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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Blue Jays - Signed Ryan

Toronto Blue Jays - Signed P B.J. Ryan to a 5-year, $47 million contract.

I’m surprised that he got this much given how much teams go with the proven closer mojo and Ryan only has one year as a closer for a bad team.

He’s definitely overpaid a bit here, but if you have to overpay, overpay for a top-tier player, not a couple of lesser players.  While there are always a bunch of relievers hanging around that can put up middle relief ERAs in the 3.50-4.00 range, big guys with excellent fastballs and 12 and a half strikeouts per 9 innings are a much rarer breed.  Add in the fact that Ryan has also generally been healthy over his career and has not been overworked and I think Ryan may very well be, performance-wise, the best bet of any other player in the free-agent market this offseason.

Pricey, but a thumbs-up.  Hard to find too many faults with picking up a pitcher that will be the Blue Jays’ best reliever since Tom Henke.  Perhaps the O’s should have given Ryan the 3-year, $15 million contract he wanted before 2005.  They offered 3 years, $18 million this offseason, which suggests that they really had no idea what the market for Ryan was.

2006 ZiPS Projection - B.J. Ryan
———————————————————————-
W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
———————————————————————-
6   1 34   0   74   52   23   4 29 105 2.80

Dan Szymborski Posted: November 26, 2005 at 02:17 AM | 114 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Sparkles Peterson Posted: November 26, 2005 at 02:32 AM (#1746627)
I agree that B.J. Ryan is a very good reliever, but god damn is that ever a lot of money.
   2. Andrew Edwards Posted: November 26, 2005 at 02:46 AM (#1746643)
Jeebus. I agree with all the logic above, except when you get to the price. I mean, crikey, that's about what the Sox are paying for Thome. At this price, the Jays could have eaten Lowell and gotten in the Beckett game, or for that matter bid on Konerko, or acquired Glaus, or any number of other things. I just can't believe that BJ Ryan is the best way to spend $9M a year.

Stupid overpayment, albeit for a quality player. If this is the only major move the Jays make this offseason, I'll be sorely disappointed.
   3.     Hey Gurl Posted: November 26, 2005 at 02:49 AM (#1746649)
Because the Jays have so much money to spend and the pickings are so slim, I don't have too much of a problem with this deal. BJ Ryan kicks ass, and they still have a good 15M left to play with, so they should still be able to upgrade the offense.

105 K's from a reliever? Drool.
   4. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 26, 2005 at 02:54 AM (#1746653)
Is this confirmed?
   5. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: November 26, 2005 at 03:01 AM (#1746663)
Wow. I guess I will have to live with Wickman one more year.
   6. Andrew Edwards Posted: November 26, 2005 at 03:02 AM (#1746665)
Lurking, I think you're looking at it wrong. The question in my mind is not whether they still have enough money to get another good player. It's whether a really good closer is the best thing they could have done with this kind of money.

For my money, it's not.
   7. Matthew E Posted: November 26, 2005 at 03:05 AM (#1746671)
Holy moley. Five years for a reliever? How old is he again?
   8. Ben Posted: November 26, 2005 at 03:05 AM (#1746674)
Bernal- Hopefully this makes some team panic and give AL Saves Leader Wickman a big contract. Because #### paying $10M a year for any reliever.
   9. NTNgod Posted: November 26, 2005 at 03:05 AM (#1746675)
Is this confirmed?

No. JP has denied a deal was completed, and that they're still after Ryan.

That could be because they have to wait to everything to be finalized - or, well, gasp, JP could be telling the truth. Madden is pretty well-connected, so I believe the $$$ figures are a legit offer, though, either way.
   10. villainx Posted: November 26, 2005 at 03:06 AM (#1746676)
I don't know. Are the Blue Jays close to contending? Was the closer the reason for losing record last year? I don't know much about their team, except the Halladay, Chacin, and Towers seem like a decent core rotation.

That seems like a lot of money to burn for a closer. Though I guess a dominating, K-heavy reliever has its marketing potential. And if things don't pan out, Ryan can probably be spinned for good value to any number of teams if he plays as expected for one or two season.
   11. Matthew E Posted: November 26, 2005 at 03:07 AM (#1746677)
I just checked out Batter's Box; they're saying there that Ricciardi has denied that there is such a deal.
   12. Andrew Edwards Posted: November 26, 2005 at 03:10 AM (#1746678)
Are the Blue Jays close to contending? Was the closer the reason for losing record last year?

Well, they were way, way below their pythagorean last year, and appeared to have a bad relief staff. There are certainyl a lot of people with the opinion that those two facts are related.
   13.     Hey Gurl Posted: November 26, 2005 at 03:10 AM (#1746681)
It's whether a really good closer is the best thing they could have done with this kind of money.


Tough to say! We'll have to see what JP does with the rest of the money. I'm guessing he's smart enough that he has a plan in mind, here.
   14. Spivey Posted: November 26, 2005 at 03:21 AM (#1746692)
Wow!
   15. fables of the deconstruction Posted: November 26, 2005 at 03:27 AM (#1746699)
Pricey, but a thumbs-up. Hard to find too many faults with picking up a pitcher that will be the Blue Jays' best reliever since Tom Henke. Perhaps the O's should have given Ryan the 3-year, $15 million contract he wanted before 2005. They offered 3 years, $18 million this offseason, which suggests that they really had no idea what the market for Ryan was.

Dan,

We've seen this 'picture show' a few times now and it seems the Orioles never learn a lesson from it. They should have been looking at what Top 5 closers were making for 2005 during spring training and realized that the 3/$15M that B.J. wanted then was a steal and considered that the EOY market rate would no doubt be much higher. None-the-less, they alway want to low-ball their own players while lavishly overpaying O.P.'s thirty-somethings that are about to make a steep descent into the abyss

Dammit, it almost makes me want to become a Brewers or even ***cough choke, gag!*** a Marlins fan. Somebody shoot me... or Peter Angelos!!!

-------
trevise
   16. Matthew E Posted: November 26, 2005 at 03:50 AM (#1746715)
Well, they were way, way below their pythagorean last year, and appeared to have a bad relief staff. There are certainyl a lot of people with the opinion that those two facts are related.

Actually the bullpen wasn't too bad. Batista coughed up a few too many save opportunities, but other than that they did a decent job. And, unusually, it was the same six guys all year - no injuries, no demotions.
   17. Darren Posted: November 26, 2005 at 04:23 AM (#1746737)
agree with Dan's reasoning, but I'd change the conclusion to "thumbs sideways."
   18. Voros M. Posted: November 26, 2005 at 04:42 AM (#1746749)
Well, they were way, way below their pythagorean last year, and appeared to have a bad relief staff. There are certainyl a lot of people with the opinion that those two facts are related.

I think at times though, people beg the question when it comes to the quality of a team's relief. As pointed out, there really wasn't anything wrong with the Jays' pen other than it was a bunch of lesser names cobbled together for cheap.

Cleveland's pen, for example, was lights out but nevertheless they came away with only the Pythag championship in the AL Central.
   19. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: November 26, 2005 at 04:57 AM (#1746759)
Perhaps the O's should have given Ryan the 3-year, $15 million contract he wanted before 2005. They offered 3 years, $18 million this offseason, which suggests that they really had no idea what the market for Ryan was.

Well, the evidence suggests that the Blue Jays didn't have any idea what the market was, either. Was there really some other team offering Ryan just a bit less than this? It's crazy.
   20. Mike Webber Posted: November 26, 2005 at 05:13 AM (#1746769)
[block]
-----------------------------------------------
W L G GS IP H ER HR BB SO ERA
-----------------------------------------------
6 1 34 0 74 52 23 4 29 105 2.80
[/block]

Dan, that games projection is off, which is a really small deal, but it has to be 64 or something.
   21. VG Posted: November 26, 2005 at 05:20 AM (#1746776)
I mean, crikey, that's about what the Sox are paying for Thome.

Not even close. Thome is owed $46 million over the next three years (including the final annual payment of $2.5 million on his $10 million signing bonus and his $3 million buyout for the fourth year). The Phillies are sending $22 million to the White Sox, so their cost is $24 million over three years. If Thome's contract vests an added year, the Phillies reportedly send more cash, but I haven't seen how much.

As for Ryan's contract, holy (bleep).
   22. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: November 26, 2005 at 05:31 AM (#1746782)
Well, the evidence suggests that the Blue Jays didn't have any idea what the market was, either. Was there really some other team offering Ryan just a bit less than this?

This assumes you only have to beat other bids by "just a bit" to get your man, and there's no such thing as an "I don't particularly care to play in Toronto, but if you make it worth my while..." premium.
   23. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: November 26, 2005 at 05:34 AM (#1746784)
It's hard to say who was bidding for Ryan but it's safe to say that the loser in the Wagner sweepstakes would have entered eventually. This is an overpay but not as severe as it looks. I'm pretty sure Ryan would have received 4y/36m from either the Mets or Phillies.
   24. Sean McNally Posted: November 26, 2005 at 06:08 AM (#1746807)
I am not shocked BJ went up north of the border, I am stunned at how much he's being paid (unless it is in Canadian bucks).

This contract slots between (in dollars per year) between Eric Gagne's and Mariano Rivera's - although both those deals were much, much shorter.

Gagne is the cautionary tale, but if the Blue Jays expect Ryan to be Mo, to paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen: I know Mariano Rivera, I watched Mariano Rivera, Mariano Rivera was a closer of mine, and you sir, are no Mariano Rivera.
   25. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 26, 2005 at 06:13 AM (#1746809)
That's supposed to be 73 games.
   26. Shocking Posted: November 26, 2005 at 08:20 AM (#1746862)
Long time reader, first time poster.

I have to say I'm disappointed in how predictable these transaction analyses are getting.

It's easier than predicting who the Chicago Tribune is going to endorse in the next presidential election (that would be the Republican).

A thumbs up for giving $47 million and 5 years to a closer??

Oh wait... it's one of the 'guys' - shocking.
   27. DSG Posted: November 26, 2005 at 10:15 AM (#1746875)
I am stunned at how much he's being paid (unless it is in Canadian bucks)

***

An unlikely but interesting point. IF the money is Canadian (and it's not), this is actually an okay deal. Otherwise, what the hell were the Blue Jays thinking?
   28. prhood Posted: November 26, 2005 at 12:07 PM (#1746884)
Well if the deal is confirmed it will free the BJs to do one of two things with Batista. Either return him to the rotation as their #4/#5 starter or, more likely, deal him to another team along with another player or two for a good outfielder. The rumours of Rios and Batista for Mench, for instance, might begin to make some sense.
   29. kingblue Posted: November 26, 2005 at 12:27 PM (#1746885)
Well 47mill USD is
54,975,900 CAD

47mill CAD is
40,181,243 USD

So not that much of a difference really.

I wouldn't trade Rios for Mench, let alone tossing in Batista also. If Mench is the best the Blue Jays can do, it will be another "next year" type deal.
   30. greenback calls it soccer Posted: November 26, 2005 at 12:45 PM (#1746887)
In Canada market inefficiencies exploit you!

This sounds so desperate that I'd wager Ricciardi's canned by the end of 2006.
   31. The Final Word Posted: November 26, 2005 at 01:33 PM (#1746892)
Well when Ricciari came to Toronto he said he could " do more with less", it really looks like it!
   32. Shalimar Posted: November 26, 2005 at 01:50 PM (#1746893)
They should have been looking at what Top 5 closers were making for 2005 during spring training and realized that the 3/$15M that B.J. wanted then was a steal and considered that the EOY market rate would no doubt be much higher.

There was no guarantee in spring training that Ryan was going to stick as a closer, let alone become top 5. Though considering the Eyre and Howry contracts, 3/$15M was probably reasonable even if he didn't.
   33. Paul S Posted: November 26, 2005 at 02:02 PM (#1746896)
There was no guarantee in spring training that Ryan was going to stick as a closer, let alone become top 5.

You know, except that he had the numbers of a top flight closer for years. The Orioles are really really stupid for not locking him up if that was what he wanted. Everyone and their mother knew BJ would end up like that.

Also, I refuse to believe that the amount of the Jays' deal is correct. People in the other thread have somewhat made sense of it given what other top flight closers were getting, but it still seems like a ridiculous overpay.
   34. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 26, 2005 at 03:12 PM (#1746916)

Oh wait... it's one of the 'guys' - shocking.


That's nonsense - I say plenty of bad things about transactions they make and I've always been a big believer in overpaying for elite quality at a position. B.J. Ryan is an elite reliever. Paul Konerko and Johnny Damon are not elite at first or center respectively.
   35. Mister High Standards Posted: November 26, 2005 at 03:30 PM (#1746922)
Let me be the first to say - I think this is a terriable deal.

The money is fine. 5 years for a pitcher any pitcher is just asking for trouble.

Not to mention its not a great fit.

If I'm JP Ricarddi and I'm told I have to goto 5 get it done I walk away. Then again if I'm JP Ricarddi I keep Carlos Delgado last year, but thats not really the issue.

The Jays have a major problem with their roster in that they have 1 star player. Teams don't win one world series with 1 star pitcher and zero other stars.

Does BJ Ryan give them another star player? I don't think he is. I would say Vinnie Chalk was the Jays worse reliever last season, he posted a 3.88 ERA which I think is a typial season for Vinnie. Last year was a typical year for Ryan and about 10-15 runs better than Chalk last year - you lever it up and you get about 2 or 3 win improvement which is spending about 3-5m per marginal win which is in the range that is fine in this specific market. However! I think the Blue Jays could have spent the money better by bringing in a position player and replaceing one of there corner players laid out a little more but reduced what they paid per win as Chalk is a pretty high replacement level.
   36. CrosbyBird Posted: November 26, 2005 at 03:33 PM (#1746924)
This is less of a bad deal because of the quality of Ryan as it is a bad deal for a franchise that has much greater needs than closer. Ryan was my first choice of relievers in this offseason, and while it's a lot of money, it can be worth it for some teams (teams that are in contention and have bullpen weaknesses) to overpay.

But I don't think it's ever a good deal for a team that is fighting with the two highest payrolls in baseball and finished 15 games into third place last year. There are a lot of places on offense than they could probably spend nearly $50M for a more significant improvement in the win-loss record.

I figure if you are not a big spender in a division with the current incarnation of the Red Sox and Yankees, your only hope for success is stockpiling prospects and throwing them at the wall until one sticks. Giving up a draft pick in addition to spending like a big market team on relief doesn't seem like a viable strategy.
   37. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 26, 2005 at 03:34 PM (#1746927)
If B.J. Ryan isn't an elite reliever, then only a couple of relievers are elite.
   38. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: November 26, 2005 at 04:28 PM (#1746949)
Long time reader, first time poster.

I have to say I'm disappointed in how predictable these transaction analyses are getting.

It's easier than predicting who the Chicago Tribune is going to endorse in the next presidential election (that would be the Republican).

A thumbs up for giving $47 million and 5 years to a closer??

Oh wait... it's one of the 'guys' - shocking.</quote>


I actually found Dan's response to be less predictable than everyone's "don't spend money on relievers" blather. As a Cubs fan, I'd much rather have Ryan at his price than Eyre at his. It just makes sense to pay a guy who can throw 75 IP of 2.8 ERA and try to fill in with the "fungible" guys than try to make an entirely fungible bullpen (2005 Cubs) or a bullpen of $3-4M mediocritries (2006 Cubs).

Of course, given the length, this deal could wind up being really ugly.
   39. JPWF13 Posted: November 26, 2005 at 04:29 PM (#1746951)
If B.J. Ryan isn't an elite reliever, then only a couple of relievers are elite.

You are always going to deal with those who will discount how a guy pitched before becoming a closer (those years don't count you see) then they will penalize a guy for only being a closer for a short time, ie: "if he was so good why didn't he close earlier". Therefore in their minds BJ Ryan CAN'T be an elite closer (not yet anyway)- case closed.

Of course their is the position that this is a rideculous overpay even acknowleging that Ryan is an Elite closer. How many runs is he going to save you over the course of a year?
   40. 1k5v3L Posted: November 26, 2005 at 04:32 PM (#1746954)
All I can say is, I'd rather have BJ Ryan at 47m/5 years than Billy Wagner at $40m/4 years.

So the ultimate losers in all this, of course, will be the Mets, again.
   41. wealz Posted: November 26, 2005 at 06:04 PM (#1747024)
This is a ton of money for a player that won't sell a single ticket.
   42. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 26, 2005 at 06:16 PM (#1747044)
This is a ton of money for a player that won't sell a single ticket.

Nonsense. Ryan makes improves the perceived quality of the team, which is what moves the tickets, not star power. The only exceptions are specific and extreme situations such as Fernando's first few seasons in the league and McGwire's run at Maris.
   43. TDF, situational idiot Posted: November 26, 2005 at 06:19 PM (#1747048)
Even though I could give a fat rat's behind about the Jays, I don't think this is a good signing. It looks alot like a signing the Reds would have made last off-season. Just because you have the money to spend doesn't mean you have to spend it like a sailor on shore leave.

Why not trade for Delgado - they sure need a big bat, and he only has 3 years left on his contract. Why not trade for Beckett - they sure need another starter. Both of those guys seemed to have been traded cheaply.

The problem with a signing like this is that it limits you when you could make an important move, especially if you can't spend with the big boys.

If B.J. Ryan isn't an elite reliever, then only a couple of relievers are elite

Uh, isn't that the definition of elite?
   44. wealz Posted: November 26, 2005 at 06:33 PM (#1747058)
"Nonsense. Ryan makes improves the perceived quality of the team, which is what moves the tickets, not star power."

I don't think Ryan's signing improves the perceived quality of the team all that much.
   45. A Random 8-Year-Old Eskimo Posted: November 26, 2005 at 06:54 PM (#1747065)
Well, I'm not sure how much Joe Hockey will care about Ryan. However, Batista heard the boo-birds quite loudly over the last two months of the season and casual fans have made it quite clear they wanted a real closer. Even if Ryan's not a name like Rivera or Gagne, a month of 1-2-3 innings will quickly make his talent clear.
   46. Sam M. Posted: November 26, 2005 at 07:14 PM (#1747075)
Boy, do I think people are missing the significance of this signing. I don't care if it's good or bad for the Jays (at least not much -- I care because it means if the Mets DO sign Wagner, the Phillies won't be able to turn around and replace him with Ryan . . . .). But it is by far and away the clearest sign of the direction this FA season is going to take, and it's going to be a doozy. I think that because the winter really started with the Marlins' fire sale -- a team cutting payroll -- people lost sight a little bit of how much money a lot of teams have to spend,, together with the thin FA talent pool. In a year in which a lot of dollars are going to be chasing not all that much high-quality talent, I think it is almost inevitable that the standards of recent years must be thrown out. It's a completely different market, and I doubt that Ricciardi misread it by all that much.
   47. No More Car Seat Parity Posted: November 26, 2005 at 07:15 PM (#1747078)
This is a ton of money for a player that won't sell a single ticket.

Didn't Bill James do a study which proves that more people don't come to the ballpark when Ryan is pitching?
   48. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 26, 2005 at 07:16 PM (#1747079)
This is so "Moneyball". J.P's brilliant plan is coming together nicely.
   49. kingblue Posted: November 26, 2005 at 08:33 PM (#1747147)
The Jays have a major problem with their roster in that they have 1 star player. Teams don't win one world series with 1 star pitcher and zero other stars.


They may not have many all-stars. (Lilly and Wells both ex all stars) But they have a very decent team, fielding wise they are one of the best in the al east. I think they are one good pitcher, and two good hitters away from being a real contender. If the Yankees signed this deal, it would just be seen as another huge deal for NY, when the Blue Jays do it, it must be becasuse JP is insane, or that is the cost of signing someone for the "Canadian" aspect. Horsepoop.
   50. Belfry Bob Posted: November 26, 2005 at 08:49 PM (#1747162)
The length and breadth of this deal blow me away. As a big BJ Ryan and Oriole fan, I have to say he isn't worth this much money, or anywhere near it. Add in the 'impact' of a closer's 75 innings, the other needs the Jays have, and that BJ's not likely to enduce a lot more folks to fill those seats at the Rogers Mausoleum, I don't see this as being good for the Jays, or other teams, either. Billy Beane must be wondering what in the heck got into his boy.
   51. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: November 26, 2005 at 09:07 PM (#1747183)
If J.R. were a real Moneyball GM, he would see if the Angels were giving away any closers for free.
   52. Crazy Old Man Posted: November 26, 2005 at 09:57 PM (#1747240)
I come back all fattened up on Turkey and this deal is what I see (on my LCD). Frightful, if indeed true. Any arguments about what an elite closer is worth don't really apply here. Why? Because Giles, Furcal, and Millwood would have all signed for that in a heartbeat, and thier value to the team would be much, much greater. I'm not sure what Damon and Konerko are looking for, but they can't be too far off either - and unless I'm forgetting somebody (Alex Gonzalez, anyone?) that's any free agent.

There's other interesting tangents here about what this means for value oriented teams and bullpen $ as a % of team salary, as well as some others, I'm sure, but I'm not in the mood to flush it out now. I'm going to log off now and pretend this deal doesn't exist. Maturity, anyone? No thanks, I'm full.
   53. Sam M. Posted: November 26, 2005 at 10:02 PM (#1747248)
Because Giles, Furcal, and Millwood would have all signed for that in a heartbeat, and thier value to the team would be much, much greater.

I seriously doubt that's true. Maybe last year -- certainly two years ago -- one or more of them would have signed for the contract Ryan just got. But if they have an agent worth the name, they'd each know that this year, the market will bear much bigger, better deals. Furcal and Giles will beat $10M a year, as will Billy Wagner.
   54. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: November 26, 2005 at 10:08 PM (#1747254)
I agree Sam, but I'd be surprised if Giles gets more than 3 years. I would much rather spend around $35/mil for 3 for Giles than what Ryan got.
   55. Sam M. Posted: November 26, 2005 at 10:12 PM (#1747259)
I'd be surprised if Giles gets more than 3 years. I would much rather spend around $35/mil for 3 for Giles than what Ryan got.

The length of the deal, I admit, is eyebrow-raising. But I think it came down like this: the Jays realized that they had to move immediately, and overwhelm Ryan, because they were soon going to have company in the bidding, with either the Mets or Phillies joining in once Wagner makes a decision. The only way Toronto was going to get Ryan to forego waiting for that bidding to finish was to do something over the top. A five-year commitment was what it took.
   56. Crazy Old Man Posted: November 26, 2005 at 10:12 PM (#1747260)
I stand corrected on two fronts - I didn't log off, and I agree that the annual value for those guys will be higher. But as Eraser added, I'd rather chop off a year or two and increase the annual value. I mean does any team really think that a player in his low 30s will really be of value in 5 years? I hope not.
   57. Crazy Old Man Posted: November 26, 2005 at 10:17 PM (#1747268)
Agreed, again, Sam. The trouble is that the Jays believed they had to have him. That was thier mistake: unquestioned focus trampled good judgement from an overall team perspective.
   58. The Manchild Posted: November 26, 2005 at 11:20 PM (#1747339)
I think it is very likely that Ryan will have value in 5 years. His current K rate is 12.8 so assuming he started to lose say 10% of his K rate in his age 32 season (I have no idea how much the avg. pitcher loses per year), and I think that would be a fairly agressive decline phase, his K rates would still be:
2006--12.80
2007--11.52
2008--10.37
2009--9.33
2010--8.39

An 8.39 K/9 rate is still pretty impressive. Obviously, this assumes peripherals don't change significantly, but I think that if you assume Ryan can remain healthy he will still be a valuable pitcher 5 years down the road.
   59. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: November 26, 2005 at 11:34 PM (#1747355)
I seriously doubt that's true. Maybe last year -- certainly two years ago -- one or more of them would have signed for the contract Ryan just got. But if they have an agent worth the name, they'd each know that this year, the market will bear much bigger, better deals. Furcal and Giles will beat $10M a year, as will Billy Wagner.

Well, Giles wanted 3/30 from San Diego. D'you think he's getting 2/17 in '09-10? Millwood just came off a one-year contract after getting burned in his attempt to get five years. He wouldn't jump at 5/47? Furcal's stated goal was 5/50.
   60. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: November 27, 2005 at 12:06 AM (#1747381)
(I have no idea how much the avg. pitcher loses per year)

If you were to run a longitudinal comprehensive study on relief pitchers, I think that you'd find that most pitchers seldom steadily decline as they age. Rather, you'd find abrupt decreases in performance, playing time, or both. This common uncertainty is one of the major reasons why pitchers--and relievers in particular--are more difficult to accurately project than hitter.

The most likely career trajectory isn't that Ryan gradually declines throughout the life of the contract, but that he suffers a sudden loss of effectiveness at some point over the next five years. We don't know what that event will be or when it will occur, but the odds are that sometime during the next half decade an abrupt decline will happen. And that's precisely why a smart team doesn't make a five year committment to a pitcher--any pitcher--but especially not a reliever.
   61. RP Posted: November 27, 2005 at 12:25 AM (#1747394)
It's worth noting that Ryan has only been pitching at an "elite" level for 2 years. Before that he was ok but nothing great. I don't think he'll suddenly turn into a pumpkin, but I wouldn't bet the ranch on him maintaining his 2004-05 level of performance.
   62. Sam M. Posted: November 27, 2005 at 12:30 AM (#1747400)
Well, Giles wanted 3/30 from San Diego. D'you think he's getting 2/17 in '09-10? Millwood just came off a one-year contract after getting burned in his attempt to get five years. He wouldn't jump at 5/47? Furcal's stated goal was 5/50.

What they said they wanted before marketplace opened up for business is not necessarily what they will end up with. I'll grant that such statements do make it reasonable to believe that Ryan got more than anyone could have expected in advance. But now that the bidding for Molina and Hernandez seems to be settling into the $8M+/year range, and Wagner is being offered $10M+, I don't think it should be all that shocking that Ryan ended up just shy of $10M. And don't forget, a five year deal for Ryan ends when he's about to turn 35. A three-year deal for Wagner ends when he's 37. And the Mets will probably have to give him four years.

I'm not all that Ryan for five is riskier than Wagner for three or four.
   63. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: November 27, 2005 at 12:37 AM (#1747406)
It's worth noting that Ryan has only been pitching at an "elite" level for 2 years. Before that he was ok but nothing great. I don't think he'll suddenly turn into a pumpkin, but I wouldn't bet the ranch on him maintaining his 2004-05 level of performance.

It's also worth noting that prior to 2004, Ryan's usage pattern had been as a LOOGY (ie, more appearances than innings pitched).

Year--G, IP
2000--42, 42.7
2001--61, 53.0
2002--67, 57.7
2003--76, 50.3
2004--76, 87.0
2005--69, 70.3
   64. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 27, 2005 at 01:55 AM (#1747517)
What's with all the talk of Ryan declining?

This contract pays him through his age 34 season. He has no history of arm problems. He doesn't have a lot of mileage on his arm. There's no reason to think the last two years are a fluke - he's changed how he threw his slider before the 2004 season and it's now one of the most dangerous pitches in baseball.

There is nothing to dislike about Ryan, either from his record or his scouting report. Sure, the Blue Jays can pluck the waiver wire for good relievers. They can still do that. There's no quota of good relievers - any bargain that was out there before Ryan was signed is still there after Ryan was signed.

Except now, with one of the premier free agents in the bag, there's no pressure to flush money down the toilet on guys like Todd Jones or Felix Rodriguez. I think it's more likely than not that, come November 2010, Billy Wagner just wishes he had the 5 seasons that B.J. Ryan did.
   65. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: November 27, 2005 at 02:05 AM (#1747523)
It strikes me as a bit incongruous to first claim that there's nothing not to like about Ryan and than identify his slider as the primary reason for his newfound dominance.
   66. the guy Posted: November 27, 2005 at 02:15 AM (#1747533)
This is a big gamble, but a great deal for the Jays nonetheless. While the bullpen was strong this year, with the exception of Batista at the end of the season, the folks saying that the Jays couldn't use this type of player are nuts. Any team can use an automatic closer. Any time. Personnel-wise, it's a great move. The money, yes, is crazy, and had they not been given an inreased payroll they certainly wouldn't have made this move, but they need to show the fans that they're comitted to winning, and Scott Eyre and Kevin Mench just don't cut it.

And there's nothing that indicates the Jays are done yet. They still have very good chances of landing Burnett and Giles and adding one or both of those guys changes this team dramatically. If they're going to pay Ryan so much to close for a mediocre team, that's one thing, but if he's just one big addition of many, then it makes sense. If this helps convince other free agents that the Jays are serious about competing with the Yanks and Sox, and if a big splash this off-season can generate more interest and more revenue for the ballclub, then it's a worthwhile gamble.

If they didn't make big noise this off-season, the PR problems that would result would be much worse than this possible albatross. They've been saying since they let Delgado walk that money is coming, and that the foundation of prospects they have, coupled with increased spending power, will put them in position to contend for a long time. If they got timid and didn't look like they were making the effort, the fans in this city might just give up. We've been told to be patient for a very long time and people are finally getting excited, but at the same time, their patience is running out. JP knows that now is the time, whether the market is the best or not. This is exactly the kind of gamble that this francise needs to take and exactly the time to do it.

The contract itself is crazy, and it's hard to imagine it will be worth it in terms of Ryan's on-field performance in five years time, but look at it this way: either it keeps the ball rolling and the franchise eventually gets back to some form of elite status (Toronto is the 4th largest city in North America, so it certainly has the potential), or it blows up in their faces. If that happens they end up where? Pretty much the same place they've been for the last 10 years. So the risk really isn't all that high.
   67. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 27, 2005 at 02:30 AM (#1747559)
But if you took that money and spent it in other places, the team would win, and the fans would get excited. Winning is what gets fans excited, not giving $45 million to a player most of them have probably never heard of.

This is the Blue Jays' big signing; Giles and Burnett are not coming. That "other" $15 million that keeps getting talked about on this thread, if it's real, which I question, is going to be spent on a 2nd-tier pitcher and a 2nd-tier position player. Bautista and a prospect for Mench will be the latter move, and the former will be Paul Byrd, Jarrod Washburn, or Esteban Loaiza. Now, that's a team that could make the playoffs if the right combination of things go right for them and wrong for Boston and New York. But they already had such a team. Whatever minor-league FA or one-year deal guy is lying around could have done the Mench production, Ryan might "blow" two or three fewer "saves" than Bautista, and Dave Bush or Dustin McGowan is even money to be as good a the FA pitcher they sign. The $25 million could have been spent on an actual upgrade, and it wasn't.
   68. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 27, 2005 at 02:33 AM (#1747563)
This is a big gamble, but a great deal for the Jays nonetheless.

The contract itself is crazy, and it's hard to imagine it will be worth it in terms of Ryan's on-field performance in five years time

I have a hard time reconciling these two sentences.
   69. Matthew E Posted: November 27, 2005 at 03:24 AM (#1747653)
Bautista and a prospect for Mench will be the latter move, and the former will be Paul Byrd, Jarrod Washburn, or Esteban Loaiza. Now, that's a team that could make the playoffs

I have a hard time reconciling these two sentences.
   70. Kyle S Posted: November 27, 2005 at 03:33 AM (#1747670)
cross-posted from the other thread, which died:

"again, accept these three premises:
a) no one wants to play in toronto
b) jp has to spend the money this year
c) his farm system sucks

what would you do if you were him? i'd love to hear specific examples. rauseo said on the TO thread "sign delgado last year" which is probably a good point but also more than a little hindsight 20/20."

to expand on this: sign giles is a great example of something the jays should do. of course, who knows what his price will turn out to be.

one thing that is NOT an example of what the jays "should do" is "less years, slightly higher per year". ryan (and more relevantly, his agent) isn't dumb. he knows that in any contract there is a chance that he'll be injured and never pitch again. therefore, he likely will sign the deal that offers him the highest present value. 47$m over 5 years with a 8% discount rate is worth about 40m in today's dollars. 3/33 using the same parameters (17% more per year) has a pv of about 31m. sure, he might recoup some of that difference during the back side of his career, IF he doesn't get injured or become ineffective. i wouldn't risk 9m on that, and he won't either.

anyway, (as i said on the other thread) jp knows that if he doesn't win more games, he's going to get fired. thus he's gonna spend all of his money this year to do his best to make sure that doesn't happen. i for one think he could have done worse than by spending some of it on bj ryan.
   71. Matthew E Posted: November 27, 2005 at 03:42 AM (#1747683)
I don't think there's any danger of Ricciardi being fired. Paul Godfrey loves him. But I agree that it's time we started seeing results.
   72. Kyle S Posted: November 27, 2005 at 03:48 AM (#1747685)
Really, Matthew? You're a Jays guy, you don't think they would can him? After his Stalinesque 5 year plan turns up no results? That makes the "don't use it, you lose it" government bureaucracy-style impulse to spend the entire budget for fear of it being cut next year explanation seem more likely. Again, if he's got to blow all the money, there are worse guys to spend it on.
   73. A Random 8-Year-Old Eskimo Posted: November 27, 2005 at 04:03 AM (#1747695)
This is the Blue Jays' big signing; Giles and Burnett are not coming. That "other" $15 million that keeps getting talked about on this thread, if it's real, which I question, is going to be spent on a 2nd-tier pitcher and a 2nd-tier position player. Bautista and a prospect for Mench will be the latter move, and the former will be Paul Byrd, Jarrod Washburn, or Esteban Loaiza.

The Blue Jays would save money in a Batista + Rios for Mench deal. So unless they intend to spend $17 million on Paul Byrd, I think you need to reconsider that statement. The $15 million is real, and while the Blue Jays may not have the opportunity to spend it all, they have enough to sign Giles/Burnett and trade for Mench/other position player bat making a few million, especially if they trade Batista. They can also trade a fairly productive Catalanotto or Ted Lilly if they needed to.

This does nothing to diminish the chances of landing Giles or Burnett (it only rules out both of them). In fact, showing the Jays dedication to competing in the near future probably helps their case with both FAs. It's quite possible they won't end up with either of those two names, but I doubt it will because of financial reasons because JP has more money to play with and has shown he is willing to spend.
   74. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 27, 2005 at 04:27 AM (#1747731)
Well, I hope you guys are right, though I've been ridden down by this "middle market" nonsense for too long to believe it. The last thing MLB needs, by the way, is a closer AL playoff race. They came as close as they ever want to come in 2005 to a no-Boston-nor-New York post-season, and if it ever actually happens, there will be a second wildcard. That wouldn't bother me too much, but I get the impression that a lot of people would be very turned-off by it.
   75. Dave Cyprian Posted: November 27, 2005 at 04:45 AM (#1747775)
#66, I assume you meant that Toronto was the 4th largest Anglo North American city. Don't forget that far and away the largest city on this continent is Mexico City.
   76. Dave Cyprian Posted: November 27, 2005 at 04:47 AM (#1747780)
"far and away" = "by far"
   77. bibigon Posted: November 27, 2005 at 05:06 AM (#1747818)

#66, I assume you meant that Toronto was the 4th largest Anglo North American city. Don't forget that far and away the largest city on this continent is Mexico City.


I don't think that is what he means.

By city population in North America:

1. Mexico City
2. New York City
3. Toronto
4. Los Angeles
5. Montreal

By urban area populations:

1. New York City
2. Mexico City
3. Los Angeles
4. Chicago
5. Baltimore
6. San Francisco
7. Boston
8. Detroit
9. Toronto
10. Dallas

Mexico City is either smaller than New York, or only marginally larger(8.5M vs. 8.1M), depending on which measure you choose to use.

I think the urban area population makes a great deal more sense, since it seems to more accurately represent those who associate themselves with a given city.
   78. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: November 27, 2005 at 05:16 AM (#1747846)
Isn't Toronto larger than Chicago? Isn't the ranking:

Mexico City
New York
Los Angeles
Toronto
Chicago
   79. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: November 27, 2005 at 05:17 AM (#1747852)
NM, I didn't see #77 before I posted.
   80. Dave Cyprian Posted: November 27, 2005 at 05:37 AM (#1747894)
#77, I'm sorry but your facts are absolutely wrong in a number of areas.

The best measure of urban area population puts NYC at 14+ million, and second in North America. Greater Mexico city is one of the top 3 or 4 biggest urban areas world wide, and generally considered to have more than 28 million inhabitants.

And in your list of the top ten city popluations, you neglect to list both Houston and Philadelphia which are the #4 and #5 largest cities in the US, after NY, LA, CHI. Instead you have dubious choices such as San Fran (which could only be anywhere near this list if you included Oakland and San Jose, both of which have their own pro teams), and Dallas, which I have previously noted is not even the largest city in Texas.
   81. richie allen Posted: November 27, 2005 at 11:40 AM (#1748129)
Well I'm with Dan: this is a rockin' signing. I've long been of the view that a juggernaut relief corps is important in all the ways we're learning it is (leverage index, etc), but possibly has the biggest ability to mentally lift/deflate teams. One of my favourite teams was the 2002 Angels and this Blue Jays squad is sort of starting to remind me of that one (in my mind at least!).
   82. JMM Posted: November 27, 2005 at 12:23 PM (#1748143)
And in your list of the top ten city popluations, you neglect to list both Houston and Philadelphia which are the #4 and #5 largest cities in the US, after NY, LA, CHI.

bibigon's list wasn't of city populations, nor did he label it as such, so what exactly was the point of this?
   83. peter21 Posted: November 27, 2005 at 10:02 PM (#1748588)
While it is a lot of money, this deal makes a lot of sense.

As has been pointed out here, if you're going to spend a lot of money, spend it on someone who's good. Relievers fluctuate a lot, yes. They must have certain characteristics in order to minimize the chance that they will suddenly become ineffective. Ryan meets all of the requirements: ridiculous K rate, excellent K/BB rate, very few homers, no history of arm troules, and he's at the beginning of his prime.

It bothers me when people question Ryan's track record of only being a closer for one season. Is it his problem that the manager chose to put others in the 9th inning? That doesn't diminish Ryan's ability---an ability which is so good that it will easily translate into ANY inning that you want to use him in.

Ryan not only is a better long-term option that Billy Wagner, but judging by their track records, aging patterns, and league translations, Ryan will be just as good or better than Billy Wagner in 2006.

Furthermore, the Blue Jays have an EXCELLENT chance of making the playoffs. Before you call me crazy, let me state my case:

1) Their pythag for 2005 was 88-74, two games behind the Red Sox and Yankees. In other words, re-play this season exactly again, and the Blue Jays have a legitimate chance of finishing with a better record than either/both teams.

2) They had many young players whom we can reasonably expect improvement from (Alex Rios, Russ Adams, Gabe Gross, Quillermo Quiroz, Aaron Hill, Dustin McGowan, David Bush, Brandon League).

3) No hitters overachieved last year. It is reasonable to expect similar production from veterans Vernon Wells (career 811 OPS, 783 OPS last year), Shea Hillenbrand (775/792), Eric Hinske (765/763), Orlando Hudson (746/728), Frank Catalanotto (815/818), and Corey Koskie (824/735).

4) The Blue Jays can expect a full season of dominance from Roy Halladay, and continued excellence from Josh Towers (112/29 ratio)

5) Plus, the Jays have a surplus of talent to trade (for Lyle Overbay? And others?), and a surplus of money, allowing them to pursue additional free agents

In summary, Toronto is starting with a team that finished 2 games behind the Yankees and Red Sox. They are adding two additional months of the AL's best pitcher; one of the AL's best closers; likely consistent achievement from veterans (as no one overperformed in 05), likely improvement from talented youngsters, and who knows what additional talent they will acquire via trade and/or free agency.
   84. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 27, 2005 at 10:07 PM (#1748600)
Thanks for stopping by, JP.
   85. Paul D(uda) Posted: November 27, 2005 at 10:25 PM (#1748649)
As another Toronto fan, I'll say that I agree that JP is about as safe as a GM can be.
Ted Rogers and Paul Godfrey love him. He's saved them a ton of money, and the team is somewhat competitive. And trust me, Rogers doesn't care about what his customers think.
   86. Johnny Tuttle Posted: November 28, 2005 at 12:48 AM (#1748826)
Did the Red Sox or Yankees under or over perform their owm pythags?

*********

This is so much better than their spending a comparable amount on say Scott Shoenwies (spelling?), Koskie, and Lightenburg. I know that a team with a middling payroll even after a hefty increase still needs to guard the pennies and try for values for the $s, but at some point, to win you need players that rank as amongst the best in the league. No other available bullpen arm is so likely to be good in 2006 as is Ryan. The Blue Jays have already gone for three D to B grade players instead of an A (famously last off-season); they need no more 25 man depth. Quality is another story.
   87. Johnny Tuttle Posted: November 28, 2005 at 12:50 AM (#1748828)
You have to admit that Towers is no sure thing going forward. Hopefully, Bush, McGowan, etc make that less problematic, and hoepfully they still get a Millwood or Burnett, but you can't count on Towers's earning even his modest extension.
   88. peter21 Posted: November 28, 2005 at 01:20 AM (#1748853)
Did the Red Sox or Yankees under or over perform their owm pythags?

Pythag records:

Yankees 90-72
Red Sox 90-72
Blue Jays 88-74

Actual records:

Yankees 95-67
Red Sox 95-67
Blue Jays 80-82

You have to admit that Towers is no sure thing going forward.

I fully admit that Towers is no sure thing. I think baseball is a lot more about probabilities than many realize---all you can hope to do is maximize the chances in your favor. I think that judging by Towers' success this season, age, scouting reports, and sabermetric stats (K/BB ratio, HR ratio), Towers is highly likely to do as well or better next season. Far from a sure thing, but has a pretty darn good chance (I think almost certain to put up better numbers than Millwood and maybe even Burnett in 2006).
   89. Johnny Tuttle Posted: November 28, 2005 at 02:00 AM (#1748916)
Sure. I don't think I'm as high on Towers as you are, but I can dig it. I just don't think you can count on that highest level from him -- or on no regression or bad years --in looking forward to next year. And the Yankees will do better next year with virtually any new CF.
   90. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 28, 2005 at 02:31 AM (#1748981)
Well, Wang and Chacon were similar mirages for the Yankees to what Towers and Chacin were for Toronto, so they'll take just as big of a hit from where they were last year. The only team that helps, though, is the Red Sox, who have "healthy" (and unlucky in 2005 anyway) Schilling and quite unlucky by FIPS Clement; they'll be improving in 2006.
   91. Kyle S Posted: November 28, 2005 at 04:24 AM (#1749077)
Plus the Red Sox are swapping Wells for Josh Beckett. That's gonna help.
   92. Wozzyck Posted: November 28, 2005 at 05:31 AM (#1749127)
1) Their pythag for 2005 was 88-74, two games behind the Red Sox and Yankees. In other words, re-play this season exactly again, and the Blue Jays have a legitimate chance of finishing with a better record than either/both teams.


If you insist on putting faith in Pythagorean standings, Baseball Prospectus' 2nd and 3rd order Pythagenports (which use Equivalent Runs and Adjusted Equivalent Runs, resp.) paint a different picture:

2nd Order:
Yankees 93-69
Red Sox 90-72
Blue Jays 79-83

3rd Order:
Yankees 94-68
Red Sox 91-71
Blue Jays 80-82
   93. Snowboy Posted: November 28, 2005 at 06:03 AM (#1749151)
peter21 wrote: In summary, Toronto is starting with a team that finished 2 games behind the Yankees and Red Sox.

Hey brother, games aren't played in the pythag world, they're played in the real world. And the Jays finished two games behind the .500 schnide, and a lot further than that behind the (underwhelming) Yankees and Red Sox this year.

And according the list of free agents, the Jays are starting 2006 with about the same team as they started 2005, since not one of their players left as a free agent. And the one guy they did move during the season, John McDonald, they've fricking traded for again. TRIVIA: Which loser team in 2005 traded twice for the same no-hit utility infielder? ANSWER: Toronto Jay Pees.

The winter is still young, maybe Riccardi has more moves to make. But if it's for hitters it'll have to come with trades as well, because he's already got three guys to play the corners/DH, three guys to play middle infield, and three guys to play the corner outfield positions.

BJ Ryan. I wish to heaven this came with an explanation for the whole Batista fiasco, that's all. And why Speier continues to be relegated to setup, I don't understand. If you're going to overspend, at least make it a productive position where you have a deficiency. Other than Batista, the bullpen's been pretty good since Tosca was fired.

continued excellence from Josh Towers (112/29 ratio)
Pardon me if I don't get too excited about signing a #5 pitcher to a two year contract for a 600% raise who can't pitch in cold weather or day games and had a 4.83 K/9 rate. I'll agree with you that he might have a better season than Burnett in 2006, because I don't want JP and his fat new wallet (and long term contracts) coming within a hundred miles of AJ Burnett. But I'm not buying Towers " is almost certain to put up better numbers than Millwood...in 2006 Since you bring him up, I don't know what Millwood is asking, but I'd like a Jays team with Halladay, Millwood, Lilly, Towers, Chacin (Batista swingman, Chulk, Schoeny, Frasor setting up Speier) a lot more than the current Halladay, Lilly, Towers, Batista, Chacin (unsigned swingman, Frasor, Schoeny, Speier setting up Ryan).
   94. Snowboy Posted: November 28, 2005 at 06:18 AM (#1749169)
Dan Szymborski wrote: Ryan makes improves the perceived quality of the team, which is what moves the tickets, not star power.

I'll echo the comments of others and say that I think you are overestimating how signing Ryan will be received by the fans. He's been a closer for a year, and a good pitcher for two. He's not a household name, he's not improving perception of the team with fans, and will not move tickets this winter.

On the other hand, I consider BJ Ryan to be an "insider" kind of talent. The kind of guy I would expect Riccardi to recognize, and someone like Chuck LaMar to not. The kind of talent that a keen baseball man can recognize. The kind of talent that I think other players recognize, even if fans do not yet.

The size and price of this contract is a stunner, considering the GM, the team, and the player's position. The only way I will find it defensible is if it is used as leverage with other free agents. BJ Ryan's talent is known, probably quite well, by other players. Maybe not all fans exactly, but insiders. And if signing BJ Ryan is the evidence needed by, say, Kevin Millwood, to prove the Jays are trying to win, then I'm behind it. If this contract brings Toronto a guy like Millwood, then yahoo.
   95. peter21 Posted: November 28, 2005 at 06:45 AM (#1749195)
Hey brother, games aren't played in the pythag world, they're played in the real world. And the Jays finished two games behind the .500 schnide, and a lot further than that behind the (underwhelming) Yankees and Red Sox this year.

This is very true; however, the Blue Jays may well be better than their 80-82 record indicates. In other words, Ricciardi isn't improving a "true" 80-win team, he's improving a "true" 85-or-so win team.

the Jays are starting 2006 with about the same team as they started 2005, since not one of their players left as a free agent.

If I was a Jays fan (which I'm not), I would be excited with returning the exact same squad that produced a pythag of 88-74 DESPITE missing Halladay for that amount of time and having no hitter overachieve.

And why Speier continues to be relegated to setup, I don't understand.

Speier is an excellent reliever, I agree. The Jays' bullpen in general, in 2005, was excellent. Ryan only makes them better. While Speier could likely close, it's not like he's hurting the team by preserving the game in the 7th or 8th. What would the Red Sox or Yankees give to have guys like Speier, Frasor, Chulk, Schoeneweis, etc.

If you're going to overspend, at least make it a productive position where you have a deficiency.

Like you said, this team has a depth of talent already (even if none of it is necessarily all-star caliber). They do need help in the rotation, but like you said, the winter is young, and the Jays are aggresively pursuing Burnett. Besides, I'd argue that BJ Ryan is the best pitcher available in free agency.

Pardon me if I don't get too excited about signing a #5 pitcher to a two year contract for a 600% raise who can't pitch in cold weather or day games and had a 4.83 K/9 rate.

I don't mean to argue that Josh Towers is the next coming of Roger Clemens. But I do mean to argue that Towers is likely to put up similar or slightly-improved numbers in 2006. An ERA between 3.50 and 3.80 is not unreasonable, and that's excellent in the AL East. Towers' 3.86 K/BB ratio (which is one of the best indicators of future ERA) was among the AL's best in 2005. Only 11 pitchers had a ratio of even 3.0 or better---when it's that good, it's no fluke.

As for Kevin Millwood, I really appreciate what he did for my Indians in 2005. But, simply put, he got lucky. Indians announcers lauded Millwood's ability to "pitch out of a jam"---an ability which led to a falsely-low ERA. Unfortunately for Millwood's suitors, this "ability" appears to a be a fluke; he'd never demonstrated anything remotely close to this ability in previous seasons. Millwood's ERA will likely rise by at least 3/4 of a run in 2006 simply due to his good luck running out.

The Red Sox or Yankees will probably win the East in 2006. But the Blue Jays certainly could, too...and when's the last time you could say that?
   96. greenback calls it soccer Posted: November 28, 2005 at 06:57 AM (#1749210)
Then again if I'm JP Ricarddi I keep Carlos Delgado last year, but thats not really the issue.

Ricciardi really didn't have a five-year plan, did he?
   97. Psychedelic Red Pants Posted: November 28, 2005 at 07:09 AM (#1749227)
peter21, why would you expect Towers' ERA to improve?
   98. Michael Posted: November 28, 2005 at 08:31 AM (#1749348)
So the one other piece that may be worth thinking about in a five year deal is backloading the money (or at least some of it). This is good for a number of reasons:

1. Money later is worth less than money now.

2. You can trade a player later and not end up owing him the money.

This may be a strategy that is not for the risk-adverse but if you sign Ryan to 5 years that look like:

2006: 6 million
2007: 7 million
2008: 9 million
2009: 11 million
2010: 14 million

and slot him as your closer and he picks up 100 saves in 2006-2008, what will his perceived value be?

Say he does over his age 30, 31, and 32 seasons:

2006: 70 G, 75 IP, 35 SV, 2.62 ERA
2007: 78 G, 86 IP, 44 SV, 1.80 ERA
2008: 45 G, 48.3 IP, 21 SV, 2.48 ERA

(and if it is a midseason 2009 trade say he starts the first third of the seaons with a line like 25 G, 26 IP, 13 SV, 1.49 ERA)

I'd argue a lot higher for three reasons:

1. All players and contracts are likely to be paid a lot more in 2009 just based on trends over the past 15 years of FA. In offseason of 2008 a proven closer, even if he's no longer as good as 2005!Ryan may well be getting 15 million or 20 million a year for short 2 year deals. If the market goes up enough you may just decide to keep him as he may be worth that money due to a change in the market rather than a change in his quality.

2. Capturing saves means that pretty much all GMs will recognize he is an "elite" reliever as opposed to the view that many seem to follow that says he's only been a closer for one season and so isn't elite.

3. There is less risk left in the deal.

So if you backload a deal then you don't necessarily end up on the wrong side of the deal even if you over pay for the deal. The big if is Ryan can't explode and either stop pitching or stop pitching effectively (although you may be able to purchase insurance on some form or parts of the contract if you want to).

In other words, if you think this deal is an okay one if it is 4/35 but sucks if it is 5/47 then all you are doing is assessing the risk differently than the Jays. If trading him is an option, and if your plan is to trade him mid deal once he's racked up the 100 saves, then you don't pay the cost that you are complaining about as long as Ryan holds up his value up until that trade point (which may well be 3 or 4 years from now, not all 5). A big if, but only a question of risk.

I'm not saying this deal is a no brainer, or is without risk, just trying to make clear that it is a probablistic analysis and risk analysis question. And just like different people can rationally price risk mitigation differently (i.e., home owner (willing to pay $ to reduce risk) versus home owner insurance company (willing to accept risk in return for $)), different baseball frnachises may have different levels of risk tolerance. And I'd argue the Jays are a team that should be making some of these bets as they are positioned to take advantage of the next 2-3 years which is their peak opportunity for success as the Yankees age out of contention (hopefully) and the Jays age and spend into contention (hopefully). An interesting Nate Silver article on BP about team spending echos this saying that if you think the Jays are an 82-87 win true talent team then their best business strategy is to either buy or sell players trying to move up or down and either be a much cheaper 75-82 win true talent team or be a more expensive 87-92 win true talent team. Couple the farm system and age of the current Jays and division system and this may well be the first of 2 or 3 deals that represent solidly making the "buy palyers" decision.
   99. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: November 28, 2005 at 09:18 AM (#1749379)
Hey brother, games aren't played in the pythag world, they're played in the real world.

Whatcha GONNA DO? WHEN THE HULKSTER RUNS WILD OVER YOU!!!!
   100. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: November 28, 2005 at 09:42 AM (#1749398)
They can also trade a fairly productive Catalanotto

He's just fairly productive overall? He friggin' KILLS the Red Sox.
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