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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Red Sox - Signed Gonzalez

Boston Red Sox - Signed SS Alex Gonzalez to a 1-year contract worth $3 million.

Perfectly acceptable signing - it’s not like they were willing to go into the season with Pedroia at short.  Gonzalez is a decent, if not ovewhelmingly good offensive player and an above-average glove and getting that for a single year at this price is a very good deal.  Sea Bass is certainly a better player than Orlando Cabrera and Cristian Guzman, both of him got a lot more years and a lot more dough.  Fenway is also a much better fit for Gonzalez than Pro Player was.

I’m quite surprised that Gonzalez received such little interest this offseason as he was clearly the 2nd-best SS on the market this offseason and Furcal was quite expensive.  Thumbs up.

2006 ZiPS Projection - Alex Gonzalez
————————————————————————————-
AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
————————————————————————————-
510 71 140 41 2 15 88 34 104   3 .275 .326 .451

 

Dan Szymborski Posted: January 31, 2006 at 05:43 PM | 39 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. dreamydave Posted: January 31, 2006 at 06:18 PM (#1845321)
frank thomas signing?? please?
also, thumbs up to the gonzalez deal
   2. Psychedelic Red Pants Posted: January 31, 2006 at 06:25 PM (#1845333)
Szym, can you post Pedroia's ZiPS too for those of us who will compare the two?
   3. Joel W Posted: January 31, 2006 at 06:31 PM (#1845342)
Pedroia: .275 .343 .403
   4. Brian Norton Posted: January 31, 2006 at 06:35 PM (#1845350)
Just out of (morbid?) curiosity, where did the 'Sea Bass' name come from?

Thanks.

-Bri
   5. Psychedelic Red Pants Posted: January 31, 2006 at 06:39 PM (#1845357)
Thanks.

That should make spring training interesting.
   6. Kyle S Posted: January 31, 2006 at 06:42 PM (#1845362)
Wow, I guess ZiPS really likes Fenway. Apparently, AGon will set career highs in average, OBP, SLG, doubles, and walks. we shall see.
   7. Psychedelic Red Pants Posted: January 31, 2006 at 06:42 PM (#1845363)
Just out of (morbid?) curiosity, where did the 'Sea Bass' name come from?

There were two shortstops named Alex Gonzalez, one who played for the Cubs and one who played for the Marlins. Both seabass and marlins are fish, so Marlins Alex Gonzalez got named seabass.

That, and he just looks Chilean.
   8. PooNani Posted: January 31, 2006 at 06:55 PM (#1845394)
Fenway turns another shitty hitter into an above average one. Fenway magically produces career years.

Josh Bard just wishes the predictions were known to arbitrators
   9. PooNani Posted: January 31, 2006 at 07:19 PM (#1845438)
Also, Sea Bass is a overwhelmingly bad offensive player. I think thats a typo.
   10. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 31, 2006 at 07:40 PM (#1845483)
If Gonzalez hits like that, I'll eat my stylish-yet-affordable boots. He's a sucking ulcer of outitude.
   11. mike f Posted: January 31, 2006 at 07:49 PM (#1845499)
I thought it was because he kind of looks like a sea bass.
   12. "Catching Dianetics" by Dr. L. Ron Karkovice Posted: January 31, 2006 at 07:52 PM (#1845510)
Speaking of Gonzalez.....Has Juan Gone officially retired or is he still hoping to sign a minor league deal with the K.C.'s and Tampa Bays of the world?
   13. Josh Posted: January 31, 2006 at 07:59 PM (#1845523)
Using Dan's park factors, Florida suppresses doubles and Fenway increases them -- a lot. The difference is .48.

Additionally, the avg and the SO rates should both improve b/c of Fenway magic. There is a small but not insigificant increase in HR rate.

When you increase contact/PA and you increase both batting avg and doubles, there is a good reason to assume that Gonzalez will be at least at 310/430, and it is not unreasonable to think 325/450 is attainable.

The move from Florida to Fenway is drastic. In Florida the projection was at ~300/400 -- a 10% increase insn't unreasonable.
   14. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 31, 2006 at 08:15 PM (#1845554)
Stylish yet affordable. Consumed by me. I'm telling you.
   15. Sexy Lizard Posted: January 31, 2006 at 08:33 PM (#1845583)
I'd suggest you start marinading them now if you want them to be moist and delicious by October.
   16. AROM Posted: January 31, 2006 at 08:43 PM (#1845607)
That projection seems high to me. If the difference between Florida and Fenway is that great, Mike Lowell should also be in for a big year?

Is there any hope for the Yank if that's true? Yes there is, its got to affect play on both offense and defense. Josh Beckett's ERA won't be pretty.
   17. Joel W Posted: January 31, 2006 at 08:52 PM (#1845624)
Rally, fortunately there's SJ who's there to tell us what's going to happen next year based on ZiPS

yankeefan.blogspot.com

ZiPS loves the Red Sox. Pecota's less hot on them.
   18. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 31, 2006 at 08:53 PM (#1845628)
Fenway's so frickin' weird, though, that its park effects are distributed very unevenly.

Bill Mueller turned into a batting champion, but Manny Ramirez hasn't been affected one bit. I tend to think that a guy like Gonzalez, a right-handed flyball hitter, won't get that much benefit out of Fenway, maybe a few more cheap homers. It's guys like Mueller or Boggs (and hopefully Crisp) - line drive hitting lefties - that seem to see a huge improvement in Boston.
   19. FDR Jones Posted: January 31, 2006 at 09:08 PM (#1845647)
well, the sox didn't have any other options, but let's be honest... this guy is a ####-tastic hitter.
   20. Joel W Posted: January 31, 2006 at 09:16 PM (#1845660)
MCA,

I think it's flyball lefties. Even to some extent flyball righties. Fenway has a solid PF for doubles even for right-handed hitters. In the Hardball Times, Fenway's runs/outfield fly over league was just ridiculous.

The left-handed linedrive/flyball thing makes me excited about Coco. It also makes me somewhat more optimistic about Gonzalez.

The optimal Red Sox lineup, with skill ceteris paribus, would be:

L,S,L,S,L,S,L,S,S

Note last year: Damon, Mueller, Ortiz, Manny, Tek, Trot, Millar, Renteria.

They did a decent job of the lefty and the switch thing. The exceptions were of course Manny (who cares) and the two guys who couldn't hit.

I guess to corrolary to this would be that the Red Sox should seek power lefties to pitch. Good thing nobody wants those!
   21. Sparkles Peterson Posted: January 31, 2006 at 10:54 PM (#1845800)
Gonzalez was a serious MVP contender at the break in '03, with a .288/.332/.509 line. Unfortunately, outside of the first two months of that season he really has been a horrid offensive ballplayer. Those two months seem to still be affecting his projections. Translate his typical SLG-heavy .680 OPS to Fenway and that's what he's good for.
   22. Darren Posted: January 31, 2006 at 11:33 PM (#1845856)
It's guys like Mueller or Boggs (and hopefully Crisp)

I don't think you can group Boggs in with anyone. He was a pretty unique talent. I don't see that lefties are getting more out of Fenway than righties, who also seem to do well there (I'm thinking of Rice etc). I would say the group that gains an advantage can be either righty pull hitters or lefties who go the opposite way. Is there some more comprehensive study of this?
   23. Joel W Posted: January 31, 2006 at 11:44 PM (#1845869)
Darren,

Bill James did a study right after he was hired by the Red Sox (I think it was mentioned in an article about him in the New Yorker) that said, "Since the Green Monster was erected, the amount the Red Sox score is directly proportional to the number of left-handed bats in the line-up."
   24. Joel W Posted: February 01, 2006 at 12:34 AM (#1845934)
Kevin,

This is of course why Arroyo is no good in Fenway. He just can't pitch to lefties away, and he can't beat them inside. I still think he's better of trying to get them inside. A guy like Beckett will be able to throw hard enough to beat lefties in Fenway, but not Arroyo.

It also saddens me that Trot hasn't realized the unbelievable advantage Fenway should give him. He's just too much of a pull hitter to be great as a lefty in Fenway, and with another team, he'd be recognized as the hitter that he is.

If he'd open up his stance a bit and sit back a bit he'd jump to another level. Ortiz could teach him a thing or two. Is it too hard as a hitter to change your stance home and away? I mean, hitters switch hit, I'd have to imagine they can adjust their stance.
   25. Joel W Posted: February 01, 2006 at 12:50 AM (#1845956)
You learn something new every day:

Trot Nixon, 2000-2005 vs. Lefties:

Home: 0.196/0.304/0.276
Away: 0.246/0.306/0.383

Neither home nor away is Trot Nixon a serviceable major leaguer against left-handed pitching. But it's astonishing how much better he is on the road versus at home.
   26. bibigon Posted: February 01, 2006 at 04:12 AM (#1846115)
There is of course a problem with Fenway's park factors, namely that they're exagerrated.

If the Sox are aware of what a park does, and seeks out hitters who benefit from that park to an unusual degree, then what'll happen is that it will appear from the park factors that that's part of the effect of the park. Say a park increases doubles by 25% with a random hitter, but there is a class of hitter for whom it increases doubles by 50%. Now a true talent 40 doubles hitter, who is very well suited for this park comes in. He hits 20 doubles on the road, and then he goes and increases his doubles by 50%, because he is unusually well suited for this park. So he hits a total of 50 doubles. Now when the park factors are done, he's a data point which suggests that the park increases doubles by 50%.

Which is a fine park factor assuming that the team only brings in hitters with a similar skill set, but is screwy when they bring in other hitters, who only experience a 25% increase. The other result of this is that pitchers at this park would tend to be underrated by park factors, as they're getting punished to the tune of a 50% doubles increase in the projections, but only experience a true 25% increase.

One of the ways to see if this is what's happening is to see if the team's runs allowed is as affected as their runs scored is on the road.

The Red Sox scored 480 runs at home last year, and 430 runs on the road.
The Red Sox allowed 361 earned runs, but actually allowed 391 earned runs on the road. (ESPN only tracks earned runs.)

At the very least, what this suggests to me is that Sox pitching is being underrated, as the Sox penchant for finding hitters well suited for Fenway is screwing up the overall park factors. If they're also finding pitchers well suited for Fenway, then the underrated of Fenway pitchers is even greater.

Or am I missing something here?
   27. Kyle S Posted: February 01, 2006 at 04:40 AM (#1846125)
red sox opponents hit 20.3% more 2b per pa in fenway than in their own parks in 2004. retrosheet doesn't have 2005 data yet.
   28. PJ Martinez Posted: February 01, 2006 at 07:14 AM (#1846193)
Joel,

How many ABs are those Trot #s in? Just eyeballing it, it looks like Trot got a bunch more XBHs on the road (50 pts of BA, 100 pts of SLG-- 2 pts OBP).

By the way, another nice thing about this deal:

"The team reduced its risk and maximized its flexibility by retaining the ability to cut Gonzalez before Opening Day and not be on the hook for his entire salary. If they cut him before March 15, they are responsible for one-sixth, or $500,000, and if they cut him between March 16 and Opening Day, they are responsible for roughly one-quarter, or $750,000. If he is on the Opening Day roster, his $3 million becomes guaranteed."

I think there's a legitimate chance A-Gon doesn't make the roster, either b/c of Pedroia or another move between now and then.

Also, it is allegedly none other than our beloved Cowboy, Kevin Millar, who is responsible for his nickname:

"Gonzalez is not known as expressive, and his often sullen visage inspired his ex-Marlin teammate and former Red Sox Kevin Millar to tag him with the nickname 'Sea Bass' for his puckered look."

Sounds like a Millar-type nickname, doesn't it? He probably fishes in the offseason.

http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/sportsColumnists/view.bg?articleid=120812

On a separate note, it's nice that the hitters the Sox are counting on to bounce back (Lowell and, to a lesser extent, Loretta-- Snow might fit, too, though I hope he won't be getting many ABs) are coming from much worse hitting environments. Yes, Beckett has the opposite situation, but he's got great stuff; if he's healthy, I think he'll be fine.
   29. We don't have dahlians at the Palace of Wisdom Posted: February 01, 2006 at 07:47 AM (#1846211)
At the very least, what this suggests to me is that Sox pitching is being underrated, as the Sox penchant for finding hitters well suited for Fenway is screwing up the overall park factors. If they're also finding pitchers well suited for Fenway, then the underrated of Fenway pitchers is even greater.

If the Sox are getting hitters that take extra advantage of Fenway, thus making the park effects appear larger than they actually are, wouldn't this have the effect of overrating their pitching staff as park effects will make it look as if they're pitching against a lineup perfectly suited to Fenway?
   30. bibigon Posted: February 01, 2006 at 08:59 AM (#1846252)

If the Sox are getting hitters that take extra advantage of Fenway, thus making the park effects appear larger than they actually are, wouldn't this have the effect of overrating their pitching staff as park effects will make it look as if they're pitching against a lineup perfectly suited to Fenway?


Depends which direction you're looking at it from. I was talking about projections here, where a guy being projected for like a 4.50 ERA party because of park factors should perhaps be projected for something closer to a 4.2 ERA or whatever.

Once a guy already has a 4.50 ERA, then yes, it has the opposite effect of overstating how good the pitcher was.



On a different note, does anyone know for sure if Gonzalez's projection of .253/.305/.406 was park neutral, or for Pro Player?
   31. Mike Webber Posted: February 01, 2006 at 09:21 AM (#1846258)
bibigon Posted: January 31, 2006 at 10:12 PM (#1846115)
There is of course a problem with Fenway's park factors, namely that they're exagerrated.

If the Sox are aware of what a park does, and seeks out hitters who benefit from that park to an unusual degree, then what'll happen is that it will appear from the park factors that that's part of the effect of the park.


That is exactly right, which is why you always have to look for good players rather than just "players that fit the park." If you go with the later, you end up with Tony Armas 1983, with 36 homers and 100+ RBI, but the team finishing 6th.

The Rockies are the team that constructed is like those early 1980's Sox teams, though figuring out that park is hell.
   32. OlePerfesser Posted: February 01, 2006 at 03:54 PM (#1846375)
...a guy like Gonzalez, a right-handed flyball hitter, won't get that much benefit out of Fenway, maybe a few more cheap homers...

If you scan his '05 hit charts, there were a half-dozen flyouts on warning tracks just in NL East parks (which are mostly hitter-unfriendly). At the least, those are cheap doubles in Fenway.

The potential offset is that there's a long history of righty flyball hitters who arrive in Fenway, see the proximity of the wall, and try to yank every effing pitch, thereby becoming weak 6-to-3 machines.

Time will tell.

P.S. Knowing that "Sea Bass" is a Millar creation leads me to renew my request for a nickname change. All vestiges of Millar must be expunged from this team.
   33. Spike Owen 10/2/1987 Posted: February 01, 2006 at 07:15 PM (#1846648)
"Sea Bass"? Already taken. What, no Champ Car fans in the house?

Sebastien Bourdais, 2-time defending Champ Car champion, a.k.a. "Sea Bass."
   34. vortex of dissipation Posted: February 04, 2006 at 09:57 AM (#1850027)
Spike Owen 10/2/1987 Posted: February 01, 2006 at 01:15 PM (#1846648)
"Sea Bass"? Already taken. What, no Champ Car fans in the house?

Sebastien Bourdais, 2-time defending Champ Car champion, a.k.a. "Sea Bass."


Considering how despised McDonald's is in France, I've always found it amusing that they're Bourdais' sponsor...
   35. skipaway Posted: February 05, 2006 at 06:31 AM (#1850746)
Er, among European countries, McDonalds is most successful in France, and it got a dominant market share there. The head of their French operation just got promoted to head all Europe a year ago.
   36. PJ Martinez Posted: February 05, 2006 at 08:32 AM (#1850841)
Well, technically, McDonald's could be-- and probably is-- both successful and despised. Anyway...

"All vestiges of Millar must be expunged from this team."

So will we be taking down the World Series Champions 2004 banner then?
   37. Quinton McCracken's BFF Posted: February 06, 2006 at 10:35 PM (#1852457)
Well, technically, McDonald's could be-- and probably is-- both successful and despised. Anyway...

Exactly, like the Yankees

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