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

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

Werth Signing Changes The Market

As I am sure most of you have heard, the Nationals handed outfielder Jayson Werth a monumental 7-year, 126 million dollar deal yesterday. Werth is an excellent all-around player, but he is also 32, has had injury issues, and does not have an extensive track record as an elite player. The deal sent ripples throughout the baseball community, and is likely to impact the free agent market significantly. For example, take this tweet from Jon Heyman, sent last night:

Hearing #rangers not planning to go 6 yrs on lee. Hopeful camarederie/proximity pay off. Do expect at least the #yankees to go 6.

Before the offseason began, I thought a 5 year deal would almost certainly be enough to get Lee. However, with the market now clearly above what it has been in recent seasons, Lee is probably going to get his 6th year, at an average annual value of 22-25 million dollars. There is no way that he will look at a player just as old as him receiving a 7 year deal from the Nationals and accept a 5 year offer from the Yankees and Rangers.… Click here to read the rest

Werth gets seven-year, $126 million deal from Nationals

In an industry-shocking move, Jayson Werth, who will be entering his age 32 season in 2011, received a seven-year, $126 million deal from the Washington Nationals, which will pay him $18M/year.

While the dollars are certainly more than almost anyone would’ve expected Werth to get, it’s the number of years that’s really surprising. However, clearly the Nats felt pressure to get something done in the wake of Adam Dunn taking his big bat to the White Sox (and yes, even though it was never going to happen I am still heartbroken), and once they zeroed in on Werth, had to figure that they’d scare everyone else away by offering seven years to the 31-year-old.

Looking past the contract, what the Nats did do was go out and get an outfielder who’s been one of the top 15 hitters in the National League the last three seasons, capping his trifecta of excellence off with a career-high .397 wOBA this past season.… 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

Lee + Dunn = 28

Let me preface this by saying that I have zero expectation that the Yankees will sign Adam Dunn. Many have been expecting the Yankees to keep the DH slot open with the idea of rotating catchers Jorge Posada and Jesus Montero through it, along with whichever other aging superstars (cough, Alex Rodriguez, cough) may need a half day off here and there, although according to Mark Feinsand the team may be leaning more toward slotting Jorge in as DH full-time and making Montero the team’s starting catcher.

However, regardless of whether or not one believes the rotating DH to be a sound plan — not to mention the fact that, if the Yankees are indeed holding true to the company line of not increasing payroll, they won’t have money for anyone else after re-signing Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte and (hopefully) bringing Cliff Lee aboard — or if you’re interested in Jorge Posada as the full-time DH, this is the offseason, a time of year full of rampant speculation and irresponsible rumormongering, and I’m not going to let little things like DH rotations, hypothetical payroll limitations and a 38-year-old catcher stop me from continuing to salivate over the thought of Dunn in pinstripes.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks To Splurge On Free Agents?

Going into the 2008-2009 free agency period, it was pretty clear that the Yankees were going to make a big splash on the free agent market. The club had missed the playoffs in 2008, and had a number of contracts coming off the books. With a large need at the top of the rotation, it was clear that the team would make a run at CC Sabathia and either Derek Lowe or AJ Burnett. After signing Sabathia and Burnett and trading for Nick Swisher, it seemed like the Yankees were basically done retooling. However, Brian Cashman looked at the upcoming free agent markets and decided that Mark Teixeira was too good to pass up, and the Yankees swooped in and nabbed him at the last moment. All three free agents were instrumental in the Yankees 27th championship, and their presence on the roster allowed the Yankees to bypass a weak free agent market in 2009-2010.

Now, as the calendar begins to inch towards the 2010-2011 free agency period, I am left wondering whether we may be in store for a repeat of 2008-2009.… Click here to read the rest

A busy news day: Lee, Jeter, Rivera, Joba, Montero, Pettitte, Crawford, Werth, Greinke, Dunn and more

Apologies for not being further out in front of all of the news that broke today, but our friends at RAB have already done yeomen’s work in covering everything that came out of the end-of-season press conference held by Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi at the Stadium today, so be sure to check that out (as if you haven’t already).

You’ve likely already heard about Dave Eiland getting the boot and Andy Pettitte pitching through injury in the playoffs, but Cashman also talks about the Yankees’ not having an answer for the Rangers despite steamrolling the Twins; Girardi asserts that Joba Chamberlain is a bullpen guy now and forever (groan); both men say the Yankee are obviously interested in Cliff Lee without actually saying it; Cashman stays coy about Jesus Montero joining the Bigs next season; Cashman essentially confirms that he’ll be way overpaying for Derek Jeter‘s and Mariano Rivera‘s services; and in perhaps the most interesting tidbit, Cash admits last winter wasn’t his best, although I’d beg to differ.… Click here to read the rest