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View Full Version : The Deal. By the Numbers.



Brutus
08-01-2009, 04:09 AM
I avoided this subject like the plague Friday. Number one I didn't want to get caught up in the wave of overreactions and number two, like most people probably overreacting, I would have been speaking purely from emotion. So I stayed away.

But I decided to check out just how much the Scott Rolen trade might (or might not) help the Reds. It seemed like a slightly steep price to pay for Rolen, as I am certainly high on Zach Stewart, but I also think it's about time the Reds went out and made something work on the trade market. Stewart, in my opinion, was a small price to pay for that.

I was mildly surprised, though, at what I found. For me, it was not quite the results I expected.

I compared Rolen and Encarnacion over a 3-year period (2006-2008). I did this for two reasons, first to get a better sample of the production we're looking at but also, I wanted to exclude this season to give more credence to the people that cite Rolen's age/decline as a factor in the basis for their judgment.

1. Defense. No surprise here. Perception is reality, at least in terms of UZR. Encarnacion averages -13 UZR/150 the last three seasons. This year he's actually at an atrocious -23, although sample size is an issue. Rolen has declined from his days of +14 and +22. His 3-year average is +13, although last year and again this year he's right around +8. I basically give Rolen a +21 run differential over Encarnacion in this category though it should be noted this is based on 150 games and I concede I expect 130 games from Rolen next season.

2. Salary. I had an interesting discovery that I've not seen reported elsewhere. This would greatly impact how I view this trade. Obviously we know the Blue Jays are throwing in $4 mil into this trade. If you want to view this as additional funds for the Reds' payroll in 2010, this essentially nearly washes out Rolen's salary over Encarnacion. However, I noticed that Rolen is due a $4 mil bonus next year which was agreed to be covered by St. Louis when Rolen was traded to Toronto. My question is: does this $4 mil still get covered by St. Louis on top of what Toronto is paying or is this $4 mil being given to Cincinnati to cover that bonus? If it's the former, I'm not concerned by the finances. If it's the latter, I feel a little kick to the groin.

3. Offense. I had perceived that Rolen would be, if not significantly, at least clearly better than Encarnacion in this comparison. I was mistaken. However, there is some admitted wiggle room with the definition, so I'll paint both pictures. First, using strictly 3-year rate stats, this is a photo finish. Because of total games played (which is relevant because of Rolen's injury history), the aggregate run production tips in favor of Encaracion.

wOBA
Rolen .3560
Encarnacion .3557

GPA
Rolen .2724
Encarnacion .2725

OBP
Rolen .352
Encarnacion .351

SLG
Rolen .456
Encarnacion .458

Runs Created Per Out
Rolen .213
Encarnacion .214

In aggregate, this amounts to 340 Runs Created by EE in 3-years and 316 for Rolen.

So, using 3-year averages in plate appearances, Rolen would be expected to have 494 next season. Encarnacion would be expected to have 531. At the aforementioned Runs Per Out, using the above out rates, the expected run production would be as follows:

Encarnacion 74 RC
Rolen 68 RC

But, in fairness, here is where the other consideration should come in: 2009 production for Rolen. It's assumed that 2006 & 2009 are no longer Rolen's actual talent levels, but rather the 2007 & 2008 seasons are more accurate. Let's assume, for a second, he could continue producing at 2009 levels next season.

Rolen's .370 OBP and .265 runs per out rates would increase his overall run production to 83 RC.

SUMMATION.

Assuming the first offensive scenario, Rolen, offense and defense combined, based on 2006-2008 totals, could be expected to be worth approximately +15 runs better than Encarnacion. That's roughly 1.5 wins added to the Cincinnati Reds in 2010. It's an improvement, but I'll admit, not as much as I was expecting and probably not quite worth giving up a prospect like Stewart.

On the contrary, though, if Rolen continues to perform close to his current level of production, he would then be worth an additional 15 runs or +30. That's worth nearly 3 wins for Cincinnati. In my opinion, if this scenario played out, and the burden of the bonus payment was covered by St. Louis in addition to the $4 mil in funds paid by Toronto, I absolutely think the Reds come out on top of this trade. Also, remember that I used Rolen's 2008/2009 defensive production and not his technical 3-year UZR (which would be worth an additional 5 runs).

Would I do this trade again? That all depends on which Rolen shows up in 2010 and whether St. Louis is still springing for the $4 mil bonus. With regard to the first point, I have to trust the advanced scouts and Walt Jocketty, who must believe he's still 'got it.'

People wanted Jocketty to do something, though, and he did. If the above terms are not met, I am leaning toward being part of the opposition on this trade. I will say, however, I applaud him for making this move. Many people lauding it would have been part of the group showing disgust here on August 1 if he did nothing at all. Either we want him to try to improve the club or we don't. There's unfortunately not much in between. Younger, cheaper talent is not easily acquired. Since we don't know if Toronto would have accepted any less, it's also not fair to say Jocketty should have instead traded _____ to Toronto for Rolen.

It is what it is, but at least he "did something."

Anyhow, I'm taking a wait-and-see approach. But my expectation of where I sat on this deal is not quite what aligns with the stats. What's helping me cope is that we do not know if Stewart will ever be worth anything and in Rolen, the Reds are getting both talent and intangibles, as well as a hitter that fares well in specific hitting situations and works hard. And listening to Jocketty, I wonder if there weren't some attitude issues with E.E.

But that's "the deal" in a nutshell.

Highlifeman21
08-01-2009, 07:40 AM
IIRC, I read yesterday that St. Louis is on the hook for the bonus, so hopefully that makes you feel better about the deal.

Nice analysis.

jojo
08-01-2009, 07:50 AM
Here's a back of the napkin analysis of what this deal means to the Reds in 2010:

http://www.redszone.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1937226&postcount=41


Rolen is roughly projected to be a hitter capable of producing a wOBA of .340. EE is projected to be a hitter capable of a wOBA=.360. However, moving Rolen from the Rogers Center and the AL east should give him a boost so I'd conservatively bump him up to a wOBA of .350.

Rolen might be expected to get roughly 450 PAs in 2010 given age and injury history.

He's easily a dramatic upgrade over EE defensively (EE=-10, SR=+5 to +10).

So over 450 PA's Rolen would be expected to be 4 runs worse with the bat than EE but 15 to 20 runs better defensively suggesting Rolen is a 1 to 1.5 win upgrade over EE. Unfortunately, Rolen can't be counted on to give a full season or he'd be an even more dramatic upgrade.

Another way to look at is that EE has been a roughly major league average player regarding value over the full season (roughly 2 to 2.5 wins). In the above scenario, Rolen would project to be a 2.7 to 3.2 win player over just 460 PA's.

Rolen is due $11M in 2010 and should be expected to be worth 3 wins.

EE is due $4.75M in 2010 and should be expected to be worth 2.25 wins if he was a Red (expect less as a Bluejay).

Rolen is better than EE but really, I'm not sure what he'll mean to the Reds chances in 2010. If Rolen could be counted on to play a full season, I'd be more excited.

kpresidente
08-01-2009, 08:39 AM
So basically we traded our best starting and relieving prospects for better defense at 3B?

Uh, why not just sign Beltre in the offseason?

Because he never played for the Cardinals back when you ran that team?

traderumor
08-01-2009, 08:54 AM
So over 450 PA's Rolen would be expected to be 4 runs worse with the bat than EE but 15 to 20 runs better defensively suggesting Rolen is a 1 to 1.5 win upgrade over EE. Unfortunately, Rolen can't be counted on to give a full season or he'd be an even more dramatic upgrade.EE hasn't exactly been healthy in his career. He has missed chunks of games for various reason, so it would seem the analysis would have to take that into account to compare apples to apples.

BuckeyeRedleg
08-01-2009, 09:02 AM
Good work, Brutus. This is pretty much what I have been saying for days.

I think a healthy Rolen and a healthy EE are about the same offensively. Now, obviously in Rolen's peak years EE wasn't close, but EE is going to be 27 next opening day and Rolen 35. Over the past 2+ years, EE has been slightly better on offense.

I have been saying for days that if this deal (EE for Rolen) went down, the Reds were pretty much paying $6-7 million extra for better defense over 2/3 to 3/4 of a season in 2010. That alone made it kind of wreckless for a cash strapped organization in a small market.

But then throwing in two solid pitching prospects?

It's pretty much unforgivable, especially when Walt should have had all the leverage in this deal.

kpresidente
08-01-2009, 09:02 AM
It's assumed that 2006 & 2009 are no longer Rolen's actual talent levels, but rather the 2007 & 2008 seasons are more accurate. Let's assume, for a second, he could continue producing at 2009 levels next season.

He has a .347 BABiP this year.

nate
08-01-2009, 09:08 AM
Still digesting the trade here but I appreciate the analysis. Thanks!

jojo
08-01-2009, 09:28 AM
EE hasn't exactly been healthy in his career. He has missed chunks of games for various reason, so it would seem the analysis would have to take that into account to compare apples to apples.

Thats why the analysis was given on a 450 PA to 450 PA basis. But even then, assuming 450 PAs for Rolen and a full season for EE, Rolen is an upgrade.

jojo
08-01-2009, 09:30 AM
So basically we traded our best starting and relieving prospects for better defense at 3B?

Uh, why not just sign Beltre in the offseason?

Because he never played for the Cardinals back when you ran that team?


I would have preferred the Reds sign Beltre too...... He'd probably take at least a 3 year deal though and it seems like the Reds might be betting that they can solve third internally before then...

Also, they probably aren't going to raise payroll dramatically so if they can't unload Arroyo/Cordero etc, they probably aren't going to spend a ton in free agency.

Right now it's looking like they can only definitely shed roughly $15M (Weathers, Gonzo and the portion of RaH that the O's aren't footing). Another $1M will come off the books as obligations to Stanton, Ross and Castro evaporate. However, roughly $8M will be spent on raises to Lincoln, Taveras, Phillips, Arroyo, and Harang. Also, Rolen will make roughly $6M more than EE in 2010.

So based upon rough justice math, without shedding some contracts in August or via trades in the fall, the Reds will have $2M to spend in free agency before a payroll increase.

Rolen might have been a move that anticipated difficulty in shedding Arroyoesque contracts and thus an inability to buy upgrades.

The Reds have $31.5M committed to Cordero, Arroyo, Taveras, Rhodes, and Lincoln in 2010.

I think the one thing that the Rolen trade definitely signals is an end seeing Gonzo and RaH in Reds uniforms.

Jpup
08-01-2009, 09:32 AM
Thats why the analysis was given on a 450 PA to 450 PA basis. But even then, assuming 450 PAs for Rolen and a full season for EE, Rolen is an upgrade.

I'd almost rather have Edwin's bat at this point.

paulrichjr
08-01-2009, 09:43 AM
So basically we traded our best starting and relieving prospects for better defense at 3B?

Uh, why not just sign Beltre in the offseason?

Because he never played for the Cardinals back when you ran that team?

And Beltre's salary wouldn't be partially paid by someone else. That's a big deal right there because if the whole amount was paid by the Reds I have a feeling the moves are done.

traderumor
08-01-2009, 09:44 AM
Thats why the analysis was given on a 450 PA to 450 PA basis. But even then, assuming 450 PAs for Rolen and a full season for EE, Rolen is an upgrade.Ok, you only mentioned 450 PA for Rolen in the analysis, but I agree.

BuckeyeRedleg
08-01-2009, 09:57 AM
And Beltre's salary wouldn't be partially paid by someone else. That's a big deal right there because if the whole amount was paid by the Reds I have a feeling the moves are done.

In 2010, the whole $11M to Roen is paid by the Reds.

dunner13
08-01-2009, 10:28 AM
I really think that moving from the AL East to the NL Central and hitting half his games in GABP is going to help rolens numbers alot. Hes the big right handed bat this team needed and he provides great defense.
I really think that a year from now EE is a backup. When your competing against the yanks, red sox and rays every year for the division you cant have a third baseman who cant throw the ball to first. Plus EE has always been a streaky hitter, with those pitching rotations in the al east im thinking hes going to have alot more bad streaks then good.

IslandRed
08-01-2009, 10:50 AM
The problem with an analysis of this type is the presumption that we're willing to keep running Encarnacion out there at third base.

Yes, it's possible to run the numbers and conclude that his good offense helps cancel out the bad defense and on net, he's not useless. But in reality, there's only so bad a player can be at a position before he needs to play somewhere else. We can argue whether Rolen is the right solution or whether we paid too high a price to get him, but keeping EE at third was not an option as far as I was concerned.

Blimpie
08-01-2009, 11:06 AM
Great breakdown, Brutus...

Marc D
08-01-2009, 11:13 AM
This isn't rocket science, I don't need a cooling down period or 24+ hours to analyze it. It was a terrible trade yesterday and its still a terrible trade today.

A non contending team takes on an expensive injury prone 35 year old player and is on the hook for his entire 2010 salary. No way shape or form that team should be the ones sending prospects, no way.

Also, the future production, or lack of it, from the prospects is immaterial it's already factored into the price and right now prospects are the most sought after commodity in MLB. We throw in two good ones and take on salary for an older, more expensive, injury prone defensive upgrade at 3B. Amazing.

As far as taking steps toward a major league roster goes how are we looking next year with 57M tied up in Harang, Arroyo, Phillips, Cordero, Rolen and WT? For a 75-80M payroll team, at best, that doesn't leave a whole lot for the other 19 guys that have to fill out a 25 man roster and lets not forget LF, SS and CF are still gaping black holes.

I know some people have a preset time limit we are supposed to give GM's before we can pass judgment. I disagree. Milton showed me enough about Dan O to know I didn't want any more. The Washington trade showed me Krivsky and now the combo of WT and the Rolen trade have shown me all I need to see from Jocketty. This is Cincinnati Walt, we don't get 13th round miracles to pan out here, we don't get career resurgence from every has been and never were that you bring in.

Brutus
08-01-2009, 11:36 AM
The problem with an analysis of this type is the presumption that we're willing to keep running Encarnacion out there at third base.

Yes, it's possible to run the numbers and conclude that his good offense helps cancel out the bad defense and on net, he's not useless. But in reality, there's only so bad a player can be at a position before he needs to play somewhere else. We can argue whether Rolen is the right solution or whether we paid too high a price to get him, but keeping EE at third was not an option as far as I was concerned.

That's how I feel about Encarnacion defensively. So from that standpoint, I have felt all along, short of giving up Alonso, that it was important to make this trade. I just thought it was going to be a bit more statistically in favor of Rolen offensively than it actually was (and technically it's not even in favor of Rolen unless we get the Rolen of 2006/2009).

Someone mentioned the BABIP...

That's obviously a career high for Rolen. So accordingly, we have to assume his BA/OBP would drop a little because of that. But even assuming a precipitous drop in rates because of 'luck' in average, his rates would still be pretty good. I do think, though, that since .343 is his previous career best in BABIP that it's fair to bring that up. I honestly would expect something between 2006-08 averages and 2009 production as to what we see out of Rolen in 2010.

VR
08-01-2009, 01:06 PM
I excited to tune in and see Rolen at 3rd tonight. I really am, nice analysis BTP.

Team Clark
08-01-2009, 01:11 PM
I'd almost rather have Edwin's bat at this point.

Based on the money or just in general?