The Market and Guardado

DMZ · November 29, 2005 at 6:37 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Match the relievers to the contracts!

Player A: 77.2 IP, 1.51 ERA, 87 K, 20 BB
Player B: 70.1 IP, 2.43 ERA, 100K, 26 BB
Player C: 56.1 IP, 2.72 ERA, 48K, 15 BB
Player D: 68.1 IP, 2.63 ERA, 65K, 26BB
Player E: 73 IP, 2.47 ERA, 48K, 16BB
(not adjusted for home park)

1 year, $6.5m
4 years, $43m
3 years, $11m
3 years, $12m
5 years, $47m

And it’s not as if those guys all had perfect health records, either.

I wonder if all the time Eddie was complaining about the team not calling him there were two M’s front office people arguing in a conference room (“There’s no way he doesn’t pick up the player option!” “There’s no way he does!” “No way we can trade him at six-and-a-half!” “Of course we can!”) until finally someone broke the news that $2m wasn’t all that much money in the grand scheme of Mariner roster construction, and their attention was needed to come up with Plans B-ZZ for building the rotation.


79 Responses to “The Market and Guardado”

  1. eponymous coward on November 29th, 2005 4:20 pm

    I put his 04 stats (career high ERA) down as Bob Melvin ‘taking more charge of the team’

    And I put it down to “regression to the mean”. His 03+04 ERA is in line with his career.

    Anyone know why the talk is that he’s done?

    It’s not so much “he’s done” as “he can be replaced with any number of AAA pitchers who won’t cost you more than ML minimum”.

    Does it make sense to have him on staff just so he can speak Japanese to Johjima? Possibly, I guess, but paying him any more than what we paid Nelson (750K) would be silly, and I don’t see why you’d waste a 40-man roster spot on him now as opposed to an NRI spring training invitation…

  2. Todd on November 29th, 2005 4:35 pm

    Given going rate for relief pitchers, Shiggy will probably get 5 mil over 2 years. All relief pitchers should write thank you note to the Blue Jays and the Cubs for wildly overpricing free agent relief pitchers.

  3. Evan on November 29th, 2005 4:40 pm

    The Jays still have arms to move. The Ryan signing may improve the market for those arms.

  4. chris w on November 29th, 2005 4:55 pm

    Evan makes a good point about the Jays having arms to move. Wonder if they’d give up Batista for mid-level (or lower) prospect. He’s a pretty decent starter in general, and he’s also a sinker-baller who’d really benefit by playing in front of the Beltre, LosManos, Lopez, Sexson infield.

  5. Evan on November 29th, 2005 5:07 pm

    The Jays, right now, have 4 solid bullpen arms: Ryan, Speier, Schoeneweis, and Frasor. They’ll probably also use Marcum next year after his kick-ass audition. They still have Pete Walker as a long man. That’s a 6-man bullpen right there.

    But, they also have 6 starters, Halladay, Lilly, Chacin, McGowan, Towers, and Bush, plus whoever else they acquire.

    At the very least, they’ll need to dispose of Batista and League, plus probably one starter (or Pete Walker). I also wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to move Lilly (especially if they sign Burnett).

    What they’d want back, I have no idea.

  6. adam on November 29th, 2005 5:19 pm

    Some are saying they offered Giles 5 years 55 million.

    The Blue Jays are retarded.

  7. Deep 6 on November 29th, 2005 5:35 pm

    What do you think of a move with San Diego, who could use Jamal Strong(looking for speedy OFers), are looking for Relievers(who to shop?) and Torrealba if Ramon Hernandez walks and have OF’s Klesko and David Roberts and RHP (from Seattle) Adam Eaton on the block. I’d go for Eaton. Klesko is a med. power lefty OFer. Dave Roberts is also a lefty with little pop and good speed who was interestingly born in Okinawa. Obviously the piece in the trade would be the reliever and that is the position of strength for the M’s, so that’s going to be where something comes from for ANY trade since NO other position has any real depth. Maybe Mateo (ouch). This could be the Guardado trade…I’d still find a TOR Starter on the market as well. I don’t see any Lefty Power OF available as FA or trade that seem worth it. Prices too high for too little talent. We NEED improvement in the rotation, so pay the price there, but we only WANT improvement at LF/DH LH Power and I don’t see a fix. I hate to say it but for now I see a revolving door of Minor leaguers in left until something sticks. Morse could provide more than any other option by doing it a lot cheaper. There’s Snelling and Bohn and Choo and Strong all waiting. Adam Jones should be knocking on the door soon. What do we need a Free Agent LF for? Save it for midseason need or next year if there’s any left. I would love to see Adam Dunn in left batting third in a perfect L/R/L/R/L line-up, but I don’t see it happenning

    I’ve noticed that everyone talks about youngsters improving next year and no one mentions the low averages that left the team in midseason, making the roster better by subtraction. If Boone and (19 catchers) were here with Spezio to bat sub mendoza I’d only be talking about young players improving, but in some cases the young players were the improvement. If you take the final roster (Only the 25 players at the end of the season) batting average of .268 that would have been 8th best in the AL rather than the team total of .256 that was last in the AL…this looks better…

    Red Sox .281
    Yankees .276
    D-rays .274
    Tigers .272
    Indians .271
    Angels .270
    Orioles .269
    MARINERS .268 (closing 25 man roster total)
    Rangers .267
    Blue Jays .265
    Royals .263
    A’s .262
    White Sox .262

  8. Mr. Egaas on November 29th, 2005 6:04 pm

    My greatest fear is Bavasi’s talk of trading off Yorvit just for the sake of trading off Yorvit so he can be a starter elsewhere. This seemed to happen before, in the name of Carlos Guillen.

  9. Ralph Malph on November 29th, 2005 6:11 pm

    Re the Shiggy discussion, here are his K/9 and BB/9 numbers on his career, which I think are more relevant than the numbers provided earlier:

    year K/9 BB/9
    97 6.40 3.55
    98 6.75 2.96
    99 5.14 3.97
    00 5.55 3.57
    01 6.63 3.23
    02 4.99 3.84
    03 3.95 2.22
    04 6.09 4.10
    05 4.05 2.16

    04 was an outlier for him in a lot of ways, but it seems clear that there is an overall decline in his K rate, and in his good years he is able to combine that with a low BB rate. But he clearly seems to me to be a guy who doesn’t have the stuff he once had. He could still be a useful pitcher for somebody, but I can’t see any reason to put a lot of effort — or money — into resigning him.

  10. JMB on November 29th, 2005 6:12 pm

    Actually, Dave has talked about those lost at-bats a number of times — Boone, Bloomquist, Olivo, Dobbs, Valdez, Borders, Hansen…

    Klesko is 34, makes $10M next season, shouldn’t play the OF, and hasn’t hit well since 2002. Run far, far away. Dave Roberts is, at best, a 4th OF. I’m not against Eaton, though he’s been helped by his home park quite a bit and doesn’t generate many grounders.

  11. Mr. Egaas on November 29th, 2005 7:09 pm

    I’m not against Eaton either, if he comes for the right price. He’d be a good 4th or 5th guy.

    Hometown roots. You hear that management?

  12. David H on November 29th, 2005 7:13 pm

    re: #58

    Guillen didn’t need to be traded to get a shot at starting. Now, if Yorvit was getting hammered with Felix all nights of the week it might recall the Guillen “trade”, but otherwise it seems a different story.

  13. Bonefan on November 29th, 2005 7:41 pm

    #40, chris w, I couldn’t agree with you more (I guess that makes exactly 2 of us). The only value an admittedly very good Eddie Guardado lends an 80 win team is that fans get home from the ballpark at a reasonable hour when he pitches. But hey, I like Eddie, I like getting to my care before 11, and I’m hopeful the M’s will put together a team that can win 90+. (For now.) I will now promise to not poopoo this decision any more (or at least until July).

    X-factors driving the Mets decisions: 1) They have been 3rd class citizens in a 2 team market for most of the last 20 seasons. 2) The are trying to get a stadium built. 3) They are trying to get a cable network launched. 4) They are exempt from paying luxury tax on ’06 payroll. The Mets were shopping in a “market” of one guy. They didn’t care about anybody else and didn’t care what they paid.

    I just don’t get what Wagner/Ryan has to do with the M’s/Guardado. The “market” theory is illogical for a number of reasons (not that owners have ever let logic bother them). Eddie’s value is measured in the guys he doesn’t allow on base or to score. The most critical “market” relation is how much of the M’s self-imposed cap he eats up. What happens in Queens or Ontario doesn’t effect the value he delivers when he steps on the bump in the 9th.

    On the Batsita notion … does anybody think his stuff can he harnessed? His BB/K ratio was decent as a starter in ’01, ’02, ’03 (approx 65/115 on avg), before he went off the rails in ’04 (96/104 … oof). Even last year he was 27/54. And other than ’04, he’s pretty much kept it in the park. I know he’ll be 35. What’s BP say?

  14. Mr. Egaas on November 29th, 2005 7:49 pm

    If rumor has it correct, Batista could be on the way to Texas in exchange for Kevin Mench, who many a teams have been after the past few years. He’s a young run producer with high OBP and a good head (literally, the guy’s head is huge), who makes a minimal salary. Personally, if I’m Riccardi and I see that deal, I’m gonna jump on it, not swap with the M’s for scraps.

  15. Bonefan on November 29th, 2005 7:58 pm

    Yeah, Mench can rake. He’s gotta wear a 9 1/8 cap tho. He’ll get pulled out of line at Canadian cutoms to make sure he’s not smuggling Tylenol 3 and 6% Molsons in his cranial cavity. That’s probably a fair trade for both, though.

    DMZ, how’s plan ZZ lookin’? Tell us it doesn’t involve 3 bearded Texans.

  16. bookbook on November 29th, 2005 7:58 pm

    I don’t necessarily disagree with you, Mr. Egaas. However, if the Giles signing rumors are accurate, aren’t the Jays relatively strong in the DH/OF? Rios, Wells, Catalanatto, Giles, even Johnson is better than most teams 4th OF.

    They’d seem to need pitching more than Mench, who projects closer to Nady than to superstardom.

  17. ray on November 29th, 2005 8:35 pm

    Anyone know how the Jays fans are reacting to this overspending by their GM?

  18. Mr. Egaas on November 29th, 2005 8:47 pm

    66 – If I’m Riccardi, I’m saying screw Giles if i can get Mench, and go balls out for Burnett. But who knows, maybe they’ll get both.

    It’s a dream off season for the Jays fans.

  19. Shoeless Jose on November 29th, 2005 9:38 pm

    The Mets aren’t going to hit the salary cap anyway, so the exemption is immaterial. Read the Verducci link above (#12) for details.

    I just don’t get what Wagner/Ryan has to do with the M’s/Guardado. The “market” theory is illogical for a number of reasons (not that owners have ever let logic bother them). Eddie’s value is measured in the guys he doesn’t allow on base or to score. The most critical “market” relation is how much of the M’s self-imposed cap he eats up. What happens in Queens or Ontario doesn’t effect the value he delivers when he steps on the bump in the 9th.

    Uh, what’s so hard to understand? Right now it’s the offseason, so Eddie’s value is measured in terms of what he might do for the team next year (or not, if he’s injured) vs what he could get in trade. When Soriano (or whoever) “steps on the bump” in the 9th next season, with a lead thanks to runs driven in by a left-handed sock that Bavasi was able to acquire thanks to the pieces or dollars he obtained by trading Eddie, that’s a measure of his value too. If Eddie can get more in trade today than he could a couple of weeks ago because of the market set by the Mets or Jays, and if whatever the M’s get for Eddie, combined with a much cheaper closer, results in more wins next year than we would have expected with just Eddie alone, then what happens in Queens or Ontario most definitely has an impact on next season.

  20. Bonefan on November 29th, 2005 10:46 pm

    It’s very hard to understand, beacuse it doesn’t make complete sense. Eddie’s value didn’t appreciate this week. Period. Not is any real sense, nor in a relative sense. He remains a 35-year-old $6M relief pitcher, albeit a very good one. In fact, there are two fewer teams with money to burn in the market for a “proven closer” (with or without a “nice moustache”). One person overpaying for an item — let’s say a lime green hatchback — does not increase the “market” for YOUR lime green hatchback. If anything, it just means there’s one less sucker out there who’ll overpay for your lime green hatchback.

    The biggest issue is that “Closer” isn’t a real job, not the way “Shortstop” is, for example or “Catcher.” Closer is accurately described as a “role.” Ninety percent of doing the job is having the job. (Doing it consistently, I’ll acknowledge, is another matter.) Is BJ Ryan a better pitcher now than when he was setting up Jorge Julio? He fanned 122 while piling up 3 saves in ’04. What would the “market” have been if he were a free agent last season? Not $9M.

    YES, there are clubs out there that would rather acquire guys for the closer role than develop them. (Interestingly, the Yankees developed theirs). That skews the market at the high end. But the market is tempered by a comparative plethora of younger, cheaper options. And there are many more teams willing to take the initial risk with the Lidges, Turnbows, Walkers, MacDougals, Streets, and Corderos. When they hit, they pay off huge. Among them, bte, are the next guys for whom, in a few years, some dumbass will overpay.

    Finally, what’s Ed’s trade value? Out of curiosity, who do you suppose the “market” is? And what’s the timeline? Where are we getting notion that the M’s exercised Eddie’s option just to trade him? Is there a source, or is it just speculation? Exercising a $6M option to just to trade a guy seems out of character for the M’s, not to mention tactically sketchy.

  21. DMZ on November 29th, 2005 11:03 pm

    Sure, a infield fly rule isn’t called all the time, but I bet you it is called more often then not. I don’t think the RUN Value stat takes that into consideration. I can’t imagine the infield fly rule not being called more then 20% (although it seems like 10%).

    Saying “period” doesn’t make it true.

    In terms of his contribution to his team, it’s true that Guardado’s value doesn’t increase. Even in valuing his contribution against his salary, or what others make, sure, it doesn’t change.

    But in terms of Guardado’s value in trade, of course it does. If Xbox 360s are all selling for $1,000 because there’s a huge shortage of them, but the retail price is $400 or whatever, is the Xbox “worth” $1,000?

    To some people, it is: the value of acquiring one now is worth a significant investment of money.

    So if I have an Xbox 360, and there are a ton of people out there willing to pay $1,000 for no good reason:
    – I still paid $400
    – The Xbox still provides the same value proposition to me
    – There are now people who will pay $1,000 for one

    Now, I could argue that next-generation gaming systems are appointed and not a characteristic of the chips and boards inside (which is true). I could argue that in time, supply will catch up and the value of having one now will be pretty low, to the point where it’s at $400. Or that people, not having one, will go back to their PS2s and forget all about the 360. All of which could be true.

    But right now, there are people who will pay $1,000 for one. If each box shipped eliminated one crazy person with a grand in the effect you describe, we’d see the market drop dramatically. It hasn’t.

    That’s where the M’s are with Guardado. Teams are paying relievers huge, huge amounts of money, often for guys without the track record of Guardado, or the “proven closer” label (and again, you can argue role/job, but many teams see it as a job, and want players with “proven closer” on the resume, which is why there’s this demand). The Mariners, with a couple of guys who could take over that role, may decide that taking advantage of market conditions (do you really want to give that guy a 4y deal, or would you rather give us one measly prospect and get back this guy for a year at a reasonable price). And they may not.

  22. Jeff Nye on November 30th, 2005 2:11 am

    I like the concept of selling high right now on Guardado, but I’d be very surprised if the Mariners did it. I don’t think they’re out of the “we have to have a closer!’ mindset yet.

    I hope to be proven wrong.

  23. Shoeless Jose on November 30th, 2005 3:18 am

    In fact, there are two fewer teams with money to burn in the market for a “proven closer” (with or without a “nice moustache”).

    And there are also two fewer closers on the market.

    One person overpaying for an item — let’s say a lime green hatchback — does not increase the “market” for YOUR lime green hatchback. If anything, it just means there’s one less sucker out there who’ll overpay for your lime green hatchback.

    Sure it does, as long as there’s another guy out there looking for a lime green hatchback. In fact as long as there are more buyers than there are lime green hatchbacks, you would expect the market price for lime green hatchbacks to increase. If you’re willing to concede that there is some nonzero price someone is willing to pay for a lime green hatchback, you have to also concede that the price will vary according to supply and demand.

    Just because you don’t like the idea that “closer” is a job and you don’t want to believe there’s a market for people who do that job doesn’t mean the job isn’t real or the market doesn’t exist. There are some pretty imaginary financial instruments like futures that get bought and sold every day on wall st. You might think there’s no “market” for weather but you’d be wrong.

    Look, there’s only one house like my house, and I own it. There’s no “houses just like mine” market, but there still is a market for houses. My neighbor’s house isn’t identical to mine, but it’s comparable in most ways. If my neighbor sells his house tomorrow for a lot more than he paid for it, and a lot more than I heretofore thought it was worth, are you telling me I can conclude nothing about the current worth of my house? The value of my house to me has not changed, but I certainly have a new data point regarding its value to other potential buyers. Now, the number of potential housebuyers may be larger than the number of teams looking for closers, but there only has to be one more team out there shopping. If I can find a replacement house somewhere else far cheaper (and there are no other considerations, like I need to live in that neighborhood to send my kids to the right school aka I need a proven closer to contend) shouldn’t I sell my house and pocket the difference? Especially if I think there’s a housing bubble (aka my closer is old and his arm might fall off at any time and the Jays have just set a highwater mark for everybody)?

  24. chris w on November 30th, 2005 7:28 am

    Shoeless Jose no. 73: the supply/demand argument is only useful in baseball if you take advantage of it by selling high and buying low. If the Ms hang on to Guardado, and don’t trade him, they will be just another sucker with an overpriced lime-green hatchback. The objective is to win ballgames, not to accumulate players who have high value in the market. What follows is really the main point of “Moneyball”… the MLB market is inefficient, so if you rely on it to drive your decisions, you will pay market price, which is inefficient.

    Anyway, like Bonefan, I’ll stop with line of argument, because I’ve beaten it into the ground.

  25. Jeremy on November 30th, 2005 9:15 am


    A lime green hatchback?!? Sweet mercy.

  26. Jeremy on November 30th, 2005 9:27 am


    While there is countless evidence that a good bullpen can be built on the cheap, I can’t say that I necessarily blame BB for resigning EG. This is his “head on the chopping block” year. I remember quite vividly the Schooler, Ayala, Slocumb, Menhart, Hurtado, etc years. The mid 90’s Mariners had great offense, a dominant #1 starter, some other good pieces in the rotation (Moyer and Fassero, etc) and a sucktastic blow-pen.

    Paying 6.5M for a proven guy who more than likely will provide positive results is a solid move: not a sensational move and not a bad move.

    If you look at the way baseball players usually assume the closer role, it’s by being a lights out setup man (Rivera, Percival, Frankie Rodriguez, etc). Maybe Soriano will get a chance to be a lights out setup man, which would have more value to the team because he wouldn’t be pigeonholed in to the 9th inning with a 3 run lead.

    Right now, with the craziness on the open market, the Mariners need to be looking to zig where everyone else zags because that’s where the value will be.

  27. Evan on November 30th, 2005 9:40 am

    aren’t the Jays relatively strong in the DH/OF? Rios, Wells, Catalanotto, Giles, even Johnson is better than most teams 4th OF.

    The Jays don’t have any holes to fill, which makes their off-season even more interesting. They already have 6 OF (Rios, Wells, Johnson, Catalanotto, Gross, Griffin). They already have 6 IF (Hillenbrand, Adams, Hill, Hudson, Koskie, Hinske). They need to trade some guys.

    If they sign Giles, they need to move at least one OF. They could leave Gross and Griffin to rot in Syracuse. They could still platoon Johnson and Catalanotto. So they’d need to trade Rios.

    If they trade Batista for Mench, where does he play? Hinske needs to go, because there are already three guys on the team who do what he does better than he does it (Hill, Koskie, Hillenbrand). If Koskie plays, he needs a platoon partner.

    Imagine if you were running a team. You had no positions that were terrible enough to demand an upgrade. You had no (zero) free agents leaving. You had money to spend. Isn’t that a pretty cool scenario? As soon as the season ended, the Jays released Frank Menechino to make roster space.

  28. Deep 6 on November 30th, 2005 11:05 am

    That’d be fun…

    And just Imagine the 7 figure salary!

  29. Brian Sun on November 30th, 2005 12:45 pm

    Kyle Farnsworth is close to signing a 3 years 17M contract with the Yankees. This is a career 4.45 ERA relieve pitcher and a poster child for being inconsistent throughout his career. Basically, the guy would have a good year follow by a bad year. This is also a guy known for hanging out late all the time and can booze it up with the best of them. I know Eddie is no saint either. But when he steps between the lines, he gets the job done, well, most of the time. If Farnsworth can get 17M/3 yr, there is no way Bavasi would want to sign Eddie to a contract extension now. Eddie would get 21M/3 at the every least, and probably 24M/3 if not more. This market is insane.