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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Mets - Signed Valentin, El Duque

New York Mets - Signed 2B Jose Valentin to a 1-year contract and P Orlando Hernandez to a 2-year contract.

Valentin’s contract of $3.8 million comes with an option for 2008 which should vest as long as Valentin’s healthy.  Hernandez’s contract comes in at a healthy $12 million.

This is what Branch Rickey meant by “year too late.”  El Duque pitched enough to qualify for the ERA title for the first time since 2000 but was a little worse than league-average, though it was better than his 87 ERA+ for the White Sox in 2005.  He’s also roughly 41 years old.  Valentin’s nearly as old, 37 for 2007 and is coming off his best season since 2002.  The contract for Valentin is probably a little better because if he’s awful, a very real possibility considering his stint for the Dodgers and his last season with the White Sox, he at least won’t make the vesting option.

Thumbs down.  The Mets are the best team in the NL and this offseason is Minaya’s chance to really put a team together to murder the NL.  Treading water will eventually bring the Mets back to the pack.

2007 ZiPS Projection - Jose Valentin
———————————————————————————————————
          AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
———————————————————————————————————
Projection   344 47   77 18 2 13 47 34 86   4 .224 .295 .401
2008       285 34   63 16 1   9 33 28 75   4 .221 .295 .379
———————————————————————————————————
Opt. (15%)  420 69 105 23 4 21 72 48 96   7 .250 .330 .474
Pess. (15%  208 24   43   9 1   6 24 18 57   2 .207 .273 .346
———————————————————————————————————

 

2007 ZiPS Projection - Orlando Hernandez
——————————————————————————————-
          W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
——————————————————————————————-
Projection   8   8 22 22 118 117   61 18 48 101 4.65
2008       3   6 17 17   81   83   48 14 35 63 5.31
——————————————————————————————-
Opt. (15%)  12   9 28 28 159 149   71 19 55 136 4.02
Pess. (15%  5 11 21 21   96 107   66 19 45 77 6.19
———————————————————————————————

 

Dan Szymborski Posted: November 15, 2006 at 02:22 PM | 56 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Juan V Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:10 PM (#2238422)
What´s the difference between the Projection row and the 2007 row?
   2. Kyle S Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:21 PM (#2238431)
Combined, these guys will make $10m/year for the next two years, assuming Valentin has his option picked up. Wow.
   3. The Wilpons Must Go (Tom D) Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:25 PM (#2238434)
At least there is an option on Valentin. Giving El Duque a two year deal made me nearly spill my coffee.
   4. Sam M. Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:31 PM (#2238442)
Giving El Duque a two year deal made me nearly spill my coffee.

Welcome to the wonderful, inflated market of Offseason 2006-07. Players hold the hammer, GMs are the nail. The Mets did well to hold the $$$ down to somewhat reasonable numbers, such that if El Duque just completely collapses, they can swallow the 2008 contract without it being a disaster.
   5. The Wilpons Must Go (Tom D) Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:35 PM (#2238451)
Players hold the hammer, GMs are the nail.

I'm thinking another thing, but I don't want to set up Sam's next joke.

they can swallow the 2008 contract without it being a disaster.

They'll be done swallowing Green's contract by then.
   6. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:47 PM (#2238460)
That's a hell of a lot of money for 120 innings a year...
   7. The Wilpons Must Go (Tom D) Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:52 PM (#2238463)
That's a hell of a lot of money for 120 innings a year...

$50,000 per inning by my calculation.
   8. CrosbyBird Posted: November 15, 2006 at 03:57 PM (#2238467)
Bubba Crosby was just signed to a one-year deal by the Reds. We're talking about a player with a career .216/.255/.300 line and 250 career AB in 4 years.

If the market value of a below-replacement level player is $400,000, I find it hard to get too bent out of shape with these contracts.

Duque was better than average at Shea. He had a 106 ERA+, a K/BB ratio of nearly 3, and a decent WHIP of 1.23. The concern is innings, but he did pitch over 160 in all of 2006. If Duque can put up his 2006 Met numbers in 2007 over 125+ IP, $6M isn't outrageous.

Valentin was terrible in 2005, but probably a league average player in 2004 with his defense and a very good player overall from 2001-2003. And in 2006, he was one of the better 2B in baseball.

The reality of the market is that league average players are going to be getting a couple of million easily. These are players with some element of risk, but they are also players with decent upside and the contracts aren't off the wall. It's not like someone wasn't going to give a 2 year deal to El Duque or pay Valentin close to what he got. And these players have value.
   9. bibigon Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:06 PM (#2238480)
What's the luxury tax at for 2007 under the new CBA?
   10. bibigon Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:11 PM (#2238483)

Welcome to the wonderful, inflated market of Offseason 2006-07. Players hold the hammer, GMs are the nail. The Mets did well to hold the $$$ down to somewhat reasonable numbers, such that if El Duque just completely collapses, they can swallow the 2008 contract without it being a disaster.


I really think we need to get into the habit of holding off on grading these signings until at least after most free agents are signed. The market changes on us pretty drastically from year to year, it's a mistake to assume that we're on the same scale as before.
   11. Joshemy Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:12 PM (#2238486)
I happen to like the Valentin deal, but that's because I believe he will be able to provide something decent offensively while showing the great glove he did last year. A platoon partner for facing lefties would be great though.

On the other hand, I don't like the El Duque deal at all. Old and injury prone isn't what the rotation needs, it is what the rotation needs to get away from.
   12. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:32 PM (#2238506)
Thumbs down. The Mets are the best team in the NL and this offseason is Minaya's chance to really put a team together to murder the NL. Treading water will eventually bring the Mets back to the pack.


You don't seriously believe Minaya's stopping here, do you, Dan?

The water-treading should stop at Glavine & Bradford. By the time those 2 get finalized, Boras should be complete with the Matsuzaka negotiations and be ready to have Zito sign somewhere.
   13. Sam M. Posted: November 15, 2006 at 04:52 PM (#2238530)
I'm thinking another thing, but I don't want to set up Sam's next joke.

My utility around here is going to sink rapidly if people stop setting up my jokes, you know.

The water-treading should stop at Glavine & Bradford.

I have a feeling that the next sound you hear on both of those may be "Glub, glub." There's even a hint in the Newsday article this morning that the Mets may be considering picking up Glavine's option. You know what that tells me? They know full well he's leaning towards Atlanta, and their only hope of keeping him may be to take a $14M hit.
   14. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: November 15, 2006 at 05:48 PM (#2238610)
Met secondbasemen posted a .706 OPS last season. I think Valentin will do much better than that especially if he plays only against righties. He's also a very good defensive player. There isn't anyone on the market that I think would be better than him. A one year risk isn't a bad thing.

The El Duque deal is different. Personally, I think he's still got the stuff to be a 100 ERA+ guy and even if he pitchs just 200 innings over the next 2 seasons, this deal won't be that bad . I expect the Mets to sign/acquire two more pitchers before the offseason's done. That means they have the depth to absorb an injury to El Duque.
   15. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: November 15, 2006 at 05:52 PM (#2238618)
The Mets starting rotation posted a 92 ERA+ in 2006. If they don't want to tread water, they need to fix the rotation. I think El Duque should be at least be better than that and he adds depth.
   16. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:08 PM (#2238646)
Robothal reports the Mets have picked up OF Ben Johnson and P Jon Adkins from San Diego for P Royce Ring and P Heath Bell
   17. HowardMegdal Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:16 PM (#2238658)
I really don't look at this as treading water, but other moves will determine how right I am. I see Duque as a swingman ideally, who will slot into the rotation depending on how far along Pelfrey/Humber are. He's nice insurance with big-game experience and the ability to work in a variety of roles. Valentin can be one heck of part-time player- get a righty to take some at bats off of his load and add to the bench depth as well, and he'll certainly provide a bunch of value.

If Valentin gets 600 ABs and El Duque is counted on for 30-35 starts in 07-08 with no backup plan, that is a problem. I'm just not seeing that as likely- nor am I seeing a better way to spend this money on 2B, or SP/swingman (go ahead, show me a pitcher as likely to put up league average innings who wouldn't cost more money, more years and block the young pitchers). I'm huessing by the end of the signing period, it won't be possible.
   18. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:28 PM (#2238674)
Heath Bell and Royce Ring... I can't say I care too much about losing these guys. Ring might have become a useful LOOGY someday but I like Pedro Feliciano more than him and you can't keep two guys like that in the pen.

Bell always put up the numbers in AAA but never really had success in the majors and there's really no place for him. I wonder if this means the Mets are more likely to keep Heilman but I don't think it does. It's not like the Mets could have counted on Bell to step in anyway.

Ben Johnson looks like a guy who could be a decent platoon guy/defensive replacements. His ZR in the outfield all look good but he hasn't played a lot. He's hit .244/.348/.462 in just 78 ABs against lefties.
   19. HowardMegdal Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:31 PM (#2238676)
Wow- Mets apparently trying to build an all-steroids team!
   20. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:34 PM (#2238680)
Very nicely done, Howard.
   21. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:37 PM (#2238686)
Wow- Mets apparently trying to build an all-steroids team!


Put him down for 210 infield hits in '07...
   22. Rob Base Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:38 PM (#2238687)
Interesting. Johnson hit .312/.394/.558 in AAA in 2005.
   23. Sam M. Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:38 PM (#2238689)
So much for all the permutations of "Ring my Bell" out of the bullpen next year . . . . Well, Omar said he was going to make a trade, and darnit, he made one.
   24. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:39 PM (#2238693)
Seriously, is Ben Johnson Nady Lite?
   25. HowardMegdal Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:40 PM (#2238695)
He's younger and plays far better defense, apparently... he has a chance to be Nady plus!
   26. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:43 PM (#2238700)
OK, then...can't get too worked up about it.
   27. HowardMegdal Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:45 PM (#2238702)
NADY PLUS!
   28. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:47 PM (#2238705)
Funny how I was happy to give up a GG outfielder for Nady and am very "meh" about giving 2 non-entity pitchers for an OF who's better.

Sometimes, I'm a very strange duck...
   29. Rob Base Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:48 PM (#2238706)
This should dispense with any further stupidity about signing Dave Roberts at least.
   30. 1k5v3L Posted: November 15, 2006 at 06:52 PM (#2238711)
Ben Johnson better than Xavier Nady? You, my friend, are smoking some funny grass.

Johnson is AAAA fodder, at best.
   31. Sam M. Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:00 PM (#2238725)
This should dispense with any further stupidity about signing Dave Roberts at least.

IMHO, the Mets are still an outfielder short. A good outfielder short. This trade doesn't change that at all. I'm not sure signing Dave Roberts would either, of course. But he does give you very nice OBPs, and there's a lot to be said for that. He's certainly a useful player, that's for sure.
   32. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:05 PM (#2238731)
Levski, you should check your sarcasm meter.
   33. HowardMegdal Posted: November 15, 2006 at 07:17 PM (#2238748)
"IMHO, the Mets are still an outfielder short. A good outfielder short."

No disagreement Sam, but pre-Johnson, they were arguably at least two usable outfielders short, particularly from the right side. Think Johnson would've gotten postseason at bats?

"Ben Johnson better than Xavier Nady? You, my friend, are smoking some funny grass."

Anyone have Johnson defensive numbers? Fact is, the defensive gap might make Johnson better than Nady- though I like Nady quite a bit.
   34. PreservedFish Posted: November 15, 2006 at 08:23 PM (#2238807)
I think these are all good moves. If Johnson can keep up a 780 OPS with plus speed and plus defense ... let's put it this way, he's better than Shawn Green, and Xavier Nady. If he's your 5th outfielder, that's great.

El Duque is a steal in my book. $3 million per year for a guy that might be your #3 starter when the season opens is a good move. He still has great stuff and a great K rate, so if he's healthy I like his chances of making quality starts. The salary is low enough that if he sucks or gets injured you can bench him, release him, or make him a longman/ROOGY without being embarrassed. And this contract is going to look brilliant when we see what Gil Meche signs for.

Valentin is the most questionable move to me, a .235 average seems likely next year. This one has to wait on other moves. If he's hitting 8th and gets help from Tony Graffanino against lefties, it's acceptable. But I certainly wouldn't trust that he can lock up the position all by himself for an entire season.
   35. bibigon Posted: November 15, 2006 at 08:27 PM (#2238813)
El Duque is a steal in my book. $3 million per year for a guy that might be your #3 starter when the season opens is a good move.


$6M/year, not $3M.
   36. HowardMegdal Posted: November 15, 2006 at 08:50 PM (#2238825)
"$6M/year, not $3M."

He's a steal at $3 Mil. He's still a good value at $6.
   37. AJMcCringleberry Posted: November 15, 2006 at 08:52 PM (#2238827)
I don't like the Duque deal. $6 mil for a 68 year old who will struggle to reach 130 innnings?

I like the Stache deal (though I'm not a big fan of the vesting option, but if he sucks he probably won't reach it anyway). Even if he hits like his projection, a 700 OPS in Shea and great D isn't bad for a second baseman.
   38. Ravecc Posted: November 15, 2006 at 08:53 PM (#2238828)
Omar likes the 2006 team so much, he’s bringing ‘em all back. Seems ChadBrad and Cliffy already got offers as well. Eh. I’ll worry that they’re treading water when they bring back Darren Oliver and Michael Tucker.

I’m not crazy about the second year for El Duque, but the cost is not a concern for the Mets, yet not really out of line with the market considering it is comparable to the Moyer deal. It’s also an effective hedge against getting held up by Boras et al in negotiations.

My concern is that Omar is not taking advantage of the Mets “attractiveness” to free agents. They have money coming out the wazoo with SNY, they just won 97 games, they have a great clubhouse and front office. Klapisch was just talking about this with Beningo; a couple of years ago, they had to pay a premium for FA’s and they couldn’t get Henry Blanco to come here – now agents are lining up to align their clients with the Mets. He says Soriano wants to come here, but the Mets are not biting. Exploding market or not, the Mets should not have to settle for Valentin if they wanted Lugo, or Green/Floyd/Milledge if they want Soriano. And they should win a bidding war for Zito. (They’d have won Matsu if Henry didn’t go ape-spit.)
   39. Loren F. Posted: November 16, 2006 at 12:41 AM (#2239035)
Wow, Mets fans are starting to sound a little like Yankee fans. Look, the Mets are a great team but they can't get EVERYONE they want. There are other bidders and the market is expensive. In that context, El Duque seems like insurance, although way overpriced. Johnson and Adkins have real upside, meanwhile.
   40. 1k5v3L Posted: November 16, 2006 at 02:53 AM (#2239112)
From: "What's playing on Omar's I-pod today?":

Me gusta tocar El Duque, me gusta tocar Jose
Los mariachi me acompañan cuando canto mi canción
   41. Rob Base Posted: November 16, 2006 at 03:32 AM (#2239143)
Titulos de División

Byrnes: Cero
Minaya: Uno
   42. Raskolnikov Posted: November 16, 2006 at 04:10 AM (#2239163)
Wow, Mets fans are starting to sound a little like Yankee fans. Look, the Mets are a great team but they can't get EVERYONE they want. There are other bidders and the market is expensive. In that context, El Duque seems like insurance, although way overpriced. Johnson and Adkins have real upside, meanwhile.

Adkins has no upside. Johnson might be able to do a decent job someday, but if he's your starting OFer, that ain't looking too good for your team.

Agree with your other point - Valentin and El Duque are insurance moves. So would bring Feliciano and Bradford back.

Look, you can't just go ahead and try to bring in new additions without consolidating the base first. The Mets came into the offseason with a lot of holes. Omar had to make sure that he filled in at least some of them before he starts his aggressive moves, otherwise he's working from a disadvantaged position. So yes, he overpaid a year for both Stache and Duque, but he had to. Otherwise, the offseason had the potential to be a disaster.

After he missed with D-Mat, and realizing that Glavine was not a certain return, and realizing that the bidding for Zito will start at 70M, he had to bring Duque back. The Mets could have been left out on a lurch.

Once we secure Feliciford, then the aggressive phase of the offseason begins. Then we can really start to assess this winter for the Mets.
   43. 1k5v3L Posted: November 16, 2006 at 04:26 AM (#2239174)
I really doubt there was any market for El Duque and Valentin out there. Omar overreacted and blew $16+m dollars on two guys who weren't going anywhere any time soon. But it's not his money so what does he care...
   44. HowardMegdal Posted: November 16, 2006 at 04:45 AM (#2239187)
Johnson looks to me a lot like Nady, except younger and with better defensive rep. I'm happy to see if Omar sees something in him- hopefully, at worst, we can flip him for another Oliver Perez...

I don't know that it's worth addressing, but obviously, there was a market for a very good defensive 2B who had a 800 OPS, and a league average, versatile pitcher with solid periphs and a top K rate. And I suspect you know that, which is why I hesitate to point that out.
   45. Rob Base Posted: November 16, 2006 at 02:39 PM (#2239361)
I really doubt there was any market for El Duque and Valentin out there.


But see today's Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Before he re-signed with the Mets, the Indians were negotiating with Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez to be their closer.


http://www.cleveland.com/sports/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/sports/1163680313249630.xml&coll=2
   46. 1k5v3L Posted: November 16, 2006 at 02:48 PM (#2239364)
Incidentally, I could see a team wanting to use El Duque as a reliever in high leverage innings. I meant that I doubted there was any market for El Duque as a starter out there. Granted, the market for El Duque would've picked up eventually, but I still don't understand the urgency to sign him to a two year deal so early on in the offseason. Interesting attempt by Shapiro, for sure.
   47. Rob Base Posted: November 16, 2006 at 02:50 PM (#2239367)
Ha, you're so civil after getting smacked around by the posters on the other thread. Typical.
   48. 1k5v3L Posted: November 16, 2006 at 02:53 PM (#2239368)
W
   49. Rob Base Posted: November 16, 2006 at 03:12 PM (#2239382)
W Obama


HTH
   50. Ravecc Posted: November 17, 2006 at 04:21 AM (#2240031)
Damion Easley?

Gah.
   51. 1k5v3L Posted: November 17, 2006 at 05:11 AM (#2240066)
The Mets found the spare part to complete Jose Valentin... at hello.

The Mets and infielder Damion Easley have reportedly come to terms on a one-year, $850,000 contract.

There were better options out there, but in a limited role, Easley can still contribute. The 37-year-old will take Chris Woodward's roster spot and should serve as Jose Valentin's platoon partner against lefties. He had a 763 OPS in 106 at-bats versus southpaws last season and an 1115 mark in 51 at-bats in 2005.
Source: FOXSports.com

This is not a terrible move. Easley can hit lefties, can play 2b, 3b or even ss in a pinch, and he's the same age as Valentin so the two of them can die of old age, together, in their sleep, peacefully, during the second week of spring training. Valentin/Easley will be a fairly serviceable platoon at 2b for the Mets.

It's only a shame that Easley wasn't type B free agent so the Dbacks could get a draft pick out of this...
   52. HowardMegdal Posted: November 17, 2006 at 05:18 AM (#2240073)
I'm very pleased by this. Can he still field at all?
   53. 1k5v3L Posted: November 17, 2006 at 05:21 AM (#2240077)
Easley can still pick it, especially at 2b and some at 3b. He doesn't have the range for SS any more but can be a defensive replacement there in a pinch.

All in all, Omar could've signed someone far worse for more money to be Valentin's significant other. Easley can also play in the outfield if needed.
   54. AJMcCringleberry Posted: November 17, 2006 at 05:26 AM (#2240082)
Thanks to the wonder that is Baseball Reference, I see that Easley has hit .258/.329/.426 against lefties in his career. Not bad.
   55. 1k5v3L Posted: November 17, 2006 at 05:28 AM (#2240083)
El Duque, Green, Easley... now the Mets need to sign Luis Gonzalez and trade for Tony Clark and my offseason will be complete...

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