FanPost

AAOP: Adding Defense, Offense, and Position Player Depth

I will get it out of the way right away: the heart of my plan involves trading a 27 year old starting pitcher on a team-friendly contract with an elite xFIP for a 30-year-old glove-first outfielder with only 700 PAs whose team thinks of as a platoon player.  Then I plan on signing an outfielder with suspect defense, another 30-year-old, to a contract that people laughed at giving to Hunter Pence, and signing a 32-year-old shortstop with links to steroids, and spending money the team doesn't have on a 31-year-old relief pitcher.  After all that, the team will be perilously thin to start the year at Starting Pitcher, and still rely on the most inconsistent position player EVAR! to provide middle-of-the-order production.  What the hell am I doing?


AAOP '14: Adding Defense, Offense, and Position Player Depth

OR

30 is the new [Market Inefficiency]

Aaop_medium

via sites.google.com

The moves:

  • TRAID Jon Niese and Luis Mateo for Craig Gentry, Wilmer Font, and C.J. Edwards (throw in Mateo).
  • SIGN Shin Soo Choo to a 5 year, $90M contract.
  • SIGN Jhonny Peralta to a 2 year, $14M contract.
  • SIGN Jesse Crain to a 2 year, $12M contract.
  • SIGN Tim Hudson to a 2 year, $17M contract.
  • SIGN Johan Santana for 1 year, $500k on top of his buyout.
  • TRAID Lucas Duda for Sean Rodriguez

The Rationale:

Gentry

Maybe I am missing something, and the centerpiece of my plan is doomed to failure, but the Rangers' Craig Gentry seems to me to be criminally underrated. Yes, he was 29 this year and only has 700 PAs in the majors, but he has been worth 8 fWAR over those 700 PAs. Here is a sample of outfielders since 2011 with at least 300 PAs, sorted by PA/WAR.

Name Team PA/WAR WAR Off Def BsR PA/SB PA HR SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wRC+
Mike Trout Angels 70.6 21.1 131.1 18.7 22.3 17.3 1490 62 86 12.50% 20.50% 0.23 0.366 0.314 0.404 0.544 163
Craig Gentry Rangers 89.7 7.9 14.5 36.6 12 12.9 709 4 55 7.50% 16.10% 0.092 0.346 0.288 0.365 0.38 103
Ryan Braun Brewers 94.5 16.5 121.9 -15.2 11.1 23.3 1559 83 67 9.50% 17.80% 0.259 0.35 0.321 0.391 0.58 161
Andrew McCutchen Pirates 99.3 20.4 120.4 8.4 9.1 28.9 2025 75 70 11.70% 17.70% 0.205 0.34 0.301 0.389 0.506 147
Carlos Gomez Brewers 103.2 12.6 30.8 46.6 13.8 14.0 1300 51 93 5.50% 23.70% 0.206 0.313 0.264 0.314 0.47 112
Jacoby Ellsbury Red Sox 103.7 16.3 64.4 33.9 19.1 16.1 1691 45 105 7.00% 13.80% 0.166 0.331 0.303 0.356 0.469 123
Jose Bautista Blue Jays 105.5 15 104.8 -15.2 5 75.3 1582 98 21 16.40% 16.30% 0.278 0.267 0.271 0.395 0.549 154
Yasiel Puig Dodgers 108.0 4 25.1 -0.7 -4.2 39.3 432 19 11 8.30% 22.50% 0.215 0.383 0.319 0.391 0.534 160
Ben Zobrist Rays 116.6 17.5 69.2 29.3 4.5 46.4 2040 52 44 12.10% 15.80% 0.176 0.303 0.271 0.361 0.447 127
Shane Victorino - - - 126.5 14.1 44.6 30.5 16.3 22.6 1784 43 79 7.50% 12.20% 0.164 0.295 0.275 0.341 0.439 114
Matt Kemp Dodgers 127.5 11.2 86.7 -25.3 6.9 24.6 1428 68 58 9.50% 23.70% 0.226 0.366 0.306 0.375 0.532 148
Matt Holliday Cardinals 129.0 14 102.1 -26.3 2.9 150.5 1806 71 12 11.30% 17.20% 0.206 0.33 0.297 0.385 0.503 148
Peter Bourjos Angels 131.0 7.2 10.7 26.4 7.9 30.4 943 18 31 6.00% 22.40% 0.14 0.327 0.262 0.321 0.401 103
Jason Heyward Braves 131.1 11.8 34 29.1 9.7 48.3 1547 55 32 10.10% 20.60% 0.185 0.291 0.253 0.335 0.438 113
Starling Marte Pirates 131.2 5.7 20.7 9.4 7.4 14.1 748 17 53 4.40% 25.10% 0.165 0.356 0.275 0.332 0.44 116
Bryce Harper Nationals 131.8 8.3 37.9 6.2 2 37.7 1094 42 29 10.70% 19.60% 0.209 0.308 0.272 0.353 0.481 128
Alex Gordon Royals 135.3 15.6 65.3 13 10 55.6 2111 57 38 9.10% 19.90% 0.172 0.341 0.287 0.357 0.459 122
Carlos Gonzalez Rockies 141.5 11 67.6 -13.3 12.6 25.5 1557 74 61 9.30% 21.70% 0.238 0.346 0.3 0.367 0.538 131
Giancarlo Stanton Marlins 143.4 11.2 69.2 -13.3 -12.1 133.8 1606 95 12 11.80% 28.00% 0.276 0.323 0.267 0.361 0.542 144
Juan Lagares Mets 145.2 2.9 -11.5 25.4 0.5 70.2 421 4 6 4.80% 22.80% 0.11 0.31 0.242 0.281 0.352 75
Brett Gardner Yankees 145.2 8.5 17 22.3 12.2 16.5 1234 15 75 9.50% 18.40% 0.125 0.325 0.268 0.346 0.393 103

Does that get your attention? Yet, the Rangers insist on platooning him with Leonys Martin. Yes, it's a small sample size, and yes, he is going to be 30 on opening day 2014. But he's Arb 1 and he will cost $1.1M with no long term commitment. He can play any position in the outfield, and his bat is at least league average, with an attractive OBP + SB combo that would play well at the top of the order.

Like Oakland trading away Gio Gonzalez prior to 2012, we have to sacrifice a pitcher, and Niese is the most attractive commodity. Texas will probably be looking to solidify their rotation now that Garza is a free agent. I tried to balance the trade, which I think most would say is slanted towards the Rangers, by adding a good bullpen piece and trading talented low-minors starters. Those specifics are not as important to me as getting Gentry.

Choo

I originally had the Mets signing Ellsbury, thinking a five-tool centerfielder patrolling in Flushing would be reminiscent of a certain Carlos Beltran, but a little historical comparison investigation changed my mind. The simple version is that the best comps I could find for Ellsbury (plus defense, plus baserunning, above average power, low walk rate, high twenties WAR through age 29) were mostly terrible after they turned 30. These are guys like Lenny Dykstra, Dwayne Murphy, Carl Crawford, Marquis Grissom, and Garry Maddox. All were All Star talents before 30, and only 6 out of the 22 comps I identified were worth more than the 20 WAR over 6 years it would take to justify the money Ellsbury will make.

Choo's comps, however, were better. His high OBP, high ISO counterparts, also worth high-twenties WAR through age 29, aged more gracefully, maintaining their plus hitting even when their defense declined. I would go up to 5 years, $90M, if necessary, to get an elite bat in the middle of the order and lock down an outfield position for the next few years.

Crain

I could make the case for Crain, but Dave Cameron is more eloquent. Good teams have above-average bullpens, and Crain for 2 years, $12M will add to Parnell and Black to make a case for one. He's 30, but 2 years is not a ton of risk, and Crain seems to have figured it out, with all his numbers trending in the right directions.

Peralta

Do I think Peralta is a lock to be an All-Star Shortstop? No. That's why we can afford him at 2 years, $14M. If he is an All-Star, the lineup will have the punch it has lacked since 2008.

Rodriguez

I made the case for trading Duda for Rodriguez in a previous FanPost. The team needs depth up the middle, and Rodriguez showed the Rays enough to start in LF for them down the stretch.

Hudson

Hudson has been good, and I believe will be good. He has had a long track record of putting up quality innings, with 2013 as the only outlier. A two year deal gives the team some quality depth in the rotation. The veteran leadership is a big plus too, but that's not the reason for the signing.

Santana

I'm sentimental, and if you could get Santana for the same additional cost as Dice-K, I think you do it.

These acquisitions are an acceptable amount of risk to push the Mets into contention. If the kids develop, they can turn into trade chips. I was $5.5M over budget, so I'm not sure I qualify, but I think this is a solid plan for now, without risking too much of the future.

The Roster and Payroll

Player WAR $ Off Def Bsr
C d'Arnaud 2 0.5 + =
1B Davis 1 3.5 ? =
2B Murphy 3 5.8 = = =
3B Wright 5 20 + = +
SS Peralta 2.5 7 + = =
LF Gentry 3 1.1 = + +
CF Lagares 3 0.5 + =
RF Choo 4 18 + =
IF Rodriguez 1 1.3 = =
IF Satin 1.5 0.5 =
BC Centeno 0 0.5 +
OF Brown 1 0.5 = =
OF Young, Jr. 1.5 1.9 = +
SP Wheeler 2 0.5
SP Mejia 2 0.5
SP Gee 3 3.2
SP Hudson 1.5 8.5
SP Santana 1 0.5
SP Torres 1 0
SP Montero 1 0
SP Syndergaard 1 0
Parnell 1 3.2
Black 1 0.5
Crain 1 6
Font 0.5 0.5
RP Walters 0 0.5
RP deGrom 0 0.5
RP Germen -0.5 0.5
Other 5.5
TOTAL 44.5 85.5
WINZ 92.5 0.92
Depth Off Def Bsr
Flores 2 0.5 ? ?
Puello 2 0.5 ? + ?

Opt Lineup if Davis Sucks
LF GENTRY LF GENTRY
RF CHOO 2B MURPHY
3B WRIGHT 3B WRIGHT
1B DAVIS RF CHOO
2B MURPHY SS PERALTA
SS PERALTA C d'ARNAUD
C d'ARNAUD 1B FLORES
CF LAGARES CF LAGARES
P WHEELER P WHEELER

So, 92 wins from an $85.5M payroll? More if Gentry turns out to be the beast I think he is? Sign me up.

By the way, FA signing amounts come from Fangraphs Crowdsourcing.

This FanPost was contributed by a member of the community and was not subject to any vetting or approval process. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions, reasoning skills, or attention to grammar and usage rules held by the editors of this site.

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