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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen
Friday, November 24, 2006
Two Texas Teams Lasso Leftfielders
Texas Rangers - Signed OF Frank Catalanotto to a 3-year, $13.5 million contract.
Houston Astros - Reportedly have signed OF Carlos Lee to a 6-year, $90 million contract.
Carlos Lee’s a better player, but if you’re telling me that, once you sign Frankie Cats, to make up the difference in value, you need to sign someone to a 3-year, $76.5 million contract, I’m calling you a liar. For 6 years of Carlos Lee, you could get the 3 years of Catalanotto ($13.5), 2 years of Mussina ($22.5), 2 years of Frank Thomas ($18), with 36 million left over for a couple years of Bonds or whatever suits your fancy.
With Carlos Lee, we’re talking about a leftfielder who, in his career year, had an OPS+ of 125, and while once a good defender, has put on a ton of weight since then, lost most of his mobility and that ain’t twitchy fibrous weight he put on. In other words, the Astros will be paying $15 million a year for the age 31-36 seasons of a player who’s never had a season as good as Tim Salmon’s average year (OPS+ of 129 with better defense). A player who, in 2 years (or sooner!) might be a downgrade on Hunter Pence. Seriously, raise your hands if you look at Carlos Lee and think “Wow, that guy’s totally going to age like a fine wine!”
The winner in all of this? Walt Jocketty. Right now, the rest of the Central consists of 3 teams who are spending money to see who can out-retard every one else, a team that would sorely love to be retarded but is too cheap to do so, and the Brewers. Jocketty doesn’t need to re-tool the Cardinals - “Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter, Scott Rolen, and Try Not to Sign Someone Who Should Be In AA” is the winning strategy in the division.
Catalanotto is a solid signing for the Rangers in this market. He needs a righty to take some of his time and he’s not the most durable, but considering $4 million is what a relatively unknown middle reliever goes for, it’s a bargain. Objectively, he’s a better 4th outfielder than a starter, so the Rangers will still need more.
Alfonso Soriano is starting to look like a steal of a deal.
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