Thursday, January 20, 2005

More Rushed Analysis 

Again, a little news to discuss, not much time to do it in…
-- The signing of Indians pitcher Jose Jimenez. With the rest of the D-Backs' signings this winter, the logic -- however faulty or poor -- was apparent. When I heard on the radio that the D-Backs had signed Jimenez yesterday (with no indication that it was only a minor league contract), I thought, "goodness, that's the first guaranteed awful signing." And, indeed, his sabermetric stats (-2 win shares, -5 WSAA; -11.6 VORP) are no better than his "real" stats (1-7 W-L, 8.42 ERA). But, thankfully, the contract is just for a minor league invite, so no big deal.

News from yesterday

-- Mike Koplove and the D-Backs are $220,000 apart in their arbitration offers, a mere 1% of what Roger Clemens is asking for in 2005. Given Koplove's largely solid relief work last year (12.9 VORP, 7 WS, 2 WSAA), I'd be fine with Koplove winning his $970,000 request.

-- Casey Fossum, on the other hand… Look, if you compare Fossum's VORP/IP to others who made their attempt in a starting role for the D-Backs last year, it becomes clear that his status as Hacking Mass MVP is a result of him being very mediocre as opposed to truly awful. Fossum's VORP/IP was -0.14/IP, as opposed to Gonzalez's -0.41 or Daigle's -0.20. But being not bad enough to get you pulled from the starting lineup is no justification for a $1.35 million arbitration request. The D-Backs' $800,000 is more than enough.

-- Brandon Lyon's contract agreement -- $330,000 plus an additional $170,000 in incentives -- makes you wonder why more teams don't do incentive contracts for arbitration-eligible players. (Or maybe they do and I just don't know about 'em.) The incremental amount can be substantial for the player (50+% in Lyon's case) and miniscule for the team. Of course, you'd still have to structure the incentives properly. The other piece of information I can glean from this agreement is that since the incentives are all appearance-based, I think that's one more indication Lyon will be on the 25-man roster come April, as I doubt he'd have agreed to the contract without some hope that he'd be able to meet some of the incentives.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Yes, I'm Still Here 

… no, I don't have time to do anything meaningful. So here, then, is the best I can do with about 5 minutes (OK, 15).

1. Thanks to the Transaction Guy for including my brief analysis of the Shawn Green trade in his review of recent NL transaction activity.

2. So Shea Hillenbrand finally got traded to Toronto for pitcher Adam Peterson, sending Canada into a paroxysm of discussion (seriously, the discussion, which became more of a discussion on general Blue Jays moves, is enormous). No surprise here -- Hillenbrand will make too much money to play, what, half the time?

3. Shawn Estes, one year for $2.5 million. I'm essentially a hopeful individual, and will choose to hope that he does well. And if he doesn't, well, it's just one year.

4. Randy Choate signs a two-year, $1.3 million deal. I'd always thought Choate had a bad season, but that might've been just a few games where he, for example, blew one of Randy's masterful August outings. He's OK as LOOGYs go (note for future Random Fandom analysts: first use of the word "LOOGY" in the blog, possibly even correctly).

5. Certainly better than Stephen Randolph. Of course, what we really lost in Randolph is a bat -- here are some position players whose offensive Win Shares were less than Randolph: Doug Devore, Carlos Baerga, Juan Brito.

6. Finally, here's my best guess at the D-Backs' lineup come April (spurred by Jon's work at Dodger Thoughts; no, I didn't look at his, so I'll be curious to see if we match):

C: Hill/Snyder
1B: Tracy
2B: Counsell
SS: Clayton
3B: Glaus
IF: Kata
IF: Cintron
IF: Hammock
LF: Gonzalez
CF: PTBNL (Obviously, Kata and Cintron could be used as trade bait here...)
RF: Green
OF: Terrero
SP: Vazquez
SP: Ortiz
SP: Webb
SP: Estes
SP: Gosling ? (This is the great mystery, of course)
Closer: Aquino
Setup: Koplove
RP: Choate
RP: Fossum
RP: Valverde
RP: Villarreal
RP: Lyon

Posting may be sporadic for awhile. I'll do my best to keep up.