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Sunday, January 08, 2012

DiGiovanna/LA Times Blog: Angels Secure Kendrick with Four-Year Deal

With the new deal, which is believed to be worth $33.5 million, the Angels will avoid Kendrick’s final year of arbitration and buy out his first three years of free agency.

I know Kendrick loses some value with his low walk rate, but a 125 OPS+ for a middle infielder sure seems like it should cost more than $8.5 million per year.  Seems like a team friendly deal for his age 28-31 seasons - getting out from under him before the weird 2nd baseman/age 32 curse strikes.

JimMusComp misses old primer... Posted: January 08, 2012 at 04:18 AM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels

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   1. Matt Welch Posted: January 08, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4031565)
At the rate he's going, DiPoto is going to add Pujols and Wilson, exchange Mathis for Ianetta, and extend Kendrick and Aybar, all while adding less than $20 million to the 2012 payroll. That's some kind of offseason, at least in the medium-term view. If he manages to dump Wells, too, then there might be a lot of Orange County babies named JeDi.
   2. Johnny Slick Posted: January 08, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4031599)
I'm thinking that people expecting more 125 OPS years from Kendrick are going to be disappointed but $8.5M a year is still a little bit better than market value if he regresses all the way back to being the 2 win player he was in '09 and '10.
   3. hunting for a halo-red october Posted: January 08, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4031616)
Johnny, you're only looking at half of the equation. Kendrick has improved considerably defensively over the past few years. About half of his 5.8 WAR (according to Fangraphs) from 2011 was due to his defensive value.

He was already (at least) a perfectly serviceable offensive 2B before his glove developed. Anything beyond that with his bat is gravy, and he still retains the potential for upside that we've been hearing about for years.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: January 08, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4031620)
2B tend to be cheap for some reason.

While avoiding the dreaded age 32 season, they have gotten him wrapped up for the often magical age 28-31 2B seasons:

OPS+ through 27; 28-31
Carew 122; 159*
Morgan 121; 158
Sandberg 108; 130**
Biggio 113; 135
Zobrist 69; 126 :-)

Of course I'm half-joking. This is mostly just guys hitting their peak. And Alomar was better young; Kent didn't peak until 30; and Whitaker was better younger and older. Just something I noticed one day poking around in Carew, Morgan, Sandberg, etc. That and that Carew was right there with Morgan in terms of those big years but it's Morgan we remember as TEH GOD!! (Carew did switch to 1B at 30 which is part of it but it's mostly Big Red Machine carry over).

Of the HoFers, Kendrick is most like Sandberg through 27:

HK: 292/329/434, 105
RS: 288/342/432, 108

Before you get too excited, it's more different than it looks. Sandberg's numbers are pulled down by below-average full seasons at 22 and 23 when Kendrick was just a part-timer. From 24-27, Kendrick has a 107 OPS+ while Sandberg was 120. Sandberg had a 170 ISO, not 140, in that stretch. Also steals through 27 were 210-61 in Sandberg's favor (somewhat due to greater playing time) and some GG and an MVP.

ZiPS is not very excited, projecting Kendrick to remain Kendrick but Sandberg does show up as comp #2.

* Carew may have broken out at 27 (144); Morgan kept it going at 32
** Sandberg's best was actually 29-32 (140)
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 08, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4031626)
Johnny, you're only looking at half of the equation. Kendrick has improved considerably defensively over the past few years. About half of his 5.8 WAR (according to Fangraphs) from 2011 was due to his defensive value.

He was already (at least) a perfectly serviceable offensive 2B before his glove developed. Anything beyond that with his bat is gravy, and he still retains the potential for upside that we've been hearing about for years.


I wouldn't get too excited about that crazy UZR. B-Ref has his at +6, which is very consistent with every season except 2010. Kendrick looks like an above avg. 2B, but that +17 UZR looks like a fluke.
   6. Johnny Slick Posted: January 08, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4031627)
Defense can capture lightning in a bottle for a year as well. You see it as "Kendrick has taken the next step with the glove", I see it as an outlier. Overall, I do think that 2 wins is a lot closer to his future level of performance than 6. In any case, even if he's "only" a consistently 3-win player, it's a good deal.
   7. JimMusComp misses old primer... Posted: January 08, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4031628)
Right Johnny - but I have a feeling that his true talent level is some where between 125 OPS+ from 2011 and 100 OPS+ guy he was in 2009-2010. His walk rate got a little better and a few of those doubles turned into HR's in 2011. I don't think that is necessarily accidental. I think an average of 110-115 OPS+ is completely reasonable...
   8. BDC Posted: January 08, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4031631)
Kendrick has hit 7 of his 50 career home runs in Arlington, which even for a division rival is a pretty high rate (14% of his HR in 5% of his PAs). So I can't say I am real happy to see him continue in an Angels uniform ... he's got an unusual profile, scrappy little fireplug who can occasionally tag one. Usually that kind of guy is pretty good at getting on base, Craig Biggio being sort of the archetype. But Kendrick's power, despite his free swing, seems real, and keeps increasing.
   9. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: January 08, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4031635)
I was hoping that the Yankees would sign him for the sole reason that they have a better chance when Kendrick is not an opponent. He may be the most consistent Yankee killer in my lifetime - only Ken Griffey, Jr, Edgar Martinez, and Manny Ramirez are close.
   10. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: January 08, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4031651)
WHAT THE HELL DID YOU TRADE JAY BUHNER FOR?!
   11. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: January 08, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4031657)
At most, Buhner was a +1 sword. Kendrick is downright Vorpal.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: January 08, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4031675)
Kendrick is downright Vorpal.

Really? 329/396/439 vs. the Yanks. That's good but hardly deadly. Just 2 HR in 184 PA. Or is he truly vorpal in that most of the time it's just a regular sword but every once in a while it chops your head clean off?

Ahhh ... I see his 2011 splits were horrific -- 138/167/241 but one of his HR -- so I guess prior to 2011 he must have hit about 400.

Also there was that highly entertaining playoff series a few years back when the Angels just kept hitting groundball after groundball and nobody on the Yanks IF could get to them. Knee-slapping good fun. That was before Kendrick's time though I think.
   13. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: January 08, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4031682)
Or is he truly vorpal in that most of the time it's just a regular sword but every once in a while it chops your head clean off?



That's awesome, Walt. I'm all sorts of using that.
   14. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 08, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4031731)
That and that Carew was right there with Morgan in terms of those big years but it's Morgan we remember as TEH GOD!! (Carew did switch to 1B at 30 which is part of it but it's mostly Big Red Machine carry over).

And the fact that peak Morgan was an incredibly efficient, high-volume basestealer (250/54 in the years in question, while Carew stole over 100 fewer bases and was caught more times), and the fact that the 28-31 span includes Carew's best year (1977) while leaving off Morgan's 186 OPS+ at age 32.
   15. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 08, 2012 at 05:40 PM (#4031807)
The Rays laugh at the Rangers and Yankees experiences against Kendrick. .418/.474/.664
   16. SG Posted: January 08, 2012 at 06:19 PM (#4031826)
He may be the most consistent Yankee killer in my lifetime - only Ken Griffey, Jr, Edgar Martinez, and Manny Ramirez are close.


Miguel Cabrera puts them all to shame.
   17. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 08, 2012 at 07:22 PM (#4031852)
Overall, I do think that 2 wins is a lot closer to his future level of performance than 6. In any case, even if he's "only" a consistently 3-win player, it's a good deal.


He's averaged 2.6 bWAR and 2.9 fWAR over the last 5 years. It seems extremely likely that last year was some sort of career year, but it's still part of what he has accomplished in his career, so the most likely outcome is that he produces somewhere between 2.5 and 3 wins a year over the next 4.
   18. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: January 08, 2012 at 07:50 PM (#4031858)
What percentage of players who had their best-so-far year at age 27 wind up having their best year at age 27?

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