More fun with mystery players!

Last week I had some fun putting the career statistics of Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson side by side on screen, without identifying who the players were. Since this is still the pre-season and meaty topics are running short, I figure I’ll replicate this formula, at least once more. Below you’ll see the statistics of two players who play the same position, and have similar all around games. The ages listed are how old one each was after being an everyday big leaguer for three full years.







The last time I did this my aim was to show how a narrative was forming around two players based on the trajectories they had taken to achieving roughly the same career value. The Yankees and their fans are already assuming that Nick Swisher will walk at the end of this year while Curtis Granderson will get a big contract when the time comes. The data show that both players have generated about the same value over their careers.… Click here to read the rest

Who Is Lurking In The AL East?

Last year we saw a handful of players surprise even the most optimistic fans and become stars in one of the most competitive leagues in all of sports. The list includes Jacoby Ellsbury, Ricky Romero, Ivan Nova, JJ Hardy, Brett Lawrie, and yea I have to admit I didn’t expect Josh Beckett to post an ERA in the 2’s. (Thank you 80% left on base rate) I expect each team in the AL East to have some sort of breakout player, and I’ve picked one from each non-Yankee team. Between the Rays, Red Sox, and Blue Jays a breakout or comeback year could shift the whole power rankings of the league, and I could see a couple of these players doing just that.

  • Tampa Bay Rays- OF Desmond Jennings
    It’s hard to imagine Jennings as a sleeper after spending so many years on top of prospect lists, but in 2011 Jennings was forgotten behind fellow teammate and rookie of the year Jeremy Hellickson.
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Are these guys worth the money?

Larry can confirm that the contracts going around this offseason have blown my mind. Say what you will about the deals Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez got back in the day, at least those were two of the best hitters in baseball at the time, and they were young (A-Rod’s first deal, although it’s convenient to forget how good a season he had when he got his second one). Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford are good, but they aren’t nine-figures good. I figured that Crawford would have gotten about $85 million over five years, while Werth and his history of injuries would get about $60 million over four years. Shows you what I know.

Cliff Lee‘s contract wound up being right where everyone anticipated, unlike the outsized deals the other big name free-agents got, but that doesn’t change the fact that he may not earn the money. Not even Lee is a sure thing. It raises the question of whether he’s also overpaid, even if his contract was within the market range for his services.… Click here to read the rest

Crawford to Beantown

The arch-rival Red Sox have struck again! This time they landed speedy Carl Crawford with a generous seven-year, $142M pact. As a point of comparison, this contract matches Jayson Werth’s signing in years and exceeds it by $16M. As noted by Ian Browne, “Crawford’s average annual value of $20,285,714 will also be the 10th highest in history. And his average annual value will trail only Ramirez all time in terms of outfielders. [Manny] Ramirez had a two-year, $45 million from the Dodgers.” I think this is an important point given that they are looking to reward Adrian Gonzalez with something along the lines of seven years, $154M. Basically, Boston has committed a good chunk of all that salary coming off the books next season (David Ortiz, J.D. Drew, Jonathan Papelbon, and Mike Cameron) to resources right now.

Those of you who have followed my contributions to the site probably know my feelings toward Carl Crawford.

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Some preliminary statistical notes on Crawford to the Red Sox

Matt’s working on a Carl Crawford post of his own, but in the interim I’d like to weigh in with a couple of notes on Crawford’s 7-year, $142 million deal with the Boston Red Sox.

– For starters, while Carl Crawford is an admittedly dynamic and exciting player, we’re also talking about a hitter with a career .347 wOBA, and who is coming off a career-high .378 mark. Of course, with a player like Crawford one also has to factor in his defense, which is where he derives a significant amount of his value. Is Crawford worth $20.3 million per year? According to Fangraphs he certainly was and then some in 2010, putting up a 6.9 fWAR worth $27.4 million. He was also excellent in 2009, with a 5.7 fWAR that was worth $25.4 million. It’s probably worth nothing that Baseball-Reference has a rather drastically different opinion of Crawford, as bWAR has his 2010 season at 4.8 and his 2009 at 4.4.… Click here to read the rest

Sox Surprisingly Sign Speedster

In a display of ninja-like stealth that would make even Brian Cashman proud, the Boston Red Sox made a big acquisition today.  Our old friend Peter Abraham broke the news, reporting that the Sawx have signed Rays OF Carl Crawford to a 7-year 142 million dollar contract.  This is a big signing for Boston, and somewhat of a surprise, as I’m sure many people were expecting Boston to be done with handing out big paychecks after acquiring Adrian Gonzalez (and his reported Teixeira-esque extension demands).

Crawford will be a nice addition to the Boston lineup, likely hitting in the 2-hole behind Jacoby Ellsbury, and ahead of Pedroia, Gonzalez, and Youkilis.  His speed and on-base ability will allow him to score a lot of runs in front of Boston’s big boppers, and give Yankee catchers fits on the basepaths.  He’s also a great defensive outfielder, though his defensive value will be limited at home (in Fenway’s small left field).  Before the Jason Werth signing, if somebody told me that Carl Crawford, whom I consider a very good player but not a star, would be getting 20 million/year for 7 years, I would have been shocked. … Click here to read the rest

News and notes on a Saturday morning

Two stories with big implications emerged over night. Most important to Yankee fans, Derek Jeter and the team are now reported to be very close to a deal. According to RAB the agreement is around $51 million for three years, perhaps with a fourth year as an option. For a long time I’ve felt the Yankees were more likely to hold firm on the number of years in a contract for Jeter than on the dollars. I want the team and its Captain to come to an agreement quickly so I can enjoy watching Jeter pick up his 3,000th hit next season. $17 million a year is more than generous, and won’t block the team from pursuing Cliff Lee. Hopefully this gets wrapped up soon.

As important as Jeter is to the Yankees’ organization, the bigger news is that the Red Sox are on the verge of adding that big, middle of the order bat they’ve needed since they failed to sign Mark Teixeira.… Click here to read the rest

Pondering Crawford or Werth

Good friend of the blog Will Weiss queried an assortment of baseball pundits (can I call myself a pundit? After a year-plus of granularly analyzing even the most mundane details of the activities of a baseball team every single day of the year I’ve probably earned the right) — including the esteemed Anthony McCarron of The New York Daily News, Jonah Keri of The Wall Street Journal and about a million other sites, the perspicacious Jay Jaffe, Jon Lane and myself — on our thoughts regarding whether the Yankees would chase after Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth, assuming they found themselves in the market for either player.

Be sure to head on over to Bronx Banter for my take.… Click here to read the rest

If not Lee, what's Plan B?

You probably already know by now that after Cliff Lee, there’s a huge drop off in quality of the remaining available starters, whether via free agent or trade. I discussed it in my post on Montero yesterday, and Matt did as well. But what if the new Rangers ownership sells Lee (and his wife) on living in Texas, close to his Arkansas home, and decides to blow Lee away in terms of years? What if the Yanks (with their aging roster) decide that they want don’t half their 2013 payroll tied up in guys over the age of 35? It’s hard to imagine the Yanks ever being outbid for a player they really want, but don’t forget this is a new ownership in place under Hal Steinbrenner, so previous track record doesn’t necessarily apply. Also, they’re nowhere hear as desperate for Lee as they were for Sabathia in 2008. Back then, they were coming off their first year of missing the playoffs since the early 1990’s.… Click here to read the rest