Free Agency Rankings

Dave · December 23, 2004 at 6:24 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

One of the questions on the survey at the feed (results to be posted sometime, I promise) was “which contract signed this offseason is the worst for the signing club”? There seemed to be a significant amount of interest on the subject, and so I’ve drawn up a quick free agent rankings through 12/23. Below are what I consider to be the ten best and ten worst contracts signed to date as randomly judged by me.

As of: 12/23/05

Best Contracts of 2005

Rank Player Team Years Total
1. A. Beltre Seattle 5 $64m
2. M. Clement Boston 3 $25.5m
3. W. Miller Boston 1 $4m
4. B. Radke Minn. 2 $18m
5. N. Garciaparra Chicago 1 $8m
6. J. Kent LA 2 $17m
7. T. Walker Chicago 1 $2.5m
8. W. Williams San Diego 1 $3.5m
9 R. Hidalgo Texas 1 $5m
10. C. Counsell Arizona 2 $3.1m

There’s a pretty obvious trend here. I favor short term contracts for high reward players who won’t be a long term burden if they fail to work out but still provide the possibility of solid return. I figure most people will agree with most of these, though Craig Counsell at #10 is a bit out of the mainstream thought. Counsell is what the Giants hope they’re getting in Vizquel; a steady glove at shortstop who isn’t completely useless at the plate. Getting a player who played tremendous shortstop defense for $1.5 million is a bargain for Arizona.

Worst Contracts of 2005

Rank Player Team Years Total
1. R. Ortiz Arizona 4 $33m
2. R. Sexson Seattle 4 $50m
3. J. Wright NYY 3 $21m
4. T. Percival Detroit 2 $12m
5. P. Martinez NYN 4 $53
6. O. Cabrera Anaheim 4 $32m
7. V. Castilla Washington 2 $6.2m
8. C. Koskie Toronto 3 $17m
9 M. Matheny San Francisco 3 $10.5m
10. O. Vizquel San Francisco 3 $12.3m

More patterns emerge. I’m pretty staunchly against long term deals for mid-tier players, especially ones on the wrong side of 30. I expect a lot of people will be upset about the absence of Troy Glaus and Kris Benson from this list, but I don’t think those contracts are as bad as they’re being made out to be.


43 Responses to “Free Agency Rankings”

  1. Jon Wells on December 23rd, 2004 6:36 pm

    A new candidate for the top 10 worst deals this winter is now out there. St. Louis just gave Little David Eckstein 3 years, $10.25 million. To me, that’s worse than the Vizquel signing even though Vizquel is significantly older. Eckstein doesn’t really belong at SS and who knows, he might not end up playing there if the Cardinals can find a real SS elsewhere. This deal seems like it was made out of desperation — the Cardinals lost both Renteria and their starting second baseman, Tony Womack, this winter and were anxious to fill one of those spots.

    I know there were a few teams looking at Eckstein, but three years???!!!!??? I have to admit I’m one of the ones that thought he wouldn’t make more than $2 mil a year and thought he’d get a two-year deal tops and would likely have to take a one-year offer.

  2. David J Corcoran on December 23rd, 2004 6:37 pm

    You don’t consider 4 years for Pokey Reese II (aka Christian Guzman) to be worthy of this list?

  3. Arford on December 23rd, 2004 6:37 pm

    Gotta say, I’m surprised that neither the Cristian Guzman deal nor the Troy Glaus deal made your ten-worst list. Then again, it seems we’re spoiled for choice on bad deals this year.

  4. Deanna on December 23rd, 2004 6:55 pm

    I’m surprised to see the Troy Percival contract on there, or at least as high up as it is. I realize he’s a vague injury risk and on the wrong side of 30, but I think the guy’s still got plenty of steam left in him, and 2 years isn’t that unreasonably long, and it was sounding like Detroit wanted to move Urbina anyway.

    (Plus, I liked to joke that they’ll have to change his music theme from “Eye in the Sky” to “Eye of the Tiger”.)

  5. The Ancient Mariner on December 23rd, 2004 6:55 pm

    For my part, I’d probably drop Koskie’s off the list, bump the others up, and slot Guzman in at #10–Guzman’s young, but he’s not worth a whole awful lot (no, he isn’t Pokey Reese II–he doesn’t have the glove); as for Glaus and Benson, those are problematic contracts, but I’d agree with Dave that they’re more defensible than Vizquel’s (and Guzman’s, for that matter).

  6. fiction on December 23rd, 2004 7:15 pm

    Where would you slot the Drew & Alou signings? On the worst or best side?

    As more signings occur Beltre appears to be a real great deal.

  7. Basebliman on December 23rd, 2004 7:33 pm

    I think the Glaus contract is as much of a risk as Sexson. He’s been hurt the last two years, Sexson, just the one. I know Sexson’s injury is more relevant to power, but I wouldn’t say Glaus’ injury isn’t a concern. I’m not convinced either of them are 100 percent so neither signing is good in my opinion. If they both had one year “re-establish themselves” type contracts, I’d be much happier. That’s why Hidalgo’s on the GOOD list and he’s not coming off an injury, just an underachieving season. If Sexson’s on the list, there’s no reason another guy coming off an injury getting signed to a long term contract should avoid the BAD list.

  8. Miles M on December 23rd, 2004 7:39 pm

    It would be great to see this poll again at the end of the season or better yet, do this poll again at the end of the season after we see who produced and who bombed.

  9. Jerry on December 23rd, 2004 7:49 pm

    Dave, DMZ, JMB,

    Two part question:

    -do you think that the M’s are serious about signing Odalis Perez? It seems like most of the rumors have been indirect.

    -where would you put a contract for Perez (say 3 years, 21-24 million) on this list?

  10. Jamie on December 23rd, 2004 7:59 pm

    I don’t know, I think a guy like Radke could easily go on the “worst” contracts list. He’s a guy you’d definitely want on your club, but for that much money? Then there’s a guy like Richie Sexson, or Pedro Martinez, who you’d definitely want on your club too, but almost certainly not for that much money. The only difference is the number of years, I guess, but four years for guys who aren’t THAT old isn’t that awful; three years at a little more reasonable price would be great. Compare that to a guy like Jaret Wright, or Mike Matheny, who you definitely would NOT want on your club, at any price, and is being given a big chunk of salary. Those two contracts don’t even compare, in my opinion, although you could argue the size of those two contracts for the two clubs that signed them is meaningless in their big picture.

    And then of course, Beltre. I don’t post enough for anyone to know me but if anyone saw any of my posts they’d know I’d put Beltre pretty high on the “worst contracts” list, maybe even higher than Sexson. The story of Beltre is pretty much the story of Jaret Wright, except Beltre’s a little younger and Wright has a real excuse as to why he wasn’t good (he actually missed a lot of time).

    Great job on the lists though, eveyone loves list. One thing it made me realize is that Boston made the only two free agent signings so far (Clement and Miller) that seem like clear steals.

  11. The Ancient Mariner on December 23rd, 2004 8:18 pm

    So does Beltre have an excuse, as you’d know if you’d ever had a ruptured appendix or a botched appendectomy (or any sort of botched major surgery, actually). Why people find it hard to understand this is completely beyond me.

    Besides, unlike Wright (or Sexson, for that matter), Beltre’s past injury problems don’t bear on his on-field performance–they were neither caused by it nor (now that he’s recovered) are they likely to affect it. That significantly decreases his future risk in comparison.

  12. s. sullivan on December 23rd, 2004 8:33 pm

    I’m a Mariners fan living in LA. While I’m very optimistic about the Beltre signing, I’m a bit concerned about the national leaguer who’ll have to learn the A.L. pitchers learning curve. Anyone care to guesstimate what Adrian’s numbers might be in 2005?


  13. Rebecca Allen on December 23rd, 2004 8:48 pm

    I’m of the opinion that there must be something negative about Beltre that other teams knew about, since the M’s management has shown it is incapable of making a really good signing (the Sexson deal is MUCH more typical). We’ll presumably find out what the catch is next year (injury proneness, bad attitude, clubhouse malcontent, can’t hit breaking balls, whatever). I’m sorry my posts have been so relentlessly negative, but this is truly one of the worst front office’s that I’ve ever seen (been following BB since 1969). They have a real talent for squandering bountiful resources.

  14. Jerry on December 23rd, 2004 9:45 pm

    I don’t understand why people keep bashing Beltre without any sort of valid argument as to why he is a risk. The ‘one-hit-wonder’ issue is sorta valid, especially if you don’t look at the specifics of his past performances (see post 11 above). But the argument that the signing is bad because the front office is bad makes zero sense. From this same perspective, was the Garcia trade a bad move as well? Must be since the FO sucks so much.

  15. Dave Sund on December 23rd, 2004 9:54 pm

    As of 12/23/04, Dave. 😉

  16. The Birth of a Nation on December 23rd, 2004 9:58 pm

    I hate to “me, too” here, but Cristian Guzman SURELY has to make the “Worst” list somewhere.

    Doesn’t he?!…

  17. Adam S on December 23rd, 2004 10:10 pm

    #5, interesting that you’d drop Koskie off the list because my first reaction was that he’s too low. I agree with Dave’s analysis of him — — his numbers are park inflated and he’s in the decline of his career. By 2007 if not 2006, someone will be paying $6M for a replacement level player. Some of the guys at the top of the list are huge risks, but there’s no way (in my mind) that Koskie could possibly earn that contract; he’s just grossly overpaid/overvalued.

    Dave’s right, there’s a lot to choose from on the bad list. There are a dozen contracts I’d insist are among the five worst 🙂

  18. The Ancient Mariner on December 23rd, 2004 10:46 pm

    Two things on Koskie, though. One, he’s at least being paid commensurate with a consistent raw performance level, which some of those guys aren’t (Cabrera, imho, being the outstanding example, but I think Percival and Pedro are the only other exceptions–and both of them have significant injury issues); and two, it seems to me that a lot of the reason we’re expecting Koskie to fall off the cliff is that he reminds us of Cirillo. I think we’re correct to use that comparison, but we might not be.

    And besides, while Ricciardi and his staff haven’t matched their opposite numbers in Oakland, say, or Boston in acuteness of judgment, they are demonstrably aware of things like home/road splits and the reality of the decline phase; as such, I’m inclined to cut them a little more slack on such issues than GMs like Jeff Moorad of the D-Backs or Brian Sabean of the Giants. I might be wrong in that, but I am, and it influences my evaluation.

  19. jeff on December 23rd, 2004 11:06 pm

    #12 sullivan hey man where in la you from, i’m down here also and also a m’s fan. do you know a lot of m’s fans in the area?

  20. D'ohboy on December 23rd, 2004 11:51 pm

    This is a thought provoking list, and the thought that it provoked in me is: how can you place Counsell in the top ten “best signings” while you place Vinny Castilla in the top ten “worst signings?” Following your logic that good contracts are those with high rewards and low risks, then the Castilla signing actually comes off as a good deal. Yes, he’s old, and his stats are inflated by Coors field, but he still hit 21 homers on the road last year. If Castilla works out, the Nationals (or whatever they are as of today) will have a highly productive player at a premier position. If not, he’s fairly cheap and he’s off the books in two years. I think that the potential upside to Castilla is much greater than that of Counsell, while the marginal risk (about 1.6m/year) is not onerous if Vinny tanks it.

    As far as the Clement/Benson signings go, I strongly feel that they both belong on the ten worst, but Clement moreso than Benson, simply due to the fact that Clement will pull down a little more than 2m/year more to essentially mirror Benson’s mediocre performance as an under .500 innings eater with an ERA of around 4.30. Do Clement’s 1.6 K/9 innings more than Benson justify that 2m/year? I know Clement is supposed to have “electric stuff,” but why hasn’t this ever shown up in his record over an almost 200 game career?

    Anyhow, keep up the good work. I’d love to hear what you have to say about the Drew and Varitek signings (4/40 according to ESPN–awful lot of years and money for a 33 year old catcher).

  21. Dave on December 24th, 2004 12:20 am

    I figured this would generate a lot of different comments, and I unfortunately don’t have time to tackle them all in-depth. Please forgive the short answers; I’m not trying to belittle your arguments or write them off.

    The Eckstein deal is bad, certainly. Probably not one of the ten worst, though. I think major league quality up-the-middle players are scarce enough to be worth paying for some security when you have a championship level club. The Cardinals probably could have gotten a better risk/reward return from a cheaper, unproven player, but in their situation, it doesn’t make sense to take the risk that they have a giant gaping hole in the line-up when all they need is a capable player to hold the fort while the rest of the team carries them to the playoffs. Perhaps if another team had given Eckstein that deal, I’d think less of it.

    I don’t the Guzman signing is all that bad, honestly. $4m a season for a SS entering what should be his prime years? Even in a worst case scenario, he’s not a complete sinkhole. His skillset is such that he’s got a pretty broad specturm of possible performance, as well, so I wouldn’t be stunned if he had a couple “peak season” type years where he was actually a solid player for the money.

    I know everyone is going to compare Glaus and Sexson and rip me for having Sexson so high and Glaus not on the list, but I think Troy Glaus’ upside is significantly higher than Sexson’s. If healthy, Glaus is an MVP candidate, a quality defensive third baseman who can hit .280/.400/.600. If healthy, Sexson is a good player, a fringe all-star, who can hit .270/.360/.550 and play good defense at first base. The worst case scenario for Glaus seems to be that he moves across the diamond and ends up as a slugging first baseman, which is Sexson’s best case scenario. Part of my personal philosophy is to spend heavily on premium positions (C-SS-2B-CF-3B) and skimpy everywhere else, and that’s reflected in my thoughts towards Glaus and Sexson. If everything breaks right for both men, Glaus is the better player and he’s making less money.

    I’m rarely in favor of paying $6 million for any reliever. I think if you’re going to spend that much on a guy who is only going to throw 60 innings, you better be certain they’re going to be 60 awesome innings. Percival’s been steadily declining for years and there’s no real assurance that he’s even going to be a better than average reliever next year. He was paid for the closer label, and in my mind, that’s always a bad idea.

    Drew and Alou would both be on the bad side, though not challengers for the top ten bad contracts.

    Radke was one of the best pitchers in the American Leaugue last year and the Twins convinced him to take a paycut. He’s making the same as Freddy Garcia, who signed before this insane market took place. He clearly signed a below market deal to stay in Minnesota, and the fact that its only a 2 year deal makes it a huge boon for the Twins.

    We might have to put up another “why Beltre is not a one year wonder” post, and comparing him to Jaret Wright is just… wrong. He was unbelievably great in the minors, very good in his first two years in the majors, and then ran into a life threatening health problem that hampered his development. Last year’s productivity wasn’t far out of line with what was being projected on him as a teenager. Everyone has said he’s had this kind of franchise player ability for 10 years. And it was his third productive major league season in six tries. 25-year-olds with his pedigree who have that kind of season are almost universally great players.

    Castilla hit .218/.281/.493 on the road last year, which is a pretty far cry from “highly productive”. The power makes up for the ridiculously low on base percentage, barely, but to assume that power is still going to be there in his age 38 and 39 seasons is faulty, I believe. At this point, he’s a one trick pony who needs to hit the ball out of the park a lot to not be totally worthless, and asking a 38-year-old to rely solely on his home run power is a terrible idea.

    Matt Clement’s been a pretty good pitcher for the last three seasons. His W-L record is irrelevant. Wins and Losses are pretty close to useless when evaluating a pitcher’s chance of future success.

    Varitek’s contract is an instant albatross, but it’s one that I think Theo knows he can afford because of his market. If he’s running any team besides Boston or New York, he passes, but he’s got $130 million to spend and is smart enough to get good return on investments elsewhere that one bad contract isn’t going to hurt them. Considering they are coming off a championship and Varitek is the unquestioned leader of the team, and there are no passable replacements available, the extenuating circumstances allow Theo to knowingly overpay and not have it be a terrible decision. Even with the Varitek contract, I think the Red Sox have had, by far, the best offseason of any team in baseball.

  22. Colm on December 24th, 2004 12:54 am

    Nice in depth response Dave.

    I still can’t agree with your analysis on Guzman. He has a five year track record of being pretty awful – almost Neifi Perez bad – and has shown zero inclination to learn from his mistakes and get better. Now Jim Bowden is giving him $4M a year for four years to batter the last few nails into the coffin of his career!? The guy is not even a late inning defensive replacement; $4M a year for a pinch runner is ludicrous.

    And on Matt Clement? He may be a pretty good pitcher but it has yet to show up in any photographs of him. He’s really peculiar looking. Somewhere between Mr Bean and a befuddled goat. For $8M a year I want a starter who looks like a matinee idol.

  23. Bela Txadux on December 24th, 2004 1:20 am

    And my six-sous here, Dave:

    I thought Counsell was a good buy as well, but Eckstein could be a very solid pick-up—it he slides over to 2B where he belongs. Yes, Dickie’s deal is solidly sub-optimal if he starts at SS, but everything he does well he does better at 2B, and the stability there he could provide would have equivalent value for the Cards, if that’s where he’s ultimately deployed. Of course, we’re speaking of Tony LaWooWoo as the manager, so he could put Pujols at 2B.

    I actually think that Glaus is one of the _better_ deals this offseason, with the main quibble being number of years on principle as excessive. That’s my view for all the reasons, plus the not insignificant fact that Glaus hammered the crap out of the ball, bad shoulder and all, last year: we know that his injury does NOT preclude him hitting. Sexson’s injury has absolutely precluded him hitting, and his deal slots absolutely at 2nd worst from risk/reward standpoint.

    Drew’s per year average is fair, and this deal would edge toward one of the best except for that fifth year which to me has trouble written all over it, so it’s hard to get a good grip on a projectable outcome, to me.

    But I think the worst deal this year by miles is Pedro’s; this will probably be Chan Ho Redux. Pedro’s value last year wasn’t significantly better than Park’s last year in the Ravine. I can’t bring myself even to imagine that Pedro has more than one year left in his ragged arm, no matter how ‘tough guy’ he is on the mound. This is a four year deal whose yearly average overpays by a large factor anything Pedro could actually deliver even if he repeated his ’04 season. If Wilpon stacked $50M singles in a pile on and set it on fire on Opening Day ’05 so that the fans could sight by the column of smoke the route to Shea, he’d have done himself about as much good, _I_ think. Pedro has been a fantastic player, and it is difficult, I think, to adequately weight his future role from his present profile given his incomparable past, but seriously I don’t expect him to pitch effectively more than one more year in the majors, if that.

    Another deal I have major question marks about is Renteria’s. Yes, this looks like Theo is overpaying for stability, but nonetheless for a fine player. I am of the emphatic opinion that Edgar will never repeat his offensive highs of ’02-’03, nor come any closer than he did last year. I think that Renteria has an excellent chance to be a $4M shortstop two years from now, but making twice that. This deal is very likely to end in tears, but the guy’s signed for two much to be cut lose in that event.

    Kenny Williams is a laugh riot, isn’t he? Orlando Hernandez and Contreras in his rotation. I can’t say that I expect him to see value for the Hernandez signing, and if Orlando never throws well again, quite possible, that deal is tenners through the shredder, too.

    Whoever picks up Alex Cora will automatically slot the deal into the Ten Best if it’s two years at performance value, which is very possible.

  24. James on December 24th, 2004 1:24 am


    And the Tigers already had Ugueth Urbina on hand for cheaper.

  25. Jon Wells on December 24th, 2004 1:27 am

    Somewhat OT, but here’s a quote from J.D. Drew in Thursday’s New York Times, which should put to rest all the talk about whether the M’s could have or should have signed Drew instead of Richie Sexson. Drew didn’t want to play in the American League — given that the M’s were dealing with Scott Boras on Beltre and talking to him about a new deal for Ron Villone, it’s a good bet that Seattle at least inquired about Drew. When told he didn’t want to switch leagues, they moved on to other, signable players.

    “I wanted to stay in the National League,” Drew said at a news conference in Los Angeles. “When these guys came and started talking, they were definitely my first choice.”

  26. Jamie on December 24th, 2004 3:17 am

    Thanks for replying to the comments in such depth, Dave. (But if anyone doesn’t want to read any more stupid opinions about Beltre skip this.)

    I know I’m the only one out of 15,000 readers of USS Mariner to think Beltre’s signing was awful, but I really think it’s defensible. Yes, I know Beltre had a ruptured appendix and lost all of his strength and whatnot. And I’ve heard all the points defending Beltre, but I don’t think they’re convincing. Here are a few points working against Beltre:

    Surgery – If he just needed time to recover from surgery, why did he get slightly worse every year since, instead of better? I’m not an expert on botched surgeries, but I’d figure that you wouldn’t hit better immediately after your botched surgery than 2 years later, like Beltre did. And I’d also figure there wouldn’t be some cutoff point 2.82 years after your surgery where a switch was flipped and you suddenly went from sapped of all your energy to the most powerful man on the planet.

    Superprospectdom – If Beltre was clearly going to become a superstar, then why didn’t anyone like him last year? Everyone who paid attention to him knew about his surgery. Everyone knew about his superprospect status before entering the majors. It’s pretty irrelevant to make after-the-fact “predictions” about what was going to happen. There are a ton of superprospects that flop. I don’t know anything about this source, but this prospect list from 1998 has a lot of household names now. Adrian Beltre was the #3 prospect on that list. #1? Travis Lee. Should we trade for him now, because he’ll match his projections any day now? (Side note: Neifi Perez was on that list in 1997 at #14, three spots down from Beltre.)

    Breakouts – There are not only a ton of superprospects that flop, but superprospects and non-prospects that have one huge year but never again regain anything really close to that level. Everyone calls the former prospects “finally achieving their potential,” and the nonprospects “finally turning the corner.” But all kinds of baseball players have one huge year and never again reach that level. Remember Esteban Loaiza last year? He always had the “stuff” to be a #1 starter but only realized how to master it in 2003. Can I say the name “Darin Erstad” again? He was a superprospect that “broke out” at age 26. How about “Richard Hidalgo”? Age 24. Even Brady Anderson, age 32.

    History – Anyone can name a million one-hit wonders, but I challenge anyone who tells me how great the Beltre signing is to name one of those one-hit wonders (a guy who drastically exceeds his established major league level of performance, at any age) that maintained anything close to that level. As far as I can tell, there has never been one. Even 25 year olds. I’ve heard names like “David Ortiz” but Ortiz was progressing year after year. His SLG, for example, went from 446 to 475 to 500 to 592 to 600. Beltre went from 475 to 411 to 426 to 424 to 629. (Hidalgo went from 484 to 474 to 420 to 636.) It’s hard to say players with histories like Beltre become universally great players when the only players with histories like Beltre’s all seem to be huge to moderate flops (unless I’m missing anyone). As far as I can tell, great players all seem to be almost immediately great upon entering the majors (eg, Arod, Andruw Jones) or gradually become great, sometimes with a hiccup or two but never, it seems, a hiccup several years long.

    What is “good” – Beltre may have had 3 “good” years, and I’d argue he was never a player you didn’t want on your team. But if he plays like any of the “good” versions of Beltre besides last year’s, the M’s contract is horrible.

    I don’t know, I guess the argument comes down to whether you’re willing to pretend 2001-2003 were three years of improvement that don’t show up as a decline in the stats because of his surgery, which suddenly became irrelevant in 2004. I’m not willing to do that and I’d rather just use Occam’s Razor and say 2004 was a fluke.

  27. David J Corcoran on December 24th, 2004 9:40 am

    I see Guzman as this year’s Scott Spiezio signing.

  28. Adam S on December 24th, 2004 9:47 am

    A few guys who have made a leap and stayed there, off the top of my head…
    Mark McGwire — Rookie of the Year in 1987 then slowly got worse for 4 years, getting all the way down to .201/.330/.383 (replacement level). In 1992, he jumped to .268/.385/.585 and basically had an OPS over 1 each season for the rest of his career.

    Ryne Sandberg — Had two years with an OPS of .680, then jumped to .880 (age 24), won MVP and was an all-star for 10 years straight. Perhaps this isn’t long enough a struggle for you.

    Sammy Sosa — Actually made a leap twice. Spent 4 years with an OPS near .700 (actually .576 one year), then jumped to .794 (age 24) and .884 (age 25). Stayed at that level, then made a leap to OPS of 1 (age 29) and stayed there for 4 years.

    Jim Edmonds — Had some flashes, but was a good player OPS ~.880 for his career. At age 30, after missing 2/3 year with injury, he jumped to .994 and has been an elite player for 5 years.

    We can argue whether this kind of breakout is rare or common, but you can’t say it’s never happened.

  29. ChickenLittle on December 24th, 2004 9:48 am

    Glaus, MVP candidate? Oh come on. First, he has to stay healthy, which given his position, is going to be difficult. And, the very thought that he’s an acceptable defender is laughable. He’s barely adequate is likley to have to be moved to first before his contract is up, if not this season.

    You get too caught up in age. Stats are great, but lets stay in the realm of reality. And, really, to use the ineffectiveness of the M’s medical staff as an excuse. Come on, that’s a lowball fan reaction, untypical of the normal reliance you show to everything you can put pen to paper on. Here’s a general fact for you….medical science is the same regardless of here or LA. Sexson goes through the same tests here that he does anywhere else. Seattle boasts the University of Washingon and other medical facilities are are amongst the best in the world. It’s a cheap shot to somehow parlay the fact that because the Mariners are reviewing the results, they are error prone.

    It to me shows that you can’t separate your personal bias from those statistics you so preciously cling to. Stats are a funny thing…..they generally reflect the bias of the person using them. It’s kind of like being a lawyer…….you can twist and turn anything into knot, if you try hard enough. And if you can’t, you argue that it should have been a knot.

    Glaus’ contract IS one of the worst in baseball. Just because he’s young, doesn’t make him more worthy. He’s taken a lot of punishment, and is older than his 28 years…..even if you can’t show it on paper.

  30. Frozenropers on December 24th, 2004 10:27 am

    Interesting how you see Sexson and Glaus in two totally different lights…….especially your expectations for their future performance. I guess if you don’t assume park adjusted numbers, with Glaus playing in the hitter friendly BOB, then that may be the case.

    Lets see now….you say Glaus’ upside is a .280/.400/.600 season. Glaus hasn’t come anywhere close to hitting .280 or a .400 OBP since 2000. Not even close……..and Glaus’ “hot start” last year in April and May, of which he typically is a fast starter is the only thing that got him anywhere close to Slugging .600. in his second consecutive injury riddled season.

    Sexson has come closer and alot more recently to all three of those hitting stats. In 2003 over the course of a full season Sexson hit .272/.379/.548. You actually view Sexson’s “upside” as being less than what he did in 2003, when the guy was on a trend upward as a hitter who was developing more plate discipline, learning to lay off the outside slider and load up on his pitch when he got it. Just seems like an odd observation or position to take in regards to the the two players. Just seems to me like you are giving Glaus alot more “love” than he’s earned and unfairly degrading what Sexson has accomplished. When healthy, Glaus and Sexson are essentially the same hitter.

    I have to say, odds are, both Sexson and Glaus end up playing the same position in a year or two at the most and end up producing park adjusted stat lines that are amazingly similar over the course of their contracts, IF they both manage to stay healthy.

    Just my 2 cents.

  31. DMZ on December 24th, 2004 11:49 am

    And, the very thought that he’s an acceptable defender is laughable.

    It to me shows that you can’t separate your personal bias from those statistics you so preciously cling to. Stats are a funny thing…..they generally reflect the bias of the person using them.

    Come on, that’s a lowball fan reaction,

    It’s a cheap shot

    That said:

    Your assertion that Glaus was a barely adequate defender at third is not backed up by any evidence of any kind at any point in Glaus’s career. You are welcome to support your assertion if you have any evidence of this.

    Medical science is not the same everywhere you go. There are good and bad doctors, good and bad medical staffs. In evaluating potential injuries to pitchers whent they wish to avoid exploratory surgery, the Giants for instance will take relevant MRI/X-rays to several doctors and get varying opinions before they make a decision on what to do. Then they keep track of who was right and who was not, and weight future opinions accordingly/choose doctors.

    There’s no evidence that third basemen get injured more than first basemen do to the point that Glaus is guaranteed to be injured. Your assertion is wrong.

    On another note, the post I’m responding to, #29 is a post I considered deleting for some time, based on tone, especially those quoted above.

    It contains several assertions about another poster’s motives and thought processes that are outside the scope of discussion. It ignores the original poster’s arguments to make a straw man argument in an attempt to refute things the original poster did not make.

    In particular, though, I don’t feel like I should cut this poster any slack as this is the third comment of this type and he/she/it has not made any comments that are not aggressive and abrasive.


    You keep justifying your position, Dave. You keep trying to prove how smart you are. Here’s a clue… aren’t any smarter than the next guy, you just have a blog to state it on.

    In “Drew v Sexson” and, my favorite of the three, this gem in “Sexson signs, 4y $50m” which starts with

    I should have known what to expect from a group of baseball geeks who hate EVERY move the M’s make, and make a joke of themselves with comments like these.

    goes on like that for a bit and then ends

    You have to take risks to succeed. You bitch when the M’s don’t take a risk……then carve them up when they do. Make up your mind. Not thinking like you is not wrong, only different. I know you believe highly in your opinions…..that’s pretty obvious.

    So I have two points to make, I think:
    – first, we’re pretty tolerant of dissent and reluctant to intervene
    – second, I’m reasonably willing to give people leeway on tone to make sure it’s not one heated comment

    Wait, no, four
    – third, if as you see here and elsewhere, we regularly let people run around and act like jerks like this, I hope that at least gives you some indication of what people have to do to get the perma-ban
    – fourth, there are times, like this, when I look back on someone’s work and wish we’d been more restrictive, far, far more often than there are times when I think I might have been overly aggressive in trimming back a flame thread

    This should probably have been a full, separate post, huh.

  32. D'ohboy on December 24th, 2004 12:21 pm


    Thanks for the reply. You saw through my clever ruse of highlighting Castilla’s road HR’s while leaving out his Avgs. Although Castilla’s road stats aren’t impressive(with the exception of home runs), they still compare very favorably with Counsell’s overall stats .241/.330/.315. Neither of these guys are young either. Anyhow, the Nationals have possibly signed a 100 RBI 3B for 3m/year and the D-Backs signed a 34 year old slap hitting utility infielder for about 1.5m/year. To me, Vinny’s worst possible outcome is on par with Counsell’s best possible outcome, which makes his signing defensible.

    As for Clement, I know he’s supposed to be a great pitcher, but when is it going to show up on the field? He’s 30 and has seven years service time–when does potential translate into performance? Anyhow, as a Boston native, I hope you’re right about Clement.

    Chiming in on the Sexson debate… No matter what Sexson does over the course of his contract, he’s going to seem ridiculously overpaid in the last two years when he will be a 33/34 year old first baseman pulling down 14m/year. Even if inflation runs rampant and the dollar tanks, he’ll still seem like a waste of money, regardless of production.

    That being said, I’m still not as negative on the Sexson signing as many others. Look at it this way–the M’s wanted a slugger, a bona fide home run hitter who wouldn’t have trouble getting the ball out of Safeco. The M’s also wanted to fill holes at 3rd and 1st, but the could have signed an OF and had a 1b platoon of Ibanez and Bucky. Apparently, the M’s wanted to move quickly and also wanted to sign someone who would still be an impact player several years from now. So who fit the bill? Beltran is too expensive and Boras is having him wait around until teams bid up his price. We ended up signing Beltre (woohoo!). Alou is too old, and also an OF, Hidalgo might not have the power and is also an OF. This leaves us with Drew, Glaus, Sexson and Delgado. Drew signed for 5/55 and he’s an OF, of which we already have four, so he would have required some contortions. As much as I think Drew will be an outstanding player, he only would have been a good signing if he came with a damaged goods discount. Instead, the Dodgers paid full sticker, so in the end, I’m glad the M’s didn’t get him. Delgado is playing the waiting game as well, apparently holding out for 15-16m/year, and he’s 33. He’s far more productive than Glaus or Sexson, but far more expensive and a fair bit older. This leaves the M’s with a choice between Glaus and Sexson.

    Look, none of us is a medical doctor who has peered into their respective shoulders (if one of us is, then speak up). We can speculate until we’re Mariner’s blue in the face, but we’re still just speculating as to the relative medical risks of these two players. Barring last year Sexson has had a healthy career, while Glaus has suffered myriad injuries, missing significant time. What does this say about their futures? Well, that’s just more speculation. We do know that Glaus wants to play 3B and we already have a pretty nifty 3B in Beltre (woohoo!). So that pretty much leaves us with Sexson. Yes, the M’s overpaid for the local boy, but maybe, after a 99 loss season, that’s what the M’s had to do to attract talent. If Sexson is healthy (again, speculation), he will crush the ball, drive in runs, play good defense and put butts in the seats. Yes, he may be a mirror image of Bone in his prime, but there are worse things in the world. True, he’s expensive, but much like the Varitek signing, the M’s have the money and felt like this is what they needed to do. The front office really wanted to signal to the fans and the other free agents that they were serious about rebuilding quickly. I don’t know what kind of impact the Sexson signing had on Beltre’s decision, but I have to believe it played some kind of role.

    By the way, I think a woohoo! should be mandatory after every mention of Beltre (woohoo!). I eagerly await somebody completely disputing what I just said. That’s why the message board is cool. Merry Christmas USS Mariner!

  33. itsme on December 24th, 2004 12:36 pm

    Dave: How can you leave off Guzman?

  34. David J Corcoran on December 24th, 2004 1:38 pm

    Dave, DMZ: Is there currently any kind of statistic or computer generated ranking of “Best Fit” Free Agents for a particular club, factoring in payroll, age, park, injury, etc?

  35. Scraps on December 24th, 2004 2:47 pm

    Itsme, Dave explains his take on Guzman in comment 21. It’s a good idea to read the comment thread before posting, just in case your questions have already been asked and answered, or your points already made.

  36. ChickenLittle on December 24th, 2004 4:22 pm

    I’ll try to be less emotional in my future responses.

  37. Jerry on December 24th, 2004 4:52 pm

    Really, all this is sorta pointless at this point. Beltre and Sexson are signed. Most people think that Beltre is a steal and Sexson is overpaid. Time will tell how these contracts look in 4-5 years.

    I am more interested in what happens from now. Particularly:
    -will the M’s sign Odalis Perez, and is this a good move?
    -will Jose Lopez be the starting SS next year, or will the M’s bring in someone else. If so, will they go for a stop-gap or trade for a long-term option like Kaz Matsui?
    -Who will get traded? I figure that Winn, Franklin, and Spiezio are the guys that are the most likely to be shopped, with Winn the only one with any real trade value. Who will be looking at Winn? The Mets, D-Backs, Baltimore, Colorado, and Wilwaukee are all options.
    -Is there some other big trade that they might make that will really surprise us? Perhaps involving a package of players and prospects. The M’s have some young players that might be used to bring in an established player, or maybe even a star.

    I think that these are a lot more interesting topics, because Beltre and Sexson are both on the roster. What they do from here will really determine how fast this rebuilding stage lasts.

  38. Dave on December 24th, 2004 6:34 pm

    Really, all this is sorta pointless at this point. Beltre and Sexson are signed. Most people think that Beltre is a steal and Sexson is overpaid. Time will tell how these contracts look in 4-5 years.

    You’ve now made this exact point in about 8 different threads. We get it. You think it’s a pointless discussion. Feel free to not comment on it.

    If you feel there are more interesting subjects to discuss, feel free to start a blog of your own. Beats hijacking our threads to tell us that the chosen topic is boring.

  39. Chris Dial on December 24th, 2004 7:24 pm

    I think the Beltre signing is one of the worst. It’s been discussed back and forth by both sides here where Win Shares are used to support Dave’s point regarding the short list of players that perform like Beltre in the minors and thus majors.

    I’m in the disbelieve group due to the 1800 PAs of 3 OPS+ since his appendetomy. I can live with one not-so-good season – maybe even 2, but three indiates a level of performance. His 163 OPS+ does jump of the mat and is (as is noted) right where many expected him to be after his minor leagues and 21 age season.
    I just doubt he’s suddenly at his potential, and strongly suspect he’ll be back at a .270/.325/.500 mark (possibly lower in Safeco), but posting an OPS+ of 109.

    At any rate, I think it is more likely that Beltre’s true talent is 110 OPS+ rather than 140 OPS+.

  40. Jerry on December 24th, 2004 9:23 pm


    Merry X-mas

  41. bookbook on December 26th, 2004 12:02 am

    I’ve been harboring the theory that SS peak at a younger age than other position players (Ripken, Vaughn, Jeter, ARod, etc.)
    I honestly believe that Guzman will be seen in hindsight to be one of the ten worst signings of 04-05.

  42. Tangotiger on December 30th, 2004 10:08 am

    Re: Beltre.

    When evaluating a player, I look at his whole set of career accomplihsments, going back to even when he’s 18 or 16. It’s all relevant. However, that relevancy is tempered by how long ago it happened. The way I do it (which may not necessarily be correct), is that the 1998 performance is half as relevant as the 2001 performance which is half as relevant as the 2004 performance. This is in the normal case and for nonpitchers.

    When it comes to players with injuries, things have to change. The question is how much impact an appendectomy can have. On the one hand, you have Beltre who didn’t have the typical appendectomy, and on the other hand you have Patrick Roy, who two days after his operation, was in goal to make 50 saves on 51 shots in a must-win game in the playoffs. The point here is that even injuries have many layers that need to be evaluated: physiological and pyschological effects.

    It’s hard to believe that Beltre would simply reach some plateau, where all ills are cured overnight.

    Therefore, how you view his contract is entirely depedent on the risk factor is 2001-2003 performance was due to injury more than anything else. I can’t see how a 5/64 signing, with such a risk factor, can be considered the best signing of the season. For it to qualify as a bad signing, what would the terms have to have been? 5/80? Getting paid 80% of the “bad market value” screams “fair market value” to me. Unless of course you believe that to have made the bad signing list, he’d have to have been offered 5/100, in which case getting 5/64 would be a great signing.

    Re: Guzman and Eckstein.

    Dave, if I follow you right, you are making age a critical component in the evaluation, that Guzman is on the correct side of the aging curve. While age is of course very important, I don’t see how it can have that much of an effect on someone like Guzman. He stinks, and he’ll just stink a little less for the next few years.

    The other component is how to evaluate his fielding relative to Eckstein. On an observational standpoint, fans like Eck’s instints and jump on the ball alot more than Guzman, as well as his hands, footwork, and throwing accuracy. Guzman’s fans prefer his speed and arm strength (by alot). From an observational standpoint, Eck gets an edge, say about 5 or so runs. UZR loves Eck alot more than Guzman. Alot. Over 20 runs of difference. What you are left with is that Eck is probably the better fielder, and worth probably 1 win more than Guzman, as a fielder. That’s worth 2 million$. As hitters, they both stink. If Eck is fair at 3/10, then Guzman is fair at 3/4. His 4/16 is truly horrible.

  43. LAoAFan on February 22nd, 2005 7:57 pm

    Just wanted to say I concur with the Percival ranking. I can’t count the number of times I had to stay up an extra 3 hours watching a game because this guy couldn’t hold a lead – when the 9th rolled around I hoped the Angels were A: leading by 3 runs or B: TIED (pray for a walk off) instead of up with a save situation. Everyone reams Sciocia for lifting K-rod for Washburn in the playoffs(guilty as charged) but nobody says much about why Percy wasn’t in there (Answer: David Ortiz can hit 91 mph straight fastballs for home runs too.)