Monday, September 24, 2007

Puh-lease, no Feliz Multi-Year Contract

According to the Chronicle, Pedro Feliz is looking to get a multi-year contract. Just say no, Giants, to this idiotic offer.

Feliz had his chance this year to show that he can hit better, and while he has greatly improved his strikeout rate, in fact to around elite status for a while, about 90% contact rate - or 10% strikeout rate - for May, June, July, though he started regressing in August and is back to his hacktastic best in September, his batting average hasn't improved at all, in fact, his hitting line is no better than it was last year when he struck out so many more times (.249/.287/.421/.708 in 2007 vs. .248/.281/.428/.709 in 2006).

Plus, his RBI production has dropped greatly despite striking out less and therefore putting more balls into play. Apparently all those extra balls he hit into play were all turned into non-productive outs - essentially - relative to last year, since his hitting line is unchanged despite turning 40 strikeouts into balls put into play and his RBIs are down greatly.

I'm OK with giving him another one year contract, because that leaves the door open to upgrade 3B after 2008 and we don't really have any good options coming up the minors until Villalona reaches AA and is successful there or above, and the rules of baseball says that we need to field a 3B. But, I'm sorry, he could be the next Brooks Robinson at 3B, but with offense that much worse than the average 3B, let alone the better hitters, his defense couldn't be that good to make up the difference because his OPS is about that of an average shortstop, which is bad for a 3B.

I would rather give sign someone cheap to man 3B, whether vet or failed prospect free agent, and go with that guy. Or maybe trade for a 3B using our pitching as trade bait. But I cannot take a multi-year contract to Feliz, I can't believe that another team would do that, but if so, god bless them and him, but I would want the Giants to pass.

The free agent class is nothing to cheer about either, other than probably A-Rod. I would sign Russell Branyan to a one year plus option, and see what he can do. If he can hit his career batting lines vs. LHP and RHP, though he would have a low BA and OBP, his SLG is so high that his OPS is right there for the average 3B hitter. I don't know what his defense is (probably very horrible given how good his batting line is), but I would rather give him a shot (with Aurilia as backup; I see Aurilia as our backup in 2008 if anyone should falter anywhere, getting a lot of time at a position because the guy who started first failed to perform) than to see Feliz get a multi-year contract hitting that poorly the past two years.

Or if there is a good defensive 3B free agent willing to sign for a one year contract, then get himself instead of Feliz. There is no player out there on free agency worth giving a multi-year contract other than A-Rod, given the Giants being so far behind the other teams in the NL West in 2008 most probably, we need to be looking ahead to 2009. Signing Feliz to a multi-year contract just doesn't make sense unless he's getting the same amount of money as he is in 2007 and spreading it over the multi-years.

3 comments:

  1. I already commented about this over at MVN, but I wonder if Pedro is unlucky or declining. His BABIP is only .251 which sounds unlucky (average hitter regresses to .290 mean). But on the other hand his BABIP has declined every year... Maybe he's having increasing trouble against decent pitchers? His slugging is more consistent but isn't really high enough to justify keeping him with an OBP < 300.

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  2. Actually, from what I understand, it is only pitchers who regress to a .300 mean (I've seen both .290 and .300 used and quoted, but the saber-guru I follow has been using .300 so I use .300).

    For hitters, it is my understanding that they fluctuate to a career mean that they regress to until their skills deteriorate and their rate declines likewise.

    To get your head around this reasoning, if there is anyone out there like that, think of it this way. A starting pitcher faces a number of different batters during the game, so over the vast ocean of pitchers, their mean BABIP should approximate the collective BABIP for all the hitters, since most pitchers cannot affect their BABIP much (however, Tom Tippett of Diamond Mind showed that certain pitchers can reduce their BABIP below this mean and TangoTiger recently showed that one can see how a pitcher affects his BABIP over a SEVEN year period, hence why you don't see much in one season's worth of stats).

    However, clearly there are hitters who can affect their BABIP (Bonds and Teddyball to start with) and others who don't have much of a clue (Feliz), so it would make sense that an individual batter would regress to his career mean and not the collective mean.

    What keeps the pitcher's mean around .300 is that the player population has been keeping it around there. When a player starts deteriorating and is unable to hit for as high a BABIP as he could before, eventually he declines enough that there is a replacement player who CAN hit for a higher BABIP and takes his place on the roster.

    That's why I think Feliz is on the downslope of the back of his career, his declining BABIP is not a good sign, since most players bounce up and down. In addition, players peak around 27-31 typically, and Feliz is now 32 years old. Bill James had a rule about players on the down side of their career, when predicting how they might do, and that is you can only hope for him to repeat his last season one season ahead. So that's why I'm OK with a one year contract, he's familiar, plays great defense, and most of the free agents are just as bad OR too old to commit to a multi-year contract.

    That's why I think that Durham is possibly on the steep downslope of his career as well, facing retirement. He's had a huge drop this year in BABIP and, technically, there was no clear injury that resulted in it. But much like Winn's season last year when he had his knee problems all year, I wonder if that groin problem Durham had early has affected him all season long. I'm pretty sure that groin problems can linger, even if he's not put on the DL, hopefully a winter's rest will heal it and he's back to normal in spring training and the start of 2008. The sooner we can trade him for prospects, the better, plus then Frandsen can play at 2B.

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  3. Alez Ridriguez and Mike Lowell are the only free agent infielders I have any interest in including our incumbants (Feliz, Vizquel, and Klesko). I would rather just go with a starting infield of Ortmeier, Durham, Aurilia, & Frandsen with a bench of MaClain & Velez next year then to waste any money on any other options that will not be long term solutions.

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