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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Phillies - Signed Nunez

Philadelphia Phillies - Signed IF Abraham Nunez to a 2-year, $3.35 million contract.

My guess?  Pat Gillick saw the SNL “More Cowbell!” sketch and it dawned upon him that the solution for the Phillies would be “More David Bell!”  Either that, of the Phils wanted someone to help Bell with his band, “The David Bell Experience, Featuring Groundouts.”

It may just be me, but when I look at the Phillies’ roster and assess their offseason needs, “Third base isn’t quite incompetent enough or expensive enough” is well down the list of problems.

Thumbs down.  I don’t know what’s saddest - that the Phillies saw this guy hit and wanted him, that his 2005 was a tremendously good season for Nunez, or that Nunez has far better secondary skills than a hitter that got serious consideration for Rookie of the Year. 

2006 ZiPS Projection - Abraham O. Nunez
359 50 100 12 2   4 36 32 57   1 .279 .337 .357

Dan Szymborski Posted: November 29, 2005 at 09:06 PM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. s.zielinski Posted: November 29, 2005 at 10:19 PM (#1752087)
Heh, Pat Gillick won't confuse himself with fancy notions like 'replacement player' when it comes time to stock up on players.

Perhaps, Gillick wanted to make Lloyd McClendon look good!
   2. PhillyBooster Posted: November 29, 2005 at 10:24 PM (#1752107)
Now, far be it from me to tout the virtues of Abraham O'Nunez (Irish?), but a realistic assessment of the Phillies last year shows that -- far and away -- the biggest weakness on the team was David Bell facing righties. His .199 BA/ .547 OPS bordered on the Womackian.

While Nunez will clearly join the "EZ Out" brigade of Endy ChavEZ, Ramon HernandEZ, and Tomas PerEZ, the sad fact remains that O'Nunez had a .685 OPS against righties, which is a HUGE difference.

The true sadness is not that the Phillies would think Nunez is an improvement, but that he actually IS an improvement -- at least against righties. David Bell could only DREAM of attaining the towering heights of merely "Well Below Average" last year.
   3. Honkie Kong Posted: November 29, 2005 at 10:25 PM (#1752108)
whoa Gillick being influenced by Bowden!
Nunez was good as a fill in for the cardinals. The phillies are looking for a backup IF, so it might not be that bad.
though a 2 yr deal??
   4. 1k5v3L Posted: November 29, 2005 at 10:29 PM (#1752118)
Abraham Nunez, the new Tony Womack!

This guy is awful; it's amazing he got this much money.

And to think that Mark Bellhorn is still available out there...
   5. ColonelTom Posted: November 29, 2005 at 10:43 PM (#1752155)
If Abraham Nunez is the answer, you're asking a really dumb question.
   6. DCA Posted: November 29, 2005 at 10:44 PM (#1752156)
I have a soft spot for Nunez. I started him on my scoresheet team when Chipper went down, which coincided with the only two good months of his career. He ended up hitting .317 in 230 AB, with a .387 OBP. Not a bad utility guy to have around, but not a good signing when you can get 95% of his value with an NRI several months from now.
   7. Spike Owen 10/2/1987 Posted: November 29, 2005 at 10:51 PM (#1752174)
I would love to see the Phillies try to sign Nomar Garciapara to a 1-year deal as their new 3B (and demote David Bell to expensive bench player).

Nunez is just an expensive backup MI, a Tomas Perez replacement.

Last year was the first that Nunez was anything near useful. He really can't hit, although he's a decent glove anywhere in the infield, maybe a little stretched at SS. He's Tomas Perez -- just 2 years younger and without the touch of power Tomas had.

This is not particularly helpful, especially at two years and $3.35 million.

Although he was better than David Bell last year, it was an aberration; Bell at his worst, Nunez at his best. And Nunez's best was still below average
   8. ColonelTom Posted: November 29, 2005 at 11:05 PM (#1752207)
How's this for stupidity - ESPN has a poll (alongside Jayson Stark's column on the Phils' pursuit of Flash Gordon) asking whether the Phils could "contend" - CONTEND! - "for the playoffs without making any further major moves." 86% of respondents said "no."
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 29, 2005 at 11:08 PM (#1752213)
Must be only Phillies fans voting in the poll.
   10. Artie Ziff Posted: November 29, 2005 at 11:39 PM (#1752263)
They can contend, but 86% looks right if the fans think they will be in the postseason. I cannot see it happening at this stage.
   11. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 12:20 AM (#1752319)
Man, I can't believe Gillick. We get Wagner and he strikes again. Abraham Nunez for only $2MM? You gotta be kidding me. The East is the Phillies' to lose.
   12. 1k5v3L Posted: November 30, 2005 at 12:22 AM (#1752329)
Just think, OFF, if Minaya had been on the ball, he could've traded Jeff Keppinger and Anderson Hernandez for Chase Utley... Oh, Utley is too white for Omar's taste...
   13. Sexy Lizard Posted: November 30, 2005 at 12:34 AM (#1752348)
I've been an Abraham Nunez fan for years. He's one of my favorite players, and I've seen him play a ton, considering I am not a Pirates or Cardinals fan. Subjectively, he's an average to slightly above defender at second and short, and OK at third if a little short of arm strength. I have no idea what anyone's metrics say. If they say bad things then I don't want to know about them.

Abraham can pretty bunt well. For his career he's close to the magic 1 walk for every 10 AB's line, with a K;BB ratio below 2:1. He knows what he's doing at the plate and doesn't have terrible at bats. He's a decent base runner. Watching him so much I honestly think the .340 OBP in '05 is closer to his talent level than his earlier years. I don't see why he can't put up two 270/330/350 lines for the Phillies. His fellow players seem to like him.

Overall, that's not a bad player to have as an NRI who ends up as a utility guy and pinch runner and so forth. And no, he's not worth $3.35 million over two years.
   14. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: November 30, 2005 at 12:55 AM (#1752376)
This deal makes the Phillies better. And the Phillies are the kind of team that should slightly overpay for slightly above average players.

No team should grossly overpay for well-below-average players like David Bell, but this is a great place for Nunez to go (just like the Cardinals were). His other options were to be signed as a starter by one of the sad pitiful teams, which would do nobody any good, or to be signed as an afterthought by the Yankees or Red Sox. This sort of deal lets the sad pitiful teams play their young up-and-comers, and takes a non-overrated player off the market so that the teams that grossly overpay people can continue to do their thing.
   15. 1k5v3L Posted: November 30, 2005 at 12:59 AM (#1752382)
This deal makes the Phillies better.

How? They could've had plenty of Nunez clones for the major league minimum. Seriously.

Matt Kata, whom they got for Worrell, is about as good of a roster spot use as Nunez.

A million here and a million there, and the Phils look bad again.
   16. Johnny Zen Posted: November 30, 2005 at 01:01 AM (#1752385)
Keep that hubris coming, OFF.

While I personally wouldn't extend this deal to Nunez, it certainly won't cripple the franchise. I really don't see how it's worth gloating over.
   17. greenback is on a break Posted: November 30, 2005 at 01:02 AM (#1752386)
Woo hoo! The Cardinals get a second-round compensatory draft pick!
   18. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: November 30, 2005 at 01:42 AM (#1752415)
As my wife's tribe would say, "Why schlep?" You have Kata and Perez, who signed a 2-year contract last year. Martinez is a free agent, I believe, but is going to be someone's NRI, so he would be easy to obtain.
Maybe Tomas is the linchpin of some big trade?
   19. 1k5v3L Posted: November 30, 2005 at 01:59 AM (#1752428)
Maybe Tomas is the linchpin of some big trade?

If Tomas is a linchpin, you guys are getting Jose Lima in return.
   20. Johnny Zen Posted: November 30, 2005 at 02:04 AM (#1752431)
If we're braining this signing as Bell insurance, I guess that means a Blalock acquisition is out of the picture. Woulda been nice. A (Forgetting)-A trade for a starting pitcher would be better.
   21. danup Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:09 AM (#1752499)
"Don't know the manners of good society, eh? Well, I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, old gal—you sockdologizing old man-trap!"
   22. The Final Word Posted: November 30, 2005 at 11:56 AM (#1752657)
All of you are missing the connection! Gillick was still an advisor over in Toronto when the Blue Jays signed Nunez as a amateur free agent from the Dominican Republic. Oh by the way I think Gillick also liked the way Nunez played last yr with St. Louis.
   23. Honkie Kong Posted: November 30, 2005 at 12:01 PM (#1752659)
But why sign Nunez when you have to give up a draft pick?! He is not exactly hot commodity right now.
And esp with the farm in tatters as the Phillies system is, you need all your draft picks!
   24. The Answer to the TWolves (GMoney) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 01:56 PM (#1752696)
I think MLB needs to look at a different ranking system besides Elias for free agent compensation. Any system that thinks Nunez is significant enough to warrant compensation for his loss isn't exactly working. I also think Elias rankings give too much value to middle relievers. Guys like Howry , Eyre are Type A Free Agents when in theory they should rank behind most starters and most relievers due to the importance of their respective jobs.
   25. GregD Posted: November 30, 2005 at 02:33 PM (#1752730)
The Phillies didn't give up a draft pick, Godot. The Cardinals get a compensatory draft pick--but added on, not from the Phillies. That doesn't make it a great signing for the Phils, but at least they didn't affect the farm system.
   26. Honkie Kong Posted: November 30, 2005 at 02:46 PM (#1752741)
Oh I didn't realise that. So major league clubs can basically have "Iscratch your back, you scratch mine" policy, where they sign free agents before the deadline to get each other supplemental picks?
   27. OlePerfesser Posted: November 30, 2005 at 03:56 PM (#1752868)
that his 2005 was a tremendously good season for Nunez

Bingo! This signing continues a trend, whereby GMs overpay for unusually good RECENT performance. Next up: Watch the check Konerko cashes, thanks to a walk year roughly 50% better (by WARP) than anything he'd done before.

If there's one lesson sabermetricians should try to teach Baseball Men, it's the Small Sample Size Problem. Scouting, by definition, is making judgments based on small numbers of observations. With Nunez, clearly Gillick saw a few games on TV or the post-season, and said "hey, looks like Abraham finally put it together!" Fine--maybe he did. But maybe he just played out of his mind for a couple weeks or months. When a guy sucks 90% of his career, betting on the most recent 10% when he didn't (or didn't quite so much) is pretty foolish, IMO.
   28. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:35 PM (#1752983)
"Thumbs down. I don't know what's saddest..."

4) That after all the hype, this one turned out to be the GOOD Abraham Nunez?
   29. GregD Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:50 PM (#1753020)
Nunez was a Type C free agent, not a Type A or Type B. The Phils don't give up a draft pick because of where he was slotted, not because of any inside deal. Were he a Type A or Type B, it would be a different story.

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