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   1. Tor Posted: February 05, 2008 at 02:48 AM (#2683718)
I long ago gave up trying to figure out if the prospects were worth more than the expensive ace in wins and championships. I was against the deal for what you would call irrational reasons if the entire enterprise of rooting for a sports team weren't itself entirely irrational. It's just so much more fun to root for the kids.
   2. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: February 05, 2008 at 03:10 AM (#2683728)
It's not 7/150. It's 6/137 with a club option to make it 7/157. The Mets didn't technically extend Johan's contract. They tore up the last year and signed him to a 6 year deal.
   3. Valentine Posted: February 05, 2008 at 03:19 AM (#2683732)
I would have misgivings about signing Santana to that deal even if NO talent were involved. He is a very good pitcher, probably the best in baseball right now, but he isn't head and shoulders above the rest of the league. I'd rather spend $120M on C.C. Sabathia than $150M on Johan Santana. (Actually, I'd rather spend the money on hitting and develop pitchers through the farm.)

And what? We're supposed to cough up an above-average player and a couple useful prospects with potential as well? No, thanks.
   4. Valentine Posted: February 05, 2008 at 03:22 AM (#2683733)
Russlan, don't forget the no-trade clause. That clause cost the Twins dearly in these negotiations by giving Santana control over the process, which is why the Red Sox have been very reluctant to give them out.
   5. Darren Posted: February 05, 2008 at 03:23 AM (#2683736)
What? When did that happen? I guess the initial reports were wrong then. My apologies for repeating their bogus info.

It's kind of weird, though, that 6/137 would have made it a nice round 7/150 deal.
   6. Dan Posted: February 05, 2008 at 03:24 AM (#2683739)
(Actually, I'd rather spend the money on hitting and develop pitchers through the farm.)

I can agree with this. Especially given that while the Red Sox have developed some pitching and some good supporting role type hitters, they haven't really developed a big bat since what, Nomar? And Mo Vaughn before that? Lars Anderson is the only guy that's even in the system with that kind of upside, while there's a few pitchers that might work out. I'd rather see the Red Sox use the money and trade talent in acquiring a premium hitter to replace Manny's production, although no one really comes to mind after Miguel Cabrera (although I suppose Detroit hasn't been able to lock him up, so he could be a free agent yet). Perhaps Teixeira, but the Red Sox don't need a 1B, and both New York teams are going to be hot after him as a bat for first base.
   7. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 05, 2008 at 03:30 AM (#2683742)
they haven't really developed a big bat since what, Nomar?
As kevin's head explodes...
   8. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: February 05, 2008 at 03:39 AM (#2683747)
Hmm.... Here's another tidbit from Cot's.

$5M deferred annually, reducing present-day value to about $20M/year

Honestly, I am very surprised the Mets ended up with Santana. I understand the importance of keeping young cheap players but I really don't get how the Red Sox decided against having a dynamic duo of Santana and Beckett, arguably the two most dominant starters in baseball. Can you imagine having to face one in Game 1 and the other in Game 2? I think they'd have won 2 out of the next three WS with that one-two punch.
   9. Dan Posted: February 05, 2008 at 03:45 AM (#2683750)
That pretty much echoes my feelings on it, Russlan. None of the talent discussed was going to be the future centerpiece of the Red Sox, and a Beckett - Santana - Daisuke - Buchholz - Schilling rotation would have been spectacular. And like I said in post 6, I can understand wanting to save the money or talent to acquire an impact bat, but I don't really see what impact bats are going to be available.
   10. Norcan Posted: February 05, 2008 at 04:38 AM (#2683781)
So were the Mets able to stick to their rumored principle of not going beyond 5 years for a pitcher? Because it looks like they ended up giving Santana a 5 year extension plus a vesting option year. That's not too bad.
   11. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: February 05, 2008 at 04:42 AM (#2683784)
but I don't really see what impact bats are going to be available.


Something will pop up, it always does....


:)
   12. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: February 05, 2008 at 04:50 AM (#2683795)
I would absolutely have made that deal, as I said at the time.
   13. Dave Cyprian Posted: February 05, 2008 at 06:12 AM (#2683823)
8/9 That sounds great in theory... but you just can't give a pitcher 150 million. Too unreliable. I'm happy with how it all worked out, including for Johan and the Mets.
   14. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 05, 2008 at 06:17 AM (#2683824)
That sounds great in theory... but you just can't give a pitcher 150 million.
Adjusted for inflation, Duquette gave Pedro ~180M. Pedro != Santana, but using raw dollar figures when salaries increase by 5-10% per season tends to obfuscate the real value of baseball contracts.
   15. Mattbert Posted: February 05, 2008 at 02:35 PM (#2683892)
What would the Red Sox equivalent of the Mets deal have been? Ellsbury/Masterson/Bowden/X or something along those lines? I think I would've pulled the trigger on that.

As for the $150M deal itself, if you're not comfortable handing that kind of contract to Santana then it's got to be because you're generally opposed to the length/value for any pitcher period. If he's healthy, he'll be worth the money. Santana is reminiscent of Pedro in that he doesn't rely on overpowering velocity to get outs, even though he throws plenty hard. He, like Pedro, could lose a few mph off his heater and still be an excellent pitcher well into his 30s.

The only thing that worries me about Santana is...Francisco Liriano. His mechanics are virtually indistinguishable from Santana's, and we all know what happened to Mini-Johan's elbow. It would not surprise me at all if Santana missed a season due to an elbow injury at some point during his Mets tenure. I'm not predicting it or even necessarily expecting it--the guy has been a horse for several seasons now--it just wouldn't surprise me.

All that said, it seems to me that having Beckett in the fold tempered the enthusiasm for Santana. If the Sox had lacked that stud guy to front the rotation, I think most of us would've been howling vociferously for Theo to make the move. But we have the good fortune to support an already excellent team and therefore the luxury of debating whether we really need the best pitcher in the game or not. I just hope we aren't counting too heavily on Beckett to be as superb as he was last year. I fully expect him to have another good year, but given his past blister problems and his performance in 2006, there are safer bets out there.
   16. Valentine Posted: February 05, 2008 at 02:45 PM (#2683899)
I think they'd have won 2 out of the next three WS with that one-two punch.

This grossly overestimates their chances. To have a 2/3 chance of winning the World Series, you need to be a near lock to make the playoffs AND have close to a 90% chance of winning each series. A two-ace rotation is powerful, but it isn't THAT dominant. #### happens.

Furthermore, there's no guarantee that Beckett and Santana will be viewed as a "two-ace" punch by the end of the season. All it takes is an untimely injury and you are going into the playoffs at less than full strength. #### happens.

Of course they would be facing other quality pitchers in the playoffs, guys who totally have the potential to step up and throw a shutout against the Red Sox aging/anemic attack (and they aren't getting any younger or better if you trade Ellsbury, Lowrie, and a whole lot of cash). Even a great game out of Beckett or Santana doesn't do any good if the opposing pitcher is for that game better. #### happens.

Boil down all the #### and a playoff series is roughly a coin flip. MAYBE you could argue that a Beckett/Santana rotation would improve their odds of winning a playoff series to an incredible 70%, but we're still talking an expectation of **ONE** World Series in the next three years. Even that would be an optimistic prediction.

Adjusted for inflation, Duquette gave Pedro ~180M.

What kind of inflation rate are you using?!? $75M * 1.08^10 = $162M. (That 8% is the long term growth in salaries.)

And as you point out, Santana != Pedro. Santana is older and he isn't nearly as dominant.
   17. Valentine Posted: February 05, 2008 at 02:47 PM (#2683902)
It would not surprise me at all if Santana missed a season due to an elbow injury at some point during his Mets tenure. I'm not predicting it or even necessarily expecting it...

I'm predicting it. I would guess roughly 1000 innings over the next seven years, with the last half of that at a diminished level of performance.
   18. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 05, 2008 at 02:59 PM (#2683909)
Valentine-

I was going from memory on the numbers AROM posted in the Santana contract prediction thread. I got it wrong. Here's AROM:
From The Book Blog, we are looking at about 5 million dollars per win over replacement as the going rate. If I back a decade of 8% inflation out, that would mean in 1998 a win cost 2.13 million. The median team payroll in 1998 was about 40 million, last year it was about 84 and 90 might be a good estimate for 2008, so the numbers seem reasonable.

The Red Sox signed Pedro to a 7 year, 90 million deal. Assuming 8% yearly inflation and aging of -0.5 wins per year (none for the 1st 2 years, because he's only 26) that means he was valued at 5.9 wins over replacement.

Put a 26 year old Pedro as a free agent today, the formula says he'd be worth 215 million over 7 years. If you assume he's already signed for the first year at 13 million, then its 198/7 for the total deal.
I don't really feel like doing the math, so I'm willing to be convinced either way.

I will note that Dave said $150M, which includes Santana's 7th year option, and AROM included Pedro's option, so that's consistent.

My point here isn't that the Red Sox should have traded for Santana, but that hard-and-fast rules about not giving pitchers X number of dollars are rarely useful, and usually function by not accounting for inflation and rhetorically emphasizing raw dollar figures.

On the Santana trade, I worry that I said something in another thread that would contradict this, but I was on the fence on the Ellsbury package, and perfectly happy to send the Lester package for Santana. I think that there is a lot of value in knowing that you're spending your big pile of money on a superstar, rather than hoping for a better superstar to appear later so that you can give him your big pile of money.

EDIT: clarity
   19. Valentine Posted: February 05, 2008 at 03:14 PM (#2683926)
I don't really feel like doing the math, so I'm willing to be convinced either way.

We were calculating off different baselines ($75M/6yrs vs. $90M/7yrs). The numbers are otherwise essentially in agreement.

My point here isn't that the Red Sox should have traded for Santana, but that hard-and-fast rules about not giving pitchers X number of dollars are rarely useful, and usually function by not accounting for inflation and rhetorically emphasizing raw dollar figures.

I've never heard such a rule... Closest thing I've seen is the suggestion that five years guaranteed is a stretch for all but the best pitchers in the majors and anything beyond that is overconfident stupidity. Now even THAT rule merits exceptions, if the price is right, but it doesn't seem that Santana gave the Mets any discount in exchange for those extra years.

I think that there is a lot of value in knowing that you're spending your big pile of money on a superstar, rather than hoping for a better superstar to appear later so that you can give him your big pile of money.

It seems improbable that the Red Sox will find a BETTER superstar in the near future. They might find a cheaper one, though, and I definitely think they can find one who better fits their needs. Put the Santana question aside for a moment. What are the biggest organizational needs over the next three years? Positions where the incumbents will struggle to be above-average in 2010? In no particular order...

* Catcher
* Shortstop (Lowrie?)
* First Base (Lars?)
* Third Base
* Left Field
* Right Field
* Fifth Starter (Hagadone? Bowden?)
* Setup Relief (Masterson?)

The Santana trade wouldn't have addressed any of those needs. In fact the Ellsbury package would have added "Center Field" to the list, and would have reduced internal options for filling two other holes. It isn't just the money. It's the combination of money *and* useful talent to address a role that isn't even a high priority.
   20. Valentine Posted: February 05, 2008 at 03:54 PM (#2683960)
Oops... The Ellsbury package would have addressed "fifth starter" by adding Lester to the mix. Still not what I would consider a "critical need".
   21. Josh Posted: February 05, 2008 at 04:02 PM (#2683970)
People debate how to measure the inflationary effects on all goods, but this is a good example. I'd expect that luxury goods (e.g., top notch starters) may be priced differently than median inflation. Assuming an 8% increase would virtually double the return from an 1999 investment. So, Randy Johnson's contract in 1999 (4/53) would be 4/106. Brown's 1999 deal becomes (7/105) becomes 7/210. Albert Belle gets 5/130. etc.

This isn't meant to cut off or answer any debate - only meant to caution against using straight linear expressions of inflation in non-apples comparisons.
   22. Dr. Vaux Posted: February 05, 2008 at 04:24 PM (#2683986)
People who say the Red Sox didn't "need" Santana are awfully confident in Curt Schilling--much more than I am, that's for sure.
   23. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 05, 2008 at 04:26 PM (#2683988)
o, Randy Johnson's contract in 1999 (4/53) would be 4/106. Brown's 1999 deal becomes (7/105) becomes 7/210. Albert Belle gets 5/130.
I assume those are supposed to sound wrong, but I don't see how. It's worth noting that Brown's contract was insane at the time, it took several years before any other pitcher got that much money. 7/210 would be a similarly crazy high contract. Belle and Johnson look about right to me.
   24. Valentine Posted: February 05, 2008 at 04:30 PM (#2683989)
If anything, I think that the "top end" inflation has fallen behind the overall inflation in recent years. We first saw $20M/year salaries back in 2001 (Manny, ARod, Jeter), and haven't really broken out of that range yet. Seven years of 8% annual inflation would push $20M up to $35M or so.... I was initially expecting ARod to hit this mark.
   25. Valentine Posted: February 05, 2008 at 04:33 PM (#2683991)
People who say the Red Sox didn't "need" Santana are awfully confident in Curt Schilling--much more than I am, that's for sure.

Why don't you stick to speaking for yourself rather than formulating straw man arguments?

I'm saying that the Red Sox didn't need Santana, and I have no particular confidence in Curt Schilling. I'm hoping he'll be good for 20 starts this year, not necessarily including the playoffs.
   26. AROM Posted: February 05, 2008 at 04:33 PM (#2683992)
Those inflation-adjusted contracts look right in line with giving Santana 6/137 and A-Rod 10/275. Brown's contract does look a little more extreme than the others, but it did at the time as well. The reaction to Brown's contract (Dodgers were insane) was much stronger and widespread than anybody who thinks Santana is overpaid by the Mets.

And thats as it should be - Brown got twice as much money as Johnson, a better pitcher.
   27. jmurph Posted: February 05, 2008 at 04:36 PM (#2683994)
People who say the Red Sox didn't "need" Santana are awfully confident in Curt Schilling--much more than I am, that's for sure.


I really don't think any Red Sox fans are comparing those two and saying yes, Schill will have a better year, or even that Schill will make 30 above-average starts. I think we're confident in the depth- Beckett, Schill, Wakefield, Lester, Matsuzaka, Buchholz. Snyder and Hansack to spot-start, Bowden and Masterson not that far off.
   28. chris p Posted: February 05, 2008 at 04:38 PM (#2683997)
People who say the Red Sox didn't "need" Santana are awfully confident in Curt Schilling--much more than I am, that's for sure.

wrong.
   29. Dr. Vaux Posted: February 05, 2008 at 04:48 PM (#2684008)
I know it's not a Schilling vs. Santana question, but I'm even less confident in Wakefield or Lester. It's easy to see a scenario in which the Red Sox have only Beckett, Matsuzaka, and Buchholz as "reliable" starters, and they all have substantial question marks, too. Matsuzaka might not actually get any more consistently effective, in which case he's a third starter. Buchholz's innings have to be limited, and it will take lots of bad pitching by, and probably injuries to Wakefield and Schilling to get him in the rotation in the first place. And Beckett himself is one year removed from a not very good season.

A similar paragraph could be written about any team in baseball, but the point is that any and every team needs Johan Santana, and the Red Sox are one of very few teams who could afford him. They chose not to acquire him, and I disagree with that choice.
   30. jmurph Posted: February 05, 2008 at 04:57 PM (#2684016)
A similar paragraph could be written about any team in baseball, but the point is that any and every team needs Johan Santana, and the Red Sox are one of very few teams who could afford him. They chose not to acquire him, and I disagree with that choice.


I disagree with most of this, but fair enough. First of all, I think that the only way Lester doesn't become a decent 3 or 4 is if he just never finds the strike zone with any consistency, or if he is seriously injured. Granted, both of those are possible, but no more probable than any other young pitcher. He's got good stuff, he throws relatively hard, and he's left-handed.

Second, Wakefield and Schilling will miss some starts this year. And all it will take is Buchholz pitching well in those replacement starts to potentially move Wakefield to the bullpen/spot starter role. I don't think that's unlikely.

As to the choice of not pulling the trigger on Johan, it's impossible to tell what went on. If Minnesota really wouldn't do it for any less than Masterson/Lester/Crisp/Lowrie, then I don't think you can justify making that trade. Look what Minnesota actually got. Boston's offer is just objectively better, to everyone but the Twins apparently. As was the Yankee's offer. So you can't really fault either team for not backing down (though I think he makes a bigger impact on the Yankees, I still don't blame them for not going through with it).
   31. Valentine Posted: February 05, 2008 at 05:02 PM (#2684018)
It's always easy to imagine a complete pitching collapse. Easy enough to imagine that even if the Red Sox HAD traded for Santana. Since we are now talking risk avoidance, rather than expected performance, let me toss a few other scenarios into the mix...

* What if Manny Ramirez goes south? Or JD Drew? I'm even less confident in Brandon Moss. The Red Sox NEED Coco Crisp for depth.

* What if Julio Lugo hits .230 again? I'm even less confident in Alex Cora. The Red Sox NEED Jed Lowrie as insurance.

* What if Okajima turns back into a pumpkin and Timlin retires mid-season? The Red Sox NEED Justin Masterson to bolster their bullpen.

Which is more likely? That the Red Sox six starters will dwindle to three-and-change? Or that they'll need that depth in the outfield, infield, or bullpen? Trading Santana would have left the rest of the team rather exposed.

Besides, you don't write a $150M+prospects deal based on a single-year outlook. Do you disagree with my assessment that the offense needs some major retooling over the next three years?
   32. Josh Posted: February 05, 2008 at 05:19 PM (#2684032)
I assume those are supposed to sound wrong, but I don't see how.

They were meant to introduce a topic, not to "sound wrong."
Those inflation-adjusted contracts look right in line with giving Santana 6/137 and A-Rod 10/275. Brown's contract does look a little more extreme than the others, but it did at the time as well. The reaction to Brown's contract (Dodgers were insane) was much stronger and widespread than anybody who thinks Santana is overpaid by the Mets.

And thats as it should be - Brown got twice as much money as Johnson, a better pitcher.
They may be -- inflated at 8% per year, I get the following for a random sample of 1999 contracts:

Name     2008 Adj Sal/annual
Kevin Brown     30.0
Bernie Williams     25.0
Randy Johnson     26.7
Mo Vaughn     29.3
Rafael Palmeiro     18.0
Roberto Alomar     14.7
Albert Belle     26.0 


I think they are slightly too high on the high end. Imputing 6% is a little more inline, and doesn't require throwing out the highest number in the sample.

Sorry if this sounds like quibling: I'm not trying to quibble - I just don't think that inflation works from the median straight outwards the way that Mikael's quote implied above. I don't think it likely makes a significant difference.
   33. Dizzypaco Posted: February 05, 2008 at 05:35 PM (#2684046)
* What if Manny Ramirez goes south? Or JD Drew? I'm even less confident in Brandon Moss. The Red Sox NEED Coco Crisp for depth.

No they don't. You don't need to keep a guy with an OPS+ of 80 around in case your left or right fielder gets hurt. The only way they would need Crisp is if Ellsbury got seriously injured or absolutely couldn't handle center field, neither of which are likely. Its not hard to find someone who could hit better than Crisp to back up the corner positions.

* What if Julio Lugo hits .230 again? I'm even less confident in Alex Cora. The Red Sox NEED Jed Lowrie as insurance.

Again, I disagree. Lowrie might be their shortstop of the future, but I don't think they are thinking of him as insurance for anything.

* What if Okajima turns back into a pumpkin and Timlin retires mid-season? The Red Sox NEED Justin Masterson to bolster their bullpen.

Again, I disagree. The Sox pen is pretty deep. It would be nice to have Masterson around, but they don't really need him.

Which is more likely? That the Red Sox six starters will dwindle to three-and-change? Or that they'll need that depth in the outfield, infield, or bullpen?

It is much more likely that the Red Sox will benefit from having Santana in their rotation, than a little insurance for centerfield, shortstop, and middle relief.
   34. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 05, 2008 at 06:00 PM (#2684068)
The other issue is that Masterson is quite a ways from the majors, and Jed Lowrie still has numerous question marks. Even in the case where the Red Sox regulars struggle, it's far from a given that Lowrie or Masterson would be able to help. They're nice prospects, but they're not close to sure things. Neither has much upside either - maybe Lowrie could make an all-star team or Masterson could rack up some saves, but generally they seem like the sorts of prospects who make useful players, not stars.

Ellsbury's different - he's already an above average major leaguer, and he's got very clear all-star upside. That's why I was much more hesitant about an Ellsbury-headed package. He actually is a meaningful loss for 2007, and he's just a much better prospect than Masterson, Lowrie, Lester, or Kalish. The gap between guys around 10-20 and 50-100 on the prospect lists is pretty significant.
   35. AROM Posted: February 05, 2008 at 06:07 PM (#2684078)
They may be -- inflated at 8% per year, I get the following for a random sample of 1999 contracts:


You're using average annual value - but all those contracts account for inflation and escalate over the life of the deal. I went to USA Today's salary database to see what they were paid in 1999, and doubled it:

Belle 23.9
Pedro 22.2
Brown 21.4
Maddux 21.2
Sheffield 19.9
Bernie 19.7

2007: (Shouldn't exactly double until 2008, but here it is)
Giambi 23.4
The Rod 22.7
Jeter 21.6
Manny 17.0
Helton 16.6

Looks like the top end and medians are moving at about the same rate.
   36. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: February 05, 2008 at 07:10 PM (#2684167)
i actually need someone to sort this thread out for me:

1) is santana's contract cheap (in terms of the other contracts that are being referenced here)?
2) did the mets give a 5, 6 or 7 year contract?
3) if it's cheap, and the mets gave him a 5 year contract, and the red sox could have gotten him for some package based on lester, then why didn't the red sox do it?
   37. Josh Posted: February 05, 2008 at 07:13 PM (#2684172)
You're using average annual value - but all those contracts account for inflation and escalate over the life of the deal.

Ahh - good point.

I looked at the average of the top 20 salaries from 1993 until 2007:

Year Total Salaries Average (De/In)flation
1993 104
,283,333 5,214,167 
1994 103
,529,487 5,176,474 -0.01
1995 129
,153,159 6,457,658 0.25
1996 133
,729,359 6,686,468 0.04
1997 147
,623,334 7,381,167 0.10
1998 163
,071,993 8,153,600 0.10
1999 192
,485,550 9,624,278 0.18
2000 229
,453,334 11,472,667 0.19
2001 259
,675,233 12,983,762 0.13
2002 275
,936,280 13,796,814 0.06
2003 309
,627,382 15,481,369 0.12
2004 335
,044,049 16,752,202 0.08
2005 331
,848,482 16,592,424 -0.01
2006 320
,619,921 16,030,996 -0.03
2007 322
,309,804 16,115,490 0.01 
There was incredible growth from 1995-2004, but nothing to write home about in the final three years. I don't know if this matches up with the median, too, but looking at static rates going back to 1999 will incorporate this earlier growth. That may be entirely appropriate if one assumes that these booms/busts will continually reappear - or it may be inappropriate if we assume that the earlier boom has receded. I suppose that because salaries are now at a nadir vs. revenues, we should assume that including 1999-2004 data is appropriate.
   38. chris p Posted: February 05, 2008 at 07:37 PM (#2684197)
re: lowrie's ability to help ...

if it's an injury to pedroia, it's pretty much a given that he will be able to help
if it's an injury to lugo, it's pretty likely that he will be able to help. he should be a better hitter, but the reports on his D are mixed.

my feeling on his D is that it's probably good enough right now, but only going to get worse. young players see their speed go down as they age, not the other way around. some players become better defenders b/c they improve their footwork or their throwing accuracy/consistency, but he's supposed to be a pretty polished defender, so there's not much upside there.

so, right now, he'll probably be able to hack it at short, but he's probably not a long term solution there. i'm really curious to see how he does at 3rd--he could play some short and then move to 3rd when lowell's gray hair turns white.
   39. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: February 05, 2008 at 07:37 PM (#2684198)
2) did the mets give a 5, 6 or 7 year contract?

The Mets tore up the last year of Santana's previous contract that paid him 13 million in 2007 and gave him a six year deal at 137.5 million with 5 million deferred each year. Cot's is saying that makes the contract more like 6y/120 m. Basically the Mets gave Johan a 5y/107 million dollar extension.

3) if it's cheap, and the mets gave him a 5 year contract, and the red sox could have gotten him for some package based on lester, then why didn't the red sox do it?

It's all relative. Santana is making 2-3 million more than Zito which seems reasonable considering he's much better. That said, Zito's contract was excessive. It seems unlikely to me that the Red Sox or any other team will get an established for cheaper, either in free agency or in a trade. Sabathia is going to get more than this next offseason.
   40. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 05, 2008 at 08:35 PM (#2684254)
What are the question marks on Lowrie, Matt?
Lowrie's narrative isn't exactly what I'm looking for in a sure-thing bat. He had, per Law and others, a very bad swing tailored to metal bats. He has re-worked him swing and approach, and 2007 was his first season of success with this new swing. His batting tools grade out pretty averageish, at best. I'd really like to see consolidation of his hitting numbers this year before I decide he's definitely going to contribute in the majors.

And what chrisp said about his glove.
   41. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: February 05, 2008 at 09:01 PM (#2684275)
Hey, did we lose a draft pick for signing Casey or no?
   42. Famous Original Joe C Posted: February 05, 2008 at 09:22 PM (#2684299)
Lowrie's narrative isn't exactly what I'm looking for in a sure-thing bat. He had, per Law and others, a very bad swing tailored to metal bats. He has re-worked him swing and approach, and 2007 was his first season of success with this new swing. His batting tools grade out pretty averageish, at best. I'd really like to see consolidation of his hitting numbers this year before I decide he's definitely going to contribute in the majors.

He hit well in 2005, though, and even his down/injury year in 2006 was good for a 106 OPS+ when you adjust for league and park. He'll never be a monster, but I see no reason why he can't be .270-280/.340-.360/.420-.450 in the majors for the next half dozen years. His MLE was .261/.330/.436 last year as a 23 yo SS - what's not to like?
   43. Valentine Posted: February 05, 2008 at 09:58 PM (#2684333)
We can argue specifics, but the Red Sox have better depth today than they would have if they had made the trade. Their starting rotation is weaker than it would have been with Santana. Their depth is better. Obviously true, no?
   44. Valentine Posted: February 05, 2008 at 11:32 PM (#2684411)
Casey was a type B free agent. Supplemental draft pick to the Tigers, no compensation from the Red Sox.
   45. Darren Posted: February 06, 2008 at 02:09 AM (#2684470)
6/120? That's a lot better than 7/150 sounded. Heck, I've written here previously that I thought 5/110-115 would be pretty good. Tacking on the last year for 5-10 is no big outlay. You might even argue that that makes the deal more attractive.

I like that the Red Sox kept these promising young players in large part because I think they already have a nice mixture of underpriced youngsters, market value pretty good players, and highly paid stars. This is important to maintain if they are going to keep up with the Yankees.

I also agree with Joe C. about Lowrie. His swing worked great in 05 and for the parts of 06 where he wasn't injured. I would say he's got as good of a chance as any prospect with a similar minor league record, probably better.
   46. chris p Posted: February 06, 2008 at 02:28 AM (#2684476)
And what chrisp said about his glove.

what was that? that he's probably good enough to play short right now? we're talking about 08 depth, not long term solutions.
   47. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: February 06, 2008 at 02:39 AM (#2684478)
I'm willing to go with Lowrie full-time at SS right now. He can't be worse than Lugo, and it's not like Lugo is a defensive genius. (Game 7 ALCS)
   48. Darren Posted: February 06, 2008 at 03:51 AM (#2684498)
Lugo couldn't be worse than Lugo 07 either.
   49. JB H Posted: February 06, 2008 at 06:47 AM (#2684571)
http://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?showtopic=27076

Eric Van's chart at the bottom is pretty neat.

Lugo looks like he's probably about a win and a half better than Lowrie for 2008. I was expecting Lowrie's projections to be a little higher across the board.

On Santana: I think the Ellsbury deal would've cost the team wins, and the Lester deal would've been about a net neutral move.

The benefits of the Santana deal are really obvious, while the negative require a further step of abstraction. It's easy to picture Santana playing like he has the last few years, and less easy to picture the Sox in a couple years signing some CF worse than Ellsbury to a 5/50 deal and missing out on Yu Darvish while Santana is pitching closer to Carlos Zambrano than Pedro.
   50. Red Robot Posted: February 07, 2008 at 06:35 PM (#2685768)
The only thing that worries me about Santana is...Francisco Liriano. His mechanics are virtually indistinguishable from Santana's, and we all know what happened to Mini-Johan's elbow.

Are you serious? These two pitchers are superficially similar, but mechanically quite different.

Where is CBW when you need him? Damn Floundershmacks.
   51. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: February 07, 2008 at 07:54 PM (#2685825)
Schilling with a bum shoulder?

Roughly a week before pitchers and catchers are due to report to spring training, the Herald has learned today that right-hander Curt Schilling has a significant shoulder injury that could end the veteran right-hander’s season and is causing tension and friction between the player and club.
   52. Dave Cyprian Posted: February 07, 2008 at 08:00 PM (#2685830)
MCoA, you really consider Ellsbury above and beyond in the "potential" department past Lester? Seems to me they are both headed for pretty solid major league careers. Unless Ellsbury develops power, unlikely, is he really that much more valuable than a solid, middle of the rotation starter?

By the way, to amend my comments from earlier in the thread, sign Santana for 7/150? (Not 6/137, the offer on the table was to take Santana and his current contract plus an extension and the risk that he gets injured in 2008.) That I would consider, although I think that Theo would not consider it, but trade away half the farm system AND sign him for 7/150? I'm quite happy that the FO passed.

Everyone who says, "assuming Johan is healthy..." yes, thats a great argument. Take away the major risk from a big economic investment, and a lot of options in baseball and life become a lot smarter.
   53. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: February 07, 2008 at 08:08 PM (#2685839)
Roughly a week before pitchers and catchers are due to report to spring training, the Herald has learned today that right-hander Curt Schilling has a significant shoulder injury that could end the veteran right-hander’s season and is causing tension and friction between the player and club.

Wow, that would suck if true. I think the Red Sox have the depth to absorb it and still be ok, but it hurts. Schilling this year is better than Lester and Wakefield are likely to be, and maybe better than Buccholz if Clay has some growing pains.
   54. Dave Cyprian Posted: February 07, 2008 at 08:11 PM (#2685843)
The Boston Globe is reporting that the team wants to void his contract. Well here is a serious Red Sox story out of nowhere.
   55. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: February 07, 2008 at 08:16 PM (#2685845)
On what basis could the Sox void his contract? Didn't they have take a physical before giving him that contract? Seems to me like this is a case of caveat emptor.
   56. Dizzypaco Posted: February 07, 2008 at 08:17 PM (#2685846)
MCoA, you really consider Ellsbury above and beyond in the "potential" department past Lester? Seems to me they are both headed for pretty solid major league careers. Unless Ellsbury develops power, unlikely, is he really that much more valuable than a solid, middle of the rotation starter?

Yes. I see Ellsbury as having a Kenny Lofton - type career. Lofton never had power, but at his peak, he was a lot more valuable than a solid, middle of the rotation starter. I understand that non-Red Sox fans don't think Ellsbury is going to be that good, and its reasonable to think that he won't. Its where we disagree.

Wow, that would suck if true. I think the Red Sox have the depth to absorb it and still be ok, but it hurts. Schilling this year is better than Lester and Wakefield are likely to be, and maybe better than Buccholz if Clay has some growing pains.

Wow, you're right, it does suck if true. I'm not so sure that Schilling was going to be better than Lester and Bucholz this year - I think Schilling was settling in for a David Wells type end to his career, which isn't bad, but not the Schilling of old.
   57. Dave Cyprian Posted: February 07, 2008 at 08:23 PM (#2685851)
Russlan, I have no idea why they think they could void his contract. Maybe b/c he is asking for surgery and they want him to play? I have no idea whether this is a valid reason to void a contract.
   58. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 07, 2008 at 08:26 PM (#2685853)
The Boston Globe is reporting that the team wants to void his contract.

Looks like the Schilling/Theo honeymoon is over. I will refrain from celebrating until this is all official though.
   59. chris p Posted: February 07, 2008 at 08:26 PM (#2685854)
Maybe b/c he is asking for surgery and they want him to play? I have no idea whether this is a valid reason to void a contract.

maybe the surgery is the only way he can make the weight incentives. while they have him under they're going to staple his stomach or something.
   60. 1k5v3L Posted: February 07, 2008 at 08:59 PM (#2685885)
Boston.com: Schilling could be lost for season

Maybe the Sox should've traded for Santana after all...

Also, I wonder how this affects Schilling's chances of winning the Cy Young/AL MVP...
   61. jmurph Posted: February 07, 2008 at 09:06 PM (#2685899)
This is definitely bad news. There goes the depth I was bragging about a few days ago. So: Beckett, Daisuke, Lester, Wakefield, Buchholz. That means lots of starts for Snyder, Hansack, et al, huh? I'm not super excited about that, I have to say.
   62. 1k5v3L Posted: February 07, 2008 at 09:12 PM (#2685908)
Schilling's contract is guaranteed, correct? Meaning the Sox are going to pay him $8m no matter what. They cannot release him before end of March and pay only a fraction of his contract, right?

Anyhow, I reckon Curt's got a great career as Yellow from the Teletubbies, coming up shortly
   63. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 07, 2008 at 09:17 PM (#2685913)
The picture of the woman on the side bar in the article Levski linked to, under the title "Ready to knock your Sox off" is really hot. I don't know how many of you watch that channel, but congratulations to those that do. Wow.
   64. jmurph Posted: February 07, 2008 at 09:24 PM (#2685919)
Sheehan on BPro just reminded us that Tavarez is there, as well. Which isn't too exciting, but I trust him (mostly) to play a swing role in the bullpen and make a 5 inning spot start every now and then. Still, not good news.
   65. 1k5v3L Posted: February 07, 2008 at 09:33 PM (#2685932)
The picture of the woman on the side bar in the article Levski linked to, under the title "Ready to knock your Sox off" is really hot.

That's kevin.
   66. Darren Posted: February 09, 2008 at 05:06 AM (#2686952)
So now we know:

--Schilling is likely shot, and the Sox knew before the Johan trade
--Johan ended up only costing 6/120
--The Mets ended up giving up 4 B prospects for him.

Either the Sox thought Johan was going to cost a lot more -or- they didn't like him all that much -or- they just wanted to save on cash while basking in the glow of a WS win. I hope it's not the last one.
   67. Valentine Posted: February 09, 2008 at 04:18 PM (#2687103)
Darren, some thoughts...

(1) The Twins seem to have confidence in their scouting, and may be higher on Gomez and Guerra than the rest of us. The biggest reason we discount them is because they are far from the majors -- everybody agrees they have tools.

(2) Part of why the Mets got him for so little talent is because nobody else was in the bidding. If the Red Sox put forth an offer that was only marginally better, that forces the Yankees back to the table. Now we're looking at either Santana in pinstripes or a much richer package. Think "Prisoner's Dilemma". Neither team in the AL East really wanted him (not enough to offer top dollar), but neither team could afford to let him go to the competition. When the Mets entered the picture, the AL East contenders found a way to back out of the negotiations.

(3) All else equal, the Twins surely preferred to get Santana out of the league. The Red Sox weren't going to win the bidding without at least one "A" prospect involved. I don't know that Ellsbury/Lowrie/Masterson would be seen by the Twins as a substantial improvement over what they got? Closer to being major league ready, certainly, but less upside potential.

(4) No-trade clause, vesting option, and more... Not a simple 120/6 deal.
   68. Darren Posted: February 10, 2008 at 02:49 PM (#2687581)
I haven't looked closely at the numbers but I think this year's salary cap is around the mid-150s and the Sox are around the mid-130s right now. I don't think Santana pushes them over the top, and if he does, it's only slightly and for one year.

Val, you may be right that the Red Sox would have had to give up more (from our view) than the Twins, but I wouldn't be worried about the Yanks. They apparently all but dropped out at the end, and even if they got back in, you'd be making them pay through the nose for Santana. And the Sox not upping their offer indicates they weren't worried about the Yanks getting him either. I also wouldn't be worried about that no-trade clause.
   69. philly Posted: February 10, 2008 at 03:25 PM (#2687598)
If they would have had to give Santana the same contract with an AAV at or over 20M, then they would have been over by a fair chunk. THey would have felt pressure to move Crisp (although I guess he'd be gone in the Santana deal) and Tavarez. Or they would have tried much harder than the Mets to keep Santana's 2008 salary from his old deal and make his new contract a straight extension.
   70. Darren Posted: February 10, 2008 at 07:03 PM (#2687656)
Philly,

Extension or no, it'd all still count in his AAV, right? And AAV would be 20, right, because of the deferrals? Or would it be the actual dollar figure, referrals be damned? What do you have for the Red Sox payroll right now?


I also had assumed that Coco would be gone in that deal and Tavarez gone later.
   71. baudib Posted: February 10, 2008 at 07:46 PM (#2687670)
Starting pitchers are not unreliable.
   72. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 10, 2008 at 08:08 PM (#2687675)
I also had assumed that Coco would be gone in that deal and Tavarez gone later.
If the Sox traded Coco in the Santana deal, I presume that would mean they traded Lester as well. That would make Tavarez the 6th starter, a necessary part of the roster, as he is currently.

The only situation in which you might trade Tavarez is if the Sox had added a starter without losing one (eg, trading Ellsbury+ for Santana). I still think that would be a bad idea - if you've got a guy who can put up near-average numbers in the rotation, and he's happy sitting in the bullpen and taking low-leverage until he's needed, you should keep him. I think Red Sox fans significantly underrate Julian Tavarez.
   73. Valentine Posted: February 10, 2008 at 08:21 PM (#2687678)
I have a feeling we'll need both Tavarez and Hansack this year. The good news is that both of them project to be competent pitchers, at least for the first ~100 innings or so. A link, for your enjoyment:

http://www.strangelandblog.com/2008/02/10/will-red-sox-survive/
   74. tfbg9 Posted: February 10, 2008 at 08:31 PM (#2687680)
With those good ML numbers, why does Hansack project so poorly? Age, HR's, what? Must be the age factor.
   75. Valentine Posted: February 10, 2008 at 08:40 PM (#2687682)
#80, I think that's just league/park differences. Fenway isn't an easy place to pitch.
   76. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 10, 2008 at 08:46 PM (#2687688)
Hansack's 5.09 would be a 93 ERA+ in Fenway, which is quite good for a 6th/7th starter type.
   77. philly Posted: February 10, 2008 at 09:28 PM (#2687703)
Extension or no, it'd all still count in his AAV, right? And AAV would be 20, right, because of the deferrals? Or would it be the actual dollar figure, referrals be damned? What do you have for the Red Sox payroll right now?


I had assumed that there would be a difference in terms of AAV. If he played 08 under his previous contract, then that would be how his AAV would be determined. I could see it the other way too though. Off the top of my head I can't recall that situation coming up for the Sox or Yanks and those are the only teams consistently over the tax threshold. Someone like Peavy would be a good example because his extension is much more expensive than his current deal for 08, but I think the Pads will be a bit short of the tax either way.

I'm pretty sure the deferrals do not change things at all. Manny has the same situaiton - deferrals make his deal ~17.1M/yr, but for luxury tax purposes he counts as 20M/yr. And that makes sense for the owners. The deferrals cut the size of the present day value of large deals, but they still tax at the inflated price to try to maximize the salary drag effect of the tax.

I've been meaning to post the updated payroll at SoSH, but I've got the Sox right around 139M. Add in ~10M for benefits and that puts them at 149M against a cap level of 155M. Coco at ~5M AAV for Santana at 10M old AAV would have been fine. Santana at an AAV of 20-23M would have put them pretty solidly over.

There's always some bonus money that tacks on a few million - though it doesn't look like Schilling's will matter - and some extra to in-season trades (like Gagane!) can add a few million.

Last year the Sox player costs were: 155M for payroll, 6M for tax, 10M for benefits for a 171M total.

Right now the Sox player costs project as: 138M for payroll, 0M for tax, 10 M for benefits for a 148M total.

Even tossing in 5-8M in bonuses and modest in-season adjustments and the Sox could end us spending 15M less on major league players in 2008 than they did in 2007.

I like to think that gap played a big part in their interest in Santana and whatever other premium players were on the market (not that we heard much about Cabrera for example). It sure looks to me like the Sox are at the point where they have money that could be used improving the major league team, but can't find the right player to spend it on. In theory that leaves them with a lot of money to go crazy in the amatuer markets this year.
   78. villageidiom Posted: February 11, 2008 at 04:59 PM (#2688090)
It might be better to go into the season with what they have and, if a problem appears, try to fix it at the deadline. Having that payroll cushion will come in handy then.

Yeah, it worked for the Yankees last... oh, never mind.
   79. Dan Posted: February 12, 2008 at 07:59 AM (#2688646)
It worked for the Yankees pretty well when they got Abreu for nothing more than a bag of balls to replace their gaping vortex of suck in Right Field. Not that the Red Sox are likely to find anyone as dumb as Ed Wade to take a great player from for little to no talent, but the payroll room could certainly help them out. I still think that not trading for Santana was foolish though, because I don't see anyone else becoming available that will be a better use of that money.
   80. Dave Cyprian Posted: February 13, 2008 at 06:38 PM (#2690007)
Its going to be a long summer .... (for the Yankees!)

I love the kids! Buchholz for ROY.
   81. Darren Posted: February 13, 2008 at 08:53 PM (#2690334)
Isn't Ed Wade back out there, running a team?


Actually, I'd say it's an interesting debate about the Yankee strategy of ignoring depth and picking up pieces as they need them. As Dan points out, Abreu worked out well but there are plenty of other examples where it has worked very well for them. Instead of spending $1-3 mil. per guy for several decent backups, might it not be wiser to wait and see who gets hurt and replacing that guy with a $10 mil contract.
   82. spudrph Posted: February 18, 2008 at 02:23 AM (#2693309)
This is further inflamed by the rumor that Santana lost some velocity towards the end of the year, and still isn't 100%. I find it hard to believe the Mets wouldn't have checked on this, but we shall see..
   83. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: February 18, 2008 at 03:32 AM (#2693358)
This is further inflamed by the rumor that Santana lost some velocity towards the end of the year, and still isn't 100%. I find it hard to believe the Mets wouldn't have checked on this, but we shall see..

I watched his second last start of the season, one in which he gave up three homers but struck out 11 in 7 innings against the White Sox. He threw 72 fastballs.

94 MPH-1
93 MPH-12
92 MPH-28
91 MPH-26
89-90 -5

I haven't watched that much of Santana so I can't say whether or not he has lost velocity but that velocity is excellent. Blyleven mentioned that Santana had a fingernail problem that was preventing him from throwing his slider effectively.

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