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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Reds - Signed Phillips

Cincinnati Reds - Signed 2B Brandon Phillips to a 4-year, $27 million

I’m thinking of two second basemen.  One of those second basemen is Brandon Phillips.  The other is a mystery player.  Phillips is 27 for the 2008 sason, the mystery player is 28.  Phillips will cost the Reds $27 million for the next 4 years while the mystery player might not make a single year of Phillips’s salary over the new contract.  Phillips and the mystery player are both roughly average defensively at 2nd.  Phillips and the mystery player, when combining translations and major league numbers, you get the following performance by OPS+ for their careers:

Age     BP     M.P.
2000   80     COLLEGE
2001   98     COLLLEGE
2002   44     65
2003   86     78
2004   88     89
2005   64     101
2006   88     85
2007   105     117

Lest it be a question of major vs. minor performance, the Mystery Player has played nearly a full season in the majors and has a 106 OPS+ in the majors, while Phillips, in his best season, managed a 105.  Mystery Player is absolutely free for the Reds to acquire.

Now, if you’ve been paying attention at all, it isn’t hard to figure out that Mystery Player is Jeff Keppinger, also on the Reds.  Brandon Phillips is a good player, with enough power and speed to balance his hacking nature, but the Reds have two good second basemen, which would have made the one with the pretty homer total a tremendous trading chit to fill a hole.  Outside of the signing of Cordero, it has to be a pretty disappointing offseason for the Reds - they failed to sell high on Phillips as they should have and despite the amazing quartet of Bruce/Cueto/Votto/Bailey, they made absolutely no move to either design the roster to force Dusty to play them or to trade them for someone who Dusty will play.  The contract itself isn’t too unreasonable, however, so the loss is mainly opportunity cost.

2008 ZiPS Projection - Brandon Phillips
—————————————————————————————————————————
          AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS+  DR  
—————————————————————————————————————————
Projection   568 87 154 26 2 21 79 39 94 22 .271 .325 .435   94   1
2009?      572 86 154 26 3 22 86 37 93 22 .269 .323 .441   95   1
2010?      578 89 155 26 2 22 87 38 93 19 .268 .323 .434   93   0
2011?      556 84 146 24 2 20 79 37 87 15 .263 .318 .421   87   -1
—————————————————————————————————————————
Opt. (15%)  587 105 176 33 4 27 103 46 87 27 .300 .360 .508   119   4  
Pes. (15%)  525 57 128 21 1 15 65 29 99 15 .240 .286 .370   66   -4
—————————————————————————————————————————
Top Offensive Comps: Tony Cuccinello, Granny Hamner

 

 

Dan Szymborski Posted: February 16, 2008 at 07:57 PM | 131 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Ziggy Posted: February 16, 2008 at 10:49 PM (#2692708)
Yeah, the thing to do would have been to see if they could get the Cubs to bite on Phillips. (Rich Hill? Pushing it, but those Cubbies love their middle infielders.) Kepplinger is plenty good and should be starting for the Reds, but he's been kicking around the minors with three different teams, which never looks good on a resume. I presume he's organizational filler now?
   2. Silencio Posted: February 16, 2008 at 11:52 PM (#2692733)
Why not trade Gonzalez and put Keppinger at short instead?
   3. Danny Posted: February 17, 2008 at 12:10 AM (#2692743)
ZIPS, PECOTA, Chone, Marcel, and Bill James all project Keppinger better than offensively than Phillips.

They have the same career .830 ZR at 2B (Phillips has 10 times as many innings there). UZR has Phillips at -1 run per 150 at 2B from 2003 to mid-2007.

A smart team should move in on Keppinger.
   4. Mister High Standards Posted: February 17, 2008 at 12:10 AM (#2692744)
I think Phillips will out play those ZIPs. A player with his tremedous athletism and pedigree, that took a while to put it together. I think he will be putting up OPS+ well above 100 for the next 3+ years.
   5. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 17, 2008 at 12:35 AM (#2692756)
The thing about Keppinger is that one year ago, a team with no middle infield prospects or middle infield depth at all (the Royals) traded him for hardly anything at all (this guy, to be specific). Since then he's had what baseball men can easy see as a fluke season (just like Phillips's, in fact). How much trade value does he really have?
   6. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 17, 2008 at 12:51 AM (#2692766)
I don't know Matthew. Phillips is a free swinger and got a tad lucky last season with balls that "just" got over the fence. While he should be peaking he doesn't strike me as Andre Dawson, capable of generating legit offense while walking little and striking out a fair amount.

He is very good defensively. He is a highly competitive player. He really has value. Just not as much as the Reds think.

As for Keppinger, that guy could go from nobody to sneaking off with a batting title. I know that reads as absurd but he has that type of stroke and control of the plate. Playing 2/3 of the time in that ballpark I could see him getting just enough plate appearances and hitting .340ish. Kind of guy that drives you nuts if you are a fan of the opposition.
   7. Gambling Rent Czar Posted: February 17, 2008 at 01:17 AM (#2692785)
Never mind, I figured it out ..
its because Keppinger was a Mets prospect ..got it.

Phillips was playing AAA ball at age 21, of course that doesn't figure into your .. OPS by season comparison does it ..
Keppinger couldn't break into AAA till he was 25 ..

Phiilips went 30/30 last season, and you are saying the Reds should get rid of him for what ever they could, and start the "Mets Prospect".

a guy who hasn't totaled 30 HR's or 30 SB ... for his entire career ..

this board is becoming more predictable every day.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 17, 2008 at 01:29 AM (#2692790)
Phillips was playing AAA ball at age 21, of course that doesn't figure into your .. OPS by season comparison does it ..
Keppinger couldn't break into AAA till he was 25 ..

Phiilips went 30/30 last season, and you are saying the Reds should get rid of him for what ever they could, and start the "Mets Prospect".


Does any of that have anything to do with how good a player Phillips is now? Was there any reason to rush to lock up a guy who has one good season in MLB? I would have waited to see Phillips do it again.
   9. Gambling Rent Czar Posted: February 17, 2008 at 01:30 AM (#2692791)
the guy couldn't get a job in New York, Pittsburgh or Kansas city, all three teams have a need for middle infielders. But the Reds should dump their starter, and start Keppinger .. a super utility, at best.
   10. Gambling Rent Czar Posted: February 17, 2008 at 01:35 AM (#2692796)
Brandon Phillps' splits show he had a better year away from great american last season.

I remember last season when he went 30/30, I started a thread, and nobody cared ..

what am i missing here.

why do you all hate Brandon Phillps so much?

get rid of phillips and start keppinger .. wtf ever..
   11. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 17, 2008 at 01:36 AM (#2692797)
Gambling:

I can't speak to other discussions, but I do think Keppinger has been undervalued by his previous employers. Not that he merits taking BP's job. Just that he certainly seems to be capable of playing in the majors and playing better than most would expect.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 17, 2008 at 01:43 AM (#2692803)
Brandon Phillps' splits show he had a better year away from great american last season.

I remember last season when he went 30/30, I started a thread, and nobody cared ..

what am i missing here.

why do you all hate Brandon Phillps so much?

get rid of phillips and start keppinger .. wtf ever..


I think the general point is that very limited differences in opportunity can lead to huge difference in contracts, and many baseball theam still don't realize how much freely available talent is out there.

Brandon Phillips will now be a regular for the next 4 years b/c he had one gaudy (30:30) but not that great (105 OPS+) and he now has a huge contract, so won't be benched.

Keppinger has never gotten a chance, but might be as good. It's all about the narrative of teams overpaying for mediocre performance when there is freely available talent that is almost as good. Heck, Phillips was that freely available talent not that long ago.

The point is not that Keppinger is better than Phillips, but that Phillips is not $7M per year better than Keppinger.
   13. Gambling Rent Czar Posted: February 17, 2008 at 02:04 AM (#2692817)
Just that he certainly seems to be capable of playing in the majors and playing better than most would expect.


and he will be playing in the majors .. as a super UT for the Reds .. coming off the bench all season, and that makes the Reds a better team.
   14. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: February 17, 2008 at 02:36 AM (#2692837)
I like this. Seeing Phillips play most games, I have a hard time believing that his defense is about the same as Keppinger's. Some of the numbers back me - he had the top RZR among NL 2B last year, fourth in OOZ plays, and the SAFE metric from UPenn lists him as one of the top three, fwiw. He is an incredible baserunner, with SB rates of 92 and 80% during the last two years. Isolated instances I know, but I've seen hiim score from second on an infield single and take two bases on a sacrifice bunt. As a hitter, 30 HR may be his peak but he should continue to put up decent averages with 25 HR power.

And you can't look at the Reds' situation at second in a vaccuum because Keppinger will get his PAs as a super-sub. Gonzalez has missed a fair amount in the last few years (though last year is was because of his ill son), and Keppinger filled in last year. He'll spell Encarnacion and Phillips when they need a day off. And they don't have a RHB 1B, so he may platoon with (hopefully) Votto.
   15. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 17, 2008 at 02:58 AM (#2692849)

2000  80 COLLEGE
2001  98 COLLLEGE
2002  44 65
2003  86 78


Too bad he didn't get a chance to see what he could do in COLLLLEGE.
   16. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 17, 2008 at 03:09 AM (#2692856)

Phillips was playing AAA ball at age 21, of course that doesn't figure into your .. OPS by season comparison does it ..
Keppinger couldn't break into AAA till he was 25 ..


The year-by-year comparison is only a year apart - the potential that Phillips had at 21 isn't really all that relevant 7 years later. The reason we like a 21-year-old in AAA over a 25-year old is because they have 4 years to grow, but we already know Phillips didn't really grow that much over that time period. Besides, translations adjust for level.
   17. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: February 17, 2008 at 03:20 AM (#2692862)
GR, it's not anti-Phillips' sentiment - it's pro-Keppinger. Phillips @ 2nd + Keppinger on the bench probably isn't as valuable as Keppinger @ 2nd + what you get in return for Phillips in a trade. I don't mind the Reds keeping him (Kep) as a super-sub + I'd also think about moving A-Gon (who's a decent player in his own right), playing Phillips at short and Keppinger at second (easily his best postion, IMO), but dealing Phillips is something they should at least consider doing if they get the right offer.
   18. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 17, 2008 at 04:07 AM (#2692874)
"Why not trade Gonzalez and put Keppinger at short instead?"

Keppinger can't play short, doesn't have the range.

"the guy couldn't get a job in New York, Pittsburgh or Kansas city, all three teams have a need for middle infielders."

It's worth remembering that two of the GMs who couldn't find a use for him in those cities have since been fired.

Keppinger has a great contact rate and a nice line-drive stroke. You almost never see him swing and miss on a ball. After he got his feet wet as a pro, his year-by-year minor league BAs are .325, .339, .337, .316, and .367; he was hitting over .400 as late as July in '04, before he got hurt.
   19. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: February 17, 2008 at 04:47 AM (#2692886)
why do you all hate Brandon Phillps so much?

The Reds are my favorite dark horse pick in the NL this year and I'd love for him to make MHS look brilliant but . . .

Two days ago, I did a bunch of farting around with the numbers at Hit Tracker (should be a THT article at the end of the month -- unless it isn't). Of Phillips's 30 homers, 14 were listed as "just enough" - meaning they barely got over the fence. That ain't a good harbinger of future success. In fact, only one man with more than 20 homers (Geoff Jenkins) had a greater percentage of just enoughers. Across MLB, 29% of homers were enoughers, not 47% as was the case with Phillips. A lotta his offensive value came from those homers so . . his last season isn't the best thing to base a contract off of.

(P. S. - Phillies fans - sorry about the Jenkins signing - looking out below on that bloke).
   20. MSI Posted: February 17, 2008 at 05:07 PM (#2693007)
I agree with Gambling Rent. Keppinger seems like nothing special from a guy who just had a nice 241 at bats...big f-in deal. Phillips is everything you could ask for in a starter but he doesn't get enough walks, making his OPS+ a little empty. Big f-in deal. The idea that you trade Phillips away to start Keppinger, who could easily take the plunge and show his true utility player colours, is absolutely absurd.
   21. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: February 17, 2008 at 06:59 PM (#2693056)
Incidentally, how many other players are loved/appreciated/whatever by stathead types as much as Keppinger who's value is largely from their ability to hit for average? Matt Diaz is the only other way that comes to mind (both of whom, FWLIW, I tabbed in mock drafts out of college).
   22. rfloh Posted: February 17, 2008 at 07:31 PM (#2693066)
It's worth remembering that two of the GMs who couldn't find a use for him in those cities have since been fired.


One actually. Minaya and Moore are still around. Littlefield traded Keppinger to Minaya who then traded Keppinger to Moore, who traded Keppinger to Krivsky.
   23. rfloh Posted: February 17, 2008 at 07:31 PM (#2693067)
It's worth remembering that two of the GMs who couldn't find a use for him in those cities have since been fired.


One actually. Minaya and Moore are still around. Littlefield traded Keppinger to the Mets, before Minaya was hired. Minaya then traded Keppinger to Moore, who traded Keppinger to Krivsky.
   24. rfloh Posted: February 17, 2008 at 07:32 PM (#2693068)
UGH. Ignore 22.
   25. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 17, 2008 at 08:01 PM (#2693076)
"Littlefield traded Keppinger to Minaya who then traded Keppinger to Moore, who traded Keppinger to Krivsky."

Aw, crap, thought it was Baird. Sorry.

At any rate, having Littlefield underestimate your value is more of a badge of honor than a criticism.

"The idea that you trade Phillips away to start Keppinger, who could easily take the plunge and show his true utility player colours, is absolutely absurd."

It's not that you should trade Phillips to start Keppinger; it's that you could trade Phillips for something else that the Reds need (like another legit SP, or a catching upgrade), without costing the team too many runs at 2B (and Ryan Freel as insurance in case Keppinger gets hit by a bus in June). Making a good Phillips trade could be enough to move the Reds from fringe contender to actual contender...
   26. thinkmaui Posted: February 18, 2008 at 03:14 AM (#2693348)
In regards to Phillips, it's worth mentioning that he accumulated 32% of his at bats last year against left-handed pitchers, which is far more than the likely year to year average of around 25% or so. This matters because he is a far better hitter against the lefty's, both last season and in his career. There may be a few more LHP's in the division (Cubs/Pirates) than normal, and I believe the Reds had two left-handed hitters(Jr/Dunn) around him the majority of the time in their lineup, so that may also have swayed his percentage of total lefty's faced last season, but one would assume it would retreat to more normal levels in the future.

Having said all that, no way do I believe Keppinger over Phillips is a legit idea, and I'm not even a Brandon Phillips fan. I definitely understand his on base deficiencies, but defensively I have no idea how anyone who has watched him can come to the conclusion that he's not among the better defensive 2b's out there. I may need to play catch up on some of the defensive metrics this sight uses to determine worth, but I can't imagine that based on last season Brandon would not have measured out very well. If he in fact did not, someone shed some light on that for me because I'd be very interested to know exactly how these defensive metrics are achieved. Give me a quick heads up, as I confess to being a newbie on this site. Radically different from the +/- system via The Fielding Bible?
   27. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: February 18, 2008 at 03:48 AM (#2693374)
Not as complete an answer as you deserve, but Keppinger and Phillips both mark as a bit better than average at second by my accounting (Phillips more so, because of his range advantage, Kep is slightly more sure handed). Surprisingly, Phillips' baserunning advantage (outside of steals/CS) isn't that large either (more because of Phillips being less than expected than Keppinger being any great shakes.
If I posted my WAGs for each guy in +/- terms, I'd guess Phillips to be +7 over a season and Keppinger +2 or so.

As for people who know what they're talking about:
mgl's UZR is probably the most respected defensive metric out there. End of year #s aren't publically available (proprietary), but he's found Phillips to be kind of average-ish in the past (-5 in '06 and +3 in the first half of '07).
B-Pro's simple fielding runs doesn't like Phillips much at all.
Here's the Fielding Bible polling and +/- numbers (sounds like you're already familiar with these).
Chris Dial has the Reds (and, by extension, Phillips) as pretty average at second.
David Pinto's PMR has Brandon #1 for '07.
I'm forgetting some other frequently used ones as well...
   28. thinkmaui Posted: February 18, 2008 at 04:18 AM (#2693392)
Thanks for the info. I guess I should preface the Keppinger over Phillips statement as "not being legit." ...If I could in fact become convinced that Keppinger is indeed in the defensive neighborhood of Brandon at 2nd base, then a change of heart might just occur. That's an awfully important position for the team/pitching staff.

Keppinger certainly is an interesting case. It's pretty odd to see someone with his offensive skill set (as a middle infielder) treated by more than one organization as a minor league organizational player/utility type. It makes you think there's something more to his story than we know. Maybe it really is just bad luck though. Maybe it's just about opportunity. He wouldn't be the first.

For the person who wrote earlier about moving Phillips to shortstop, the Reds did in fact talk about that back in the summer of '06. I remember hearing about it back then, and in fact the Reds played Phillips at shortstop for a game or two at shortstop as I recall. They never committed to the idea however, and then they went out an acquired Gonzo to play the position last season. I for one think maybe that's the direction the Reds should be looking in, providing either Brandon or Keppinger can play a competent shortstop, with the other playing 2nd base. Who knows? I'd personally bet on Phillips being the more likely of the two to be able to handle the shortstop gig on an everyday basis, but point taken on Keppinger if he keeps his offensive skill set. And from a cost perspective, he does make a lot of sense. I think he needs to follow up with a little more proof however, and I personally would be more interested in the defensive proof first, as I suspect without really knowing that it may be there that all of these organizations he's played for have not become convinced enough of. Not really sure, just what I suspect...
   29. JPWF13 Posted: February 18, 2008 at 04:22 AM (#2693395)
Incidentally, how many other players are loved/appreciated/whatever by stathead types as much as Keppinger who's value is largely from their ability to hit for average?


The statheads love the Phelpsers- guys whose minor league #s say they can hit, bt MLB teams stubbornly won't let them-

Keppinger is of course a wholly disimilar player to Phelps- Phelps was an above average hitter if he hit .225
Kepp HAS to hit .300

The thing is, the evidence that Kep isn't a real .300 hitter is pretty slim
.309 mlb average in 466 PAs- .321 career minor league average (HIGHER in AA and AAA than in A)
he walks 50% more than he Ks
His .309 career MLB average was compiled with a league average BABIP

If he does have a fluke BABIP year he will win a batting title
   30. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: February 18, 2008 at 04:52 AM (#2693404)
Metrics: I forgot Chone (Sean Smith)!

JPWF13: Sorry, I meant batting average specifically. Obviously, there's a ton of faves who's best or only tool is their bat (or bat and eye, in some cases).

Well, A-Gonz is a decent player, albeit no one's idea of the future. Him aside...
You got a pretty good idea of what Keppinger can do defensively by his work at short last year (a position no one thinks he suited for). Phillips, of course, has spent a lot of time at short over the years, during which he convinced his teams to keep returning him to second. Personally, I still think he could do it, but I could totally see where it might not be worth risking his improvements with the bat for the potential gain.

Part of Keppinger's problem as a prospect was that he really doesn't do much of anything well as a hitter (or, for that matter, project to), other than make contact and hit for a high average - and as a defender other than exert plus body control and hands (which is why he's a lot better at second - neither his quickness nor arm are much to brag about, but he'll convert the balls he can get to). If he can't beat out the regular second baseman, you may not want him in a utility role either (or, so was the thinking, I think).

Part of Keppinger's struggles in A-ball was in his trying to hit for power, iirc.
   31. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 18, 2008 at 05:06 AM (#2693410)
I've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: As an offense-oriented 2B, Keppinger was hilariously unlucky to come up with the Pirates, who absolutely loathed that type of player. He wasn't a bad fielder, but he didn't LOOK like a great fielder, which put him below guys who did in the internal pecking order (even if they couldn't hit).
   32. The District Attorney Posted: February 18, 2008 at 05:14 AM (#2693416)
I knew and said at the time that Keppinger was a better option than Kaz Matsui or Anderson Hernandez. RESPEK!
   33. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: February 18, 2008 at 05:29 AM (#2693429)
Keppinger can't play short, doesn't have the range.

The raw defensive numbers he put up last year at short don't agree with this, but of course that's raw numbers and a small sample.

I expect you're right, though. But even if he doesn't have a true shortstop's range, he's dynamite as a guy who can bat for your shortstop in the late innings and then go in to play the position - meaning you don't have to waste two bench spots to PH for your SS.

I agree with M. Valentin and Gambling Rent - the Reds have a dynamite bench option in Keppinger. I see no reason to trade Brandon Phillips just in order to get Jeff Keppinger in the lineup.

I think the contract wasn't a real good contract - there was no need to give the guy an $11 million payoff all the way out in 2011, nor was there any need to tie him down with a $12 million trade-kicker vesting option for 2012, by which time he will be 31 years old and quite likely no longer a second baseman. But they locked him up nice and cheap for his arb years, and Phillips is a nice player - the kind you build around.
   34. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: February 18, 2008 at 05:38 AM (#2693434)
Of all the second basemen in the majors, I count maybe ten who I'd rather have for the next four years than Phillips. Utley, Roberts, Cano, Pedroia, Hudson, Kendrick, and Asdrubal Cabrera. That's seven. MAYBE Kelly Johnson, Hill, Kinsler or Weeks.
   35. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 18, 2008 at 06:03 AM (#2693453)

I agree with M. Valentin and Gambling Rent - the Reds have a dynamite bench option in Keppinger. I see no reason to trade Brandon Phillips just in order to get Jeff Keppinger in the lineup.


Nobody's saying to trade Brandon Phillips for peanuts. Any trade involving Phillips wouldn't be just in order to get Jeff Keppinger in the lineup. They could definitely use another starting pitcher or two, they have a catcher that had a .271 OBP last year, and their plan B for the loss of their two corner outfielders, one because they don't value him and the other being old and fragile, is a punch-and-judy utility guy coming off a serious injury or an older pretend-prospect whose upside is that of an outfield Homer Bush.

This team thinks they're competing and they're acting like they're going to compete. They have too many holes to worry about fixing before "good spare 2B" is on their list. It's the equivalent of being carjacked and worrying that the thief has your lunch that you left on the passenger seat.
   36. Ozzie's gay friend Posted: February 18, 2008 at 07:33 AM (#2693505)
Using OPS+ silly here.

Kep is a nice player, but when he's green as hell.
   37. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: February 18, 2008 at 12:49 PM (#2693563)
I don't think ironic is the right word, but it's funny that Phillips is now blocking Keppinger at 2b given that Phillips was recruited by Georgia to play in the infield but was told that Keppinger, the incumbent SS, wasn't moving.
   38. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 18, 2008 at 02:53 PM (#2693591)
Kep is a nice player, but when he's green as hell.

Kep isn't the one who flails away against major league pitchers.
   39. Computers are smart Posted: February 18, 2008 at 06:49 PM (#2693807)
lmfao at #34 ... Phillips may not be top 3, but hes def top 5 ... Pedroia? Really? apart from getting on base, what does he really do? KJ? chuckle ... AbsCab?

The Phillips trashing has reached new heights when JLow decided to chime in.
   40. JJ1986 Posted: February 18, 2008 at 06:57 PM (#2693812)
lmfao at #34 ... Phillips may not be top 3, but hes def top 5 ... Pedroia? Really? apart from getting on base, what does he really do? KJ? chuckle ... AbsCab?

What's so funny about Kelly Johnson? He's one of the better hitting second baseman in the game.
   41. Computers are smart Posted: February 18, 2008 at 07:51 PM (#2693862)
If we were talking about just hitting, point taken on Pedroia and KJ ... but I thought we were talking about complete baseball player ... my bad.

On the subject of lucky fluke hrs, Holliday had 13 himself last year and I don't see anyone predicting his demise.
   42. JJ1986 Posted: February 18, 2008 at 09:44 PM (#2693965)
Phillips might be a better player than Johnson and Pedroia and he might not. I don't think it's so obvious as to dismiss it with a chuckle. I'd say he's a better fielder than either and both are better hitters. How much so, I can't estimate, but they're probably close in overall value. I'd pick Johnson first, then Pedroia, then Phillips, based on their approaches at the plate, even if they had the same win value.
   43. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: February 18, 2008 at 11:16 PM (#2694061)
The Phillips trashing has reached new heights when JLow decided to chime in.

Calling someone one of the top ten second basemen in the game is trashing? You're nuts.

Phillips is more than two full years older than Pedroia (for one example), and believe me, that matters. Especially at second base, where the aging curve is worse than for any other position except catcher.

When Phillips was Pedroia's age, he was still a minor leaguer.
   44. Danny Posted: February 18, 2008 at 11:30 PM (#2694075)
Mark Ellis is serially underrated.
   45. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: February 18, 2008 at 11:58 PM (#2694101)
On the subject of lucky fluke hrs, Holliday had 13 himself last year and I don't see anyone predicting his demise.

Across MLB, 29% of all homers are classified as "just enough" at Hit Tracker. (Yes, I did check - it was 29.1% in one league & 28.9% in the other - neat symmetry).

Matt Holiday had 38% of his as J.E. while Phillips was at 47%. Both are higher, but Phillips was significantly higher than Holiday.

Holiday had 21 other homers. If that was 71% of his total (in other words, if J.E. made up the normal 29%, Holliday would've hit 30 homers. That's four fewer than he actually hit, and barely a 10% reduction.

Phillips had 16 non-J.E. homers. One would expect 23 homers (barely - 22.53). He actually hit 30, seven more - about a 25% reduction.

Though Holiday's total were inflated, Phillips's total were even more inflated.

Let's add in another factor -- Holiday's had two years in a row like that. You can argue he actually had a slightly off power year that was masked by all those just enough'ers. Phillips's previous career high is 16.

Furthermore, it's less a case of predicting Phillips's demise & more a case of saying his power isn't likely to be sustained. That doesn't mean he'll be a bad player (and thus rumors of his demise are greatly exagerrated) but it does mean that if the Reds are paying him expecting him to replicate his numbers, they're in trouble.
   46. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: February 19, 2008 at 01:06 AM (#2694138)
Nobody's saying to trade Brandon Phillips for peanuts.

Actually, if he's apparently no better than Jeff Keppinger, and your whole strategy is to flog him based on his "pretty homer total"... isn't relative peanuts the likeliest outcome? I mean, none of us have a freaking clue whether Kriv has been shopping Phillips or not, and so you're only bashing him based on a deal he hasn't done - which to me means you wouldn't care so much what comes back.

Phillips obviously has trade value, but to advocate trading him - what are you looking for? You mentioned three possibilities, let's take them each in turn.

You suggested firming up the outfield possibles. I think we can all agree that trading your starting second baseman and pushing your best reserve into the starting lineup, in order to strengthen your bench options, is circular move of near-zero benefit. Besides, if Dunn or Griffey goes down, isn't calling up Jay Bruce going to be a better option than almost anyone you can get?

You suggested bringing in a new catcher. This I could get behind, if it weren't for the fact that they have a pretty decent-hitting catcher already, and he doesn't play because the starter - everyone finally realizes - is a defensive standout. Besides, it's pretty evident to me that Ross adds significant risk to the team, which in the Reds' position is a solid deal. 95% of catchers don't have his upside.

Finally, you suggested starting pitching. This, I can actually get behind - and if you can overcome the reluctance of other GMs to swap a starting pitcher for a position player, more power to you. The key is that the new SP should be more reliable than the #3, or have more upside than the guys at the end of the pen. Finding a better #3/4 option than Belisle would certainly upgrade the team's frontline talent. I'm not sure that guy is coming at the expense of Brandon Phillips, but I suppose I'd be willing to be proved wrong.

But remember - Keppinger hasn't shown that he can play every day and hit that near-magic .290 - and until he has, the jury remains out on him. Trade Phillips to fill another hole, and you risk second base becoming more of a hole than anywhere else on the team - because the other options are Jerry Gil, Paul Janish, and Juan Freaking Castro (With Leg For An Arm and An Arm For a Leg).

Second basemen get injured a lot, and Keppinger would be facing a hell of a lot more punishing season than he ever has before. I hate the idea of pushing a guy like that into a starting role for a projected pennant race, with absolutely nothing behind him if he gets hurt or sucks.

As a result, I think Keppinger isn't necessarily much more valuable as a starter than as a primary bench option. He can back up six positions, has already shown his ability to play a bench role without losing his offense, his talents are sufficiently unique that you can leverage them all to hell in a bench role (and Dusty knows how to get value out of his reserves). Keppinger offers the redundancy that you need over a 162-game season, and to swap out Phillips to improve your #3 starter and lose that redundancy is going to bite you hard at some point during the year.
   47. thinkmaui Posted: February 19, 2008 at 01:16 AM (#2694151)
Sometimes simple is better. Again, Brandon Phillips last year faced LHP's a seriously high % of the time compared to what can be classified as normal. He had 208 at bats vs LHP's and hit as many HR's (15) in those at bats as the 442 he had vs RHP's. His other peripheral stats vs LHP's were also far superior. This is true of his entire career so far as well obviously.

Not sure exactly what we can make of the "just enoughs"...Except to say that maybe a fairly high percentage of those came against the LHP's? He hit either 4,5 or 6 home runs in every month last season. Does that imply he was consistently lucky? The funny thing is yes, he was...But I don't think anything really changed except the number of opportunities he had to rake against the lefty's last year. The Reds were among the worst teams in baseball last season vs LHP's in terms of OPS. It's probably no accident that opposing managers looked to exploit this when they could. Brandon was also placed between Jr and Dunn in the Reds batting order the vast majority of the time last year. The Reds no doubt thought this thru and decided to make it more difficult to gain the platoon advantage on Phillips by hitting him in between two left-handed hitters that opposing managers saved the lefty's out of their bullpen for.

Phillips IS/WAS lucky, but it's opportunistic luck. His skills supported last years numbers based on opportunity. He will probably not get the same number of at bats vs LHP's in 2008, but if he does his numbers at age 27 are not going to regress THAT much. It's pretty simple me thinks...Brandon can hit the LHP's. Against the RHP's he's not very good. His defense makes or breaks him in some context, and in my opinion that makes him an above average 2nd baseman overall, but not by all that much unless he figures out how to fare better vs the RHP's, which probably isn't likely.
   48. Danny Posted: February 19, 2008 at 03:03 AM (#2694207)
Phillips IS/WAS lucky, but it's opportunistic luck. His skills supported last years numbers based on opportunity. He will probably not get the same number of at bats vs LHP's in 2008, but if he does his numbers at age 27 are not going to regress THAT much. It's pretty simple me thinks...Brandon can hit the LHP's. Against the RHP's he's not very good.

Why do you think his performance against LHP last year is repeatable? Entering 2007, Phillips had a .669 OPS against LHP in 274 career PA. In 2007, he had a .984 OPS in 222 PA. I think that'll regress a ton toward his .810 career mark.
   49. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 19, 2008 at 03:17 AM (#2694212)

But remember - Keppinger hasn't shown that he can play every day and hit that near-magic .290 - and until he has, the jury remains out on him.


Sure he has - Keppinger's shown for years that he can play every day and hit that near-magic .290 in the majors. He wasn't spending all that time playing tiddlywinks.


Trade Phillips to fill another hole, and you risk second base becoming more of a hole than anywhere else on the team - because the other options are Jerry Gil, Paul Janish, and Juan Freaking Castro (With Leg For An Arm and An Arm For a Leg).


Everything's a risk. There's a risk that Keppinger could be poor (as there's an equal risk that Phillips could be poor). But the Reds seriously looking at Affeldt as a starter isn't a risk, it's a reality.

Even if I accept "proven" which I don't really, on what world is Brandon Phillips a proven valuable commodity? Prior to 2006, he was thought of as a failed prospect that the Reds picked up on the scrap heap with a .735 OPS in AAA and he had all of an 88 OPS+ in 2006.

Phillips was a far, far bigger risk heading into 2006 than Jeff Keppinger is going into 2008. And the Reds have reaped the rewards of not confusing "did" with "probably will."
   50. thinkmaui Posted: February 19, 2008 at 03:57 AM (#2694247)
Danny--Yeah, I wasn't even looking at Phillips in his Cleveland years, where the only significant sample size would have come from his age 22 season in 2003. He obviously hit nobody, anywhere back then. I should have clarified...

Does that matter? Sure. I don't think it contextually matters too much though, as he's obviously a different player at age 26/27 than he was back then. I do agree with you that he's likely to see his numbers regress somewhat vs LHP's when compared to what he did against them last season. I certainly wouldn't say a ton however, because drawing conclusions about what he did at age 22 while in Cleveland is light years from where we are now w/Brandon.

In '06/'07 while a Red at age 25/26 Brandon has an OPS vs LHP's of .902...That's below that of last years high water mark of .984, and about where I'd bet it would be on average this upcoming season. Maybe it will be .870, or .940, but in that neighborhood. You seem to feel it will regress more to that now new career mark of .810. I'll definitely take the over on that that...
   51. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: February 19, 2008 at 04:25 AM (#2694265)
Phillips IS/WAS lucky, but it's opportunistic luck. His skills supported last years numbers based on opportunity. He will probably not get the same number of at bats vs LHP's in 2008, but if he does his numbers at age 27 are not going to regress THAT much. It's pretty simple me thinks...Brandon can hit the LHP's. Against the RHP's he's not very good. His defense makes or breaks him in some context, and in my opinion that makes him an above average 2nd baseman overall, but not by all that much unless he figures out how to fare better vs the RHP's, which probably isn't likely.

The problem I have with this -- even if his power was caused by platoon differential, his 30 HR aren't likely to be repeatable if he's oh-so-closely constantly making it. It's just a really bad sign when half the homers barely sneak over. Platooning wouldn't make it an opportunistic skill, just part of his luck. If a guy can crunch platoon pitching that well as a skill, he should have more than half get out by plenty. Platoon or no platoon, he's a bad bet to hit 30 if he can't consistently clear the fence.
   52. ValueArb Posted: February 19, 2008 at 05:42 AM (#2694328)
the guy couldn't get a job in New York, Pittsburgh or Kansas city, all three teams have a need for middle infielders. But the Reds should dump their starter, and start Keppinger .. a super utility, at best.


This nails the whole problem on the head. Sure Keppinger may turn out to be just as good as Phillips, but a team as close to a championship as the Red's can't take huge risks like this. It's better to spend just 10% of your annual budget on Phillips to guarantee that World Series appearance.
   53. thinkmaui Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:00 AM (#2694342)
Scrolling up I see where you listed the JE's of Holliday and Phillips. You concluded that Phillips could have been expected to hit 23 HR's based on the Hit Tracker data in 2007.

We really aren't far apart, and this is pretty silly. In 536 at bats in 2006, Brandon Phillips hit 17 HR's. In 114 more at bats in 2007, he hit 30. If he gets 600-650 at bats as he did in 2007, I'd expect Brandon to hit somewhere right around 23-25 HR's. I'm pretty sure we are talking semantics here, and whether you qualify opportunity in general or platoon based, or the percentage of HR's he hit that were apparently classified as JE's, we aren't far apart at all.

None of this changes the whole Keppinger discussion either. Some on here are in favor of advocating that the Reds would be better off trading Phillips and playing Keppinger at 2nd base. I agree in fact that in terms of overall offensive value, Keppinger could easily be as valuable as Phillips, quite possibly even better. But the defensive value of the two is far more in question, depending on whatever your favorite flavor of the month defensive metric happens to be, or what your observations of seeing them both play are.

I'm not even a huge Phillips fan at all, but I'm definitely not on board with the thinking that it's a good idea to trade him because Keppinger can approach his overall worth, and what you can get for Phillips would be worth sending Phillips packing because of Keppinger. I understand that many on here apparently are, I'm just not. I would need a little more proof defensively. Offensive metrics are so much easier to prove. Maybe Keppinger really does have that kind of overall worth, I'm not saying I'm sure he doesn't. But if he does, there are 4 other organizations that have been dead wrong about his value, because he's basically done the same thing offensively everywhere he's been. This is certainly possible, but I'm not arrogant enough to feel that all of them have been wrong without knowing more. He can definitely hit for average and has excellent plate discipline. If his defense up the middle is even average, why wouldn't anyone have jumped at the chance to give him a shot? I need to see him play more myself...
   54. The Adam Dunn Effort #44 Posted: February 19, 2008 at 08:46 AM (#2694444)
I apologize in advance, but if Harvey answers another email by addressing someone by name, I might start being a Padres fan. Help me... Good posts can be recognized without referencing somebody's statement or and most of all, name.
   55. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 19, 2008 at 12:29 PM (#2694451)
Post 54:

Approximately 20 percent of the posts in this forum result from folks not understanding who is writing to who. Over and over again their is noise generated by posters not being able to discern who is discussing what post.

I want posters to know that I am writing to THEM.

If you find pointed conversation uncomfortable then perhaps you might enjoy watching "O" or helping out a local kindergarten where everyone is special.
   56. BeanoCook Posted: February 19, 2008 at 01:23 PM (#2694457)
I apologize in advance, but if Harvey answers another email by addressing someone by name, I might start being a Padres fan. Help me... Good posts can be recognized without referencing somebody's statement or and most of all, name.


I don't see what the big deal is. Mr: The Adam Dunn Effort
   57. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 19, 2008 at 04:18 PM (#2694554)
TADE, don't e-mails normally start off addressing someone by name? I know when I send an e-mail, I don't address it "to anybody who reads this."
   58. chemdoc Posted: February 19, 2008 at 04:39 PM (#2694564)
To whom it may concern:

What?
   59. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 19, 2008 at 04:46 PM (#2694570)
"because the other options are Jerry Gil, Paul Janish, and Juan Freaking Castro (With Leg For An Arm and An Arm For a Leg)"

And Ryan Freel as well, don't forget. You'd need a new 4th OF in that scenario, but that's not an insurmountable difficulty, is it?

"Sure Keppinger may turn out to be just as good as Phillips, but a team as close to a championship as the Red's can't take huge risks like this."

Jeremy Affeldt in the rotation isn't a huge risk? I think there's a much greater chance of the Reds' rotation/pen blowing up than of Keppinger sucking on toast.
   60. TDF, situational idiot Posted: February 19, 2008 at 05:24 PM (#2694611)
The Phillips contract isn't really for that much money, or that long of a commitment. Guys as good both offensively and defensively (BPro says 9.2 WARP3 last year) make similar money. Despite the fact that so many want to say "The Reds can't fit X into their budget", never once since Castellini has become principal owner has he even hinted at a budget; never once has Krivsky said "We made X move for financial reasons". As others have pointed out, moving Keppinger into the starter's role opens other holes in the lineup. And I've seen more defensive metrics showing Phillips to be a superb 2B than ones showing him as average.

Is paying Phillips and using Keppinger again as a "supersub" the best use of every last dime? Possibly not. But it isn't a terrible use of resources, it isn't crippling to the team financially, it isn't overpaying, and a reasonable arguement can be made that the team wouldn't be better off trading Phillips. I really don't see why people are so aghast at this signing.
   61. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 19, 2008 at 05:43 PM (#2694625)
I really don't see why people are so aghast at this signing.

I think people get mad at the M.O. of mid-market teams to spend money on fairly fungible talent, and then let really good players depart b/c they're too expensive.

This team is going to spend $7M p.a. on Phillips when they have a guy who would provide 90% of his production for free, and then they'll let Adam Dunn walk b/c he's too expensive.

It's just like the Twins wasting money on Livan, R. Ortiz, M. Lamb, S. Ponson, N. Punto, when they're barely above replacement level, and getting rid of Johan.
   62. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 19, 2008 at 05:50 PM (#2694631)
This team is going to spend $7M p.a. on Phillips when they have a guy who would provide 90% of his production for free, and then they'll let Adam Dunn walk b/c he's too expensive.

I'd like to see proof that Adam Dunn is a better player than Brandon Phillips and will be one going forward. I'm not saying it's not true, I just don't think it can be assumed, given Dunn's defense and skill set.
   63. JPWF13 Posted: February 19, 2008 at 05:50 PM (#2694632)
The Phillips trashing has reached new heights when JLow decided to chime in.

Calling someone one of the top ten second basemen in the game is trashing? You're nuts.


Just to be annoying- among 2Bs with 500+ PAs from 2006-2007, Phillips ranks 18th in OPS+ :

1 Chase Utley  134  1352 2006 2007 
 2 Robinson Cano   122  1177 2006 2007 
 3 Jeff Kent 120  1035 2006 2007 
 4 Kelly Johnson   117   608 2007 2007 
 5 Freddy Sanchez  111  1285 2006 2007 
 6 Dan Uggla 110  1411 2006 2007 
 7 Ian Kinsler  107  1040 2006 2007 
 8 Brian Roberts   105  1345 2006 2007 
 9 Orlando Hudson  104  1251 2006 2007 
   10 Placido Polanco 103  1136 2006 2007 
   11 Rickie Weeks 102   919 2006 2007 
   12 Dustin Pedroia  101   679 2006 2007 
   13 Aaron Hill 99  1263 2006 2007 
   14 Howie Kendrick   99   636 2006 2007 
   15 Jose Valentin 99   615 2006 2007 
   16 Mark Ellis 98  1142 2006 2007 
   17 Ray Durham 97  1083 2006 2007 
   18 Brandon Phillips 97  1289 2006 2007 
   19 Mark Grudzielanek   95  1072 2006 2007 
   20 Tadahito Iguchi  95  1160 2006 2007 
   21 Ron Belliard  93  1147 2006 2007 
   22 Luis Castillo 92  1267 2006 2007 
   23 Chris Burke   85   776 2006 2007 
   24 Mark Loretta  84  1214 2006 2007 
   25 Jamey Carroll 82   802 2006 2007 
+----+-----------------+----+-----+----+----+ 
   64. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 19, 2008 at 05:53 PM (#2694634)
Cowboy:

If Dunn keeps the weight off he will be a very valuable player for the next four years. If he gets moved to first where his soft hands and lateral quickness become real assets his value goes up a tick as well.

Considering that Adam is in his walk year and in his prime he is my darkhorse pick to win NL MVP. If he shows up at spring training in shape I fully expect Dunn to crank out 50 odd homers in 2008.
   65. JPWF13 Posted: February 19, 2008 at 05:54 PM (#2694635)
Among 2007 2B with 300+ PAs, Phillips was 15th in OPS+

Granted some above him like Uggla are much worse defensively making Phillips a better player- but come on. don't be blinded by 30/30- he's a solid player but no star.
   66. JPWF13 Posted: February 19, 2008 at 05:59 PM (#2694643)
I'd like to see proof that Adam Dunn is a better player than Brandon Phillips and will be one going forward. I'm not saying it's not true, I just don't think it can be assumed, given Dunn's defense and skill set.


2007 Winshares: Dunn 21, Phillips 18
2006: Dunn 20, Phillips 14

2007 Warp3: Phillips 9.2, Dunn 5.7
2006 Dunn 4.8, Phillips 3.9

in 2007 BPro's defensive #s LOVE Phillips- bit since BPRo's defensive metrics get more abuse than any other system I don't know what to make of that...

If Phillips really is as good as BPro's 2007 numbers then he is a start level player
I don't see it.
   67. rfloh Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:01 PM (#2694650)
This team is going to spend $7M p.a. on Phillips when they have a guy who would provide 90% of his production for free, and then they'll let Adam Dunn walk b/c he's too expensive


I'm not sure it's clear that Dunn would be a better investment than Phillips, given the type of contracts corner OF types get.

Per BPro, Dunn offensively, the last 4 years, in runs above average: 44, 37, 18, 32.

Defensively, he has a pretty bad rep. If his D is around 10-15 runs below average, combined with a positional penalty, it's not really clear that paying him ~$50M would be better than paying Phillips $27M.
   68. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:03 PM (#2694652)
I'd like to see proof that Adam Dunn is a better player than Brandon Phillips and will be one going forward. I'm not saying it's not true, I just don't think it can be assumed, given Dunn's defense and skill set.

Looking at Chris Dial's defensive #'s, Dunn looks to be a shade below average in LF, Phillips a shade above. Maybe 5 runs difference. Dunn put up a 136 OPS+ and was over 140 in 2 of the 3 previous years. Phillips was at 105 OPS+ and that is the only decent year in his career. There are also indications that Phillips will be hard pressed to repeat his year, lots of "just-enough" HRs and a big platoon advantage against LHP.

Clearly Dunn needs to stay in shape, and I'd put a weight clause in his contract, but I think he's at least 1.5-2 wins better than Phillips going forward.
   69. Stately, Plump Buck Mulligan Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:04 PM (#2694653)
I really don't see why people are so aghast at this signing.


The Reds should've done what the really smart GM did -- trade Phillips for pennies on the dollar, and then play Ronnie Belliard or Josh "594 OPS" Barfield in his place.
   70. rfloh Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:04 PM (#2694655)
Phillips last 2 years, offensively, in runs above average, BPro: -1, 9.
   71. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:05 PM (#2694657)
If Dunn keeps the weight off he will be a very valuable player for the next four years. If he gets moved to first where his soft hands and lateral quickness become real assets his value goes up a tick as well.

I know Dunn is talented, but he isn't going to play first for the Reds with Votto there and he may not be inclined to stay in shape in Cincinatti either, as he hasn't really been a fitness nut during his time there either. He is valuable, but being a below average left fielder means Dunn loses a lot of ground to Phillips on the defensive side of the ball. And since Phillips fast and athletic, while Dunn has apparently lost some of the athleticism he had when was drafted, I don't know that I would be comfortable with an NL team signing him long term over Phillips, which was Snapper's point in #61.
   72. Danny Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:08 PM (#2694661)
Just to be annoying- among 2Bs with 500+ PAs from 2006-2007, Phillips ranks 18th in OPS+ :

Here's how the projection see it (offensively).

ZIPS (2B by RC/27)
1) Utley,Chase
2) Johnson,Kelly
3) Hudson,Orlando
4) Cano,Robinson
5) Roberts,Brian
6) Pedroia,Dustin
7) Weeks,Rickie
8) Polanco,Placido
9) Kent,Jeff
10)Kinsler,Ian
11)Keppinger,Jeff
...
19)Phillips,Brandon

I don't think that's park adjusted, which should help Kepp and Phillips

PECOTA (2B by EQA)
1) Utley
2) Roberts
3) Kent
4) Johnson
5) Weeks
6) Cano
7) Pedroia
8) Kinsler
9) Ramirez
10)Polanco
...
18)Keppinger
...
26)Phillips
   73. rfloh Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:08 PM (#2694662)
in 2007 BPro's defensive #s LOVE Phillips- bit since BPRo's defensive metrics get more abuse than any other system I don't know what to make of that...


RZR loves Phillips too. As much as BPro's numbers.
   74. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:10 PM (#2694665)
Defensively, he has a pretty bad rep. If his D is around 10-15 runs below average

I'm not sure this is accurate. I think he was bad in 2006 when he was out of shape, but in general I think he's not terrible. Also, I think he could do a decent job at 1B, which solves the problem.

In addition, there was no need to pay Phillips yet. Why not make him repeat his career year?
   75. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:11 PM (#2694669)
Looking at Chris Dial's defensive #'s, Dunn looks to be a shade below average in LF, Phillips a shade above. Maybe 5 runs difference. Dunn put up a 136 OPS+ and was over 140 in 2 of the 3 previous years. Phillips was at 105 OPS+ and that is the only decent year in his career. There are also indications that Phillips will be hard pressed to repeat his year, lots of "just-enough" HRs and a big platoon advantage against LHP.

Per VORP (BRAA does not have a positional adjustment), Dunn was 69 runs above replacement and Phillips was 59.8, I have a hard time believing Phillips doesn't make up ten runs on baserunning and defense over two years (I also think he's better than shade above average at second, although I do like Chris' numbers generally, I just find it hard to believe a former SS with his tools, who looks like he does in the field, is only a shade above average).
   76. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:14 PM (#2694673)
And since Phillips fast and athletic, while Dunn has apparently lost some of the athleticism he had when was drafted, I don't know that I would be comfortable with an NL team signing him long term over Phillips, which was Snapper's point in #61.

Do patient sluggers really age worse than athletic 2Bs? I though 2B aged worse than anyone?
   77. rfloh Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:14 PM (#2694674)
#72,

Where did you get those PECOTA EQA projections from?
   78. Danny Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:17 PM (#2694678)
Where did you get those PECOTA EQA projections from?

BP's weighted means spreadsheet.
   79. rfloh Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:29 PM (#2694689)
I'm not sure this is accurate. I think he was bad in 2006 when he was out of shape, but in general I think he's not terrible. Also, I think he could do a decent job at 1B, which solves the problem.


I don't know. In 2007, ZR had him as only slightly below average, RZR as pretty bad: -18.

UZR from 2003-2006, per 150 games: -14, -6, -6, -19. -29 until mid 2007. He did not make the list of worst UZR, so his UZR improved as the season went on.

As for 1b, they have Votto.

In addition, there was no need to pay Phillips yet. Why not make him repeat his career year?


Because if he repeats his career year, he would be looking at a bigger contract?
   80. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:31 PM (#2694692)
Actually, even in decent shape Adam is pretty dreadful in left field because he simply cannot track a ball to save his life plus he has poor acceleration. He can run but it takes him two days to get moving. And God forbid he take his off a ball because then all bets are off as to whether he will pick it back up in flight or get bonked in the noggin. Or run into the wall at full speed as he attempts to do several things at once. Adam is a bit challenged in left field.

But when he's a trim 260ish he can kill that horsehide. Smart baserunner too.

Phillips is Shawon Dunston with a tad more plate control and a bit less defense. He is also very animalted in his play which the fans appreciate while Dunn picks his cuticles beteween pitches.

Dunn is the better player now and 3 years from now barring he keeps away from the Shoney's.....
   81. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:36 PM (#2694697)
Do patient sluggers really age worse than athletic 2Bs? I though 2B aged worse than anyone?

Totally forgot about that, but Phillips hasn't been a 2B his whole career, it's only been the last few hasn't it? I think that will probably help extend his shelf life.
   82. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:37 PM (#2694700)
Dunn is the better player now and 3 years from now barring he keeps away from the Shoney's.....

Maybe, but who would you rather sign, Phillips for 4/$27 mil or Dunn for 4/45 or something like that (could be a lot more)? I'd rather sign Phillips.
   83. rfloh Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:40 PM (#2694702)
BP's weighted means spreadsheet.


Maybe I'm blind, but I don't see any EQA numbers in the one I downloaded. All I see are zeros in the EQA column.

Link please? Thanks.
   84. Danny Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:46 PM (#2694711)
   85. rfloh Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:46 PM (#2694712)
Dunn is the better player now and 3 years from now barring he keeps away from the Shoney's...


Yeah, but how much is Dunn going to get in FA? Carlos Lee got $100M. While their skillsets are different, they are similar in that both are slugging corner OFs with similar looking power numbers.

Even Jose Guillen, going on 32, with off the field issues, and not the hitter that Dunn is, got $36M.
   86. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:49 PM (#2694713)
Cowboy:

Not being cute but who is the better player and the financial issue are linked but were presented as separate questions.

Also, I think Adam will sign for a lot more dollars than that if he has the year I expect he will in 2008. More like Carlos Lee money. So in that regard Phillips is the better signing.

Even though Adam is the better player now and in the immediate future...........
   87. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:53 PM (#2694716)
Not being cute but who is the better player and the financial issue are linked but were presented as separate questions.

Harvey,

My initial response was to this in #61:

This team is going to spend $7M p.a. on Phillips when they have a guy who would provide 90% of his production for free, and then they'll let Adam Dunn walk b/c he's too expensive.

So while in the thread, they were seperate questions earlier on, they weren't when I hopped in, and it wasn't my intent to view them as seperate questions.

Also, I think Adam will sign for a lot more dollars than that if he has the year I expect he will in 2008. More like Carlos Lee money. So in that regard Phillips is the better signing.

That's where I come down too, which I think substantially weakens the argument that the money spent on Phillips should be used to retain Dunn, who is really their only good player they are in danger of losing over the length of this contract.
   88. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 19, 2008 at 06:55 PM (#2694722)
Totally forgot about that, but Phillips hasn't been a 2B his whole career, it's only been the last few hasn't it? I think that will probably help extend his shelf life.

He's always been a 2B in the majors. In his minor league career he went back and forth with SS, more 2B I think.

I worry that this was Phillips fluke year, and he'll revert to a 90 OPS+ kind of player. I just wouldn't commit to him now. We know Dunn can put up 140ish OPS+. If Cinn can't use him b/c of Votto, trade Votto or Dunn.
   89. Danny Posted: February 19, 2008 at 07:03 PM (#2694726)
Totally forgot about that, but Phillips hasn't been a 2B his whole career, it's only been the last few hasn't it? I think that will probably help extend his shelf life.

I don't think 2B have shorter careers just because they get banged up at the position. I'd guess some of it is that they're moved off of SS in the first place because they're generally less athletic.
   90. TDF, situational idiot Posted: February 19, 2008 at 08:12 PM (#2694809)
This team is going to spend $7M p.a. on Phillips when they have a guy who would provide 90% of his production for free, and then they'll let Adam Dunn walk b/c he's too expensive.


Keppinger isn't "free" - not only do you have his salary, but if you make him the starter you have to replace him on the bench. Also, if you trade Phillips for what they really need - a innings-eating SP, those guys make more than $7M/yr on the open market.

And I'll repeat: Why do you assume they'll let Dunn walk because he's too expensive? Especially since Castellini has gone out of his way to say the Reds will do what they can to keep him?

If they can't keep him, it won't be because of money. It'll because the buffoon "HOF broadcaster" has been all over his ass for the past 5 years, bemoaning strikeouts and "clutch hitting" and other crap, and most Reds fans take the "HOF broadcaster"'s word as gospel. Dunn's been quoted as saying his mom's friends want to know why Marty hates him so much. Every loss is directly his fault, while almost every win is despite his efforts (except, of course, the walk-off salami vs. the Indians in '06). Marty & Thom Brenneman and Jeff Brantley and their legions of dittoheads are 90% of the reason the Reds will have trouble resigning Dunn.
   91. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 19, 2008 at 08:23 PM (#2694825)
Also, if you trade Phillips for what they really need - a innings-eating SP, those guys make more than $7M/yr on the open market.


Win now Krivsky! Brandon Phillips for Matt Morris!
   92. The Adam Dunn Effort #44 Posted: February 20, 2008 at 01:27 AM (#2695174)
Trade Dunn while value is highest, this summer before trade deadline I say. Invest in the future. The Reds are at least a year away. Couldn't find anywhere to volunteer today. So I went to work.
   93. TDF, situational idiot Posted: February 20, 2008 at 04:05 PM (#2695498)
So the question seems to be, is Phillips overpaid? While last year was his career year (so far), it was also only his 3rd full year in the majors; also, every contract is negotiated with at least one side assuming that past performance isn't just indicative, but the actual base line, of future performance.

So I printed off a list of the win shares leaders at 2B from last year, because it includes defense. Then, I went to Cots to look up each's contract status.

Utley - 28 WS - 7/$85. Not really comparable, since he's the best 2B in the majors.
Roberts - 24 - 2/$14. Covers last 2 arb years.
Polanco - 23 - 4/$18.4. This is the outlier contract, and a great bargain.
Sanchez - 21 - 2/$11. Covers last 2 arb years.
Cano - 21 - 4/$30. Buys one FA year.
Hill - 20
   94. TDF, situational idiot Posted: February 20, 2008 at 04:22 PM (#2695514)
Crap.

Hill - 20 - pre-arb.
Ellis - 20 - 1/$5 (team option). Last arb year.
Hudson - 20 - 1/$6. Last arb year.
Pedroia - 19 - pre-arb.
Johnson - 19 - arb-eligible.
Phillips - 19 - 4/$27.
Kent - 18 - $9M (option)
Uggla - 17 - pre-arb
Kinsler - 17 - 5/$22. Buys 1 pre-arb year thru 1 FA year.
DeRosa - 17 - 3/$13.
Belliard - 16 - 2/$3.5.

So, of every 2B within 3 WS of Phillips (which I think I read is the "margin of error" in WS), only Kent, Derosa and Belliard were freely available; none of the three were better than Phillips last year, or I'd think in the future. Sanchez's comparable years are slightly less expensive. Cano's contract averages $750k/yr more than Phillips', while Kinsler's contract is for less.

So the Reds could either (1) pay the going rate for the (somewhat) known quantity, or (2) roll the dice on Keppinger being able to take his limited performance from last year and turn it into a full year's production.
   95. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 20, 2008 at 04:25 PM (#2695517)
So the Reds could either (1) pay the going rate for the (somewhat) known quantity, or (2) roll the dice on Keppinger being able to take his limited performance from last year and turn it into a full year's production.

I think the view of Keppinger as having less of a track record is the source of the disagreement. Kep's minor league translations were very strong while Phillips was having less successful seasons (again, by translation) at the major league level. I think Phillips is the more likely player to have his performance crater.
   96. DKDC Posted: February 20, 2008 at 04:34 PM (#2695522)
Roberts - 24 - 2/$14. Covers last 2 arb years.

Actually, the Roberts deal bought out his last arb year and 1 year of free agency. One of the few good signings the Orioles have made of late.
   97. Computers are smart Posted: February 21, 2008 at 03:12 PM (#2696429)
So on these voodoo lists where Phillips is ranked 19th or worse ... you are telling me that if you were a GM you would take each and every one of those ranked higher above Phillips on your team? Good luck with Weeks and Kendrick and maintaining those RC/27 over more than 200ABs this season.

This whole thread was derailed in the manner in which it was delivered ... an attempt to make the Reds look incompetent by basing all the things a good 2B needs to do on OPS+.

HAHAHA look at the retarded REDS overpaying for BRANDON PHILLIPS when clearly the BETTERER second basemans is RIGHT ON THEIR BENCH
   98. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 21, 2008 at 03:18 PM (#2696433)
Good luck with Weeks and Kendrick and maintaining those RC/27 over more than 200ABs this season.

Weeks over Phillips is an easy choice.
   99. Computers are smart Posted: February 21, 2008 at 03:19 PM (#2696434)
"But remember - Keppinger hasn't shown that he can play every day and hit that near-magic .290 - and until he has, the jury remains out on him."


"Sure he has - Keppinger's shown for years that he can play every day and hit that near-magic .290 in the majors. He wasn't spending all that time playing tiddlywinks."

AB for the last 3 years:
116
60
241

Unsure where "hasn't shown he can play every day and hit" is being answered with what is clearly part time duty on his AB totals, but whatever floats your boat Dan.
   100. Computers are smart Posted: February 21, 2008 at 03:25 PM (#2696437)
My own new metric formula ... inspired by Dan ...

Assume a full season of ABs to be 600
Deduct actual ABs from 600 and divide by 600
The resultant value is the percentage of time a player spent playing tiddlywinks.

Jeff Keppinger - % time playing tiddlywinks
2004 - 81%
2005 - 100%
2006 - 90%
2007 - 60%
Total - 88%
Clearly from this metric, Keppinger is far more likely to be playing tiddlywinks than major league baseball.
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