Head Shaking

Dave · November 27, 2006 at 8:26 am · Filed Under Mariners 

If you’re still on the fence about whether this offseason is proving that a few major league GMs are just terrible at their jobs or if this is some kind of market correction where players are getting paid what they’re worth, well, the Danys Baez signing should pretty much end that discussion.

Take a look at this comparison (walk rates exclude intentional base on balls)

Danny Baez, 2006: 59 2/3 IP, 2.11 BB/9, 5.88 K/9, 0.45 HR/9, 4.20 FIP
Julio Mateo, 2006: 53 2/3 IP, 2.34 BB/9, 5.20 K/9, 1.01 HR/9, 4.90 FIP

Baez is clearly better. His walk rate is a little better, his K rate is a little better, and his home run rate is significantly better, though Baez’s low HR rate probably isn’t sustainable, given his career track record. The difference between the two, over the course of 60 innings pitched, is about five runs. And Baez’s trends aren’t exactly promising – his groundball rate and strikeout rate are both in steady decline, indicating a deterioration in the quality of his stuff.

Julio Mateo is the essence of a replacement level relief pitcher. He’s being paid $1 million in 2007, and most of us feel that he’s overpaid. Danys Baez signed with the Orioles for $19 million over three years!

The Orioles are paying $6 million per year on a three year contract for a reliever who is worth about five runs more than a replacement level reliever over the course of a season. That’s a million dollars per marginal run.

That’s absurd.


42 Responses to “Head Shaking”

  1. Eleven11 on November 27th, 2006 8:41 am

    That makes Julio a very valuable trade chip, doesn’t it?

  2. leetinsleyfanclub on November 27th, 2006 9:03 am

    It seems a GM with money to spend is a lot like a six year-old with a gift card…they’re gonna spend it on something whether they really want that something or not.

  3. colm on November 27th, 2006 9:20 am

    You have to be f**king kidding. That’s absurd. That’s absurder than the Matthews deal. I’d rather have the Alex Gonzalez contract.

    Nice to see the Orioles still paying a karmic price for dumping the M’s out of the 1997 post season.

  4. Safeco Hobo on November 27th, 2006 9:27 am

    Maybe its just me being pessimistic, but isn’t it just a matter of time before the M’s dish out a similary absurd contract to someone like Eaton or Huff?

  5. km4_1999 on November 27th, 2006 9:32 am

    Dave, it seems to me that a lot of teams are spending dough this offseason due to all the revenue in baseball. Why are the M’s continuing to keep their payroll roughly the same as the last few years? I don’t agree with wasting it just curious why it isn’t changing much?

  6. Gomez on November 27th, 2006 9:44 am

    As we await Dave’s answer, my guess is because, unlike these other teams, the Mariners FO realizes that overspending on X player just for the sake of spending to get someone is illogical and counterproductive.

  7. Mere Tantalisers on November 27th, 2006 9:47 am

    km4 – I recall that ownership authorized Bavasi to raise payroll by about 5 or 6 million. Also, I think it would be a very bad idea to increase payroll in order to accomodate the grotesquely inflated salary demands of this winter’s mediocre free agents.
    I used to spend the winter hoping for news of acquisitions from the FO. This winter, at least so far, no news is good news.

  8. sparky on November 27th, 2006 9:57 am

    I guess it is worth considering that, if the Orioles are out of it near the trading deadline (a VERY likely outcome), they will likely be able to trade Baez for a pretty good prospect. If I had to justify this signing, I’d suggest that they pay half a year of his overpriced salary and then flip him for a good cost-protected prospect (because you know there’ll be another dumb GM out there willing to take on the final 2.5 years for the chance at having a “proven closer”).

    It’s still a stupid deal though.

  9. km4_1999 on November 27th, 2006 9:58 am

    I agree with not wasting money on bad contracts. I just keep hearing how much money is going into baseball right now, yet the M’s didn’t raise their payroll much. I would honestly like to see some trades as that seems the only sensible way to go. If we aren’t willing to overpay than we need to come up with something to be competitive???

  10. DMZ on November 27th, 2006 10:01 am

    On flipping Baez – I don’t understand why it would be easy to flip Baez for a pretty good prospect. He’s more likely to be crap than good at that point, and either way he’d be greatly overpaid. It’s like wondering if the M’s could get… I don’t know, Delmon Young and $2m at the deadline last year for Mateo.

  11. Paul B on November 27th, 2006 10:26 am

    Maybe in April some of the teams will figure out that they have way overpaid for crap, and that their budgets are shot. Then maybe the M’s can pick up some players in trade by picking up some of the salary (assuming they don’t blow it on a free agent or keep everyone including Sexson).

  12. bermanator on November 27th, 2006 10:27 am

    Didn’t Baez fetch a pretty good prospect at the trade deadline just six months ago? It doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect that he could be dealt again as soon as this year’s deadline for a decent return.

  13. DMZ on November 27th, 2006 10:35 am

    But his cost is $2m more than even last year’s overpriced Baez.

  14. Dave on November 27th, 2006 10:38 am

    You can sign a top notch international free agent for $1 million. You can sign a tough-sign kid who falls in the draft for anywhere between $500,000 and $750,000.

    Why spend $3 million to have Danys Baez be mediocre for three months, hope his arm doesn’t fall off and he doesn’t struggle, and then hope to flip him for a mediocre prospect?

    If the goal of signing him is to flip him for a prospect, just save the money and sign a prospect.

  15. Mat on November 27th, 2006 10:40 am

    I’m sure that at least part of this is motivated by how thoroughly awful the Orioles’ bullpen was last year. Someone in the FO apparently commanded that they get relief help, regardless of the price.

    I still don’t understand how a team can sit back and watch the Mariners, Twins, White Sox, and A’s construct really good bullpens on the cheap, then turn around and decide this is a good way to spend money.

  16. eponymous coward on November 27th, 2006 10:54 am

    I guess the one-eyed man IS king in a world full of blind people.

  17. joser on November 27th, 2006 11:06 am

    That makes Julio a very valuable trade chip, doesn’t it?

    Only if there are several teams that stupid: Baltimore now already has their Mateo. And while this seems to be the ultimate offseason for crazy contracts, it’s never a good idea to build your strategy by assuming the stupidity of others. The Orioles are one of the more incompetently-run teams in baseball. Whether it’s Angelos meddling directly, or just the kinds of people he hires, the team just makes dumb move after dumb move (unless you’re a conspiracy theorist and think Angelos is doing these sorts of things to deliberately hurt his financial position so he can get more compensation out of MLB for the Expos relocation). So in the AL East you’ve got the O’s run by blind fools and the Devil Rays, at least until recently, run by parsimonious idiots. Which, while it might give a little hope to Blue Jays fans, is certainly not in the best interests of the rest of the American League as the Red Sox and Yankees fatten up their W/L records. The M’s only get to beat up on the NL West once every three years, but Boston and the Bronx get to feast on their divisional weaklings year in and year out. It’s tempting to just write off the O’s but we really want them to stop being quite so stupid, for everyone’s sake.

  18. bookbook on November 27th, 2006 11:16 am

    If Gary Matthews JR is worth 50 million, then Dennys Baez just might be worth $19.

  19. colm on November 27th, 2006 11:25 am

    Yup, that’s a good analog. Neither is true though.

  20. Grizz on November 27th, 2006 11:29 am

    On the issue of “why other teams are spending wildly on rubbish like Baez but not the M’s,” keep in mind that a large part of the new revenue for teams is coming from MLB sources (MLBAM, etc.), not local sources. For the M’s, revenue from one significant local source, ticket sales, is down. Over the last few years, the team has sold about 200,000 fewer tickets each year. With an average ticket price of about $25 (according to the SI.com fan index), ticket revenue has decreased roughly $5 million from year to year. The actual number might be higher if luxury suite sales are down, which the M’s recent awkward efforts to shill suite packages strongly suggest.

  21. Jonah Keri on November 27th, 2006 11:33 am

    Baez is a proven big league closer. You can’t put a price on that.

  22. Evan on November 27th, 2006 11:37 am

    If one assumes payroll is tied to revenue, then that’s a good explanation for the flat payroll.

    I do not, however, think payroll is tied to revenue. Payroll might be constrained by revenue, but revenue wouldn’t impose a floor – just a ceiling.

  23. msb on November 27th, 2006 11:38 am

    Eddie Guardado is plotting his comeback

  24. Max Power on November 27th, 2006 11:49 am

    Baez is so far out there that it’s hard to believe that the GMs are that bad at their jobs. A casual observer could justify Gary Matthews Jr but I wouldn’t say the same thing about Baez – no reasonable person would conclude that.

    I’d have to assume that this deal makes sense to the O’s for some reason unrelated to putting a good team on the field.

  25. Grizz on November 27th, 2006 11:53 am

    Ticket revenue is certainly not the only factor affecting the payroll budget, but it is an important contributing factor. The approximate one million drop in attendance from 2002 to 2006 amounts to a drop in revenue somewhere in the neighborhood of $20-$25 million.

  26. Matthew Carruth on November 27th, 2006 12:02 pm

    Didn’t Baez fetch a pretty good prospect at the trade deadline just six months ago?


    The Dodgers dealt him, Willy Aybar, and cash to the Braves for Wilson Betemit.

    So no, I highly doubt they’re taking the Carlos Delgado route with this one. The Orioles are just really really stupid.

  27. Swungonandbelted on November 27th, 2006 12:10 pm

    heh… the folks over at dodgerblues.com have the same sentiment…

    > 11.22.06 – Major League Baseball
    What the F is going on? Danys Baez blows nine saves in sixteen opportunities last season, and the Orioles reward him with $19 million? Holy Christ.

  28. Mr. Egaas on November 27th, 2006 12:35 pm

    The funny thing is that the O’s now have Jamie Walker, Russ Ortiz, and Danys Baez in the same bullpen.

    They can sit around and talk about how overpaid they are.

  29. NBarnes on November 27th, 2006 12:46 pm

    I’m a touch meh. The market for relievers has always been inflated by GMs that don’t understand reliever volatility and how possible it is to build a really good bullpen from scratch. This signing is crazed, but it’s Baltimore.

  30. carcinogen on November 27th, 2006 1:00 pm

    this is absolutely ridiculous. Danny Aiella & Jose Paniagua should really try to come back into the fold.

    On a side note: I’m sure people have seen this

    Note the M’s not mentioned in the set of teams looking to trade for ManRam.

  31. DMZ on November 27th, 2006 1:03 pm

    Manny Ramirez has his own post.

  32. carcinogen on November 27th, 2006 1:04 pm

    Thanks Derek

  33. DMZ on November 27th, 2006 1:09 pm

    We’re all about customer service here at USSM.

  34. Colorado M's Fan on November 27th, 2006 1:39 pm

    Phillies sign Eaton. 3 years 24 million dollars.

  35. Colorado M's Fan on November 27th, 2006 1:40 pm

    ^^^ Was breaking news on ESPN, in case anyone was wondering.

  36. colm on November 27th, 2006 1:44 pm

    Phew that’s a relief. It also seems positively modest compared to the other deals out there. Eaton should sack his agent; he’s easily worth 6 years/$72M in this market.

    How much more valuable is Eaton than Baez? Same length of contract, only $1.66Million per year more than crap Danys.

  37. David J. Corcoran I on November 27th, 2006 1:48 pm

    Thank God phor the Phillies.

  38. shirts on November 27th, 2006 1:49 pm

    Speaking of [non-paying] customer service here at USSM, could you please go back to numbering the comments? It makes it difficult to find where in a thread we were last reading without numbered comments. Otherwise, Dave, Derek, Jason, Jeff, and formerly Peter, you guys are great.

  39. mfan on November 27th, 2006 2:06 pm

    Seconded on the numbers.

  40. dw on November 27th, 2006 2:08 pm

    Yeah, what the hell happened to the ol tag with the comments? Please to be changing it back.

    And I think I have some of the WordPress solutions I’ve talked about figured out. One is a plugin, one is more complicated than just a plugin, and the third… I know how to do it now (if I can just get the time to write the plugin).

  41. Adam S on November 27th, 2006 2:48 pm

    Even putting on my irrational thinking GM cap I can’t get a handle on this signing.

    That cap lets me think that as our bullpen sucked, let’s sign a proven closer. And I see let’s pay about $6M/year for three years to get a good, but not elite closer. But I don’t see how Baez is that guy.

    He failed as the Dodgers closer so badly that they removed him from the role and threw him into a trade to be rid of him. Then he didn’t pitch the last 5 weeks of the season; I assume he was injured. There’s a 20% chance the Orioles spent $19M on a pitcher who will spend the next three years being replacement level.

  42. Ralph Malph on November 27th, 2006 5:18 pm

    Danny Aiella & Jose Paniagua should really try to come back into the fold.

    I’m trying to figure out who this is a reference to and I can only come up with Danny Aiello the character actor. I’m not sure what he has to do with Danys Baez, though. Or Jose Paniagua.

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