Posts Tagged ‘Cliff Lee’

I found this link from Forbes.com about teams that actually have more money than the Yankees but are unwilling to spend on their on-field product. 

Interesting read, here it is:

If the Yankees sign Cliff Lee you can expect this from MLB pundits: New York has just bought another World Series. Even if the Yankees were to win the championship in 2011 that statement misses the big picture, which is this: There are several team owners with a lot more money than the Steinbrenner family who simply are not willing to invest in their teams like the Steinbrenners.

Start with the Atlanta Braves, who are owned by Liberty Media. Liberty has $2 billion in cash, which exceeds the total revenue generated by Yankee Global Enterprises, the Steinbrenner’s holding company for the baseball team, YES regional sports network and Legends Hospitality concession business. Lee would certainly help the Braves get serious about a title.

Than there are the Toronto Blue Jays, owned by Rogers Communications. Rogers profits exceed Yankee Global’s revenue. How about the Washington Nationals, who lost rookie pitching sensation Stephen Strasburg in August to a serious arm injury? Why doesn’t team owner Ted Lerner, worth a cool $3 billion, pony up for Lee?

Then there’s Michael Ilitch, who owns the Detroit Tigers and has a net worth of $1.5 billion, roughly 50% more than the Steinbrenner family. Ilitch, who also owns the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, is trying to buy the Detroit Pistons of the NBA for around $400 million, probably with the idea of starting a regional sports network similar to YES.

And of course there is Drayton McLane, who owns the Houston Astros and is worth $1.5 billion. It seems you only hear from McLane every three or four months when he publicly says his team is not for sale unless someone wants to pay him a rich premium.

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Here is the introduction to the DMB (Diamond Mind Baseball) Trade Value series.

2010 DMB Trade Value: #50 -#41

2010 DMB Trade Value: #40 – #31

30) 3B Adrian Beltre (R) – Age:  31

Quick Take:  A defensive wizard at 3B and a power bat to boot, Beltre gives you everything you want in a corner infielder.  Since leaving the hitter’s hell that is SafeCo Beltre has absolutely killed the ball (.228 ISO) and though the BABIP (.340) is helping his average his overall .390 wOBA combined with a 9.2 UZR has valued him at a 5.7 WAR thus far in 2010.  Beltre will never be confused as a patient hitter but should be productive for the next 5-6 seasons and with pending free agency, again keep an eye on what park he lands in.

DMB PRO: awesome defender, great power

DMB CON: does not walk (5.5 BB %) and this affects his overall DMB value

29) SP Felix Hernandez (R) – Age: 24

Quick Take:  Seemingly been in the league forever, Hernandez is just entering his prime and his resume is impressive.  Has been a workhorse since 2006 (191, 190, 200, 238 and 204 IPs so far in 2010) and has been a solid groundball/strikeout guy since making his debut in 2005.  While not the K-machine I think some had envisioned there is not much to dislike about a 24 year old with the body of work that Felix possesses and no reason not to invest heavily over the next 5-6 seasons.  My only concerns would be workload on his young arm, his home park is extremely pitcher friendly and he plays in front of one of the better defences, sometimes affecting his DMB value depending on chosen ballpark and defense.

DMB PRO: solid ground ball rate, good control, consistent

DMB CON:  extreme pitchers park

28) RF Justin Upton (R) – Age:  23

Quick Take:  A fulltime player holding his own at age 21 is a rare breed and Upton is truly a rare talent.  Upton possesses huge power potential (career .200 ISO) to go along with his solid defense, arm and speed.  If he could only improve his lacking plate discipline we could be looking at one of the best overall players in baseball.  His ‘off’ year so far in 2010 has still produced a .350 wOBA and 3.3 WAR, not bad for a 23 year old.  Upton is still a talent on the rise who at worst will provide a low average power bat with amazing right field defense, but his upside is that of top player in the game and definitely an intriguing talent.

DMB PRO: big power, solid defender, speed

DMB CON: lack of patience and high strikeouts, hitter’s park

27) SP Cliff Lee (L) – Age:  32

Quick Take:  Normally a pitch to contact left hander is bad news in the world of DMB but Lee is a rare talent which his unreal control (.60 BB/9!), decent K rate (7.8 K/9) and normally solid numbers versus right handed hitters that he was another must addition to this list.  Doesn’t appear to be slowing down any as he has entered his 30s and is one of the top lefties in the game, keep an eye on what team he signs with in the off-season.  If he signs with the Yankees, expect a drop in his overall numbers playing in that ballpark and division.

DMB PRO: impeccable control, solid K rate, good numbers vs. Righties

DMB CON: is still a lefty and susceptible to a righty heavy lefty crushing line-up, can give up a lot of hits.

26) LF Matt Holliday (R) – Age:  30

Quick Take:  Basically given up for dead while with Oakland in 2009, Holliday was supposedly only a product of his environment (Coors Field) but people failed to realize his environment in Oakland was extremely chilly to hitters.  Holliday has proven to be one of the most consistent and feared right handed hitting outfielders in the game (.390 and .384 wOBA in 2009 and 2010) Holliday provides great defense (7.1 UZR) and great power (.221 ISO in 2010) and is equally effective versus righties or lefties.  A guy you can just book for 300/390/500 with 40 2Bs/25 HRs, a solid rating in LF and a 5.0-5.5 WAR each season.  In a DMB keeper world, that is as good as gold.

DMB PRO: consistently solid with the bat and glove, good splits vs. L and R

DMB CON: low-ish walk rate (career 8.9 BB %)

25) SP Zack Greinke (R) – Age:  27

Quick Take:  If anybody is holding Greinke to his unbelievable 2009 season to say he is having a bad year in 2010, you are crazy.  He was never going to repeat that season, which was one of the best over the past 10 years however Greinke is still among the game’s best starting pitchers and is only just entering his prime seasons.  His K-rate is down (9.5 K/9 in 2009, 7.5 in 2010) however his control is still great (2.0 BB/9) and his 3.31 FIP suggests he is still an ace in the making.  I am still buying the hype.

DMB PRO: solid control pitcher, improving GB rate

DMB CON: pitcher’s park, declining K rate.

24) 1B Kevin Youkilis (R) – Age:  31

Quick Take:  The Greek God of Walks as once dubbed by Billy Beane “Youk” is an on-base machine (13.3 BB %, .411 OBP) who hits both lefties and righties well and gains an extra little bit of positional value by also being rated at 3B (for most seasons).  If he ever lost his 3B eligibility permanently it would put a serious hit on his overall value.

DMB PRO: hits both lefties and righties, OBP machine

DMB CON: Fenway is a good hitters park for righties, potentially only a 1B one day.

23) CF Carlos Gonzalez (L) – Age:  25

Quick Take: “CarGo” is another intriguing talent who has shown absolutely massive power this season (.271 ISO, .596 SLG%) but is not without a few warts.  Questions still abound whether he will be able to play CF going forward and his walk rate has been abysmal (5.3 BB %) which will hurt him immensely in DMB but that power stroke cannot be denied, even accounting for the effect his home ballpark will have.  If he can show improved plate discipline, he could be a major force.

DMB PRO: huge power, rated at CF

DMB CON: poor walk rate and the “Coors” effect could seriously affect his value in DMB.

22) C Carlos Santana (S) – Age:  24

Quick Take:  The leg injury was scary but it appears the Santana avoided a potentially career debilitating injury and is an exciting catching prospect with some very strong upside.  A switch-hitter who plays catcher has the potential to give a lot of value and Santana’s numbers while coming up through the minor leagues are nothing short of brilliant and he should be a top five catcher for the next 8-10 years.

DMB PRO: position, upside

DMB CON: will injury affect his long term value?

21) C Brian McCann (L) – Age:  26

Quick Take:  It seems like McCann should be nearly 40 but in reality he is only now hitting his prime hitting seasons and in 2010 has been a beast (.380 wOBA) and his improving patience (13.4 BB %) is a bonus.  One of the top hitting catchers in baseball and should be counted upon to put up consistently strong numbers for the next 5 seasons minimum.

DMB PRO: a strong hitting catcher, improved patience and BB rate

DMB CON: not as strong versus lefties, but that is nitpicking.

On the surface the Toronto Blue Jays decision to move Roy Halladay when they did made perfect sense, aside from losing the best player to ever don the Jays uniform it was widely agreed upon that this was going to be a year of rebuilding and to get some tangible assets for Doc going forward was a no-brainer.  Like I mentioned in my piece about Jose Bautista at the trade deadline, the improvement (or arrival) of a team is not linear in the sense that you can almost never anticipate with any degree of certainty when a team has officially turned a corner, or arrived.

Playing in the AL East certainly makes that prediction or projection that much tougher and this piece isn’t meant to be a criticism for the Blue Jays trading Halladay but rather a look at a franchise that is clearly on the rise and what this season could have looked like if the Jays just hung on to their ace.  First, I think the Jays definitely made the right decision and I applaud the due diligence and determination of our rookie GM Alex Anthopoulos for leaving no stone unturned in his pursuit to get the best possible deal for our franchise pitcher, but today we will have a little hypothetical fun.

The Blue Jays by most respected baseball insiders got a solid package of talent when they acquired SP Kyle Drabek, C Travis D’Arnaud and Michael Taylor Brett Wallace CF Anthony Gose and I would have to agree with that consensus.  The lack of a dominating K-rate for Drabek is slightly disconcerting and I think his stock has dropped ever so slightly since the beginning of the season though the kid has pitched a no-hitter (who hasn’t this year?) and his minor league splits show a very solid ground-ball rate, maybe it is fair to say he is now rated to be a potential Matt Garza as opposed to Josh Beckett.

Again, the package we received was fair and D’Arnaud and Gose are both very intriguing young hitters with Gose having the potential to be a fairly high-impact defender in centre field, always a valuable commodity in today’s game.  This isn’t to dissect or discuss the Roy Halladay trade but to determine what type of season the Jays could have had with Halladay still on the team given that the three assets we received for him are not likely to make much (or any) impact to our team for this current season.

Roy Halladay continues to pitch like a man possessed as he is ranked #1 in terms of WAR accumulated this season on Fangraphs, are we (as Jays fans) surprised in the least that Roy is the best pitcher in the game?                                                

Halladay IPs ERA xFIP K/BB BB/9 WHIP WAR
2010 193 2.24 2.82 7.9 1.03 1.01 6.3
MLB Rank 1st 3rd 1st 2nd 2nd 5th 1st

 

Pretty much par for the course for our beloved Halladay but the category we will focus on for this piece will be WAR, where Halladay is currently ranked at the top of the league (in the year of the pitcher part deux) with a very impressive 6.3 mark currently.  WAR of course stands for ‘Wins above replacement’ so the number of wins that said player contributes over and above a replacement level player (think Vicente Padilla) it is a great way to see how much value he would truly add (well, close enough anyway) without giving ridiculous claims of 18-20 wins because Roy even on his off days helps us pitch complete games. 

Toronto’s record currently sits at 62-55 which is impressive considering the league and more specifically the division we play in, take away our 12-0 record vs. Baltimore and our record vs. AL East is a paltry 12-24.  I think Roy Halladay could have helped us some in that regard given his strong track record against even the toughest AL East foes.  Our starting rotation for most of the season has consisted of the impressive quartet of:

2010 Age IPs GS W-L ERA xFIP
Romero 25 160.0 24 10-7 3.43 3.64
Marcum 28 135.0 22 10-6 3.87 3.95
Morrow 25 127.1 22 9-6 4.45 3.68
Cecil 23 125 20 9-6 3.96 4.14

 

Hard to complain about that group so far this year and the worst ERA of the bunch Brandon Morrow actually has some of the best stuff and peripherals on the staff and definitely possesses a bright future for the team.  However, all season the weakness of the Blue Jays staff has of course been the fifth starter spot, where Jesse Litsch and Dana Eveland have provided little to no value, or better yet ‘replacement’ level pitching.  Ahh, maybe you see where this is heading.

2010 Age IPs GS W-L ERA xFIP
Litsch 25 46.2 9 1-5 5.79 5.46
Eveland 26 44.2 9 3-4 6.45 5.69
Totals – – – 90.4 18 4-9* 6.17 – – –

*Eveland inexplicably had 3 wins while posting a 6.45 ERA so the record should be even more ghastly for the fifth starter spot all things considered.

Roy Halladay has made 25 starts this season and has been worth 6.3 wins above replacement level so for the fun of this exercise we will kindly and optimistically round up to 7.0 (we’ll call it a few extra points for saving the bullpen extra mileage) and we will adjust the Jays record to 69-48, 4 games up on the Red Sox and only 2 games out of a playoff spot, saying Roy Halladay adding 7 wins to the bottom line is not ridiculous, it might even be the low end.

This is of course a rather elementary way of making an adjustment to the Jays overall record as there are a million different factors in play here including who did these 7 wins affect in terms of opponent which potentially could add additional losses to the top teams in our division but it does give you a solid grasp of the knowledge that the Blue Jays with Roy Halladay are most definitely a serious playoff contender.  You could also assume that the Jays would have been buyers, maybe even extremely active buyers at the deadline to shore up any weak spots and add depth for a stretch run further solidifying the roster.

This was all hypothetical (and fun) but it does beg the question: Were the Jays with Halladay a stronger team/contender than the Phillies with Halladay this season?  Perhaps the Jays should have just let Halladay play out his contract year at the risk of losing him for valuable compensatory draft picks at season’s end, though a part of me thinks he likely would have been excited and rejuvenated by the success and buzz the franchise has produced in 2010 thus far.  Another could argue on the other hand if the Phillies would have kept Cliff Lee and still added Roy Halladay that they might have had the greatest 1-2 combo in the history of baseball.

But this is all highly speculative.