The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

So much for that analytics department. It seems the Jonathan Papelbon and Mike Adams deals haven’t been much of a deterrent.

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21 comments

  1. hk

    November 15, 2013 07:42 AM

    This guy threw 2, count ‘em, 2 post-season innings after serving as St. Louis’s homer-prone closer all season. Either he was injured or the Cardinals decided they couldn’t trust him, both of which should serve as bright red flags. $21M / 3 sounds about right.

  2. JM

    November 15, 2013 08:10 AM

    yep…

  3. Bubba0101

    November 15, 2013 08:47 AM

    Id personally like to see a vesting option for a fourth year so Amaro can leave his mark on the team long after hes run out of town. That give us the necessary flexibility to not be able to sign any decent bullpen arms in the future. Plus if Mujica turns out to be the next coming of Mo Rivera or Dennis Eckersley we can have him for that fourth year. You know what, lets just go ahead and make that fourth year a guarantee. Thats much better for a position that notoriously goes from great to awful in one year…

  4. yizzit

    November 15, 2013 10:20 AM

    “Byrd’s ideal usage now would be to start him against lefties (again whom he had a .344/.376/.583 line last year, also BABIP-boosted) and mediocre righties, but the Phillies are paying him more than part-time money and seem to think he’s an everyday player who’ll stay healthy for two years and whose history of PED usage isn’t relevant.

    Even if you believe that Byrd’s power increase is sustainable, as he’s made some changes to his swing, paying him as if he’ll be more than a .270/.315/.450 guy is irrationally exuberant — and even that assumes his legs will stay healthy enough for him to get to 20-odd homers each year. I’m starting to think that the Phillies bought a new potted plant for the office and named it “Our New Analytics Guy.”

    Keith Law’s take.

  5. Pencilfish

    November 15, 2013 11:06 AM

    Is this rumor more credible than the one about a trade of Brown for Bautista?

    The Phillies BP has been unreliable, to put it charitably, the past 2 seasons. Not trying to improve it would be a serious omission. Anyone who claims the emergence of young BP arms like Diekman, De Fratus and Martin make external BP addition(s) unnecessary only needs to look at what happened to the 2012 “promising” BP arms such as Aumont, Horst and Stutes.

    That said, giving 3-yrs to a setup man is a bad idea–UNLESS the set-up man has demonstrated closing ability if Papelbon struggles (or is traded next summer).

  6. Bob

    November 15, 2013 11:28 AM

    Howard Eskin vs. Jeff Passan? I think it’s more credible.

  7. nik

    November 15, 2013 12:20 PM

    Amaro ran out of fucks to give a while ago.

  8. Major Malfunction

    November 15, 2013 01:01 PM

    Marlon Byrd “no longer tries to hit the top of the ball” and that’s why he hits 20+ HR a season now. RAJ must have heard that and wanted to jump on Byrd before the rest of the league found out about this sleeper!

    Maybe he heard Mujica “now throws the ball over the white pentagon in front of the catcher” and wants a repeat great snatch up deal!

  9. yizzit

    November 15, 2013 01:22 PM

    I posted that Keith law take to highlight the part about our new Analytics guy. Surely, we can’t be seriously throwing money at FA bullpen arms again

  10. hk

    November 15, 2013 02:03 PM

    Pencilfish,

    What does it take for you to believe a reliever has demonstrated “closing ability”? For example, has Antonio Bastardo demonstrated closing ability to you?

  11. sweatingisnormal

    November 15, 2013 02:15 PM

    I like how the phrase, “the philies new analytics guy” has replaced, “this is what genius me would do.”

  12. Gaël

    November 15, 2013 04:31 PM

    “That said, giving 3-yrs to a setup man is a bad idea–UNLESS the set-up man has demonstrated closing ability if Papelbon struggles (or is traded next summer).”

    Papelbon’s struggles (relative as they may be) are actually a good example of why it’s a bad idea to give a 3- (or 4-)year contract to ANY reliever.

  13. Schufan

    November 15, 2013 10:19 PM

    And now the Phillies supposedly have interest in Joe Blanton Jr., I mean Ricky Nolasco.

    I was hoping we wouldn’t be the dumb guys again this off-season. I really was. And now I realized how dumb that hope was.

  14. hk

    November 16, 2013 08:06 AM

    Schufan,

    Other than that are listed as having roughly the same height and weight, I’m not seeing the similarity between Blanton and Nolasco. Are you basing it solely on ERA? Nolasco has a fairly significantly higher career K% and a lower career BB% than Blanton, which play a large part in the fact that his career SIERA is 0.44 below Blanton’s.

  15. Pencilfish

    November 16, 2013 02:47 PM

    hk,

    Bastardo has closing ability, too, but that was PED-enhanced. I would like to see if he can perform in 2014 without chemical assistance before saying much more.

  16. Pencilfish

    November 16, 2013 03:01 PM

    Gael,

    It’s a bad idea to give most MLB players a long-term deal, but you are speaking without taking into consideration the FA market. Supposedly the Phillies would not agree to anything longer than 3 years for a SP, but they broke the rule for Lee in 2010 and for Hamels in 2012. Do you think we made a wise decision and if we didn’t make the offer, would other teams do it?

    We shouldn’t rule out giving 3 years to a set-up RP that allows the team the option of trading Pap later. That would be short-sighted. Of course, that’s all hypothetical until we know whom they signed. Right now, the Phillies interest in Mujica is just a rumor. Not worth discussing further until we hear confirmation of the deal.

  17. Schufan

    November 17, 2013 12:19 AM

    hk,

    There’s a point at which we have to stop treating FIP, xFIP as the “real” performance and acknowledge that a pitcher whose actual ERA greatly exceeds his xFIP every single season may, in fact, be just as rotten a pitcher as his ERA suggests he is.

    Blanton, like Nolasco, is a pitcher who has always had strong peripherals (an elite K/BB ratio) but simply isn’t very good at keeping runners off-base or runs off the board.

    Nolasco’s had eight years as a below average pitcher. I don’t expect that to change post-age 30.

    (Blanton also shows up as one of Nolasco’s most similar pitchers at BBRef.)

  18. Ruben

    November 17, 2013 06:06 AM

    Welp, chad qualls, chad Durbin, danys Baez, papelbon, and Adams all were bad moves…. I have to hit one of these times, right???

  19. hk

    November 17, 2013 08:46 AM

    schufan,

    If we are to accept that the Nolasco’s and Blanton’s career ERA’s are predictive of their future ERA’s, we can accept that Nolasco projects to only be slightly better in the future. However, when we compare their careers to date, we see that in Blanton’s eight full seasons, he has basically had a league average LOB% in six of them and he’s had two outlier seasons, 2005 when he stranded 75.3% and 2009 when he stranded 78.9%. We’ll also see that, in five of Nolasco’s six full seasons, he has basically had a league average LOB% with the exception being 2009 when he only stranded 61.0%. I haven’t done the math to see the impact of these three combined outlier seasons on the two pitchers’ respective careers, but I suspect that regressing those seasons to league average LOB% or eliminating those seasons would lead to a significantly wider gap between these guys ERA’s than the 0.14 edge that Nolasco currently holds. Knowing what we know about LOB%, do you think there’s some special skill that Blanton holds that enables him to strand a high percentage every 4 years or so and that makes him likely to outperform Nolasco in LOB% in the future?

  20. Schufan

    November 17, 2013 10:08 AM

    hk,

    Blanton may or may not be marginally inferior to Nolasco – the numbers are slanted more to Nolasco after 2013 (a disaster for Blanton, the second best of Nolasco’s career). That’s of little relevance.

    What matters is that Nolasco has been a below average pitcher in his eight year career and peripheral numbers that suggest he “should be” better don’t matter too much in the light of his failure over a large sample size. Any more than the strong peripherals suggested Blanton was due to “break out” any time.

    Signing Nolasco to a long-term deal is one of the things the dumb teams will do this off-season. Like signing Nelson Cruz or trading a top prospect for Mark Trumbo. Let’s hope the Phillies aren’t the dumb guys who do it.

  21. hk

    November 17, 2013 11:14 AM

    Schufan,

    I recognize that Nolasco has been a below average SP in his career and I am willing to concede that he might be one of those pitchers whose ERA never lives up to what his peripherals say it should be. Even so, I think it is important to recognize that he’s an innings eater and having a below average SP take a turn every 5th day has some value in today’s MLB.

    Last year, Hamels and Lee combined for 64 starts. Of the pitchers who combined for the other 98, which ones were better than Nolasco in 2013? Which of them projects to be better than Nolasco in 2014?

    My problem with RAJ’s major free agent acquisitions during his tenure have not been as much the players he signed as the amount that he overpaid (in years and/or dollars) to sign them. If he had paid the going rate and/or held the line on the number of years when signing Ibanez and Papelbon and extending Moyer and Howard, those deals would not look so bad. Therefore, to me, whether the Nolasco signing is a good one will depend on the terms. The Fangraphs crowd-source project has Nolasco signing for 4 years and $50.4M while mlbtraderumors.com predicts a 4 year deal for $52M. That’s the high end of the range that I would think is reasonable. If he signs for $12M and a max of 4 years, preferably 3 plus an option, I’d be okay with it. More than that and I hope they pass.

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