Filed under: Stats & Analysis | Tags: Chase Headley, David DeJesus, Eric Chavez, Eric Owens, Gary Matthews Jr., Joey Gathright, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Mark Kotsay, Matt Antonelli, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Cameron, Nate McLouth, Oakland A's, Pittsburgh Pirates, Reggie Willits, San Diego Padres, Torii Hunter, Travis Buck, Xavier Nady
Well, we’ve all probably heard the disheartening trade rumor involving Chase Headley to the Pirates for Xavier Nady and Nate McLouth. Don’t get me wrong; I like X, and McLouth is intriguing. However, why would you give up Head for so little? Especially considering that X still embodies the characteristics (low OBP, can’t hit righties, etc.) that made you want to get rid of him in the first place? I hope it’s just conjecture…I really don’t think this is a serious offer, at least from the Pads’ standpoint.
Well, enough of that unpleasantness. On to the trade candidates…note that not all of these guys have been mentioned in rumors. Some of them are pure speculation on my part as to who might be a decent trade partner. The list ended up being unexpectedly long, so I’m breaking it into 2 parts; I’ll go over a few of the players today, and the rest (hopefully) tomorrow.
We may as well start with the flavor of the week. Mentioned in the Nady-for-Headley rumor today, McLouth hit .258/.351/.459 in 137 games with the Bucs last year. His career big league line is .249/.322/.429 over 284 games; not exactly the stuff of legend, but I wouldn’t say it’s much worse than Cammy would have done. Defensively, McLouth posted a 2.62 range factor and an .886 zone rating, which puts him roughly mid-pack among all NL center fielders. He’s been in the bigs full time since 2006; in 5 minor league seasons, he put up a solid line of .292/.362/.427. A BABIP of .297 in 2007 indicates that his line is probably pretty close to his ability level; moving to Petco, expect the numbers to drop a little, maybe 5-10 points. As far as price, he’s probably not worth it if the deal involves Headley; that’s the offer that was mentioned this morning. If they can swing the deal for someone of lesser value, though, McLouth might be a decent fit. I don’t think I’d go any farther than decent, though.
Some have mentioned DeJesus as a nice fit, particularly because he fits this new “good OBP” mold that KT and the gang are hooked on (with good reason). DeJesus is a .282/.358/.415 player over 4 years as a starter in K.C.; a pretty decent line, all told, for a center fielder. Last year, he experienced a bit of decline, hitting just .260 with a paltry slugging percentage of .372; unfortunately, it looks like this line is closer to his talent level than the 3 years prior. His BABIPs for 2004-2006: .320, .335, .332. In 2007? .291. Not a sexy pick, but probably a very realistic one; with Joey Gathright behind him, and the Royals apparently hellbent on getting a free agent CF, he can likely be had for cheap.
I live in Temecula, so we get Angels games up here; I’ll tune in when the Pads play an early game and the Angels have a late game, or vice versa. I took a liking to Reggie this year; he’s the closest thing to Eric Owens since Eric Owens. Gritty guy, plays his ass off, jersey always dirty…and he can get on base, too. He hit .293 with a stellar .391 OBP for Anaheim last year. Of course, that all comes with a pathetic .344 slugging percentage, so don’t expect Mike Cameron; this guy won’t do anything more than hit singles, take walks, steal bases and make plays in center. Reggie appears to be tremendously lucky, posting a very high .363 BABIP in ’07; however, Reggie’s BABIP has consistently been in the .340-.370 range through the minors, so maybe there’s something to it. His name keeps coming up in the Miggy Cabrera rumors, and with Torii Hunter now in center, Willits is expendable (read: cheap).
Gary Matthews Jr.
Not so cheap is another expendable Angels center fielder. The former Friar signed a 5 year deal last year at $10M per and was lauded as the answer for the Angels in center; however, he proved his 2006 was a fluke (or a product of that bandbox in Arlington), regressing back to .252/.323/.419 in Anaheim. His .283 BABIP in ’07 indicates he’s probably a little better than that; I’d anticipate him being closer to his career line of .261/.334/.419 in ’08. Still not worth $10M a year for 4 years. I wouldn’t seriously consider Matthews.
Longtime Padre fans likely remember Kotsay trolling around center here from 2001-2003. He was a favorite of mine during my high school days, probably because his play reminded me of the aforementioned Owens (if you can’t tell, he was probably my favorite Padre of the early ’00s in spite of his average ability). Kotsay’s a career .282/.337/.415 hitter, pretty similar to DeJesus’ line. He suffered back issues last year and only got into 56 games, hitting only .214. In ’06, he hit .275 with a .294 BABIP, so we can probably expect similar numbers in 2008 if he’s healthy. Due to the injury, he might be had cheap; he’s certainly worth looking into as a low-risk, medium-reward trade option.
My brother suggested Buck as an option, and it kinda makes sense; Oakland has a surplus of center fielders with Swisher, Kotsay, et al., while we have a surplus at 3B with Kouz apparently entrenched there now. We have a hole in CF with Cameron now apparently out, and Oakland has a quasi-hole at third with Chavez’s health (and the team’s desire to keep him) still in question. A Headley for Buck and token prospect deal almost makes sense. Buck hit .288/.377/.474 last year in 83 games, with a stellar OPS+ of 130. His BABIP of .347 suggests he played a little over his head in 2007, so that’s something to be aware of. Using very unscientific methods to adjust his BABIP back down to league average (.290), I come up with a line of .235/.327/.388; his real talent level probably lies somewhere in between. Like our own Matt Antonelli, he didn’t have much minor league experience before coming up; he played only 127 games in the minors and only 52 above A ball. In those games, however, he hit .325/.398/.510, pretty good numbers by any standard; thus, he’s probably going to be a solid major leaguer. Swapping him for Headley would be an exchange of two prospects on roughly the same plane of talent; surprisingly, I think this might be a fair deal.
More to come…
Filed under: Random Crap | Tags: Bill Conlin, Doug Brocail, Ed Wade, Finals Week, Geoff Blum, Houston Astros, Kevin Towers, Khalil Greene, Marcus Giles, Milton Bradley, San Diego Padres
Ah, the end of the semester. The time when college students all across the country contemplate the meaning of life while destroying themselves trying to finish the race. Good times. I hereby invoke the preceding as an excuse for my lack of decent content from now to the end of the semester. So there.
Geoff Blum is out; he signed with Houston. Quick look at his numbers shows he’s not a “new-guard” kind of guy (low OBP, etc.). He stepped up big replacing Marcus Giles down the stretch and also filled the hole Khalil Greene left after his injury in 2006. That underscores what many see as a major problem with Blum: if he’s not getting a lot of at-bats, his performance tends to suffer. Bochy got him into a ton of games; Black did not, and we saw a commensurate drop in performance until he became the regular 2B. Again, this is not the most scientific analysis in the world, but I can see the line of thinking here. Not surprised to see him out, although he was one of my favorites during his time with the club. I’ll miss the person, but not necessarily the player.
Also heard today that the Broken One himself, Doug Brocail, is headed to Houston. He was one of KT’s scrap heap finds, coming back from an angioplasty and having himself a stellar 2007. Problem is, he’s pretty unlikely to repeat the performance in 2008 given his age, and even less likely playing 81 games in the Juice Box. For my $2.5M, I think there are better options, but in his 2 years here he was a great bargain find out of the pen.
On that note, what’s with Ed Wade all of a sudden scooping up all the ex-Friars? Next thing we know, Milton Bradley will be headed for Houston. Maybe this is also part of why the Pads let him go so easily; he doesn’t completely buy into the KT & DePo’s “new-guard” philosophy. Not like he was the crux of the department or something, but still…
I’m still working on the center field trade candidates, and I hope to have that up tomorrow…
Finally, an interesting conversation between a blogger and longtime Philadelphia columnist Bill Conlin regarding the NL MVP race (hat tip Friar Forecast); just goes to show the divide between the sportswriters and the bloggers is as wide as ever. As a former journalism student, I can understand it to a point, but the fact remains that a lot of bloggers have valid points and interesting insights that sportswriters do not offer. Of course, we could argue this for weeks, and no one will change anybody’s mind on it; you’re either with the bloggers or against them. Here’s hoping you’re with me on this.
Filed under: Stats & Analysis | Tags: Aaron Rowand, Adrian Gonzalez, Andruw Jones, Brian Giles, Chunichi Dragons, Dave Roberts, Hideki Matsui, Kenny Lofton, Kosuke Fukudome, Mike Cameron, San Diego Padres, Tokyo Yomiuri Giants
A little late, I know, but here’s a look at the possible free agent targets for center field in 2008. I’ll have something on the potential trade candidates later tonight.
Rowand was healthy for all of 2007 after a nasty collision with the center field fence in Citizens Bank Park cost him about 60 games in 2006. He responded with a breakout year, going .309/.374/.515, including 45 doubles and 27 home runs. All this computes to a 123 OPS+ and a 7.8 WARP1; basically, Rowand had a stellar season by any standard you want to measure with. However, Rowand’s career numbers tell a somewhat jumbled story. His career line is .286/.343/.462 with an OPS+ of 106. When you look at the four years he’s been a full-time player, though, he’s really had 2 outstanding years and 2 mediocre years. Here are Rowand’s numbers over the last 4 years:
Year Team AVG OBP SLG OPS+ WARP1
2004 CWS .310 .361 .544 130 5.3
2005 CWS .270 .329 .407 93 4.1
2006 PHI .262 .321 .425 86 3.0
2007 PHI .309 .374 .515 123 7.8
So, was Rowand lucky in ’04 and ’07, or unlucky in ’05 and ’06? BABIP tells us the answer is the former; from 2004 to 2007, he posted BABIPs of .341, .318, .297 and .350. As noted in earlier posts, league average is about .290. Though not definitive, these numbers suggest that Rowand’s natural talent level is closer to his ’05/’06 numbers. As a point of comparison, ZIPS has Rowand at .276/.339/.444 next year, although those numbers are adjusted for playing 81 games in Citizens Bank Park. Qualitatively, he’s not a great OBP guy unless he’s hitting over .300, his power comes in fits and spurts, and his defense may be a bit overrated (just my opinion). In that case, at the 5 year/$60M price tag indicated by Randy Miller of PhillyBurbs (hat tip MLBTR), I will pass.
Tom Krasovic noted a few weeks ago that the Pads might make a one year offer to the esteemed Mr. Jones, he of the .222 average in 2007. The Pads would offer Jones about $17M; a huge price for any player, especially when you consider that this is the Padres talking. In prior years, Jones was a rather productive hitter hampered by a mediocre batting average and a high strikeout rate.
Talking to my brother a few weeks ago, I called Jones “Mike Cameron with more power.” Is that a fair statement? That depends on whether you can call Jones’ 2007 a fluke. I think, to a point, you can characterize Jones’ 2007 season as a string of bad luck; his BABIP was just .248, well below the league average. Adjusted for a league-average BABIP, Jones would have hit .259, right in line with his career numbers. However, his power dropped substantially last year as well, his slugging percentage falling a full 80 points below his career average. Whether this is related to luck or other factors, such as a withdrawal from performance enhancers, is a matter of conjecture. I would lean towards the former; he’s only posted an OPS below the league average once outside of last year and his peripherals indicate that there were other factors affecting him in 2007. For perspective, PECOTA’s 10th percentile projection for Jones in 2007 was .243/.323/.451, indicating that there was less than a 10% chance Jones would be as bad as he was last year.
“Mike Cameron with more power?” That’s probably unfair to Jones. However, is Jones really twice the player Cameron is? If the Pads were to pay Jones over double what they paid Cameron, that is essentially what the club would be saying. I don’t think I would go that far, but given the market and the need for another bat to protect Adrian Gonzalez in the order, it might be worth overpaying to get him in here.
Here’s a name no one seems to be talking about. Lofton hit .296/.367/.414 for Texas and Cleveland last year, very close to his career line of .299/.372/.423. Lofton is very much a singles hitter, while still exhibiting good speed (23 steals in ’07) and decent range (with a terrible arm) in center. Wow, it’s like Dave Roberts came back to life with 30 extra points of batting average! He’d certainly be a hell of a lot cheaper than Jones/Rowand/et al., and he does some things that help the club win games. According to Baseball Prospectus’ MORP formula, Lofton’s 2007 was worth about $5.4M. If the Padres fail to land one of the big fishes, Lofton might be a nice fallback option, but I wouldn’t make him our #1 target. There are better names out there, whether they come via free agency or trade.
As a Japanese player, Fukudome is a bit of an enigma; we don’t really know how he’ll do against players in this league. Fukudome suffered an elbow injury in the middle of the 2007 season; prior to that he hit .294/.443/.520 with Chunichi. For his career, he’s a .305/.397/.543 player; look here for his NPB statistics. A good comparison might be Hideki Matsui, who hit .304/.413/.582 in Japan (NPB stats here) before coming to the Yankees. Matsui has hit .295/.371/.485 since coming to the States in 2003. If Fukudome can come close to those numbers, he’ll be worth at least the $12M per year that he’s expected to fetch. Problem is, it looks like he’ll be no better in center than Brian Giles, and he might be worse. According to Mike Plugh (via MLBTR), Fukudome’s best defensive position is right, which may create a defensive problem for the Friars. However, if he hits anywhere close to the way Matsui did when he came over, it would likely be worth the defensive headaches we may experience with one of these guys in center.
Filed under: Stats & Analysis | Tags: Brian Giles, Cedric Hunter, Geoff Jenkins, Jason Lane, Kosuke Fukudome, Mike Cameron, San Diego Padres
Well, with Mike Cameron a free agent and Cedric Hunter still a few years away, center field might be the biggest hole the Pads need to fill before the start of next season. As it stands now, assuming no moves between now and opening day, it will be Brian Giles or Jason Lane in center on March 31. It’s very likely the Pads will look outside for help, so let’s run down the candidates for the position in ’08. Today I’ll look at the in-house candidates; over the next few days, I’ll also comment on the free agent and trade possibilities. Finally, I’ll make my recommendation for who the Pads should use in center in 2008.
The 2006 Gold Glove winner took a step back in 2007, his average dropping from .268 to .242 while posting his second highest strikeout total of his career. His on base percentage dropped 30 points from 2006, while his slugging percentage dropped 50. He still managed to post an OPS+ over the league average, although his 2007 number was down 18 points from 2006 (121 to 103). Though his defense is still well regarded, he struggled through the first few months of the season, losing multiple balls in the dusk at home. All this certainly hurt his value on the free agent market; now that his 25-game amphetamine suspension will cut out a part of his 2008 season, his value has dropped even further. He could still be had cheap; in spite of everything, he was also one of the Pads’ more valuable players overall last year, garnering 22 win shares (3rd on the club) and a 5.1 WARP1. However, given the stigma associated with his suspension, in addition to his lackluster 2007 season, signs point to Cameron having a new home for the 2008 season.
I know, Giles is the incumbent in right, but the possibility still remains that the Friars could sign a quality right fielder, i.e. Kosuke Fukudome or Geoff Jenkins, and move Gilly to center. Giles has played center in the past, posting 301 games in central over his career. However, only 18 of those games have come with the Pads, and only 1 in the last 2 years. Even so, he still shows good range in the outfield, as well as a decent arm. Giles’ offensive profile certainly fits better in center than it does in right, given his high OBP and loss of power in recent years. By all accounts Giles is not the player he once was; still, he managed to post a respectable OPS+ of 109 as well as a decent 3.2 WARP1. If the Pads can bring in a right fielder who can do better than Cameron’s 2007 line, it might be worth it to consider Giles in center, since he still presents a viable defensive option as well as lots of aptitude with the stick.
Don’t forget about Jason Lane, either. Picked up during the last week of the season after the catastrophic injuries to Cameron and Milton Bradley, Lane only posted 2 at bats with the Friars, going hitless. With Houston, he was a disaster, hitting just .178 over 169 at-bats. Hold on a second there, professor. As noted by many scribes, KT likes to use a statistic called BABIP (batting average on balls in play) to measure how lucky or unlucky a player was in a given season; it can help indicate how far off of a player’s natural talent level a given statistical line is. Looking at Lane’s 2006 and 2007, he hit .201 and .178, respectively. However, he had a BABIP of .217 in 2006 and .168 in 2007. According to Fan Interference, league average is about .290. This indicates that Lane has been terrificly unlucky over the past 2 years. This does not mean that we can automatically expect Lane to perform to his potential in 2008; however, I definitely would not sleep on him having a big year given the chance to play everyday. Defensively, I don’t know a lot about Lane; he’s posted a 106 Rate2 in center over his career (100 is average). TangoTiger’s Fan Scouting Report puts Lane at a 56, which is about average. This is definitely a KT kind of move: buy low on a player who may have been unlucky, put him in San Diego with a supportive team behind him, and let him go to work. Lane is definitely a player I will have my eye on next year as a potential bounce-back guy.
OK, enough for today. Tomorrow: the free agent guys. Saturday: the trade candidates. Sunday: my recommendation.
Filed under: Stats & Analysis | Tags: Barry Axelrod, Barry Zito, Carlos Zambrano, Jake Peavy, Kevin Towers, Miguel Cabrera, Petco Park, San Diego Padres
Sorry for the layoff, school is owning my life right now…better stuff coming over the holiday weekend. I hope.
Not to beat a dead horse, but with Jake winning the CY, the Pads have started talking extension with agent Barry Axelrod. This is a pleasant surprise, as the general consensus seemed to be that Jake will play out 2008 in San Diego and then be traded for cheaper personnel. The Cy Young just pushed the value of his 2009 option to $11M; he’s due to make around $6M next year.
So, what does winning the award mean for Jake? He’ll probably get some extra nationwide fame and notoriety out of it, but you can’t pay for a car with fame and notoriety; primarily, this affects Jake’s price on the market. We already know what some of the bigger names are fetching; Carlos Zambrano, who hasn’t done nearly as much as Jake in the bigs, fetched $91.5M over 5 years, while 2002 AL Cy Young winner Barry Zito fetched $126M over 7 years. I think the award makes management willing to pay him a little more, but I still don’t think they will go past 5/75 with him. Would Jake take that money, or does he want the big payday? His agent is not named Boras, which is a good sign. Publicly, Jake and his agent have shown a desire to stay here; Axelrod told the UT that “Jake’s probably going to be willing to back off of Zambrano’s numbers,” while the man himself told padres.com that “I want to be a Padre for my career.”
Posturing? Who knows. Reason to be optimistic? Given the track record, I’m not making parade plans yet. Should we be encouraged? Probably.
So, what about that trade market? I have to think that Jake could pull at least what Miguel Cabrera seems to be drawing on the open market; i.e., a huge prospect package from an organization with a good farm system. We earlier mentioned Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera, but there would certainly be more suitors than that.
I do believe that this is the peak of Jake’s value, no matter how you slice it. If the Friars seriously want to make Jake the next in a tremendous line of career Padres, they will need to step up and pay up. If not, they’ll probably get more out of Jake on the market now than they will at any other point in his career. Personally, I think a bona-fide ace like Jake is probably the single most important element of any successful ballclub, especially one that plays 81 games in Petco Park; in spite of the injury risk, they would be wise to pay the man now and avoid taking a huge hit on the field and in the community when Jake walks after 2009.
The last thing the club needs is the PR fiasco that will ensue if they let Peavy, the guy who might end up being the best pitcher of this generation, walk because they wouldn’t pay him enough to remain a Padre.
Filed under: News | Tags: Cy Young Award, Jake Peavy, Randy Johnson, San Diego Padres
Great news: Jake Peavy is the National League Cy Young Award winner for 2007, and deservedly so. Jake was better than pretty much anyone all year, even taking into account the 2 eggs he laid at Arizona and at Colorado. He’s the first unanimous Cy winner since Randy Johnson and the first Padre to win the award unanimously.
You may recall that I spoke about Jake’s dominance in an earlier post. Maybe I’ll elaborate on the significance of this for Jake a little more tonight. I have a presentation in 2 hours, so it might help if I started preparing for that…
Filed under: Stats & Analysis | Tags: Barry Bonds, Greg Vaughn, Jose Cruz Jr., Mike Winters, Milton Bradley, Reggie Sanders, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Scott Hairston, Terrmel Sledge
So, I went to the Chargers game last night. The game itself was pretty fun; however, the weather made us all miserable. I ended up having to put my camera away; the rain was soaking it (and me) so bad that I couldn’t see anything but fog through the viewfinder.
But you didn’t come here to talk football. Back on task!
Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus and Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors have surmised that Barry Bonds might be a good fit for the Padres in left field. As we all know, Scott Hairston is the incumbent in left field, leaving plenty of room for improvement. As, as we all know, Bonds brings major baggage to a team, including his alleged steroid use and the fact that he’s an asshole. However, the dude just will not go away; he continues to hit at an extremely high level year after year.
The Padres haven’t had a left fielder who hit as well as Bonds since Reggie Sanders was here on a one-year flyer in 1999. Sanders was the bounty in the trade of Greg Vaughn, he of the 50 home runs in 1998. Since Sanders, the Padres have ran out 7 starting left fielders in 8 years, combining for a line of .268/.354/.426.
The 2007 group includes Terrmel Sledge, lauded as the answer in left and in the leadoff spot before the year; we saw him go down in a fiery ball of flames to the tune of .210/.310/.360. Jose Cruz Jr., Sledge’s platoon mate, started hot but faded fast, posting a line of .234/.316/.375 before getting cut on July 31. Milton Bradley took over, and was deadly when healthy, going .313/.414/.590 in 42 games. However, he was hurt twice while in San Diego, playing in only 42 of the 84 games he was on the roster for. He also blew out his ACL trying to lay the smackdown on Mike Winters during the final home game of the season. He’s still a possibility to come back, but that incident made many Padre fans sour on him, so I doubt that the club will consider it. Still, for comparison’s sake, we’ll include him in the discussion here, especially considering that he brought serious personal baggage here and managed to succeed. His case might give us some indication of how Bonds would be handled here.
So, without diving into the debate over moving Kevin Kouzmanoff to left field, we have three candidates for the job: Hairston, Bradley, and Bonds. Let’s take a look at what they’ve done over the past 3 years:
2005 (Arizona) – .100 AVG, .100 OBP, .150 SLG, -36 OPS+, -0.3 WARP1 (15 games)
2006 (Arizona) – .400, .438, .533, 143 OPS+, .3 WARP1 (9 games),
2007 (ARZ/SD) – .243, .313, .452, 94 OPS+, 1.9 WARP1 (107 games)
2005 (Dodgers) – .290, .350, .484, 118 OPS+, 3.9 WARP1 (75 games)
2006 (Oakland) – .276, .370, .447, 114 OPS+, 2.7 WARP1 (96 games)
2007 (OAK/SD) – .306, .402, .545, 153 OPS+, 3.2 WARP1 (61 games)
2005 (Giants) – .286, .404, .667, 174 OPS+, .6 WARP1 (14 games)
2006 (Giants) – .270, .454, .545, 156 OPS+, 5.5 WARP1 (130 games)
2007 (Giants) – .276, .480, .565, 170 OPS+, 5.8 WARP1 (126 games)
OK, so now it gets interesting. WARP takes fielding into account, meaning that even with the putrid defense he plays, Barry added almost 6 wins to the Giants’ total in 2007; ditto 2006. The 4 Padre left fielders last year posted a combined WARP of 7.5; however, that number is a bit misleading, since it includes games played by those players at other positions as well. When I adjust for the number of games each played in left field, the number drops to 5.5. So, as far as that number is concerned, Bonds vs. Crudge/Exploder/Shrek is basically a push.
So, what are the chances the Pads could squeeze a 5.5 WARP out of Hairston or Bradley next year? Hairston’s San Diego line projects to a 5.3 WARP over 150 games in left field. Hairston has never had major injury problems to my knowledge, so the chances of him playing a full season as a starter are pretty good. ZIPS has Hairston at .243/.317/.405 for 2008, which pretty much reflects his 2007 line, so I think we can safely expect him to be right in that neighborhood next year. Hairston’s age comps averaged a .258/.338/.425, so I would guess he’ll end up somewhere between the 2 projections; i.e., he’ll be mediocre to average next year.
As for Bradley, he is a crapshoot. Bradley gave us a small sample size last year, but his line over 42 games projects to a 10.3 WARP over 150 games. Pretty tremendous numbers. Problem is, the chances of Milton playing 150 games are slim to none. In fact, he’s only played over 101 games in a season once over his 8 years in the bigs (2004 with the Dodgers). Whether via injury or temper tantrum, Milton usually finds a way to cut his season short. Thus, he’s definitely a risk to bring back, even if the potential reward is huge if you can keep him healthy. Given the relative familiarity we have with him, he may be the best option, with Hairston as a fall back when (not if) something goes awry.
That brings us to Steroid Boy. We can say with certainty he will not play 150 games; 120 is more reasonable. ZIPS has him at 112, which sounds about right. Still, if he can post a similar line to 2007 in 120 games next year, he would be an improvement over what we had for 162 games in 2007. That in itself makes the idea of bringing him in worth considering.
Considering, in this case, is the key word. Barry brings with him a barrage of distractions: the steroid cloud, his pending indictment, his entourage, his ego…what effect would that have on the rest of the ballclub? Does Buddy have the intestinal fortitude to lay down the line and force Barry to toe it? He did it with Milton this year, but Milton is a teddy bear compared to Bonds.
If the club can find a way to bring Barry in on their terms, not his, it may be able to squeeze the production out of him with minimal effect on the rest of the club. However, the more likely scenario is that Barry is still Barry, meaning that he alienates everybody, creates distractions, and generally upsets whatever clubhouse chemistry the 2007 club may have built. On the face of it, looking only at the numbers, Barry would probably be a good investment. However, if the Padres decide to do the deal, they must be very careful in the way they handle him. He could easily turn the 2008 Padres into a more formidable club, but he could just as easily blow the entire ship to pieces.
Filed under: Stats & Analysis | Tags: Ian Kennedy, Jake Peavy, Kevin Towers, Melky Cabrera, New York Yankees, Phil Hughes, San Diego Padres, Will Inman
ESPN floated a rumor that KT has talked to Brian Cashman about trading Jake Peavy to the Yankees (hat tip MLBTR). Buster Olney says it’s barely worth mentioning, but it brings to mind the question: would it be worth it to trade Peavy now while his value is still high, or should the club hold onto him until his contract is up?
Olney names pitcher Phil Hughes and center fielder Melky Cabrera as the return for Peavy. I think it would take more than that to make a deal; Ian Kennedy has also been rumored to be available, so I’ll throw him in here as well, just for argument’s sake. I don’t think any Padre fan would say that Jake for Hughes and Cabrera is getting max value out of Jake.
Here are the 2008 ZIPS projections for all four players:
Jake Peavy (age 27): 33 GS, 17-7, 2.99 ERA, 214 IP, 181 H, 56 BB, 221 K
Phil Hughes (age 22): 26 GS, 12-5, 3.70 ERA, 141 IP, 136 H, 40 BB, 106 K
Ian Kennedy (age 23): 26 GS, 9-7, 4.38 ERA, 148 IP, 158 H, 42 BB, 94 K
Melky Cabrera (age 23): 159 G, .286 AVG (166/580), .352 OBP, .419 SLG, 83 R, 29 2B, 12 HR, 89 RBI, 59 BB, 65 K, 13 SB; rated “Very Good” at all 3 outfield spots
Given that this is all conjecture, I think that’s probably pretty fair value for Jake. Watching Hughes pitch, he has 4 solid pitches, including one of the better curves I’ve seen recently. He needs to learn to pitch a little more, but he’s got the stuff to get away with it for a while. I’ve heard him compared to Mike Mussina as far as style, and that sounds about right. Kennedy won’t blow you away with his stuff, but he locates relatively well and has enough confidence in his breaking stuff to throw it on any count. If Will Inman were ready right now, this is probably about what he would look like as far as stuff and approach. Cabrera has some nice tools; he is a guy who could slide into the 1 or 2 hole in the Pads lineup and fit right in. He’s a good enough OBP guy that I think Towers would bite on him; he’s also a plus defender, which they will need in Petco. Peavy aside, he’s probably someone we should consider for the center field spot if the price is right.
So, the question remains…trade Jake? The real question is, when do you want to contend?
If the answer is next year, then you simply cannot trade Jake now. This is likely the peak of his value; he’s not likely to replicate his 2007 line next year, although he should be close. If you’re going to go out and spend $15-$20 million to improve the club, you owe it to yourself to keep Jake as the centerpiece of the rotation. His consistency this year was unprecedented; when you have the best pitcher in the National League putting up 7 IP, 2 R, 8 K every 5 days, you’re going to have a chance to win almost every time out. He’s also been through three pennant races now, so theoretically he should be calm enough down the stretch to win in big games. We know Jake, so I’ll leave it at “theoretically;” we all know Jake can get too hyped up and hurt himself out there.
If you’re going to try the youth route and bring in kids to develop next year, then it makes tons of sense to deal Jake now if you can find the right package in return. If you can get two pitchers who could front your rotation for years to come – not to mention your future center fielder – then you can feel confident that you are getting fair value for Peavy. As mentioned above, he’s very unlikely to be as good as he was in 2007, although he should still be extremely good next year. Since the market for starters is weak this year, Peavy’s value is further inflated. Finally, given that Peavy’s high-torque motion puts a lot of stress on his shoulder, he just seems to be headed towards another significant injury, certainly worse than the broken rib he suffered in the 2005 playoffs.
So, my answer is “I don’t know.” Were I Mr. Towers, with a
better idea of how they want to construct the club for next year, I would give a more definitive answer. To make a long story short, it all depends on whether the Padres feel like they can contend next year with a few smaller additions.
Filed under: News, Stats & Analysis | Tags: Chicago Cubs, Curt Schilling, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Derek Lowe, Greg Maddux, Joe Nathan, John Maine, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres
Off the cuff, I like this move. The dude just will not die; he’s been as consistent as anybody in the league for about 20 years now and didn’t seem to show many signs of age last year. Let’s dive into the numbers and see if they support that.
By most standards, Maddux was pretty successful in his first year as a Friar, posting a 14-11 record and a 4.14 ERA over 198 innings. That ERA figure is actually down a tick from his 2006 number (4.20). However, there were some signs that could be interpreted as decline. Maddux’s hit rate jumped from 9.4 in 2006 to 11.0 in 2007; this can be attributed either to a loss of control due to age or merely luck (his BABIP was a little high at .315). Predictably, his homer rate dropped from .85 to .63 due to Petco’s pitcher-friendly alleys.
Park-adjusted numbers are a mixed bag. ERA+ has him at only 98, or below the league average; however, his 35.7 VORP places him 45th in the league, ahead of such notables as Curt Schilling, John Maine, Joe Nathan and Derek Lowe. Maddux’s VORP is also up from his 32.7 last year between the Cubs and Dodgers. Finally, Maddux tied with Daisuke Matsuzaka for 27th in the league in expected wins with 13.4.
Maddux has always thrown a lot of first pitch strikes (64% career, vs 57% league average). This year, that number jumped even higher, to 68%. That might have accounted for a little bit of that jump in his hit rate; more specifically, it looks like Maddux pitched in the zone a little more last year, thinking the ballpark would back him up.
I heard many folks complain that Maddux stunk when he got deep into games this year; looking at the numbers, he was not nearly as bad as others thought him to be. From pitch 76 onward, Maddux’s ERA was 4.07 in 17.2 innings; that’s actually below his season average. Maddux had far more problems early in games; over his first 30 pitches, Mad Dog’s ERA was a painful 7.29. That would lead me to believe that Maddux has a harder time finding a rhythm now than he did five years ago.
ZIPS sees Maddux posting similar numbers in 2008; they have him at 14-11 with a 3.91 ERA over 200 innings. Sound familiar? Maddux has owned that line for the last five years. It would not surprise me at all to see him duplicate his 2007 numbers, or perhaps be a little better now that he’s learned how to pitch to the ballpark. His August numbers pointed in that direction (3-1, 2.37), but his September numbers were his worst all season (4-2, 6.14).
All things considered, Maddux looks like he’s at worst a league average starter; in this day and age, that can be hard to find, so $10M might not be overpaying for him. Beyond his performance on the mound, he appeared to help Peavy out tremendously this year concerning his approach and efficiency. Given all that he brings, this looks like a solid signing for the Pads. See the future Hall of Famer while you still can.
Filed under: Scouting | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chris Young, Daniel Cabrera, Derek Lowe, Doug Brocail, Greg Maddux, Heath Bell, Jake Peavy, Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Clement, New York Mets, San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers, Tim Stauffer
Matt Clement supposedly wants to return to the Padres, according to the Union Tribune. Clement broke in with the Pads in 1998, throwing in four games down the stretch for the National League Champions.
Looking at Clement’s year-by-year lines, the strongest constant has to be his high walk rate. In his rookie year, Clement walked 125 batters over 205 innings; his rate has declined since that point except for a blip in 2004. Matt’s hit rates have never been extremely high; thus, Matt’s WHIP and ERA have correlated pretty closely over his career. In Matt’s last 4 fully healthy seasons, he has posted an ERA right around the league average; for his career, Matt’s ERA is .17 higher than the league’s. Additionally, Matt is not particularly homer prone, with a career high of 23 in 2004. That would seem to bode well for him in Petco if recent history is any indication.
Stuff-wise, Clement isn’t going to blow anybody away, but he has a decent arsenal at his disposal. I watched a couple of his 2006 starts on MLB.TV to get a feel for his approach. His four-seam fastball clocks in around 90 MPH, and is quite straight; he does not seem to throw it that often. The sinker is probably his best pitch; it is consistently 83-85 MPH with good downward bite, a lot like Derek Lowe without the velocity. He also throws a change in the low 80′s as well as a slurve in the mid 70′s that he will use as an out pitch. The latter pitch looks somewhat like Chris Young‘s slider, although with a little flatter break. To me, it looks like Clement throws at least 60% sinkers; the trick for him is to locate it on the corners to induce swings. When Clement falls behind, he often tries too hard to get the ball in the zone, which often ends up burning him. When he can throw the sinker for strikes early in the count, Clement is able to dictate the at-bat and usually can induce a grounder or popout to get himself out of trouble. With Matt’s stuff and delivery, it doesn’t look like there’s a lot to be fixed; Clement is already a pretty polished pitcher in that regard.
As far as statistical tendencies, Clement seems to struggle mightily when he falls behind a hitter. When Clement goes 1-0 to a hitter, his WHIP jumps from his 1.40 career rate to 1.94, a jump of .54; additionally, his K/BB ratio falls below 1:1. Now, most pitchers struggle when they get behind a hitter, but Clement seems to do so even worse than some of his contemporaries. Super-stingy Greg Maddux‘s line goes from 1.14 to 1.51, .37 above his normal rate. Jake Peavy goes from 1.19 to 1.48, a .29 lift. Clement’s numbers are more in line with walkaholic Oriole Daniel Cabrera, whose WHIP jumps from 1.53 to 2.09, a .56 difference. Unfortunately, I do not have access to leaguewide numbers for these situations; anybody know where I can find that info?
Clement also has trouble early in games, much like our own Tim Stauffer. His ERA over his first 15 pitches of an appearance is 6.10, 1.63 above his career line of 4.47. No current Padre starter has a disparity that large, the closest being Young at 1.48. The aforementioned Mr. Stauffer is the only other Padre starter with a difference greater than 1, at 1.22.
In any case, those numbers could easily improve in Petco, where he can pitch more aggressively in the zone due to the big outfield swallowing many potential extra-base hits. That should knock down both his hit and walk rates, as we’ve seen with recent imports Young (WHIP dropped .12 from 2005 with Texas), Heath Bell (down .71) and Doug Brocail (down .46). As those numbers dip, so should his ERA.
One wild card is Clement’s health. Clement had surgery on his rotator cuff and labrum in September of 2006 and has not thrown in a game since June of that year. He threw a simulated game in mid-September at Fenway, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. If he’s healthy, he should put up solid, middle-of-the-rotation numbers with Petco and a solid defense behind him. If he’s not healthy, all bets are off. Thus, the Pads will need to be careful when judging how much money to throw at Clement; given the market, I would not be surprised to see the price hit $4M or $5M, depending on how many teams get involved. I think 1 year at $2M-$3M would be a reasonable risk for the Friars; anything more than that would be asking for trouble given the health risk involved.