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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Diamondbacks - Signed Ortiz

Arizona Diamondbacks - Signed P Russ Ortiz to a 4-year contract worth $33 million.

Didn’t the Diamondbacks get the memo about pitchers getting 3 years, $21 million?  Or the memo about how crying about finances is more believable when you don’t then go out and pay $20 million a year on a third baseman who may not be a third baseman anymore and a pitcher who has been better than 10% better than league average once in his career?

Apparently, they didn’t get either memo, so the Diamondbacks Ghetto Rebuilding job continues.  I think I’ll describe this as the Underwear Gnomes School of Baseball Management.

1. Spend lots and lots of money you don’t have randomly.
2. ???
3. Profits.

Ortiz, Russ - 2005 ZiPS Projection (31)
———————————————————————-
W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
———————————————————————-
9 16 34 34 203 213 111 18 107 146 4.92

Dan Szymborski Posted: December 11, 2004 at 12:27 AM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Reader Comments and Retorts

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

   1. Don Guillote (The Cheat) Posted: December 11, 2004 at 01:24 AM (#1011993)
320 Baserunners? Ouch.
   2. 1k5v3L Posted: December 11, 2004 at 01:28 AM (#1011997)
Yup, that zips looks about right. Even though I think his homers may go up some. His dips for 2004 from espn was 4.86, his fip was 4.82. In AZ, the balls will fly out faster and farther, and he won't have Andruw or JD to chase them down. Splash parties in the pool every time Ortiz pitches. Man, if that production is worth $8M/year, Pedro ought to be asking for about $20M/year or so. No wonder RJ is growling (then again, he always does).
   3. flournoy Posted: December 11, 2004 at 02:00 AM (#1012042)
Here's the collective GOOD RIDDANCE from Braves fans.
   4. Dr. Vaux Posted: December 11, 2004 at 02:03 AM (#1012049)
And even the people who just sorta like 'em :)
   5. Johnny Zen Posted: December 11, 2004 at 02:12 AM (#1012067)
I don't get it. I thought the D-Backs were supposed to be broke and 55 mill in debt. And yet the overspending continues ... taking their cues from the Federal Government, no doubt.
   6. Miko Supports Shane's Spam Habit Posted: December 11, 2004 at 02:14 AM (#1012072)
There. Gammons got one right. He said "close to 4/34," whereas someone in the dugout cited a report from an AZ newspaper that was 3/27.
   7. Psychedelic Red Pants Posted: December 11, 2004 at 02:29 AM (#1012101)
I don't get it. I thought the D-Backs were supposed to be broke and 55 mill in debt. And yet the overspending continues ... taking their cues from the Federal Government, no doubt.

Why file for bankruptcy with 50M in debt when you can file for bankruptcy with 150M in debt?
   8. Psychedelic Red Pants Posted: December 11, 2004 at 02:30 AM (#1012105)
Oh, and there's no way Ortiz wins 9 games with a ~5 ERA and that lineup, even in that run scoring environment. Glaus could hit 162 HR's and it wouldn't change that.
   9. Sam M. Posted: December 11, 2004 at 06:06 AM (#1012402)
Glaus could hit 162 HR's and it wouldn't change that.

Well, not to quibble about it or anything, but I'm willing to bet that Glaus hitting 162 HRs would change that.

And a lot of other things besides . . . . :-)
   10. Robert S. Posted: December 11, 2004 at 06:32 AM (#1012478)
The Diamondbacks offense should head towards the mean - it's really, really hard to maintain 3.8 runs/G offense for more than a year - you can score more by accident.

A big part of that was Al "Bunt Like Your Life Depends On It" Pedrique.
   11. Sparkles Peterson Posted: December 11, 2004 at 09:46 AM (#1012768)
Man, good thing for the D-Backs that the Angels trumped this idiotic move. Still, the Glaus-Ortiz one-two punch is giving Guzman-Castilla a run for its money.
   12. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: December 11, 2004 at 12:21 PM (#1012848)
This is madness.

This is like one of those crazy NBA FA contracts you see during the off-seasons, like Etan Thomas or Brian Cardinal randomly getting $6M/yr for being a competent pro. Ortiz is of somewhat greater standing in his own sport, but this is still crazy. Carl Pavano, at this rate, should make about a billion dollars a year now.
   13. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 11, 2004 at 12:24 PM (#1012850)
Why file for bankruptcy with 50M in debt when you can file for bankruptcy with 150M in debt?

I like your thinking!
   14. McCoy Posted: December 11, 2004 at 03:49 PM (#1012951)
I think the Moorad era in the desert is going to be very expensive and very short. Definitely not going to last as long as when Moses had the job.
   15. McCoy Posted: December 11, 2004 at 03:52 PM (#1012954)
Any word if all this spending by the DBacks has changed Randy's mind about playing in Pheonix?
   16. shoewizard Posted: December 11, 2004 at 05:19 PM (#1013020)
Posted by flournoy on December 10, 2004 at 10:00 PM (#1012042)
Here's the collective GOOD RIDDANCE from Braves fans.


I would like to preface this statement by saying of course I see the walks, and as Levski pointed out yesterday, the detoriating bb-k ratio and Homeruns allowed the last 3 years.

But the guy DID go 33-12 from April 2003-July 2004.

He faltered badly in August-September last year going 3-3 with an ERA around 6.00, closing out his career as a Brave with a 36-15 Record.

I agree Ortiz is being overpaid, and could be primed for a serious downfall if it wasnt just a two month slump the felled him last year, ( loss of velocity rumours are troubling) but good riddance is a little harsh, don't you think?.

Now don't jump all over me about over valuing wins. I know all the arguements, and agree with 90% of it. But there must be some skill, or talent , or ability, that has not been measured yet, that allowed Ortiz to compile a .632 career winning percentage. Yes, he has played on good teams. But which Giant or Braves pitchers have a better winning % than Ortiz during those 6 years?

Has he been lucky? Well, maybe tremendously so. Perhaps increasingly so. Of course DIPS is going to tell you that. But how can he be so lucky for 6 straight years? What are we missing here? Why does he have such a better win % than the teams he has been playing on?

With the Giants:

Russ Ortiz 67-44 .604 win %
Other giants pitchers 390-309 .558 win %

With the Braves:

Russ Ortiz 36-16 .692 win %
Other Braves pitchers 161-111 .692 win %

I realize every prdictive model there is says he will stink. No one really knows going forward.

But I would like to see someone smarter than me explain just why he has been able to win so much, so consistently. Explain the past to me before we speculate on the future.
   17. shoewizard Posted: December 11, 2004 at 05:22 PM (#1013027)
typo on the above. Braves other pitchers win % was .592, not .692

Combined, Braves and Giants pitchers not named Ortiz have a .567 win% compared to Ortiz's .603 win %
   18. shoewizard Posted: December 11, 2004 at 05:45 PM (#1013055)
Some clues perhaps to why Ortiz can win:

The following are pulled from ESPN's splits for the last 3 seasons:

OPS against, total, last 3 seasons .693

Runners in scoring position, OPS against .687

RISP, 2 outs, OPS against .669

Bases Loaded: .634

He is slightly better with Runners in scoring position, better still with RISP, 2 outs, and very tough with the bases loaded.

I am not talking "clutch" here, but it would appear he has the ability to "bear down". That phrase did not come about for nothing. I pitched through high school and two years of college. It is a legit thing to say a pitcher has the ability to bear down in given situations. Ortiz's numbers here would tend to support that.

I was also looking at OPS against by pitch count.

1-15 .790
16-30 .833
31-45 .545
46-60 .673
61-75 .616
76-90 .650
91-105 .752
106-120 .649

So it looks like you either get to him early, or prepare to be shut down in the middle innings and hope you can get to him in the 7th. If you don't you lose.
   19. 1k5v3L Posted: December 11, 2004 at 10:39 PM (#1013435)
shoewiz, if the reported drop in velocity on Ortiz's fastball is real (Gammo says 8mph!), you can take all these numbers and throw them out the window. I only hope that Ortiz isn't hiding some injury, like a sore elbow (paging Dr. James Andrews!) or even worse, busted labrum (then Ortiz ought to just be euthanised). We won't know until spring training, unfortunately.
   20. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: December 11, 2004 at 10:42 PM (#1013448)
He's won so much because he is a winner. Ortiz at only $34M is so far the steal of the offseason.
   21. pyrite Posted: December 11, 2004 at 11:01 PM (#1013489)
shoewizard,

Ortiz seems to be in the class of pitchers who change their approach significantly with runners on. His BB rates with men on 2B, men on 2B & 3B, etc. are astonishingly high.

Nate Silver, on one of the BP chats, mentioned somethng like this in relation to Tom Glavine. I'd be curious if any of the projection gurus had looked into this issue. It seems like pitchers like this ought to beat their DIPS or CERA rates because their walks are not as damaging as they would be if they were normally distributed.

Of course, it's still a terrible signing. His velocity is down 8 mph post-ASB?! Was he throwing a palmball for two months?

Arizona didn't give Wally Backman a background check so who says they're going to check out how hard Ortiz was throwing in August and September? Due dillegence, guys. Due F. Dillegence.
   22. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 14, 2006 at 02:46 PM (#2063500)
I predict this deal won't work out and Ortiz will get released around June of 2006.
   23. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 14, 2006 at 06:02 PM (#2063681)
What's amazing is how much ZiPS over estimated Ortiz' abilities. I think the team would have been overjoyed if they had gotten 9-16, 4.92 and 7-15, 5.34 instead of what they did get.

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