PDA

View Full Version : Best and Worst Free Agent Signing of the offseason



mth123
02-12-2012, 02:27 PM
With Spring Training right around the corner, thought I'd throw my opinion out there on the best and worst deals of the off-season. I'm sure many will disagree, but most of the highly touted deals of the off-season look the worst from here.

Best

1. Ryan Madson - Basically a one year $6 Million deal for a top closer. If Madson does well, the Reds probably exercise the option and avoid the buy-out, while Madson opts out for a long term deal. If Madson tanks or is injured, the Reds can opt-out for $2.5 Million and avoid long term damage.

2. Aaron Hill - The D-backs get a 2 year $11 Million deal for a decent defender who has 20 HR pop.

3. Josh Willingham - The Twins get a better hitter than the guy he's replacing (Michael Cuddyer) for $10 Million less over the same 3 year period.

4. Hiroki Kuroda - 1 Year for $10 Million for a solid middle of the rotation starter who fits the exact need of the team and won't block the high end kids on the way.

5. Octavio Dotel - Tigers fill the middle of the pen with quality for 1 year at $3 Million.

Worst

1. Yu Darvish - $100 Million+ for a guy who has yet to retire a major league caliber bat.

2. Jonathon Papelbon - $50 Million for a closer in a saturated market. Way too much.

3. Albert Pujols - Will be ok for the first few years, but will look awful in the last few years of the deal.

4. Jimmy Rollins - A really good player who is clearly on the down side. 3 years $33 Million seems about double what he'd be worth.

5. Jose Reyes - 6 years $106 Million for a guy who has trouble staying on the field. Signing a guy with his skillset and his history of leg problems seems a lot like throwing big money at a a pitcher with a bad arm.

Fire away.

LegallyMinded
02-12-2012, 02:59 PM
Best

1. Ryan Madson - Basically a one year $6 Million deal for a top closer. If Madson does well, the Reds probably exercise the option and avoid the buy-out, while Madson opts out for a long term deal. If Madson tanks or is injured, the Reds can opt-out for $2.5 Million and avoid long term damage.

4. Hiroki Kuroda - 1 Year for $10 Million for a solid middle of the rotation starter who fits the exact need of the team and won't block the high end kids on the way.


Worst

2. Jonathon Papelbon - $50 Million for a closer in a saturated market. Way too much.

5. Jose Reyes - 6 years $106 Million for a guy who has trouble staying on the field. Signing a guy with his skillset and his history of leg problems seems a lot like throwing big money at a a pitcher with a bad arm.



Agreed on Madson, Kuroda and Papelbon. For best, I'd probably add the Cards' Carlos Beltran signing, and for worst I'd suggest the Rockie's signing Michael Cuddyer.

My biggest disagreement with your list is probably the Reyes deal. Obviously he's had health issues, but he's been on the DL because of a calf injury, a thyroid gland issue and a hamstring injury. It doesn't seem like he's consistently hurting himself the in the same way or that he has a chronic problem with the same body part. As such, it might be premature to think he'll necessarily miss significant time in the coming years. Also, he's only 28 years old, so he's in the prime of his career, and even when he does miss a significant portion of a season-- as in 2011-- he's capable of near MVP-level production. Finally, his contract is fairly back-loaded, so part of the cost to the Marlins will be diminished by inflation. All in all, I wouldn't say it was the best signing of the off season or anything, but I think the Marlins made a great deal.

*BaseClogger*
02-12-2012, 03:06 PM
1. Yu Darvish - $100 Million+ for a guy who has yet to retire a major league caliber bat.

There are a handful of major league caliber hitters in Japan so this is not exactly accurate...

757690
02-12-2012, 03:38 PM
I would add the D-Back's Jason Kubel signing to a $15M two-year deal, to the worst list, especially when they already have Parra who is better.

mth123
02-12-2012, 05:12 PM
There are a handful of major league caliber hitters in Japan so this is not exactly accurate...

If they were still major league caliber, they' wouldn't be in Japan.

mth123
02-12-2012, 05:18 PM
Agreed on Madson, Kuroda and Papelbon. For best, I'd probably add the Cards' Carlos Beltran signing, and for worst I'd suggest the Rockie's signing Michael Cuddyer.

My biggest disagreement with your list is probably the Reyes deal. Obviously he's had health issues, but he's been on the DL because of a calf injury, a thyroid gland issue and a hamstring injury. It doesn't seem like he's consistently hurting himself the in the same way or that he has a chronic problem with the same body part. As such, it might be premature to think he'll necessarily miss significant time in the coming years. Also, he's only 28 years old, so he's in the prime of his career, and even when he does miss a significant portion of a season-- as in 2011-- he's capable of near MVP-level production. Finally, his contract is fairly back-loaded, so part of the cost to the Marlins will be diminished by inflation. All in all, I wouldn't say it was the best signing of the off season or anything, but I think the Marlins made a great deal.

Calf and hamstring. Leg trouble has begun. His legs are his game the same way a pitcher's arm is his game. Add the whole issue created with HanRam and it seems a bad signing to me. I just don't see Reyes being a top player past age 30. When he loses half a step, he'll be a different player on offense and defense. 6 years is too long. I'd guess he'll spend the last half of his deal as a second baseman who hits in the 7 hole.

Not sold on Beltran either. He's good, but its a lot of money for a guy who has trouble staying on the field. Its OK, since it was Pujols money, but not a great signing IMO.

mth123
02-12-2012, 05:21 PM
I would add the D-Back's Jason Kubel signing to a $15M two-year deal, to the worst list, especially when they already have Parra who is better.

Certainly honorable mention of bad deals. Probably not as bad as the Coco Crisp deal.

Captain Hook
02-12-2012, 06:10 PM
Calf and hamstring. Leg trouble has begun. His legs are his game the same way a pitcher's arm is his game. Add the whole issue created with HamRam and it seems a bad signing to me. I just don't see Reyes being a top player past age 30. When he loses half a step, he'll be a different player on offense and defense. 6 years is too long. I'd guess he'll spend the last half of his deal as a second baseman who hits in the 7 hole.

Not sold on Beltran either. He's good, but its a lot of money for a guy who has trouble staying on the field. Its OK, since it was Pujols money, but not a great signing IMO.

I agree with your opinion on Beltran but Reyes should be ok.He'll only be a little older then Rollins is right now when his deal is up and he should still be going strong.Injuries are a concern for everyone and while Reyes might have a slightly higher risk I believe his contract reflect it.I think he could've got more but signed early just to get it done.

I also consider Fielders contract one of the worse for the same reasons you gave for Alberts.And also because no one else was going to pay that much.

mth123
02-12-2012, 06:23 PM
I agree with your opinion on Beltran but Reyes should be ok.He'll only be a little older then Rollins is right now when his deal is up and he should still be going strong.Injuries are a concern for everyone and while Reyes might have a slightly higher risk I believe his contract reflect it.I think he could've got more but signed early just to get it done.

I also consider Fielders contract one of the worse for the same reasons you gave for Alberts.And also because no one else was going to pay that much.

I considered Fielder, but at his age, I think he'll still be productive when his deal is up. Maybe not elite productin like now, but he shouldn't be cpmpletely over the hill and on the verge of retirement like Albert. Fielder's game doesn't depend on him staying fast like a Reyes. Maybe he'll go the way of Adam Dunn or Richie Sexson in his early 30's, but he's a better all around hitter than those guys.

RedsBaron
02-12-2012, 07:36 PM
I considered Fielder, but at his age, I think he'll still be productive when his deal is up. Maybe not elite productin like now, but he shouldn't be cpmpletely over the hill and on the verge of retirement like Albert. Fielder's game doesn't depend on him staying fast like a Reyes. Maybe he'll go the way of Adam Dunn or Richie Sexson in his early 30's, but he's a better all around hitter than those guys.

Fielder is the first contract I thought of as ranking as the worst. We will know how it turns out but it isn't a deal I would have made.

Vottomatic
02-12-2012, 07:45 PM
Because of their ages, I think the Fielder deal is better than the Pujols deal. Fielder is a Vegan, and despite his size, is fully in tune with his health. I don't see him ballooning up in weight like many expect because of his father.

Captain Hook
02-12-2012, 08:01 PM
Because of their ages, I think the Fielder deal is better than the Pujols deal. Fielder is a Vegan, and despite his size, is fully in tune with his health. I don't see him ballooning up in weight like many expect because of his father.

Despite Fielder being fully in tune with his health he's already fat!:lol:

GADawg
02-12-2012, 08:14 PM
If they were still major league caliber, they' wouldn't be in Japan.

now that's funny....and true imo.

just to add my 2 cents I'm not a Fielder fan but I think that was great signing all things considered....especially since it took his big butt out of the NL Central.

nate
02-12-2012, 08:19 PM
Because of their ages, I think the Fielder deal is better than the Pujols deal. Fielder is a Vegan, and despite his size, is fully in tune with his health. I don't see him ballooning up in weight like many expect because of his father.

Fielder was (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/baseball/mlb/wires/01/26/2010.ap.bba.tigers.fielder.7th.ld.writethru.1210/index.html#ixzz1kcC4Yry5) a vegetarian:


Fielder did want to debunk one thing: Back in 2008, he talked about becoming a vegetarian, but that apparently didn't last long after all the commotion.

"I'm not a vegetarian,'' he said. "I was, for like three months.''

corkedbat
02-12-2012, 08:58 PM
Didn't realize that if the Reds pickup the option, but Madson opts out, the Reds are off the hook for the buyout. Will the $11M option be enough to qualify for a draft pick(s)?

cincinnati chili
02-12-2012, 08:59 PM
BEST (Teams most likely to be glad they spent the money at the end of the contract):

Beltran - worth the risk of $26 mil in guaranteed money. He looked great and healthy last year. Guys who OPS .900+ routinely and can play any sort of defense at all are a bargain at $13 mil. per year.

Darvish - Major Japanese baseball isn't exactly low A ball. A career ERA under 2 (think about that... under TWO ... for a career) in Japanese baseball with great ratios means something. He's 25 years old, huge guy who can handle the workload, zero injury history, he's less likely to struggle with the cuture adjustment (his parents met in the US, his dad was an immigrant in a xenophobic society, and he knows what he's getting into coming here). All signs point to this being one of the first $100MM+ pitching contracts to be worth the money. Were it not for the posting system, the price tag would have been higher as Tornoto and Texas would have nudged this at least into Jayson Werth/Carl Crawford territory.

Jose Reyes (his injury history is exaggreated; he's a shortstop; it's half the $$ value of the major deals this off-season and significantly less than inferior players crawford and werth)

--

WORST (teams tost likely to regret they spent the money at the end of the contract:

Fielder (a deal that could bankrupt the franchise and its owner)

Pujols (not as bad as fielder because there is some marketing value here, and the Angels have the TV deal to absorb a mistake or two; but I think they'll regret it by year 3 - not year 6 or 7 as has been bandied about.)

Crisp - I have no idea what Oakland is doing. It's almost like Beane has some "Pop Fisher" type deal with ownership that he can buy the team on the cheap in a few years if the team repeatedly does poorly enough.

corkedbat
02-12-2012, 09:02 PM
Fielder was (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/baseball/mlb/wires/01/26/2010.ap.bba.tigers.fielder.7th.ld.writethru.1210/index.html#ixzz1kcC4Yry5) a vegetarian:

Some "vergetarians" still ocaisionally eat fish and maybe chicken. prince was under the impression that the odd wildebeast was OK.

AmarilloRed
02-12-2012, 09:02 PM
Didn't realize that if the Reds pickup the option, but Madson opts out, the Reds are off the hook for the buyout. Will the $11M option be enough to qualify for a draft pick(s)?

I don't believe so-I think you need to offer 12 million.

cincinnati chili
02-12-2012, 09:05 PM
1. Yu Darvish - $100 Million+ for a guy who has yet to retire a major league caliber bat. .
Not technically true. I seem to recall that Adam Dunn was a major-league quality bat entering 2009 and Darvish made him look silly.

mth123
02-12-2012, 09:11 PM
Fielder is the first contract I thought of as ranking as the worst. We will know how it turns out but it isn't a deal I would have made.

Don't get me wrong. If i made top 10 bad deals list, Fielder would be on it, I just think Papelbon, Darvish, Pujols, Reyes and Rollins were worse deals (Coco Crisp too)..

mth123
02-12-2012, 09:23 PM
BEST (Teams most likely to be glad they spent the money at the end of the contract):

Beltran - worth the risk of $26 mil in guaranteed money. He looked great and healthy last year. Guys who OPS .900+ routinely and can play any sort of defense at all are a bargain at $13 mil. per year.

Darvish - Major Japanese baseball isn't exactly low A ball. A career ERA under 2 (think about that... under TWO ... for a career) in Japanese baseball with great ratios means something. He's 25 years old, huge guy who can handle the workload, zero injury history, he's less likely to struggle with the cuture adjustment (his parents met in the US, his dad was an immigrant in a xenophobic society, and he knows what he's getting into coming here). All signs point to this being one of the first $100MM+ pitching contracts to be worth the money. Were it not for the posting system, the price tag would have been higher as Tornoto and Texas would have nudged this at least into Jayson Werth/Carl Crawford territory.

Jose Reyes (his injury history is exaggreated; he's a shortstop; it's half the $$ value of the major deals this off-season and significantly less than inferior players crawford and werth)

--

WORST (teams tost likely to regret they spent the money at the end of the contract:

Fielder (a deal that could bankrupt the franchise and its owner)

Pujols (not as bad as fielder because there is some marketing value here, and the Angels have the TV deal to absorb a mistake or two; but I think they'll regret it by year 3 - not year 6 or 7 as has been bandied about.)

Crisp - I have no idea what Oakland is doing. It's almost like Beane has some "Pop Fisher" type deal with ownership that he can buy the team on the cheap in a few years if the team repeatedly does poorly enough.

Gotta disagree about Japanese ball. Guys who wash out here go there to be stars. Its AAA at best. Darvish has a nice scouting report, but IMO has zero track record going for him. I wouldn't mind having him in the system, but wouldn't pay $100 Million for any pitcher who hasn't had success in the big leagues.

corkedbat
02-12-2012, 09:25 PM
I don't believe so-I think you need to offer 12 million.

Wonder if they can kick it up a Mil?

mth123
02-12-2012, 09:26 PM
Wonder if they can kick it up a Mil?

If Madsen opts out, that option becomes a nothing. The Reds would need to make an offer.

PuffyPig
02-12-2012, 10:15 PM
Jose Reyes (his injury history is exaggreated; he's a shortstop; it's half the $$ value of the major deals this off-season and significantly less than inferior players crawford and werth)



Comparing contracts to Crawford and Werth and extrapolating great value based on them is pretty weak.

His injury history? He's missed 200 games over the last 3 years. That's a fact.

LegallyMinded
02-12-2012, 10:53 PM
I considered Fielder, but at his age, I think he'll still be productive when his deal is up. Maybe not elite productin like now, but he shouldn't be cpmpletely over the hill and on the verge of retirement like Albert. Fielder's game doesn't depend on him staying fast like a Reyes. Maybe he'll go the way of Adam Dunn or Richie Sexson in his early 30's, but he's a better all around hitter than those guys.

What really differentiates the Fielder and Pujols signings in my opinion is the defensive value the players bring. With Pujols, you get a quality defender, whether you're measuring him with advanced stats like UZR or more traditional qualifications like gold glove voting. Fielder, on the other hand, rates very poorly in the field, and, perhaps even worse, his presence shifts Miguel Cabrera to 3B. The Tigers are giving away a lot of value by putting Prince and Miggy at the corners, and I think that's going to make it much harder for the Fielder contract to work out.

cincinnati chili
02-12-2012, 11:31 PM
Gotta disagree about Japanese ball. Guys who wash out here go there to be stars. Its AAA at best. Darvish has a nice scouting report, but IMO has zero track record going for him. I wouldn't mind having him in the system, but wouldn't pay $100 Million for any pitcher who hasn't had success in the big leagues.

I don't think we're that far about on the "AAA at best part." I think it's a little better than Triple A overall (http://www.nationalsarmrace.com/?tag=clay-davenport), but for the sake of argument, let's say they're comparable.

First of all, how many players in the history of AAA have had a 1.72 ERA in over 1,000 innings? In a way that's an unfair question, but in a way it's not. Obviously, guys who dominate AAA like that get called up to the big leagues and so we don't have data on guys that good pitching for 1,000 innings at the same level. On the other hand, when a guy has been in the same league for 5 years and thrown 1000+ innings, hitters and advanced scouts begin to develop a book on him. If he has a weakness, they exploit it. Yu Darvish does not have a weakness.

For years, guys like Bill James, Clay Davenport and others have developed formulas to compare leagues. I realize these are averages and all players are different. But basically, you can mathematically determine how an ERA in the Pacific Coast League on average equates to an ERA in the major leagues (e.g. - making up numbers here, perhaps a 3.00 ERA in the Pacific Coast league = 4.21 in the majors).

Sure, these are averages. Some guys are outliers. But those of you betting against Darvish either don't believe in the math (which is your right, but we're talking about people who don't make a lot of mathematical errors) or you for some reason believe that Darvish is a negative outlier.

I have no reason to believe Darvish is a negative outlier. In fact, I suspect based on empirical datea he'll be a positive outlier. In year 1, I'd put the over/under at 3.20 ERA, 14 wins, 200 innings, 175 Ks. Top 10 in the Cy Young is likely, top 5 is reasonably probable. Winning the Cy Young (as Ichiro won the MVP 11 or so years ago) is not a silly bet.

There is a lot of risk here, but that's because he's a pitcher. Any long term contract to a pitcher is a risk. But the fact that he hasn't pitched in the major leagues is the last thing I'm worried about.

RedsManRick
02-12-2012, 11:58 PM
If there was a guy who was a 25 year old free agent who had just completed his 5th year in AAA, with a career 1.72 ERA, a 4.9 K to walk ratio and who averaged more than 8 innings a start, people would be losing their stuff over him.

I have no clue how Darvish will do, but if he can do that in AAA, his projects for the majors are really good. But I don't think AAA is a good comp for the Japanese league. It's fundamentally different. The league average is like 3.4 R/G and a .656 OPS. They sac bunt about 4 times as often. A better comp might be the NL in 1984. It's a game built on speed and small ball. It will be very interesting to watch him adjust.

cincinnati chili
02-13-2012, 12:00 AM
Comparing contracts to Crawford and Werth and extrapolating great value based on them is pretty weak.

His injury history? He's missed 200 games over the last 3 years. That's a fact.

Why is it "weak" to look at the two richest contracts from last year, which went to two guys that play non-scarce positions (LF / RF), one of which (Crawford) was belowaverage offensively at his position over the course of his career, and the other of which had a short history of being above average and then comparing them to the guy who was the best offensive player in the major leagues at his position last year (6.2 oWAR) and was an all-star in 3 separate years prior to that?

Why is it "weak" to suggest that the 2nd-best overall shortstop in the major leagues (other than Tulowitzki) in 2011 would expect to garner more guaranteed money after the 2011 season than a guy who was the 2nd best right fielder and the guy who was the 6th best left fielder in 2010? Reyes got significantly less money. That means, by definition, the Marlins got a bargain. A big bargain.

I realize Carl Crawford's contract may prove to be the worst in major league history, but the fact is that contracts tend to go up each year, not down.

The injury thing is overstated, because he's played at least 128 games in every year except 2009. And last year when he played 128 games, he still managed to crank out 6.2 offensive wins. I'll take that. I'll especially take that if I'm the Marlins, and if I know that Reyes will miss 30 games this year, I can plug in a guy like Hanley Ramirez or Emilio Bonifacio at shortstop and not exactly suck.

Captain Hook
02-13-2012, 02:03 AM
nm

mth123
02-13-2012, 07:40 AM
If there was a guy who was a 25 year old free agent who had just completed his 5th year in AAA, with a career 1.72 ERA, a 4.9 K to walk ratio and who averaged more than 8 innings a start, people would be losing their stuff over him.

I have no clue how Darvish will do, but if he can do that in AAA, his projects for the majors are really good. But I don't think AAA is a good comp for the Japanese league. It's fundamentally different. The league average is like 3.4 R/G and a .656 OPS. They sac bunt about 4 times as often. A better comp might be the NL in 1984. It's a game built on speed and small ball. It will be very interesting to watch him adjust.

I think the Japanese league is a bunch of AA hitters being dominated by a bunch of AAA pitchers. When AAA hitters, who can't make the jump to the majors, go over there, they frequently become the best guy in the league. When you get a major league caliber guy like Darvish he dominates those hitters over there. I take all of those numbers with a huge grain of salt.

Do I think Darvish has promise? Sure. Would I want a guy with his stuff and success so far in my system? Absolutely. Would I be "losing my stuff" if he was a Red's prospect? Probably. Would I pay him like he's Tim Lincecum or Clayton Kershaw without ever throwing a major league inning? Absolutely not.

PuffyPig
02-13-2012, 07:41 AM
Why is it "weak" to look at the two richest contracts from last year, which went to two guys that play non-scarce positions (LF / RF), one of which (Crawford) was belowaverage offensively at his position over the course of his career, and the other of which had a short history of being above average and then comparing them to the guy who was the best offensive player in the major leagues at his position last year (6.2 oWAR) and was an all-star in 3 separate years prior to that?



Becuase both of those contracts are horrible contracts. They were when they were signed, and remain so today.

TRF
02-13-2012, 11:03 AM
Darvish has a lot going for him that no other Japanese pitcher playing in the U.S. has. The foremost being height. He's 6'5". That's plenty tall. He's averaged 200+ IP since 2007. He'll have to adjust to a new schedule, but workload isn't an issue. He's a hard thrower, can dial it up to 97. Was he worth $100M? Well, he was to the Rangers, and since one of the guy evaluating him was Nolan Ryan, I'd say they are addressing a need.

And I sure wish the Reds would go after Ogando. But that's another thread.

I'd really like to know what Beane was thinking signing Crisp to that deal.

RedlegJake
02-13-2012, 11:09 AM
I'd call Darvish neutral as a deal - that's a ton of cash and the track record of Japanese pitchers coming to America is not impressive. Darvish, however IS impressive and his record bests any pitcher who's crossed the ocean before him by a large margin so I'm not going to say the gamble is unwarranted. I actually wish the Reds had that kind of money - Darvish, Cespedes, I wish the Reds could fish in those waters. I was shocked when they went and landed Chapman and his was a much smaller deal. Still until Darvish actually performs in the big leagues I'm going to remain on the skeptical side with my expectation that he will pitching's equivalent of Ichiro. I personally think he'll take baseball by storm - but that is still all conjecture so calling it the best deal of the off season is hyperbole until he has a track record to look at - a track record here. I pretty much agree with the rest of your post and even Darvish is just a matter of degree.

REDREAD
02-13-2012, 01:10 PM
I don't think Darvish will flop, but when his cost is compared to ML pitchers making a similiar amount, you get guys like Roy Holliday..

It's a risky proposition.. Darvish is going to have to be one of the top 10 pitchers in MLB to "earn" his money. Is that going to happen? Not likely.

Since Texas has a lot of money, it won't necessarily kill them if Darvish ends up being a solid #2 or even #3.

I think Darvish will start off well, as he has a quirky delivery. He may be able to ride that through the entire first year, much like Nomo did.
However, I think the league will adjust to him... He will still be good, but probably not a perennial Cy Young contender (which is what he's being paid as).

TRF
02-13-2012, 01:56 PM
If Darvish is a #2, he'll more than earn that money the Rangers spen on him and on getting him. Because #2 starters have seasons where they are #1's generally. Because the Rangers look poised to be successful during at least the first 3 years of his contract. Because they will sell tons of Darvish merchandise. And finally, because he's an oddity that will bring in a new fanbase.

IMO this is not a bad signing for the Rangers.

MikeThierry
02-13-2012, 02:03 PM
How do you determine what is a bad contract or good contract? Even though the Pujols contract looks bad on the surface, I think the Angels will make that money back two fold over the course of a contract. There is untapped marketing bringing the best player in the game to the biggest Latin American population in the country. Plus, with the Dodgers being in limbo right now, the Angels have an opportunity to make strides as the baseball team in LA. I think from a pure money grab for the Angels standpoint, the Pujols contract doesn't look as bad as one might think.