Miguel Batista

Dave · December 11, 2006 at 7:15 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Ken Rosenthal reports that, barring a last minute change, the Mariners are expected to sign Miguel Batista to a deal expected to be for more than 3 years and $24 million.

This one is tough for me. I like Miguel Batista as a pitcher. I lobbied for the M’s to sign him several years ago, and he’s consistently underrated. He’s better than most of the guys who were on the market this winter. If you had forced me to sign free agent starting pitchers this winter, he’d have been near the top of the list of guys I would have gone after.

But context is also important, and in the case of the roster the Mariners have built, Miguel Batista is not what this team needs. He’s a durable guy that turns 36 in February who keeps the ball in the yard and won’t get you blown out of ballgames, but he doesn’t miss bats and has mediocre command. That package makes him a #4 starter on a team with a good rotation, but now, he’s the Mariners #2 starter. A three year contract would wrap him up through his age 38 season.

If the Batista signing comes through, the rotation will be Felix and four guys who profile as back of the rotation arms. They’ll be paying in excess of $20 million for Jarrod Washburn, Miguel Batista, and Horacio Ramirez. That’s just poor roster construction, and the opportunity cost is just as large as the salary.

The M’s had a great opportunity to pick up undervalued pitching this winter. John Thomson, Rodrigo Lopez, and Angel Guzman could have provided the M’s with 90% of what they’ll get from Batista, Ramirez, and Baek and done so for 25% of the cost.

After a promising start to the offseason, with the Guillen signing, the avoidance of the crazy contracts being given out to bad pitchers, and the rumors of a John Thomson deal, this winter has gone to hell in a handbasket. And it only took about four days.

Antonetti in ’08.


124 Responses to “Miguel Batista”

  1. PositivePaul on December 11th, 2006 4:24 pm

    #93, 95– well, the Braves are talking about non-tendering Marcus Giles… does Joel get non-tendered?

    With our luck, yes. And then Bavasi turns right around and signs him for 3/$24…

  2. wabbles on December 11th, 2006 4:31 pm

    Of course Pineiro gets non-tendered. We put a $6.5 million albatross around our necks when we signed him last time.

  3. Adam S on December 11th, 2006 5:23 pm

    Dave, if the choice was Batista at 3/24 or Schmidt at 3/47, do you take Batista (for essentially half the price)?

    Matthew Carruth: I think almost everyone would have taken Schmidt at 3/47
    This is back up the thread a ways, but I thought it was an interesting point. I’d take Batista and it isn’t that close. But like Dave “none of the above” is my real choice.

    Schmidt is $8M/year more. For $8M we should get 3+ wins, 3+ wins is 30 runs, and 30 runs over 200 innings works out to an ERA difference of 1.50. I can’t see how Schmidt outpitches Batista by that much — 3.50 to 5.00 would be a best case for Schmidt and a worst case for Batista. My non-so-scientific guess would be 4.10 and 4.80.

  4. Colorado M's Fan on December 11th, 2006 6:06 pm

    MLB inflation is at 10% per year. While I suppose a market correction is possible, inflation at least suggests that it is unlikely, or if it does occur, will not likely be dramatic. How many years in a row now have we gasped at how ridiculous the market is? Its starting to look like a trend, good folks.

    So lets say the market actually does correct itself next year and we see “TOR caliber” free agents signing 4/40 type deals. If and when that happens, I would agree that the final two years of Batista’s contract would be sunk opportunity cost. However, I don’t think its safe to call such a scenario likely.

    My point? We don’t actually make the signings (unfortunately), so lets save our condemning for hindsight.

    Anyway, I do like this signing if only because it means not signing Zito to a franchise crushing 6/96 deal. Now THAT is opportunity cost.

  5. Mr. Egaas on December 11th, 2006 6:26 pm

    Well, we can look forward to the ’09-’10 offseason, where Washburn and Batista are off the books…


  6. LB on December 11th, 2006 6:37 pm

    MLB inflation is at 10% per year.

    It doesn’t seem to be as simple as that, or the year after A-Rod got 10/$250m and Manny got 7/$160, someone would have gotten 10/$275m and someone else 8/$176m.

    Instead, there was a correction in 2002 when owners non-tendered a bunch of players, and supply of FA’s temporarily outstripped demand. I don’t think that 10% annual inflation is a rule you can count on.

  7. Celadus on December 11th, 2006 6:54 pm

    Contrary position:

    If all these pitchers they’re signing and are going to sign possess marked groundball tendencies as claimed, and continue to, and if Lopez, Betancourt & Beltre field as well as we believe, these moves could, short term, be taken for genius.

  8. Username on December 11th, 2006 6:54 pm

    Perhaps the 10% figure is the average over the last 6 years? I’d be curious to see a compilation, with summary numbers, of most/all FA signings over the last 8 years.

  9. LB on December 11th, 2006 7:21 pm

    Done deal pending a physical, for 3/$24m+, says the Times.

  10. Tak on December 11th, 2006 7:57 pm

    meh… not a great move at all, but it could have been worse I guess… at least it will improve the team a little bit, obviously that slight upgrade is no where near worth the money but this is not the first time…

  11. mntr on December 11th, 2006 9:43 pm

    I don’t think you’re going to like Guillen’s PECOTA, Dave. He’s right-handed he’s never drawn more than 40 walks. Safeco is going to be his daddy.

  12. mntr on December 11th, 2006 9:52 pm

    Oh, and the MLB inflation goes up and down. I think Glassko at Hardball Times uses 10% as his average rate.

    Nate Silver has this year’s rate at 47% over last year. Based on what another BP’er Maury Brown said, it should be up something south of half that because the higher revenue teams have to give away less of their money or something like that.

  13. West Coast King on December 11th, 2006 10:03 pm

    “I don’t care how old I am,” Batista told The Times today in a telephone interview from Boston, where he is on a speaking tour of area schools. “When I met with [Bavasi], the first thing I told him is ‘Let’s get this out of the way right now. I don’t pitch with my birth certificate. So, don’t bring up my age.'”

    Sounds like a real winner for the Mariners … or a real whiner! Take your pick, I’m not happy about it.

  14. Dave on December 12th, 2006 12:00 am

    The year to year inflation of free agent salaries at around 10% is completely and utterly unsustainable. That’s not even arguable.

    The collective bargaining agreement has set inflation for the league minimum salary at 22% over the course of the next five years. Inflation for replacement level players is set at about 5% per year.

    When you look at signing bonuses for drafted players and international signees, it’s even less than that, thanks to the commissioner’s office holding the line on “recommended slot money” for draftees. Inflation for acquiring amateur players is around 2 to 3 percent.

    Free agent inflation cannot continue to outpace league minimum inflation and amateur acquisition inflation at this rate. At some point, even MLB general managers will be able to figure out that the relative cost of a free agent is so far out of line with his actual value that they’ll resort to trading for players already under contract, because it will be cheaper to restock the farm system than it will be to sign a player to a new deal. And then the demand for free agents will go down, their prices will drop, and we’ll see a market correction. It’s an inevitable cycle.

    So no, 10% annual inflation on salaries is completely and utterly unsustainable, and any team using that kind of projection for future salaries deserves all the bad contracts they’re going to get.

  15. kentroyals5 on December 12th, 2006 2:18 am

    I would have loved signing Batista 3 years ago to a 3 year deal as a #4 or #5 deal..just in the perspective we all have of this offseason, its a pretty horrid deal…we all thought signing Schmidt to a 4 year deal was too long for a 32 year old, but a 3 year deal to a 36 year old with a ridiculous WHIP concerns me.

    I do like Batista..but not when he becomes our #3 pitcher..haha

  16. wsm on December 12th, 2006 6:59 am

    The year to year inflation of free agent salaries at around 10% is completely and utterly unsustainable. That’s not even arguable.

    Its been sustained for along time now and new money keeps coming in. I don’t know if you’ve checked the new pocket schedules out or not, but ticket prices are going up again. Another 10%. I seriously doubt we’ll be seeing a plateau in the free agent market until we get a major national recession.

    The most alarming thing to me about this latest roster move is the impact it has on the payroll flexibility for 2008. Assuming Ichiro is re-signed for a similar salary beyond 2007, the M’s are looking at shedding only Jose Guillen’s contract at the end of the year. That’s not a lot of money to play with. Even non-tendering guys like Broussard and Ramirez will likely only free up about $12 million total.

    As bad as this winter has been, next year could be a lot worse. Another last place finish and no money to spend.

  17. Josh on December 12th, 2006 7:18 am

    I was hoping for 2009. Looks like it will be 2010 instead.

  18. Eleven11 on December 12th, 2006 8:06 am

    Hey, quick question, Larry Larue notes Batista and two others are considered “projects”. Huh? $8 Mil for a project for 3 years? Is he injured or why would this be????

  19. msb on December 12th, 2006 8:29 am

    #118– he answers it in his next line– Larue considers him a project because “… Batista has never won more than 11 games in a season and had an ERA under 4.00 twice in his career.”

  20. Coach Owens on December 12th, 2006 8:30 am

    Well the only good thing this signing has brought is that it has brought all of us fans together. We know now that despite how much we like or dislike the Mariners we know that all of us hate Bill Bavasi.

  21. Eleven11 on December 12th, 2006 8:32 am

    Oops, thanks. I guess I locked up on reading that, my error. I suppose this means we’ll read endless articles about arm slot changes and stuff…
    Back to work which I should have been doing anyway!

  22. msb on December 12th, 2006 8:33 am

    Kirby Arnold and Andriesen both talked with BP about Batista

    #113– FWIW, the age quote was in the context of working with much younger pitchers…

  23. West Coast King on December 12th, 2006 10:58 am

    “He is like the starting version of Jose Mesa,” Bryan Price said, referring to Miguel Batista

    Yikes! That’s not a great reference. It’s about as bad as this one:

    “They got a good starter, we think, in Horacio,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said after the Rafeal Soriano-Horacio Ramirez trade

  24. jaysbaseballfan on December 13th, 2006 1:02 am

    The best part of that Cox quote is that he doesn’t even feign enthusiasm for the guy.

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