Archive for January, 2006

Angels, Anaheim square off over team name chage

For nearly a year, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have borne the brunt of many baseball jokes. Why don’t they add a few more cities to their name? Or why don’t other teams adopt some more cities? The Brooklyn Dodgers of Los Angeles, anyone?

For the last year, while everyone else has laughed at the utter ridiculously of this marketing gimmick, the City of Anaheim hasn’t been in on the joke. In fact, the City of Anaheim – a distinct municipality with Orange County in California – has been so incensed by this slight that they took Moreno to court.

This week the lawsuit between the Angels and Anaheim got underway, and so far, it’s been an lesson on how not to make friends conducted by Moreno.

Last year, when Moreno announced the name change, his intentions were clear. The Angels had long played second fiddle to Dodgers, their neighbors 30 miles to the north. While Los Angeles and Anaheim are two distinct entities in one giant urban sprawl, Moreno played upon the sprawl perception and adopted the Los Angeles moniker in front of the Angels.

But Moreno couldn’t completely omit Anaheim from the name. According to the lease signed by Disney, the then-owners of the Angels, and the City of Anaheim a few years ago, the city agreed to kick in $20 million for stadium renovations as long as Anaheim appeared somewhere in the team’s name.

The question at issue now is whether or not the current name with its convoluted structure adheres to that deal. Based on recent testimony in the case, this is one contest the Angels probably won’t win.

Over the last few days, the Angels have relied on a strategy designed to show that they have not broken the contract stipulating that the team name “include the name Anaheim therein.” The official team name is still the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

However, the official name and the actions of the team’s owner seem to be at odds. Nearly every mention of Anaheim is absent from team merchandise, and earlier this year, Moreno sent a memo to the other Major League Baseball teams asking them to refer to the team as being from Los Angeles instead of from Anaheim.

During his testimony this week, Moreno put on an exhibition of how not to win over friends in Anaheim. At one point, he noted that the name changed was focused around drawing fans from the “L.A. media market.” In doing so, he compared the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to the New York Yankees and Mets. Those two teams don’t pay homage to the Bronx and Queens respectively; why should he pay homage to Anaheim?

Of course, what Moreno failed to mention contains a little lesson in geography. The Bronx and Queens are part of New York City while Anaheim is part of the O.C. It’s not a borough in Los Angeles; it’s not a suburb of Los Angeles; and in fact, it’s a good 30 miles away from Los Angeles. The New York Jets and Giants of New Jersey are closer to their namesake than the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are to theirs.

While Moreno stands by his decision that keeping Anaheim in the name, albeit on a second-tier basis, is within the letter of the lease, the City of Anaheim is relying on testimony from the original framers of the lease to show that Moreno is in fact breaking the terms of the lease. Last week, the city called upon Tony Tavares, the president of the Angels in 1996 who negotiated the lease with the city officials.

During his testimony, Tavares said that team officials promised city officials that Anaheim would appear prominently in marketing and print coverage around the country. The spirit of the phrase “include the name Anaheim therein” was supposed to be an all-encompassing term covering the team and its relationship to the city. It was not meant to be the literal phrase Moreno has interpreted it to be.

This argument may or may not be enough to convince jurors. Moreno, in rebutting Tavares’ testimony, wondered why the city couldn’t get a guarantee of the name Anaheim Angels built into the lease. The response focused around Michael Eisner’s original intent to call the team the Mighty Angels of Anaheim, a worse name than the one they have now.

So far, it’s unclear whose reasoning will hold up in court. But it is clear that Moreno’s antagonism isn’t going to win him many converts in a City that has tried to distance itself from Los Angeles in an effort to establish an identity outside of Disneyland.

In the end, at the heart of this matter is whether or not the name change hurts tourism in Anaheim. While the Angels have benefited from a closer association with Los Angeles, what has this negligence done to Anaheim? A jury could end up awarding the city nearly $100 million in damages.

As this saga plays out, it will be interesting to see the response of the city if the Angels win. One thing is clear: Cities, already wary of public financing for stadiums, will be driving harder bargains to maintain geographic ties with teams receiving their welfare.

Of course, one way out of this sticky mess could just be for the Angels to adopt a Spanish name. If they called themselves Los Angeles de Anaheim, everyone would win.

Padres shouldn’t expect much from Piazza

The Padres filled one of their big holes this weekend, signing former Mets poster boy Mike Piazza to a one-year deal with options.

Piazza will have the opportunity to catch as much as he wants, and according to the Associated Press, the 12-time All Star hopes to catch 100 games while DHing during interleague play and getting a few innings in at first base.

The Padres, meanwhile, are constructing their lineup around Piazza next season. According to FoxSport’s Ken Rosenthal, Piazza will clean up in San Diego. But will he be any good?

Last season, for the Mets, Piazza was fairly good. In the weak field of NL catchers, Piazza had a 25.1 VORP, good for third highest. In 442 plate appearances, Piazza 19 home runs for the Mets but with a career-low OBP of .326 and a career-low slugging percentage of .452. Behind the plate, Piazza was abysmal, throwing out just 13 of 95 would-be base stealers for a Major League-worst caught stealing percentage of 13.7.

In San Diego, however, Piazza doesn’t stand to be any better, and in fact, he should be noticeably worse. PETCO Park, the Padres’ home field, is infamous for being a pitcher’s park. In fact, PETCO is a killer on right-handed batters. Last season, its home run index was 51 for right-handed batters. In other words, it was 49 percent harder to hit home runs in PETCO than in the rest of the parks in the National League.

Last year, playing in Shea Stadium, with an RHB-HR index of 86, Piazza hit 10 home runs at home in 202 at-bats. If he gets the same 202 at-bats in PETCO, it’s reasonable to estimate that Piazza would hit about 5 or 6 home runs. His doubles will decrease too. Additionally, PETCO’s Batting Average index is a 91, compared with 101 for Shea. Piazza, a lifetime .311/.382/.555 hitter, may very well hit .240 next year with an OBP under .320. Vinny Castilla hitting behind Piazza is no David Wright. Pitchers will challenge Piazza in San Diego knowing that the ballpark favors the guy on the mound and not the aging slugger at the plate.

Right now, the Padres are relying to Piazza to return them to the postseason, but their faith may be misplaced. Piazza, an old 37 with a weak arm, won’t have much luck throwing out base runners next year, and in PETCO, his offense will be largely neutralized. While the Padres and their fans may finally have the star they want to boost their lineup in Mike Piazza, this future Hall of Famer’s glow won’t be too bright in San Diego.

WBC now resembles Little League

First came the pitch counts. Major League pitchers throwing in the WBC would be tethered to strict pitch counts to protect their valuable arms.

Then came the opt-outs. Barry Bonds pulled out of the tournament; Randy Johnson and John Smoltz declined invitations to pitch for Team USA; and Alex Rodriguez nearly single-handedly turned the WBC into a mockery of a tournament (or did the WBC turn A-Rod into a mockery of himself?).

But the latest rule transcends the other two. The World Baseball Classic will feature a mercy rule. Now, this grand tournament is no better off than a Little League game.

According to the latest from the WBC, the mercy rule is similar in spirit to the one in place during Little League games:

Games will be stopped after five innings when a team is ahead by 15 or more runs and after seven innings when a team is ahead by at least 10 runs. A game can be stopped in the middle of an inning if a team reaches the threshold.

As far as I can tell, WBC organizers felt it necessary to issue this rule so as to avoid potentially embarrassing outcomes. A quick glance at the tournament bracket reveals a few match-ups that could turn ugly fast. In fact, nearly every grouping in the first round features a mismatch.

Let’s take the Dominican Republic’s bracket. The DR team, favored to win the tournament, features numerous All Stars including Miguel Tejada, Pedro Martinez, Albert Pujols, Vladimir Guerrero and David Ortiz.

In the first round, the DR team squares off against Italy. While featuring 25 Major Leaguers, the preliminary Italian roster hardly strikes fear into the hearts of its opponents. The biggest star on the team is 37-year-old Mike Piazza who is still unemployed. He is joined by the likes of Matt Mantei, Mike Gallo, and, uh, Dan Miceli. Their team name is actually the Italian Journeyman.

In team USA’s bracket, USA, Mexico, and Canada all play South Africa. The most experienced player on South Africa’s team hasn’t played above AA ball and most of the guys on the team haven’t advanced beyond Rookie level. Is the South African club going to show up? Might they be mercy ruled out of existence?

In my opinion, chalk this one as just another flaw. The organizers of the World Baseball Classic couldn’t find 16 competitive teams. They’ve managed to field around 12 or 14 teams that are on a fairly even field. (I honestly cannot assess the all-Chinese, non-MLB China team and the few-MLB Chinese Taipei and Japan teams.) But at least two teams are filler, and the Netherlands make it only the strength of colonial ties to Caribbean islands.

Baseball has never been about the mercy rule. Teams must find ways to use pitchers to end the game without giving up innings to valuable arms. Managers in blow outs must find ways to keep their players from getting too discouraged.

But in the WBC the mercy rule now eliminates that. What’s from stopping the South African players from throwing in the towel before too long? And how demoralizing will the first national-televised mercy rule loss be the nation on the wrong end of the 15-run loss? When AA and Rookie Level teenagers are facing the best of the Majors, the kids will lose badly.

In the future, hopefully, WBC organizers can find teams that all have a shot at winning a game or two along the way. Getting beat up is no fun. Just ask the Devil Rays.

Silent Night

Nothing tonight. Sorry folks. If you want to blame someone for my lack of comments on baseball, point your finger at the Law School Admissions Council.

Meanwhile, check out Three True Outcomes for your oft-updated baseball fix plus commentary on other relevant issues throughout the day.

Fans think American players don’t care about WBC…

…and you know what? They’re probably right.

Barry Bonds’ withdrawl from the WBC late Monday night was just another in a long line of prominent All Stars who have pulled out of the WBC. While some top players weren’t invited, others have opted out of the tournament, and rumors abound that even more will choose to sit out the tournament in lieu of Spring Training.

With players pulling out of Team USA (a notable point), ESPN.com posed the question to SportsNation: Do you think players will take the World Baseball Classic seriously? The answer is discouraging for the tournament’s supporters.

According to the poll, only 37 percent of voters think players will take the tournament seriously while 63 percent feel the opposte. (Hurray for polls that do not have “I don’t know” as an answer choice!)

Meanwhile, as a tie-in to the poll, the ever-prolific Jayson Stark offers his take on the players’ views of the upcoming WBC.

We want to love this little tournament. We want it to be a goose bump kind of spectacle on the field. We want it to be a raging success off the field. We want life around the baseball-playing earth to be paralyzed in its grip as it heads for its dramatic climax.

But how come, with not even six weeks left until the first pitch, that isn’t the vibe the WBC is giving off at the moment?

We find ourselves focusing more on the players who aren’t playing than the players who are. And that’s not good.

We find ourselves listening to one baseball person after another gripe about the timing of this event. And that’s not good.

We find ourselves wondering why so many questions haven’t been answered, why ticket sales have been so lukewarm, why Danny Haren qualifies for the team from the Netherlands, why the semifinal games have been scheduled on a March Madness Saturday during the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament — and several thousand other things.

Stark goes on to blame the timing of the tournament. American players, at least, aren’t enthusiastic because of the nature of Spring Training. They would rather have the tournament after the World Series and not during the six weeks they have to prepare for a grueling season.

As one of the louder anti-WBC voices on the Internet, I have been saying this for weeks. Spring Training is not the time to have a tournament with serious intentions. Players aren’t ready for it, and the interest in it is lukewarm to say the least. Major League Baseball and the international baseball community want this to become a tradition like soccer’s World Cup or the Olympics. To do so, they need the support of the game’s stars. If they don’t get that support soon, this tournament may be more of a farce than an international exposition.

Meanwhile, it’s interesting to note that those pulling out of the tournament seem to be representing Team USA. I have yet to see top Latino and top Asian players (other than Hideki Matsui) decline an invitation to play. If this is a question of patriotism, the Americans seem to be losing that battle. While most nations would love to see their team take home the championship, would Americans even care if their team captured the tournament title? I doubt it.

Bonds’ WBC decision raises eyebrows

Barry Bonds’ devotion to the San Francisco Giants is so touching.

Today, citing concern for his health and the competitiveness of the San Francisco Giants, Bonds opted out of the World Baseball Classic. Here’s what Barry had to say:

The timing is just not right. I have too many other responsibilities, too many things I have to take care of that are important to me. I owe it to the city (of San Francisco), my knee, my team, the fans and my family. I have to put my greatest effort right now into all of that.

On his unintentionally comedic Web site, BarryBonds.com, Bonds was even more eloquent:

After the announcement I received a lot of criticism as well as concern from fans and my family and friends. The obvious objections were about my health and whether or not I would be ready to play. In the end, I decided that I can’t take any chances that might jeopardize my season. I don’t want to give the impression that the WBC is not important. I know this means a lot to showcasing our sport worldwide, and the patriotism of playing for Team USA would have been a great honor. I feel what is best for me, my family, the Giants, and our fans is that I sit the WBC out.

Since when did Barry Bonds care about the Giants? For years, Barry has focused on what’s right for him. He wants to break Hank Aaron’s record (or at least the Babe’s mark). Any benefits to the Giants have always seemed tangential.

But now, Bonds is supposedly concerned about his health AND its impact on the Giants. He has other responsibilities. He has concerns about his health. He can’t risk injury by playing in the World Baseball Classic. But he still has to play during Spring Training. Couldn’t he get injured then?

And there is the first red flag: Bonds cites the weak injury excuse. So then is Bonds really being a team player? Not exactly.

Yesterday, Bonds announced to the world that he refuses to bat second in the Giants lineup. This remark came just a short while after manager Felipe Alou pondered using his feared slugger in the second. At this point in his career, Bonds said, it doesn’t work for him.

Why not, I say. Bonds, with his monster OBP and monster bat, would enjoy a greater level of protection batting second than fourth. Pitchers would have to face him because they wouldn’t be able to pitch around the 2-3-4 guys in the lineup. Bonds would still get his cuts and still get on base. He just wouldn’t get all of the RBIs. No stat-padding for you, Barry.

It’s hard to deny that his batting second would help the team. Just like it’s hard to believe that Barry Bonds is opting out of the WBC over concerns about its potential impact on the Giants’ season.

So as Bonds brushes aside questions about the WBC better than A-Rod ever could, baseball fans will be left wondering about his motivation. Is Bonds concerned with the Olympic-style drug tests or is it something more basic? Barry just doesn’t want to do something that Barry doesn’t want to do. Either way, it’s the same old song and dance from one of the game’s greatest who has never embraced his fans.

Benson trade won’t net much for O’s

Sorry, folks. I have to do a cross-posting tonight. I’m too tired to write more! This post was originally written for and posted in its entirety at Statistically Speaking at the Most Valuable Network.

The lost Orioles are at it again.

This time, the Team With No Plan has landed New York outcast Anna Benson and her husband pitcher Kris Benson in exchange for reliever Jorge Julio and prospect hurler Chris Maine. Unless new pitching coach Leo Mazzone can work some magic, this trade won’t bring much to Baltimore.

For the Mets last year, Benson seemed perfectly average but had exceedingly poor peripherals. He made 28 starts and threw to an ERA of 4.13. His ERA+, a park-adjusted number, was 101. You can’t get much more average than that. In 174.1 innings, he gave up 171 hits while walking 49 and striking out just 95. His 4.90 K/9 IP was the lowest of his career and his 1.94 K/BB rate is fairly awful. Additionally, Benson gave up 24 home runs last year.

All of these numbers raise red flags in my mind for one reason: Park Effects. Kris Benson, making 16 of 28 starts in a pitcher’s park, enjoyed the deadening effects of Shea Stadium. Let’s look at his splits: In those 16 starts, Benson threw to an ERA of 3.66 while giving up just 8 home runs in 98.1 innings. On the road, Benson threw to an ERA of 4.74 while surrendering an astounding 16 home runs in 76 innings.

According to the Bill James 2006 Handbook, Shea Stadium was a good place to pitch when it came to home runs. The park effect for home runs in Shea Stadium was 90. It was 10 percent harder to hit a home run in Shea Stadium than in the rest of the parks, on average, in the National League.

So what happens to Benson when he moves to Baltimore?

To continue reading “Benson trade won’t net much for O’s” please click here. Be sure to check out the rest of the Most Valuable Network while you’re there.

Red Sox Nation showing signs of Theo-itis

As a Yankee fan, I am often criticized for my partisanship when it comes to matters involving the Boston Red Sox. With a few exceptions, however, I like to think that I am a fair judge of the Sox.

I respect the team while rooting against them. My main complaints are with the fans (and yes, the same complaints hold true for Yankee fans as well). The sense of entitlement coming out of both camps is off-putting to say the least. But another aspect of the New England’s Red Sox Nation bothers me as well: The recent love affair with Theo Epstein is, in my mind, overplayed.

Across the Internet, Red Sox fans are jumping for joy. Let’s review.

I think this enthusiasm is misplaced. Theo Epstein just can’t magically solve all of the Red Sox’s – or any team’s – problems.

Epstein is a very good General Manager. Only 33, he’s put together an impressive record working with the second biggest budget in the game. He brought a World Championship to a seemingly cursed franchise. Clearly, he has a development plan as the Red Sox now boast a potent farm system put together largely on his watch.

But at the same time, Theo is still a very young GM feeling his way around the organization. Much of the pieces of the 2004 World Series championship were brought in before Epstein’s time. Larry Lucchino, this winter’s villain, was as much a part of the Schilling deal as Epstein was. So the 2004 team was a bit of an Epstein/Lucchino/Duquette hybrid, as much as it pains the Red Sox to hear it. The parts secured by Epstein may have pushed the team over the top, but the foundation was in place long before Epstein arrived.

Meanwhile, in 2005, Epstein finally had the chance to put together his own version of the Red Sox. Many of the stars and spare parts that made the 2004 team a success were free agents, and most of them left for greener pastures. While Epstein put together a solid team in 2005, by the end of the season, the Sox flaw’s were on display for everyone to see. This was a team that, dare I say, relied a little too much on numbers and projections. The Sox scored runs by the bushel, but they were closer to the Yankees impersonal no-pitch, all-hit corporate feel in 2005 than they had been in years.

When the Epstein story blew up this off-season, the media latched onto it immediately. It became the cause célèbre in New England. Lucchino became the bad guy, and all of Epstein’s hard work unraveled at the hands of the four-headed and later two-headed GM monster in Boston. While Josh Beckett arrived, some of Epstein’s pet projects, Edgar Renteria among them, were traded. Others have seen their names in print for the past three months.

So as Epstein returns triumphantly to the fray, the Red Sox fans are excited. Here’s the man who will turn the seemingly dire situation at short and in center around. Here’s the man who can calm everyone’s fears that maybe the Sox won’t finish in third place this year. But I’m not so sure of that. Epstein is working within the same parameters of the existing Red Sox front office, and if you believe the rumors, he’s actually been working along side the front office for a few weeks now. So far that short stop hasn’t fallen out of the sky yet.

Epstein’s good; he’s among the top of the game. But he’s not good enough to wish away problems he, in part, helped create. I’m glad he’s back on the Sox just so the media outlets stop talking about it. But I hope Red Sox Nation realizes that Epstein may not be able to solve all of the problems right away. It gets lonely in Boston being charge of a rebuilding Red Sox team.

March schedule warps good intentions behind WBC

Just a six weeks before its first pitches, the World Baseball Classic certainly isn’t lacking for storylines.

Which team will Alex “John Kerry” Rodriguez flip-flop his way toward this week? Will Roger Clemens come out of semi-unretirement to pitch for the US team? Will Mike Piazza, in touch with his Italian heritage, audition himself onto a Major League team? Do people named Sharnol Adriana and Jurjen van Zijl really play baseball?

And let’s not forget the Cuba Question. Will the Bush Administration allow a Castro-sponsored Cuban team into the tournament? How will this affect baseball’s standing with the IOC?

These storylines are great for the game. As Jared Weiss pointed out at Three True Outcomes, the World Baseball Classic is dominating headlines just two weeks before the Super Bowl, the biggest sports weekend of the winter, if not the year. The conflicts are generating discussion on the Internet, ESPN, and every medium in between.

As an added bonus, baseball fans hungry for the game will get live televized games that count for something from March through the end of October this year. Who could ask for anything more?

Well, I, for one, could. Despite all of the popularity and publicity, the intrigue and interest, I still find myself unsettled by the idea of this March tournament. March, after all, is the time for exhibition and practice. It’s the time for pitch counts and all-slider appearances by All Star starters facing AA lineups during a split squad game. It’s a time for lazy baseball in Florida or Arizona. Is it really a good idea to ratchet up the competition right as players are getting used to playing again?

My first complaint about the World Baseball Classic is its strict adherence to pitch counts. Pitchers have long been the ones who have needed the time during Spring Training. And during those six weeks before Opening Day, pitchers start slow. Their first game appearances are tightly managed affairs. Usually, pitchers will throw just fastballs one game and then just breaking balls another before dipping into a complete repertoire.

Can we really look at the WBC as a serious competition if game 1 starter Johan Santana is throwing 40 pitches and all of them fastballs in the low-90s instead of his usual approach of mid- to high-90s fastballs with devastating breaking pitches? What happens when Buck Martinez has to pull Brad Lidge in the 9th after he’s reached his pitch total? You can bet that managers and owners will be leaning heavily on WBC coaches to limit the wear and tear on their key players. I can’t help but think that pitching limits compromises the tournament from the start.

From a different perspective, pitching counts could also negatively impact teams that rely heavily on Major League arms. As far as I know, MLB pitchers are the only ones in the tournament so far subjected to strict limits. What about pitchers from the Chinese Taipei team? Or non-MLBers on the Venezuelan team? Or the entire roster from the Netherlands? If these teams are throwing out their best pitchers for a long time in an effort to gain an edge while Andy Pettitte and Jake Peavy are limited to 50 pitches each, I don’t see a truly even tournament experience. Don’t get me wrong; I would rather have 50 pitches of Peavy than some no-name from the Netherlands. But the Chinese and Japanese teams will be competitive.

Next up comes the role of bench players on the WBC team rosters. One of the joys of Spring Training is that everyone gets in the lineup. Players play for a little while but everyone gets their at-bats. If the same provision is guaranteed for position players as it is for regular players, we’ll see quite a lineup. But managerial and game strategies will go right out the window. If you have to get your bench in the game, there will be no late-inning substitutions made out of necessity because no one is left on the bench.

(On a side note: I find the injury excuse to be weak. Players could get injured during Spring Training games. In fact, sometimes players even manage the Spring Training shower injury. Playing a sport puts you at risk of injury. Period.)

So then how do you fix the WBC? Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com posed a few ideas yesterday. He suggested a shorter season with the tournament after the World Series. I think that’s an excellent idea. Additionally, Selig and Co. could opt to expand the All Star break by another 10 days and hold the tournament in July. While that could disrupt the pennant race, it would fit well into the flow of a baseball season. A post-postseason tournament may lose a lot of fans to football.

In the end, as Rosenthal noted, those of us who have criticized Selig for not extending the international reach of the game cannot turn around and rail on the World Baseball Classic. It would be hypocritical, to say the least, and for all of my misgivings, I am looking forward to seeing these games played. I’m looking forward to the national battles and the stories the tournament generates around the globe.

I can confidently say, however, that I think this tournament would be much more entertaining and competitive if played over two weeks in July or following the World Series at the end of an abbreviated season. Then, we could have a real World Baseball Classic.

Teixeira, Giles deals don’t match up

Let’s look at two players who avoided arbitration today: Rangers’ first baseman Mark Teixeira and Braves’ second baseman Marcus Giles.

These two days were announced within hours of each other. Giles signed a one-year $3.85 million deal with the Braves while MVP candidate Teixeira got a two-year $15.4 million deal from Texas. Over at Baseball Musings, David Pinto opined that Teixeira’s signing suggested that Marcus Giles is underpaid.

While he may not have matched Teixeira’s .301/.379/.575 43-homer season, Giles’ .291/.365/.461 line from the second base position is worth more than half of one year of Teixeira’s deal. Or at least that’s how the argument goes. Let’s look at some other numbers.

For this chart, I’m going to compare Teixeira and Giles across three sabermetric measurements. The first is Win Shares, a Jamesian stat that relates a player’s individual stats to the number of wins he contributed to the team. Three win shares is equal to one win.

The second is VORP or Value Over Replacement Player. VORP is defined thusly: “The number of runs contributed beyond what a replacement-level player at the same position would contribute if given the same percentage of team plate appearances.” A replacement player is the next available option; that means, either the first guy called up to the Majors from AAA or the option the waiver wire.

The third is WARP-3, a Baseball Prospectus stat, that looks at Wins Above Replacement Level. The rational is similar to that of VORP.

Win Shares VORP WARP-3
Marcus Giles 23 48.8 8.1
Mark Teixeira 33 73.1 10.5

What we see first is very little variation across the three statistics. Based on Win Shares, Giles contributed 7.6 wins while Teixeira contributed 11. Based on VORP, Teixeira’s value was approximately 1.5 times that of Giles’. Based on WARP-3, Giles was 8.1 wins better than replacement while Teixeira was just 2.4 wins better than Giles.

So what these numbers show is that David Pinto’s original feeling was correct. These salaries do not match up with the production offered by these two players. Either Teixeira is being overpaid or Giles is being underpaid.

It’s hard to say that Teixeira is underpaid simply because he will be 26 in April and has gotten steadily better each year. He ought to be a perennial contender for the MVP award and has a Gold Glove, for what that’s worth, as well. The Rangers’ doling out $7.7 million a year for his services seems more than reasonable.

Giles on the other hand is certainly underpaid. He’s one of the game’s top second baseman and, at 27, is entering his peak player years. He doesn’t enjoy the same home park benefits that Teixeira enjoys in Texas. Even so, his production is clearly not that inferior to Teixeira’s.

With two players near the top of their respective positions locked up to contracts on the same day, it’s interesting to compare them and wonder what happened. Here’s one solution: Maybe Scott Boras, Teixeira’s agent, is really that much better of an agent that Joe Bick, the man representing Giles. For all the hype and negative publicity surrounding Boras, he really just might be that much better at getting his clients the deals they deserve (and sometimes even the deals they don’t deserve).


RSS River Ave. Blues

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  • Thursday Night Open Thread August 21, 2014
    Your browser does not support iframes. Earlier today, MLB announced that Robinson Cano, Albert Pujols, Adam Jones, and Yasiel Puig will headline a group of players heading over to Japan to play a five-game All-Star series against the Japanese National Team in November. Ron Washington will manage. The rest of the roster will be unveiled […]Post from: River Av […]
    Michael Axisa
  • Yankees avoid sweep; McCarthy shuts out Astros 3-0 August 21, 2014
    I don’t think you could have asked for a better finish to the series considering how the first two games played out. Brandon McCarthy led the Yankees to a 3-0 shutout win over the Astros on Thursday afternoon in the fastest game in New Yankee Stadium history. This one took only two hours and seven […]Post from: River Ave. Blues A New York Yankees blogYankees […]
    Michael Axisa
  • Heyman: Yankees considered among likely landing spots for Jon Lester August 21, 2014
    Via Jon Heyman: Along with the Cubs, the Yankees are viewed as a likely landing spot for free agent-to-be left-hander Jon Lester this offseason. Heyman says a reunion with the Red Sox is considered unlikely. The Cubbies are run by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, who obviously know the southpaw from their time in Boston. […]Post from: River Ave. Blues A New York […]
    Michael Axisa
  • Game 125: Please don’t get swept by the Astros at home August 21, 2014
    The Yankees and Astros wrap up their three-game series this afternoon and, amazingly, the Yankees are trying to avoid getting swept. They’ve lost four of five games to Houston this year, including these last two games at home. The Yankees have lost seven of their last nine games overall and their postseason hopes are fading, […]Post from: River Ave. Blues A […]
    Michael Axisa

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