Matsuzaka, Igawa, Iwamura Updates

Saturday, December 9, 2006

The Red Sox have five days to close a deal with Matsuzaka. Not just agree to a deal, but have him pass a physical as well. However, the Red Sox and and his agent, Scott Boras are far from agreeing to any deal. It is believed that Boras is asking for a six year deal, worth about 12 million dollars annually. According to sources close to the Red Sox, they are "pessimistic" about striking a deal. If no deal is agreed upon, the 51.1 posting fee will be returned to the Red Sox and Matsuzaka will have to wait til next year to pitch in the Major Leagues. The Yankees, who bid 26 million for Kei Igawa still have plenty of time to sketch out a deal. However, there seems to be no advancement in negotiations. With the money the Yankees possess though, there is no doubt in my mind they will be able to sign the south paw. The Devil Rays have made some progress, meeting Friday with agent Alan Nero, but financially, are very far apart. They have until December 15 to finish a deal and both sides believe a deal will be completed by then.



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5 comments:

Anonymous 10:17 AM CST  

if the cubs don't get after Baldelli, I will be very upset...Heres why...

He is very comparable to Wells offensively speaking and is so much cheaper. We need a CF and he can be it. Unload the farm for either him or Crawford. Do what it takes. Baldelli's numbers are very good and if he would bat in the 2 hole behind Sori and in front of Lee, he would have protection like he has never had. I think, if healthy, he would have huge numbers in wrigley...Thoughts???

KL 10:20 AM CST  

awesome graphs! I also heard the cubs signed jason marquis just a heads up

Anonymous 10:26 AM CST  

great read Eli on Baldelli!!!
But let me offer an alternative for those teams who may be hot to trot for Wells. Rocco Baldelli. He is three years younger than Wells, has a much more team-friendly contract, and may be every bit as good. Stay with me.

According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, Baldelli signed an extension in November 2005 to avoid arbitration. His base salary will be $750K in 2007 (yes, $750,000) and $2.25M in 2008. Rocco can earn performance bonuses based on plate appearances that could lift his pay to $2.5M in 2007 and perhaps $4.5M in 2008. Furthermore, the club has a $6M option in 2009, $8M in 2010, and $9M in 2011. At most, Baldelli will cost $30M over the next five years.

Beginning in 2008, Wells will make $30M over the course of 1 1/2 seasons and will probably cost his new employer $160M over the 2008-2015 period. Carlos Beltran signed a seven-year, $119M contract with the New York Mets in January 2005. J.D. Drew signed a five-year, $55M deal that same month. He opted out and agreed to a new five-year, $70M offer from the Boston Red Sox this week. Using Drew's increase as an indication of wage inflation, one could argue that salaries have grown 27% since Beltran inked his contract with the Mets.

In other words, Carlos would now be worth about $21.5M per year. If we assume that Wells is not quite at Beltran's level, we can back that figure off a bit and come up with $20M. The fact that Alfonso Soriano signed an 8/$136M contract with the Chicago Cubs this offseason also suggests to me that Wells won't be far off that $20M mark for a similar number of years.

OK, so who would you rather have - Wells for an average annual salary of $20M or Baldelli for $6M? The difference in pay alone should allow the team with Baldelli (rather than Wells) to acquire another premium player.

Let's take a look at how Baldelli compared to Wells last year.

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
Baldelli 92 364 59 110 24 6 16 57 14 70 10 1 .302 .339 .533 .872
Wells 154 611 91 185 40 5 32 106 54 90 17 4 .303 .357 .542 .899
Wells had superior counting stats because he played in 62 more games. However, Baldelli's rate stats are nearly the same. Wells' home ballpark is slightly more friendly for RHB than Baldelli's. According to The Bill James Handbook, Rogers Centre played to a park index for RHB of 101 AVG and 131 HR in 2006, whereas Tropicana Field played to a 102 and 119, respectively.

If we dig down a bit deeper and compare their performances on the road, one can't help but come to the conclusion that Baldelli may be every bit as good as Wells. Both center fielders call the AL East their home so the level of competition has been essentially the same. Batters hit .254/.330/.404 vs. the pitchers Baldelli faced and .257/.338/.410 vs. the pitchers Wells faced last year.

2006 Road Stats

AVG OBP SLG
Baldelli .298 .323 .534
Wells .276 .340 .422
Career Road Stats

AVG OBP SLG
Baldelli .286 .313 .467
Wells .276 .323 .455
This analysis may be moot if not for the fact that the Tampa Bay Devil Rays seem open to the idea of trading Baldelli. TB has a surplus of young outfielders, including Carl Crawford, Elijah Dukes, B.J. Upton, and Delmon Young. Last time I checked, teams only need three starting outfielders. Put Crawford in LF, Young in RF, and one of Baldelli, Dukes, or Upton in CF. That means two of the latter three could conceivably be traded for much-needed pitching help.

Tampa Bay will certainly require equal value in return for a player such as Baldelli. Although signing Wells as a free agent will only cost a first or second round draft pick, the winning team will need to outbid all the others - not something that can be counted upon. But the reality is that Wells will cost a lot more than a draft choice. About 160 million more dollars than just a draft pick.

You can have Wells. I'll take Baldelli.

Eli 10:52 AM CST  

that is excellent post. wells and baldelli are very comparable except baldelli is less in power. baledlli's total contract is a little bit over wells' possible contract for one year. wells will probably command a 7/140-150. the devil rays should only trade him if they can get atleast one proven player in return.

Anonymous 5:41 PM CST  

Baldelli isnt in the in the same league as Wells. Vernon is a prototypical five tool player. Wells is an exceptional defensive player ( 3 gold gloves) while baldelli isnt. The person who wrote that baldelli is better than Wells said that they had comparable numbers because Baldelli had played 62 les games than Wells meaning BAldelli was injured and Wells was healthy. Baldelli is injury prone. He missed all of 2005. No way can you say hes in the same league as Vernon. Stop hatin on Canada!