Friday, February 26, 2010

A.L. West Off-Season: Team by Team

Los Angeles Angels

Nov. 6:  Angels re-sign Bobby Abreu to a two-year contract worth $19 MM, with a vesting option for 2012.
Abreu’s $5 million contract for 2009 was (over-)reported as the biggest bargain of the offseason.  And it may have been.  Abreu brought much-needed plate discipline (.390 OBP) to a team that has never actively sought high-OBP players.
The snag is that Abreu has gone from under- to over-rated very quickly.  His power is basically gone.  He hasn’t hit more than 30 homers since 2001, and hasn’t hit more than 20 since 2005.  His 15 blasts in 2009 are a more accurate predictor of his future.
Granted, when combined with an excellent approach at the plate, 15 homers is enough.  The more immediate problem is Abreu’s declining defense.  He wasn’t as good as his reputation in his younger days and is quickly degenerating to designated-hitter status.  If that day comes in the next two years, it will be the Angels’ problem to deal with.  Because if his on-base skills slip, he could end up being a below-average DH.
The lesson here is that the same player who’s a bargain at 1/$5MM may not be one at 2/$19MM.

Dec. 16:  Angels sign Hideki Matsui to a one-year contract worth $6 million.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

N.L. West Off-Season: Team by Team

Arizona Diamondbacks

Dec. 9:  The D-Backs completed the following three-team trade:
Yankees Ian Kennedy,Phil Coke, Austin Jackson Curtis Granderson
D-Backs Max Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth Edwin Jackson, Kennedy
Tigers Granderson, Jackson Scherzer, Schlereth, Coke, Jackson

This deal makes good sense for the Yankees; they needed an everyday center fielder, and they’re not giving up any impact players.
The deal also makes good sense for Detroit; Granderson was overrated and besides, the team really needed to save money.  They get back well-needed pitching depth.
 For the Diamondbacks . . . well, the deal makes no sense.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

N.L. Central Offseason – Team by Team

Chicago Cubs

Dec. 31:  Cubs sign Marlon Byrd to a three-year contract worth $15 MM.
The thinking here is that Byrd can be their starting center fielder.
Let’s take a look at Marlon Byrd’s recent history first:
2007 454 10 307 355 459
2008 462 10 298 380 462
2009 599 20 283 329 479

Not bad for a center fielder.  But Byrd was playing for Texas those seasons – in hitter-friendly Ameriquest Field (or whatever the hell it’s called now).
Here’s what My Darlin’ Marlon did on the road those years:
2007 230 6 259 304 410
2008 224 3 297 362 411
2009 292 6 285 322 419

I believe the word I’m looking for is … erp!  (Byrd is a career 272/322/393 hitter on the road.  Double erp!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

N.L. East Offseason – Team by Team

Atlanta Braves

Nov. 13:  Braves sign Tim Hudson to a 3-year deal for $28 MM, with a club option for 2013.
The only question here is how well you expect Tim Hudson to age.  Based on Hudson’s track record, he’s easily worth 9 million per, even for his age 34-36 seasons.
But Hudson is coming off Tommy John surgery that limited him to 29 starts over the past two seasons.  They were 29 good starts, but that is still troubling for someone entering his mid-30’s.  It would be great to have him for one healthy season before committing to a multi-year deal, but the team doesn’t have that luxury.  While Hudson may never be an ace again, this contract isn’t likely to turn into an albatross, although I think I said the same thing about Derek Lowe’s deal.

Dec. 2:  Braves sign Billy Wagner to a 1-year deal for $7 MM, with a club option for 2011.