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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A’s - Signed Loaiza

Oakland A’s - Signed P Esteban Loaiza to a 3-year, $21.375 million contract.

Wow - that’s a lot to give to a pitcher with ERA+ numbers of 105 and 84 after his big year.  I don’t think Loaiza will match his projection below, but then again, I thought he’d fall well short of his projection last year and it turned out to be one of the best ones.

ZiPS Projections
——————————————————————————————-
Player       W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
——————————————————————————————-
Proj. ‘05   12 10 31 29 202   198 85 16 60 149 3.79
Act. ‘05     12 10 34 34 217   227 91 18 55 173 3.77

If this is any indication of where the market’s going, there are going to be a lot of instances of headscratching and muttering “that guy’s good, but that good?”  Loaiza will be OK with Oakland and a good 3rd starter or so, but this is a lot of dough for a guy who is not elite and a team with a fairly tight budget.  It makes me wonder where Kevin Millwood’s going.  Remember the joking about Boras and Millwood wanting that 3-year, $30 million contract?  Well, if Loaiza can’t get more than 21 for 3 with the A’s, Millwood’s beating that.  B.J. Ryan and Billy Wagner may look like bargains in 3 weeks!

 

2006 ZiPS Projection - Esteban Loaiza
———————————————————————-
W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
———————————————————————-
13   9 33 32 214 209   94 21 59 151 3.95

Dan Szymborski Posted: November 29, 2005 at 01:12 AM | 89 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: November 29, 2005 at 02:02 AM (#1750471)
But what will it take for the Scott Eyre signing to look like a bargain?
   2. Scoriano Flitcraft Posted: November 29, 2005 at 02:36 AM (#1750491)
Loaiza must have had incriminating pictures of Billy Beane writing that book.
   3. peter21 Posted: November 29, 2005 at 02:37 AM (#1750496)
Why, Billy, why??
   4. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: November 29, 2005 at 02:42 AM (#1750499)
Wowsa
   5. e Posted: November 29, 2005 at 02:44 AM (#1750500)
How different are Millwood's 2005 and Pavano's 2004? 4 for 40 sounds right to me, followed by some disappointment.

As for Loaiza, interesting move. $3M signing- 5,6,7 4th year team option, 7.5M or 375K buyout. Seems like zito is about to be moved. Fun stuff!
   6. Johnny Tuttle Posted: November 29, 2005 at 03:10 AM (#1750527)
Was it in a Rob & Rany on the Royals where Rany said he'd jump at Loaiza for a deal about this size? Maybe they're bookmarked by Beane.
   7. Johnny Tuttle Posted: November 29, 2005 at 03:14 AM (#1750530)
This deal may make Burnett seem that much more likely to get a little more than $10 mill. (despite his similarity to Loaiza statistically that someone else noted elsewhere, I'm sure his "upside" will be valued more highly than Loaiza's "backside").
   8. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: November 29, 2005 at 03:19 AM (#1750534)
$21M/3 years? Not one of Beane's best days at the office.
   9. b-ball23 Posted: November 29, 2005 at 03:42 AM (#1750555)
It's been thrown around that this signing could be to decrease the supply of pitchers and in turn increase the demand for Zito. Also, Loaiza's VORP in '05 was higher than Zito's. Whether or not '04 was an abberation, over the last few yeras Loaiza has at least been able to walk very few batters and be dependable. With the market set at what it is, Beane may have not been able to get Loaiza any cheaper. Plus, at least he's still in a pitcher's park...
   10. b-ball23 Posted: November 29, 2005 at 03:46 AM (#1750562)
The only problem I have with Loaiza is his age...
   11. VG Posted: November 29, 2005 at 03:51 AM (#1750570)
I thought he'd fall well short of his projection last year and it turned out to be one of the best ones.

Dan, how did RFK's park factor(s) turn out in comparison to what you used for projections of Nats players?
   12. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 29, 2005 at 03:56 AM (#1750579)

Dan, how did RFK's park factor(s) turn out in comparison to what you used for projections of Nats players?


Really well. I used Shea. Weighted Shea 2002-2004 actually projected RFK 2005 better than Shea 2005.
   13. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: November 29, 2005 at 04:02 AM (#1750589)
I'm curious what role going back to the AL will play in his stats. He got smoked the last time around.
   14. Moe Jorgan Posted: November 29, 2005 at 05:05 AM (#1750667)
Billy Beane never should have written that contract.
   15. Chris Pummer Posted: November 29, 2005 at 05:07 AM (#1750676)
I'd rather have Loaiza for this money than Burnett at whatever he ends up with.
   16. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: November 29, 2005 at 06:52 AM (#1750801)
It's been thrown around that this signing could be to decrease the supply of pitchers and in turn increase the demand for Zito.

I like Billy Beane as much as the next guy, but that's pretty silly.

</backlasher>
   17. The Other Kurt Posted: November 29, 2005 at 07:47 AM (#1750836)
When the only upside of a new player signing that I can possibly think of is what they might get by trading him, it can't be good.
   18. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: November 29, 2005 at 07:50 AM (#1750839)
How long do they have to wait before they can trade him after signing him?
   19. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: November 29, 2005 at 07:52 AM (#1750841)
What the hell is this? This sucks.
   20. esseff Posted: November 29, 2005 at 08:57 AM (#1750880)
How long do they have to wait before they can trade him after signing him?

Generally, June 15, unless the player agrees to be traded.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: November 29, 2005 at 09:00 AM (#1750882)
Dumb.

That's what comes to mind. Yes, the market's shifting up so it's not THAT dumb. He's a little worse (and older) than Benson, but I suppose if Loaiza had gone on the market last year with this track record, this is about what he'd have gotten.

But for the A's? OK, not relying on Saarloos to repeat what he did is smart, but on Oakland's budget, I'd rather take that gamble (or that some kid would come through) than to spend $7 M on Loaiza.

This would seem to indicate that Zito is gone and that Meyer isn't healthy and/or ready. Or maybe he's even Harden insurance (god forbid). But I still don't like this move.

And it sure doesn't look like exploiting a market inefficiency even if Burnett does sign for $13 M or whatever.

Basically, Beane shouldn't be allowed to sign or trade for any player over the age of 27 with a contract over, oh, $5 M. (Dye, Kendall, now Loaiza ... am I missing anyone?)

When he was young, I thought Loaiza was gonna be pretty good, so in that sense I'm glad to see him turn out decent.

And I agree that the idea that Beane is taking pitchers off the market to drive up the market for Zito is silly. Of course given what I think of this signing, maybe silly isn't so unbelievable from Beane. :-)
   22. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 29, 2005 at 09:36 AM (#1750908)
This is stupid.
   23. Jerry Lumpe Rutherford (Dan Lee) Posted: November 29, 2005 at 02:38 PM (#1751036)
So much for the Primates being a bunch of groupthinking Beane fanboys.

The deal seems a bit excessive to me, but if it turns out to be the difference between them being a playoff team and missing the postseason, I guess it's not horrible. I wouldn't have done it, I know that.

Was Loaiza the best starting pitcher available not named Millwood or Burnett?
   24. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 29, 2005 at 02:39 PM (#1751039)
Yes, and he was the guy I thought the Indians should sign. This would have been a fine deal for them.
   25. Toolsy McClutch Posted: November 29, 2005 at 02:50 PM (#1751052)
I got this over my phone at the car dealership (I was filling out the paperwork on a new Santa Fe before they told me that $0 down also meant $3200 in upfront costs) and I almost gagged.

Thinking about it again, 3/18 would seem like a reasonable deal, and if everyone is throwing around cash, and extra $1 isn't going to kill them. That said, I would have thought there would be much cheaper alternatives around. The only way I could justify it is that Beane really thinks he has a serious chance this year and wants the safety of a known quantity in the rotation.
   26. Spiritualized Posted: November 29, 2005 at 02:51 PM (#1751053)
Moneyball my ass. Beane, DiPodesta and Ricciardi are a bunch of phonies -- Beane the biggest of all. Last year he would've gotten on his soapbox about a deal like this. Now it's okay because "the market dictates it." I thought you were smarter than the market, Billy!

Rule #1: MLB teams are spending addicts. When they have the cash, they spend it.
   27. Mister High Standards Posted: November 29, 2005 at 03:15 PM (#1751084)
Since I'm someone who has been called a Beane "Hater" let me be one of the first to actually say this isn't a bad move. The fact that Davis thinks it is dumb is a mark it's favor of course.

1) If Loazia hits that projection he is well worth 7m a year.
2) If Loazia hits that projection Beane will have no trouble dealing him and letting someone else take the downside risk of years 2 and 3.
3) This market will soar, and will make this deal look good.
4) The A's need to invest in their team. They need to regain the trust of the fans after years of crying poor boy. A way to od that is to bring in free agents players at healthy contracts. If Beane is serious about increasing the value of the franchise he needs to bring in players and sign free agents. This will likely be the best Bang for your Buck free agents with a reasonable length contract between $5-10m

I think this was a good move, and that is comming from someone who has been told by many people that I have an ax to grind with Beane.
   28. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 29, 2005 at 03:19 PM (#1751090)
I think this deal is likely to be the Derek Lowe signing of '05: Too much money and too many years, but still respectably productive.

Of course, I wouldn't be surprised much by ANY line Loaiza puts up next year. He's a real wild card, so this could look great or awful.
   29. Mister High Standards Posted: November 29, 2005 at 03:25 PM (#1751101)
Vlad - any deal signed in the 5-10m dollar range for 3 years or greater could look great or awful.

Its the nature of that slice of the market.
   30. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 29, 2005 at 03:37 PM (#1751114)
"...any deal signed in the 5-10m dollar range for 3 years or greater could look great or awful."

True enough; that was just my (probably unclear) way of saying that I think Loaiza has a much higher potential variance than most other players in that price range, so his chances of both greatness and awfulness are unusually high.
   31. Gromit45 Posted: November 29, 2005 at 03:43 PM (#1751128)
Is this part of a master strategy by Billy Beane to be viewed as "Hey look! I'm not so smart! I just overpaid for Loaiza" so he can later rip off the GMs in trades and other dealings?
   32. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: November 29, 2005 at 03:48 PM (#1751135)
Loaiza has a much higher potential variance than most other players in that price range, so his chances of both greatness and awfulness are unusually high.

I don't know about "greatness." Lowe's a good comp: Loaiza's likely performance over the contract will range from mediocre to slightly above-average.
   33. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 29, 2005 at 03:52 PM (#1751143)
"I don't know about 'greatness.'"

He pulled a pretty great 2003 out of somewhere, so it's not entirely out of the question that he'd have another one in his bag. I'm certainly not expecting it, but I didn't expect his 2003 either, so who knows?
   34. 5.00, .280/.320/.400, 4th outfielder Posted: November 29, 2005 at 04:04 PM (#1751167)
I think that this move may be influenced by the fact that Loaiza is a groundball pitcher and the A's infield is stellar defensively.
   35. AROM Posted: November 29, 2005 at 04:08 PM (#1751174)
Does Washington get the A's #1 pick now?

It will be nice next June not to have to analyze another moneyball draft.
   36. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: November 29, 2005 at 04:18 PM (#1751196)
Rule #1: MLB teams are spending addicts. When they have the cash, they spend it.

Gee, I always thought that rule #1 was that MLB teams were a bunch of tightwads looking to screw over the players at every opportunity.

Some people sure are hard to please. What exactly is the proper amount of money that a MLB team should be spending on its payroll?

Oh, and it's perhaps a tad risky, but I like this deal by Beane.
   37. 1k5v3L Posted: November 29, 2005 at 04:24 PM (#1751206)
Does Washington get the A's #1 pick now?

Yes. The Nats would've offered Loaiza arbitration anyhow, so signing him now vs. signing him later made no difference--except that he might've been a lot more expensive later. The A's have a lot of talent in the low minors; what they need is major league ready players. If you're planning on flipping Zito for a bat that will help you NOW, losing a pick, and a player who might help you in 3-4 years, isn't such a big deal...
   38. Danny Posted: November 29, 2005 at 04:33 PM (#1751223)
I think that this move may be influenced by the fact that Loaiza is a groundball pitcher and the A's infield is stellar defensively.


Actually, Loaiza's more of a flyball pitcher--but the A's should have a good defensive OF, too.

It will be nice next June not to have to analyze another moneyball draft.


There's still a chance they get a couple picks for Dotel. Hopefully.
   39. 1k5v3L Posted: November 29, 2005 at 04:35 PM (#1751226)
Both Dotel and Durazo are type A free agents.
   40. DTS Posted: November 29, 2005 at 04:40 PM (#1751248)
Loaiza will be OK with Oakland and a good 3rd starter or so, but this is a lot of dough for a guy who is not elite and a team with a fairly tight budget.

After last offseason's signing frenzy of mediocre pitchers to three year deals worth around $7M I'm surprised that people still get surprised by this.
   41. Danny Posted: November 29, 2005 at 04:41 PM (#1751249)
Yeah, but the A's likely won't offer arb to Durazo--and I don't think anyone will sign him in the next couple of weeks. He may not be healthy until June.
   42. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: November 29, 2005 at 04:41 PM (#1751250)
What can Zito be flipped for and to whom?
   43. 1k5v3L Posted: November 29, 2005 at 04:43 PM (#1751258)
Durazo makes a great cheap signing (with an 07 option) if the A's don't offer arb.
   44. chris p Posted: November 29, 2005 at 04:43 PM (#1751259)
Walt Davis Membership Posted: November 29, 2005 at 03:00 AM (#1750882)
Dumb.
...

# Mister High Standards Membership Posted: November 29, 2005 at 09:15 AM (#1751084)
...
I think this was a good move, and that is comming from someone who has been told by many people that I have an ax to grind with Beane.

Joey B. Membership Posted: November 29, 2005 at 10:18 AM (#1751196)
...
Oh, and it's perhaps a tad risky, but I like this deal by Beane.

all the "beane-haters" love this move, and all the "fanboys" hate it. i'm so confused.

i for one think loaiza's got game, so i think it's a good move.
   45. Danny Posted: November 29, 2005 at 04:51 PM (#1751270)
What can Zito be flipped for and to whom?


Interestingly, here's what Beane had to say: With Barry, Esteban, Rich, Danny and Joe, we have one of the best, if not the best starting rotations in the American League.

Maybe he'll try to flip some of the extra pitching (Kennedy, Cruz, Saarloos) for a decent DH bat instead of trading Zito for top prospects. Or maybe he's just posturing.

Durazo makes a great cheap signing (with an 07 option) if the A's don't offer arb.


Agreed.
   46. PayRod Posted: November 29, 2005 at 05:16 PM (#1751324)
Moneyball is dead.
   47. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 29, 2005 at 05:19 PM (#1751330)
Was Loaiza the best starting pitcher available not named Millwood or Burnett?

My favourite guy on the market is still Paul Byrd. This guy for a 1 year deal would be great for any team. Funky delivery, doesn't walk people, eats innings...

i for one think loaiza's got game, so i think it's a good move.

I really shouldn't shat on Loaiza like this. We would have never won the World Series without him.
   48. RP Posted: November 29, 2005 at 05:24 PM (#1751338)
Supposedly the Orioles are very close the signing Byrd to a 2 year deal worth $10-$12 million. I think that would be a good move.
   49. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 29, 2005 at 05:26 PM (#1751343)
If the O's pay Byrd the same amount over 2 years that Esteban gets for 3, I think I like this deal for the A's.
   50. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: November 29, 2005 at 05:27 PM (#1751344)
I really shouldn't shat on Loaiza like this. We would have never won the World Series without him.

He actually pitched much better in relief for the Yankees that series than expected.
   51. AROM Posted: November 29, 2005 at 05:29 PM (#1751351)
Supposedly the Orioles are very close the signing Byrd to a 2 year deal worth $10-$12 million.

If thats all he gets, I'd hope Byrd is back in the big A.

If he's offered Loiaza money, I'd like to see the Angels try and sign Kenny Rogers instead.
   52. DCA Posted: November 29, 2005 at 05:35 PM (#1751360)
Yeah, but the A's likely won't offer arb to Durazo--and I don't think anyone will sign him in the next couple of weeks. He may not be healthy until June.

Why not? Seems like they should. There are two spots at 1B/DH -- Dan Johnson has one, and we better get someone who can outhit Hatteberg for the other. So there is space for Durazo, and if teh A"s can afford Loaiza, a one year deal for Durazo won't break the bank. The only other guy I've seen mentioned for that slot is Thomas, and you'd better have a decent plan B if that's plan A.

Beane made a mistake not offering arb to Hammond and Mecir -- worst case you keep a league average or slightly better player at a reasonable price -- Durazo would be the same mistake.
   53. Stately, Plump Buck Mulligan Posted: November 29, 2005 at 05:40 PM (#1751367)
"We would have never won the World Series without him."

As a White Sox fan, I feel the same way.
   54. Danny Posted: November 29, 2005 at 05:41 PM (#1751369)
DCA, it all depends on his health (which we really don't know much about). The A's getting stuck paying $5M for a few months of a DH would be pretty bad, especially since they'll have to bring in a DH for the first few months of the season anyway.

They have a lot of excess pitching, as their bullpen right now has Street, Duke, Calero, Witasick, Saarloos, Kennedy, Cruz, Garcia, and Flores. I have to think they'll give some of that up (or Zito) to get a DH.

Anyway, from today's Chronicle:
Oakland is unlikely to gain any first-round draft picks for losing its own free agents because the team does not want to risk offering arbitration to either Octavio Dotel or Erubiel Durazo, who are both coming off elbow surgery. The A's have had at least two picks in the first round of each of the past four drafts, including four in 2002.
   55. DCA Posted: November 29, 2005 at 05:53 PM (#1751391)
Yeah, I forgot that he'd be missing part of the season -- but you would think that would be reflected in an arb award? If not, there's something wrong with the arb process. On the other hand, this means the A's can sign him in May and not lose any playing time, so I guess I wouldn't offer arb.

But I still don't get Loaiza unless Zito is leaving -- it might have been unwise to bet on Saarloos, but there is also Kennedy, Cruz, and Meyer, and even the stable of Britt Reameses and Ryan Glynns that they always have goign 12-3 in the PCL and while it might be unwise to bet on any one of those guys, you'd have to think at least one of them will pan out.
   56. Padgett Posted: November 29, 2005 at 06:02 PM (#1751411)
A few thoughts (none of which I'm claiming are original):

(1) My initial reaction last night: this is bad.

(2) With a couple exceptions (most recently his '04 implosion in NY), Loaiza has actually been a fairly consistent moderate groundball pitcher. He's no Lowe or Hudson, but his recent 1.2-1.4 range (leaving out 2004) would definitely take advantage of Oakland's infield defense.

(3) In the current market, 3/$21M really isn't that bad. Pavano got 4/$40M, Milton got 3/$26M, Clement got 3/$26M, and Lowe got 4/$36M, Benson got 3/$23M; Loaiza had a better season then all of these guys. Plus, the contract isn't significantly backloaded. But, yeah, Loaiza's 34 next year, 2004 sucked, etc.

(4) Combining (2) and (3), if Loaiza has another slightly above-average year, his raw numbers in the Coliseum are going to look good, while his remaining 2/$14M (or whatever) is a small burden to take on. IOW, trade bait next offseason.

(5) While I concede this may include some fanboy-esque wishful thinking, I'm not so sure that this means that Zito is gone. I can't imagine that Barry wouldn't give the A's a bit of a hometown discount, so I figure $11-12M/year should get it done. If so (and assuming Beane wants to resign Zito, and would prefer Zito to Loaiza in the abstract), is it really the case that, with the new ownership, Beane couldn't clear an extra $5M per to get it done?
   57. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 29, 2005 at 06:12 PM (#1751432)
Loaiza didn't suck in 2004. He was the same in 2004 as he was in 2005, except for the time he spent in front of the Yankee defense, with Mel Stottlemyre as his pitching coach, and with no particular role on the team.

With the White Sox in 2004, his ERA+ was 101, and with the Nationals in 2005, it was 10x, too (I don't remember what, exactly).
   58. Danny Posted: November 29, 2005 at 06:18 PM (#1751445)
(2) With a couple exceptions (most recently his '04 implosion in NY), Loaiza has actually been a fairly consistent moderate groundball pitcher. He's no Lowe or Hudson, but his recent 1.2-1.4 range (leaving out 2004) would definitely take advantage of Oakland's infield defense.


Isn't that pretty much average? Hardball Times says the NL average last year was 1.31, while BPro says it was 1.59.
   59. sardonic Posted: November 29, 2005 at 06:31 PM (#1751490)
I really wouldn't want Zito to be extended at market value... I'd rather trade him and get something longer term for him.

And I don't think Beane has to move Zito to get his DH... as Danny notes, there are other pieces and I bet Beane still has some money to spend. The question now is, "Is Beane going to go the Hudson/Mulder route with Zito or go the Tejada/Giambi route (or the Chavez route, which I think is unlikely)?"

Also, as MGL so astutely noted in another thread, just because this might be league average-ish deal, doesn't mean it's a good one, especially for the A's. If the A's got most of their marginal wins at a league average value, then they won't be a very good team.

And also, because the "average" includes so many bone-headed moves (ie. Milton, Wright), I'd say any decent GM will have to be above average.
   60. Danny Posted: November 29, 2005 at 06:54 PM (#1751546)
The question now is, "Is Beane going to go the Hudson/Mulder route with Zito or go the Tejada/Giambi route (or the Chavez route, which I think is unlikely)?"


You think just like Billy, who said this yesterday:

"People are going to look at the Hudson and Mulder situations here and say, 'Oh, they have to do something [with Zito] now,'" he said. "But you can go back to the years when we had [Jason] Giambi and Miggy [Tejada] in the final year of their contracts, too. If we feel like we're in a position to win the division, we're not afraid to keep a guy we think will help us do that.


I also like this quote from Kendall:
"He's always had a real loose arm, a great arm," Kendall said by phone from Hawaii. "But in Pittsburgh he was throwing 95-96 [mph], and he was throwing a lot of sliders. Now he's added a cutter that he can move in on righties, away from righties, in on lefties, away from lefties. You don't know how his ball's gonna move, so he's a [tough guy] to hit.


I'm guessing "tough guy" was a female dog.
   61. Andrew Edwards Posted: November 29, 2005 at 07:08 PM (#1751581)
Just something I noticed on Loiaza. He seems to do better in seasons where he had few IP the prvious year, and fall apart when he pitched a lot of innings the previous year.

It looks to me like if you ask him for 170 or so innings, he'll be consistently good. If he ever breaks 190, he sucks the next year. The one time he pitched 190+ for two straight years, his ERA+ in year 3 (2002) was pathetic. His great year (2003) followed a season of 151 IP, and he fell off the cliff in 2004 after pitching 226 IP in 2003.

(Don't know how to make tables)

YEAR....ERA+.....IP IN PREVIOUS YEAR
1998....88.......196
1999....110......171
2000....111......120
2001....95.......199
2002....78.......190
2003....154......151
2004....84.......226
2005....105......183
   62. esseff Posted: November 29, 2005 at 07:18 PM (#1751605)
So, thinking through all the A's pitchers, is this evidence that Dan Meyer has gone from can't-miss to can't-make in the space of a year?
   63. peter21 Posted: November 29, 2005 at 07:27 PM (#1751624)
Yes, Beane has shown that he's willing to keep guys in the last years of their contract in order to help the team with the division. But is Zito a guy like that? I'd argue no.

It sounds to me like Beane is posturing to receive ultimate value for Zito. Barry basically had the same season in 2005 that he did in 2004, except his BABIP went from .334 in 2004 to .283 in 2005 (and before you tell me that this had to do with Oakland's defense, remember that the A's ranked high in Defensive Efficiency in 2004 as well).

If you replace Zito with Cruz/Meyer/Kennedy/Saarloos, you lose 2 additional games, at most (assume Zito's 2006 ERA is 4.00. Over 220 innings, this means Zito would give up 98 runs. If you assume Zito's replacement has an ERA of 4.90 [although it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume Zito's replacement does even better than this, given the wealth of options and the quality of defense], then the Replacement would give up 120 runs over the same 220 innings. 22 additional runs translates approximately into two additional losses).

Given the current market conditions (scarcity of quality starters, and the pricetag for even mediocre starters), Zito would likely fetch very high value on the trading block. So high, in fact, that it would probably at least even out the two additional losses the A's incur from trading him. Furthermore, assuming Beane does not intend on resigning Zito (which would seem likely, considering the money it would take and Zito's projected performance), the value the A's would receive for Zito extends beyond the 2006 season.

Losing Zito himself won't hurt the A's much in 2006---especially now that Loaiza is signed. Zito's market value in a trade is much higher than his production value to the A's, and will also give the A's more financial flexibility.

Giambi and Tejada both performed at incredibly high rates during their last season with the A's---especially compared to others at their position. Therefore, they had more value to that particular team than they did in a trade. Zito's production isn't nearly as high, and is very easily replacable; therefore, it makes more sense to trade him, get high value in return, and still not hurt the 2006 team.
   64. Faust Posted: November 29, 2005 at 08:21 PM (#1751730)
Standing on its own, this deal does very little for me: It crowds Saarloos out of the rotation, and I'd rather have Saarloos at around 400K (with Cruz, Kennedy, and Meyer standing by) than Loaiza @ $7 million per. I don't hate it, it seems pretty reasonable given the current market, but it doesn't address a major need, which a major expenditure should do. It's not as though the A's were having to choose between Jose Lima and Kirk Reuter to fill out their rotation.

However, seen as a prelude to a Zito trade, this deal makes a lot of sense. The two together are greater than either individually. Loaiza's 3-year performance record is better than Zito's, and he's cheaper in 2006 and much cheaper beyond 2006. Zito's trade value is obviously high and a lot of A's fans (including myself) have been fantasizing for some time what return he might bring. Trading Zito for hitting help and/or prospects would have thinned out the A's rotation and endanger their 2006 chances; now they have the rotation depth to make that move. Beane can utter all the usual disclaimers he wants, but I have to agree with the prevailing tendency to view this through the lens of a coming Zito move. It just makes too much sense.

As for "moneyball" being dead: Zito's best years were his first three, not his most recent three, he's a big name, Cy Young, "Big Three," media personality - he is absolutely going to be overpaid, and I'd rather have it be by someone else. Loaiza's got none of that, he's boring, and yet he's arguably outpitched Zito over a three-year span. That's what makes him an acceptable "economy" signing (and no, "economy" ain't what it used to be).
   65. JustDan Posted: November 29, 2005 at 10:21 PM (#1751972)
YEAR....ERA+.....IP IN PREVIOUS YEAR
1998....88.......196
1999....110......171
2000....111......120
2001....95.......199
2002....78.......190
2003....154......151
2004....84.......226
2005....105......183


FWIW, correlation coeff is -.65.
   66. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: November 29, 2005 at 10:30 PM (#1751999)
Okay, the reason this is retarded is not because Loaiza won't earn that money, though he won't. But this is WHAT THE A'S NEED LEAST. I can't even come up with a plausible what-is-Billy-thinking now that a couple of days have elapsed and no one has been traded. If he didn't have a trade ready to go, whatever he was trying to trade just lost a lot of trade value. The A's do not need to spend $7M and a first-round pick on a league-average-at-best pitcher, who is old and has only had one actually good season ever, three years ago. Has Billy been fooled by the RFK park effect or something?

I've slept on it and I still think this is the stupidest Billy deal ever.
   67. Russ Posted: November 30, 2005 at 12:09 AM (#1752216)
"He's always had a real loose arm, a great arm," Kendall said by phone from Hawaii.

I'm always surprised when teams forbid their players from certain activities, but allow them to surf in the offseason. Am I overestimating the danger of extreme surfboarding?
   68. league average innings eater Posted: November 30, 2005 at 12:22 AM (#1752239)
Hhrrmmmhm(slurp)grhhmhrghm(smack)ghrrhmscrmmmhrrh(munch)scrmmhrghrhr
   69. Repoz Posted: November 30, 2005 at 01:29 AM (#1752342)
Mychael Urban...on how Loaiza mildew with the A's, from the Blez interview.

If you're looking for a prediction, I'll go with something very similar to what he did in 2005. Let's say 13-9, 3.67 ERA.

ZiPS...13-9 3.95 ERA
   70. Danny Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:03 PM (#1752887)
I was looking at the free agent pitchers that signed for this amount or more last offseason:

Here are those 11 pitchers with their 2005 ZIPS projections and actual 2005 ERA
Name      ZIPS     ERA
Clement
:  4.38     4.57
Pavano
:   4.36     4.77
Milton
:   4.82     6.47
Lowe
:     3.53     3.61
Ortiz
:    4.92     6.89
Wright
:   4.28     6.08
Radke
:    3.99     4.04
Perez
:    3.77     4.56
Pedro
:    2.65     2.82
Benson
:   4.01     4.13 
Lieber
:   3.45     4.20 


The thing that really jumps out at you is that just 2 of these 11 pitchers had an ERA under 4.00.

Loaiza's ZIPS projection is on the good end of these deals, and his salary is on the low end. It also seems like contracts handed out to pitchers will be even higher this offseason than last. That doesn't necessarily mean this is a good deal, as some of these deals were terrible.

Dan, what park factor are you using for Oakland?
   71. RP Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:19 PM (#1752938)
I don't think "awful" really covers Milton's 2005. Any thoughts on a more accurate description?
   72. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:37 PM (#1752994)
"I'm always surprised when teams forbid their players from certain activities, but allow them to surf in the offseason."

When was the last time a team successfully told Kendall not to do something?
   73. Elton Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:52 PM (#1753026)
Re: post 70:
Interesting that every one of the pitchers had a higher ERA than projection. Obviously ZiPS can't project meltdowns leading to 6+ ERAs, but still ... was there a league-wide increase in offense or something?
   74. Mark S. is bored Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:58 PM (#1753048)
Loaiza's DIPs ERAs for the last 3 years:

2003  3.20
2004  5.16
2005  3.48
   75. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 30, 2005 at 06:40 PM (#1753197)
Interesting that every one of the pitchers had a higher ERA than projection. Obviously ZiPS can't project meltdowns leading to 6+ ERAs, but still ... was there a league-wide increase in offense or something?

Actually, that list of 11 turns out really weird.

120 pitchers pitched 130 or more innings in 2005. 65 had real ERAs lower than ZiPS and 55 had real ERAs higher than ZiPS.
   76. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 30, 2005 at 06:46 PM (#1753213)
I was going to say, I think that list is a total fluke, but it's an interesting one nonetheless.
   77. cardsfanboy Posted: November 30, 2005 at 07:19 PM (#1753308)
does zip do both earned runs and unearned runs? just curious if that could have any factor in the differences. I'm assuming Zips uses it's own version of "component era" to predict era, but from what I can tell component era pretty much turns everything into 'earned' runs.
   78. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 30, 2005 at 07:28 PM (#1753326)
On the plus side, for the 130+ IP pitchers, the RMSE is down to 0.86, so, some of my tweaking of how I estimate future pitcher $H is hopefully paying off (0.86 was the lowest of group that BP did a few years ago).
   79. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: November 30, 2005 at 07:38 PM (#1753352)
If Loazia hits that projection he is well worth 7m a year.

I agree with this. That projection is an ERA+ in the range of 108-114. Even if he's only throwing 170-180 IP, that will help the A's. If he's pitching as many innings as that projection says, that's a big help.

The counterargument, however, is that such a performance would only slighly better what Saarloos did last season. But Saarloos' K:BB was so terrible (53:54 in 159.7 IP) that you have to assume he's due to decline, and decline hard.
   80. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 07:47 PM (#1753373)
Rule #1: MLB teams are spending addicts. When they have the cash, they spend it.


This is the truth. Except for that blip in 2004 or so that was so anomalous as to seem collusive, the market for players will always be higher than what you think it should be. Just about every year since the advent of free agency, the owners have signed players to contracts that would have seemed unthinkable the year before.

See George Foster, Rick Sutcliffe, Frank Viola, Kirby Puckett, Robin yount, Paul Molitor, Rickey Henderson, Jose Canseco, Danny Tartabull, Joe Carter, Mark Davis, Mark Langston, Jack Morris, Cecil Fielder, Kevin Brown, LEnny Dykstra, Darren Dreifort, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Mo Vaughn, Shawn Green...
   81. Gainsay Posted: November 30, 2005 at 08:01 PM (#1753409)
Also, as MGL so astutely noted in another thread, just because this might be league average-ish deal, doesn't mean it's a good one, especially for the A's. If the A's got most of their marginal wins at a league average value, then they won't be a very good team.


I think what people who are down on this deal are missing is that the A's already know they will get a lot of marginal wins at well below league average value. That's what having a core of Crosby, Street, Duke, Harden, Haren, Blanton, Johnson, and Swisher does for them. They can and should pay retail for their remaining roster slots assuming that is the best deal available and they have the cash to afford it. This is clearly a team with playoff amibtions so now is the time to spend whatever they can. Evidently Beane feels 200 innings of league average pitching is something the team needs (either because he plans to trade pitching or has concerns about some of the starters).

This is also a contract which will be tradeable in a year or two if their needs change.

It's not a great deal, but the A's are in good enough shape that they shouldn't be waiting around to find perfect deals that may never materialize.
   82. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: November 30, 2005 at 08:14 PM (#1753456)
You know, a big part of how you evaluate Loaiza for the future is how you account for that nightmare spell with the Yankees. Looking at his BB-ref page ... if you set replacement level at park-adjusted league ERA + 0.60, you get him at +84.6 runs over replacement for the last three years, not counting the Yankee nonsense.

That's around 8.46 wins above replacement, and at $2.5M per marginal win: voila, you get $21.15M for the three years.

Of course, that stint with the Yankees comes out to a ridiculous -16 runs below replacement.

But just looking at the market ... 2005 perfs, assuming each win above replacement is worth $2.5M (which is actually the high end, I think):
Pitcher  ERA lgERA repERA   IP    RAR  WAR  x2.5M  Salary
Benson  4.13 4.19   4.79  174.3  12.8  1.3   3.2M   5.33M
Lowe    3.61 4.06   4.66  222.0  25.9  2.6   6.5M   7.00M
Pavano  4.77 4.45   5.05  100.0   3.1  0.3   0.8M   9.00M
Ortiz   6.89 4.40   5.00  115.0 -24.2 -2.4   ----   7.38M
Wright  6.08 4.45   5.05   63.7  -7.2 -0.7   ----   5.67M
Milton  6.47 4.44   5.04  186.3 -29.6 -3.0   ----   5.33M
Mllwd   2.86 4.10   4.70  192.0  39.3  3.9   9.8M   7.00M
Perez   4.56 4.06   4.66  108.7   1.2  0.1   0.3M   4.50M
Lieber  4.20 4.53   5.13  218.3  22.6  2.3   5.6M   5.58M
Radke   4.04 4.40   5.00  200.7  21.4  2.1   5.4M   9.00M
Escobar 3.02 4.19   4.79   59.7  11.7  1.2   2.9M   6.25M
These guys averaged a salary of $6.55M in 2005, and averaged a whopping +0.7 Wins Above Replacement.

Aside from telling us that teams do an awful job of evaluating pitchers, I think it demonstrates that Loaiza doesn't have to be all that great in order for the A's to get more out of their money than a lot of other teams are.
   83. Russ Posted: November 30, 2005 at 08:56 PM (#1753516)
When was the last time a team successfully told Kendall not to do something?

Touche.
   84. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 30, 2005 at 09:10 PM (#1753545)
You know what's interesting about that list? The guys who did well are the guys primates would have signed, and the guys who did the worst are the ones we would have stayed away from. The ones who were average are the ones we were ambivilant about. Not at all surprising, that's for sure.
   85. Danny Posted: November 30, 2005 at 09:23 PM (#1753576)
Which group are you putting Lowe into?

Great stuff, BHW.
   86. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: December 01, 2005 at 06:35 AM (#1754577)
It's not a great deal, but the A's are in good enough shape that they shouldn't be waiting around to find perfect deals that may never materialize.

But this is not what the A's needed. The A's need a bat, not a starting pitcher. I agree that Saarloos is due for a return to earth, but I have no doubt that some combination of Meyer/Cruz/Kennedy/Saarloos would provide competent pitching. That $7M should have gone towards someone like Konerko or Thome, not Average Esteban. That would have produced more marginal wins per dollar when you consider who the people in question are replacing.

I also don't know why anyone thinks this contract will be particularly tradeable. Is there a big demand for $7M for a league average starter? Really? And that's assuming he holds his projection, always iffy for an old pitcher. If he goes Wright or Pavano on the league he will have no trade value.

The signing this most reminds me of is Mark Redman, except that it's more money. Great.
   87. sardonic Posted: December 01, 2005 at 09:38 AM (#1754672)
I think part of the problem is there just doesn't seem to be a bat out there that I would really want the A's to take on. Unless they can somehow get Manny to DH with Boston paying a lot of his salary. Which there is no evidence for whatsoever. Even Paul Konerko and Brian Giles, who the A's probably couldn't have afforded anyway, didn't appeal to me (and probably the A's that much).

So given that, I think it's defensible to pick up what talent you can and let the other stuff sort itself out.
   88. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 01, 2005 at 11:42 AM (#1754703)
The signing this most reminds me of is Mark Redman, except that it's more money. Great.

I agreee with this. Which means we can look forward to a trade for an even worse contract next off season.

Even Paul Konerko and Brian Giles, who the A's probably couldn't have afforded anyway, didn't appeal to me (and probably the A's that much).


Why the heck would Giles for 3/$30 not appeal to you? Even 4/$45?
   89. sardonic Posted: December 01, 2005 at 06:33 PM (#1755151)
Why the heck would Giles for 3/$30 not appeal to you? Even 4/$45?


I don't know if I posted this here or elsewhere, but I'm pretty sure the A's couldn't have signed him for $3/30 and doubtful that they could have signed him for 4/$45, in my opinion. While he may have been willing to take something of a discount from the 5/$55 range to be closer to his family, I imagine that discount wouldn't be 1 year at $10 million. And going 5 years for a player who's already what, 34, just doesn't appeal to me, especially given the hitting talent the A's have coming up. Hopefully Barton/Ethier will be ready by midseason 2007. I'd rather have Beane acquire more of a stopgap player (Ross Gload?) for less money/talent; if he's going to be throwing around big cash or talent, then I'd prefer he get a top young (read: pre-arb) player in return.

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