Saturday, December 04, 2004

Splash-Size Part III

I really do want to finish my thoughts with this thread, and get going on listing my "splash-size" scores at the very least. Using ESPN's top-50 free agent list (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?page=top50mlbfreeagents) to start with, I'll assign my custom "Splash-Size" score (grey whale to belly flop) to the list. I'll try to justify my scores a little bit, too, but being at work trying to be productive, this may be a little difficult.

1) Carlos Beltran:
  • Splash-Size Score: 3 (Grey-whale-tail-sized splash)
  • Comments: The M's sole signing of Beltran would end my fiscal protest, and show to me that they are indeed VERY serious about building a winning club for the long term. They are getting the best guy available, regardless of need, which I absolutely encourage. Beltran is the only guy on the market that I see as a sure-fire centerpiece to an offensive lineup that needs to be rebuilt for the long-haul. Plus, he's more likely to improve in the next 3-5 years than decline. Considering where we're at now and what we have in the farm for offensive prospects, we need some young offensive studs NOW! Beltran is the least-risky of the current free agents, and arguably in the years to come (2005-6 and 2006-7), to offer a top-10 contract to.
2) Adrian Beltre:

  • Splash-Size Score: 2 (Walrus-sized splash)
  • Comments: Okay -- why only a "2" you ask? Well, it's actually a 2.5, but I'm forcing myself to pick a whole number, and I cannot justify giving him a 3. This is merely because I am relying on others' comments and reviews of Beltre more so than my own experience. Based on what I've read, Beltre would be a "3" but I can only give him a "2" from what I've seen. In thinking about this more, I can also justify Beltre losing a little on the splash-size score in that M's fans who either a) do not play fantasy baseball AND/OR b) do not participate in the M's blogosphere (and hence aren't aware of terms like VORP and OPS and PECOTA, etc.) would very likely not even know who he is. I've talked to several baseball fans similar to this, and when I mention Beltre as being at the top of my covet list, they either look at me and stare (Who?) or get him confused with Beltran .

    I'll also admit to being fearful of the contract-year-1-hit-wonder Boras client potential problem. But, that's where the risk lies. Other reports say that he's the best all-around player since A-Rod. I'll be ecstatic if we indeed take that risk, but not so overjoyed like I would be were we to sign Beltran. My gut tells me that Beltran's a safer risk for top-10 money than Beltre is. Still, it would be sweet to have the best young hitter in the game, were the scouting reports on Beltre and his future potential to be true.
3) Roger Clemens

  • Splash-Size Score: 3
  • Comments: Now, I'm sure you're confused! A 42-year-old future HOF'er who will not be playing baseball in 3-5 years? What good would he be to the M's -- especially since we're in rebuilding mode??? Well, Roger Clemens happens to be one of my top two favorite pitchers (RJ being the other) and I'd LOVE to see him retire in an M's uniform. I'd love for him to rub off on our young pitchers, even if it were merely for a year or two. Ain't happening, and I know it, but still, it would be a dream come true.
4) Edgar Renteria

  • Splash-Size Score: 1 (Penguin-sized splash)
  • Comments: Well, I'd give him a 1.5, actually, but see Beltre for my integer rating decision. I'm actually quite surprised to see him ranked so high on ESPN's list. Or maybe I'm not, because they certainly are not very accurate in their assessments of talent. Still, Renteria is a solid player, but will be overvalued and, hence, overpaid. He's along the lines of a healthy Carlos Guillen, with slightly less pop. A solid, above-average player, but not someone to build the franchise around.
5) Pedro Martinez
  • Splash-Size Score: 3
  • Comments: Well, actually he's a 2.5, but I'll round up in this case, and give him a "3." Pedro Martinez is the only ace on the market this season. Sure, he's on the downslide of his career, and health is certainly a factor. He's too good of a pitcher, though, not to find ways to shape his skills with age. A lot of people hate him and his attitude, but I'd say that it would be a very useful addition to this club. Our pitching staff is too "nice" -- at the very least they may try and come across as scary and mean, but are just too unproven to scare anyone. Kinda like that Grover Dill kid who tries to take bullying lessons from Scott Farkus in Christmas Story. He's just not really all that scary by himself. Like Clemens above, imagine Pedro infusing some life into the M's pitching corps. And, although some people believe Pedro is 33 going on 75, I really don't think I'm one of them. Even if he's in decline, Pedro at 80% is STILL better than any of the other FA pitchers on the market this year. Hands down!
6) Carlos Delgado
  • Splash-Size Score: 2
  • Comments: Rumored to be the M's #1 target this offseason, for good reason. Delgado would be a sweet signing for the M's. A lefty power bat that is legitimate, and park-independent. I can't justify a 3 for him, though, because of his knees and the slight possibility he could be another Cecil Fielder, Kevin Mitchell, or even worse -- he could be Bavasi's next Mo Vaughn. There are a lot of people thinking the M's would be crazy going after him. I'm not one of them. He'd add some instant credibility to this lineup, and would nicely replace Edgar in his prime. Looking at his comp's over at BBReference, I must admit that it's kinda scary that by age 35 (which is what he'd be if he signed an expected 3-year deal) most of the guys he rates with were no longer in baseball. Aside from the four comps that are still playing and yet to reach 36, we're down to two. That's not a good trend. But -- that's why I'm not a stathead, really. Sure, they can't be ignored, but they can't be adored, either.

7) Magglio Ordonez

  • Splash-Size Score: 1
  • Comments: Another round-down 1.5, really. His injury is really quite scary, and he plays a position that will adversely be affected by long-term effects of that injury. Being a righty, a good comparison might be Edgar. His seasonal average stats are slightly less than Edgar's except for HRs and RBIs, where he's an upgrade. There's speculation that he will start the season on the DL, and that of course would reduce his value. Being a Boras client, though, he won't be a steal. It's entirely possible that Chicago will offer arbitration, and he'll accept to show he's healthy. Ordonez would be a good pickup for a decent contract, but there's a lot of risk. Looking at his 2002-2004 splits at Safeco, I'd say that he's the type of guy you'd like to avoid picking up. Sure, you get into sample size and all that, but I looked at them last year (2001-2003) and they were pretty pathetic, too. His 2001 splits were OK at The Safe, but still, overall they're actually worse than *gasp* Willie F. Bloomquist's...
8) Jason Varitek
  • Splash-Size Score: 2
  • Comments: The M's have never had a catcher that can hit anywhere above the #9 hole. Never. Dan Wilson probably would get my vote as the best all-around catcher the M's have ever had. They were so set on Wilson for the long-haul that they let Varitek get away in the trade, along with Derek Lowe, which I really consider more for Jamie Moyer (and, thus, the trade for Slocumb was really for Darren Bragg) . Varitek is a clubhouse leader and a good pitcher's catcher, just like Wilson. He's slightly younger and a much better hitter than Wilson. BUT -- do we really want to spend that kind of money on him? I'm not so sure -- however if we were able to bring him back in, I'd consider it a pretty big splash. I'd prefer him to tutor any of the remaining catching prospects in our system (as well as Olivo) than Wilson, though, and would love to see his switch-hitting bat in Seattle. Since I doubt Varitek will be leaving Boston, let's hope that Roger Hansen has helped Olivo as much as he helped Varitek before he left Seattle in 1997.

9) Carl Pavano

  • Splash-Size Score: 1
  • Comments: Again, a down-rounded 1.5 like Magglio Ordonez, though less so. There's debate in the M's blogosphere how much a guy like Pavano should get. His numbers are comparable, though weaker, than Freddy Garcia's, and a lot of people compare him to The Chief. He seems to have turned his career around, which is a positive sign in that he's more likely to improve than not. But still, I was done with Freddy before the 2002 trading deadline (right before he tanked) and was hoping he'd get traded way back then. Looking at his BBReference comps (COOL! I just figured out how to link directly to the comps...), I don't see anyone that convinces me he's a TOR pitcher and should thusly be paid. Enjoy your freshly brewed Starbucks in Seattle next week Carl, but I'm concurring with the USS Mariner and saying that the M's should avoid Pavano.

10) Richie "Don't spell it Sexton!" Sexson

  • Splash-Size Score: -1 (Belly-flop!)
  • Comments: Let me see, where do I begin. A tall first baseman who is a decent fielder and was a great hitter. That sounds like a guy we DFA's last season. Except Big 'Rude' had a different injury issue. Actually, Sexson was more of a slugger than Olerud, and struck out a lot more, too. Sexson's health is a HUGE question mark. From all accounts, Sexson may actually be done as a great hitter, in spite of him only being 29, in the middle of the so-called "peak" years. I just don't envision him bouncing back to his hitting abilities prior to this injury. He may recover from his injury, which is fairly likely, but at the cost of being a shell of his former slugging self. Yes, he has local ties, and we're in need of a slugger. But given the choice of Glaus or Sexson, I'd take Glaus 9 days a week. Glaus may be relegated to DH, but at least he has bounced back from his injury to show that he hasn't lost a step offensively. I'm with you, Jeff, Richie Sexson is a bad idea.

11) J.D. Drew

  • Splash-Size Score: 3
  • Comments: This is the only other 3 I'm giving out. Unlike Beltran, though, the 3 I give him is merely a 3. They'd have to sign another player or two for me to end my financial protest (remember -- I said I'd end it if the M's signed Beltran and no one else). The M's were very seriously rumored to be making a run for J.D. Drew in 2003, in exchange for Freddy Garcia. And right at the trading deadline in 2003, they were still trying to get him (but didn't want Beltre). Because we got prospects and a young catcher, I like the trade we made better, but I would've been happy getting Drew at the time.

    As much as I see Beltran as the best guy on the market, JD Drew is probably the second-best, and he's likely to go for less than Beltran. Drew will have a higher average than Beltran, but less speed. Unlike Beltre, he's put up consistent numbers over his career. His lefty bat would fit nicely in Safeco, and a move to CF is not out of the question considering he was certainly not going to replace Edmonds in CF at St. Louis, nor would he roam CF in Atlanta for Jones. He's young yet, has a career OPS over .900, and would be a nice fit for the M's.

    The biggest question has to be his health, but we're talking Carlos Guillen type health problems, not Richie Sexson type problems. Hopefully the injury bug is behind him now, and he can start playing regularly. I'd sign him in a heartbeat! But, he's probably going to stay in Atlanta.

12) Nomar Garciaparra

  • Splash-Size Score: 2
  • Comments: Nomar's a 1.5 that I'm actually going to round up to a 2. I think it would make a fairly large splash in the non-VORP speaking M's fandom, and this would push my score over the 2 mark. Injuries and clubhouse personality push my score down a half-point or so, but I'd be intrigued if the M's signed Nomar to a deal.

    I like the idea of waiting a year or two on deciding if Lopez will be an everyday shortstop, or will move to a different spot on the field. If I had my wish, we'd pick up Nomar to play short for 2-3 years, let the SS prospects we have fight to take over the spot, and send Lopez down to Tacoma to play 2B everyday, with the thought of him becoming Bret Boone's heir-apparent.

    I just wish people would shut up when saying that Nomar would come to Seattle by the mere fact that his brother is in the M's minor league system. Now, it really works the other way (see Griffey, Craig). Michael G will never come anywhere close to playing at the level of his brother. I highly doubt that he's saying anything good about the M's org to his big, famous brother.

    Questions about his health and his defense are certainly valid. But, heck, he's got one of the highest batting averages for a career, all-time! His closest comp through age 30 is Ernie Banks -- one of my top-10 all time favorite players. I'd love to see him hit #3 ahead of Delgado OR #5 behind him. I'd take a risk with Nomar on a 2 year deal for $20 million, including incentives, and an option for year 2.

13) Troy Glaus

  • Splash-Size Score: 2 (as a DH), 1 (as a 3B)
  • Comments: Troy returned from his injury last season a little ahead of schedule to finish the season as the Angel's DH, and to show that he can still play the game (though he did struggle offensively upon his return). He wasn't able to field 3rd, though, and that's cause for concern. Considering the Angels said they're not going to resign him, and that he's been a big part of their success for several years, that's another red flag. Still, he's a heck of a slugger, and I wouldn't mind having him in the lineup for the right price. Preferably as a DH, though Bucky would be a cheaper option.

14) Armando Benitez

  • Splash-Size Score: N/A
  • Comments: Been down this road before. Signed with the Giants.

15) Steve Finley

  • Splash-Size Score: 1
  • Comments: A young 39, but still declining. Might be a nice slight upgrade to R Winn defensively and power-numbers wise. But, not a good fit for the current situation.

16) Troy Percival

  • Splash-Size Score: N/A
  • Comments: Signed with Tigers, who overpaid. Not one Anaheim castoff I would've like to have had. Past his prime and should really retire.

17) Matt Clement

  • Splash-Size Score: 2
  • Comments: Another 2.5 rounded down. Barely. Clement is a power righty definitely overshadowed by two (Wood and Prior), if not three (add Zambrano), of the best pitchers in the game right now, on his own team. Still, Clement to me is a slightly rawer version of Freddy Garcia, but with more of a potential upside. I predict he's this year's Jason Schmidt. Could need a change of scenery to help his career. I concur with several in the M's blogosphere who say that Clement, not Pavano, should be our top pitching prize. I prefer to concentrate hitting, which is stronger in the FA market this offseason than next, and wait until a stronger pitching market next season to go after a TOR guy. But, I'd be very cool with signing Clement to a reasonable deal.

18) Orlando Cabrera

  • Splash-Size Score: 1
  • Comments: Along the lines of a 1.5, really, rounded down, of course. Cabrera and Renteria are, to me, interchangable. Maybe a little offensive edge goes to Renteria, but they're very similar players. I'd rather have the Brothers Boone on the same team than the Brothers Cabrera. Were we to look more long term at short, I'd pick Renteria over Cabrera.

19) Jeff Kent

  • Splash-Size Score: 1
  • Comments: Kent's bat is certainly nice (hence the "1" vs. a "-1"), but his defense is horrid. Like Finley, he might be a nice bat to have if we were tweaking for the postseason, but we're not and we should avoid him. ESPN has him going to Oakland. I wouldn't be surprised to see him in pinstripes.

20) Moises Alou

  • Splash-Size Score: 1
  • Comments: Were we to be tweaking for the playoffs, given the choice, Moises would be my first choice of guys to go after. Defensively solid, very underrated as a hitter. The Cubs are going to miss him for sure. At age 38, with lots of outfield prospects, I don't see the M's fitting him into the plans. Still, his presence on the team would be great.

I'm going to stop at 20, for the most part, and select a few others below. This post has taken me more than three days already to research and write, and my time is very limited right now. I'll start with the players who have rumoredly received offers from the M's, and wrap up with perhaps a couple more guys.

22) Jaret Wright

  • Splash-Size Score: 1
  • Comments: May come cheaper than a lot of the other pitchers, but he's too similar to what we already have to really upgrade what we have. I'd prefer to go after Clement or Russ Ortiz.

31) John Lieber

  • Splash-Size Score: 1
  • Comments: Lieber will return to the Yankees. He showed some promise and really shored up the Yankees' shaky staff. Again, not a pitcher that would help the M's that much, because he's too similar to what we already have. Doesn't have a lot of upside.

32) Corey K_________

  • Splash-Size Score: -1
  • Comments: I'll continue the mantra of the PI bloggers, and won't even spell out his last name. I'm sure you know who this is talking about, but if not, he's most recently manned 3B for the Twins. After a career-high 25 HRs last season (most of which coming in the Homer Dome), suddenly word has gotten to the M's organization that he's a "power at the corners" third baseman. WRONG! To give him credit, though, he's a very similar player to Carlos Guillen. Solid, probably, but not much above average. As I've said before, my plan A at third is Beltre, as are my plans B and C. If we don't get him, then I MIGHT be convinced to give Glaus a shot over at third. But only after much medical scrutiny. We already have a guy who plays solid defense at third, in spite of his batting average suffering a huge tank (Sandfrog frontman Spiezio). Koskie would add to the pile of relatively-touted players thrown $5-7 million at to suffer a career-ending debacle manning 3B for the M's. I'd rather keep what we have (Spiezio, Leone, Bloomquist) than add another casulty to the M's 3B pile.

37) Jeremy Burnitz

  • Splash-Size Score: 1
  • Comments: I know I agreed with the Horse Painter over at the PI blogs and said that Burnitz would be a good pickup. Now, John Hickey says the M's are considering him. I'm less convinced of this now, after having some time to mull it over. He'd be a nice bat off the bench for sure, especially being a lefty with some power. Kinda like Ellis Burks, when we were rumored to go after him as a backup DH. I'd say that Burnitz is a better fit for the M's than Burks would've been last season, but I think a team like Detroit, San Diego Washington or Oakland will give him a shot. His numbers were certainly inflated by Coors, but if you look at them overall, they're actually quite Glaussy (and BBRef lists our favorite Bone, Jay Buhner, as his most comp through age 35).

That should wrap this up for now. There are a few guys I might want to pick up still on the list. I won't go as in depth on them, but here are a few guys that intrigue me:

26) Russ Ortiz: 2
The pitcher on this list that most reminds me of Freddy Garcia. BBReference compares him more similarly to Jason Schmidt, which is encouraging. I'd be okay if we signed him to shore up the rotation. I'd just worry about consistency issues.

44) Orlando Hernandez: 1

Might be a nice stop-gap pitcher for 1-2 years while our prospects develop or the market opens up. Injury problems are possible, though.

23) Jermaine Dye: 2

Still has some game left in him, but health is still a major concern. Heading down the wrong side of 30, but may be a good value in this offseason. Not much of an upgrade over Ibanez, though.

34) Derek Lowe: 1

Actually, I'll give him a 1.5. He's an enigma, even moreso than Freddy was in Seattle. When he's good, he's incredible, but when he's bad, stay away. Probably will be kept around in Boston, I suspect, but ESPN has him going to the Orioles. Someone will likely overpay him to be an inconsistent enigma.

50) Steve Kline: 1

I'd take him over Villone, but I think our bullpen should be fairly solid (the question mark of Guardado's health being the only factor). I'm going to watch Sherill with a close eye this season, as I really believe he's a lefty version of Raffey Soriano. Thornton would be a nice replacement for Villone in the 'pen. If we have to have a veteran lefty in the pen, then I'd take Kline over Villone for about the same dough.

I think I'll stop there. This is draggin on to the ninth page in Word (I copied and pasted it there as a backup in case my computer crashes or something).


2 Comments:

At 12/06/2004 3:44 PM, Blogger (Deleted user) said...

PosiPaul:

Nice long post - at least you didn't copy and paste the entire blog, like on the P-I earlier (LOL!) ;-)

You have put a lot of thinking, writing and editing into this subject over the weeks. I wish I could say the same about myself, but sadly, no. As you know, IMO the M's can only make two free agent splashes this offseason big enough for me to return to Safeco as a paying customer: Delgado/Beltre or Delgado/Beltran.

I might accept Delgado/Glaus/Drew as a pretty big splash, but that's ONLY with the understanding that the team is not trying to rebuild in the manner I'd like to see - with good, young players. My main issue with most of these free agents is their age. Delgado I can live with, as signing him will likely not necesssitate a long-term contract. I'd give a long-term deal to Beltre or Beltran, but no others. But a lot of them seem to be looking for 4-5 year deals, and I wouldn't like them signed to such pacts.

No pitchers, please. The boycott-ending Pitching Splashes will come next season, (I hope.)

 
At 12/07/2004 9:33 AM, Blogger PositivePaul said...

Well, a 2004 offseason of Drew/Delgado would be sufficient for me, even if they blow their wad on a pitcher.

Imagine this scenario: Beltre/Delgado/Burnitz/Wright. That's not all-together unrealistic. Would it make me end my protest -- probably (barely), but would it make me ecstatic? Not necessarily. I know people are REALLY down on Burnitz, but as a 4th OF, lefty DH, he's not a bad option for 1-2 million. I'd rather see him in Safeco for 2-3 million than Glaus at 6-8. The fact that Glaus isn't going to sign a contract with out clauses on his shoulder is quite scary. Let's hope he leaves the market soon, like the other Troy from Anaheim...

Like you, I'd prefer none of the pitchers on the market this season. But if we HAD to get one, I'd pick Clement, Ortiz, or possibly El Duque. None for longer than 3 years, though (El Duque for 1+ option).

 

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