98 thoughts on “November 21, 2013: Kinsler for Fielder”

  1. In Calcaterra's write-up on the Kinsler/Fielder deal, he questions the logic of large contracts:

    That kind of regret over big contracts is pretty widespread these days. The Angels are likely wishing they hadn’t given big, long deals to Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. The Yankees clearly regret the Alex Rodriguez deal. Joe Mauer‘s deal runs through 2018 and, given that he’s no longer a catcher, it can’t make the Twins brass feel great. Mark Teixeira‘s deal is a drag. Matt Kemp might crumble into dust before he’s halfway into his $160 million contract. The list goes on and on.

    Something felt like it didn't belong in that list...

    Dude '13 rWAR
    Pujols 1.5
    Hamilton 1.5
    Rodriguez 0.3
    Mauer 5.4
    Teixeira -0.2
    Kemp 0.5
    1. Mauer's been worth $6M per fWAR so far on his new deal. I definitely believe there's a premium for really elite players, so I'll take that any day of the week. Morneau turned out to be about $6.8M/fWAR, which I think is better than I'd expected when he signed that 6-year deal.

  2. Arcade Fire Presale going on this morning.

    Presale: 11/21 10:00a
    Code: FLAME
    Concert: Target Center, 3/8/2014

    Presale's don't necessarily guarantee best seats but help make sure you do get tix and don't have to deal with the unwashed masses day of sale.

    1. I forsee this being the biggest take-up of any of your presale codes.
      Not me, though. Arcade Fire's never really got me thinking more than "Like this song but not that one."
      Listened to the video of the first single from the new album and thought "Wow this goes on forever. Would be nice at 3-4 minutes."

  3. The Wild win, but Josh Harding gave up six goals over the last two nights. I wonder if he's tired. Unfortunately, Backstrom isn't available, and Darcy Kuemper has faced sixteen shots this year and given up six goals.

        1. maybe.
          Imjust saying I wish the two teams would play on different nights. or staggered start times.

    1. I'm really glad that Pominville's putting up the #'s he is this season (17 pts overall & 10 pts/+5 in Nov). His assists are way down, but he's on pace for 46 goals. His career year in that category was 34 back in '06-'07 and he netted 30 in '11-'12.

  4. first, there was that Olive Garden review. Now, Restaurant Reviews from George Bailey.

    Glasserie, 95 Commercial St.

    “You can get anything here. Just anything. They’ve got one meal that comes with potatoes and cheese and an egg on it. An egg, right on top of dinner. There are people who are dead right now. Right now! They’re finished living. But not us. We’re here, and we’re alive, and we’re young, and we’re eating potatoes with eggs on them.”

  5. For those who are curious, Grey and I (and hopefully Philo and maybe CoC and Super Cool Beez) are meeting at Cowboy Jack's in Bloomington around 7pm tonight. Let's make it a big ol' caucus of fun.

      1. I'm aware (I've been as it's just two blocks from my brother's house). It was Super Cool Beez's selection.

  6. I *literally* LOL'ed when I saw that the Tigers paid $30 million to unload Fielder. Because #playyousissies.

  7. I know this video is going around, but I have only one thing to say about it:


    And that is: "Are we having fun yet?"

    1. Rowling’s betray her reliance on suspense: “Harry looked around,” “He waited,” “Harry stared.” (A list of her most frequently used sentences could be repurposed into a script for an absurdist play called Waiting for Voldemort.)

      1. If I ever do Play with the Prose again, I'm going to weave those Twilight quotes into a David Lee Roth-Gary Cherone one act play.

    1. I’m not a fan of their front office. I’m not a fan of their scouting or player-development groups.

      They have the best farm system in baseball.

      Huh? How do you explain that?

      1. Exactly as he does, by saying they lucked into things going very well for them, particularly Houston passing on Buxton.

            1. Don't get me wrong though - I go back and forth with him on this stuff all the time. I think he gives Terry Ryan far too little credit. His response to that is always "Bill Smith is still in the organization." He's not willing to give the benefit of the doubt. He admits as much in the post. I think he needs to give some, but I get where he's coming from.

              1. When the Twins get it right, they get it very right. It seems to me, though, that they don’t get it right all that often. They just plain do not sign significant free agents. The Johan Santana trade tree has been a disaster. Trades of Wilson Ramos, Ben Revere and Denard Span look only slightly better. When drafting outside premium position, they’re hopelessly conservative, and even their high-floor, low-ceiling guys have tended not to have such high floors, after all.

                It's easy to cherry-pick bad trades or bad draft picks for any organization. But that's no way to evaluate a farm system. We need to know whether the farm system as a whole produces better outcomes, worse outcomes, or about the same outcomes as can be expected, given draft order and costs.

                If we go back 20 years in the draft, the Twins have had a total of 9 picks in the top 10 of their respective drafts:

                1994: Todd Walker (8)
                1996: Travis Lee (2; granted free agency on a technicality and signed with the Snakes as a FA)
                1997: Cuddy (9)
                1998: Ryan Mills (6)
                1999: BJ Garbe (5)
                2000: Adam Johnson (2)
                2001: Mauer (1)
                2012: Buxton (2)
                2013: Kohl Stewart (4)

                Notice the big gap between Mauer and Buxton. Because, you know, the Twins were pretty good for most of the 2000s. In fact, between Mauer and Buxton, the Twins only had one pick higher than 20th for over a decade (Aaron Hicks, 14th).

                So, yea, the latter half of the 1990s was pretty bad for the farm system's performance if you look only at 1st round picks. Mills, Garbe, and Johnson were washouts, and the organization screwed up royally on Travis Lee. Those are bad outcomes made much worse by the fact that they were very high draft picks.

                But is there evidence that the Twins did worse than expected with their middling draft positions in the 2000s? Span (2002, 20th), Perkins (2004, 22nd), and Garza (2005, 25th) were wins (and maybe Revere, 2007, 28th, too). Waldrop (2004, 25th), Plouffe (2004, 20th), and Parmelee (2005, 20th) may still still fall into the win column. The only real dud that I see since 2002 is Matt Moses (2003, 21st), since the jury is still out on the last 4-5 years worth of picks.

                This casual empiricism of course doesn't account for the "what ifs" of those picks. Somebody else can address those questions more systematically.

                1. So, looking at first round draft picks they've had a good number of people turn into major leaguers? That's not exactly to their credit, as that's exactly what should happen.

                  I consider the trades - and they're not just cherry picked, those are the trades they made - a better indicator, as that involves a team actually giving something up to get something else. And this is where I differ with my brother in law; he sees the Bill Smith trades and the Terry Ryan trades as part and parcel. I disagree. I think Span/Revere for Meyer/May looks a lot different than the Santana/Ramos trades.

                  1. Well, if they did NOT have a good number of first-round picks turn into major leaguers, that would be an indictable offense, no?

                    "exactly what should happen" is part of the evaluative standard. Are they worse than average? Better? About the same? I haven't seen the evidence that allows us to test.

                2. The Johan Santana trade tree has been a disaster.

                  I would like him to defend that assertion. The Twins didn't do well with the results of the trade, but now, I think the Twins "won" the trade.

                  1. Where they lost was actually deciding to make a trade instead of keeping him and taking the draft picks when he walked at the end of the year. They would have won the division in 2008 and would hopefully have done better with those picks than what they ended up with. Of course, if they had kept Gomez or Hardy, that trade would have looked much better now.

                    1. What they did with the players in that trade doesn't affect the evaluation of that trade. The Tigers don't lose the Fielder trade if they swap Kinsler for Dozier.

                      I don't think keeping Santana and getting the draft picks would put them ahead of the trade unless they picked Mike Trout. The Angels used their second pick of the 2009 draft on him, the one immediately after the pick from the Mets. Of course, the Twins could have simply picked him themselves instead of Gibson.

                  2. Here you go:

                    Santana WAR for Mets: 12.6 (4.8, 3.0, 3.4, 1.4).
                    All players combined WAR for Twins + J.J. Hardy (not counting negative .5 from Humber and Mulvey): 5.6

                    This doesn't factor in the money, obviously, but the Twins were never going to pay Santana that much anyway, so it doesn't make sense to factor it in too much.

                    1. But you have to factor it in. Plus, the Twins can't count beyond 2008 from Santana.

                      Twins got:
                      $12.5 million salary relief (going off memory since can't find the deal he signed with the Twins)

                      Mets got:
                      $137 million payroll obligations

                      The last one needs to be underlined and bolded. Santana refused to rescind his no-trade clause unless he got paid very well.

                    2. If you're only going to count the 2008 WAR for Santana, then you shouldn't count the salary beyond 2008, at least for the perspective of what the Twins gave up/got.

                      In 2008, Santana's WAR was 4.8. The Twins netted 4.8 WAR from all the players, plus Hardy, and Hoey.

                    3. No, you have to count it from the Mets' perspective because they had to guarantee it. The Twins were only on the hook for 2008. Normally, so would the Mets except for the no-trade clause. I think most players treating the no-trade clause as a minor thing now makes people forget that it was the big stick Santana used to get his extension.

                    4. What they did with the players in that trade doesn't affect the evaluation of that trade. - Sean

                      I get that the trade doesn't happen without the extension, but, for precisely that reason, you've either got to count Santana's salary and his subsequent added value, or you count neither.

                      Also, by your quote, we should discount Hardy's 2.2 WAR (and Hoey's -.3), which means the Twins actually netted. 2.9 WAR from that trade. The Twins would have gotten significantly more value from keeping Santana that year (4.8 WAR) and letting him walk.

                    5. You have to evaluate the trade based on knowledge you have when it happens. The Twins traded for young players with lot of team control and that has a lot of value. Some of the value happened with those players on the field and some happened with future players on the field.

                      So it's not entirely fair for me to say the Twins won it based on how Santana performed for the Mets, but I don't think it's a terrible trade. I do think you could argue keeping him was the better choice, especially since the draft is so hit-or-miss. Keep him and draft Shelby Miller (19th, entirely possible if the Mets received four or five fewer wins and still signed Santana) and it looks brilliant. I don't recall average value of a 15-20 pick and a 30+ pick, but it's probably a wash with trading Santana. The Twins opted for known quantities instead.

                    6. At the time, sure, it made sense to pull the trigger. In hindsight, it seems like it was a mistake. Trueblood was evaluating the Twins results and asking whether he should give their talent evaluators the benefit of the doubt. The Santana trade weighs against that in hindsight. It's a forgivable mistake in a vacuum, but I think it was a mistake. And there may or may not have been other packages out there.

                    7. I don't think the Santana trade was a mistake at all. One year of Santana at $12.5M is paying him for, say, 2 wins, so at best you get, say, 5 marginal wins out of the deal for one year (and that's assuming he has one of his 7-WAR seasons again, which obviously wasn't guaranteed considering that it hasn't happened since), then he's gone and the supplemental draft pick compensation is roughly equal to getting someone like Nick Punto. By your count, the players that the Twins got back in the deal were worth about 5 wins over replacement. I would argue that that is a conservative count, because it doesn't take into account the money the Twins saved in 2008, and it also doesn't take into account that the Twins would have looked even better off had they just held on to Gomez (or Hardy for that matter.) But at any rate, by just that conservative estimate, the trade is a wash if the alternative is to keep Santana for a year.

                      The other option is to commit $137M to Santana over 7 years. I think that would have been the worst of all options, because it would have been essentially a fair deal for Santana, whereas in the other scenarios, you have players who are underpaid. And while I'm not totally against big contracts in general, long contracts to pitchers are especially risky because when they get injured, they tend to get injured very badly and come back as much less effective players. If you have a $150M payroll, you can absorb that downside a lot better than with a $90-$110M payroll.

                      So, factoring in salaries, which are everything in a deal like this, I see it as:

                      5+ marginal wins -- Accept Mets' trade package
                      2-5 marginal wins -- Keep Santana for 1 year
                      0- marginal wins -- Commit $137M to Santana

                    8. Can you really factor in the $12.5 miilion if it went into the owner's pocket and not player salaries?

                    9. Can you really factor in the $12.5 miilion if it went into the owner's pocket and not player salaries?

                      I assume they would have cut $12.5M from somewhere else on the payroll if Santana had been there. In 2007, I think they overreached a bit on their major league budget, which had the consequence of them paying almost nothing in that year's draft (the Revere draft.) Missing the playoffs that year meant no playoff revenue, so I think it was inevitable that they were going to have a lower payroll in '08 than '07.

            2. Replace Buxton with an average No. 2 pick overall in an average year and the farm system is still very good. Maybe not ranked No. 1, but still probably top 5.

        1. Knowing what they know now, I think Houston still passes on Buxton. 18-year-old shortstop that hit .320/.405/.467 plus all the money saved, allowing them to overdraft later? Yes, please.

  8. Junior made the Jr Hi baseball team last week. He's just 1 of 3 6th graders on the team. It probably helped that he had been practicing with the coach and Jr and Sr Hi players for a couple months while most of those that tried out were playing football. In that same time, Trey was playing Fall Ball in Little League, so we figured out that we'll be baseball parents from mid-September to at least mid-June as Trey will be playing co-ed softball at the school during Junior's baseball season and both will be playing Little League in the spring. It could be through July and even August if 1 or both makes an All-Star team. I'm also considering managing Trey's team in Little League.

  9. thank goodness for the Royals. They snatched up Jason Vargas (4 year (!!!)/$32 mil) before the Twins could make a formal offer.

  10. So I tried to get to Beijing last night, but my flight was delayed for two hours... then two more hours because China. In the end, we decided it was far safer and better to just get a hotel here in Jinan for the night and catch the high speed train to Beijing today. This has two bonuses in that, I get to try out the high speed rail and I may get to avoid visiting a customer that I didn't want to visit because I still don't know why we need to go when I had thought the problem was already taken care of. But other than that, nothing that has happened to me this week has made me feel like I enjoy this country.

    1. how many recognizable -- or, perhaps worse, UNrecognizable -- animal parts have you consumed so far?

      1. Well, there was the jellyfish the other night and the "tree fungus", but nothing too crazy.

        However, Thai food >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Chinese food.

        1. However, Thai food >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Chinese food

          I would add Vietnamese food and Burmese food to the left side of that ledger.

  11. can someone get the padre a glass of water? 10 posts in 16 hours. *impressed whistle* that doesn't even include the scheduled posts.

    we rolled back post #6,000 a little while back. not sure if the post count includes unpublished posts or not, so not sure which one it was.

    1. And that sticky Pledge drive post obscuring them all.
      Guess that means it's time to pledge finally...

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