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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Friday, November 04, 2005

Padres - Acquired Vinny Cashstealer

San Diego Padres - Acquired 3B Vinny Cashstealer from the Washington Nationals for P Brian Lawrence.

Neither player is very good, especially the former, but from a team construction standpoint, the Padres were taken to the cleaners by Jimmy Bowden.

Will the Nationals miss Vinny in the slightest?  Not a chance.  #1 draft pick Ryan Zimmerman is ready to step in right now and give the Nats an immediate improvement on the left side of the infield.  In return for sweeping the garbage off the sidewalk, they get a #4 starter, replacing the departing Tony Armas Jr. in the rotation with limited fuss.  Lawrence doesn’t have a big upside, but he’s generally healthy and can potentially give the team 180-200 league-average innings.

The Padres on the other hand, do the exact opposite.  Sean Burroughs is done as a starter in San Diego but Vinny Castilla provides absolutely no upgrade over their previous #1 draft pick.  Some people speculate on a Castilla/Burroughs platoon, but that’s not going to happen.  The Padres simply didn’t trade Lawrence just so they could get a 3B to get 35% of the at-bats at the hot corner, the small man in a platoon with another player who they would prefer to send to another team.

And in return for adding a decade and a half to their starting third baseman’s age with no actual baseball benefit, they gave up an inning-eating OK-ish starter that they can ill afford to lose.  This is a weak free agent market - unless the Padres can land one of the very few good starters like A.J. Burnett, they look to enter the season with a rotation with massive holes at #4 and #5, one of those jobs being manned by Chan Ho Park, who isn’t just a hole but a gravity well of suck.

2006 ZiPS Projection - Brian Lawrence
———————————————————————-
W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
———————————————————————-
11 14 33 33 195 207   95 21 58 114 4.38

 

2006 ZiPS Projection - Vinny Castilla
————————————————————————————-
AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
————————————————————————————-
505 50 116 31 2 14 72 33 100   2 .230 .282 .382

Dan Szymborski Posted: November 04, 2005 at 02:33 PM | 80 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Answer Guy Posted: November 04, 2005 at 03:06 PM (#1718703)
I don't understand this deal at all from San Diego's perspective. At least Castilla doesn't make *that* much money in the grand scheme of things and is IIRC a free agent after this season.

Does Lawrence have a long-term deal the Padres wanted out of?
   2. Stately, Plump Buck Mulligan Posted: November 04, 2005 at 03:07 PM (#1718704)
And it gets worse, as the Padres now "have" to trade Sean Burroughs, and are openly admitting they can't get much of anything for him:

"We lose a little bit of leverage now," GM Kevin Towers said, referring to Burroughs. "People realize he doesn't quite fit for us. It ties our hands a little bit."
   3. Jeff K. Posted: November 04, 2005 at 03:10 PM (#1718709)
AG, Jeremy was reporting that Lawrence is due 3.2 this year, with a 5.7 club option for '07 and a 500k buyout.

I asked this in IRC last night, and I'll ask it here again: Speaking as a rational human being, who in the world wants Vinny Castilla?
   4. Vida Blew Over the Legal Limit Posted: November 04, 2005 at 03:13 PM (#1718713)
I hate it when "Old Leatherpants" does something right. It blows my whole theory that good will prevail over evil.
   5. VegasRobb Posted: November 04, 2005 at 03:19 PM (#1718716)
So where is Burroughs headed?
   6. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: November 04, 2005 at 03:21 PM (#1718718)
Sounds like the Padres have freed up a rotation spot to trade for David Wells. And Burroughs might be the guy headed back to Boston in exchange.
   7. Kyle S Posted: November 04, 2005 at 03:22 PM (#1718720)
What park factors are you using for RFK, Dan?
   8. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 04, 2005 at 03:26 PM (#1718723)
2005 factors. 75 (HR), 91 (2B), 97 (BB), 87 (H), 105 (K), 88 (R) Before 2005, I used Shea Stadium for RFK (which turned out to be generally a good idea).
   9. Shalimar Posted: November 04, 2005 at 03:27 PM (#1718728)
Towers isn't a great GM, but he also isn't an idiot and he isn't a bad talent evaluator. Letting Lawrence go is a pretty good indication that they have someone else they think can step into his spot. I have no idea who that would be.

"We lose a little bit of leverage now," GM Kevin Towers said, referring to Burroughs. "People realize he doesn't quite fit for us. It ties our hands a little bit."

Okay, maybe he is an idiot. Burroughs can play 3B, 2B, and probably could play 1B and the OF competently with some time there during spring training, so he seems like he would be a great utility infielder. Trading for Castilla doesn't reduce your leverage, but announcing publicly that you have to trade Burroughs probably does.
   10. Grunthos Posted: November 04, 2005 at 03:32 PM (#1718734)
What boggles my mind here is: Vinny has only been remotely close to valuable in his career when playing in hitters' parks that mask his offensive weaknesses. He was playing in one of the most extreme pitcher's parks in baseball. So Bowden moves him... to perhaps the only team with a more extreme pitcher's park than RFK.

Props to Jimbo. Like a lot of other people, I beat up on him a lot, and he deserves it... but he also does deserve credit when he does something smart.
   11. Rick Vaughn Posted: November 04, 2005 at 03:36 PM (#1718743)
I would like to see Burroughs in Boston, so long as Youk still has a place in the lineup.
   12. Grunthos Posted: November 04, 2005 at 03:39 PM (#1718747)
So where is Burroughs headed?

I heard about this Castilla deal in part last night... I knew he'd been dealt, but didn't know where. I came up with three likely destinations: SD, SF, Minny. There are only a few teams that are hurting badly at 3B, and some of the ones that are (LAD, KC) have big-time prospects moving up to inherit the position very soon. Cleveland would qualify, perhaps, but they've already committed to the corpse of Mr. Boone.

Since Burroughs is already in SD, and he's ten years too young to be considered playable by Brian Sabean, my money's on the Twins.
   13. Nuclear Dish Posted: November 04, 2005 at 03:49 PM (#1718762)
Now there's a great nickname! Better even than "Death to Flying Things."

Chan Ho "Gravity Well of Suck" Park

Classic.
   14. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 04, 2005 at 03:56 PM (#1718774)
So Red Sox Nation, how do you like Kevin Towers?
   15. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: November 04, 2005 at 04:14 PM (#1718810)
They're going to hate him when he sends Castilla and Klesko to Boston for Mueller and Ramirez.
   16. Gromit45 Posted: November 04, 2005 at 04:16 PM (#1718814)
So is Towers proving that other teams were right not to hire him?
Or is Towers daring Alderson to fire him?
   17. Shoebo Posted: November 04, 2005 at 04:38 PM (#1718851)
Towers has a backdoor deal to go to the Dodgers...but first he has to destroy SD from within before he can make the move. Looks like the plan is working.
   18. Joshemy Posted: November 04, 2005 at 04:51 PM (#1718872)
To go along with Jeff's #3, here is the link. Flip down to the March 7, 2003 entry...
ESPN.com reports the San Diego Padres agreed to terms on Friday on an $8.1 million, four-year contract with P Brian Lawrence. Lawrence receives a $500,000 signing bonus payable this year, with a salary of $500,000 this season, $800,000 in 2004, $2.25 million in 2005 and $3.5 million in 2006. The deal includes a team option for the 2007 season for $5.7 million, with a $550,000 buyout clause.


Castilla is the one owed 3.2. Its also a 550K buyout, not 500K.
   19. Spahn Insane Posted: November 04, 2005 at 04:54 PM (#1718881)
I'm assuming that Zips projection for Castilla's based on PetCo? 'Cause that's even worse than I'd've expected.
   20. Mister High Standards Posted: November 04, 2005 at 04:58 PM (#1718888)
I think we'll see Burroughs going to Boston for Padres favorite David Wells.

I think the Lawrence for Castilla trade is fine, for both teams. Castilla is pretty much an average player, not the horriable player people seem to think he is. The problem that someone else brought up is that the Padres continue to comepletely ignore their ball park when aquiring players.

This is a sorry Padres organazation.
   21. Shoebo Posted: November 04, 2005 at 05:13 PM (#1718918)
Lawrence had a career low GB/FB ratio last year. With ever decreasing strikeouts, that is not a good combination. However he won't have as many trips to Coors and Chase field, so if he can get his GB ratio back up a bit, I think he could still give WAS a very effective 200 innings at league avg or even a little better. His DIPS was 4.22, so there is some hope for him to improve on last years ERA.
   22. chris p Posted: November 04, 2005 at 05:35 PM (#1718965)
So Red Sox Nation, how do you like Kevin Towers?

I don't like him at all. I also don't like Mister's idea of acquiring Burroughs.
   23. greenback likes millwall Posted: November 04, 2005 at 05:38 PM (#1718973)
I don't know that a low GB/FB ratio is a bad thing at Petco or RFK.
   24. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: November 04, 2005 at 05:40 PM (#1718978)
Castilla is pretty much an average player, not the horriable player people seem to think he is.

Um, how so?
   25. JPWF13 Posted: November 04, 2005 at 05:42 PM (#1718987)
Castilla is pretty much an average player, not the horriable player people seem to think he is.

He's been at times actually above average (95-98, 03-04), he's also been average (01, 05) and he's been awful (93, 99, 00, 02)

At his age, and in this park the odds swing towards awful I think...
   26. Sean McNally Posted: November 04, 2005 at 05:54 PM (#1719004)
Towers isn't a great GM, but he also isn't an idiot and he isn't a bad talent evaluator. Letting Lawrence go is a pretty good indication that they have someone else they think can step into his spot. I have no idea who that would be.

This goes to Dan's comment on the No. 4 and 5 slots in the rotation.

You would have to think that the Pads are still relatively high on Tim Stauffer, who was for reasons passing understanding, sent down to AAA to make room for Gravity Well.

Stauffer and a mystery meat combo of NRIs or a low-grade FA would be a wise move.

This is not to say that getting Castilla wasn't totally pointless, it was.
   27. Kevin Sweet Child Romine (aco) Posted: November 04, 2005 at 06:10 PM (#1719031)
I don't understand why Castilla is so consistently maligned on this site. He is not a great hitter, true. He's pretty average. He's also a good third baseman. He is getting on in years, but I feel like I've been hearing about his impending collapse for about 5 years now. Sean Burroughs, on the other hand, can't hit and is due for a raise. If Towers replaces Lawrence with someone better or as-good and less-expensive, he'll have done OK with this deal.
   28. MM1f Posted: November 04, 2005 at 06:18 PM (#1719037)
what 27 said
   29. Mister High Standards Posted: November 04, 2005 at 06:22 PM (#1719048)
Kevin SCR - I think because its easy to pick on someone Chuck Lamar gave big money too. But the idea he is terriable is some kind of fallicy that is shared by too many otherwise smart Peeps.
   30. Dizzypaco Posted: November 04, 2005 at 06:23 PM (#1719049)
In Castilla's better years, he's about an average hitter for a thirdbaseman. In other years, he ranges from below average to awful. In 2005, he was below average for a starting third baseman in the national league - not far below average, but below average. The last time he was clearly above average was in 1998.
   31. Steve Treder Posted: November 04, 2005 at 06:23 PM (#1719050)
I don't understand why Castilla is so consistently maligned on this site. He is not a great hitter, true. He's pretty average. He's also a good third baseman.

I agree. It's one thing to acknowledge that Castilla's gaudy Colorado stats made him overrated by many. But it's a fallacy to conclude that since he's been overrated, he must be lousy.

He's been inconsistent, but over the bulk of his career, Castilla has been a good player. Even at this late stage, he's still not all that bad.

That said, I sure wouldn't trade Brian Lawrence for him.
   32. GregD Posted: November 04, 2005 at 06:29 PM (#1719062)
Burroughs would make a good fit in Philly. At the least he could platoon with Bell and backup Utley at 2nd. It would give the team something to work with at 3rd in the future and him a chance at some new surroundings. Whether Philly has something that the Padres want, I don't know.
   33. Shoebo Posted: November 04, 2005 at 06:30 PM (#1719063)
I don't understand why Castilla is so consistently maligned on this site. He is not a great hitter, true. He's pretty average. He's also a good third baseman. He is getting on in years, but I feel like I've been hearing about his impending collapse for about 5 years now.

Castilla, OPS+ since 1999

82
42
94
61
101
104
94

Thats 2 average years in the last 7. and several EXTREMELY below average years. Whats not to get?
   34. Kevin Sweet Child Romine (aco) Posted: November 04, 2005 at 06:43 PM (#1719082)
Whether Philly has something that the Padres want, I don't know.

Cory Lidle is about as good or slightly better and slightly less expensive that Lawrence. Is Castilla/Lidle for ~$6.6M > Lawrence/Burroughs for ~$5.5M? I'll go out on a limb and say: maybe.
   35. h0mi Posted: November 04, 2005 at 06:47 PM (#1719092)
How is Castilla an upgrade over Randa?
   36. Shalimar Posted: November 04, 2005 at 07:00 PM (#1719129)
You would have to think that the Pads are still relatively high on Tim Stauffer, who was for reasons passing understanding, sent down to AAA to make room for Gravity Well.

Stauffer and a mystery meat combo of NRIs or a low-grade FA would be a wise move.


I forgot about Stauffer. He would be a good choice but I have a bad feeling they are thinking of a "veteran presence" like Wells to go with Park.

This is not to say that getting Castilla wasn't totally pointless, it was.

Castilla isn't a bad option since they have given up on Burroughs and don't have anything else. Giving up anything more than an organizational soldier to get him was too much. I like Lawrence. No he isn't good, but he is reasonably consistent. If a team can't win with Lawrence as a number 5 starter, they need to be looking for more offense. Considering how many teams shuffle through pitchers all season trying to find a fifth starter with an ERA under 6, Brian Lawrence has some value.

I have been thinking some more about Towers' logic on having less leverage now when he deals Burroughs. Does that really square with this trade? If you follow Towers's reasoning, Bowden shouldn't have had much leverage in dealing Castilla because he has a significantly better player in Zimmerman, and Castilla thus didn't have a role with the Nationals. Plus, we're talking about Jim Bowden so you pretty much expect him to trade poorly regardless. You might call this trade even, but I don't think anyone can argue that Towers really took advantage of his supposed leverage. What gives?
   37. Dizzypaco Posted: November 04, 2005 at 07:02 PM (#1719134)
Vinny Castilla is the perfect example of someone whose hitting is overrated by OPS+. First, most of his OPS is slugging percentage - his OBP ranges from bad to horrible. Second, he hits into a ton of double plays.
   38. Kevin Sweet Child Romine (aco) Posted: November 04, 2005 at 07:03 PM (#1719136)
Thats 2 average years in the last 7. and several EXTREMELY below average years. Whats not to get?

First of all, I'm not sure why you're starting with 1999. Maybe because '98 was his best year, or starting with 2000 would look like piling on? Anyway, he was hurt most of 2000 (the only season he's ever really been hurt); was slightly better than average with the bat the next year, once he got out of Tampa Bay; was terrible in 2002; and has been a consistently average hitter since. And, like I said, he's a good fielder.

I'm not lobbying for his induction to Cooperstown. I just think that he's been a (or THE) BTF whipping boy for a while, unfairly.
   39. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: November 04, 2005 at 07:03 PM (#1719138)
I thought OPS+ was NOT position adjusted?

So,
82
42
94
61
101
104
94

Isn't that like two above average years, two average years, one just below average and 2 horrendous years?

If he hits league average (for a third baseman) and fields above average, and Lawrence pitches about league average, he's worth slightly less than Lawrence.

If Towers thinks he needs an improvement at 3B and has extra pitchers, he saves a little cash and upgrades.
   40. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: November 04, 2005 at 07:09 PM (#1719153)
I don't understand why Castilla is so consistently maligned on this site

In addition to No. 33, I'll point out that Nats' fans (of which I am one) might be happy to see him go because, after a thrilling April (including several clutch hits in the opening homestand), he did nothing---and I mean NOTHING---from May-July. He picked it up a little bit in August, but he was a hole in the lineup, an injured hole, and a hole standing in the way of at least interesting alternatives (Harris to Short to Dutch Zimmerman).
   41. CraigK Posted: November 04, 2005 at 07:13 PM (#1719162)
Wow.

.230/.282/.382 with 14 HRs.

For 3.1M a year


Hey, Major League GMs: I could do that, and I'd do it for the league minimum.
   42. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: November 04, 2005 at 07:21 PM (#1719172)
What 32 said.

By the way, the Pads signed Justin Leone - if he can cut down the errors and return to his 03-04 batting form, he's an upgrade on Castilla.
   43. Fridas Boss Posted: November 04, 2005 at 07:23 PM (#1719174)
Thank God Towers isn't coming to the Red Sox....
   44. Kevin Sweet Child Romine (aco) Posted: November 04, 2005 at 07:28 PM (#1719182)
How is Castilla an upgrade over Randa?

He's not; but Randa will be getting more than $3.5M next season & will probably get a 3-year deal.
   45. Dizzypaco Posted: November 04, 2005 at 07:33 PM (#1719188)
Average ML thirdbaseman, 2000-2004: .333 OBP, .436 SP
Vinny Castilla career numbers, outside of Coors Field: .301 OBP, .433 SP.
   46. Mister High Standards Posted: November 04, 2005 at 07:41 PM (#1719203)
He has been a league average hitter over the last 3 years. Enough of this bafoonery.

EQA /Ave 3b EQA

2005 .259/.265
2004 .272/.268
2003 .263/.257

Couple that with above average defense and you have a player with an averageish skill set. He is fine. Due to his age he might have a little more collapse risk than the average player but he is fine. He isn't the type of player who hurts a team. He isn't going to drive them to a championship but he won't activly hurt you, even if he declines some.
   47. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: November 04, 2005 at 07:43 PM (#1719209)
Vinny Castilla is the perfect example of someone whose hitting is overrated by OPS+. First, most of his OPS is slugging percentage - his OBP ranges from bad to horrible. Second, he hits into a ton of double plays.

Okay, Equivalent Average accounts for those things, along with Randa's:
      Vinny  Randa
Year   EqA     
1995  .268   .139 (small sample)
1996  .271   .257
1997  .273   .281
1998  .282   .234
1999  .241   .270
2000  .177   .250
2001  .251   .228
2002  .216   .256
2003  .261   .265
2004  .273   .254
2005  .258   .272
Castilla and Randa have been pretty similar the past three seasons, with Castilla posting a .264 EqA in 1,210 outs and Randa a .264 in 1,133. Both have good defensive reps. Castilla is two years older ... but Randa's a free agent, and maybe the Pads have reason to believe they won't re-sign him. Castilla makes about $1M more.

Lawrence is due to make $3.5M this year, and hasn't had an ERA+ over 100 since 2002. However, he's usually close to 100, and his peripherals last season (when he was at 80) are in line with his career marks. I don't know what SD's plan is for replacing 200 close-to-average innings, so to me the odd thing about this trade is ridding yourself of Lawrence, not acquiring Castilla.
   48. Spivey Posted: November 04, 2005 at 07:48 PM (#1719215)
Couple that with above average defense and you have a player with an averageish skill set. He is fine. Due to his age he might have a little more collapse risk than the average player but he is fine. He isn't the type of player who hurts a team. He isn't going to drive them to a championship but he won't activly hurt you, even if he declines some.

Well, if he posts those ZIPS projections he will actively hurt you. I know it's a pitcher's park, and I know 3B isn't like 1b or LF, but a .280 OBP is unacceptable. I think he could slightly out perform that ZIPS but I still think he's a good bet to post an EQA that's pretty close to .250.
   49. Dizzypaco Posted: November 04, 2005 at 07:52 PM (#1719220)
The reason he looked above average offensively in 2004 is that he has an abnormal ability to take advantage of Coors Field; on the road, he stunk. This is relevant for predicting what will happen in 2006. There is a real chance that he will actively hurt you (unless you play your home games in Coors Field.)
   50. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: November 04, 2005 at 08:00 PM (#1719234)
The reason he looked above average offensively in 2004 is that he has an abnormal ability to take advantage of Coors Field; on the road, he stunk.

Well, what about 2003, where he played in a pitcher's park and hit 280/308/419 at home and 274/312/497 on the road?

If you put that 230/282/382 into the Petco of 2005, you get an OPS+ of 80, and the last time Castilla was worse than that was in 2002.

If he can just manage to hit .250, he should be fine. If he's hitting .230, the Pads are in trouble.
   51. Kevin Sweet Child Romine (aco) Posted: November 04, 2005 at 08:12 PM (#1719246)
his OBP ranges from bad to horrible.

2004 NL OBP: .329
2004 Castilla OBP: .332

2005 NL OBP: .326
2005 Castilla OBP: .319

It should be noted that Castilla has put up the best walk rates of his career the past two season - about 1 every 12.7 PA. Not great, but not way below average.
   52. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: November 04, 2005 at 08:17 PM (#1719250)
Of course, the question with Castilla, as far as the Pads are concerned, is not has he been an average hitter, but will he be an average hitter in 2006? His age adds some risk, and obviously ZiPS is not a fan, but I think he's got a decent shot at posting a .250+ EqA.

Though, honestly, I think Burroughs has a pretty decent shot at doing that, as well.
   53. Dizzypaco Posted: November 04, 2005 at 08:23 PM (#1719258)
2004 NL OBP: .329
2004 Castilla OBP away from Coors Field: .281
   54. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: November 04, 2005 at 08:34 PM (#1719269)
It should be noted that Castilla has put up the best walk rates of his career the past two season - about 1 every 12.7 PA. Not great, but not way below average

I'm probably going to get flamed for nitpicking, but here goes:

Castilla's walk rate is boosted a bit by lots of walks in May: 14, when he didn't walk more than 9 times in any other month. In May, Castilla received 5 of his 7 intentional walks on the season. I can't remember why specifically, but there you go.

So, at least for 2005, his walk rate was spiked a bit on account of a situational thing that I can't recall (Guzman hitting seventh at that time?) that opponents were trying to exploit.
   55. JPWF13 Posted: November 04, 2005 at 08:36 PM (#1719272)
It should be noted that Castilla has put up the best walk rates of his career the past two season - about 1 every 12.7 PA. Not great, but not way below average.

Which can be a warning sign when a 35+ year old (not named Bonds) starts to see their walks rise to career high rates, it could mean their bat is slowing and they are trying more to work the count, even if they weren't that type of hitter to begin with. An older batter tends to lose bat speed continuously (he doesn't lose 5% and then bottom out, he'll lose 5% the next year too, and the next...)
Todd Zeile of all people led the league in 2004 in pitches faced per at bat. I think Castilla is facing a cliff dive pretty soon- it may not be 2006 though.

I also looked at BBref's top 10 comps for Castilla, the problem is that all those Coor's years mess up the comp list, everyone on it is better (some significantly) than Castilla- the closest real match is probably Gaetti (who aged well). Any way, the 10 had career OPS+ of 114 through age 37, and a colletive OPS+ of 98 afterwards. Vinny's career OPS+ is currently 96, if he loses 16 points of OPS+ he certainly would decline into the terrible category.
   56. Mister High Standards Posted: November 04, 2005 at 08:40 PM (#1719278)
JPWF - "Which can be a warning sign when a 35+ year old (not named Bonds) starts to see their walks rise to career high rates"

Thats a good point.
   57. Kevin Sweet Child Romine (aco) Posted: November 04, 2005 at 08:42 PM (#1719283)
JPWF - that's interesting. Do you have some other examples besides Zeile? Not that I don't believe you, I'm just intrigued by this idea.
   58. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: November 04, 2005 at 08:50 PM (#1719295)
That's an interesting point, but isn't the problem with looking for a "warning sign" with Castilla that he's already had a season or two previously where he's bottomed out? On an unrelated observation, is it possible that Castilla had his "age 37 Ponce de Leon season" (R.I.P. BBBA) in 2004?
   59. JPWF13 Posted: November 04, 2005 at 08:56 PM (#1719312)
It's an old Bill James idea.
His examples were Willie Mays in 1971 and Toby Harrah in 1985.

Now that I look at it, Castilla's walk rates don't appear all that out of line with his career. He didn't walk at all in 2003 (26 in 542 at bats), but for his career he has 414 in 6547, so 43 in 494 at bats is high for him, but not a huge spike. His strike out rate is starting to climb, but it's not spiking either. Anyway, since both his k and BB rates are climbing, and he's not gaining power I'm gonna go out on a limb and say his bat is slowing. (Of course I could also say that simply by looking at his birthdate).

As a totally extraneous note, in the past, before multi million multi year contracts, when a 34 year old put up a year like Vinny did in 2002 or Burnitz did as a 33 year old in 2002- I think those players retired (voluntarily or involuntarily). Now there is a hige financial incentive to see if these guys have anything left in the tank- and lo and behold given the opportunity many of these guys do. I think skill decline can take a player by suprise- and they'll have a bad year or 2- but many can adjust and regain some productivity if given a chance.
   60. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: November 04, 2005 at 08:58 PM (#1719315)
AB per Unintentional Walk, Vinny Castilla
Year  AB/UIBB
1995   18.82
1996   22.46
1997   17.49
1998   19.55
1999   13.37
2000   30.09
2001   16.81
2002   30.17
2003   23.57
2004   12.96
2005   13.72
What a weird freaking career this guy has had.
   61. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: November 04, 2005 at 09:03 PM (#1719326)
There's no doubt that Castilla's bad has slowed big-time, JPFW13. He went through stretches where he couldn't catch up to anything.
   62. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: November 04, 2005 at 09:06 PM (#1719330)
What a weird freaking career this guy has had.

Yeah, precisely. Anyone would have told me Vinny would still be in baseball after his departure from Tampa (after being horrific down there) and I'd have laughed at them. Then he goes to Houston, hammers the ball a bit, gets a two year deal from the Braves and actually turns out to be useful one of them (and not terribly bad the other)...

Vinny isn't a good bet for anything. He could suck pumpkins through straws, or he could have another good(ish) year. At his age, I lean toward the sucking, but I wouldn't put real money against it.
   63. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: November 04, 2005 at 09:17 PM (#1719359)
Someone brought up Gaetti above; I think that's a really apt comparison. Both were overrated third baseman who hit bottom, but somehow hung around to put up some more useful seasons.

I figured Gaetti was done in June of 1991, and that he was really done when 1992 rolled around. But he was still ticking like six years later.
   64. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: November 04, 2005 at 09:31 PM (#1719370)
gets a two year deal from the Braves and actually turns out to be useful one of them (and not terribly bad the other)

He was useful the second year, but that first year where he was good for 578 PAs of .232/.268/.348 (OPS+ 61) should fit anybody's definition of terribly bad.
   65. h0mi Posted: November 04, 2005 at 10:15 PM (#1719426)
The conventional wisdom (reading the local paper's reaction, anyway) is that Petco is a park suited for righthanded pull hitters. So maybe Cash-stealer won't be awful for the Padres which would be a nice change of pace given how poorly many of their cost cutting decisions have gone the past few yeras.
   66. scareduck Posted: November 04, 2005 at 10:19 PM (#1719430)
The Dodgers FO may be a trainwreck, but the Pads are doing all they can to keep "competitive balance" going, as it were.
   67. Shoebo Posted: November 04, 2005 at 10:27 PM (#1719443)
First of all, I'm not sure why you're starting with 1999. Maybe because '98 was his best year, or starting with 2000 would look like piling on?


The answer to this question is in your own post, #27.

I've been hearing about his impending collapse for about 5 years now.

I could have gone back 5 years, but I went back 7, because that is when his decline started. Prior to 99 he was clearly above average. Considerably so for a thirdbaseman. But we are not talking about how good he was when he was 29 or 30. Now he is 38 and in decline.

Personally, I think ZIPS is being kind to Vinny.

He had a 1.088 OPS in April. After that the bottom DID fall out of his offesnive game:

May .666
June.576
July.586
Aug. 782
Sept.760

I just have to think that trading a 30 year old pitcher who can give you 200 innings of close to league average ERA for a 38 year old thirdbasemen who is clearly nearing the end is a stupid trade.
   68. JPWF13 Posted: November 04, 2005 at 10:46 PM (#1719466)
I just have to think that trading a 30 year old pitcher who can give you 200 innings of close to league average ERA for a 38 year old thirdbasemen who is clearly nearing the end is a stupid trade.

But this is one of the good things about baseball- the fact that this trade will likely be a "loss" for SD does not mean that it will. Vinny could put up a .260 EQA with good Dee and Lawrence could sprain his elbow and put up an ERA of 6.00 in 30 innings in September. Or Lawrence could give 180 innings of 90 ERA +. Those type outcomes are well within the bounds of possibility.

Years ago I read an extremely well written article excoriating one team for trading a 27 year old OF for a roughly comparable 29 year old. The 29 year old had less defensive value, was slightly superior offensively, but had "older player" skills, and was rumored to be a problem in the clubhouse. The article was correct, well reasoned, impeccable logic- and flat wrong in the end. The 27 year old had a pretty normal career path thereafter. The older guy turned out to be one of those guys who peak late- in his case 30-34.
"That's why they play the games"
   69. Shoebo Posted: November 04, 2005 at 11:05 PM (#1719482)
the fact that this trade will likely be a "loss" for SD does not mean that it will.

Agreed, anything unexpected can and frequently does happen. However, unless the Padres know something about Lawrence's health that they are not sharing, which they might, then the odds don't favor them.

This deal could possibly work out wildly in S.D.'s favor. But the PROCESS is wrong, IMHO
   70. SABRJoe Posted: November 05, 2005 at 12:20 AM (#1719548)
Burroughs would make a good fit in Philly. At the least he could platoon with Bell and backup Utley at 2nd.

In Little League, I never would have thought Sean Burroughs would end up backing up Chase Utley.
   71. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: November 05, 2005 at 12:34 AM (#1719558)
This deal could possibly work out wildly in S.D.'s favor. But the PROCESS is wrong, IMHO

Right. A friend of mine wrote the following in an e-mail today, and I think it best captures my frustration:

I mean, don't you think this trade would have still
been there in two months? Was Vinny that hot of a
commodity that we had to jump on this one as the FIRST
trade made by any team in the offseason?

You would think we could have explored some other
options first before throwing up the white flag like
this. Like you, I have no problem trading B-Law, but
did they have to pull the trigger so fast? I mean,
maybe give Nady two months in instructional league to
see if 3B is an option and then, if you have to do
SOMETHING, make a trade for a veteran stopgap.
   72. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: November 05, 2005 at 01:14 AM (#1719586)
I think your question makes sense, Vinay--was there anything to be lost by waiting?

SW, I'm sorry, I tend to zone one when people on either side of any discussion start saying reasoning along the lines of , "He was an incredibly good player in this month/week/year, so let's throw that out and we see he's a crappy player."

It's the same logic that would have others saying, "Vinny has the ability to hit 1.088 OPS for a month, so what's stopping him from stringing together 6 months next year?"
   73. Jim Wisinski Posted: November 05, 2005 at 01:14 AM (#1719587)
I think I can speak on behalf of all Rays fans when I say that we are saddened that Castilla was not traded to a team on the Rays home schedule, depriving us of the opportunity to boo him again.
   74. Shoebo Posted: November 05, 2005 at 04:12 AM (#1719698)
SW, I'm sorry, I tend to zone one when people on either side of any discussion start saying reasoning along the lines of , "He was an incredibly good player in this month/week/year, so let's throw that out and we see he's a crappy player."

That is an unfair characterization of the entire point I have been making in this thread.....
This is not "SW does not understand sample size"

After all, I am talking about the last 7 years!!

And anyway, 5 CONSECUTIVE months of poor hitting to end the season from a 38 year old who has been struggling to achieve mediocrity with any type of consistency for the previous 6 years is somewhat telling in my world.

But hey, zone out all you want.

One question though. Do you think Dan's projection is a reasonable projection? If you do, than how do you justify trading Lawrence for Castilla?

If you don't think it's a reasonable projection, than please explain why, and provide your own.
   75. Chris Needham Posted: November 05, 2005 at 05:19 AM (#1719745)
Two things to keep in mind with Castilla

His April was pretty damn good, but mid-season he was really suffering from a bad knee injury. If the team had had any sort of options (Harris has been persona non grata with the team for some reason), he'd have been DL'd. It really limited his range towards the end, though he kept those great hands. But it also severly affected his hitting. I'd have to guess that much of his crappiness was due to the injury. If he's able to heal, he should improve offensively, even if only slightly. Of course you'll have to offset that with another year's aging.

The second is that RFK was a horrible match for him as a hitter. Watching him regularly, I was pretty surprised to see that he's not a dead pull hitter. RFK is murder to flyballs from alley to alley, which is where most of his power was. (Same thing for Jose Guillen -- check out his HR splits at home and on the road)

Now I don't know if that's because he's lost a bit off his swing and he was unable to get around on good fastballs to pull them? I do know that he got pitched away a lot, and all he could do with that was make a 385-foot out to the gap.

The park also has a lot of foul territory, and he seemed (a squishy word, I know) to hit A LOT of foul pops. I'm not sure of Petco's foul territory, but a small foul ground could probably save him 5-10 outs.
   76. Walt Davis Posted: November 05, 2005 at 08:02 AM (#1719804)
5 CONSECUTIVE months of poor hitting to end the season

But if the numbers you posted are correct, it wasn't 5 consecutive months of poor hitting. 782 and 760 are perfectly reasonable OPSs for a 3B, especially in that park. Median 3B production in the majors was around 750-760 last year. So Castilla had one great month, two median months, one bad month and two awful months. I bet lots of "average" seasons look like that.

Which is not to say I want Vinny on my team if I can help it.
   77. Voros M. Posted: November 05, 2005 at 08:22 AM (#1719812)
It seems to me while it is inherently possible that Castilla may post a season above what he did in 2005, it is also somehwat probable that Sean Burroughs would as well given the opportunity.

Not that I'd advocate going with either, but I'm not really sure that Castilla is any kind of a substantial upgrade over what what Burroughs could reasonably be expected to produce: let's say .276/.339/.366. Let's put Vinny at a more optimistic than ZIPS at .262/.314/.410.

Generally speaking, if you're looking for someone to suddenly have a bigger year than expected, the 25 year old is usually the better bet than the 38 year old.

All Burroughs needs to do is become a guy who can be expected to hit 10 to 15 homers a year instead of 2 to 7, and he suddenly becomes a more than adequate 3B. People have been waiting for that for a while though...
   78. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: November 05, 2005 at 08:27 AM (#1719815)
One question though. Do you think Dan's projection is a reasonable projection? If you do, than how do you justify trading Lawrence for Castilla?

I think Dan's projection is a reasonable projection. But it is a projection. I don't thing it's a question of which GM got the best deal according to some particular projection and then a foregone conclusion that other one is a dumbass.

Castilla is old, but has an upside at third. If the possibility of that upside and $500,000 is worth more to Towers than Lawrence, then it's a good trade for him.

Let's look at their WARP3:
Castilla
2002 -0.2
2003 3.6
2004 6.3
2005 4.5

Lawrence
2002 5.2
2003 5.0
2004 4.2
2005 3.0

Since you think Castilla's April is so important, did you look at Lawrence's splits too?
He was terrible on the road. Terrible post All-Star break including every month except June.

The point is that if you want to select stats to make the argument you want about who won a trade, you can certainly do so. If I just saw the WARPs, their ages and the salaries, I'd probably call the trade slightly in San Diego's favor. As it is, I think Bowden did a great job in freeing space for Zimmerman and getting a possibly useful player in return for his extra part. For SD, I'm not sure, like others have mentioned, I supposed it depends a lot on whether they have some additional knowledge on whether Lawrence might actually rebound or will continue to decline. I don't have that information, so I just see that they gave up a poor SP for a minor upgrade at 3B and $.5mil
   79. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: November 05, 2005 at 08:41 PM (#1720051)
I think I can speak on behalf of all Rays fans when I say that we are saddened that Castilla was not traded to a team on the Rays home schedule, depriving us of the opportunity to boo him again.

Jim, I think whenever you speak, you are de facto speaking on behalf of all Rays fans.
   80. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: November 05, 2005 at 08:56 PM (#1720057)
All Burroughs needs to do is become a guy who can be expected to hit 10 to 15 homers a year instead of 2 to 7, and he suddenly becomes a more than adequate 3B. People have been waiting for that for a while though...

It's worse than that. If he could give your 40-45 XBH, 10-15 of them HR, he's pretty good. He's regressed to the point where he's only good for 20-30 XBH, and 1 or 2 HR. His complete lack of power and ability to drive the ball has defenses playing him so shallow that even his BA and 2B dropped this year.

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