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Thread: Chone Figgins to Seattle?

  1. #46
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Chone Figgins to Seattle?

    Quote Originally Posted by traderumor View Post
    But aren't post mortem's on signings important to learning? Maybe this discussion isn't so much about "I told you so" as it is "what can we learn from this flop." At least that's what I see. Some want to make it into that old RZ favorite, which has even been debated, in "I called it" and "no you didn't," "yes I did," "no you didn't." Fun.
    I thought this was discussion about the rationale for the signing. How can the rationale be discussed without reasonably addressing potential outcomes? This is especially so when the results of this one were so wacky that simply using the results doesn't inform a whole lot concerning the rationale.
    "This isn’t stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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  3. #47
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Chone Figgins to Seattle?

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Rather than lecturing on tea leaves, how about just reading the thread? It's a short one.
    Probably because I didn't realize you had a romantic attachment to Chone Figgins.

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    If you think it's irrational to add on base skills to the top of an offensively challenged line up through adding a guy who was a plus defender at third and good enough to play stretches up the middle, then really I see no way to help you out of the snark corner you've trapped yourself into.
    Or maybe a low OPS team ought to be after high OPS bats.

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    I guess you could start by explaining why a guy who was an above average player in 5 of his 6 seasons as a starter for the Angels should've been expected to fall off of a cliff the second he left Anaheim.
    32, not much power, headed to bad hitters park. Didn't take Kreskin to figure out his best years were probably behind him.

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Pour boiling water over the tea. Using lukewarm hindsight just yields something that tastes like gnat's pee.
    Yep, you're that guy.
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  4. #48
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Chone Figgins to Seattle?

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    In 5300 defensive innings at third base (approximately 4 and a half seasons worth of playing time), UZR rates Figgins as a +8.8 UZR/150 glove while Dewans graded him out as a +4.5 glove. I call that excellent defense and it's likely most people would be comfortable with such a characterization.
    And almost all of it came in 2009, which you know and are desperately trying to avoid. Take that one year out of the equation and he neither had the reputation nor the numbers of an outstanding defensive 3B.

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    At least the argument has shifted from the incorrect assertion that Figgins was overpaid based upon being a one year wonder.
    No, I simply made the point he had a likely unrepeatable BB rate and defensive season in 2009 and then you ran down a blind alleyway hollering about stuff I never said.

    You're still making the case that Figgins was a big-time defensive 3B (see immediately above), a mirage created almost entirely by his 2009 season. Surely the Mariners made the same mistake. And you keep insisting the Mariners valued his OB. I agree. They clearly did and part of that had to be based on his improving BB rate in 2008 and 2009. Given his positional versatility and that BB rate, they might have had visions of Tony Phillips dancing in their heads. Yet he was no Tony Phillips when it came to working a pitcher. Figgins even delivered a good BB rate in 2010, but his bat regressed so much it took his OB with it. And once pitchers realized they could knock the bat out of his hands, they did just that.

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Figgins projected to be something like a 3.5 WAR player coming into the 2010 season based upon his entire body of work up to that point. Given normal regression, that would mean that Figgins might be expected to track something like:

    2010: 3.5
    2011: 3.0
    2012: 2.5
    2013: 2.0
    Honestly, the WAR whisperer trick isn't all that impressive when it doesn't work.

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Given the market at the time, the Ms paid him like he would be expected to be a 2 WAR player across the board. So a week before they added Cliff Lee, the Ms signed a very versatile position player who to that point had exhibited significantly above average on base skills (OBP =.363) and had been an above average position player for his entire career as an Angel. He was coming off of a career year, yet they signed him to a contract that essentially regressed him to a league average player. Frankly there wasn't a player on the free agent market that appeared to be a better fit for their roster or really for Safeco.
    Team with the worst offense in the AL ignores its fundamental problem. Amazing that it didn't work out.

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    I think you've constructed a narrative about Seattle and have used hindsight concerning Figgins to construct a conclusion consistent with your narrative.
    No, if you're at the bottom of the league in something fundamental, like offense, then fix it. Figgins didn't address the central problem and it exacerbated the situation when he went kerplooey. Yet the Mariners were constructed to be a bad team even if he delivered as Mr. Average. That's the real problem. Figgins was a symptom. They talked themselves into defending, pitching and running their way around a bad offense. It was a bad plan. That's not a narrative. It's documented history.
    Last edited by M2; 11-23-2012 at 08:33 PM.
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  5. #49
    It's showtime! RedEye's Avatar
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    Wow... didn't see this thread coming back from the dead!
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    Re: Chone Figgins to Seattle?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedEye View Post
    Wow... didn't see this thread coming back from the dead!
    If you're into zombie killing, here's a bone:

    So what of this narrative that Figgins wasn’t a plus defender at third, should not have been considered a useful addition to an offense and used a career year in 2009 to fool the Mariners into artificially inflating evaluations of his defensive and on base skills? Can it be supported by objective facts? Was Figgins a volatile player who capitalized on a career performance during his contract year?

    Below is a summary of relevant stats. The defensive stats are raw UZR, UZR/150 (normalizes for playing time) and Dewan’s raw runs saved (i.e. not normalized for playing time) for his defense at third base.

    Code:
    			Thirdbase defense				
    YR	OBP	OPS	Def Inn	UZR	UZR/150	Dewans	WAR
    2004	0.35	0.77	705	5.7	13.9	3	3.6
    2005	0.352	0.749	434	3.9	14.2	3	2.8
    2006	0.336	0.712	280	-2.7	-38	-7	0.7
    2007	0.393	0.825	836	-1.9	-2.8	-1	3.9
    2008	0.367	0.685	919	10.6	17.8	5	3.2
    2009	0.395	0.789	1339	16.6	17.9	29	6.9
    These numbers basically paint the picture of a consistent player both offensively and defensively. As a starter, Figgins posted an above average WAR in 5 of his 6 seasons in Anaheim, posting a WAR of 3 or greater in 4 of his 6 seasons. To put that into perspective, Jay Bruce has had one season where he has posted a WAR greater than what Figgins averaged as a starter from 2004-2009 with the Angels.

    As an aside, its surreal to have to post this but one way to help a run-challenged offense that is to get more guys on base. Obviously power is important but any argument that on base skills aren't valuable really is tough to take seriously.

    1) So what of the impact of Figgins’ 2009 season?

    Take away his 2009 season and his numbers as an Angel go from .292/.363/.390; OPS=.753 to .291/.356/.388; OPS=.744. This was not a guy who had a volatile past and thus presented a unique problem for projection systems. A myoptic focus upon Figgins’ 2009 season actually ignores a great deal.

    2) Was Figgins a good defensive third baseman?

    It’s been argued Figgins has not been a plus defender at third and his 2009 season skews objective measures of his defense. Is that actually the case? A look at his performance at third base as an Angel indicates such an assertion is not correct. If any number jumps out it’s his rating during 2006 when he only played 280 innings at third. I doubt anyone is willing to consider such a small sample indicative of anything. But the great thing is that even his 2006 doesn’t get thrown out. It’s all part of the 5000+ innings he’s played at third. It’s easy to see why UZR calls him a +9 defender (UZR/150) and Dewan’s calls him a +4.5 defender at third when looking at those 5000+ innings. Basically, if ’04 and ’05 are combined, ’06 and ’07 are combined (because doing so adds up to roughly 1100-1200 innings) while considering ’08 and ’09, Figgins had three significantly above average defensive seasons at third with one below average season. The notion that the 2009 season was an outlier that dramatically inflated Figgins’ defensive grade is wholly inaccurate. Dewan’s and UZR/150 show a pretty consistent, above average defender. The notion that Figgins’ has not been a plus defensive third baseman is unsupported both by objective measures of defense and his reputation.

    3) Were the Ms fooled and made a bad decision as a result?

    Given his body of work, Figgins was projected to be something like a 3.5 WAR player in 2010 which doesn’t seem like a stretch since he’d just came off a season where he doubled that while being a 3 War player for the majority of his career as an Angel. However, given market rates during that off season, the Ms only paid him like he was a 2 WAR player. Obviously they gave him 4 years which was longer than other teams were willing to go but they certainly did not pay Figgins like his 2009 season blinded them. In fact, they paid him a contract that undervalued him in every year but the final one assuming a normal aging curve. They paid a guy with a history of being an above average position player like he was a league average player. That’s not overvaluing a player by any reasonable definition.

    Did Figgins make sense for the 2010 Ms? They were coming off of a season where as a team they produced a line of .258/.297/.402 while getting .224/.297/.376 from the two spot in their lineup. They also were losing Beltre to free agency. The Ms targeted Figgins because he had above average on base skills and a skill set that would fit nicely in the two spot behind Ichiro. His defensive flexibility gave them roster flexibility while his plus glove at third gave them a viable replacement for Beltre. Furthermore, Figgins represented a player type that would not be expected to be hurt by the unique environment of Safeco. Figgins fit the bill as a type of player that "would have improved their sorry state of affairs". What’s more the Ms paid him like a league average starting position player even though he should’ve been expected to be better than such a player based upon his body of work as an Angel. Again, it’s tough to construct a narrative of blindly overvaluing Figgins based upon his 2009 when actually looking at the rationale for signing him and examining his contract.

    Meanwhile, looking at the 2009 market, what other options were there? Who were the high OPS guys to be had? Clearly Beltre was a stud but also, clearly he wasn’t coming back to Safeco. Holliday was not coming to Seattle even if they blew their whole $20-25M of spending money on him. In a slavish chase for OPS instead of OBP, defense, and roster flexibility, I guess the Ms could’ve outbid the Mets for Bay. That certainly is very consistent with the argument by some in this thread for what the Ms should’ve done. The Mets also agree that is what the Ms should’ve done BTW.

    Instead, the Ms FO signed Figgins, a guy who looked to be the best fit for them on the free agent market because he addressed several of their needs. The Ms also then traded for the best left-handed pitcher in baseball while working to extend one of the best right-handed pitchers in baseball. I’m all for arguing that the Ms shouldn’t have stopped with Figgins concerning the offense. But I don’t own the Ms, I don’t get to tell Z how much he can spend, and I don’t get to magically populate the market with ready-made answers. The Ms needed position players who were at least league average or better and they signed one that had been above average for his career to that point who also was a good fit for their specific situation. They bought him for a price that significantly undervalued his past performance.


    So by focusing upon the devil in the details instead of simply posting pejorative platitudes about tea leaves, metrics like WAR, and OBP, the OPS available on the 2009 market, and imagined bias etc, it’s clear that Figgins wasn’t overrated coming into free agency, the Ms didn’t overvalue him, and there was a reasonable rationale for why the Ms targeted him. Did his signing work out? No it was a train wreck. But was it a land mine that should’ve obviously been avoided based upon what was known at the time? Nothing in this thread comes close to supporting that notion. Figgins wasn’t a volatile player who capitalized on a career performance during his contract year. He’s a guy who fell off of a cliff while texting.
    "This isn’t stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  7. #51
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Chone Figgins to Seattle?

    So is the lesson learned "As long as you have the sabermetric numbers to support you, you can never be to blame"?

  8. #52
    Member Wonderful Monds's Avatar
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    I think Chone Figgins as a player is pretty simple

    He was pretty good before he became a Mariner. He stole a lot of bases for a few seasons, he hit the ball well and get on base at least decently for a lot of years. He was an average to good fielder at a lot of positions.

    That equals a pretty good player. He also should have never been paid 9 million a year for a four year commitment either.
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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Chone Figgins to Seattle?

    Quote Originally Posted by edabbs44 View Post
    So is the lesson learned "As long as you have the sabermetric numbers to support you, you can never be to blame"?
    It's not really clear how that was the conclusion reached.....

    Rather, I'd say there are a couple of lessons. The main one-signing free agents is risky. And a secondary one-snark needs to make a valid point otherwise its more like a mental poofer.
    "This isn’t stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  10. #54
    It's showtime! RedEye's Avatar
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    Re: Chone Figgins to Seattle?

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    If you're into zombie killing, here's a bone:
    I am apparently, jojo. Thanks for a great read.
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  11. #55
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Chone Figgins to Seattle?

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Below is a summary of relevant stats. The defensive stats are raw UZR, UZR/150 (normalizes for playing time) and Dewan’s raw runs saved (i.e. not normalized for playing time) for his defense at third base.

    Code:
    			Thirdbase defense				
    YR	OBP	OPS	Def Inn	UZR	UZR/150	Dewans	WAR
    2004	0.35	0.77	705	5.7	13.9	3	3.6
    2005	0.352	0.749	434	3.9	14.2	3	2.8
    2006	0.336	0.712	280	-2.7	-38	-7	0.7
    2007	0.393	0.825	836	-1.9	-2.8	-1	3.9
    2008	0.367	0.685	919	10.6	17.8	5	3.2
    2009	0.395	0.789	1339	16.6	17.9	29	6.9
    UZR/150 is a useless stat (and not just because it uses UZR). If it takes three years to get a complete picture of a defender using UZR, then a percentile of a season is a woefully incomplete data set. What you've got there is Dewan completely agreeing with me. According to that stat, Figgins was worth 2 defensive runs from 2004-2008. Hate to break it to you, but that's not excellent. UZR shows him to be a mixed bag from 2004-2007 (and it was a -7.7 UZR in 2006), then puts him in the top tier in 2008 and 2009. Seeing that Total Zone tracks closer to Dewan, it brings his aggregate defensive rankings (which is how Nate Silver would do it) into line with Figgins experiencing a defensive spike at 3B in 2009.

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    These numbers basically paint the picture of a consistent player both offensively and defensively.
    Did you even read the chart you made? It does not point to either of those things. Figgins was up and down defensively (note the negative numbers) and you posted nothing that specifically characterized his offensive performance.

    Just for giggles, here's his OPS+ during his time with the Angels:

    2003 - 90
    2004 - 103
    2005 - 101
    2006 - 85
    2007 - 117
    2008 - 83
    2009 - 110

    That's a little volatile. You certainly don't want to be spending tens of millions on a guy with an OPS+ in the mid-80s. The Mariners clearly wanted the 2007/9 version of Figgins, not the 2006/8 version of Figgins (which is what they got in 2010 - OPS+ of 84). Then he cratered.

    But let's not pretend he was a steady offensive performer, because he wasn't. He had some offensive seasons in his recent past that were somewhat undesirable. And any cursory look into his WAR would show his legs had been worth about twice as much as his bat during his time with the Angels.

    Was the problem with the Mariners heading into 2010 that they lacked speed? No, it was not. The 2010 Mariners were indeed faster with Figgins, but it remained a bottom-of-the-barrel OPS team.

    If the Mariners had looked at the whole picture with Figgins, they'd have seen a guy with a 99 OPS+, great speed and defensive versatility (not defensive excellence) who was now getting into his 30s. That's a shaky buy.

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    A myoptic focus upon Figgins’ 2009 season actually ignores a great deal.
    I agree. You should stop being so myopic about 2009 because you clearly missed a lot back then and are still missing it now.

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Given his body of work, Figgins was projected to be something like a 3.5 WAR player in 2010 which doesn’t seem like a stretch since he’d just came off a season where he doubled that while being a 3 War player for the majority of his career as an Angel.
    It must be nice to live in an insular universe where you get to believe your bad projections from the past, the ones that turned out to be utterly incorrect, are still somehow justified. I agree that Figgins might have worked out to being a useful player, but he also had significant offensive downside. Beyond that, even if he had worked out according to (your) plan, the Mariners still would have been undone by a feckless offense. The only real upside is Seattle could have dealt him for something rather than cut him.

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Did Figgins make sense for the 2010 Ms? They were coming off of a season where as a team they produced a line of .258/.297/.402 while getting .224/.297/.376 from the two spot in their lineup. They also were losing Beltre to free agency. The Ms targeted Figgins because he had above average on base skills and a skill set that would fit nicely in the two spot behind Ichiro. His defensive flexibility gave them roster flexibility while his plus glove at third gave them a viable replacement for Beltre. Furthermore, Figgins represented a player type that would not be expected to be hurt by the unique environment of Safeco. Figgins fit the bill as a type of player that "would have improved their sorry state of affairs". What’s more the Ms paid him like a league average starting position player even though he should’ve been expected to be better than such a player based upon his body of work as an Angel.
    I think you probably do a good job of channeling Mariners' thinking. You of course realize the Mariners suck ... and it's not because they're unlucky. I remember back in the aughts when posters here would argue the Reds were constantly making good decisions about their pitching staff while we were being treated to the worst pitching staffs in Reds history. Plus, what else could they do? It was insanity repeated on an annual loop. I assume rational Mariners fans are feeling the same way about the team's offense. It is possible to put a quality offense in Safeco (it's been done). However, it's never going to change when the house thinking is in line with what you just posted.

    Note how increasing their HR total by 81 did wonders for the 2012 A's.
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  12. #56
    Flash the leather! _Sir_Charles_'s Avatar
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    Re: Chone Figgins to Seattle?

    So far, an entertaining read. IMO you're both right and you're both wrong. Mixed bag on where and how. IMO getting Figgins was a good idea by the M's. He did fit what they needed in terms of defensive flexibility and obp. But the problem was that they didn't target MORE players to fix the rest of their woes. They did indeed need slugging. It was a higher priority than obp IMO. I also don't think they overpaid. He underperformed, but they paid what the going rate was for what he was projected to do. It didn't work out. Plain and simple. Hindsight being 20/20 and all, but without hindsight..it was a solid pickup at the time...just not enough additional pickups to make him mean any kind of difference.
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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Chone Figgins to Seattle?

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    UZR/150 is a useless stat (and not just because it uses UZR). If it takes three years to get a complete picture of a defender using UZR, then a percentile of a season is a woefully incomplete data set. What you've got there is Dewan completely agreeing with me. According to that stat, Figgins was worth 2 defensive runs from 2004-2008. Hate to break it to you, but that's not excellent. UZR shows him to be a mixed bag from 2004-2007 (and it was a -7.7 UZR in 2006), then puts him in the top tier in 2008 and 2009. Seeing that Total Zone tracks closer to Dewan, it brings his aggregate defensive rankings (which is how Nate Silver would do it) into line with Figgins experiencing a defensive spike at 3B in 2009.
    UZR/150 is a rate stat that normalizes for playing time so it’s useful when an apples to apples comparison is desired as is the case here i.e. looking at how Figgins performed at third on a season by season basis (standard UZR or Dewans are essentially just raw counting stats). But the more important point concerning the argument above is that one really can’t credibly segue from rejecting UZR because of sample size to treating 280 defensive innings in 2006 as being especially meaningful (which is what the argument focusing upon 2006 data essentially does). So no, Dewan’s really doesn’t agree with the above argument unless one is arguing a sample less than 300 innings in 2006 accurately captured Figgins’ true defensive skill at third. If one recognizes the 2006 sample size for what it is, Dewan’s data agrees with the notion that Figgins has consistently been a plus defender at third. With the exception of those 280 innings in 2006, Dewan’s has characterized Figgins as a plus defender 4 times and a roughly neutral defender twice in his career (2007 & 2011; -1). It’s pretty clear when looking at the distribution of Figgins’ data across playing time, Dewans clearly thinks Figgins is a plus defender. When looking at his defensive production as a rate stat (i.e. UZR/150), it's clear that accept for a 1000 inning stretch across the 2006-2007 seasons, his performance was remarkably consistent at third. Furthermore when removing 2009 completely from the equation to actually see what the impact of that season had on his overall rating, Figgins still rates as a +6 defender at third by UZR/150 (based upon 4000 innings) and Dewans suggests he’d be +3. That’s excellent defense.

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    Did you even read the chart you made? It does not point to either of those things. Figgins was up and down defensively (note the negative numbers) and you posted nothing that specifically characterized his offensive performance.

    Just for giggles, here's his OPS+ during his time with the Angels:

    2003 - 90
    2004 - 103
    2005 - 101
    2006 - 85
    2007 - 117
    2008 - 83
    2009 - 110

    That's a little volatile. You certainly don't want to be spending tens of millions on a guy with an OPS+ in the mid-80s. The Mariners clearly wanted the 2007/9 version of Figgins, not the 2006/8 version of Figgins (which is what they got in 2010 - OPS+ of 84). Then he cratered.
    But let's not pretend he was a steady offensive performer, because he wasn't. He had some offensive seasons in his recent past that were somewhat undesirable. And any cursory look into his WAR would show his legs had been worth about twice as much as his bat during his time with the Angels.

    Was the problem with the Mariners heading into 2010 that they lacked speed? No, it was not. The 2010 Mariners were indeed faster with Figgins, but it remained a bottom-of-the-barrel OPS team.

    If the Mariners had looked at the whole picture with Figgins, they'd have seen a guy with a 99 OPS+, great speed and defensive versatility (not defensive excellence) who was now getting into his 30s. That's a shaky buy.
    Figgins wasn’t a mid 80’s OPS+ type player as an Angel and he wasn’t really any more volatile than Brandon Phillips when looking at OPS+. Figgins was a guy who had a track record of being a slightly above average offensive player (wRC+=104; wOBA=.337; actually the worst one can argue is that he was average offensively). Figgins in total had a track record of being exceptionally fast, being capable of getting on base consistently at an above average rate, and playing plus defense at an important position while being able to play defense up the middle passably.

    Concerning the criticism that Figgins' game was largely built upon speed, it’s a tool that ages better than other tools concerning player performance and there was no reason to think his speed would suddenly and dramatically deteriorate. Frankly, hearing one suddenly argue that speed and on base skills really aren’t things that can improve a lineup struggling to score runs is a little surreal when reading past discussion points on similar topics:

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    When did the single most important component to run scoring become a narrow role? Allow me to go on record here. I like players who get on base. I especially like it when that OB comes with a little power or speed. Abreu's power was in retreat last season (though a park/division switch would surely help on that front), but he still moves pretty well. I readily recognize he's no sure thing, but let's not pretend something essential (OB at the top of the lineup) is a narrow role. Anyone who could produce that OB would be a vital cog on this team.
    Essentially the Mariners looked at the total picture, agreed with the quote above that OBP at the top of the lineup isn't a narrow role and someone who could produce OBP-especially when coupled with plus defense at third and an overall defensive versatility-could be a vital cog. Having agreed with that notion, they paid Figgins like he’d be a league average position player in essence ignoring projections that Figgins should produce significantly better than an average player, at least on the front end of the contract.

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    I agree that Figgins might have worked out to being a useful player, but he also had significant offensive downside.
    That can be said about virtually every free agent signing. The Ms managed risk with his contract about as well as can be done with a major signing. Their contract undervalued his projected performance and his versatility actually provided a buffer because in theory he could be used in multiple ways. I get harping about the 4th year and don't disagree. That said though, paying a free agent longer than he probably should get paid isn't exactly an innovation that the Mariners sprung on the league.

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    Note how increasing their HR total by 81 did wonders for the 2012 A's.
    Instead of 4 yrs/$36M for Figgins, the Ms should’ve given 4 yrs/$66M to Jason Bay?

    More importantly, the suggestion that Oakland gained 18 pythag wins because they hit more homers in 2012 than their club did in 2011 is misleading analysis. Here’s a quick break down of Oakland circa 2011 and 2012:

    Code:
    	BA	OBP	SLG	wOBA	UZR	FIP	ERA	RS	RA	Pythag
    2011	0.244	0.311	0.369	0.301	-22.0	3.80	3.71	645	679	74-88
    2012	0.238	0.310	0.404	0.311	24.3	3.89	3.50	713	614	92-70
    It’s true that in 2012 Oakland hit 81 more HRs than the previous season resulting in a wOBA that was .1 higher. Such an increase in wOBA would translate to an expected 50 additional runs scored given 6200 PAs (a season’s worth for a team). Clearly that alone doesn’t explain the 18 win swing in their Pythag record. In other words, if all Bean did was add 81 HRs during the 2011 offseason, Oakland would have finished a distant third in their division in 2012 and they would not have sniffed the playoffs. But as the table above shows, that wasn't the only significant change in their production. Oakland's defense also went through a dramatic upgrade resulting in a positive swing of 46 runs based upon UZR. So no, the success of Oakland’s 2012 season was not simply because they added a bunch of homers as was applied. What Bean actually did was elevate Oakland’s offense to league average (OPS+=99) while dramatically reworking their defense so it went from being ranked 25th in the majors during 2011 to 6th best in the majors in 2012. The combination of being league average offensively and significantly above average from a run prevention standpoint is what vaulted Oakland to Division winners.

    So what does the Oakland example demonstrate? It actually demonstrates the power of coupling league average offense with plus defense….i.e. the rationale for signing a player like Figgins.
    Last edited by jojo; 11-28-2012 at 04:59 PM.
    "This isn’t stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  14. #58
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    Re: Chone Figgins to Seattle?

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    They'd be paying him to be exactly major league average and his true skill is that of an above average guy.
    Putting aside whether or not Figgins was "above average", I'm not sure I buy this. Best case scenario: you pay average salary for above average players across the board and win a bang-for-the-buck award. I just don't think you win much more. And it seems like an unconstructive way to dig yourself out of the awful hole.
    The widow is gathering nettles for her children's dinner; a perfumed seigneur, delicately lounging in the Oeil de Boeuf, hath an alchemy whereby he will extract the third nettle and call it rent. ~ Carlyle

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    Re: Chone Figgins to Seattle?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rojo View Post
    Putting aside whether or not Figgins was "above average", I'm not sure I buy this. Best case scenario: you pay average salary for above average players across the board and win a bang-for-the-buck award. I just don't think you win much more. And it seems like an unconstructive way to dig yourself out of the awful hole.
    The point was made during a discussion about properly paying a guy and mitigating risk especially since it was strongly argued that he was paid based upon a career year during his contract year (which obviously is not accurate).

    Anytime a healthy position player who has been an above average starter during his control years can be signed for less than his production up to this point suggests he should be, the contract probably does a decent job of mitigating risk. In other words, surplus value is another way of talking about risk management. That was kind of the point.

    No where has it been suggested that surplus value should be accumulated just for the sake of it. The goal is improving the team which means being at least average in as many positions as possible while trying to be as above average in as many places as possible. Surplus value is important because it also implies that this goal is being pursued as efficiently as possible so that the most production can be bought with the given resources as possible. The point wasn't to sign Figgins because the Ms saw a chance to get hypothetical surplus value. The point was the Ms signed a guy that addressed several of their needs and fit their ball park in such a way as he would be expected to improve them. They signed him to a contract that essentially had a built in buffer given it's surplus value. In other words, Figgins was projected to be something like a 3-3.5 WAR player in year one. But given the way he was paid, he could've been a full 1.5 WAR worse than that and his production would still be within market rates. As it turns out the "buffer" wasn't nearly enough. But hey, that's free agency.

    What would your ideal contract for a starting position player on the free agent market look like?
    Last edited by jojo; 11-28-2012 at 06:17 PM.
    "This isn’t stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: Chone Figgins to Seattle?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rojo View Post
    Putting aside whether or not Figgins was "above average", I'm not sure I buy this. Best case scenario: you pay average salary for above average players across the board and win a bang-for-the-buck award. I just don't think you win much more. And it seems like an unconstructive way to dig yourself out of the awful hole.
    Bingo.

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo
    The point was made during a discussion about properly paying a guy and mitigating risk especially since it was strongly argued that he was paid based upon a career year during his contract year (which obviously is not accurate).
    No it wasn't. Now stop molesting that poor, innocent strawman.

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo
    It’s pretty clear when looking at the distribution of Figgins’ data across playing time, Dewans clearly thinks Figgins is a plus defender.
    Based almost solely on his 2009 season. You can blather on and on about peripheral nonsense all you want (and I'm sure you will), but Dewan had Figgins at +2 from 2004-2008. That you're trying to position that as "excellent" is kind of hysterical. Because if that's excellent, then baseball is flooded with excellent defensive players.

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo
    Figgins wasn’t a mid 80’s OPS+ type player as an Angel
    Except for 2006 and 2008 when he was. If you're doing risk assessment, and you've convinced me that you never have, you'd figure there was a decent chance that a guy might replicate his recent worst seasons. You'd especially be cognizant of this if he were moving into a pitcher's park and in his 30s. Sure enough, Figgins spit out an 84 OPS+ in 2010, which was right in line with his 2006 and 2008 seasons. He did exactly what a risk assessment would have figured was a reasonable things-go-wrong scenario.

    Where the Mariners got burnt is he never bounced back. Thing is, he was older and he started to pick up some injuries. That's how it works when a guy's game deteriorates, he goes downhill from his lowest point.

    Figgins had a fair amount of risk attached. Didn't have to be a disaster, but what happened was far from a stunning turn of events.

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo
    Essentially the Mariners looked at the total picture, agreed with the quote above that OBP at the top of the lineup isn't a narrow role and someone who could produce OBP-especially when coupled with plus defense at third and an overall defensive versatility-could be a vital cog.
    In 2010, the Angels got the OB they paid for. Figgins had a .340 OB thanks to a 10.5% BB rate. It was actually an above average OB. Here's how Figgins fared compared to a park-adjusted league average OB from 2003-2010.

    2003 - +.012
    2004 - +.016
    2005 - +.024
    2006 - -.004
    2007 - +.053
    2008 - +.028
    2009 - +.062
    2010 - +.021

    From an OB (and SB) standpoint, Figgins had a fairly Chone Figgins kind of season in 2010. You just have to adjust it for playing in Safeco. It didn't help the team because it wasn't really what the Mariners needed. He wasn't in line with his two peak seasons, but you're the guy saying the Mariners wisely built his contract to buy non-peak Figgins. So they got what you say they paid for and it landed with a splat. He proved not to be a vital cog. Seriously, your theory played out, and it failed.

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo
    In other words, if all Bean did was add 81 HRs during the 2011 offseason, Oakland would have finished a distant third in their division in 2012 and they would not have sniffed the playoffs.
    And if he hadn't added 81 HR during the 2011 offseason, Oakland would have finished a more distant third in their division in 2012 and they would not have sniffed the playoffs. I agree it wasn't all he did. Yet the lack of anything approximating a functional offense had kneecapped the team in 2010 and 2011. The A's had run suppression in recent years. What they didn't have was scoring.

    I should note that Beane actually traded during the season to replace his top defender (statistically speaking), Cliff Pennington, and then moved Pennington immediately after the season (admittedly for a top defensive CF, though Coco Crisp is no slouch in CF either).
    Last edited by M2; 11-28-2012 at 11:41 PM.
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