Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Transaction Oracle > Discussion
Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Angels - Signed Hunter

Los Angeles Angels - Signed CF Torii Hunter to a 5-year, $90 million contract.

Well, they’re finally signing the player that they thought Gary Matthews Jr. is rather than the player that Gary Matthews Jr. actually is - a power-hitting centerfielder with a good glove.  And unlike Sarge Lite, I don’t expect Hunter to play at a level that makes the contract a failure from day one.

However, Hunter’s not a good enough player to be worth the money at a corner spot if his defense slips - his defense isn’t the best in the league (ZR has him at +4 runs per year in recent years, PMR around average, I don’t have the UZRs handy, but I don’t recall Hunter being anything but average-good since 2004) and he’s not a good enough hitter to be much better than average in a corner, even assuming his offense doesn’t decline at all, a big if for a 32-36 year-old.

It shouldn’t be a millstone, at least.  A lot depends on what they do with Matthews.  If they realize that Matthews isn’t the centerfielder and can’t hit anywhere near well enough to play left or right and consider him a sunk cost, it’s a good thing, but if they use it to give Matthews 150 games a year in right (with Vlad shifting) or at DH, they’re already canceling out a huge chunk of Hunter’s positive value.  Maybe this is a prelude to a Marlins trade?  There were talks of the Dodgers eating a huge chunk Pierre’s contract and sending him to Florida, maybe the Angels have it in mind to do the same thing with Sargeito?

This is however, a better move for the Angels than it would have been for the other teams rumored to be involved.  Hunter doesn’t get either the White Sox or Rangers into real playoff contention.  And if he had signed with the Dodgers, there’s a very good chance that Kemp would be better soon, if he isn’t already.

2008 ZiPS Projection - Torii Hunter
———————————————————————————————————-
          AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
———————————————————————————————————-
Projection   528 84 147 33 1 24 94 39 89 15 .278 .332 .481
2009?      507 75 138 28 1 21 88 36 89 15 .272 .325 .456
2010?      485 71 129 27 1 19 86 34 84 14 .266 .319 .443
2011?      455 66 119 26 1 17 81 31 81 12 .262 .314 .435
2012?      408 57 105 22 1 13 73 27 72 10 .257 .309 .412
———————————————————————————————————-
Opt. (15%)  541 98 163 40 2 28 106 46 80 20 .301 .362 .538
Pes. (15%)  360 48   90 20 0 13 53 23 70   7 .250 .297 .414
———————————————————————————————————-
Top Comps:  Gary Ward, Amos Otis

 

 

Dan Szymborski Posted: November 22, 2007 at 01:05 PM | 56 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Related News:

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Enrico Pallazzo Posted: November 22, 2007 at 03:44 PM (#2623343)
This probably comes as a surprise to nearly everyone. I didn't even know the two sides were talking. This leaves the Halos with 6 players for 3 OF and one DH spot. If Torii is in CF, and Vlad in RF, then the only guy left who could come close to performing offensively to make him worth being in LF is Juan Rivera, and he's a bit of a question mark. It wouldn't be easy to deal Anderson, so I'm guessing he stays. Willits is young and appealing to some teams, but they might want him as insurance.

Good luck trading Matthews, Tony.
   2. GEB4000 Posted: November 22, 2007 at 03:46 PM (#2623346)
Moreno was man enough to admit he made a mistake last year. Let's see what Coletti does. Either of these teams could have signed Lofton last year, so they could sign a real centerfielder this year. Instead, they chose to throw their money away.
   3. AROM Posted: November 22, 2007 at 03:58 PM (#2623359)
extravagant? Yes

But this makes the Angels a better team. When Weaver pitches an OF of Matthews Hunter and Willits will catch anything.
   4. Valentine Posted: November 22, 2007 at 05:53 PM (#2623426)
http://www.strangelandblog.com/2007/11/22/three-bad-signings/

Agreed that Matthews is the problem, not Hunter. Any guesses as to what will happen with Rivera? A non-tender candidate?
   5. Walt Davis Posted: November 22, 2007 at 06:14 PM (#2623447)
Wow, wasn't expecting such positive reactions to this. 5/$90 ... that's a lot of money. That 2010 projection is basically as valuable as Sarge's career line and you're gonna be paying $18 M for that. And Hunter's defense a couple years from now will probably be in line with Matthews as well.

Matthews' defense has always been the big question here. I see ZIPS has him as fair; I recall MGL last year giving him positive defensive ratings, don't know about his UZR this year. If Sarge is an average CF defensively, then I don't see this being worth the extra $8 M and 2 years of commitment. If he truly is fair and, given his age, on the way to poor, then this might be worth it.

Still, I didn't expect Hunter to pull $18 M and I'm considering this a bad overpay until I see what the rest of the market looks like (a luxury the Angels don't have of course :-).
   6. 1k5v3L Posted: November 22, 2007 at 07:44 PM (#2623475)
Well, I gotta say that the $30m/3 year extension that Eric Byrnes got this summer doesn't look that bad in light of Hunter's deal (or in light of the expected Rowand deal, for example). The real negative of the Byrnes signing was that is shipped Hairston out of town and and is about to ship Quentin out of town as well... but in terms of money spent and years invested, it looks ok now.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: November 22, 2007 at 09:06 PM (#2623497)
Well, I gotta say that the $30m/3 year extension that Eric Byrnes got this summer doesn't look that bad in light of Hunter's deal

Don't ya just hate it when that happens.
   8. Spahn Insane Posted: November 22, 2007 at 11:18 PM (#2623529)
Soriano's contract looks more and more reasonable, at $17M per.
   9. kwarren Posted: November 22, 2007 at 11:19 PM (#2623530)
But this makes the Angels a better team. When Weaver pitches an OF of Matthews Hunter and Willits will catch anything.

And when Weaver is not pitching?
   10. Valentine Posted: November 22, 2007 at 11:36 PM (#2623533)
The problem with Soriano's contract was always the length, not the dollars. In the last three years of the deal, ZiPS projected a sub-.250 batting average with poor OBP and minimal power. If accurate, and only time will tell, then the Cubs effectively signed him to a $27M/year deal with $54M of deferred salary.
   11. Spahn Insane Posted: November 22, 2007 at 11:42 PM (#2623537)
The problem with Soriano's contract was always the length, not the dollars.

Well, yeah, but that seems to be par for the course for good players--you pay for the crappy years at the end of the deal for the privileges of getting the good years at the start. So it goes.
   12. Valentine Posted: November 22, 2007 at 11:57 PM (#2623539)
you pay for the crappy years at the end of the deal for the privileges of getting the good years at the start

Paying for one crappy year is pretty much par for the course. ZiPS saw the Soriano deal as paying for three good years, two disappointing years, and three that would merit a bench role at best. That's not a strong value-to-crap ratio.
   13. Spahn Insane Posted: November 23, 2007 at 12:43 AM (#2623544)
I happen to think that ZiPS projection's on the pessimistic side, but time'll tell, as you say. Not that I think Soriano's likely to be very good in five years, but I think he'll maintain close to his present value for another 3 or 4 years (I expect he'll have at least 2 years better than last year), at which point his current annual pay'll look like a bargain.
   14. shoewizard Posted: November 23, 2007 at 01:34 AM (#2623553)
Well, I gotta say that the $30m/3 year extension that Eric Byrnes got this summer doesn't look that bad in light of Hunter's deal (or in light of the expected Rowand deal, for example). The real negative of the Byrnes signing was that is shipped Hairston out of town and and is about to ship Quentin out of town as well... but in terms of money spent and years invested, it looks ok now.

Well.....if Byrnes were a centerfielder, or more accurately, if the D Backs NEEDED him to play CF, I'd agree with this.
   15. shoewizard Posted: November 23, 2007 at 01:39 AM (#2623555)
The problem with Soriano's contract was always the length, not the dollars.

Well, yeah, but that seems to be par for the course for good players--you pay for the crappy years at the end of the deal for the privileges of getting the good years at the start. So it goes.


I realize there is the salary inflation component at work here.....but I still don't understand why teams don't just pay more for shorter deals. At least this way they won't be forced to play guys that suck as they get old...and they won't have to pay so much to make them go away.
   16. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 23, 2007 at 01:42 AM (#2623556)
but I still don't understand why teams don't just pay more for shorter deals.


And I've never understood why teams don't ever try to frontload contracts.
   17. akrasian Posted: November 23, 2007 at 01:50 AM (#2623560)
And I've never understood why teams don't ever try to frontload contracts.

The time value of money.

Look at it this way - by backloading contracts, they can take the money they are saving in the short term and invest it, thus reducing the actual amount the contract is costing them.

Now, if a player were willing to reduce the amount they would sign for in return for front loading, that might change things.
   18. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 23, 2007 at 01:54 AM (#2623562)
Look at it this way - by backloading contracts, they can take the money they are saving in the short term and invest it, thus reducing the actual amount the contract is costing them.


I know, I was seeing if shoewizard could spot that, then realize it fits with fewer years/ more money.
   19. akrasian Posted: November 23, 2007 at 02:04 AM (#2623566)
I know, I was seeing if shoewizard could spot that, then realize it fits with fewer years/ more money.

Ah. It was a trap.
   20. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: November 23, 2007 at 02:33 AM (#2623572)
And I've never understood why teams don't ever try to frontload contracts.
Totally different issue (and off-topic), but the Chicago Bulls do so - it's a great strategy in that setting, I think.
   21. shoewizard Posted: November 23, 2007 at 03:02 AM (#2623584)
Oh..you guys are so tricky......LOL

I realize there is the time value of money factor....I alluded to it with the salary inflation part of my comment. But how much are the teams REALLY saving? Especially when you factor in having 2 or 3 years of suck sitting on your roster when a player is long past his productive years? And how much will it cost the Cubs to unload Soriano for the last 3 years of his contract? Will ponying up HALF even be enough?

I just wonder if teams are truly factoring in the cost to make a guy go away against the perceived savings they receive due to the "time value of money". Are teams really adding up the "True Cost of War...." Oh wait.....
   22. 8ball Posted: November 23, 2007 at 03:13 AM (#2623587)
Ah. It was a trap.

Finally, a thread for Admiral Ackbar to post in, and he's nowhere to be found...
   23. akrasian Posted: November 23, 2007 at 03:17 AM (#2623590)
Totally different issue (and off-topic), but the Chicago Bulls do so - it's a great strategy in that setting, I think.

Yeah a salary cap makes a difference. The year before the NFL started their cap, a number of teams frontloaded contracts so that the money would not count against the cap when it started.
   24. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: November 23, 2007 at 03:48 AM (#2623607)
The thing about the Bulls doing it is that most other NBA teams don't - they're an outlier there. I'm surprised at how much I like much of what Paxson has done there.
   25. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 23, 2007 at 03:55 AM (#2623610)
Matt Stairs frontloaded his deal this year, although it was just a two year deal.
   26. akrasian Posted: November 23, 2007 at 04:07 AM (#2623616)
The thing about the Bulls doing it is that most other NBA teams don't - they're an outlier there. I'm surprised at how much I like much of what Paxson has done there.

It makes sense if you have a young team far from the salary cap - but that you would expect to be at or over the cap in a year or so. By frontloading you save the NBA luxury tax - which is dollar for dollar.

It doesn't make sense (and in fact, isn't allowed in most cases) for teams at or over the salary cap already.
   27. Mayor Blomberg Posted: November 23, 2007 at 04:40 AM (#2623620)
The problem with Soriano's contract was always the length, not the dollars. In the last three years of the deal, ZiPS projected a sub-.250 batting average with poor OBP and minimal power. If accurate, and only time will tell, then the Cubs effectively signed him to a $27M/year deal with $54M of deferred salary.


ZIPS Soriano 2007 .265/.327/.498
Actual Soriano 2007 .299/.337/.560

Yikes, he walked less than predicted!
   28. kwarren Posted: November 23, 2007 at 05:21 AM (#2623624)
I just wonder if teams are truly factoring in the cost to make a guy go away against the perceived savings they receive due to the "time value of money".

This is not a percieved saving. It is an actual saving and it is significant. A S10 M outlay delayed by five years allows the team to invest conservatively at 10% annually and pocket $6.1 M in the intervening five years. So the actual cost is $3.9 M rather than $10.0. It quite misleading to refer to this a percieved saving as if somehow doesn't really happen.
   29. Oriole Tragic is totally awesome in the postseason Posted: November 23, 2007 at 02:14 PM (#2623684)
Anybody still think the Angels are still going to deal for Tejada, or are they all set?
   30. Valentine Posted: November 23, 2007 at 02:29 PM (#2623692)
A S10 M outlay delayed by five years allows the team to invest conservatively at 10% annually and pocket $6.1 M in the intervening five years.

A 10% annual return is not a particularly conservative investment. :-0 The greater issue, I think, is that the teams are often promising money that they don't have on hand (or would have to borrow). Thus applying a discount rate of 8% to 11% makes a lot of sense. (The latter figure is the long-term increase in MLB revenues.)
   31. shoewizard Posted: November 23, 2007 at 02:30 PM (#2623693)
I just wonder if teams are truly factoring in the cost to make a guy go away against the perceived savings they receive due to the "time value of money".

This is not a percieved saving. It is an actual saving and it is significant. A S10 M outlay delayed by five years allows the team to invest conservatively at 10% annually and pocket $6.1 M in the intervening five years. So the actual cost is $3.9 M rather than $10.0. It quite misleading to refer to this a percieved saving as if somehow doesn't really happen.


Thats not what I meant. Bad wording on my part. What I meant was how much of that savings is offset by the negatives on the back end of the contract?. Putting aside the fact that you have no idea how teams invest their money and whether or not they are able to get a 10% return with "conservative" investments.....what I am wondering is whether or not teams are accurately factoring in the potential to have to make large payoffs to make the player go away when the time comes to unload him. How much of the upfront savings are frequently offset by that?

For example...Scott Rolen.....he is going to make 36 million over the next 3 years, and he is very unlikely to actually be able to earn that 36 million with performance, given his health and decline issues. If the Cardinals want to make him go away...it's going to cost them a good sized portion of that 36 million. Probably at least 1/3 of that. So when you weight the 12 million they are going to have to pay to get rid of his contract...how much did they REALLY save on the front end? Quite a bit less than originally "perceived"......

Are you following my thought process?

BTW.....thanks for the value judgment. It is not my intent to "deceive"......sheesh.....I'm just trying to work something out here.
   32. greenback calls it soccer Posted: November 23, 2007 at 03:12 PM (#2623718)
Quite a bit less than originally "perceived"......


Rolen's not the best example, at least not at Primer, since the common perception was that deal was too long and would be ugly at the end. Of course almost all long-term deals are perceived that way by the Groupthink.

I think what you're saying is that teams should set up a liability for future losses on the contract. Or maybe they should value the player asset performing much worse in the later end of a deal. The thing is, the player's performance generates revenue after its incidence. In particular, attendance tends to lag success on the field, unless your owner is Wayne Huizenga.

Rolen's situation BTW exemplifies another benefit of backloading. The Cardinals have more contract that they can make other teams eat. Now, whether they can find someone to pay $10 million a year for his services is another story, but they wouldn't even have that option with a frontloaded deal.
   33. Valentine Posted: November 23, 2007 at 03:13 PM (#2623719)
Sometimes I think the long-term forecasts are incredibly pessimistic. Then I jump back half a dozen years, pull up a leaderboard, and play, "Where are they now?" Roughly half of the age 26-29 position players from the top of the 2000 VORP board are now greatly diminished. That includes blue-chippers such as Jason Giambi, Nomar Garciaparra, Brian Giles, Edgardo Alfonso, Darrin Erstad... If great players like these can't be trusted to survive into their mid-30s, then how can we expect lesser lights like Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano to age gracefully?

The projected averages seem to be a compromise between the probability that a player will maintain some approximation of his skills and the probability that he will fall off the table, never to be heard from again. Manny Ramirez maintained his skills pretty well. Jason Giambi fell off the table. Any honest projection must somehow split the difference.

Given that some random proportion of long-term contracts are expected to be busts, it is unfair to criticize a specific deal using hindsight. Teams need to avoid overstepping their risk tolerance, of course, and keep the risk/reward ratio favorable on the deals they sign, but a contract that doesn't happen to pay off isn't necessarily a bad contract. You have to look at the entirety of a team's situation.
   34. Valentine Posted: November 23, 2007 at 03:22 PM (#2623725)
Rolen's not the best example, at least not at Primer, since the common perception was that deal was too long and would be ugly at the end.

Rolen had three terrific seasons, including one that led to a World Series championship. The MORP calculation suggests that a team might pay $30M today for a player expected to produce a +8.5 WARP. (That's a very high expectation... ARod, Pujols, and who??? Cabrera falls short.) Even back in 2003-2006 that would have been "worth" $20M or so. Two seasons of that quality. One that was even better. Rolen's contract has already come close to paying for itself, even if he is released tomorrow.

If the Red Sox hadn't signed Lowell, they might have been willing to take on Rolen's contract. He remains a terrific defensive player -- arguably worth $10M/year at this point. Think Gary Matthews Jr or Jeff Suppan.
   35. The TVerik of Lordly Might Posted: November 23, 2007 at 03:26 PM (#2623727)
From a player's perspective, frontloading greatly increases the chance of being traded. And from a team's perspective, frontloading reduces the amount of a bad contract that another team might pick up (although the increase in a player's trade value makes up for that, largely).
   36. shoewizard Posted: November 23, 2007 at 03:30 PM (#2623729)
Would teams be better off shortening the service clock time needed for a player to reach free agency? This may seem counter intuitive at first. But say for example a player only had 2 arb seasons instead of 3, and could hit free agency after year 5. Sure, 6th year players would make a ton more money, but it would effectively lower the average age a player hits free agency by one full year. That would put younger, and seemingly more projectable players into the free agent pool. It would also reduce the amount of money going to aging free agents, as there would be younger, better players for teams to spend their money on. Right now teams seem to often be stuck in a "no mans land". You have guys that are just about finished with their prime years between ages 27-31 hitting the market, fresh off all their greatest accomplishments. So you end up overpaying for past performance....and in most cases, it wasn't even performance for your team.

What is the average age that most players hit free agency? 30-31? If I were a GM, I would much rather be faced with FA decisions and evaluating if a guy is worth a long term contract before he reaches age 30. Maybe that benefit would just not be enough to offset the loss of one year of control over a player that came up through the system. But I'm willing to bet that 75% of contracts (players over 30) that are over 4 years in length are deep in the negative in terms of bang for the buck come years 5, 6 or 7.
   37. Valentine Posted: November 23, 2007 at 04:04 PM (#2623743)
Would teams be better off shortening the service clock time needed for a player to reach free agency?

It would certainly be a more rational/efficient system, with a closer correlation between salary and performance. The reason why free agent salaries are currently so high is that most of the talent pool in the game is "off limits". Assuming a fixed pool of money available for salaries, anything that expands the supply of free agent talent should serve to bring those top salaries down a bit.

But is that salary pool fixed? Teams should also evaluate signings from a "profit" perspective. If paying a player $10M can by making the team more competitive increase anticipated net revenues by $11M, then the signing makes sense. If it increases revenues by $8M then it does not make sense. I'm oversimplifying of course, and the calculation is different for every team and in every situation. Still, it is possible to imagine a structure under which marginal profits are generally positive but overall profits are uniformly negative. That would not be good for the game. (To be fair, I think we are currently in the opposite situation. Most free agent signings probably don't make sense from a pure financial perspective, yet MLB is immensely profitable right now. So a slight loosening of the free agent restrictions would be unlikely to tip it in the other direction.)

Only thing I'm certain of -- shortening the time to free agency would make it much harder for a team to compete with a low payroll. You would see some of the low/mid payroll teams spend more money to remain competitive, thus increasing total payroll for the league. You would see others fall into a "permanent second division" status. Not clear to me that competitive balance is necessary for a strong league, but it certainly makes things more interesting in the abstract.

Finally, note that most of the best players are signed to long-term contracts BEFORE they reach free agency. The average age of the top 20 position-player free agents sorted by projected WOBA is over 32 (even excluding Barry Bonds as an outlier). None are younger than 30.
   38. shoewizard Posted: November 23, 2007 at 04:15 PM (#2623751)
Thanks...excellent response. I didn't factor in the competitive balance aspect.
   39. sunnyday2 Posted: November 23, 2007 at 04:17 PM (#2623754)
How the hell can a guy be a comp for Amos Otis and Gary Ward-o at the same time?
   40. sunnyday2 Posted: November 23, 2007 at 04:20 PM (#2623755)
If paying a player $10M can by making the team more competitive increase anticipated net revenues by $11M, then the signing makes sense. If it increases revenues by $8M then it does not make sense.


You should probably only use the salary above the average or something like that in this equation. You're gonna pay somebody something and sell some tickets regardless.
   41. Ron Johnson Posted: November 23, 2007 at 04:42 PM (#2623769)
If paying a player $10M can by making the team more competitive increase anticipated net revenues by $11M, then the signing makes sense. If it increases revenues by $8M then it does not make sense.


When I looked at revenue (old CBA) I found a couple of things related to this point.

First of all, perception of team quality has roughly twice as much importance as actual team quality in explaining marginal revenue.

Second, since at least the mid-90s there is clear evidence that payroll is used by an awful lot of fans as a proxy for team quality.

From what I could see player salaries were functioning as very effective advertising.

OK, I'm sure the effects aren't linear -- that there are issues of diminishing return.
   42. Valentine Posted: November 23, 2007 at 04:54 PM (#2623777)
From what I could see player salaries were functioning as very effective advertising.

That's almost certainly true in the short term. In the long term, I suspect that winning actual games makes the greater difference.

Note that this is one reason why the pay scale is a non-linear function of production. Nate Silver uses an exponent of 1.5 in his MORP calculation -- seems about right, though it may fall off that path at the high end. Signing one star player is more effective advertising than signing a pair of lesser contributors, even for a team that could equally benefit from either.
   43. kwarren Posted: November 23, 2007 at 06:33 PM (#2623825)
Jason Giambi fell off the table.

I don't buy this comment at all. In 2005 at age 34 Giambi led the AL OBA and posted a 440/535/975. Then in 2006 he follwed this up 413/558/971. And all of this follewed a horrible 2004 season that was decimated by health and injury issues. I admit that 2007 was another injury marred season but he still posted respectable 356/433/789 stats. This can hardy be classified as "falling off the table". His career totals in spite of the trials and tribulations are still 411/536/947.
   44. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 23, 2007 at 07:19 PM (#2623841)
That includes blue-chippers such as Jason Giambi, Nomar Garciaparra, Brian Giles, Edgardo Alfonso, Darrin Erstad... If great players like these can't be trusted to survive into their mid-30s, then how can we expect lesser lights like Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano to age gracefully?


Are you seriously asserting that Edgardo Alfonso and Darrin Erstad (and even Brian Giles, for that matter) are/were greater players than Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano?
   45. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 23, 2007 at 07:20 PM (#2623846)
First of all, perception of team quality has roughly twice as much importance as actual team quality in explaining marginal revenue.


This makes a lot of sense to me, but I'm curious: how does one measure "perception of team quality"?
   46. shoewizard Posted: November 23, 2007 at 07:55 PM (#2623868)
Are you seriously asserting that Edgardo Alfonso and Darrin Erstad (and even Brian Giles, for that matter) are/were greater players than Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano?

I think if you go back and look at the perception of Alfonso after his season in 2000, you'd find almost everybody thought he was a great young player. He was just 26 years old and coming off a 147 OPS+ season playing full time second base. He walked 95 times while striking out just 70 times, and of course hit for high average and excellent power...for any hitter...let alone a second baseman. And that age 26 season had been preceded by seasons with OPS+ of 125, 106, 119. In addition, he had very low error totals throughout those 4 seasons and although I don't know what his ZR numbers were like, his range factor numbers were good. He was generally perceived to be good with the glove and great with the bat.

At age 25 his most similar comp was Ryne Sandberg, and at age 26 his most similar comp was Carlos Baerga. Ok...now.....7 years later we know which course his career took. He had a horrible 2001, bounced back somewhat in 2002, with a 127 OPS+, and the pfft.

But if you go back to the off season after 2000, I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who didn't think Alfonso wasn't a great player.
   47. shoewizard Posted: November 23, 2007 at 07:57 PM (#2623871)
Man..really need to get the Edit function activated in Transaction Oracle. Please overlook my typos. Thanks
   48. booond Posted: November 23, 2007 at 07:59 PM (#2623872)
Are you seriously asserting that Edgardo Alfonso and Darrin Erstad (and even Brian Giles, for that matter) are/were greater players than Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano?


I'd take Brian Giles over either player.
   49. Ron Johnson Posted: November 23, 2007 at 08:07 PM (#2623877)
Kiko,

Actually the "perception of team quality" came out of a lot of discussions of the results of my studies (and before that, of Zimbalist's. We had long running discussions about the marginal value of a win and ZImbalist's studies were a decade old). I honestly forget who first came up with the phrase. Might even have been me.

When I first started looking at revenue I started with the factors Zimbalist used. As it turns out previous year's winning percentage had a correlation coefficient that's about double the current season's.

But as I looked further, best I can tell the perception question now basically boils down to a mixture of:

did they make the playoffs last year
did they win the World Series
what's the payroll (I used opening day payroll)

When you include these factors, previous year's winning percentage comes back as statistically insignificant.
   50. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 23, 2007 at 08:28 PM (#2623890)
Giles had an OBP-heavy 146 OPS+ at 34. By any reasonable measure, he DID "survive" into his mid-30s.
   51. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 23, 2007 at 08:48 PM (#2623899)
shoe,

Okay, to be honest, you're definitely right that my perception of Erstad and Alfonzo is being colored by their post-2000 careers. I was thinking that Erstad's 2000 season was a complete fluke, unlike anything he ever did before or after, but looking back, while that's technically true, his 2000 certainly fit the profile of a guy coming into his prime at age 26 and it could have been reasonable to expect a couple more years of that general quality.

I'd still be inclined to says Wells thru 2006 was a better player than Erstad thru 2000, and Soriano thru 2006 was a better player than Alfonzo thru 2000, so I think you over-state the idea that Soriano and Wells are a "lesser tier" than these guys. But I'll definitely concede your general point that Erstad and Alfonzo are great examples of "great" players who fell off a cliff in their late 20s/early 30s.

Ron,

Thanks for your answer in #49.
   52. Valentine Posted: November 23, 2007 at 09:09 PM (#2623910)
#44 Are you seriously asserting that Edgardo Alfonso and Darrin Erstad (and even Brian Giles, for that matter) are/were greater players than Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano?

I'm asserting that those players were at the top of the 2000 leaderboards in VORP. We know now that these players flamed out early. But AT THE TIME, they were thought to be among the top young stars in baseball.

Isn't it possible that Vernon Wells' career might parallel that of Erstad? You seem to believe that is a completely ridiculous notion.
   53. Valentine Posted: November 23, 2007 at 09:21 PM (#2623915)
Giles had an OBP-heavy 146 OPS+ at 34. By any reasonable measure, he DID "survive" into his mid-30s.

Jeesh!!! You guys are completely missing the point.

Soriano signed an 8-year deal following his age 30 season. Brian Giles was a terrific player through the age of 30 (2001). He was a terrific player through the age of 34 (2005). But if you had signed him to a top-dollar 8-year deal in November of 2001, I think you would be seriously regretting it by now.

Vernon Wells signed a 7-year extension following his age 27 season (i.e. projecting 8 years into the future). Darrin Erstad was a terrific player through his age 26 season (2000). If you had signed Erstad to an 8-year deal in November of 2000, you would have received essentially zero value. The Blue Jays are fooling themselves if they think there is NO CHANCE that Vernon Wells will follow the same path.

There are obviously other players who have aged very nicely. About half of the players in my (small) sample of the top youngish players from 2000 were still good or great players in 2007. About half ended up like Nomar Garciaparra. If you had asked me at the time which would be which, I likely would have made several mistakes.

I've got nothing against any of the players listed. My point is that eight-year deals carry a huge risk of non-performance.
   54. The NeverEnding Torii (oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh) Posted: November 23, 2007 at 09:28 PM (#2623918)
This took me by complete surprise. But, unlike other surprising, seemingly nonsensical signings in recent Angels history (Finley, Matthews, Cabrera), in this one, the Angels get someone who is still capable of being a pretty great player. I'm happy because the Twins are my favorite non-Angels club and I've long loved Hunter, but I also think he'll be a great guy to have around (both for fans and the team). And though he's not the big bat the Angels have needed, he's still an upgrade over what we had. I don't see Hunter having a problem hitting 30-35 HRs playing in Anaheim, hitting behind Vlad. I think the Angels view him as replacing the production they expected out of Anderson and Matthews. Also, with Hunter and Garland, there's a surplus of outfielders and starters, so they're at least still trying to get some deal done, obviously. I don't like Tejada (even taking injuries into account, he has slipped) or Cabrera (seems like a kid who's gonna get too cocky and fat too soon), but I don't think the Angels are done yet. And I have to admit that a Tejada-or-Cabrera/Vlad/Hunter heart of the order would be very interesting.
   55. Walt Davis Posted: November 25, 2007 at 02:24 AM (#2624427)
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that agents understand the time value of money just as well as teams do. Teams aren't 'saving' money by backloading. TVM does mean that a backloaded $15 M contract costs less than a less-backloaded $15 M contract (although the amount of backloading usually isn't that big a difference) but that just means that player A wasn't worth as much (or agreed to play for less) than player B, not that the first team "saved" money.

Rolen's not the best example, at least not at Primer, since the common perception was that deal was too long and would be ugly at the end. Of course almost all long-term deals are perceived that way by the Groupthink.

Has "the group" been wrong yet about any 6+ year contracts? I don't know if I was around when AROD signed his first one -- if ever there was a player to give a 10-year contract, it was AROD in those days.
   56. Valentine Posted: November 25, 2007 at 02:51 AM (#2624438)
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that agents understand the time value of money just as well as teams do.

Of course! Nonetheless, the time value of money can be different for the two. Teams don't generally have a whole lot of cash sitting around. Many are already pushing the MLB debt limits making it difficult for them to formally borrow more. In this kind of situation, they may discount future payments at a higher rate than the player.

There's also the "bragging rights" element. Manny Ramirez got to claim he was a $168M player, even if the GAAP value of his contract was closer to $150M.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Syndicate

Page rendered in 0.5561 seconds
60 querie(s) executed