Valuing the 2011 Free Agent Class

2. Prince Fielder, 1B

3 Year WAR Trend – 6.4, 3.5, 5.5

Bowden’s Projection – 8/$192M

Chip’s Projection – 8/$185M

Projected Value – $171M

Fielder’s appeal, aside from his unbelievable abilities at the plate, is his age.  At only 27 years old, he’s four years younger than Pujols, and has around 3-4 prime seasons ahead of him.  This alone, makes him a incredibly hot commodity.  Considering his lower price tag, we could see a few teams like the Angels, Orioles, Nationals, and Giants sumbit bids.  Save for the Nationals, who were big time players last winter, I don’t see any of the other three teams being serious bidders.  Ultimately, I see him going to the Cubs as the consolation prize for not landing Pujols.  Concerns about long-term durability, weight, and performance projections keep him from breaking $190M.  8/$185M seems like a slight overpay, as I see him valuing at closer to $170M over the next eight seasons.

3. Jose Reyes, SS

3 Year WAR Trend – 6.4 (2008), 2.9, 6.2

Bowden’s Projection – 6/$108M

Chip’s Projection – 5/$90M

Projected Value – $110M

I’m fully prepared to be wrong on this projection, but I’m going with it anyway. … Click here to read the rest

How would Cespedes fit in?

Matt Imbrogno’s post this morning was a very important reminder that we should be skeptical of the hype on the latest great thing, which ties in very nicely to my post on the shiniest of new toys (not things Matt, come on), Yoenis Cespedes, who just emerged on the scene in the last few days.

By now I’m sure most of you have read about the much-hyped Cespedes, a recent Cuban defector and soon-to-be free agent whose representation released an epic (apologies to Joe Pawlikowski, but I think it fits here) showcase video.  Rather than breaking down the 20-minute masterpiece myself, I’ll refer you to Kevin Goldstein’s recap of the video, which accurately describes the absurdity of the whole production, and gives some scouting insight on the 26 year-old outfielder.

Cespedes is rumored to be one of the top position players to come out of Cuba in a long time, and the Yankees are apparently very interested.  They recently had him for a private workout in front of a number of high ranking front office personnel (per Ben Badler and Joel Sherman), and a number of other teams have reportedly demonstrated interest as well (especially the Marlins).  … Click here to read the rest

Competitive Balance and the New CBA

Yesterday, ESPN’s Jayson Stark argued, correctly, that Major League Basbeall is more competitively balanced than the NFL or NBA. Although I’d argue that the NHL is the most balanced of any of these leagues, I do agree with Stark that MLB is in pretty good shape as far as competitive balance goes. With a new CBA coming any day now (seriously Selig, let’s get on with it!), I don’t think the question that we should be asking is, “Is there some parity in baseball?” but, echoing Fangraphs, “Is there enough parity in baseball?”

At Fangraphs, Woodrum writes:

The relationship, as we might expect, is loose. An uninspiring R-squared in the 0.17 range tells us payrolls have accounted for 17% of the variation in winning percentages over the last 12 seasons.

Now we reach the philosophical portion of the program, asking ourselves: How much do we really want payroll to effect winning?

The NFL has decided it wants payroll to have essentially no impact on winning, so teams basically trot out the same amount of money every Sunday and hope their money was better-spent.

Click here to read the rest

MLB still doesn’t have a competitive balance problem

I also think people underestimate the fact that having money creates its own unique problems. I’m sure a lot of people will dismiss that as the oblivious whining of a privileged Yankees fan, so consider some other big market teams with money, and where the combination of too much money and too few brains have gotten them. The Mets managed to acquire Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana, and Francisco Rodriguez while developing Jose Reyes and David Wright, and they haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006, and haven’t been close since 2008. The Cubs signed Alfonso Soriano to a big deal, for which they’ve earned the right to pay him another $54 million over the next three years, and they got Carlos Zambrano locked up with a $90 million contract and made sure Ryan Dempster had a $14 million player option to take care of their 2012 rotation (the $32 million those two will make next season is more than C.C. Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Bartolo Colon, and Freddy Garcia combined to make in 2011).Click here to read the rest

Eric Chavez Is Deep, Man

Walk it off, big guy. Courtesy of Getty Images

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

I mean real deep.  This time last month he was reportedly “leaning heavily” toward retirement after another season affected by injuries.  And then just a few days ago, there was talk from his agent that Eric Chavez was now not so sure about his retirement intentions and that he would “deeply consider” a return to the Yankees if they were interested.  While these statements from Chavez open up a possible line of discussions related to just how spiritual he is with all this deep thinking and which Tool album Chavez prefers, they also raise a more relevant one relating to whether or not the Yankees should consider bringing Chavez back in 2012 if he truly still wants to play.

After quickly becoming one of the best third baseman in the AL early in the 2000s and enjoying a string of success from ’01-’06 that included 6 straight Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger Award in 2002, Chavez’s health began to betray him in 2007 and he has never been the same player since. … Click here to read the rest

Shiny New Thing Syndrome

Yesterday, a certain video about a certain Cuban outfielder was released and people went nuts. A guy few people knew existed on Sunday night was a baseball blogosphere and Twitterverse darling by early Monday morning. Over the next few hours, days, weeks, months, etc., there is going to be a lot of digital ink spilled about Yoenis Cespedes…and with good reason. He seems to be massively talented and will probably command a sizable contract. He’s the newest and shiniest thing in a time of new and shiny things.

Yu Darvish falls into this category as well, but again, it’s not undeserved. In fact, his praise is probably more deserved than Cespedes’s. A lot of us are enamored with him, and that includes myself. He’s something new and unknown, and that makes him exciting. Of course there is another layer to it; there is more depth. Darvish fits an immediate need and there is a strong argument to be made that he’s the best free agent fit for the Yankees.… Click here to read the rest

On all 182 free agents and the Yankees (Part II, and overview)

91. Dan Wheeler: Not a bad pitcher, and will probably be pretty cheap. But he’s basically a ROOGY and he gives up a lot of home runs.

92. Arthur Rhodes: A really old lefty, like Darren Oliver… but he’s not nearly as good. I understand the need for lefty relievers, but I don’t think Rhodes is it.

93. Reed Johnson: You could do much worse for fourth OFs, but the guy should learn how to take a walk. His lefty-killing services will likely be more needed/wanted on a team that didn’t destroy LHP.

94. Rick Ankiel: Mmm, nope.

95. Laynce Nix: Next.

96. Jorge Posada: I love Jorge, obviously, and I’m not at all sure whether he’ll retire or not. As horrible as it is to admit, I kind of hope he does retire. It’ll hurt, but I think if he doesn’t retire, he’ll either get involved in a messy, probably nastyish squabble with the Yankees (and the team doesn’t really have any room for him – if he’d been really good in 2011 there could be some debate about trying to find room for him because, well, he is a team icon, but obviously he wasn’t), or go somewhere else, both of which’ll hurt more.… Click here to read the rest