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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 01:17 AM | 114 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. The District Attorney Posted: November 28, 2005 at 08:45 AM (#1749404)
This contract is better for the team than whatever Billy Wagner will get, and yet I don't expect to see articles in the mainstream media about how dumb that one is. That is all.
   102. Johnny Tuttle Posted: November 28, 2005 at 01:30 PM (#1749531)
Cat is, in terms of raw, unadjusted OPS during August or September when I last checked, textbookly middle of the road for AL LFers. I was shocked he was so high.

*******

The more I think of this deal, the more I like it. Sincerely.
   103. Mudpout Posted: November 28, 2005 at 02:55 PM (#1749603)
I don't see this throwing the whole FA market out of whack. Last year it was Benson that started the 3/$24 trend, wasn't it? But guys like Dye and Hidalgo didn't see a significant bump because of it. If we assume that Ryan's signing will bump only similar players, that really just means Billy Wagner, and Ryan's contract doesn't seem too far from the Wagner talk. As for the top guys bumping up the middle guys, I think Eyre and Howry already set the market for that level of reliever. The signing price of Gordon and Farnsworth are more likely to be decided by the Howry contract than the Ryan contract.
   104. Johnny Tuttle Posted: November 28, 2005 at 03:04 PM (#1749614)
And the more I hear $s and years mentioned for Farnsworth, the more I like JP's spending the farm on the best available reliever rather than trying to sign two or three guys for the same overall $s anyways. Farnsworth, while useful, is more likely to be overpaid relative to performance than is Ryan. There, a positive statement made on Primer, a rare and brave occurence.
   105. peter21 Posted: November 28, 2005 at 09:39 PM (#1750292)
peter21, why would you expect Towers' ERA to improve?

I don't necessarily expect it to improve---but I would say that the chances are pretty good. Towers' line last year:

IP----H----BB----SO----HR----ERA----BABIP
209-237---29----112---24-----3.71-----.336

On average, a pitcher's batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is around .300---there is a little evidence that a few select pitchers (Randy Johnson and knuckleballers) might possess a small ability to perform especially well consistently in BABIP, but for the most part, any fluctuation above or below the .300 mark is luck.

Therefore, I assert that, judging by his numbers, his age (28), and the fact that he performed very well against AL East opponents in 2005, Josh Towers has a great chance to perform as well or better in 2006 than he did in 2005.

The only starters who had a better K/BB ratio in 2005 were:
Randy Johnson
Johan Santana
Jake Peavy
David Wells
Javier Vazquez
Brad Radke
Carlos Silva
Pedro Martinez
Ben Sheets
Roy Halladay
Andy Pettite
Chris Carpenter

We can reasonably deduce that Towers' ERA is not a fluke, because his K/BB ratio and HR/IP ratio were very, very good. Furthermore, we can project that in 2005 Towers actually got UNLUCKY---his BABIP was abnormally high---and therefore, if he puts up identical peripherals again in 2006, his ERA will likely go down. If he doesn't pitch as well in 2006, his ERA could still stay around 3.70 simply because his luck will even out.

If the Jays manage to snag Burnett, their top 3 would be as good as anyone's.
   106. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 29, 2005 at 05:57 PM (#1751555)
Given the announcement that Wagner is getting $10million/year for 4 years (plus another $10million for year 5, or a buyout for $3million), B.J.'s contract is looking much more reasonable.

My theory is that Riccardi made this deal early to avoid getting screwed like the Mets just did with Wagner . As well, he's driven up the price of the remaining relievers for other teams to pay, of which he won't be partaking.
   107. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: November 29, 2005 at 06:06 PM (#1751574)
Well, not really. The Ryan contract forced the Mets to up the ante with Wagner. If JP hadn't given that much money to Ryan, the Mets wouldnt have had to go as far as they did for Billy.
   108. Catfish326 Posted: November 29, 2005 at 06:31 PM (#1751631)
What is very sad to me, but not at all surprising, is that there are only 14 posts under the blog for Vic Power's passing. At the same time, the blog for "Ryan signs deal with Jays" has 108 posts. It's another reminder that interest in baseball history, and other sports history, wanes so rapidly. Yet, as to baseball, its popularity over time has long been tied to statistics and historical data. However, the bottom line is, people would rather talk endlessly about B.J. Ryan's new deal and who the Red Sox might bat sixth in their order until my hair hurts, rather than discuss a real quality player who has passed on, and what his contributions to the game were. I guess it all comes around eventually: in 7-10 years no one will give a rats rear end about B.J Ryan and who hit fifth for the Red Sox in 2006.
   109. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 29, 2005 at 11:23 PM (#1752243)
However, the bottom line is, people would rather talk endlessly about B.J. Ryan's new deal and who the Red Sox might bat sixth in their order until my hair hurts, rather than discuss a real quality player who has passed on, and what his contributions to the game were.

I guess it's because there really isn't any fun in talking about the passing of a player that many of the people on this site never saw play (his last game was more than 40 years ago). We can post condolences and such, but for most people the person just isn't more than a set of stats if they never were around when he played.

However petty it may seem, the B.J. Ryan deal is more interesting to talk about because:
<ol><li>He's still playing.</li><li>People can make predictions.</li><li>It affects the current baseball world.</li><li>It's not depressing (for most).</li></ol>
   110. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 29, 2005 at 11:24 PM (#1752244)
What the...?

The list showed up perfectly fine in the "preview" section, but came out craptacular in the final product.
   111. Kyle S Posted: November 29, 2005 at 11:29 PM (#1752253)
Josh Towers is a batting practice pitcher (kind of like Paul Byrd) so I wouldn't go too far talking up how $h unlucky he was or Emeigh will smack you down.
   112. mr. man Posted: November 29, 2005 at 11:43 PM (#1752267)
towers may have been unlucky in terms of babip but his HR against is going to be volatile like any soft tosser who doesn't get a ton of ground balls.
   113. peter21 Posted: November 30, 2005 at 12:08 AM (#1752307)

Josh Towers is a batting practice pitcher (kind of like Paul Byrd) so I wouldn't go too far talking up how $h unlucky he was


Towers certainly doesn't have the best stuff around, I agree. In fact, I agree that Towers is more likely to give up hits than other pitchers with better stuff. But I still maintain that Towers' BABIP was unluckily high, and likely to go down. If Towers' season involved any luck, it was BAD luck, not good.

towers may have been unlucky in terms of babip but his HR against is going to be volatile like any soft tosser who doesn't get a ton of ground balls.

Conventional wisdom is that homers given up is a "skill" that remains fairly constant from year-to-year. However, it also does seem intuitive that soft-tossers will give up more homers. However, I would be interested to see if soft-tossers are indeed more volatile, more prone to fluctuate from year to year, rather than simply more prone to giving up a lot of homers consistently.
   114. Endless Trash Posted: November 30, 2005 at 11:00 PM (#1753971)
Well, not really. The Ryan contract forced the Mets to up the ante with Wagner. If JP hadn't given that much money to Ryan, the Mets wouldnt have had to go as far as they did for Billy.

What evidence do you have of this?
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