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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mets - Acquired Santana

New York Mets - Acquired P Johan Santana from the Minnesota Twins for OF Carlos Gomez, P Phil Humber, P Deolis Guerra, and P Kevin Mulvey.

A lot of people are saying what a weak package of players this is for Santana.  I have to disagree - some of the packages that were thrown around for the Santana trade didn’t happen simply because they were unrealistic.  A player’s salary is a big function of their value and while Santana is one of the best pitchers around, the Mets don’t get a super tremendous awesomely outrageous deal when they sign Santana’s paychecks as the Twins did while paying Santana $28 million for over $100 million worth of performance.  There was no mythical Lowrie/Masterson/Lester/Ellsbury/Anderson/Doerr/Plantier/Pesky/Fenway/50% of Shell Oil/Jesus package out there in exchange for a single year of Santana and the rights to negotiate a market contract with Santana.

Individually, I like Adam Jones better than each player in this trade, but every player in this trade is a real prospect.  Gomez is probably overrated as a prospect, but he’s got a ton of potential.  Guerra’s years off, but has a lot of upside, as does Humber, and Mulvey, while not a high ceiling guy with a blazing fastball, throws enough strikes and keeps the ball down and should be a good #4 starter immediately.  Now, I think the Mets are putting too much emphasis on acquiring arms here, one thing they’ve developed well in recent years, but I’m not sure Fernando Martinez was really get-table unless they drastically reduced the number of players coming back and I don’t think Bill Smith wanted to put all his eggs in one basket this early in his GM career.

For the Mets, the benefits of this package are obvious.  It returns them to probably being the best team in the NL and while Mulvey could have stepped in and helped them almost immediately, Santana does that a whole lot better.  The Mets, even in 2005, haven’t really received a true injury-free PEDRO YEAR from Pedro.  As such, the NL is owed a whupping, which Santana will helpfully provide.

No optimistic/pessimistic yet - I’m not at that computer.

2008 ZiPS Projections
————————————————————————————————-
Player     W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA ERA+
————————————————————————————————-
Humber     6 10 24 22 122 143   76 25 34 71 5.61   76
Mulvey     9   9 23 23 137 156   68 11 36 61 4.47 102
Santana   18   8 34 34 234 192   79 28 46 244 3.04 140
————————————————————————————————-

 

2007 ZiPS Projections
——————————————————————————————————————
Player     AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG OPS+
——————————————————————————————————————
Gomez     324 33   78 15 2   5 29 19 73 22 .241 .299 .346   69
——————————————————————————————————————


Dan Szymborski Posted: January 30, 2008 at 02:01 PM | 123 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. CrosbyBird Posted: February 03, 2008 at 07:07 PM (#2682751)
Define fair chance. A repeat of 2005 from Pedro makes him a Cy Young favorite.

If you push me into a corner, I think "more likely than not" that Pedro has 130+ ERA+ in at least 180 innings. I think there is maybe a 20-25% chance than he's substantially better.

Zips says 150 innings for Pedro. That sounds reasonable to me - he hasn't thrown more than that since 2005 and has really effed up his shoulder in the intervening two years.

In 2006, Pedro threw 5.77 innings per start and missed a third of the season with a condition requiring surgery. In 2007, he pitched only 28 innings because he returned from surgery and was babied.

If the surgery corrected his condition (and we have every indication that it did, including his stuff when he returned in 2007, with a very impressive strikeout rate), 150 seems really low to me. You're expecting him to miss a quarter of the season.

120 games from Chipper, with a line of .405/.550, projects to .378/.511 over 162 games, providing the missing 42 come from guys who hit .300/.400.

Wright has had better than a .378 OBP and .511 SLG in each of the last three years. At a weaker hitting park. If you think Wright regresses to the same defensive level as Chipper because 2007 was a fluke, he's a slightly better hitter with much better baserunning.

The argument isn't "Chipper isn't very good" but "as good as Chipper is, Wright is even better." If Chipper can play 150 games, and Wright regresses either offensively or defensively from 2007, then Chipper is clearly better. Otherwise, Wright is going to be the better player, and if Wright continues to progress as a hitter, it won't even be close.
   102. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: February 05, 2008 at 08:53 PM (#2684267)
The argument isn't "Chipper isn't very good" but "as good as Chipper is, Wright is even better."

And that argument is false. Wright is really good, but I have seen nothing to suggest he's Chipper's equivalent with the bat nor that he is actually better than Chipper defensively. Neither is Pedro Feliz or a healthy Scott Rolen but Wright isn't notably better with the glove. Which leaves health and base-running. Sure, Chipper has gotten hurt the last few years. Yes, he's old. And in the games he played he still managed to out produce Wright. If Wright steps forward to the HOF calibre that Chipper has lived for the last 10 years, then he's got an argument for being the better player, but until then, with health and age (and some nebulous "base-running" metric if you want to make one up) thrown in, it's a push with Chipper still being the better player.
   103. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: February 05, 2008 at 10:11 PM (#2684346)
you do realize that Wright was ranked among the top defensive 3b for the past year, right? and i'm not just talking GG, i'm talking respected sabrmetric rankings. and that Chipper is well below average...

wait. this is the Sam who can't tell his ass from a hole in the ground. nevermind.
   104. rfloh Posted: February 05, 2008 at 10:40 PM (#2684380)
you do realize that Wright was ranked among the top defensive 3b for the past year, right? and i'm not just talking GG, i'm talking respected sabrmetric rankings. and that Chipper is well below average...


This is not true.

Chipper is grossly underrated. MLG posted UZR's for Wright and Chipper here.

Feliz +24 138 def. games
Glaus -5, 111
Jones +7, 103
Wright +3, 159
Zimmerman +6, 164

Tulo +21, 179
Ramirez +4, 133


It's just UZR. RZR had Chippe at +8, ZR at +7.

Wright, +24, +1.
   105. Conor Posted: February 05, 2008 at 10:40 PM (#2684381)
"And that argument is false. Wright is really good, but I have seen nothing to suggest he's Chipper's equivalent with the bat nor that he is actually better than Chipper defensively. Neither is Pedro Feliz or a healthy Scott Rolen but Wright isn't notably better with the glove. Which leaves health and base-running. Sure, Chipper has gotten hurt the last few years. Yes, he's old. And in the games he played he still managed to out produce Wright."

Wright had a 5 run lead in VORP on Chipper last year, and he is likely a better defender.

He outvorped him (by the slimmest of margins, half a run) in 06.

He outvorped him by 14 runs in 05.

So since Wright has become a full time starter, by VORP, he has been 20 runs better than Chipper.

Hell, even in 04, when Wright didn't come up till July, he was only 5 runs of VORP behind Chipper in nearly 300 fewer PA.

Unless you don't want to count durability, Wright is the better player.
   106. Sam M. Posted: February 05, 2008 at 11:13 PM (#2684401)
Put it this way: a neutral observer, even if it was just for 2008, would absolutely take David Wright, even if he thought that Chipper was the better player on a game-by-game basis. The simple fact is you should want the guy you can count on to more likely be there for 150+ games, and that's not Chipper.

Wright is definitely NOT the best defensive 3B in the NL -- that GG was not deserved. But that's not Chipper, either, and he almost conceded as much even when he ripped the voters for giving it to Wright when he pretty much said he'd have had no beef if it gone to Feliz.

Chipper is a great, HOF third baseman. But Wright has had a better start to his career than Chipper had to his, and he's a better player right now. I just hope that Wright has the prime that Chipper had . . . . 'Cause that was quite a middle.
   107. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: February 05, 2008 at 11:15 PM (#2684402)
Unless you don't want to count durability, Wright is the better player.

Nonetheless, Chipper produced more actual runs in 2007. I'd have to check 2006 and 2005. It took Wright all of those games Chipper missed to come close. If Chipper doesn't play in 2008 sure, Wright is better than, uh, Yunel Escobar/Brent Lillibridge. But when Chipper has played 120 games he has always out hit Wright. Chipper Jones is a monster bat. Wright is a great bat with monster potential. If he breaks out in 08 then fine, the kid hit potential. But until then, Chipper is the better bat, even at 36.

As for defense, I will repeat myself ad infinitum. Chipper Jones is not a bad defensive 3B. David Wright is not better than Chipper. Chipper is horribly underrated defensively because Baseball Prospectus threw some terribly flawed numbers out back in the very beginning of the defensive metric bull-rush. Back then the only ones of us saying "wait a minute, that doesn't look right" were shouted down as scout-loving ass ponies who just couldn't understand the stats. Then Chris and MGL and the rest of the crowd started putting together better numbers and, lo and behold, Chipper Jones really wasn't the worst defender in the history of forever. (That would have been Ken Caminiti as a first baseman.)

I grant you that Wright is younger, has been healthier of late, and will inevitably have the more productive future. I don't grant you that Chipper falls off of a cliff in 2008, nor that he will miss more than 20 or so games. And if he misses only 20 or so games his bat is more valuable than Wrights, unless Wright takes a step up to the real HOF level.
   108. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: February 05, 2008 at 11:30 PM (#2684409)
Nonetheless, Chipper produced more actual runs in 2007

How so?


I think both Wright and Jones see their numbers drop from their 2007 levels.
   109. Honkie Kong Posted: February 05, 2008 at 11:34 PM (#2684413)
I am confused here since people seem to be changing the goalposts.
If someone is claiming David Wright is better than Chipper Jones in toto, they need to reduce their medication.
If the claim is that Wright will be more productive than Chipper going forward over the next few years, they are spot on.


If you are claiming that Wright will be better than Chipper in 2008, you have an argument. But its no slam dunk and entirely based on health. People who are throwing around 1 yr defensive data should read the disclaimers. Wright's major advantage over Chipper is a better health record. But Chipper's injuries have been freaks, and age apart, there is no lingering injury which should force him to miss games.
Wright's BR advantage is something I want to be clarified about. Is it entirely about SBs? Because Chipper is very good at taking extra bases and tagging up et al. In fact, he usually is one of the leaders in that category in the Bill James Handbook.
   110. Sam M. Posted: February 05, 2008 at 11:41 PM (#2684418)
If you are claiming that Wright will be better than Chipper in 2008, you have an argument. But its no slam dunk and entirely based on health. . . . Wright's major advantage over Chipper is a better health record. But Chipper's injuries have been freaks, and age apart, there is no lingering injury which should force him to miss games.

Do you really believe that Chipper is just consistenly falling victim to "freak injuries" and thus there is no reason to believe he is now prone to these muscle strains and pulls that are causing him to miss two weeks here and 10 days there just about every year, much to the moaning of a certain veteran pitcher who shares his locker room?

Maybe you'd want to roll the dice you're going to get a full season out of Chipper, and that if you get 150 games it will be at a higher level of production than the Mets get out of Wright. I wouldn't make that gamble -- no way, no how. Given how truly outstanding Wright is, I'd take that plus the greater certainty I'm going to actually get it game in and game out, and leave you to your risk on Chipper's health. And I think I'll win that gamble the vast majority of the time. 'Cause you know what? The odds are Chipper isn't going to get less fragile.
   111. Ron Johnson Posted: February 05, 2008 at 11:47 PM (#2684423)
Conor, a reasonable way to look at the actual value of the durability is to look what the team got from the position.

It's quite literally a wash for the last two years. Chipper + backups have hit .308/.387/.533. Wright and company have combined for .313/.395/.528

Go back 3 years and it's .282/.375/.493 to .307/.389/.520

And yes, there's the issue of offensive context. Still makes the difference tiny. (Jones and company reached on error an additional 17 times and had 4 more GIDP. Wright's stolen 55 more bases for 14 caught stealing. Don't have any base running stats and I doubt they'd make a difference.)

Put it all together and from what I can tell if Wright plays ~35 more games than Jones the two teams are a pretty fair bet to get equal offensive productivity from the position.

Wright's been quite healthy for the last three years. Far from a lock to continue. On the other hand, Jones has been hurt a fair amount in recent years and I wouldn't want to bet on that suddenly stopping.

I expect the two teams to get about the same from third with the bat. And I'd expect Wright to be a tad better with the glove (since I expect Jones to be hurt some). All in all no particular difference (as in something close to method error, leaning towards maybe a game to the Mets)
   112. rfloh Posted: February 06, 2008 at 12:02 AM (#2684426)
People who are throwing around 1 yr defensive data should read the disclaimers.


The one year defensive data actually makes Chipper look as good as Wright at least.
   113. JPWF13 Posted: February 06, 2008 at 12:15 AM (#2684434)
Nonetheless, Chipper produced more actual runs in 2007.

According to who?
BBREF: Wright 146, Jones 130
2006 Wright 119, Jones 101
2005 Wright 115, Jones 86

Wright has had more RBI+Runs each year as well.
   114. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: February 06, 2008 at 12:30 AM (#2684443)
Do you really believe that Chipper is just consistenly falling victim to "freak injuries" and thus there is no reason to believe he is now prone to these muscle strains and pulls that are causing him to miss two weeks here and 10 days there just about every year

Um, yeah. Actually.

04/26/04 Placed OF Chipper Jones on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to April 19)(hamstring)

Atlanta attributes his short lived hammy problems to playing the OF. Since the return to the INF those issues have disappeared.

06/06/05 Placed INF Chipper Jones on the 15-day disabled list (foot)
04/10/06 Placed 3B Chipper Jones on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right ankle and twisted right knee
07/30/06 Placed 3B Chipper Jones on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique.
09/14/06 Placed 3B Chipper Jones on 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Sept. 4, with a strained left oblique

These are all of a kind. Chipper had a foot injury followed by his ankle/knee. These threw off his balance and form at the plate which led to the oblique strains. Last year the Braves adjusted his shoes and the foot problems went away.

06/01/07 Placed 3B Chipper Jones on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 24

This is a freak injury that has nothing to do with age or frailty. The injuries here were the lingering result from a head over heels collision with Jose Batista of the Pirates (at 3B, Chipper was the baserunner.) His hands and wrists were bruised.
   115. Sam M. Posted: February 06, 2008 at 01:04 AM (#2684453)
OK, Sam. You take your flier on Chipper suddenly becoming Mr. Durable after seasons of 137, 109, 110, and 134 games in the last four seasons. He's going to do this at the age of 36 because all of those were caused by "freak injuries" that just are too damned unlikely to continue for another season. Me, I see a pattern of a player whose body simply can't hold up to the baseball wear and tear and collisions that every player experiences. At some point, every year, it adds up to substantial time missed for Chipper Jones. That isn't going to change, unless his aging just makes it worse. Contrary to what you argue, it has everything to do with age and frailty. The pattern is too strong to conclude otherwise. Unless you think Chipper, unlike everybody else in the league, is suddenly going to be able to avoid colliding with baserunners (or fielders) . . . .
   116. Conor Posted: February 06, 2008 at 01:09 AM (#2684454)
Ron-

I am not sure I really agree with that. Chipper doesn't get to be any better or worse of a player because of the guys backing him up.

Sam H-

What do you mean by Chipper produced more runs than Wright in 07? He was certainly a better hitter per plate appearance, but Wright had more VORP, RC, etc. Just curious as to what you mean; if Chipper had a better VORP or RC than Wright despite missing more time, I think you would have a stronger argument, but I am not entirely sure what what you are getting at.

Also, if you think Chipper was suffering freak injuries, would you like to take a bet on how many games he will play in 08? Over/under 140? 135?

I think a reasonable OPS+ projection for Wright next year is 140 or so, Chipper closer to 150. But I think Wright will have a higher VORP, like he has for the last 3 years.
   117. Honkie Kong Posted: February 06, 2008 at 03:00 AM (#2684487)
The odds are Chipper isn't going to get less fragile.

I agree, but imo, Chipper is as likely to play 150 games as 134 games. The fact that the Braves have a semi-useful bench this year will help too.
I know its just being a rabid fan of a team ( and I have been guilty of this on multiple occasions. Sometimes hard to be objective about someone you follow ), but I find it amusing how Mets fans complain about Pedro's ZiPS projection being too low, while are absolutely sure that Chipper is going to be bogged down by injuries and be outperformed by Wright.

Frankly, I think Ron Johnson has it about right. When the dust settles, the performance both teams get from 3B is going to be pretty close.
   118. Mike A Posted: February 06, 2008 at 04:00 AM (#2684504)
Several of Chipper's injuries had nothing to do with fraility. Criminy, last year he was undercut and uplifted into the air...I was shocked he wasn't more injured than he was...

The 2006 knee injury was caused by turf in San Fran which was pretty much unplayable thanks to massive amounts of rain. But MLB has to get those games in because of the unbalanced schedule. Wright would have blown out his knee or whatnot on that play as well. Chipper had no chance.

That said, there are some issues that have to do with fraility, such as his troublesome feet. And he more than likely won't play more than 140ish. But I don't see much to indicate Chipper has next-to-no chance of staying healthy. He keeps himself in good shape.
   119. AJMcCringleberry Posted: February 06, 2008 at 04:15 AM (#2684514)
Mets fans complain about Pedro's ZiPS projection being too low

Who's complaining about a 3.24 ERA?
   120. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: February 06, 2008 at 09:31 AM (#2684591)
I agree, but imo, Chipper is as likely to play 150 games as 134 games. The fact that the Braves have a semi-useful bench this year will help too.
I know its just being a rabid fan of a team ( and I have been guilty of this on multiple occasions. Sometimes hard to be objective about someone you follow ), but I find it amusing how Mets fans complain about Pedro's ZiPS projection being too low, while are absolutely sure that Chipper is going to be bogged down by injuries and be outperformed by Wright.


I'm a Mets fan and Pedro's ZiPs ERA seems about right, in that I'd having a real problem choosing "over" or "under". I also think Chipper will be slightly more valuable than Wright per PA (and won't by 2009), but that Wright will be slightly more valuable overall. I'd put some cash on Chipper not playing more than 142 games.
   121. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: February 06, 2008 at 09:35 AM (#2684592)
Or to put it another way, based on what I quoted, I'd also be pleased to place a bet where Chipper playing 135-149 games is "no win" territory, while I pay if he reaches 150, and I collect if he doesn't play more than 134.
   122. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: February 06, 2008 at 04:48 PM (#2684742)
What do you mean by Chipper produced more runs than Wright in 07?

Saw something to this effect back when they handed out Silver Sluggers (which I obviously think Chipper deserved over Wright last year.) I'll have to re-find it.
   123. Ron Johnson Posted: February 06, 2008 at 09:39 PM (#2685006)
Chipper doesn't get to be any better or worse of a player because of the guys backing him up.


The practical effect of Chipper's injuries are that a backup is forced into the lineup. Somebody's going to play third after all.

I think it's reasonable to say that the front-line talent favors the Braves (which was sAM's point) and that if sAM's right about the playing time issue, it'll probably be a net positive for the Braves (though nothing substantial, and they're close enough that even if both were healthy there's a better than fair chance that Wright would out-play Jones this year). Color me skeptical on Jones playing 140+ games.
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