Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Now How Much Would You Pay? Dodgers 10, Expos 2
First, remember that prior to the 2002 trade deadline, rumors flew about a Beltre-for-Rolen deal. While I don't think the Dodgers would have come out on the short end of that stick this year, the next few are the ones we need to consider, and it's altogether possible that Beltre is going to be a premier third baseman in the foreseeable future. Age is the principle factor here.
Second: how much are third basemen with similar VORP getting paid? Well, that's a tiny number right now. Belly's got a 69.8 VORP, tying him with the Cards' Scott Rolen:
|Player||Team||Age||YTD VORP||2004 Salary|
When making decisions like this, you have to ask yourself, "What did they do in the past?" and, "What will they do in the future?"
- Rolen hasn't had a VORP under 20 one year of his career. He's signed through 2010.
- Mora at 32 is facing the decline phase of his career; his current 66.0 VORP is almost certainly a career year for the slugger, whose best VORP score previously was 41.6 in 2003. He's signed through 2006.
- A-Rod, famously, is the richest player in baseball, and is signed through 2007 with options to 2010.
- Ramirez may have peaked already; his first year with Pittsburgh he had a 60.7 VORP and hasn't crossed 20 since. He's signed through this year.
- Lowell is another guy who's likely on his way down because of age, but has never been worse than a 38.8 VORP. He's signed through 2007.
- Chavez makes only $5.7M this year but will slowly increase to $12M in 2010. He hasn't had a VORP below 60 in his previous two years; injury has sapped his value this year.
"A risk? Come on, they're paying Brownie (Kevin Brown) $15 million a year until he's 41," Sheffield was quoted as saying. "They just gave [Darren] Dreifort $55 million when he's only won 39 games in his career and had arm surgery. They gave Shawn Green $13 million a year. And how about Carlos Perez -- paying him $6 million a year?"How much are you willing to pay?" he asks. Better put, "how much are you willing to lose?"
"And you talk about risk, that I'm a risk? That's an insult. ... I'm getting less than Dreifort? I'm getting just $3 million more than Carlos Perez? It's not my fault they signed Perez to that stupid contract. It's not my fault they gave Eric Karros a no-trade clause when he's got no value. It's not my fault they gave Greenie all that money.
"They give out all of these dumb contracts, and when it comes to me -- nothing. And I'm even willing to defer a lot of the money for that. They were saying how they lost $25 million. I almost laughed in their face."
Lost in the Beltre-buzzsaw was Ishii's gun-to-the-head performance, two earned runs in seven and a third innings, as well as a remarkable outing for newcomer Masao Kida. Ishii earned himself another start, but that fact alone makes me nervous; he hasn't proved he can be consistent, the key word. The fact that his job hangs by a thread -- and might be Nomo if he fails -- is not especially comforting.
Props also to Alex Cora, who channeled A-Rod for one at bat yesterday.
My fear is that giving Beltre a long-term contract will give us a content third baseman with job security and no urgency to perform. And a contract starting at just $6 million a year that's heavily incentive-laden is wishful thinking. Remember that Beltre's agent is Scott Boras.
I'm figuring Beltre is going to get a contract similar to what Miguel Tejada got last year, in the 6-year, $72 million neighborhood. And remember that Tejada had a lousy season in his walk year.
Jack Wilson leads the NL at 9.7. Surprisingly Izturis is at -3.3. Then again Jeter is -2.2.
Beyond that, what are we saying here. Beltre only performs when motivated? Um, okay, let's try the converse of that. What's going to motivate him not to perform in 2005? His desire to be booed or called a disappointment? His desire not to be in a pennant race?
I also think it's inappropriate to talk about "inconsistency" in Beltre's case. Ishii is someone who is inconsistent - his good performances come at random. More appropriate for Beltre is "development." Unless you think Beltre is going to have an appendectomy every other year.
Jon -- you forget that he had a weak 2002 and 2003, both pretty far removed from his appendectomy year of 2001. We have good reason to be skeptical that his production will continue to be this good in the future. Heck, record-breaking performance is always exceptional, so even if we were discussing a contract for Mike Lowell, you wouldn't pay him as though he were going to perform this way indefinitely. As they say in the financial ads, past performance is no guarantee of future results. This isn't Barry Bonds we're talking about.