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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

San Diego Padres

Released C-OF Tom Wilson and P Kevin Walker.

Biff will find another job as his recent few years have given him that “Proven Major League Catcher Man” that took him a decade to earn (and rightfully so).  The Padres have decided to go with Miggy Ojeda in backing up Hernandez.

Dan Szymborski Posted: March 30, 2004 at 02:35 PM | 1 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   301. pyrite Posted: January 12, 2004 at 07:09 AM (#571006)
Now that all the players affecting draft pick compensation have shaken out, here's the list of the altered selections, courtesy of the folks at Baseball America:

   302. fracas' hope springs eternal Posted: January 12, 2004 at 03:17 PM (#571007)
pyrite, you should post that list and link to the Primer Lounge this morning.

Beane gave up his first round pick to sign Mike Magnante?!?

That's tragedy, comedy, history, and chaos theory right there. Freakish, really.
   303. MikeinMI Posted: January 14, 2004 at 03:56 PM (#571624)
I smell a Klesko deal in the works. I don't see them sitting Nady.
   304. mommy Posted: January 14, 2004 at 04:22 PM (#571627)
shouldn't nady be playing? is he that atrocious an OF? is he no longer considered a prospect?
   305. mommy Posted: January 14, 2004 at 04:24 PM (#571628)
OK, i see he's now 25 and hasn't accomplished much. still, i thought only a year ago he was considered one of the best hitting prospects around. seems early to give up on him, but i guess the padres think they got a shot to do some things this season.
   306. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: January 14, 2004 at 06:05 PM (#571634)
I think Payton was let go specifically to free up money to sign someone else. For a time, they were interested in Ellis Burks.


I suspect that after Vinnie was in the fold, they approached Bichette about coming out of retirement, and when he said no, they went after Burnitz to fill the same role.
   307. Chris Dial Posted: January 14, 2004 at 06:11 PM (#571636)
Payton is a very good defensive player. In SD, that'll be helpful (Kotsay was outstanding).
   308. Darren Posted: January 14, 2004 at 07:58 PM (#571641)
Well, as a LF last year, Payton had a .857 Zone Rating, vs. .881 for the league.

So Mr. Towers is entrusting the CF position in a park that has a fairly spacious area in right-center to a guy with below-average range for a LF.

UZR says he's above average as a CF. I'd be inclined to trust that number more than raw ZR.

Oh, and that .813 road OPS, Max, would've been below the NL average of .837 for LFs.

Yes, players tend to hit better at home and Payton will be playing CF, so the relevant comp would be avg. CF.
   309. Lester Posted: January 14, 2004 at 08:05 PM (#571642)
For all those who don't like the signing, what do you think the Padres should have done? UZR has Giles as a very bad LF, which indicates he'd likely be a horrendous CF, probably of Bernieesque proportions. What other potential CFs are out there, either in the free-agent market or available via trade?

One question: Are raw zone ratings good measures for OFs who play their home games at Coors? That outfied is friggin' enormous.
   310. Darren Posted: January 14, 2004 at 09:47 PM (#571645)
Gee, here's a guy who's benefiting from the Coors Effect...

Gee, here's a guy whose stats were being dragged down by the Shea effect, who went to Coors and hit well. His OPS+ the last 4 years: 100, 77 (injured), 115, 112. Looks like an average CF at worst.

...who's going to play a position he can no longer play (even the Rox only put him there 8 games last year, which is why the dated UZR numbers are irrelevant), and who's overpaid.

The Rox playing Wilson in center means that Payton's UZRs are irrelevant? I don't think so. It means that the Rockies think that there is at least one better defensive outfielder in the world than Payton.

Show me the better guy they could have gotten for CF for 2/$5.5M.
   311. Lester Posted: January 14, 2004 at 09:59 PM (#571646)
Payton's road numbers were decent last year: .281/.330/.483 (sample size, I know, 302 ABs), which suggests the Coors Effect effect should not be as pronounced with him as it has been with others. And in the 2000-2003 UZR ratings, he was ranked as the third best LF in baseball, which makes me think he's likely to be at least an average CF, if not a little bit better. I'll repeat my earlier question: What should the Padres have done instead of signing Payton?
   312. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: January 14, 2004 at 10:24 PM (#571649)
All I know is that as a Mets fan watching Payton play was one of the most frustrating things I've done. He did incredibly dumb things out there. When the Giambi-Mabry trade went down I was screaming (go on, look it up) that the Mets should have swapped Payton for Giambi just to get him out of town. He's the Toonces of CF.
   313. Mike Posted: January 15, 2004 at 01:58 AM (#571651)
Trading Payton was the beggining of the end for the 2002 Met season. Didn't they lose 13 straight shortly after dealing him?
   314. Mikαεl Posted: January 15, 2004 at 01:35 PM (#571655)
Payton's UZR, year to year.

   315. Mikαεl Posted: January 15, 2004 at 03:29 PM (#571657)
Logic tells us Payton's a notch below a well-below-average Wilson--and he's now on the other side of 30, while I'm heading into my age-28 season.

Logic tells us that, if we assume the Rockies behave perfectly rationally. On the other hand, the best empirical measures disagree with this logical conclusion.

Personally, I'll trust UZR over Clint Hurdle.
   316. Walt Davis Posted: January 15, 2004 at 03:50 PM (#571658)
Logic tells us Payton's a notch below a well-below-average Wilson

Actually logic tells us the Rockies put the wrong guy in CF. You used fielding runs, presumably from Prospectus (which has Wilson as -15 in 2002 and 2003). That same metric has Payton 2 runs above average as a CF in 2001 and 2 runs below average in 2002. If you believe FR, then Payton was an average CF in 2001 and 2002, yet the Rox put the guy who was -15 in CF. How that reflects badly on Payton I don't know.

Prospectus also rates Payton as 3.9 and 5.7 WARP the last 2 seasons. That's worth 2 years $5.5 M.

If you'd told me two years ago that Payton was going to become a better than average player, I'd have never believed you. He had a 278 EQA last year, which is below the LF average of 283 but well above the CF average of 268. That 278 EQA put him roughly in the company of Lee (283), Stewart (283), Matsui (278), Alou (283), Wilkerson (283), Winn (280), White (284), Catalannato (279), Jones (277) and above Ibanez (268), Burnitz (267). I think all those guys except Wilkerson (not arb-eligible yet I don't think) and maybe Cat make more (sometimes much more) than Payton, and Jones is the only other one of them who can play CF.

If you want to compare him to CF, there's Wilson (279), Lofton (280), Pierre (272), Grissom (276), Williams (281) and better than Damon (270), Kotsay (264), Hunter (259). Most of those guys make more than he will.

(Prospectus doesn't report a single 2002 EQA for him, but it was roughly 277).

So according to Prospectus (you brought them in, not me), Payton is a defensively average and offensively above-average CF. And you're saying that's not worth 2 years, $5.5 M.

There's certainly no doubt that Payton plus Ramon Hernandez is better than Kotsay plus Wiki (or whoever), even if Kotsay's offense rebounds.

The charge of a sabermetric bias in favor of Towers is rather ridiculous. Us "statheads" loathed Jay Payton. We scoff at Coors-inflated numbers. We also ridiculed Towers for signing Jarvis to that ridiculous contract.

Far from being evidence of some close-mindedness on the supposedly monolithic "statheads", this is evidence that we (some of us at least) are willing to change our minds when the numbers support a different conclusion. Jay Payton has become an average ML OF (a little below in LF, a little above in CF). Average ML OFs are worth 2 year $5.5 M contracts.

Or show us the better option? Jose Cruz? 277 and 262 EQA the last two years and -13 and -14 runs in CF in 2000 and 2001 (and only 24 games in CF since). Jose Guillen? EQA of 300 (approx.) and 220 (approx), 14 career games in CF and Prospectus has him rated as an average LF and RF for his career. Kenny Lofton? 280 and 273 EQA and 3 and 9 runs above average (surprises me). Of course, he'll be 37.

Those are the three potential CF options that I could think of in this price range (Cameron obviously being a better option than Payton). All three signed for slightly more than Payton and only Lofton has any claim to being better (per Prospectus' stats at least) ... and it seems unlikely he'd have chosen the Padres over the Yankees anyway.

Of course they could keep Kotsay and get a C. I think the only viable option in this price range was Santiago (2 years, $4.3 M). Kotsay and Santiago might be better than Payton and Hernandez.
   317. Chris Dial Posted: January 15, 2004 at 04:40 PM (#571659)
But the answer is: yes, Coors kills some ZR. SOme park factor has to be included.

Payton often played more shallow than he should (didn't know the pitchers and opposing hitters as well as he should have).

He's good at catching balls hit to the position he plays.
   318. Walt Davis Posted: January 15, 2004 at 08:45 PM (#571663)
Well, sure. Hurdle watched these guys every day, and missed the fact that he could've enhanced his job security by having them swap positions. Baseball Men are soooo stupid! Fielding metrics are sooo perfect!

Ummm, no, they're not. But YOU were the one who brought them into this discussion:

That's laughable. It just means the Rockies thought there was one better defensive outfielder ON THEIR ROSTER than Payton--which is nevertheless informative. Mr. Wilson was 15 fielding runs below average in '02 in Florida, and 15 fielding runs below average in '03 on Planet Coors. (I, on the other hand, was 11 runs above average last year, even playing hurt.) Logic tells us Payton's a notch below a well-below-average Wilson--and he's now on the other side of 30, while I'm heading into my age-28 season.

The only evidence you present that Wilson is below average (and you are above) is his FRAA. You then apply the logic that if Payton played left while Wilson played center, the Payton must be inferior. However, the same metric you used to prove that Wilson was "well-below-average" shows that Payton was average. If you're going to dismiss those stats in the case of Payton, you can't use them to bolster the case of Wilson or yourself. And if you can't show that Wilson is "well-below-average", the best your "logic" can hope to do is prove that Payton is worse than Wilson ... only we have no idea how good Wilson is.

So it's now up to you to go shopping for a defensive metric that shows that Wilson is a better CF than Payton. Or at least tell us how you, as a ML CF, are expert in this and can assure us that Payton couldn't catch flies if he was covered in honey.

Me, I don't trust Hurdle or UZR, but I'm not sure how much it matters. Wilson is the bigger "star" than Payton, he's part of the nucleus of the Rockies, he makes a boatload of money, he's an "All-Star centerfielder". It's much easier to just move Payton to left.
   319. Darren Posted: January 15, 2004 at 09:50 PM (#571664)
Mark Kotsay wrote: So if you guys wanna think a Klesko-Payton-Giles outfield is better than a Klesko-Kotsay-Giles outfield, go right ahead.

No one said this. You are a very insecure man.

Mike Cameron wrote: Hey Kotsay, Billy and Paul could have had me instead of you for practically the same money. Whoops.

Hey Mike, don't you remember that Billy and Paul were also trying to sign you, in addition to Kotsay? And if the A's had signed you instead of trading for Kotsay, they'd still have to pay Terrence Long. Oops.
   320. Danny Posted: January 15, 2004 at 10:12 PM (#571666)
Hey Kotsay, Billy and Paul could have had me instead of you for practically the same money. Whoops.

1) They tried to get Cameron

2) The A's have this thing called a budget. They had to unload Long and Hernandez's salaries to pick up Kotsay.
   321. Walt Davis Posted: January 15, 2004 at 11:47 PM (#571667)
As interesting as the debate about Payton's defensive skills (or lack thereof) is, how come nobody's noted how craptastic I think his offense will be at sea level?

OPS of .726, 5% BELOW the league average for the position!

If memory serves, Dan is using Jack Murphy park factors (a significant pitchers park) since we don't know how Petco will play ... though I think he was adjusting for lefties since it has a short porch or something.

But even if I'm wrong and he put the temporary park factors at 100 (my preference I suppose), being 5% below the OPS average for your position and average defensively makes you a player who is just a smidgen below average for your position. In what way is 2 years, $5.5 M out of line for a nearly average CF? And when you figure the alternative was Giles in CF and Nady in the lineup, the improvement here is substantial.

Hey Dan, how about adding the park factor to the ZIPS output?
   322. Darren Posted: January 16, 2004 at 02:34 AM (#571669)
I just wish the A's had used Hernandez to dump Long's contract without in turn acquiring someone else whose contract would prevent them from signing me.

Great idea. Know any teams that want to pay $10 mil/year for Hernandez?
   323. fracas' hope springs eternal Posted: January 16, 2004 at 03:56 AM (#571671)
If memory serves, Dan is using Jack Murphy park factors (a significant pitchers park) since we don't know how Petco will play ... though I think he was adjusting for lefties since it has a short porch or something.

How Petco will play is too dependant on prevailing wind conditions for anyone to predict (and wind conditions will change as high rises are built beyond the outfield wall, meaning the first few years of data won't really tell us much), but.... Down the line in right is only 322', but the deepest part of the OF is 411' to right-center, which will probably steal more homeruns from lefthanders than the corner will give back.

I think what will happen is guys who hit towering flyball homers will be hurt (lots of time to get under those), while guys who hit more line drive-style shots will get doubles and triples even if they don't clear the fence.
   324. Darren Posted: January 16, 2004 at 05:20 PM (#571673)
If the answer is (1) or (2), the answer to your question is simple: The San Diego Padres. If (3), then you have a point. My question to you is this, do you think Kotsay, with his contract, actually has negative value?

#3 is my guess. The Padres don't think Kotsay is worth his contract, so they deal him for other overpriced players. As for me, I think Kotsay's contract is a little overpriced because of his bad year last year. If he were a FA, I doubt he'd get that much. I still think he's a better bet than Hernandez/Long though.

ZIPs, half the guys on your list are under the control of other teams. Many others can't play center. Also, you seem to be pretty optimistic about minor leaguers in general.
   325. Cris E Posted: January 16, 2004 at 06:19 PM (#571674)
I'd be pleased if Towers got Jacque Jones from MN for a starter or 2b/SS. Terry Ryan is still overloaded in the OF and he still hasn't got a #4 starter, so it made sense up until SD spent their money this way. Frankly it still makes sense, but I believe that Peyton is going to come up inadequate in CF and prove that his improvement was at least partially Coors-flation.

(This is of course, my hourly From the Gut post where I predict something, and in exchange for not backing it up I promise not to dance around triumphantly if I'm right.)
   326. Darren Posted: January 17, 2004 at 01:52 AM (#571677)
I'd say that all of them can play center, with varying degrees of success (I'm lookin' at you, Hzydu).

Yes, you're right, they also could have gotten Jeremy Giambi very cheaply and put him in center.

And ZiPS did say freely/cheaply available - not free agents and Padres.

Fine, but then what the hell's point of comparing them to Payton and his $2.75M salary? Why not throw in Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns while you're at it?
   327. fracas' hope springs eternal Posted: January 17, 2004 at 05:37 AM (#571824)
Rey Ordonez? I hope Dan's right about flipping him, but Portland's a strong pitchers' park (for the PCL), so I don't think it'll work out that way.
   328. ColonelTom Posted: January 17, 2004 at 06:15 AM (#571826)
This isn't the worst idea, since it's a minor-league deal. He's only there in case Khalil Greene implodes early on, and who knows, maybe there was more to last year's unexpected hitting outburst than just sample size? (I wouldn't count on that though.)
   329. fracas' hope springs eternal Posted: January 17, 2004 at 04:16 PM (#571829)
Maybe this is what ColonelTom was getting at, but perhaps the idea is that, if Khalil Greene implodes, Vasquez becomes the starter and Rey becomes the backup/defensive replacement. That's a contingency plan I could live with.
   330. Ned Garvin: Male Prostitute Posted: January 17, 2004 at 10:26 PM (#571831)
In theory, I don't mind this so much, but I fear that the Padres will be tempted to actually let Ordonez play for the major league club, in a situation other than what fracas outlined. Even the possibility makes me nervous.
   331. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 19, 2004 at 02:31 AM (#571834)
My guess is that the Padres just needed somebody with a decent glove to play short at AAA, and Rey-Rey was willing to come fairly cheap.
   332. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 19, 2004 at 10:59 PM (#571680)
Which was, in turn, ripping off of Garrison Keillor's lines: "Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above-average."
   333. Mark Donelson Posted: January 21, 2004 at 08:25 PM (#571839)
Neon lights,

Your first point stands. But Brookline and Cambridge are not, alas, in Boston. So I guess it was the little street off Stuart that Tony Clark watched the three strikes go straight down. I wonder what he was doing there...
   334. Cytorax Posted: February 08, 2004 at 01:55 AM (#572410)
Is it beyond hope that Maddux may still end up in SD, pushing Valdes to the pen and Hitchcock to be Cirillo's clubhouse Scrabble buddy?
   335. Cytorax Posted: February 08, 2004 at 01:56 AM (#572411)
That's Akinori Otsuka, the Japanese reliever the Pads signed, not Osuna, of whom I'm rather fond.
   336. fracas' hope springs eternal Posted: February 08, 2004 at 01:57 AM (#572412)
The near-total overhaul of the bullpen is my greatest cause for optimism about the Padres this year. Yeah, it'll be great to have a full season of Brian Giles, and better health from Phil Nevin (and Ryan Klesko), but they're all in their early thirties and injuries could happen at any time. And while I'm optimistic about the continued development of Sean Burroughs, it's possible he'll backslide this year.

But the bullpen was a major disaster last season and it would take multiple injuries/sucky years to produce anything less than substantial improvement there. Basically, from last year to this, the Padres add a full season of Trevor Hoffman, half a season of Rod Beck, a year of Ohtsuka, and now Osuna, who would probably have been their best reliever for the first half of last season.

The young starters will look a lot better, even if they pitch the same as last year.
   337. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 08, 2004 at 02:06 AM (#572414)
The source of confusion is that it should be front 5 with Osuna added, not front 4!
   338. fracas' hope springs eternal Posted: February 08, 2004 at 02:26 AM (#572416)
I'm silently waiting for Brian Giles slip on a banana peel and fracture his pelvis, it's only a matter of time.

Jeez, do you have to say that out loud? [cringe]

Seriously, that's my big concern, medium-term. The core of the Pads' offense (almost all of their power, anyway) are all 33 years old and there are no major league-ready replacements besides Nady. Which means that we might get 1 or 2 years in the next 3 where Giles, Nevin and Klesko are all healthy; there's really no chance of getting 3 healthy years out of each, but there is a chance of getting zero years where all three are healthy.

Given the training staff's track record....
   339. Snowboy Posted: February 08, 2004 at 06:07 AM (#572418)
Nice work by the Padres.
   340. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 08, 2004 at 06:27 PM (#572421)
"I'm silently waiting for Brian Giles slip on a banana peel and fracture his pelvis, it's only a matter of time."

Don't put Giles in the same pile as Nevin. In seven years as a regular, he's suffered two injuries of consequence: A broken arm on a HBP, and last year's knee problem. He's generally been very durable.
   341. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 09, 2004 at 06:39 AM (#572426)
"Ligtenberg had a TommyJohn, but hasn't Osuna continually had arm injuries throughout his career?"

At least two that I can recall, including a torn labrum.
   342. Bob T Posted: February 09, 2004 at 07:19 PM (#572428)
Since he's in the U.S., the Japanese reliever spells his name Otsuka and not Ohtsuka.

Perhaps CFiJ can explain the difference, but it's an incredibly fine distinction that I've never mastered.
   343. Cferejohn Posted: February 09, 2004 at 10:30 PM (#572429)
#9, explain to me how the giants will win 90 games? their starters aren't great after schmidt, their pen is weak, and their offense isn't strong AT ALL after bonds. and they're old.

Umm. explain to me how they won 100 games last year, when pretty much everything you just said applied. I don't see anything in the offseason moves that screams "will drop over 10 games". If Bonds misses significant time - always a risk at his age, even given his historical durability - all bets are off, but if Bonds gets 500+ ABs, I don't see how this team is significantly worse than last year's.

Oh, and the pen is at least average. Herges, a hopefully at least close to what he used to be Nen, Brower, and a recovered Christiansen (still with the team yes) sounds like a pretty reasonable start to me. Definitely not 'weak', in any case.
   344. Floyd Thursby Posted: February 09, 2004 at 10:40 PM (#572430)
The Padres bullpen is much improved, no question. The Vegas line on Rod Beck continuing his success would have to be 100:1 before I even sniffed the action, though. That guy is running out of last legs.
   345. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 09, 2004 at 11:28 PM (#572431)
"Perhaps CFiJ can explain the difference, but it's an incredibly fine distinction that I've never mastered. "

Since CFiJ doesn't seem to be answering the bell, I'll step in. The name breaks into three characters in Japanese, which are turned into Romanji (Roman characters) this way: O-Tsu-Ka. There is no "Oh" in Japanese, only "O".
   346. Greg Franklin Posted: March 21, 2004 at 05:49 PM (#572440)
For all you Scott Sauerbeck fans, he signed a minor league deal with the Indians Saturday (Mar 20).
   347. Eli Hungerford: Cityboy Crypto-Elitist for hire Posted: March 30, 2004 at 03:45 PM (#573158)
Sort of a "frying pan / fire" deal, right? I got my hopes up on this trade till I saw the punchline. At least we don't have to worry about K-Rob hitting leadoff anymore.
   348. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 30, 2004 at 05:10 PM (#573159)
that's akin to keeping a gallon of urine in the refrigerator in case of a water outage

Sometimes you can turn in absolute gems.

   349. AMcK75 Posted: March 30, 2004 at 05:11 PM (#573160)
The thought (and hope) is that Hunter will be sent to Memphis, so it's a clear win for the Cards to not have either on their opening day roster.
   350. Will B. Posted: March 30, 2004 at 05:41 PM (#573161)
that's akin to keeping a gallon of urine in the refrigerator in case of a water outage

Is this listed on I don't remember seeing it there.
   351. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 31, 2004 at 01:09 PM (#573191)
For a minute, I thought that said Kevin Jarvis, and I was all ready to be happy about the stupid ####### Kendall rumors being dead.
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