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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

So, How Bad Is The Josh Hamilton Deal?

If I told you the Josh Hamilton deal was really, really bad, you wouldn't be surprised, right? BPro's Ben Lindbergh, at ESPN Insider:
Because Hamilton doesn't add any value via the walk, most of his offensive performance hinges on what happens when he makes contact. The outcome of a batted ball is dependent on two things: speed and quality of contact. The early 30s are when bat speed starts to slip and reaction time suffers. If Hamilton had better command of the strike zone, his ability to take walks could compensate for his inevitable declines in other areas. As it is, his offensive value is closely tied to skills that soon start to fade in free agents of a certain age.
Which is to say, yes, very, very bad. He's like buying into Vlad Guerrero with more off-the-field problems, way lower walk rate, and starting with his age 32 season. Or maybe Vernon Wells would be a better comp, at least on the field. Regardless, Hamilton's on schedule for a 3.4 WARP season in 2013 according to PECOTA, which figures to be a pretty lousy bet for the kind of money the Angels are throwing at the problem. The always readable Sam Miller exits thusly:
Jerry Dipoto has been the Angels’ general manager for 13 months, and he has now made a whopping 13 moves at the big-league level. He has shown two skills that can make for a great GM: he’s great at picking up small pieces (especially in the bullpen) for cheap, and he’s great at making the big deal happen, which can be as easy as but also much more difficult than "offer the most money." Those big ones are the moves that get GMs into trouble. From a surplus-value calculation, the Albert Pujols deal alone threatens to undo all the other small, savvy moves Dipoto has made. Yes, the Angels have the money to outrun that mistake, and they have the money to outrun the Josh Hamilton mistake, if it is one. But avoiding the mistake in the first place would be best.
That, from his track record thus far, seems unlikely.

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