Nationals Baseball: Quick Answers in regards to the Clippard/Escobar trade

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Quick Answers in regards to the Clippard/Escobar trade

Brass tacks - Does this make the Nats better for 2015?


It's tough because Clippard was so very useful and while Espinosa was a bad choice to start at 2B, Escobar isn't really a good one. In the end though Escobar will play everyday and the Nats bullpen should shake out ok so I'll say tentatively yes. But it's not a guarantee.

Is it a good deal overall? 

That's much clearer, yes. Escobar is signed for reasonable money for the next three years and that third year is actually an option so if Escobar is terrible the Nats can just let him go for a million.

Clippard is going to get paid a lot this year and will enter FA. If he's very good again you could see him getting a deal like 3/27 or 4/30 something like that.  Clippard is a good reliever but guaranteeing that type of money to a relief pitcher is a luxury purchase. The Nats don't need that. Also Clippard has had a ton of work since being a reliever.

Short version : He's walking and the Nats got value for him.

Does this mean Desmond isn't coming back? 

Was the fact they've been trying hard to deal him not a sign? What about the fact that they haven't really talked to him about an extension?  Umm yeah he's not coming back.

So Yuney is the SS of the future? 

Well they are hoping Trea Turner is the shortstop of the future. Escobar is the SS of 2016 assuming Turner doesn't tear up the minors.

Does not signing Desmond and freeing up some money with Clippard mean the Nats are going to sign Zimmermann? 

I don't know.

I want to say no. That's my intuition. But really it depends on what their payroll ceiling is. They should have money to do something, unless they are looking to go under 100 million, but I'd bet on Bryce and Rendon extensions first.


Steven Biel said...

Only problem is that Yunel stinks.

Zimmerman11 said...

anyone gonna be comfortable in the playoffs with barrett and storen manning the 8th n 9th?

glad we're gonna score more runs... we're gonna need 'em!

Clip&Store said...

A negative war middle infielder (as he had last year) is pathetic. Like... So incredibly bad. That for a stud shut down reliever? I don't know about this. Oh, let's not forget a below replacement level player with an attitude problem.

BxJaycobb said...

He's not a below replacement level player. A lot of analysts have said his crazy negative defensive metrics last year were so out of character they were either questionable or due to him playing a bad quad. How can a player be the 3rd best dWAR SS in 2013 and the worst in2014. I bet he's closer to a 0 WAR on d and 2 on O. He's about a league average hitter playing middle infield. That's a big addition for a team with no 2B. My choice for setup man is check out treinen...could throw 97 in 1 inning...and make Cole your 6th starter. It's without question a good deal overall. I disagree with harper tho and think probably it's a wash for 2015. Although I'm very excited to see a decent contact guy instead of 3 Ks a game from danny.

BxJaycobb said...

Ps steamer projects Escobar to be a 2 WAR player next year and be back to being about average defensively at SS. most people think he was injured. I'll miss clip tho. Nats will be a prime candidate for a big bullpen arm at deadline I bet

DezoPenguin said...

Well, Escobar has been a useful player more recently than Espinosa has been a useful player, and if Ian gets injured could fill in at SS while Danny plays 2B for a potentially very good defensive infield. And if Turner doesn't come through, he provides ML-average SS play at a reasonable cost.

We give up a very good relief arm signed only for one year for this, so yes, probably we get better value. The A's, meanwhile, didn't need Escobar and do need bullpen guys, so, looks like another case of Rizzo and Beane pulling what could be a deal that benefits everyone.

Notably, this pushes Danny back to Utility IF and Tyler Moore off the 25-man roster, which is a good thing.

That still leaves Storen, Stammen, Barrett, Thornton, and Blevins as the top five guys in the 'pen. Not sure who's going to be the last two, though. Ohlendorf and Cedeno, maybe? Hill? Blake is the #6 starter (though Cole may pass him), so we need him to be stretched out in case of doubleheaders or trouble.

So other than nibbling around the bullpen, maybe, and upgrading the bench to replace Frandsen (actually, a Moore type that can actually hit would probably be more useful. Somebody who can play 1B-3B-LF-RF, maybe), it looks like we're set for 2015.

I just hope we're not intending to let Znn, Ian, and Fister just walk out the door at the end of the year.

JWLumley said...

So sad to see Clippard go, but understandable move. In the grand scheme of things, relievers just don't add a ton of value over the course of a season and because all of their seasons are essentially SSS, the randomness can cause hug spikes in value.

Still, this feels to me like it's the precursor to another move. Maybe someone has bit on Desmond and the Nats are going to deal him or perhaps they have a deal for another reliever like FRod on the cheap. But I expect another move.

Weav said...

I was still hopeful that Zobrist was their target. Yunel is not a quality player, but he can hit some. I do not like this deal at all. They could have gotten a better 2nd baseman. Booo.

sirc said...

Harper, can you please explain how we compare a relief pitcher, who in a busy week throws 5 innings of relief, to a league average every day position player?

It would seem to me that an average starting position player will always be more valuable than any relief pitcher. And an above average starting position player will be significantly more valuable.

I'm not really asking specifically about Clippard versus Escobar, though that's why I'm asking. I mean more in general, how can any relief pitcher ever be as valuable as a decent everyday player?

Steven Biel said...

It's funny, when Danny Espinosa goes from 17 HR to 3 HR in one season no one ever says that's evidence that the HR stat is bogus.

Why is it hard to believe that an age 32 SS with long documented make-up issues had a collapse in defensive performance?

Yunel hasn't been an above average offensive player in consecutive season once ever during the entire Obama administration. And we're now counting on him for age 32-34 seasons.

What could go wrong?

Froggy said...

Player for player we didn't come out ahead with Yunel for Clip. I'm really gonna miss him as he has been a great team mate and just an all around good kid. In exchange we get a below league average malcontent, whack job who doesn't have the maturity at age 32 to not write racial slurs on his face. Looking forward to his Washington DC public service announcement commercials. Should be entertaining.

I see this more as a strategic shot across Desmond's contract bow to let him know this will be his last season in DC. Would bet even money a deal is in the works to deal Desi.

Harper said...

SB - MAYBE stinks - important distinction!

Z11 - to be fair I doubt anyone was going to be comfortable in the playoffs anyway

C&S - Yes but most think that was a fluke. D numbers can bounce around to weird areas. Like Solid 1B Adam Dunn areas

BxJc - Treinen I think will win out, too. If it's awash for 2015 I have a hard time accepting it because Yuney for Ian next year won't be helping anyone

Dezo - Tyler Moore off. It's like a wonderful dream

Ohlendorf is a good bet - I'd say Treinen based on the above talk.

Nats are set. Let's go already!

JWL - If it's a pre-cursor to a Desmond move that's a bit... scary. For easily winning the division I mean.

Weav - Yes they could have. But they didn't want to spend the money or trade the prospects so here we are.

sirc - relivers can appear in very important parts of the game which up the value of the innings they pitch. That's one thing. But really it's that not every everyday player is good. If they can't hit or can't field (or both) they'll hurt a team and will end up providing less value than a very good relief pitcher (but even in that case the RP has to be very good). But you're right a decent everyday player will outpace a very good reliever.

SB - there's a lot of statistical evidence that HR numbers have a measure of consistency. That's not as much the case with 1 seasons fielding stats.

That being said it COULD be a collapse. Just we've seen these one year abberations before.

cass said...

I hate this deal. Hate it. Clippard is one of the best relievers in baseball and a seemingly stand-up guy. Escobar is a mediocre, homophobic middle-infielder. What's not to love?

I mean, Clippard does have more innings and appearances on his arm than any other reliever over the last several years and his arm will probably break during spring training just to make Rizzo look smart, but I don't like this at all.

Nick said...

Given the remaining options, this was probably the best way to fill the second base hole/improve infield depth. That being said, the team would have been better off holding onto Clip (ad grabbing the QO compensatory pick) and signing Droobs/Drew to a one year deal. So yeah, the team is probably better today than it was yesterday. But it also isn't as good as if it had just made the no-brainer move two weeks ago.

Asdrubal 2015 projection: 1.7 WAR
Yunel 2015 projection: 1.8 WAR

Ryan said...

I think some of y'all need to look past your enotional attachment to Clip to realize this is a perfectly good deal. Relievers with one year of team control (even elite ones) are much more fungible than league-average middle infielders with multiple control years. Second base just went from a hole to a dip, which can only be a good thing. Moreover, I'm willing to give Escobar the benefit of the doubt on the whole "malcontent" thing, especially since we haven't heard anything bad in several seasons and we can't really quantify the effect of his alleged attitude problems. If this trade grates at all, it's because it definitively proves that the Lerners are trying to shed salary, which they shouldn't really be focused on unless they're preparing to hand out some big extensions. We were always going to trade Clip at his peak value, so I'm just glad we got something we actually needed in return.

Anonymous said...

As a fan, I like to see player consistency from year-to-year. And I like to be able to root for guys who seem like solid citizens. So, in that regard, I’m sad to see Clippard go. But if I put on my GM hat, I struggle to argue that this isn’t a very good deal. $9MM for a 1 WAR reliever who will be a FA at the end of the season? I’m surprised that we got as much value back. At $5MM for 2015 and $7MM for 2016 (with a team option in 2017) Escobar doesn’t need to be any better than average, if that, for this to be excellent for the Nats. Seems like a low risk deal that affords the team some much needed flexibility.

All that said, it smells like there is more off-season dealing to come…

JE34 said...

This deal seems more like Rizzo betting on a Clippard drop-off due to arm mileage, and perhaps his division rivals figuring him out. I will miss Clip, but will not miss his requirement to put two guys on base in the 8th inning.

I wonder if MW will take this opportunity to liberate himself from the concept of 'inning ownership' in the pen.

Harper said...

Froggy - baseball wise... it's arguable and I lean toward saying the most likely scenario is "yes the Nats do come out slightly ahead" In every other way....

I don't think they deal Desi. You deal him (presumably for young players), keep the pen as is and you are flirting with missing the playoffs.

cass - Not liking this is fine and you don't even have to resort to personalities (which yes Nats lose out big time) It isn't a slam dunk deal by any measure.

Nick - I'm not sure about that but it was probably the best way to get 2B while keeping costs down and not losing a prospect or a player more integral to winning.

Ryan - if you wanted to trade Cilp at peak value that would have probably been last year. But I get the point and don't disagree. You may not sign any of these guys. Out of them Clip is the one you can most afford to deal. So do it.

Anon - Escobar is more than likely trending down which is why OAK would do it. Clip will likely get his 1.# WAR. Escobar could give you 3 or give you -1. A's paying for lack of variability.

JE34 - nah don't think so. think it's money. as for the 2 men on I think I counted 60 appearances in the 8th and 9 where that happened. That's not that bad!