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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Monday, December 03, 2007

Astros - Signed Matsui

Houston Astros - Signed 2B Kaz Matsui to a 3-year contract.

This clocks in at 3 years, $16.5 million.  It’s not enough that it’s going to cripple the Astros, but Matsui’s not really a help.  Like a lot of people, I would be happy if MLB deadened the ball a bit, encouraged longer fence distances, and made a speed-based game more valuable.  But that’s not the offensive environment we’re in and Ed Wade wanting to do the whole Speed!  Craziness!  Havoc!  Move Runners Over With Outs! plan in 2007 is akin to shipping trebuchets and halberds over to the troops in Iraq.

Matsui probably gets unfairly maligned for his defense in the way that Jose Offerman used to.  Both players were fairly bad at short and when moved to 2nd, were both actually pretty good, yet their defensive reputations remained with them (until Offerman’s legs went, of course).  LWZR (a.k.a. the Dial Method) has Matsui at +9 runs over 3 years and +7 runs per 150 games and per BHW’s conversion’s of Pinto’s PMR into runs, PMR has Matsui about 8 runs better than average in 2007 (though 7 runs below in 2006!).  Not enough to make Matsui a good player, but it’s enough to make him not awful.

The other concern is Matsui’s tendency to miss time due to various injuries.  The Astros aren’t well-equipped here if they trade Burke, which seems increasingly likely given his public comments.  The minor-league system is wretched and won’t supply depth and the best fringe option, Brooks Conrad, is a minor league free agent (no, Geoff Blum isn’t even a fringe option).  It also doesn’t help that Matsui’s 32 for 2008 and non-star second basemen tend to age quite badly.

All-in-all, a typical Ed Wade meandermismanagement move.  Ed Wade won’t knock your socks off with a horrific Kazmir/Zambrano-type move, but he’ll slowly sap your soul with C-/D+ move after C-/D+ move.  It really makes you wonder if he managed to entirely leave his Phillies tenure off his resumé.  “What was I doing from 1989-2005?  Uh, I was backpacking across Europe and then started, umm, Ed Wade Industrial Manageering Associates.”

2008 ZiPS Projection - Kaz Matsui
———————————————————————————————————-
          AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
———————————————————————————————————-
Projection   347 52   88 14 2   3 33 25 66 15 .254 .307 .331
2009?      311 49   79 13 1   3 31 21 58 14 .254 .302 .331
2010?      301 47   75 12 1   2 29 20 58 13 .249 .297 .316
———————————————————————————————————-
Opt. (15%)  385 69 106 20 4   5 43 34 64 23 .275 .337 .387
Pes. (15%)  166 22   39   6 0   1 13 10 34   6 .235 .282 .289
———————————————————————————————————-
Top Comps:  Ron Oester, Tito Fuentes

Dan Szymborski Posted: December 03, 2007 at 03:12 PM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 03, 2007 at 05:19 PM (#2632181)
Well, he can run and field, I guess. And Kaz is a pretty cool name. Plus he and Everett will remind me of the early 80's Oakland middle of the infield which gives me warm fuzzies as that was the first team I followed. So, give thanks to Ed Wade for that! I'll consider it my Christmas present from the Astros.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 03, 2007 at 05:29 PM (#2632196)
Between Bourn, Matsui, Everett, Ausmus and the pitcher, that's a lot of outs.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: December 04, 2007 at 01:05 AM (#2632953)
non-star second basemen tend to age quite badly.

Heck, star 2B don't seem to age that well. Sandberg and Alomar were done at 33/34; Biggio hasn't been awful but his OPS+ post-32 is just 97. I suppose on the other hand, Durham made it through age 34 (barely!) while Kent, Whitaker and Morgan aged well (though Morgan did decline substantially but he had so far to fall). OK, that's not too bad -- anybody I'm missing?

Still, this looks more like Tony Womack parlaying his "big" 2004 on the WS-losing Cards into a 2-year "proven winner" contract with the Yanks than it looks like a smart move.
   4. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: December 04, 2007 at 01:20 AM (#2632964)
Heck, star 2B don't seem to age that well. Sandberg and Alomar were done at 33/34; Biggio hasn't been awful but his OPS+ post-32 is just 97. I suppose on the other hand, Durham made it through age 34 (barely!) while Kent, Whitaker and Morgan aged well (though Morgan did decline substantially but he had so far to fall). OK, that's not too bad -- anybody I'm missing?

The cliff was very abrupt for Mr. Knoblauch.
   5. MM1f Posted: December 04, 2007 at 01:50 AM (#2632993)
"All-in-all, a typical Ed Wade meandermismanagement move. Ed Wade won't knock your socks off with a horrific Kazmir/Zambrano-type move, but he'll slowly sap your soul with C-/D+ move after C-/D+ move. It really makes you wonder if he managed to entirely leave his Phillies tenure off his resumé. "What was I doing from 1989-2005? Uh, I was backpacking across Europe and then started, umm, Ed Wade Industrial Manageering Associates.""

Or maybe he put down that during his Phillies tenure he oversaw one of the games better scouting/development operations that has produced Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, Jimmy Rollins, Randy Wolf, Bretty Myers and more... as well as well respected execs like Ruben Amaro Jr and Mike Arbuckle.
He also was criticized at one point for making Ryan Howard "untouchable" in trades before Howard exploded in the EL.
He also picked Paul Byrd off waivers and was the first GM to give him a shot in the rotation, Byrd gave the Phillies one real good year immediately after joining them, before getting hurt.
He picked up Corey Lidle for almost nothing and got some solid seasons out of him.
He picked Billy Wagner for very little.

I don't love the guy and he does make some personnel choices (as you might expect from someone who broke into the game as a PR intern then director) but hes a perfectly decent GM and his Phillies tenure is nothing to be embarrassed about
   6. Ignatius J. Reilly Posted: December 04, 2007 at 02:06 AM (#2633013)
Umm, didn't he offer Howard to the Pirates for Kris Benson at one point, only to be rejected?

Or is that just a figment of my imagination?
   7. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 04, 2007 at 02:20 AM (#2633023)
Yes, I'm convinced that Wade's good decisions not to trade certain prospects pretty much outweighed all the maddening moves that he made over the years. And it's turned out that virtually none of the 350 prospects he traded for unnecessary relief pitchers have actually amounted to good players.

The Phillies' failures during his tenure came from pretty much the same place they do now.

An inability to generate useful starting hitters aside from the big stars (Marlon Byrd? Marlon Anderson? Reggie Taylor? Eric Valent? Wendell Magee? Desi Relaford? All big disappointments).

And year after year of a rotation containing one good starter and five or six guys who went no more than six innings and should have been 4th or 5th starters. No pitching prospect ever did better than he was expected to (Dave Coggin? Amaury Telemaco? Eric Junge? Brandon Duckworth?), and several disappointed completely (the Grace/Beech/Loewer axis that was supposed to lead the team to glory ten years ago); any well-known veteran also disappointed (Ashby, Milton, Millwood, Terry Adams); and the astute scrap-heap pickups like Robert Person and Paul Byrd were really just guys who were expected to be useless and ended up having one good season.

So Wade kept feeling pressured to replace these surprisingly bad players by paying retail for more reliable players, who never ended up being as reliable as they were supposed to be.
   8. DFA Posted: December 04, 2007 at 03:06 AM (#2633083)
Between Bourn, Matsui, Everett, Ausmus and the pitcher, that's a lot of outs.


It's just Wade's singlehanded attempt to speed up the game!
   9. Margo Adams FC Posted: December 04, 2007 at 03:29 AM (#2633112)
The Matsui signing is part of a secret plan to create redundancies so that cost-controlled incumbents can be shipped out for middle relievers. I see Chris Burke to the Padres for Wilfredo Ledezma in Wade's future, though Ledezma may be too young for his taste.
   10. GEB4000 Posted: December 06, 2007 at 09:12 PM (#2637289)
Where is the mighty Transaction Oracle? Many transactions are occurring without your analysis.
   11. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 07, 2007 at 03:01 AM (#2637614)
Where is the mighty Transaction Oracle? Many transactions are occurring without your analysis.

Outta town - got some catching up to do!
   12. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: December 07, 2007 at 03:54 AM (#2637633)
Between Bourn, Matsui, Everett, Ausmus and the pitcher, that's a lot of outs.

Ehh, I don't think they're that bad. I bet this team makes no more than 27 outs per game this season.

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