Nationals Baseball: More thoughts

Monday, January 19, 2015

More thoughts

It's a big deal so of course I have more thoughts - but quickly

Why do I like ZNN more than Scherzer? Scherzer has been great for 3 years and is moving from the AL to the NL. I should love him. Guess what? I do. So why do I like ZNN better? Because :

ZNN is almost 2 years younger
ZNN was arguably better last year
ZNN has had a far lighter workload
ZNN fastball speed is remarkably steady

When I went over the big FA guys to see who the Nats should sign or not I could not find a single thing to worry about for ZNN. I can pick apart Scherzer if I want to. Little things here and there. I can't do that with ZNN.  This, to me, given their very similar results last year, makes ZNN a much more appealing choice for a long term deal.

This doesn't mean I don't like Scherzer. He'll be great.  Just that I don't mind years 5-7 for ZNN. I do for Scherzer.


I think the Nats should deal a starting pitcher. Of course this is all contingent on what they can get back but with Scherzer in the fold you can have a staff that will be expected to perform as well as last year, which was good enough to possibly be the best in the majors and help the team to 96 wins AND you can possibly get a high level prospect back. It's the best of both worlds. I don't worry about depth because Treinen looked ok and Cole looks ok. I am fine with those guys as the number 6. Of course if you'd rather just have a dominating staff that's fine but I don't think that's getting the most value out of this contract and the situation it sets up. Do I trade Fister? ZNN? Strasburg? All depends what I can get back. I do know I try dealing in that order.


But what about being all-in? Aren't I big on that? Yep I am. But if the Nats were all in then Zobrist would be here. Or they could have signed Sandoval and moved Rendon back to 2nd. Or they could try trading Giolito for Carlos Gomez. This is a big move, huge, but it's similar to the Soriano signing in that it makes the Nats better but it doesn't make the Nats the best team they can be. It doesn't fix a weakness (however mild that weakness may be). It makes something else stronger. I'd rather see a team try to get rid of all weaknesses. But we're quibbling here about how best to improve a mid 90s win team. Let's not lose sight of that.


Am I celebrating yet? No, let's calm down on all the "best rotation ever" talk or anything to do with 2015 or beyond. We're not there yet. There could be trades. There could be extensions. For right now the Nats have one great pitcher signed for the next few years. That's all we know. There is a lot more work that could be done depending on prospects developing or being brought in. All we can do is judge the deal when we hear what exactly it is and then we wait until the season starts and we know what the deal is with all these other guys.

53 comments:

Bote Man said...

Some knowledgeable reporters have stated that this is a "complicated" deal, so there might be more than one team involved with other players in motion. Even at 11:00 AM E.T. Monday morning we still only have vague news about this deal.

Also, Mr. Furbles has been whispering in Needham's ear that Gio should be the pitcher to shop around. I tend to agree. He has always been a roller coaster ride on the mound, one tiny thing goes wrong and he starts talking to himself and giving up bloops, bleeders, and bonking batters. That's how you spell uncertainty right there. Can't say anything about Gio's contract status.

Apologies for considering baseball performance over financial concerns, but that's just the way I look at these things.

Harper said...

"fun" part about these pitching deals - you can make sense in trading ANYONE. There is no untouchable guy. ZNN is leaving soon, Stras gets you most back & is leaving next, Gio is faltering, Roark has so much control and might be a fluke, Cole is all promise, Giolito is all HUGE promise.

Mark twain said...

I hate this deal!!! If we are paying players I wanted to pay ZNN Stras and Ramos not a free agent pitcher.
While Max will be moving from the AL to the NL he is no longer in detroits huge ballpark. I see that offsetting the improved numbers from playing in the NL.
The nats better trade a pitcher to gain prospects for the long term. I would try to deal Max fister ZNN Gio in that order. Obviously we are not dealing Max, Gio(he's under contract and not worth enough in trade bait), or Roark (also not worth enough). So look for a ZNN or fister deal.
On a different topic I'm fine with dealing Desi.

Wally said...

Just heard this on MLB radio: no pitcher with an existing TJ surgery has ever gotten a $100m contract. Don't know if it's true (they said Wainwright was the highest), but maybe it is behind their choice of Miracle Max over Znn

JWLumley said...

Yeah, you really could make a case for dealing any one of these guys. I guess it all depends on who nets the best deal. If the Nats could trade one of their starters for Daniel Murphy, than they should. If they could trade Stras and Desmond for Murphy and Noah Syndergaaarej;laedj;a er than I think that might make sense too. Other than that, I'd say keep all 6 of them and use Roark to bolster the bullpen because everyone's counting on Roark to be as good or nearly as good as he was last year, which seems kind of insane to me.

Wally said...

I agree on your logic of flipping someone, but the variable of what they get back is so big, it is hard to have an opinion without knowing.

But the plus side of keeping everyone is that Roark is the injury safety net, which lets them use Cole and Treinen, and maybe Ross, in the pen. Get their feet wet, and the Nats can see how they do before they have to assume a rotation spot. Less pressure.

Bjd1207 said...

Yea Harper I call shenanigans. You're just not trying to pick ZNN apart like you want to pick Scherzer apart. If you were, you'd at least mention the TJ surgery. That's at least one knock on ZNN, and combined with the fact that he's almost two years younger and that explains the workload differential. I lean toward Scherzer on durability, those both are up there. I also lean toward Scherzer on swing and miss stuff like JW pointed out. His arsenal will age much better than ZNN, who needs work on his change up before he loses another 3 mph on his fastball or he's gonna have a tough road with lefties. I'm giving edge to ZNN on velocity which is the easiest to lose, and control which I'll admit is an attribute I value highly in a pitcher, but Scherzer isn't bad in that department either.

Then it's important to keep in mind that we would have offered this or similar deal to ZNN this year or next year (when he would be only 10 months younger than Scherzer at the time of this deal). I'm much more comfortable offering a contract of this magnitude to a more durable, better for longer, slightly older but more likely to age well Scherzer than I am to ZNN because his 2014 was slightly better.

JWLumley said...

@Bjd Easy little pepper. While I pointed out Scherzer's swing and miss stuff, I absolutely believe that NN will be the better pitcher over the next 7 years, but I also believe Fister will be the best value over the next 5-7 years because slop ball pitchers who don't rely on velocity age super-duper good. So it's really hard to have an opinion until the other shoes drop. If they make a great trade as a result of the signing, than it's an awesome deal, if they make a bad trade, then it's terrible. It just feels like there's another shoe waiting to drop and we won't be able to judge this deal until that happens.

Zimmerman11 said...

210M over 14 years? That's ... interesting.

KO said...

I'm not sure how I feel about the management strategy this sets up. Signing Max and trading for Escobar still leaves 2b as a relative weakness. But it also shows they are ready to get rid of Desi and Znn. The waterfall effect is they trade Znn for a good 2b. Escobar plays ss and desi traded for prospects. The turnover rate that management is starting is a bit upsetting. As a fan, it's not as fun following a team where that many key players are turned over every year. Laroche, Clippard, Soriano, Znn, and Desi would all be gone if this waterfall does happen.

In rizzo we trust.

JWLumley said...

$210M, seriously? Terrible contract. They could have waited for Greinke next year or perhaps signed NN AND Fister for that money. Well at least half of it is deferred. Perhaps they think revenues will continue to rise and there'll be rampant inflation.

KO said...

This also weakens their negotiating position with Desi and Znn if they don't want to trade them. The Nats have now shown theyre willing to pay crazy money and Desi and Znn will be wanting good contracts as well

DezoPenguin said...

Part of me thinks "serious overpay"; the other part of me notes that they're only paying him $15M/year during the years he's actually pitching and that if inflation in baseball revenues and the economy generally keep going as they are the back end money won't hurt a lot.

Actually, I like this deal, on second thought. Fangraphs had a piece that suggested 7/$180M was actually a reasonably fair deal for Scherzer's expected performance (presuming health), so basically this is just adding $15M in 2028 and 2029 dollars to the end of that.

JWLumley said...

Check out DAve Cameron's article on the money. Made me feel better. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/max-scherzer-and-when-210-million-isnt-210-million/

blovy8 said...

Hard to understand why the couldn't afford Clippard and a FA 2B in the wake of this. Or pay the prospect price to get Zobrist knowing the wallet was open.


Froggy said...

@blovy8, you're right...they can't afford / sustain this. That's why I think there are more trades to follow. Regardless, the message to ZNN (and Desmond) is clear, he should have taken the Nats offer.

Ryan said...

Trade Fister, his numbers last year were way out of whack with his peripherals. Also this contract is insane, but screw it, my excitement/dread for this year just went from 10 to like 12

JE34 said...

You have to admit this is a fun place to be... debating about which opening-day-starter-quality guy we can deal to fill other holes, and the difference between having the best staff in the majors vs far-and-away the best staff in the majors.

I believe we are 5 years removed from John Lannan as Opening Day Starter.

Harper said...

MT - It's not like they haven't paid them yet...

(Detroit parks plays more neutral than you'd think)

Wally - If true, and I see no reason why it isn't - it'll change very soon. Too many guys getting TJ

JW - That would be a hell of an interesting deal.

Wally - that is always a problem with deals and contracts that don't happen. We're just guessing. Treinen would likely be in the pen anyway. I think Cole in the pen too is a little overkill with Roark in there now. I don't like the SP -> RP -> SP stuff.

BJD - At least you aren't calling hoodwinkery. I mentioned it before but I think at some point you have to get past the TJ. Sure it's something on your mind in the first year after. But should we care now? In 7 years? In 10? I don't think we can hold injuries/surgeries against guys for all time and I think 3 solid years is enough for me to consider it settled and done with.

The workload stuff isn't a career thing - it's a yearly thing. Scherzer pitched a lot more innings and is inefficient which means he's thrown like 1000 more pitches the past 3 years.

We could have. I would have liked offering this year. Maybe he doesn't take it but make it known he didn't take a 7 year (really 6) 180 million plus deal.

Z11 - Yes... I mean it's good for right now, it could matter later depends on stuff. I think where it really matters is years 8/9. Who cares! That's for Future Harper to worry about!

KO - That makes sense but I don't know if that can happen. Everyone wants control so only going to get a challenge deal 2B back. You'll lose interest... until they win... if they win.

JW - the deference makes all the difference, though. It's a ton of money but not really assuming inflation. Let's just hope deflation doesn't happen.

KO - I'll be honest - I don't think they are looking to negotiate.

Dezo - It's both!

blovy8 - because Boras convinced him to get Scherzer, not Rizzo. It'll be interesting if there is a cascading effect. "Now our payroll can be even lower"

Froggy - a trade makes too much sense for someone able to pull good trades out of his butt. What could Rizzo end up with dealing ZNN or Stras?

Jay said...

I like the deal a lot. I think the one thing no one is factoring in - Znn may be wanting to go to free agency. He says all the right things - but at the end of the day I think he wants to hit free agency. Desmond might be the same. He mentioned that he feels an obligation to future shortstops to only take a fair deal. Well, he turned down 107 million, and it appears he's unlikely to sign. At the moment Rizzo looks like he might keep everyone together, but he doesn't have to do that either.

blovy8 said...

Harper, I think there's no reason to dump Clippard if it's not about money too. The timing seems funny in that regard - he could have held out for a better deal after this signing with all this pitching.



blovy8 said...

So it takes Boras to convince them to spend ,but Rizzo can't? It looks bad unless another shoe drops, but it is clearly a pattern.The upside of this would be that Boras will get them to overpay on Strasburg in 2 years.

Zimmerman11 said...

Can Scherzer HIT? You know, like in the PLAYOFFS when the rest of our lineup couldn't? NO? Hmmmm....

Lots of good to very good players. And we hope Harper (not the columnist) becomes great this season? Yeah... I'll watch.

Miles Treacy said...

I guess it just has to come out that ZNN just was not willing to stay in DC. Completely personal opinion, but seemed he always wanted to go to the midwest and play closer to home and get out of the city. I don't see how you offer Scherzer that money and not ZNN something close, even though Rizzo always is bias towards players he personally brought up.

John C. said...

FWIW, I don't think that money was a major factor in the Clippard trade. They took on $5M in Escobar and in arbitraion Clippard asked for $8.85M (the A's countered with $7.775M). So the total cost difference wasn't much - $3M, plus or minus.

But the trade did provide an opportunity to not have Espinosa take 500-600 at bats. Even though Escobar had a down season in 2014 he is a prime bounceback candidate. Fangraphs projects Escobar at 2.1 WAR for 2015 compared to 0.2 for Espinosa. Even if you equalize the expected playing time Espinosa's projection almost reaches 0.6 WAR.

I suspect that adding the performance that would lead to a difference in 1.5 WAR in their projections was a lot more important than a couple million in cost savings. The team control over the next two seasons was also a nice added bonus.

John C. said...

As for Scherzer, I have very mixed feelings. I'm looking forward to watching him pitch in Nats Park. I'm no fan of long term pitching contracts, but I was slightly mollified to see the work that Dave Cameron and Jeff Sullivan did on Fangraphs today that supports the contract.

Anonymous said...

Contract-wise this seems like a good market rate deal. Not really a win for rizzo, but not a terrible reach either.

However, as the team is currently constructed, I'm not sure it really increases their chances of winning a WS. The division was already weak, and you already had trouble picking 4 pitchers for the playoff rotation.

cass said...

Maybe it's not entirely rational, but this has me very depressed. I know Strasburg and Zimmermann. I've rooted for them for years now. I'd much rather have them both than Scherzer. And they're younger and just as good as he is.

I'll be happy if they extend them both. Which they won't cause what, do you think the Lerners are the second-richest owners in baseball?

If they extend one and let the other go, well, meh. If they let them both go I'll be mad.

Why not just give this money to Zimmermann? Surely he'd have said yes to this deal. Why pay for the awards that Scherzer won with another team rather than our own guys future ones?

JWLumley said...

So Sam Miller at Baseball Prospectus along with Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs both brought up the same point: What if this is just a precursor to trading Strasburg? Strasburg has two years of team control left and a fairly team-friendly contract. He's from the West Coast and doesn't seem likely to re-sign with the Nats. Considering what pitchers like Jeff Samardsjaledfadafa brought back from the A's for a year and a half control, what could the Nats get for Strasburg?

Also, given the Nats aren't likely to pick in the top 10 in the next 4 or 5 years, does this represent a rare opportunity to obtain the rarest of baseball commodities young, cost-controlled talent? What if, and this is a big what-if, the Nats could flip Strasburg for Dozier and Buxton from the Twins? Or get Betts and someone else from the Red Sox?

It might make them a win or two worse this year, and maybe 3-4 next year but could make them 4-5 wins better for 7 years. The more I think about it, the more I really like this idea. Deal Strasburg and re-sign NN or Fister. While NN will be the better pitcher, I believe Fister will be the better value. Even if they can't re-sign either one, there are very good pitchers who will hit the market in the next two years and by 2017 the Nats will likely have both Giolito and Fedde in their rotation. (I'm sorry, I just can't get that excited about Cole.)

Anonymous said...

One, it's not our money. (Some on these pages wanted a spending spree, but now seem unsatisfied for the same reason, one imagines, that rich kids spend so much time in therapy.) Two, it does make the Nats better. Three, one of the best personnel guys in the game now has high-power trade bait -- which hopefully will be used to improve team batting average.

blovy8 said...

If it's not about money it makes no sense. I consider it worse if there are more trades to follow because Escobar is decidedly uninspiring as a potential 2B now, or a SS if Desmond goes in the deal(s). You haven't plugged that hole any better than a free agent would have without losing Clippard. You don't know how he'll play 2nd, you don't know if he can still hit, but desperation forces you to deal your best reliever. Plus, you'd have to think Escobar will not be happy on the bench if he's superseded, and he'll be worse than a sunk cost at that point, while you figure out your Clippard-less late inning arrangments. It's hard to imagine that Oakland or Tampa wouldn't have taken some other player for Escobar that doesn't factor as largely in the 2015, and if money doesn't matter, they can sign guys in 2016 when Clippard leaves, or PAY him.

Having Scherzer before making a 2B deal gives you the depth for a better return. How much is having a controllable below-average player with no real upside worth? They couldn't spend 21 million on the Korean guy Kang for four years instead of Escobar at 3/19 without the loss of Clippard?

The deal is probably a wash in WAR gain/loss over the regular season, but in the postseason it will make a bigger difference if there isn't a guy just as good pitching the 8th inning. It's too trendy to follow the Royals path, but it's gotten results before with most of the other successful postseason teams. You can't assume that Treinen and Roark will be as successful in the pen, that Thornton can pitch 70 innings, or that Barrett is ready to get lefties out. Any guy out there that you could sign like Rodriguez or Janssen hasn't been as good as Clippard at the job. It's similar to the meh 2B options. There's about 1/2 of WAR advatange in projections for Escobar without considering his switch to 2B. The Rays signed a projected worse Cabrera make him obsolete. They could have easily just stuck with him at short and Franklin at 2nd and gotten all that value for Zobrist alone, and saved more money. The guy stunk badly enough in 2014 to just ditch him and we gave up Clippard.

Zimmerman11 said...

@Harper @JW... agree with letting Rizzo do his thing, especially if he can improve the offense immediately and in the future. Chase top prospects, you're dealing from strength. And you don't have to move anyone.

Bjd1207 said...

Given most of my immediate thoughts. I'm definitely with the camp that doesn't hate the deal, and am excited to see what else Rizzo will flip before the Opening Day.

Only other thing I'll mention is on John C's comment: I think JZimm would have (and maybe did) reject a deal like this or similar. At least the same market value. I think Scherzer being two years older actually helped to our advantage with the contract structure. He'll be 37 when this deal is up and probably eyeing retirement rather than another contract, and he'll be starting at a 7 year, $15mil/year pension plan. JZimm on the other hand would be 35, and depending on how his career shakes out possibly chasing a World Series still. So he's more likely to want a standard (or even front-loaded like Lester's) deal. I'm almost certain he wouldn't take the 14-year deferred option, and I'm also fairly certain that we would have offered him something in the ballpark (6/150) during those November/December meetings.

NotBobby said...

blovy8 - there is a difference between shelling out CASH for Scherzer and shelling out PLAYERS for Zobrist.

I do not think there are mixed signals here at all. Rizzo probably would have gotten Zobrist if it was just about money, but to get Zobrist Rizzo would have had to give up talent.

And I don't think Clippard was a salary dump. Rizzo needed someone to play 2B and really wanted that person to be able to play SS in case Desi walks. He got what he wanted. I highly doubt CLippard would have netted Zobrist, it is all about value.

nicoxen said...

@harper

I think trading Strasburg is ridiculous. Strasburg is an elite level pitcher (as all the fancy stats indicate) who is coming into his prime. Fans forget how young he is; not yet 27 years old. Scherzer himself did not begin having elite level seasons until his age 26/27 season. Let's also not forget that Strasburg had less than half a season of minor league seasoning. In comparison Scherzer has 30 games in the minors before becoming starter in the show.

My point is that Strasburg could be on the verge of 20 win seasons over the next three seasons based on his maturation as a MLB starter. His stuff is that good. He is also a controllable asset for two more seasons. It's clear Zimnn and Desi want to test the market. If a trade is to be made we should trades these dead assets and recoup value or let them walk and get 1st round compensatory picks.

If we trade Strasburg we risk going form having the most dominant rotation in baseball, to having 1 aging ace (Scherzer) a few young unproven arms (Giolito, Cole, et al) and Gio in 2017. Resign Stras and we've got two Cy Young caliber pitchers locked up for the next 5-7 years.

Chinatown Express said...

nicoxen: You're forgetting Roark. I love Gio personally, I think his trade was a win for the Nats, but I also think Roark is likely to post better seasons over the next 3 years than Gio is. AND he's cheaper.

Does anyone remember how the Nats used to throw money around in the amateur draft, extending over-slot signing bonuses in an attempt to turn cash into young, controllable assets? That's what they've done here by signing Scherzer and (presumably) trading Stras or Z'nn for prospects. I love this move.

blovy8 said...

Well, if the theory is that the Nats didn't have a guy the Rays wanted (which seems likely given the 3-way proposal rumor), you can take Zobrist out of it, and just sign Cabrera, Drew, or Kang without giving up Clippard because it's only money, right?

I can't imagine Escobar would take more a middling prospect to acquire. 1/2 a year of free Asdrubal Cabrera cost Zach Walters.

JWLumley said...

@nicoxen Scherzer peaked--like most players in his age 28 and 29 seasons. When Strasburg hits those ages, he could very well be playing for another team. Also, while fancy stats like a lot about Strasburg, they also show that his velocity continues to decrease and opponents OPS against his fastball continue to increase. They also say that he struggles to spot his fastball. Still, you're absolutely correct that he's an elite pitcher. The point being, the drop-off from Strasburg to Roarke in 2015 and 2016 isn't nearly as big as what they could get in a trade to help them from 2016 through 2023 or so. Even teams that spend a lot of money need good cost-controlled players to compete. Strasburg is also an injury risk and according to reports has had a number of issues with Nationals management.

JWLumley said...

@blovy8, But Cabrera doesn't solve the Nats SS problem in 2016 because no one would want Cabrera playing SS this year, let alone next year. You may not like Escobar, but he's a very valuable player over the last 5-6 years and one bad year of defensive metrics is no reason to suggest it's a trend. Escobar is a good defensive SS who can hit a little and can hit a lot more than Danny Espinosa. Clippard is an expensive reliever--who I love BTW--with a lot of miles on his arm. Guys like Treinen and Taylor are both very similar players to who Clippard was before moving to the bullpen.

blovy8 said...

Eh, just trade Strasburg for Cano. Who cares what the club will look like in 2021?

JWLumley said...

@blovy8 If the Nats can get that deal they should take it. I think Cano will age well.

blovy8 said...

Rizzo did give up lots of talent in Clippard. He's arguably the best guy at his position.

If the 2014 Escobar is the new model he doesn't solve SS either. But I'm not even really arguing that you wouldn't have to trade for him eventually at this point since you've passed on all the other options, it's just that the talent cost of doing it is not optimal for a postseason team. It's a calculated risk thinking you will develop or sign a quality 8th inning guy and backup closer, compared to dumping your 20th best prospect or something - which I'm not convinced Beane wouldn't rather taken. Plus, Escobar still doesn't solve the 3rd LH in the lineup issue like Drew would at least have had a shot at doing - if you give Escobar a mulligan for 2014 you may as well do it for Drew - at least he has some power. OK, that's stretching it.

I can't imagine they couldn't kick the problem down the road for a bit to see if a better deal is out there. I mean, who WANTS Escobar?

NotBobby said...

I am very excited that Escobar is on the Nats roster. This came from a fangraphs post on Escobar:

"A potentially positive quirk in Escobar’s defensive profile is that he’s very sure-handed. Even including his bad year, Escobar has been top-five in making the Routine plays since 2011 as determined by Inside Edge. He’s been the best shortstop since 2011 at making the Likely plays, too."

He doesn't have a lot of range, but he has very sure hands. ANd remember, this accounts for his bad season last year when he was battling injuries. Plus, he is on a nice contract. Same piece says this:

"Yunel Escobar was due to be paid $5m this year, $7m next year, with a $1m buyout on a $7m option in 2017. If you buy his Steamer projection, you’re buying a bounce back in defense, and if you’re buying a bounce back in defense, Escobar is a good player on a great contract."

Escobar isn't a great player. But, teams can't have great players at every position. He is probably a very good 2B, and a league average SS on a team friendly contract.

I love that.

NotBobby said...

and that team friendly contract potentially bridges the gap between Desi and Turner, while allowing Difo to develop more.

Zobrist would have only solved this year, not the next two years.

Anonymous said...

I would have preferred to give the money to Zimmermann, but he has to take it. It does seem like there has been at least some chatter that he just does not want to stay in Washington.

Also, just because they didn't go get a 2B doesn't mean that come September they won't have a better 2nd baseman. Heck, the team Rizzo loves to trade with the most is a weakened team which a small budget. Zobrist could realistically still be had and potentially for something cheaper since you are only getting him for a couple months.

blovy8 said...

Let's not get carried away about what Escobar is likely to be though. The odds are he won't even be an average player at 2nd, given position adjustment, learning how to play there, adjusting to a different league and team again, and his arm isn't going to factor in as much either. I would hope there are better options by 2016 - this guy is only insurance against having two spots to fill then, not a solution to the infield long term. I remember the Guzman experiment, this is no sure thing.

JWLumley said...

@blovy8 Given position adjustment, I'd expect Escobar to be a 2.0-2.5 WAR player, which is to say, he'll be average to slightly above average. If the worst everyday player on your team is average, you're doing pretty good. Remember, most 2B aren't nearly as good defensively as most SS's so Escobar's defensive value, even after adjusting, will most likely be pretty good. All of that being said, he's a giant upgrade over Espinosa most likely. Even if Espi comes in hitting right-handed against right-handed pitchers just like they're left handed pitchers, then you put Escobar on the bench and improve your bench. Even a workhorse like Clippard only pitches 70 innings a year. Hard to get a ton of value in 70 innings compared to an everyday player.

blovy8 said...

JW, Pecota has him as 1.5 WAR without any adjustments. He'd have to play great as a 2B to make that up for not getting the positional advantange at short, and why should we expect that since he's never really played there? 21 games in 2007? Steamer had him at 2.1 with a higher BABIP than he's had 4 of the last 5 years, seems high to me. If you just monkey his last three years, you'd expect 1.6 WAR. Seems below average. We've been postulating the decline of Desmond within a longterm deal, it's bound to be happening for this guy too at 32, instead of 29.

John C. said...

Projections are a crap shoot, but I will note that Fangraphs/Steamer has Yunel Escobar projects as posting 2.0 WAR at second base, 0.1 WAR at SS in 2015. Which would put Escobar as a solid, unexciting major league regular in terms of production.

http://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=ALL&teamid=24

Ollie said...

@All the way up to Bote Man with the first comment

I'm with this, but sort of doubt they can get decent return. Maybe Gio + Cole seems like it'd get you an upgrade at 2nd or 3rd base (WHY DIDN'T THEY SIGN HEADLEY?!?) ...or maybe Roark + Cole? I actually think Roark might be more attractive to teams than Gio at this point, since he's cheap + under team control for several more years and done this in back-to-back seasons now.

My team just paid an obscene contract for an aging pitcher that they didn't need and are now World Series favorites. Is this what it feels like to be a Yankees fan Harper?

blovy8 said...

Exactly, Ollie. Just add a million more than the Red Sox offer and sign Panda for third and move Rendon to 2nd and get a good lefty bat. Overpay for Desmond with a lot of options that don't have to vest, and stop worrying about short until a guy like Trea Turner forces your hand. Those are tangible upgrades that only cost you money, and don't diminish any resources on your roster currently like Roark, or force you to diminish your pen by trading Clippard. Clearly these weren't things Rizzo would know to do until Boras hypnotized Lerner to load a bunch of debt on his 2022-2028 rosters that his son will cry to us about then.

BooyahSuckah! said...

I'll leave this here. Thoughts?

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/max-scherzers-future-in-washington-is-bright/

Weav said...

Is this a fun winter or what? I am so bummed they traded for Escobar, but my gut was telling me something big was coming. I think there is one more big move to shore up 2nd base and add some depth to their minor leagues. The Nat`s are going to be really good for a long time.Strasburg,Desi for Altuve and prospects? Daniel Murphy would be a great addition. Go get one of them!