Tag: Free Agents

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Projecting Cespedes’s Four Year Deal With The Mets

A couple facts about Yoenis Cespedes. He is 31 years, 58 days old as of this writing; he just signed a guaranteed four year contract with the New York Mets worth $110 million dollars; and, most importantly, he is a bona-fide star. Cespedes is 15th in MLB in WAR over the last two years despite being asked to play out of position and battling through some injuries.

In light of the big commitment, one of the most important questions around the Mets now becomes, “how will Cespedes perform over the next four years?” With the Mets appearing unlikely to make a big splash again this offseason, the team will be counting on Cespedes to carry the load this year, and perhaps, beyond. Will Cespedes remain a cornerstone slugger or will aging get the best of him sooner than later?

There are two primary ways in which people make educated guesses about players: through the use of computer projections (like ZiPS or Steamer, both of which are great) or by putting together a cohort of comparable players and checking how they aged. We’ll do both. 

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The Mets Absolutely Must Re-Sign Cespedes

Mets fans. We can not rest until the Mets resign superstar slugger Yoenis Cespedes.

The window of contention is now, the Mets should have room for Cespedes as a big-market team with a mid-market payroll, and there is no other viable way of improving this team right now. Cespedes is the answer.

A. Cespedes is a star and was the best player on the Mets last year.

Cespedes put up 3.2 WAR(fangraphs) and 2.9 WAR(baseball-reference) last year, placing either 1st or 2nd on the Mets in that metric despite playing only 132 games, and many of them while injured or being asked to play out of position.

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The Mets Can Afford the Billion Dollar Rotation, and Are Poised to Enter a Dominant Era

There is no need to worry about whether or not the Mets will be able to keep all of their young starters under contract. Even if they are all as good as advertised, the Mets will have them under control to build around for years to come.

The Mets Have Not Done Enough To Ensure the 2015 Team Is a Winner

By: Brian Mangan

The Mets, and General Manager Sandy Alderson, have simply not done enough to make sure that the 2015 team, which is close, can make a serious run at the playoffs.  Given the strong state of the franchise, the strong minor league system, and the team’s favorable position with regard to existing player contracts, to essentially stand pat isn’t acceptable.

As a fan, I am conflicted. On one hand, I believe that the Mets were a little better than their record last year, and that they didn’t need to do very much this offseason in order to improve themselves to the point where they might hang around the fringes of the playoff race. I also believe that it is better to stand pat than make a stupid signing or lose big in a trade simply to make one.  However, it is very frustrating as a fan to feel like the organization is “on the cusp,” in Sandy’s words, yet be either unwilling or unable to make a move to make the team into something great.

The “window” of contention in MLB can be a small and capricious thing. Sometimes a team thinks that it is set up to contend for a decade, only to take a step back the next season — just look at the 2013 Washington Nationals.  Sure, the Nationals returned to the playoffs in 2014, but you can’t just bank on things working out in the future. Therefore, when an opportunity presents itself, a team must be cautiously aggressive but must pursue it.

Andrew Miller, David Robertson, and How Relief Pitching Is No Longer Overpaid

By: Brian Mangan

In saber circles, it has long been common knowledge that relievers, especially closers, are overpaid.  Closers pitch around 70 to 80 innings a year, but can recieve starter-level money on the market.  How can a pitcher that throws around 1/3 the innings of a starter — and so many of them in low-leverage, three-run lead situations — possibly be as valuable as a pitcher that takes the ball every fifth day and ends the year with 210 or more innings?

The truth is, a closer would generally have to be much, much more valuable on a per-inning basis to justify getting paid a lot, and for many years, the known market inefficiency was that closers were overpaid.

But here’s the thing with markets: they are cyclical.  Things that are overvalued get identified, and their value tends to drop.  Things that are undervalued get identified — like the market inefficiency of on-base percentage, explained in Moneyball — and their value rises.  Indeed, studies have shown that on-base percentage went from undervalued to properly valued, if not overvalued relative to other skills.

Number Crunching the Yankees’ Signing of Masahiro Tanaka: The Yankees Got Taken For a Ride

By: Brian Mangan

As you have undoubtedly heard by now, the Yankees signed right-handed starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to seven-year contract worth $155M on Wednesday morning.  At first blush, it doesn’t sound like a terrible deal – with an average annual value of around $21.15 million.

Tanaka is an unknown quality, having never pitched in the Major Leagues, but you could certainly justify taking a risk given the recent success of other Japanese pitchers like Hiroki Kuroda and Yu Darvish.

However, unfortunately for Yankees fans, there are two additional wrinkles in the contract that, although having been reported on in the media, have not received the significance that they are entitled to: a) the posting fee to Tanaka’s NBP team and b) the opt-out clause given to Tanaka as part of the contract.