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Friday, August 25, 2017

Punto Change Mucho

Today is the 5th anniversary of the Punto trade.

I’m linking the old thread, which was started the night before as rumors started swirling. Nice trip down memory lane.

For the Red Sox, the trade freed up a quarter billion dollars of salary obligations which cleared the way for the 2013 championship. Given the team also suffered through two last-place finishes after that, it wasn’t a panacea; and given they used some of that salary relief on Pablo Sandoval to bust his belt, and Hanley Ramirez to not play SS, the salary relief was in many ways a lost opportunity. But I think it’s pretty clear Boston doesn’t sniff the 2013 title with their 2012 roster and related obligations intact. Oh, and they’re defending AL East champs, and defending it quite well to date.

The Dodgers finished 2.5 games out of a playoff spot in 2012 but will almost certainly reach their 5th consecutive division title this year. Carl Crawford might get a ring this year, on top of the $22 million he’s getting this year to watch all the games on TV. Yes, think about that - without the trade or any other transactions, Carl Crawford is still playing LF for the Red Sox this year. This is the last year of that contract.

Anyway, I’m posting this in case anyone wants to revisit the waning days of Bobby Valentine, or those crazy clown town contracts, and think about what has happened since. Happy Punto Day!

villageidiom Posted: August 25, 2017 at 09:39 AM | 3 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: August 25, 2017 at 10:16 AM (#5520868)
Forgot to add: Bradford has a podcast up in which he reflects on the trade and interviews Lucchino. If you don't listen to it you didn't miss much, but the one thing Lucchino brings clarity on is that Boston didn't want to trade Gonzalez, and LA didn't want to do a trade that didn't involve Gonzalez.
   2. villageidiom Posted: August 25, 2017 at 04:27 PM (#5521132)
As a post-mortem on the contracts, even though the Gonzalez contract isn't up yet, I'll crunch some numbers. I'll restate salary into expected WAR at $7M per win, and calculate an effective net WAR as the difference between actual and "salary expected". The rationale is that the money could have been used for another player. (I'll also say their 2012 time with LA was a quarter of a season, roughly.)

Beckett:
+2.0 WAR with LAD
$35,437,500 salary with LAD = +5.1 expected WAR
effective net WAR: -3.1, or -1.36 per full season

Gonzalez:
+13.3 WAR with LAD
$113,321,000 salary with LAD so far = +16.2 expected WAR
effective net WAR: -2.9, or -0.55 per full season

Signed for another year at $22,357,000; charitable estimate for next year would be 0 WAR, with expected being +3.2 WAR. That would bring his effective net WAR down to -6.1, or -0.98 per full season.

Crawford:
+2.8 WAR with LAD
$109,946,000 salary with LAD = +15.7 expected WAR
effective net WAR: -12.9, or -2.46 per full season (including 2016-17, in which he was released)

Punto:
+2.5 WAR with LAD
$1,875,000 salary with LAD = +0.3 expected WAR
effective net WAR: +2.2, or +1.76 per full season

Total:
+20.6 WAR at $260,579,500
-16.6 effective net WAR
...or counting AGon's 2018 at forecasted 0 WAR
+20.6 WAR at $282,936,500
-19.8 effective net WAR

And in 5 full seasons since the trade the Dodgers are likely to get their 5th straight NL West crown.
   3. villageidiom Posted: August 25, 2017 at 04:56 PM (#5521146)
On the Dodgers' side of the ledger it's a fairly clean set of transactions, with none of the players being traded away. Boston, on the other hand:

- Webster and De La Rosa were traded for Miley
-- Miley was traded for Carson Smith (any day now!)
- Sands and De Jesus were traded with Melancon for Hanrahan and Brock Holt!
- Loney was granted free agency after -0.2 WAR on the sinking ship.

Boston did get value out of Miley, and certainly have gotten value out of Holt, and maybe some day will get value out of Carson Smith. Most of the above was at cost levels worth evaluating, but I'm going to set that aside because it's like buying a box of cereal and then examining the value of the cardboard box itself. The real value here is the money that was freed up. In chronological order, these are the material dollars they committed after the trade (as free agents denoted by ** or by acquiring contracts denoted by ++), up to the point where they'd surpassed the $260m saved thanks to the Dodgers.

** David Ortiz $29m 2013-14 (re-signed)
** David Ross $4.7m 2013-14
** Jonny Gomes $10m 2013-14
** Shane Victorino $39m 2013-15
** Koji Uehara $9.3m 2013-14
** Ryan Dempster $26.5m 2013-14
** Stephen Drew $9.5m 2013
** Mike Napoli $45m 2013-15
++ Jake Peavy $19.3m 2013 deadline - 2014
** Rafael Devers $1.5m 2013- (signing bonus on minor league deal as international FA)
** AJ Pierzynski $8.3m 2014
** David Ortiz $16m 2015 (extension)
++ Allen Craig $27.5m 2014-17
++ Joe Kelly min 2014-18
** Koji Uehara $18m 2015-16 (re-signed)

It might not be fair to list Ortiz there, as he was replacing himself. But one could argue the financial flexibility they gained made it easier to retain him.

In terms of value:

2013:+24 WAR (additions for 2013)
2014: +9 WAR
2015: +7 WAR
2016: +5 WAR
2017: +2 WAR (just Kelly and Devers)
------------
Total+47 WAR

...for roughly +40 expected WAR in salary.

Now, granted, I'm glossing over a lot of relatively minor financial commitments (Drew Sutton, Mike Carp, etc.) that in totality probably are a decent sum on my way to $260m. And the two main financial transactions immediately after I got past the $260m cumulative threshold were the signings of Panda and Hanley. So the above is a very conveniently-timed tally of how they reallocated the Punto money.

Regardless, with around $260m of commitment the Dodgers got +21 WAR while the Red Sox, the financial beneficiaries of the trade, redeployed it in a much better fashion. Panda reminds us they're not perfect, but at least in evaluation of the Punto trade Boston came out much better because they were able to redeploy the money well (even in spite of Allen Craig).

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