Wednesday, November 07, 2007

First Bad Step: Vizquel for $5.5M

The Giants are reportedly close to signing Vizquel for $5.5M, as reported by Fox Sports on Tuesday, and regurgitated by the Chron here.

I don't understand this: Vizquel has the worse offensive season he has had since probably his rookie season, and having it in his age 40 season suggests more of the same, if not worse, in 2008, his defense, while still good, is not gold glove anymore, the Giants have an all-glove, previously no-hit (he hit nicely in AAA this season) SS prospect in Ivan Ochoa in the system (though he is a free agent) who we could pay a rookie's salary.

Now, the SS free agent pool is pretty crappy, so that might suggest that we rather re-sign Vizquel than dip into that toxic pool, where Royce Clayton, former Giant, seem to get tossed into every year, and yet, every year, someone picks him up. But $5.5M seems totally outrageous, particularly considering it's a $1.5M raise over what they paid him on his first contract. Even accounting for salary inflation, which runs at around 10% per year, that would have put Vizquel at just under $5M, so even with that, he gets a raise.

For what? 2007 was his first year without a Gold Glove win for us. Most state of the art fielding stats have Vizquel as a middle of the crowd infielder now, perhaps slightly above average.

And his offense was offensive this season. Part of it was a horrible April, but the other months were pretty bad too. The better thing is that he was close to his career normal in the second half:

Pre-ASG: .235/.284/.295/.579
Post-ASG: .259/.329/.342/.672
Career: .274/.341/.357/.697

However, the SS position has become an offensive position over the past few years and he is woefully below average there. Last season's league average for NL SS (www.baseball-reference.com):

Average SS: .273/.342/.436/.778

I was expecting him to sign a deal similar to JT Snow in his last season, somewhere in the low to mid $1M range. If this rumor is correct, and he is signed to a $5.5M contract, then I can see why the Giants did not want to sign on for a two year contract, that would only compound the problem.

Now, if Vizquel continues to bat 8th, then we can carry his bat in the lineup, as his relative high OBP would have some value down there as the secondary leadoff hitter (some teams like to put a higher OBP, leadoff type hitter down there to start rallies ahead of our best hitters 1-4). Still, that's a huge chunk of change for average defense and below average offense.

Then again, in the crazy market that is the MLB free agent market, average hitting players today are getting $10M per season, so $5.5M seems like a bargain then. I like that teams want to be competitive, but the Giants need a lot more before they can be competitive, and giving $5.5M to Vizquel is not one of them. Still, I don't think this move would kill them, though it probably kills any chance of them signing A-Rod, unless there is more money in the vault than they have been saying.

Hopefully this is the last and worse of the bad news. I do not want to see any Pedro Feliz signing, and if he holds true to his word that he's pissed off (when asked about his children, who he used as an excuse to return to the Giants last off-season, he snarled that there are schools everywhere) and wants a multi-year contract, then we should not have to worry much about him coming back here, particularly at a high price, his free agency will drag on and on until he and his agent realizes that there is not much demand for a 3B who hits in the low 700 OPS range, no matter how good his defense is (ACTA, which is associated with Bill James, recently announced that Feliz was the best defensive 3B).

I can swallow signing Feliz for $2-3M, but would rather see Frandsen get the start there with Durham at 2B, with the goal of enticing a team to accept Durham in trade for a good prospect or two, then shifting Frandsen to 2B and Aurilia to 3B.

3 comments:

  1. It seems rather counterproductive to me. $5.5 mil is too much money to DFA the guy is he hits 200 again and too much to send him to the bench.\
    Far better to play Figueroa and/or Ochoa and use the $4.7/5.1 mil on the bull pen. Figueroa is better than Omar now, defensively, particularly as to range, and Ochoa is at least as good. Ochoa, in particular, has a chance to outhit Omar (say 240-260) AND bat 8th.
    I guess my objection is first, the money, second, no chance Omar is going to be here for '09, so playing Ochoa, in particular, gives you not only the $ saving, not only the same or better production, but could also blossom into a useful regular.

    ReplyDelete
  2. If Figueroa and/or Ochoa had a modicum of talent, this move whould not have been made. Forget about them as an alternative.

    This is a marketing move, pure & simple. The Giants PR people need someone to sell and Vizquel is the only candidate on the roster that is has more than 3 seasons in the ML. Not saying that I agree with it, but that's your reason.

    As long as they've signed Vizquel, at least it prevents them from making the colossal mistake of binging in an Eckstein on a multi-year deal.

    All I can say about Feliz is.....NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! If they sign him, Sabean should be fired immediately.

    By the way, you can forget about A-Rod. Not only would it take a bazillion dollars, but now the Yankees are going to offer him arbitration, so that means you have to give up a #1 to sign him. NO WAY. Not when it's likely that the pick will be in the top 5.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't really need even a modicum of talent. If he did OK in AAA, and he's not a dinosaur, then just play him in the majors and see what happens. I don't really see any team rushing to sign him.

    Unlike allfrank, I can't say that Ochoa will produce even as much as Vizquel. He's been a poor hitter most of his career, last year was his first good offensive year, it would be too much to expect him to duplicate Vizquel's offensive value, even reduced as it was.

    I can go for the lesser of two evils angle, better a one year than a multi-year.

    Boof, when you have a top 15 overall pick like the Giants do, you cannot lose your pick. So our #5 is safe, the worse we would lose is our 2nd round pick, plus the Yankees would be awarded a supplemental 1st round pick.

    ReplyDelete

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