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Monday, March 11, 2019

Adam Jones and Martin Maldonado Find New Homes | FanGraphs Baseball

Great stuff from Dan. It’s tough to be a platoon outfielder when your team carries 13 pitchers.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2019 at 11:48 AM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: free agency

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   1. JRVJ Posted: March 11, 2019 at 01:58 PM (#5821894)
I agree with this article's take on Adam Jones.

He may be a wonderful human being and a true team leader, but he's no longer an elite (or even above average) player.

His market value reflected this, notwithstanding the fact that a bunch of writers kept on being outraged that he hadn't been signed yet.

****

My biggest takeaway from this off-season is that while there's a real, structural problem in the way teams are operating in 2018, 2019 (e.g., seeing the luxury tax threshold as a hard cap being one; not being more aggressive in going after veteran pitchers who surely can help you team, like Keuchel or Gio González), there's also some very unrealistic expectations on behalf of some older veteran players.

One thing I'm not seeing much mentioned is that FA compensation, which was seen as a big issue prior to the last CBA, is no longer mentioned all that much. Phrased differently, teams aren't losing much in the way of money and picks if they sign a FA with a QO attached to them as compared to the prior CBA, but that still hasn't spurred the FA market….
   2. Zach Posted: March 11, 2019 at 03:44 PM (#5821922)
For Maldonado, I think it's instructive to look at the other options the Royals were considering.

Option 1 was to use Cam Gallagher (35 games in MLB) and Meibrys Viloria (10).

Option 2 was to persuade Frank Schwindel (14 games in MLB) to take up catching again.

Option 3 was to sign Maldonado to a one year contract. That's the one they ended up going with.

Option 3 is the best of the lot, but when a major argument for signing you is that Meibrys Viloria is too young to be a backup catcher, you should tailor your demands accordingly.
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 11, 2019 at 03:47 PM (#5821924)
Yost could start catching again. If he's not willing, bring back Jim Sundberg, John Wathan and Jamie Quirk!
   4. Walt Davis Posted: March 11, 2019 at 04:46 PM (#5821935)
It’s tough to be a platoon outfielder when your team carries 13 pitchers.

Not really, pretty much every team still has one of some variety. There were still only 141 qualified batting seasons last year and almost 25% of those were under 550 PA and about 20% were at least a half-win below-average. Still plenty of bench/replacement PT to be had. (Mostly) gone are the days of carrying Benny Ayala for 150 PA a year but you still carry Gary Roenicke for 400 PAs a year. It would obviously be a big boost to Jones if he could handle CF defensively but it sure looks like he can't anymore.

The one exception I know of is Tommy LaStella who the Cubs have carried for the last 3 years for just 170 PA a year. That luxury was thanks to Javy, Zobrist and Heyward/Happ covering some CF.

This may be the end of the line for Jones but his wretchedness is being over-stated. He's been a bad CF by all measures for a while now but was he really -25 bad last year? Overall, he was above-average in 2017 and 2015. His oWAR the last 4 years was 2.9, 2.4, 3.8 and 2.6. Last year's 102 OPS+ and 2016's 98 might be the sign of the end or might just be regular deviation around a 110 OPS+ true talent which still plays. 2016's underperformance was pretty much just a BABIP slump. 2018's unfortunately was a massive power slump (6.2% HR/FB vs 11% career) -- Arizona seems a good place to go to try to fix that.

At this price, seems to me a few teams should have been in on him. Most second-tier AL teams could have used him -- 400 PA in the corners and DH. Cleveland's starting OF at the moment is apparently Jake Bauers, Leonys Martin and Tyler Naquin with who knows what at DH. Then there's San Fran whose starting OF is three guys I've never heard of -- I know this not because I know who their starting OFs are slated to be but because I just looked at their 40-man and there was not a single name I recognized as a ML OF.

It's one thing to say "we've got three AAAA OF types that we can probably cobble together a non-embarrassing LF out of so we don't need Adam Jones" but it's another thing to say "we've got three AAAA OF and two AA guys that are going to take all of our OF innings." There's safety in numbers but, for a lot of teams, at this price, Jones should have been among their numbers. If he tanks he tanks and you're out no more than a couple million bucks. If he can put up 1-1.5 WAR, for a lot teams, that's an improvement.
   5. donlock Posted: March 11, 2019 at 06:34 PM (#5821957)
A popular comparison is between Adam Jones and Andrew McCutcheon. Both are CFs who can't play there anymore. They are about the same age and have some similarities in their careers. One is a comp for the other in one of the baseball Ref. charts. The big difference today is that Adam got 1 year at $3 million and Andrew got 3 years at $50 mill.

The funny part is Adam refused a trade to Phillie last season as a protected vet at about the same time Andrew went from the Giants to the Yanks. Phillie liked Adam and there are some ex Orioles' people in the front office. Can't help wondering if Adam had gone there and hit well, maybe he would have gotten a nice offer to come back in 2019 (that later went to Andrew)?

   6. BrianBrianson Posted: March 11, 2019 at 06:53 PM (#5821959)
McCutchen is a) better, and b) younger. That helps with contracts.
   7. TDF, trained monkey Posted: March 11, 2019 at 07:41 PM (#5821966)
For Maldonado, I think it's instructive to look at the other options the Royals were considering.
It's more instructive to look at what Boras turned down for Maldonado. As the article says, waiting out the market hasn't worked for crap lately.
   8. TDF, trained monkey Posted: March 11, 2019 at 07:45 PM (#5821968)
McCutchen is a) better, and b) younger. That helps with contracts.
Over the last 3 or 4 seasons, McCutchen hasn't been that much better, and he's only a year younger.

I have to agree with #5 - unless you think last year was each player's TTL, there isn't enough difference between them to justify the difference in contracts.
   9. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: March 11, 2019 at 07:59 PM (#5821970)
There were still only 141 qualified batting seasons last year

This seemed like way too few to me. It's true, or close to. Less than 5 guys per team. Anybody know offhand if that's typical?
   10. Greg Pope Posted: March 11, 2019 at 08:38 PM (#5821978)
At this price, seems to me a few teams should have been in on him.

Do we know that there were not? I haven't been following the Jones saga all that closely, pretty much just the discussion on here. But it's possible that Jones got 4-5 offers in this general range and took the best one. Heck, Jones could have had 4-5 offers like this on the table for months, including the Diamondbacks one. And he finally accepted that it was the best he was going to get, and he chose one. This might not have even been the highest offer, but it does seem to offer a good hitting environment and the possibility of a full time job.
   11. puck Posted: March 11, 2019 at 09:29 PM (#5821987)
Does this say anything about adoption of defensive metrics that no one bit on Jones? Or is his slowdown also obvious to scouts.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: March 11, 2019 at 11:27 PM (#5821994)
Anybody know offhand if that's typical?

Yes, it's typical. Usually about 4.5 per team in the NL, 5.5 in the AL. Bear in mind that only a handful of Cs reach 502 PA so that's already 1 of 8/9 positions that usually won't. Add in injuries, platoons, suckitude.

EDIT: To put some numbers on it, over the last 10 seasons, b-r identifies 1455 such seasons or 4.85 per team-season.

EDIT 2, Electric Boogaloo: Not the same thing since so few players have played all of the last 10 years but the PA leader for the last 10 years is Markakis at 6,762. Eleven players over 6,000. Asdrubal, Jay Bruce and Alcides Escobar are in the top 20 so it's not all star players. Adam Jones by the way is 5th.

For the last 5 years, Markakis still leads at 3,455; Santana 5th, McCutchen 7th, Hosmer 13th, Jones 18th. 34 players topped 3,000 PAs. Only 7 of the 34 were at least 30 in 2014. The youngest were Bogaerts (#20) and Machado (#22) at 21 years old, Mookie just missed 3,000.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: March 11, 2019 at 11:54 PM (#5821997)
You would think the number would be going up with shortened benches but it was a smidgen lower over the last 5 years at 720.

You'll see the same thing if you look at lineups. I might have guessed the Astros would have had a pretty stable lineup -- identifiable starters, not a huge number of injuries, wouldn't sell off or give lots of rookie PT at the end of the season -- their most common defensive lineup was just 6 games and they used 116 different ones. Only 2B and 3B had a single starter that topped 109 games, 4 positions didn't get to 100. Most common batting order was just 5 games.

The Red Sox made it to 8 games but, oddly, this is a lineup that featured Hanley at 1B. The Cards are a boringly predictable team and even they only made it to 14 games. Ozuna was the only guy to start more games at a single position than Molina. (Carp and Martinez started more games overall.)

For 1999-2008 qual seasons per team was 5.26
For 1983-1992 it was 4.92 (avoids strike and expansion)
   14. Walt Davis Posted: March 12, 2019 at 12:09 AM (#5821999)
On Cutch vs Jones ... If you look just the last three years, it's 39 Rbat for Cutch vs 10 for Andrew, an extra win per year. However Jones is still a plus runner while apparently Cutch isn't close; both rated terrible in CF so they come out close in total WAR. I don't think the Cutch contract is a particularly good one for the Phils but I'd say they saw two main differences vs. Jones -- Cutch has been above-average the last two years, it's his below-replacement 2016 that really drags him down; and arguably Cutch showed he could play average corner defense whereas, per Rfield, Jones was terrible in his 31 starts in RF. But yeah, I'm pretty sure I'd rather have Jones at 1/$3 than Cutch at 3/$50.

Do we know that there were not?

Of course not, we never do. But "at this price" usually means "this team looks desperate/needy/better fit enough that they should have beaten this offer." Or "I understand why teams with OFs wouldn't be interested in Jones at even 1/$3 but I'd think a team with no OFs would be willing to pay him 1/$6." Of course for all we know, Jones hates SF and Cle so picked Az for that reason.

Anyway, my "rational" perspective is that Jones would have been a "full-time" starter in Cle or SF and he would have "won" in Cle, so he would have accepted an equal much less better offer from them. Maybe the DBacks have given up on Souza ... surely they aren't planning on Jones in CF?????
   15. Greg Pope Posted: March 12, 2019 at 08:59 AM (#5822014)
Of course not, we never do. But "at this price" usually means "this team looks desperate/needy/better fit enough that they should have beaten this offer." Or "I understand why teams with OFs wouldn't be interested in Jones at even 1/$3 but I'd think a team with no OFs would be willing to pay him 1/$6."

Ah, I understand.
   16. Sunday silence Posted: March 12, 2019 at 01:19 PM (#5822109)
couldnt another rational take be that MLB executives understand the value of defense better than primates and/or TotalZone?
   17. formerly dp Posted: March 12, 2019 at 03:25 PM (#5822190)
I thought AZ had Marte slated for CF, yeah?

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