (in young pitchers). It should NOT be used in any other context. You cannot say, "Pitcher A is league average BUT he has X skill set so I will pay him less than pitcher B, who is also league-average, but has Y skill set." That makes no sense.

People put way too much importance on skill sets and "stuff" when it comes to pitchers. I can't blame them though. It is not easy to project pitching in terms of "getting batter out in general." You have to have some kind of sabermetric background to do that. The average person watches a pitcher pitch and if he happens to have good stuff AND pitces a few good games, they think he is an excellent pitcher. Dabiel Cabrera is in that category. He is not a good pitcher. In fact, Lohse is just as good, along with 20 or 30 other pitchers that most casual fans never heard of. If you watched him (Cabrera) pitch on of those days when he pitched a shutout, you would think that he was one of the best pitchers in baseball. If you watched him on one of those days where he got hammered, you would think that he was just another pitcher with great stuff who doesn't know how to pitch. Mostly, skill sets and stuff don't interest me.

Hunter and Jones probably have similar offensive projections. According to UZR, Hunter kills Jones (5-10 runs better). I don't like the way Jones has aged and I don't like the way he plays the game. Finally, given the difference between the two leagues in hitting (remember we can only project a player relative to the other players in his league unless we make league adjustments), I think that Hunter is WAY the better player (1 win, maybe a little more).
   22. AROM Posted: November 10, 2007 at 02:50 AM (#2610950)
Was JD Drew the biggest free agent bust of 2007, or does a game 7 slam and a WS ring mean that a $14 million salary for a sub-800 OPS is forgotten?


Using the Batter runs from B-ref (Thanks Sean Forman) and averaged zone rating runs, here's last year's free agent outfielders. Corner OF get a -5, centerfielders a +5.

Lee: Overall: -1 Offense +24 Defense -20 Position -5
Drew: Overall: -4 Offense +6 Defense -5 Position -5

Drew has a serious off year and Lee does exactly as expected, and they are equivalent value, and Lee gets paid more too. I feel justified for ######## about it all last winter.

Soriano: Overall: +15 Offense +17 Def +3 Pos -5
Matthews: Overall: -6 Offense -6 Def -5 Pos +5
Pierre: Overall: -23 Offense -27 Def -1 (RF doesn't include arm) Pos +5

Add 20 runs to each to get value over replacement, and the best value for the money was:

Soriano, 4.9 million per win
Matthews 7.1
Lee 8.7
Drew 8.8

Pierre was a bust at any dollar amount since he played at replacement level. I guess you could call last year's group a minefield.
   23. PerroX Posted: November 10, 2007 at 03:22 AM (#2610968)
Even if I agreed that you can quantify fielding like you can quantify hitting, they are not equivalent in their impact upon the game -- upon run scoring.

So Lee's +24 offense made him a much more valuable player than JD Drew last season, using any reasonable metric you want.

As for salary, if you look at what they each made in 2007 instead of average value over length of contract, Drew made $14 mil, Lee 11.5.

To be fair, Drew may have a good season left in him, but given his injury history, you may be looking at serious decline rather than "off year."
   24. PerroX Posted: November 10, 2007 at 03:25 AM (#2610974)
Postscipt -- Rate stats always make a guy like Drew look better than he is. Both Lee and Soriano racked up 300+ total bases in 2007, Drew fewer than 200.

Though your team may actually benefit when Drew sits out his 20+ games per season.

I will admit that I'm probably too hard on Drew, but a lot BBTF analysis is too easy on him.
   25. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 10, 2007 at 03:43 AM (#2610988)
People put way too much importance on skill sets and "stuff" when it comes to pitchers.


Statistical analysts - especially when evaluating minor league pitchers - put way too little importance on skill sets and "stuff".

Back in the mid-90s, the Pirates had a pitcher named Elvin Hernandez who went 17-5 at Augusta with a 3.14 ERA, 16 BB, and 171 strikeouts in 157 2/3 innings. Statistical analysts drooled (more or less), but the scouts were questioning his ability to succeed at higher levels because he didn't have the "stuff". Jumped to AA a year later, Hernandez got hammered; he was out of baseball two years after that. The scouts were right; they usually are about pitchers like Hernandez.

Carlos Silva walks an extremely fine line and he has little margin for error. When he's right on, he has a year like he did in 2006; when he's not, he's going to have a year like he did in 2005. Most pitchers like Silva are off more than they are on, and they aren't going to be successful in the majors. Silva's managed it pretty well so far, but his margin for error is so small that you're taking a significant risk if you sign him long-term.

-- MWE
   26. Gaelan Posted: November 10, 2007 at 03:47 AM (#2610989)
The Carlos Silva comment is dependent upon DIPS. If DIPS is true then I can believe that there are lots of guys like Silva in the minors who throw strikes and don't give up too many HR's.

However since DIPS is not true, and is specifically not true about minor league players, then it is also not true that Silva can be easily replaced. Silva has demonstrated that he is below average at preventing hits on balls in play which means that he is still much better than your typical AA pitcher.

Edit: I'm not saying that Silva is good. I agree with Mike that he is walking a thin line. I'm saying that he's better than a similar minor leaguer who is walking a line so thin he will never taste success.
   27. ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: November 10, 2007 at 03:48 AM (#2610990)
Hey Mike,

I just sent you an e-mail through BBTF that you might want to take a look at.....
   28. AROM Posted: November 10, 2007 at 04:42 AM (#2611009)
Even if I agreed that you can quantify fielding like you can quantify hitting, they are not equivalent in their impact upon the game -- upon run scoring.


If you're saying that fielding metrics are less reliable than hitting and have bigger error bars, I won't argue with you. But if they are measured correctly, a run saved is just as good as a run created. Lee probably isn't -20 bad, zone rating doesn't give us park splits and Houston's left field can be a problem. At the same time, Drew is probably a bit better than -5, he seemed to get good reviews on defense and is probably an average or better fielder. I'm sure that Drew is at least 10 runs better than Lee in the field. Lee in one of his best years was only 18 runs better on offense than Drew in one of his worst years. Keep in mind that Drew is also playing in the tougher league.

None of those signings look very good in retrospect, but Drew is not the worst of them.
   29. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: November 10, 2007 at 04:42 AM (#2611011)
I don't know how anyone can say that Silva isn't good, in that he is a capable starting pitcher. He has ~775 innings pitched with an ERA+ over 100 the last 4 years. Now, there's a good chance he won't be a very good pitcher in two or three years but you can say that about anyone really. DIPS is good evidence that a pitcher will likely pitch well in the future. So is a consistent track record of pitching well at the major league level.

Carlos Silva walks an extremely fine line and he has little margin for error. When he's right on, he has a year like he did in 2006; when he's not, he's going to have a year like he did in 2005.

I think this is overstating things. When everything went well for Silva he posted an ERA+ of 129, making him one of the better starters in baseball. When everything went badly, he had a horrific year. But in 2007 and 2004, he had about neutral luck and he held his own.
   30. David Cameron Posted: November 10, 2007 at 05:09 AM (#2611032)
As to Lohse, what's his skill set? 180+ IP 5 of the last 6 seasons (would be 6 if not for that awful half-season with the Twins and getting justifiably banned to the pen) with a slightly below-average ERA.

ERA and Innings Pitched are results, not skills. Mike is exactly right - the sabermetric community as a whole is entirely too wrapped up in results and not nearly aware enough of talent evaluation. In many cases, a guy who has succeeded will continue to succeed, and using his prior results to predict future performance will work. However, it's not the past results that are making the player succeed, but instead, the skills he possesses. We should be more interested in discerning a player's abilities, especially with pitchers, than extrapolating past performance.

But I don't really care about skill sets for established players.

Then we just have a philosophical disagreement, which is fine. I think there is value in both evaluating the prior results and the actual underlying talent, and I see no reason to choose one in lieu of the other. Both are valuable pieces of information.

Since he is a little below average (in the AL), it can't be many.

He was a little below average. We'll see if he remains a little below average. I'm betting on no.
   31. Walt Davis Posted: November 10, 2007 at 05:47 AM (#2611079)
ERA and Innings Pitched are results, not skills.

"Durability" is not a "skill." Granted, it's probably not the most projectable skill, but it's a skill.

And ERA and IP are generally a result of "pitching well" which are generally a result of "skills."

Lohse is 28 and has nearly 1200 IP at the major-league level with a league-average performance. You're saying this was done with replacement-level skill? Damn, that's an enormous amount of luck.

At some point, you have to admit that no matter what one thinks of his past "stuff", he's gotten enough guys out (and also Ks nearly 6 per 9 and has a 2/1 K/BB ratio) to be reasonably successful. Now if you have NEW information about a decline in his stuff, something other than the 65 crappy innings 1.5 seasons ago, then that would be useful to know. Until then, there's no good reason to think he won't continue to be a league-averageish innings eater.

And the same goes for Silva.
   32. David Cameron Posted: November 10, 2007 at 06:02 AM (#2611095)
"Durability" is a "skill." Granted, it's probably not the most projectable skill, but it's a skill.

No, durability is a result of conditioning, mechanics, genetics, and luck. Of those influences, conditioning and mechanics are certainly skills. Genetics and luck are not. Those are the components - durability is the result.

And ERA and IP are generally a result of "pitching well" which are generally a result of "skills."

Exactly - ERA and IP are results.

Lohse is 28 and has nearly 1200 IP at the major-league level with a league-average performance. You're saying this was done with replacement-level skill? Damn, that's an enormous amount of luck.

I never claimed that Lohse had replacement level skills. I suggested that in an efficient market, he'd get several million on a one year deal. If he was replacement level, he'd get $400K in this hypothetical efficient market.

At some point, you have to admit that no matter what one thinks of his past "stuff", he's gotten enough guys out (and also Ks nearly 6 per 9 and has a 2/1 K/BB ratio) to be reasonably successful.

I'm suggesting that there should be two separate questions being asked here - what is his actual talent level and how has he performed using those skills? As a group, we tend to focus way too heavily on the second question and care little about the first question. Regardless of how strong you feel about the answer to either question, that doesn't invalidatet the other set of information - both are always important.

Until then, there's no good reason to think he won't continue to be a league-averageish innings eater.

There are a lot of them, actually. You just won't see them through results based analysis.
   33. AROM Posted: November 10, 2007 at 06:04 AM (#2611099)
I can understand that Silva and Lohse leave something to be desired for being top free agent starters.

Now that the old warriers - Schilling and Maddux - have resigned those are the best ones available. If you don't like them I can't imagine you'd like the rest of the lot.

I thank Bill Stoneman that I don't have to worry about any of them pitching for my team.
   34. akrasian Posted: November 10, 2007 at 06:22 AM (#2611112)
I'm suggesting that there should be two separate questions being asked here - what is his actual talent level and how has he performed using those skills? As a group, we tend to focus way too heavily on the second question and care little about the first question.

Sure. We focus more on the info we have easy access to. OTOH, focusing on actual talent level always has an enormous margin of error. It's not a useless question to ask - but if somebody with an allegedly poor actual talent level has performed well above that evaluation at the major league level for years, it's a legitimate question whether the scouting evaluation is just missing something.
   35. MM1f Posted: November 10, 2007 at 06:28 AM (#2611121)
"At some point, you have to admit that no matter what one thinks of his past "stuff", he's gotten enough guys out (and also Ks nearly 6 per 9 and has a 2/1 K/BB ratio) to be reasonably successful. Now if you have NEW information about a decline in his stuff, something other than the 65 crappy innings 1.5 seasons ago, then that would be useful to know. Until then, there's no good reason to think he won't continue to be a league-averageish innings eater."

I thought the rep on Lohse for awhile was that his stuff was in fact major league but he hadn't really put together the strong year that some saw in him.
   36. Rusty Priske Posted: November 10, 2007 at 02:52 PM (#2611209)
I saw the intro and thought, "Hey, an article about Mike Lowell."

The idea that Torii Hunter is more of a 'landmine' than Lowell is ridiculous.

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