It Just Continues

Dave · November 16, 2004 at 12:59 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

If last year was the offseason of fiscal restraint, all signs point towards this offseason being a return to insanity. Omar Vizquel’s brutal three year contract has now been topped, as the Phillies have given Corey Lidle a 2 year, $6.3 million contract. This Cory Lidle. Apparently, a 4.90 ERA, just over 5 strikeouts per 9 innings, and a history of mediocrity weren’t enough to convince the Phillies that Lidle just isn’t very good.

For comparison, Lidle’s 2004 VORP was 12.3. Ryan Franklin’s was 22.7. There may just be a market for dumping Franklin’s contract yet.


48 Responses to “It Just Continues”

  1. Jim Thomsen on November 16th, 2004 1:10 pm

    Oh, man. Just wait and see what the first Scott Boras client gets. By spring training, he will own baseball, and be the de facto commissioner.

  2. msb on November 16th, 2004 1:11 pm

    man. It’s not as though they were battling anyone for his services … the only mention I’ve heard of Lidle this off-season was in sentences like “the [fill in team name] feel they can do better than Cory Lidle, etc etc”

  3. Paul Covert on November 16th, 2004 1:19 pm

    Off topic, but breaking news on AL MVP voting: “Figgins, Ana.” receives as many points in the balloting as “Guillen, Det.” and “Hafner, Cle.”

    Thank you, Mr. Kruk.

  4. Ryan L. on November 16th, 2004 1:31 pm

    Well, at least I don’t have to worry about the M’s overpaying for wither Lidle or Omar anymore.

    I don’t get it-if Lidle is “worth” 3.15 mil a year, then whats someone like Beltre worth? 20, 25, 30 million a year?

  5. muddy frogwater on November 16th, 2004 1:46 pm

    Good! People are spending wildly early. This saves the best for last! Is Omar predicted for a break out season like BB?

  6. dw on November 16th, 2004 1:54 pm

    I don’t get it myself. $6.3M contract… and he’s a right-handed fifth starter? OTOH, he’s probably on the same level as Bryn Smith was in ’91 when he got his $2M/year deal from the Cards, one that never made sense to me.

    Is it possible the Phils just don’t have anyone in their system who can be a #4 or #5 starter?

  7. Ryan L. on November 16th, 2004 2:05 pm

    Does it really matter if the Phils don’t have anyone for that spot? There surely are better uses of one’s money than that. Its the same argument as the Ibanez deal-in and of itself, not a bad move by any means, but the money committed made it a bad deal.

  8. Evan on November 16th, 2004 2:19 pm

    His 2003 in Toronto was bad. His 2004 in Cincinatti was bad. Maybe he’ll get better if they pay him more.

    I don’t think this does tell us anything about the moveability of Franklin’s contract, though. Franklin doesn’t “scout” as well as Lidle or Omar do.

  9. TroutMaskReplica on November 16th, 2004 2:38 pm

    Hey #3:

    Even funnier is the fact that Mark Kotsay and A-Rod tied for MVP votes!…

  10. Dash on November 16th, 2004 2:53 pm

    You know looking at these initial free-agent deals that Ibanez contract might start looking like a bargain soon.

  11. Mark on November 16th, 2004 3:04 pm

    OTOH, he’s probably on the same level as Bryn Smith was in ‘91 when he got his $2M/year deal from the Cards, one that never made sense to me.

    You know you’re associating with hard-core baseball fans when you hear someone still puzzling over a contract that’s 13 years old.

  12. Michael on November 16th, 2004 3:05 pm

    The thing which does feel worrying is that someone like Matt Clement is now going to be worth far more. And seriously, why sign Omar and Lidle early????? Its not as thought there was a huge demand for these guys. Even Gillick would have (probably) passed up on them.

  13. David J Corcoran on November 16th, 2004 3:08 pm

    Two bad contracts in a row. Oh no. I fear Beltran COULD get a 10 year deal.

  14. David J Corcoran on November 16th, 2004 3:11 pm

    WOW! Montreal is serious about doing well. Look at this (link to signing of Castilla/Cabrera)

  15. David J Corcoran on November 16th, 2004 3:12 pm

    That’s a pretty good infield, there, Johnson, Vidro, Guzman, Castilla.

    Guzman is fairly underrated, IMHO.

  16. Morisseau on November 16th, 2004 3:15 pm

    re: MVP voting. Who did Durazo pay to get an 8th place vote?!

  17. David J Corcoran on November 16th, 2004 3:18 pm

    Guzman was signed for 4 years/16 million.

    WOW. This is a bad year for contracts already. Guzman is good, but not 4 years good.

  18. PositivePaul on November 16th, 2004 3:20 pm

    So it should be good news, then, that the M’s have stayed out of the market so far. Right?


  19. David J Corcoran on November 16th, 2004 3:20 pm

    If the market levels off, good, but otherwise, we will be having to pay these prices.

  20. Dave on November 16th, 2004 3:21 pm

    Actually, Guzman isn’t even “good”. Offensively, he’s a black hole, about the same quality of hitter as Willie Bloomquist. He’s a capable defenisve shortstop, but not the wiz he’s made out to be. The Twins are as enamored with defensive ability as any team in the majors, and they willingly let him walk with no adequate replacements on the roster. That should tell you quite a bit about his true level of defensive performance.

    And Vinny Castilla absolutely sucks. These are two more terrible signings, as Jim Bowden continues to build his legacy of stupidity, this time ruining a brand new franchise.

  21. David J Corcoran on November 16th, 2004 3:22 pm

    They got Castilla for 2 @ 6.2 mill. That is about what he is worth, fortunately, although I wouldn’t have given Castilla 2 years.

  22. Bill on November 16th, 2004 3:22 pm

    $16M/4 for a guy with a career OBP of .303 and career SLG of.382? I wouldn’t give the guys $4M/4 let alone $16M! Washington would be better off with no GM at this point.

  23. msb on November 16th, 2004 3:26 pm

    hmm. The Chi Sun-Times thought the White Sox would be in the Guzman running for what they offered Vizquel– 2 years, $10 million with a 2007 option. from the Pioneer Press: “Guzman has received two “pretty significant” contract offers from other teams, King said, and a deal likely will be reached in the “next 48 to 72 hours.”

  24. Dave on November 16th, 2004 3:27 pm

    Vinny Castilla hit .218/.281/.493 away from Coors Field last year. He’s 37 years old. There’s no way he’s “worth” $3 million at age 38 and 39. Keep in mind, last season, $6 million for two years got you Reggie Sanders, Jose Guillen, Rondell White, or Jose Cruz Jr. This year, it gets you Cory Lidle or Vinny Castilla.

    Yech. Four truly horrendous signings kick of the offseason.

  25. Mike on November 16th, 2004 3:28 pm

    Fantasy owners who enjoyed Castilla’s year in Colorado have to be crying in their beer he won’t be back.

  26. David J Corcoran on November 16th, 2004 3:30 pm

    Hopefully Howard Lincoln gets drunk tonight, and once drunk, signs a new budget giving the M’s a 200 million dollar payroll, and removing him from his position.

  27. Chunk on November 16th, 2004 3:50 pm


    They’ll probably just pick up whomever signs in Colorado to replace Castilla, with no loss of production.

  28. Todd on November 16th, 2004 3:52 pm

    Is it normal for all the bad players to sign big contracts so early? It is as if a voice in the back of their head is telling them to take the money now, before GMs like Bowden are no longer employed and the gravy train runs out. At least the Mariners have not made a bad signing. Yet.

  29. Paul Covert on November 16th, 2004 4:34 pm

    In general, I’d expect the worst signings to be early in the offseason. (Worst from the team-budget point of view; from the player’s they’re the best.) It is true, though, that I don’t remember this strong a trend early in previous offseasons.

    I’d be more worried, though, if the offseason started off with Beltran and Beltre going for 10/200 and 8/150, respectively. The top-end guys usually seem to set the market, not the low-end guys with sweetheart deals.

    In any case, it’s with the early signings that the “winner’s curse” applies most strongly; the earlier you want a guy to sign, the more you have to overpay him. The way to avoid the curse is to wait until all the guys for whom teams have irrational hopes get taken off the market, and sign your lineup-filling marginal starters and bench guys once they get to the point where they’re happy just to have a job.

    That won’t work with superstars, of course; they’re scarce enough that the winner’s curse is unavoidable with them, for reasons which Derek explained yesterday. But there’s no excuse for signing a guy early unless he’s solidly above league average, and preferably an MVP candidate.

  30. Paul Covert on November 16th, 2004 4:39 pm

    (Sorry– also meant to add in the above post #29: )

    Avoiding mediocre early signings will mean, of course, that you can’t have your pick of the litter among midpriced players. But the point is that a team shouldn’t be setting its collective heart on any particular guy in that range anyway; if they were that special, they wouldn’t be midrange free agents in the first place. If the one you like gets snapped up, there’ll be somebody else there that’s just as good.

    (Oh dear… now I’m starting to sound like a dull romantic-advice columnist, aren’t I?)

  31. Ralph Malph on November 16th, 2004 5:46 pm

    Do these ridiculous contracts mean:

    (1) that the price of good players will be even higher,


    (2) with these teams out of the running there will be fewer teams to bid up the good players out there.

    Certainly the early Ibanez/Spiezio signings last year didn’t drive up the price of later signings.

  32. eponymous coward on November 16th, 2004 5:55 pm

    Well, hopefully it will drive down the number of dumbass GM’s willing to overpay- like how Gillvasi did this last year.

    I have a bad feeling about this, though, ESPECIALLY in light of the names Delgado and Koskie being repeatedly bandied about, and past history. Watch Delgado go for 4/32 mil and Koskie at 3/20… and also watch the front office wish they hadn’t done those deals by 2006.

  33. eponymous coward on November 16th, 2004 5:59 pm

    Also, it’s pretty clear why Lidle’s being overpaid- he went 5-2 with a 3.90 ERA for the Phillies, and they are obviously thinking he’s back in his sub-4 ERA form from his two years in Oakland.

    His peripherals look a LITTLE better than in Toronto, but that’s mostly because the HR’s went down, and that could be a function of sample size. Yeah, bad signing. He’s maybe worth a year and an option.

  34. Evan on November 16th, 2004 6:42 pm

    If anything, the Ibanez/Spiezio signings last year served as a cautionary tale and depressed salaries through the rest of the offseason.

  35. David J Corcoran on November 16th, 2004 7:33 pm


    I can’t leave comments on your new thread, but you should know his name is JARET Wright. Jamey Wright was a ST NRI back in ’02.

  36. David J Corcoran on November 16th, 2004 7:34 pm

    Whoops. Scartch that. Should’ve read the post all the way. Sorry.

  37. David J Corcoran on November 16th, 2004 7:37 pm

    Actually, scratch the Scratch! You are getting Wright mixed up with Wright.

    JARET Wright went 15-8, but JAMEY Wright went 2-3. JARET Wright had the K’s you mentioned, JAMEY had different ones.

  38. David J Corcoran on November 16th, 2004 7:40 pm

    Wait. You couldn’t have done this unless you did this intentionally. Shame on you, DMZ, trying to fool your readership.

  39. Digger on November 16th, 2004 8:09 pm

    Back on this thread…. Maybe we should consider the possibility that players with typical VORP of 20-30 are pretty universally getting $2-4M/year. It doesn’t deal with the age issues, but it gets past a lot of this angst.

  40. Dave on November 16th, 2004 8:23 pm

    Well, for one, I don’t personally sense a lot of “angst” here. If the Mariners were the ones who had signed Cabrera, Castilla, and Lidle, sure, angst would be abundant. I think the general reaction is “Wow, Ed Wade, Brian Sabean, and Jim Bowden just wasted a lot of money”. I don’t think we’re particularly upset about it.

    And just because several teams have decided that players just above replacement level are worth multiyear, multimillion dollar contracts doesn’t mean that we should accept the fact that its a fair market value.

    The gas station down the street from my house charges $4.99 for a 12 pack of Pepsi. The Harris Teeter a few blocks away wants $4.69, so I guess that could be considered “market value”. If I’m willing to go to the Food Lion another two blocks away and wait in a longer line, though, I can get it for $2.49. My friends make fun of me for my excessive frugalness, because, after all, its only $2 difference. I say that $2 adds up (Derek:Beer:Dave:Pepsi, so more than most, in my case) over time, and I’m content to deal with the fact that Food Lion isn’t exactly the sexiest grocey store in the world if it keeps money in my bank account.

    Yea, in relation to Omar Vizquel’s signing, Cristian Guzman’s deal isn’t that awful. But man, I’m not even sure Guzman would outperform Maicer Izturis next year, and the Expos/Nationals/Grays/Seligs have just decided to pay $4 million a year for a potentially lateral move.

    If you have a gigantic payroll, you can afford to spend a bit more on the known quantity. If you’re dealing with real budgets, saving on the fringes is important.

  41. Jeff Sullivan on November 16th, 2004 9:21 pm

    “The Food Lion”?

    Seems like there were some mixed signals in the conference room when they were coming up with names for the store.

  42. eponymous coward on November 16th, 2004 10:53 pm

    My nerviousness is based on past history and the names Pocket Lint and the rest of the media keep dropping. You have to figure Jim Street has SOME connection to the team if he’s writing for the M’s official MLB site, especially since he covered the M’s for years at the PI.

  43. Jim Thomsen on November 17th, 2004 12:03 am

    And Michael Lewis’ next book will be titled “Borasball: How Man Took Over The Great American Game With Boundless, Shameless Greed.”

  44. Jim Thomsen on November 17th, 2004 12:03 am

    ONE man

  45. Wsumojo on November 17th, 2004 12:29 am

    Good God, even Willie could get $8M/3year contract on this market right now!!

  46. Scraps on November 17th, 2004 8:06 am

    Boras’s job is to get the most he can for his clients. He can’t “take over” anything without the cooperation of a lot of players and executives. It isn’t greed, “shameless” or otherwise, unless it’s greedy to fight better than the other agents do for your client’s share of the huge pie; if you must consider it greed, the onus lies upon every player who hires him to represent their interests, and every general manager who fails to protect the team’s interests.

  47. Chris S. on November 17th, 2004 3:05 pm

    I must say, agents are fascinating to me. How can an agent represent two players who are ostensibly competing for the same budget money?

    Seems like conflicts would pop up constantly — if getting $4 million from a team for one player means that team not offering a better deal to another client, how is an agent to choose?

    I suppose it’s just an unspoken “uh…it works out,” but in the end, can it really?

  48. msb on November 18th, 2004 10:56 am

    “The Food Lion”? Seems like there were some mixed signals in the conference room when they were coming up with names for the store.”–Comment by Jeff Sullivan — 11/16/2004 @ 9:21 pm

    hey, the Food Lion has a really cool logo, man….