What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
Joey's post on Pujols' value implied that sabermetricians believe that one win above replacement is worth $5 mil in 2012, with the value increasing steadily after that (I assume due to inflation). Using that figure as a starting point, here's how I'd value Hamiltion and Fielder.
In his 4 major league seasons (throwing out his rookie year), Hamilton has averaged a 4.5 WAR. He'll be 31 when his new contract starts. I'll assume he wants a 6-year deal. Let's assume his WAR is 5 in 2013, 4 in 2014 and 2015, 3 in 2016, 2017, 2018. (I think this is optimistic given his injury history and the fact that much of his value is on defense, which will probably decline precipitously; but I'm trying to be generous to Hamilton supporters.) That's a total WAR over the life of the contract of 22 for a value of $110 mil (without adjusting for inflation).
Over the past 5 seasons, Fielder's average WAR is 4.4. He'll be 27 when his contract starts. I'll assume he wants an 8-year deal. Given his age and the fact that his defense adds little value, I think it's a fairly safe bet that he will average a 4 WAR over the 8 years. That's a total WAR of 32 for a value of $160 mil (without inflation adjustments).
I realize that this is a rough calculation and inflation adjustments should be made. But I think it shows that even giving Hamilton the benefit of the doubt in terms of health and production, while valuing Fielder conservatively, Fielder is worth a lot and much more.
You're assuming his WAR remains the same for 8 years? That is a big assumption. Good luck with all that.
I'm assuming Fielder's WAR between ages 27 and 35 will average a little less than his WAR between ages 22 and 27 . That doesn't seem unreasonable to me. What do you think Hamilton's WAR will average between ages 31 and 37? If you think Hamilton will be more productive than Fielder at an older age, on what do you base that claim? On average, Hamilton and Fielder have been equally productive up to this point. And Hamilton has proven himself much more injury prone. Plus, much of Hamilton's value is on defense and his defensive skills are sure to decline by the time he's 37.
The thing people never seem to consider when they mention what a player is worth in terms of WAR is the need to subtract the projected WAR of the alternative. Fielder isn't worth 5 WAR to the rangers when you can assume you should get at least 2 WAR (pessimistically) between Napoli, Young, and Moreland. Thus, he's a 3 WAR player for the rangers. So, 15 million per year. Fielder is looking at 20 million or more, so the Rangers likelym would be overpaying for what he gives in production by at least 5 million per. Now, if the rangers can dump Young's negative price point without taking money back, then Fielder's contract might make more sense.
"You're assuming his WAR remains the same for 8 years? That is a big assumption."
No, he is assuming that it will average 4 over the 8 years. So, he may think it will average 6 for the next 4 years and 2 for the following 4 years, or something along those lines. That is very different than remaining the same over 8 years.
Still a HUGE assumption at such a high price.
Fair enough, but not nearly as stupid of an assumption as you accused him. Ether way, it is probably safe to assume that Fielder will put up a substantially higher cumulative WAR over the length of his contract as opposed to Hamilton, if for nothing other than the age factor.
Assuming that either Hamilton or Fielder will continue to average a high WAR is a "huge" assumption. Either player could suffer a career-ending injury at any point. But unless you believe that one player is at a higher risk of injury or decline than the other, risk makes no difference with respect to their relative value. What matters from the standpoint of valuing the 2 players is simply the cumulative expected WAR over the life of the contract.
I see no reason to believe that Fielder is riskier than Hamilton. A lot of people chuckle b/c Fielder is overweight. But the fact is that he rarely misses a game, whereas Hamilton regularly misses 1/3 of each season. How does that prove that Hamilton is less risky than Fielder? I also hear people say, "Hamilton's injuries are freak accidents, and are unlikely to repeat themselves." But when a guy with his build plays the way he does (running into walls, etc.) and absolutely refuses to change his style of play, the resulting injuries are inevitable, not freak accidents. So I actually think that Hamilton is much riskier than Fielder and hope the Rangers don't make that bet. (But don't get me wrong. Hamilton's a great player, and I hope he continues to have success whoever he is playing for. I just hope the Rangers don't bet on it.)
Who do we replace Hamilton with after '12? Moreland if we bring up Olt to play 1B? The '13 FA pool of COF'ers is pretty shallow:
There's basically Andre Ethier, Hammy, Quentin, and B. J. Upton. I don't want to extend the injury-prone Hammy, but we need to have a decent Plan B in place.
I like Hambone. That being said, I have a hard time justifying paying a guy (long term) who is the best center fielder in the AL, but plays the majority of his games in left..a guy that routinely misses 30 games a year...a guy who has to have a baby sitter on the road because of his troubled past. There is WAY too much risk with Josh. Too many people still view Josh as if he's 25...he's not. At least with Fielder you have some consistency. You can expect him to play day in and day out while putting up big numbers. I would leverage Josh while we can, and get an Ace. I'm sure there is a team out there that would love to add josh to the roster while sacrificing some pitching.
Remember how freaking hot it was last summer? How would Fielder hold up in that heat? I'll take Hamilton.
Last year was as hot as the last 10 summers combined, or something close to that. It is hot as hell at the Ballpark in July and August, but you can't count on that happening again to that extreme anytime soon.
I'll concede that Fielder has played in all but one game in the past 3 years, if what I read was correct. That said, if Josh played 1st, his injuries would be far less than playing a premium position and playing balls out. Put the two side by side, and I think it is easy to see who will have a longer playing career, even despite Josh being older.
I am not, nor have I ever said I don't like Fielder. I am saying I don't like his asking price and length of contract, from which it is rumoured he and Boras refuse to back off of, especially now with the Pujols deal. We are just now recovering from a similar A-Rod deal from a decade ago, and Fielder will more than likely decline within the next 5 years, much less the next 8 or 10. His father was done producing by 32 with the same build and at the same low risk position, due to being a glutton and slovenly.
Josh will cost less and produce more numbers over the next 5 years, and give you better defense and flexibility. I know that is a brash statement to make, but I believe it. And I believe Josh to be more valuable. Even if their #'s match over the next 5, who would you rather have? Josh at $12M to $15M?Or Fielder @ $25M?
it is an obvious answer.
@ Rangers Homer
If we could sign Josh for 12 mil a year then of course you are correct. I doubt seriously that he would settle for that. Wipe out the injury and bad past, and josh would be pilling in a 200 mil contract.
Josh will cost anywhere from 15-18 mil a year at least and fielder will be closer to 20 mil as oppose to 25...the gap between there salaries is not going to be 10+ mil a year.
Prince will probably cost about $5m more a year than Josh. The other difference is that Boras will probably not let Prince settle for a 4-5 year deal, whereas Josh probably will. I love Josh as much as anyone, but I'm aware of his being injury-prone inasmuch as he plays really hard. Sometimes too hard. If he could just keep that in check a little better he could play 150 games a year.
The more I think about it, the more Josh reminds me of Mickey Mantle.
Very true, Andy. Nolan made the same comparison in the past. Difference is, Mickey was doing his wild living while playing. Josh has all of that behind him, and is dedicated to being in tip top shape (Prince, ehhh... not so much) and remaining healthy. I think Ian Kinsler said it best the other day about Josh with Ben & Skin, and I will paraphrase; "I don't want to hear about him being injury prone. Everybody gets injured during a full season. We all play hurt. He played with broken ribs last year. When you play the way he does, accidents are going to happen. He is by far the best baseball player I have ever seen in my life. Some may hit better, some may field better, but as far as a complete player, Josh is the best I have ever seen".
I think I will go with Kinsler on this one. I think he is probably the best talent I have seen. Capitalizing on said talent would be awesome. To do so, he must remain as healthy as possible and make smart decisions. Having said all of that, I highly doubt Josh will command $18M. He wants to stay here and the Rangers want him here. But both sides have leverage in these negotiations.
If I thought Josh would be healthy enough to play 150 games a year, I'd have no problem giving him $18m AAV. Josh is a Swiss army knife.
If Hamilton will sign for 5 years, $60 mil, the Rangers should probably take that deal whether they sign Fielder or not. Hamilton won't sign for that amount. He'd be leaving $30 to $40 mil on the table.
I think a lot of people value Hamilton based on his potential assuming he's injury free and plays at his ceiling on a regular basis. But he's 30 and has several seasons under his belt. I'd value him based on what he's actually done, extrapolating that into the future (taking age into account).
Josh Hamilton is in no way the best 2-way player in 3 decades, or whatever is being proposed.
In CF, Griffey in his prime was Josh's equal at the plate, and world better in CF.
ARod in his prime was a superior hitter to Josh, and adequate SS defense is far more valuable than plus LF defense.
Pujols in his prime was a ++ defensive 1B. LF is a more valuable position than 1B defensively, but not grossly so. And Albert has been a much filthier hitter than Josh.
In LF, pre-roids Barry Bonds was Josh's equal or better at the plate, superior defensively in LF, and a 40-SB threat to boot.
Larry Walker in his prime (and I think this is by far the best comp for Josh as an all-around player) was basically Josh Hamilton with a few extra SBs and a much better throwing arm. Josh's arm is good. Walker had one of the best I've ever seen.
And frankly, when I comes to super-premium middle-of-the-order sluggers at non-premium defensive positions, hitting is the cornerstone of everything. It's possible to be a poor fielder and still be the best all-around player in baseball.
Josh is great. He's one of the very best today. But even if you told me he would be 100% healthy, there are still a handful of guys I would rather have in the game today. Prince is a tossup. Factor in Josh's age and injury history, it's a no-brainer between the 2 for a $5m/yr difference. Prince all the way. Doubt it will happen, but it's the right move.
But Scooby Dude, you are not combining all of Hamilton's attributes. The argument was that, yes, some are better in areas, but when you combine all that Hamilton can do on a field, he is one of the best in the game. And I think you're short-changing him by comparing him to Larry Walker. Walker was amazing in Colorado, but Josh is better. If we could get a productive CF and keep Josh in left, you increase his chances of staying healthy. Then you pay him the money.
And it's not fair to compare Barry Bonds to anyone for obvious reasons. I'll give you A-Rod and Griffey because they had somewhat sustained greatness (even though we could probably throw A-Roid in the same conversation as Barry Bonds). But the fact that we're even talking about Hamilton with those names shows why you sign him over Fielder.
Walker was great in Colorado, but mediocre elsewhere. Even worse than Colby Lewis, by some accounts. Josh is probably the best 5-tool guy in the game right now. A-Rod probably was at one point, but not anymore. No way. Anyway, I'm not saying that, just based on that, we should offer him $20m a year. But I think we should make him a reasonable offer, but probably not for more than about 5 years. I doubt we can get Prince at 5 or 6 years, but if we could, he would probably be a good investment. 10 seems like too many to me.
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