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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Giants - Reportedly have Signed Zito

San Francisco Giants - Have reportedly come to terms with P Barry Zito on a 7-year, $126 million contract.

When I see the “7-year, $126 million contract” I think that I’m looking at some NFL contract in which a team gives this amount to their QB but it consists of like $3 million a year, an $8 million signing bonus, and a $80 million roster bonus if the player’s on the roster in 2050 or something that everyone knows will never come to pass.  But this is a real money contract.  For Barry Zito.  A pitcher who, after his big K rate drop following 3 years with ERA+s of 174, 125, and 169 has put up 105, 116, 116 and that’s with generally a really nice outfield defense behind him (though the Giants are much improved over the last few years in that department).

It’d be hard, but I could justify this if I were the Mets.  The Mets, see, are a team with an actual future in which it’s worth playing a nice payroll chunk out for a dependable, good, non-elite pitcher.  The Giants, on the other hand, have no future.  You can’t pay Barry Zito $18 million a year if you have to pay retail for practically every single member of the team.  Paying this much retail for nearly a decade of Barry Zito, for the Giants, is about as practical as paying $900 for a PlayStation 3 on eBay to give to Ariel Sharon for his birthday.  Except in this case, with $126 million, I’d have enough to buy a PlayStation 3 for every person in baseball who has more brain activity than Brian Sabean, a category which includes, coincidentally, the aforementioned Israeli politician.

Did Jason Schmidt simply refuse to deal with the Giants or something?  I’d give Schmidt 3-years, $60 million long before I would give Zito this contract.  Look for the Giants to join the Yankees as the only team in baseball history to pay more than $2 million per win, and I’m not talking about the Giants spending $160 million anytime soon…

2007 ZiPS Projection -  Barry Zito
——————————————————————————————-
        W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
——————————————————————————————-
Projection 14 11 34 34 216 196   96 25 96 165 4.00
——————————————————————————————-
Opt. (15%) 18   9 34 34 225 189   82 20 90 178 3.28
Pes. (15%)  9 12 28 28 175 172   95 26 87 128 4.89
———————————————————————————————
Top 3-Year Comps: Wilson Alvarez, Luis Leal

 

Dan Szymborski Posted: December 28, 2006 at 06:49 PM | 65 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Swedish Chef Posted: December 28, 2006 at 07:39 PM (#2270118)
Is it time to get contrarian on the Giants yet?

There's still lot of places on the bandwagon...
   2. 1k5v3L Posted: December 28, 2006 at 07:46 PM (#2270123)
Who else were the Giants going to spend their money on, really? They've gotten about every 35+ year old guy they could get their hands on, gotten Barry to return for one last hoorah, and they still had $18m/year burning their pockets.

It this a bad signing? Sure. But who cares? Sabean doesn't, obviously, and he'll be in San Fran only through 2007. After that, it's someone else's job to clean up the mess. At least fans have 5 years of Cain + Zito to look forward to.

God knows that'll be the only thing worth looking forward to in San Fran.
   3. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 28, 2006 at 07:59 PM (#2270140)
When do the Giants finish paying off the debt on their stadium? Or does that last pretty much forever? or a 30 year mortgage?
   4. Gromit Posted: December 28, 2006 at 08:08 PM (#2270148)
So far, it looks more and more like the teams that did the best this FA off-season were the teams that did very little or only small inexpensive signings.
   5. Rodder Posted: December 28, 2006 at 08:15 PM (#2270155)
At an optimistic rate of 35 starts per year with 100 pitches per start, the Giants will be paying him over $5,000 per pitch for seven years. Think about that next time you watch him pitch.
   6. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: December 28, 2006 at 08:16 PM (#2270157)
It's a mighty tough definition of "elite" that doesn't comprise pitchers like Zito.
   7. faketeams Posted: December 28, 2006 at 08:22 PM (#2270162)
The Giants will need to address LF, SS and 3B next year assuming the contracts they gave to Aurilia, Durham, Roberts, Winn and Molina compel the team to start them. Their starting pitching is set, though.

I wonder how a team can expect to field a good hitting team with what they currently have without out-of-nowhere minor leaguers arising.

Fake Teams
   8. FJ Posted: December 28, 2006 at 08:24 PM (#2270164)
So far, it looks more and more like the teams that did the best this FA off-season were the teams that did very little or only small inexpensive signings.


Yankees:
Mussina (2 year/$24 million)
Pettite (1 year/$16 million)
even Igawa to some extent (5 year/$45 million including $25 million bid amount which doesn't count toward salary cap) cf. Meche/Suppan.

F
   9. Van Lingle Mungo Jerry Posted: December 28, 2006 at 08:26 PM (#2270166)
Paying this much retail for nearly a decade of Barry Zito, for the Giants, is about as practical as paying $900 for a PlayStation 3 on eBay to give to Ariel Sharon for his birthday.

It doesn't happen often, but this made me soda-spit. Good one, Dan. Cruel but good.
   10. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 28, 2006 at 08:39 PM (#2270177)
It's a mighty tough definition of "elite" that doesn't comprise pitchers like Zito.

I don't think so. There's a class of pitchers to which Zito used to belong -- guys like Halladay, Zambrano, Carpenter, and Webb, who are likely to make a run at the Cy Young every year -- but doesn't anymore. That's not to say he isn't good, or that a team on which he is the best pitcher is unlikely to win. He's just moved down a notch, from "absolute stud" to "very good", nearer to guys like Jason Schmidt or John Lackey.
   11. rawagman Posted: December 28, 2006 at 08:45 PM (#2270185)
That's not to say he isn't good, or that a team on which he is the best pitcher is unlikely to win. He's just moved down a notch, from "absolute stud" to "very good", nearer to guys like Jason Schmidt or John Lackey.


If this is true, then the Giants essentially replaced Jason Schmidt with Barry Zito. Money aside, I think I like it.
   12. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: December 28, 2006 at 08:50 PM (#2270192)
I don't think so. There's a class of pitchers to which Zito used to belong -- guys like Halladay, Zambrano, Carpenter, and Webb, who are likely to make a run at the Cy Young every year -- but doesn't anymore.

Definitions is all, I guess. Every year of the last six years there have been guys better than Zito. Over the last six years, there were very, very few (none?) who were better each and every year. To me that sounds like elite. YMMV!
   13. PhillyBooster Posted: December 28, 2006 at 08:53 PM (#2270199)
It is pretty clear, though -- leaving aside the overpayment -- that Zito is by far the biggest talent to move from the AL to the NL for 2007. (Overtaking Freddy Garcia. No idea who #3 would be.)

Does the AL/NL gap widen even further in 2007?
   14. Nobody ##### with DeJesus Posted: December 28, 2006 at 09:20 PM (#2270223)
No idea who #3 would be.

Adam Kennedy.
   15. Sam M. Posted: December 28, 2006 at 09:25 PM (#2270227)
Zito is by far the biggest talent to move from the AL to the NL for 2007.

Does Carlos Lee moving from the Rangers to the Astros count? He is a BIG talent, after all.

And has anybody significant really moved from the NL to the AL? The big-name FAs have mostly stayed in-league, haven't they (Soriano, Schmidt)? I guess there is J.D. Drew . . . .
   16. Swedish Chef Posted: December 28, 2006 at 09:33 PM (#2270236)
Piazza went NL->AL
   17. JPWF13 Posted: December 28, 2006 at 09:34 PM (#2270237)
It's a mighty tough definition of "elite" that doesn't comprise pitchers like Zito.


2006- 3rd in IP but not in top 10 ERA+, 13th in Vorp
2005- 3rd in IP but not in top 10 ERA+, 29th in vorp
2004- failed to make top 10 in innings or ERA+, 51st in Vorp
2003- 4th in IP, 9th in ERA+, 13th in Vorp
2002- 5th in IP, 3rd in ERA+, 3rd in Vorp

What's "elite"- top 10 SPs in baseball? top 25?
X% better than average?

He's tied for 11th in career ERA+ among active pitchers (1000+ ip), at 127
but he hasn't reached 127 in the past three years- his established (3-2-1) ERA+ is 114-
which would make him about the level of the 20-25th best sp in baseball I guess.
   18. philly Posted: December 28, 2006 at 09:43 PM (#2270246)
his established (3-2-1) ERA+ is 114-
which would make him about the level of the 20-25th best sp in baseball I guess.


But what if he's top 5 in IP just about every year and most of those ERA+ warriors end up missing big chunks of seasons every other year?

If that holds up then he probably sneaks back into the back of the top 10.
   19. Kyle S Posted: December 28, 2006 at 09:58 PM (#2270259)
How about total PRAR the past 5 years. How does he rank in that statistic? That seems to capture what philly et al are talking about.
   20. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: December 28, 2006 at 09:58 PM (#2270260)
Does the AL/NL gap widen even further in 2007?

Wow, lots of things to consider here. Player movement, injuries, retirement, prospects being called up, young players improving, old players declining, fairly random performance spikes, etc. all figure in. For the most obvious:

Players from AL to NL: Zito, Garcia, Lilly, Eaton, R. Soriano, Kennedy, DeRosa, A. Gonzalez, Kouzmanoff, Snelling, Burgos, Cotts

Players from NL to AL: Drew, Pettitte, Piazza, Gagne, Dellucci, Bradford, Ho. Ramirez, Vidro, Borowski, Fultz, Ro. Hernandez, Baez, D. Oliver, Aardsma, Bannister, Cirillo, Clayton

Carlos Lee and Julio Lugo qualify as partial additions for the NL and AL over last season. Bobby Abreu would also be a partial AL addition.

Players to AL from abroad: Matsuzaka, Igawa, Iwamura

Major injury losses: Liriano (AL), Pedro to some extent (NL)

Major retirement/other loss: Clemens probably (NL)

Not even going to guess at all the prospects who will make major contributions, young players with substantial improvement, old players with significant decline, etc.

Please add anyone I left out and feel free to predict whether the league disparity will increase accordingly.
   21. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: December 28, 2006 at 09:59 PM (#2270263)
Major retirement loss: Radke (AL)
   22. PhillyBooster Posted: December 28, 2006 at 10:04 PM (#2270269)

Does Carlos Lee moving from the Rangers to the Astros count? He is a BIG talent, after all.


No. He was in the NL during the "Interleague Play" games, so that's where I count him for both years.

Major Talent going NL to AL that I would categorize as "Equal to or Better than Adam Kennedy" would include Josh Barfield and Jose Vidro (to cover an overall decline at 2B), Andy Pettitte, Sean Casey, and Eric Gagne. AL also got three Japanese players who are all probably better than Adam Kennedy.
   23. philly Posted: December 28, 2006 at 10:07 PM (#2270276)
Here's VORP from 2002-2007

1. Santana - 323.6
2. Halladay - 281.9
3. Oswalt - 278.1
4. MArtinez - 278.0
5. Hudson - 256.7
6. Zito - 256.3
7. Clemens - 253.5
8. Schmidt - 237.6
9. Schilling - 235.3
10. Zambrano - 225.7

A lot of that is IP. Zito is tops in that group at 1123. The other 9 average 989 IP. Over the last 5 years Zito tacked on an extra 134 IP - nearly 60% of an extra season.

Whether or not he'll keep it up who knows, but maybe's he's the next Kenny Rogers and will be proving people wrong for the next 12+ years.
   24. PhillyBooster Posted: December 28, 2006 at 10:08 PM (#2270277)
Okay. Dandy Little Glove Man answered much better than I did off the top of my head. Go with his lists. The only obvious name I see missing is Barfield (which is odd, since he has Kouzmanoff.)
   25. Kyle S Posted: December 28, 2006 at 10:09 PM (#2270280)
Thanks Philly. That's the case for Zito being a top 10 pitcher. As for a lot of that resulting from IP - well, yeah, that's where a lot of his value resides.

That said, if he ever stops throwing 220+ IP, man, that's an ugly contract :)
   26. MSI Posted: December 28, 2006 at 10:17 PM (#2270287)
Not even going to guess at all the prospects who will make major contributions, young players with substantial improvement, old players with significant decline, etc.

The crop of young rookies coming up is substantial. Last year's AL rookie crop was much better, with several amazing pitcher's. Zumaya, Weaver, Papelbon, Verlander, etc., vs. Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, etc. Next year guys like Homer Baily and Phillip Hughes could come up (thats 1 score for each side), but looking at the top 5 prospects in baseball, more in the AL: Matsuzaka, Brandon Wood, Alex Gordon, Delmon Young, etc. Two of the best farms are the Royals and Devil Rays...I'd say probably more young talent is with American League teams.

Note that the Cubs spent 300 million this offseason, the Giants spent a good 200 million, the Astros over 100 million whereas the Red Sox spent also about 200 million (and the Jays spent about 150 million....plus 1.5 if you include Clayton).
   27. TFTIO can't talk like this -- he's so sorry. Posted: December 28, 2006 at 10:19 PM (#2270290)
Here's VORP from 2002-2007 ...

Man, am I happy to be a Twins fan.
   28. DCW3 Posted: December 28, 2006 at 10:21 PM (#2270294)
Thanks Philly. That's the case for Zito being a top 10 pitcher. As for a lot of that resulting from IP - well, yeah, that's where a lot of his value resides.

The thing is, the more recent years aren't weighted more heavily on that list, and Zito was much better in 2002 and 2003 than he has been in the three years since. I'm not sure that what he did that long ago should be factored in much, if at all, in determining what kind of pitcher he is now.
   29. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 28, 2006 at 10:25 PM (#2270300)
Here's VORP from 2002-2007

That's cool and all, but Zito isn't the same pitcher he was in 2002 or 2003 anymore. I agree that his durability a distinct advantage -- pretty much everybody on that list other than Zito, Santana and Zambrano his missed significant time in the last few years -- but in my mind it doesn't do enough to push him to elite status.

I wasn't arguing that Barry Zito hasn't been an elite pitcher; I was arguing that he's not anymore.
   30. Sam M. Posted: December 28, 2006 at 10:28 PM (#2270304)
Two of the best farms are the Royals and Devil Rays...I'd say probably more young talent is with American League teams.

So? Two of the best farms also belong to the NL's Dodgers and the Diamondbacks, and within a few years they are much less likely to have to deal off the talent they develop because they can't afford to keep it. The Brewers also have a boatload of young talent.
   31. PhillyBooster Posted: December 28, 2006 at 10:46 PM (#2270323)
Browsing through "Top Prospects" lists for 2007, the Top 50 and Top 100 tend to break down pretty evenly between leagues, but the "Top 10s" are heavily weighted to the AL with Gordon, Young, Hughes, Wood, Garza, and Maybin (give or take a Matsuzaka) on most lists.

Make of that what you will.
   32. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: December 28, 2006 at 10:51 PM (#2270329)
Sorry I forgot Barfield. He definitely merits inclusion. It's interesting that the Indians are responsible for about 1/4 of the player movement from the NL to AL. Maybe they thought the gap was smaller than other teams imagined.
   33. Danny Posted: December 28, 2006 at 11:05 PM (#2270337)
The thing is, the more recent years aren't weighted more heavily on that list, and Zito was much better in 2002 and 2003 than he has been in the three years since. I'm not sure that what he did that long ago should be factored in much, if at all, in determining what kind of pitcher he is now.

I guess, but Zito's 2006 VORP (49.9) was pretty much the same as his 5 year average (51.3). I think that's a pretty reasonable expectation going forward (assuming he keeps his durability).
   34. Runscreated Posted: December 28, 2006 at 11:12 PM (#2270342)
Nothing surprises me at this point with Mr. Sabean. I don't see why the Giants can't bite the bullet and build for the future instead of mortgaging the future. Oh well, now that this signing is done, how are the Giants going to score enough runs when Matt Morris, Noah Lowry, and Barry Zito are pitching. Looking at their pitching logs, those guys go for long stretches of giving up 3, 4, or 5 runs before they are relieved. The Giants lineup of Roberts, Vizquel, Aurilia/Klesko, Bonds?, etc. does not seem like a scoring machine to me. Answer-they won't.
   35. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 28, 2006 at 11:16 PM (#2270346)
I don't see why the Giants can't bite the bullet and build for the future instead of mortgaging the future.

Because in the future, Brian Sabean will be working for the Seattle Mariners (for example) in an advisory capacity, and therefore it doesn't matter to him whether or not Barry Zito is any good in 2009.

I have the Giants pegged as the worst team in the NL West next year, and I think the gap is about to start widening between the bottom of the NL West and the top of it.
   36. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: December 28, 2006 at 11:22 PM (#2270351)
At least fans have 5 years of Cain + Zito to look forward to.

God knows that'll be the only thing worth looking forward to in San Fran.


Tim Lincecum my man!

Zito gets a ton of money for a long time, and it will likely look really bad in a few years, but for now, the Giants have a rotation of:

Matt Cain, age 22
Barry Zito, age 29 (moving to good pitchers' park in NL, eats innings, definitely quite good)
Matt Morris, age 32 (hurt last year, should be better)
Noah Lowry, age 26 (at least average - 95 ERA+ in 2006, 106 Career)

Jonathan Sanchez, age 24 (live arm, too soon to tell - was a good reliever at least)
Kevin Correia, age 26 (same, good reliever last year, can he be a good starter?)
Tim Lincecum, age 23 (coming soon)

That is a solid to very good rotation. Also, unlike the position players, the rotation is young. There is a lot of breakout potential there with Cain, Lincecum, and Sanchez. Zito can be steady and eat innings at his usual quality rate. I don't think Zito is falling off a cliff, either, and $18m per isn't going to cripple the Giants.
   37. Dr. Vaux Posted: December 28, 2006 at 11:44 PM (#2270369)
But Zito isn't even as good as Schmidt. How was the rotation last year? Morris isn't getting any better and neither is Lowry.
   38. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 29, 2006 at 12:04 AM (#2270388)
Tim Lincecum my man!

I saw Lincecum strike out four guys in one inning against the eventual national champs last year. For what it's worth.
   39. The Original SJ Posted: December 29, 2006 at 12:18 AM (#2270398)
Zito may not be Walter Johnson, but he eats innings. I would rather pay the large dollars to the guy that will throw 220 innings at a 120 ERA+ rather than the guy that might throw 220 innings at a 150 ERA+ or might throw 75 innings.
   40. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 29, 2006 at 12:31 AM (#2270412)
220 innings at a 120 ERA+

Zito's ERA+ hasn't been that good in several years. The point stands, to some degree -- it sort of comes down to, "Would you rather have Barry Zito or Ben Sheets?"

Of course, if I'm the Giants, the answer is, "Neither, if it's going to cost that much, because we're not going to compete anytime soon."
   41. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: December 29, 2006 at 12:33 AM (#2270416)
Reportedly, Morris was pitching through injury last year for much of the second half. And he really wasn't terrible. I can definitely see him bouncing back to at least a 95-100 ERA+ - league average or a bit better.

I can't explain Lowry. But again, he was at least league average last year, and this rotation isn't going to have any of those 80 ERA+ guys.
   42. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: December 29, 2006 at 12:55 AM (#2270446)
Here's VORP from 2002-2007


Looks like Phily can pedict the future.

Anyway, as a Dodger fan I don't like this. Sure, this ties down Giants payroll. Sure, Zito's success may have been somewhat dependent on the A's (as Mulder and Hudson proved to be). But still, this hurts the Dodgers chances at a 2007 NL West title and I don't like that.
   43. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 29, 2006 at 01:01 AM (#2270453)
Players from NL to AL: Drew, Pettitte, Piazza, Gagne, Dellucci, Bradford, Ho. Ramirez, Vidro, Borowski, Fultz, Ro. Hernandez, Baez, D. Oliver, Aardsma, Bannister, Cirillo, Clayton

Also Hillenbrand, Scott Williamson and the oft-forgotten Kenny Lofton. And Miguel Batista.

Players from AL to NL: Zito, Garcia, Lilly, Eaton, R. Soriano, Kennedy, DeRosa, A. Gonzalez, Kouzmanoff, Snelling, Burgos, Cotts

Also Kip Wells, Tanyon Sturtze, Mark DeRosa, Rod Barajas and Bengjiey Molina. Oh, and who could forget Bubba Crosby.

Players to AL from abroad: Matsuzaka, Igawa, Iwamura

Also John Bale.

And there are a couple players to NL from abroad - the Pirates' Yoslan Herrera from Cuba and Incredibly Washed-Up Guy from Japan.
   44. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: December 29, 2006 at 01:07 AM (#2270459)
Incredibly Washed-Up Guy from Japan.

I think that's an exact translation, too.
   45. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 29, 2006 at 01:08 AM (#2270461)
Um, there were not, in fact, two people named DeRosa who switched leagues. Scratch that.

Also, Jason LaRue switched from AL to NL. There seems to be a clear flow of catchers to the NL this year. (of course, Toby Hall returned to the AL as well)
   46. kwarren Posted: December 29, 2006 at 03:03 AM (#2270540)
1. Santana - 323.6
2. Halladay - 281.9
3. Oswalt - 278.1
4. MArtinez - 278.0
5. Hudson - 256.7
6. Zito - 256.3
7. Clemens - 253.5
8. Schmidt - 237.6
9. Schilling - 235.3
10. Zambrano - 225.7


| A major problem with this metric is that it ignores the newly arrived pitching studs. Guys like Sheets, Webb, Willis, Jared Weaver, Verlander, Lackey, Beckett, Penny could all argue for consideration of being better than Zito going foward.
   47. philly Posted: December 29, 2006 at 03:42 AM (#2270561)
Guys like Sheets, Webb, Willis, Jared Weaver, Verlander, Lackey, Beckett, Penny could all argue for consideration of being better than Zito going foward.

Well Beckett and Penny have been in the majors of those same 5 years and been much, much worse.

Zito - 256.3
Beckett - 123.9
Penny - 127.8

Again a lot is durability, but he was also very good in that period (and yes, less good if I just did 04-06).

But he also does quite well on a per inning basis. Here are the VORP/200 IP for the players mentioned.

Zito - 46
Webb - 43
Willis - 43
Lackey - 36
Sheets - 36
Beckett - 31
Penny - 31

As Danny pointed out Zito was a bit above that VORP total last year (in more IP to be sure) so while he's not at his 02-03 peak, he's still been very, very valuable.
   48. Rich Posted: December 29, 2006 at 05:35 AM (#2270654)

Yankees:
Mussina (2 year/$24 million)
Pettite (1 year/$16 million)
even Igawa to some extent (5 year/$45 million including $25 million bid amount which doesn't count toward salary cap) cf. Meche/Suppan.

F


F
   49. Dr. Vaux Posted: December 29, 2006 at 05:38 AM (#2270658)
FJ puts "F" at the bottom of every post; it wasn't shorthand for ####.
   50. Johnny Tuttle Posted: December 29, 2006 at 01:52 PM (#2270770)
Count me as someone who really likes the Yankees offseason; I am actually more scared of a $200 million behemoth that can sell off Sheffields and grab Phelpses than I was when they were snatching up Pavanos and Giambis.
   51. Boutros Boutros-Beltran Posted: December 29, 2006 at 03:48 PM (#2270811)
Also, Jason LaRue switched from AL to NL. There seems to be a clear flow of catchers to the NL this year. (of course, Toby Hall returned to the AL as well)


LaRue switched from the NL(CIN) to the AL(KC), which is what I think you meant. I'm interested to see how that will play out. On the one hand, I've had just about enough of John Buck, but on the other we only have 1 year of LaRue and I don't really want to go back to Buck in 2008 if he only gets 60 GPs in 2007.
   52. Nobody ##### with DeJesus Posted: December 29, 2006 at 08:02 PM (#2270944)
Here's VORP from 2002-2006

1. Santana - 323.6
2. Halladay - 281.9
3. Oswalt - 278.1
4. MArtinez - 278.0
5. Hudson - 256.7
6. Zito - 256.3
7. Clemens - 253.5
8. Schmidt - 237.6
9. Schilling - 235.3
10. Zambrano - 225.7


Can we get this list for 2004-2006?
   53. Toolsy McClutch Posted: December 29, 2006 at 08:24 PM (#2270969)
A major problem with this metric is that it ignores the newly arrived pitching studs. Guys like Sheets, Webb, Willis, Jared Weaver, Verlander, Lackey, Beckett, Penny could all argue for consideration of being better than Zito going foward.


Is this one of those games where you pick the player that doesn't fit?
   54. MSI Posted: December 30, 2006 at 01:26 AM (#2271154)
LOL. I'm gonna say that Lackey and Penny are out of that league, being older and more established of what they can do.
   55. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 30, 2006 at 03:35 AM (#2271212)
I'm gonna say that Lackey and Penny are out of that league, being older and more established of what they can do.

This may be true, but Lackey, for one, has gone in the opposite direction to Zito, and is now the better pitcher, at least on an inning-by-inning basis. With his innings edge, Zito is probably similarly valuable, but given the trends and the fact that I see no reason why Lackey wouldn't be able to start 35 games a season if asked to do so, I'd have to take Lackey going forward.
   56. We don't have dahlians at the Palace of Wisdom Posted: December 30, 2006 at 03:50 AM (#2271218)
Additions to the NL in the form of late season call ups that aren't accounted for in either the off season acquisition rankings or Phillybooster's prospect rankings in post 31: Carlos Quentin, Stephen Drew, Chris Young.

Feel free to add your own additions for both the NL and AL.
   57. akrasian Posted: December 30, 2006 at 03:57 AM (#2271221)
Most of the Dodger rookies who contributed last season spent a decent amount of time in the minors before their callups.

But one player who just had sporadic play for them last season but will likely be in the majors all season this year would be James Loney - who improved significantly in each of his three callups last year. Kuo also contributed in a late season callup, and should be in the majors all year this time around. That leaves out the partial seasons of Billingsley, Ethier, and Martin, who will be significant parts of the Dodgers in 2007.
   58. Walt Davis Posted: December 30, 2006 at 04:34 AM (#2271230)
Here's VORP from 2002-2007

1. Santana - 323.6
2. Halladay - 281.9
3. Oswalt - 278.1
4. MArtinez - 278.0
5. Hudson - 256.7
6. Zito - 256.3
7. Clemens - 253.5
8. Schmidt - 237.6
9. Schilling - 235.3
10. Zambrano - 225.7


I'll agree withthe points about Zito's later performances not being quite so impressive ... but I will add that of the 10 ames on that list, there are only 5 I think I'd rather have over the next 3 seasons (#1-3, 8, 10) and 4 over the next 5 (drop #8).

While arguing both sides, let me add that Zito's durability is one of his selling points but his 850+ IP through age 25 may well be a sign of future injury problems.

Anyway, I got this dead wrong on Zito's contract. 7 years for a pitcher is insane in my opinion and I really didn't expect anyone to go that high. $18 M per year is also more than I expected and is also a mistake -- no way he's worth more than the best hitters in baseball. But there's no doubt that I underestimated the idiocy/desparation of Brian Sabean. :-)

As folks have mentioned, Sabean probably won't need to clean up this mess -- assuming it becomes one. But that doesn't explain the owners' decision here.
   59. 1k5v3L Posted: December 30, 2006 at 04:42 AM (#2271240)
So, do the Giants have the only two baseball players named Barry?
   60. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 30, 2006 at 04:48 AM (#2271241)
So, do the Giants have the only two baseball players named Barry?

More relevantly, which one wins in a fight?
   61. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 30, 2006 at 07:24 AM (#2271301)
Don't forget Barry "Canola" Wesson.
   62. Johnny Tuttle Posted: December 30, 2006 at 01:58 PM (#2271345)
FWIW, I turned down an offer of his Zito for my Lackey in a single season 2006 fantasy league.

Zito is a little bit like Vernon Wells; a decent bet for an all-star appearance or three over the lifetime of the contract, but very, very little chance of winning a Cy or MVP despite the price of "admission." If we're still in an economic world in which the well-healed Rangers can't afford the best player of our life-times at $25 million annually or in which the Jays can't afford the best hitter in franchise history at what $15 million, then both of these deals are nutso. But if the salary scale is no Hampton-esque blip, then maybe paying this much for great but not elite performance will look hella better. My bet is that these deals hinder the Jays and Giants from actually aquiring real top performers, but I hope I'm wrong.
   63. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 30, 2006 at 03:52 PM (#2271358)
or in which the Jays can't afford the best hitter in franchise history at what $15 million

Considering his highest salary ever was $7.25 million, the Jays would have been foolish to give McGriff $15 million.
   64. Johnny Tuttle Posted: December 30, 2006 at 05:22 PM (#2271375)
A small quibble, Dan. I too prefer McGriff over Delgado, but sadly length of tenure must count for something.

Sadly because even though the trade was great for the Jays, McGriff was a tough loss for us fans.
   65. Walt Davis Posted: December 30, 2006 at 09:16 PM (#2271429)
I do love that Zito's most similar (b-r) through age 28 (and 26 and 27) is Hampton. Now the similarities are piling up. Zito won't be pitching in Coors so probably won't experience quite such a Hampton-esque "collapse" (Hampton's first year in Coors really wasn't disastrous and he's been basically league-average during that contract). One difference between the two is that Hampton was coming off the three best seasons of his career and was a year younger than Zito when he signed his contract.

Hampton is a pretty good but not great comp -- slightly lower K rate, higher hit rate, 114 ERA+ vs 126 for Zito. Most of the others on Zito's list aren't particularly good comps either -- the composite ERA+ comes out to 110 -- though the component stats are pretty good. Anyway, the Giants better hope that b-r sim scores aren't predictive ... or that he comes out like Glavine or at least Lolich.

Anyway, I think this is a really bad contract. Given the market, I don't feel as certain of disaster as I did with the Hampton contract. I'm debating as to whether I'd rather have this contract or Soriano's -- I guess I'll give the edge to Zito as worse given the standard pitcher injury risk.

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