- Sabean says that negotiations with Pablo Sandoval has been tabled.
- Angel Pagan's time on the DL last year was not without its benefits, not all health (Merc, Schulman)
First off, Giants negotiations with Sandoval have been shut down because, basically, they are far apart in what Sandoval's side is asking for, and what the Giants are offering. The last news was that Sandoval's side said that they were open to negotiations to mid-season, even though his agent also shared that that Pence's contract is their "base" (and the agent saying "5 or 6 years") and informed the public that the Giants reportedly offering 3 years and $40M.
Now, this makes all the sense in the world to me. They were too far apart for negotiations to make sense. I have to go with my prior (not sure if here or comment somewhere - or maybe it was deleted ;^) comment that it seems like Pablo's agent is a novice at being an agent, and severely didn't understand how Sabean likes to operate, which is with his kimono closed. I'm sure Sabean wasn't happy that Sandoval's agent spilled both sides of the equation.
And there it is, Pence's 5 years at $90M contract is the "base" from which to start, according to his agent, and the Giants opening offer of 3 years and $40M, which the agent, from another account I recall him saying, that it was an insult.
What's insulting is that the agent thinks that Sandoval is worth over $100M right now (that's what 6 years at Pence's contract means). What's insulting is that Sandoval never kept himself in good shape, even after the Giants rewarded him with his first big contract, he has acted since then like it was owed to him, not that he had to earn it. What's insulting is last spring he announced to the world that his contract means nothing to him, that he had two years to get in shape before hitting free agency (clearly math or common sense are not his forte).
If Sandoval had stayed in reasonable shape and hit like he did in 2009 and 2011, he would not only be easily worth $100M, he might be looking at closer to $200M, that's how much money he left on the table by never taking his fitness seriously until just before free agency. If Sandoval had even dedicated himself to fitness in last year's off-season, instead of coming into spring training and declaring that he got two years to get himself in shape, ignoring the fact that the Giants were paying him big money in 2013 and 2014 to be the hitter he can be, the Giants would have at least considered giving him a contract similar to Pence. Sandoval hits better than Pence and also played superlative defense at 3B in 2011, whereas Pence is merely average defensively, at best (per advanced defensive metrics last few seasons).
The thing is, Sandoval's contract offer from the Giants is pretty fair. If you take the Fangraph analysis of the disparities of $/WAR by position, for some reason, outfielders get paid more than 3B, and adjusting for that fact, the average 3B at Pence's abilities make roughly $13-14M per season. If you look at Cot's, he fits into a wide range of market values. I think he's clearly below A-Rod, 1st with $27.5M AAV, David Wright second at $17.25M AAV, Ryan Zimmerman and Evan Longoria, tied for third with $16.67M. Then there is Aramis Ramirez at $12.0M AAV and Martin Prado at $10.0M AAV. So somewhere between $12.0M and $16.67M seems to be the market value for Pablo, in my mind.
That also fits in with the Giants initial bid too. Really, Sandoval's agent 1) don't know that the first bid is just that, the first bid, not an "insult" that, by the value, values Pablo as the 4th best thirdbaseman in baseball; and 2) is clearly within the market set for the best thirdbasemen in the majors, Pablo is clearly no A-Rod, Wright, Zimmerman, or Longoria, and yet he wants more than they are getting? The first shows a lack of experience in negotiating or knowing who you are negotiating with, the second shows a lack of preparation and lack of market knowledge, knowledge that is easily examined by anyone with an internet connection.
Wright's, Zimmerman's, Longoria's and Prado's contracts were signed within the last two years, so they are very fresh and valid contracts to compare and contrast against:
- Wright: After signing an 8 year contract extension, the next season was his 30 YO season, and he had 8 seasons averaging 5.1 WAR.
- Zimmerman: After signing a 6 year contract extension, the next season was his 27 YO season, and he had 6 seasons averaging 4.7 WAR.
- Longoria: After signing a 6 year contract extension, the next season was his 27 YO season, and he had 5 seasons averaging 6.0 WAR.
- Prado: After signing a 4 year contract extension, the next season was his 29 YO season, and he had 4 seasons averaging 4.0 WAR.
- Sandoval: Next season is his 28 YO season, and up to this year, he has 5 seasons, averaging 3.6 WAR. Even if he produced at his peak season in 2014, that's still only 4.0 WAR per season production. In fact, his peak of 6.1 is below Longoria's average, and is the only season where he was better than Wright's or Zimmerman's AVERAGE WAR in his career (4.3, 1.5, 6.1, 2.5, 2.7).
I thought perhaps that given their interest in keeping negotiations open to mid-season, that there was a compromise position in the middle of those two offers, like 4 years at $15M that would have satisfied them. But given how quickly this door closed, clearly the Panda Camp has very high figures in their heads - again, Pence as their base - and from the way Sabean characterized it in the video at the link I inserted above, it sounds like they are still pretty much sticking to their Pence base assertion as his market value.
Good luck to Pablo trying to convince other teams to give him 5 years at $18M per season, minimum. Any team doing that will have to be pretty desperate for a power hitting thirdbaseman to give him more money than the best thirdbasemen have been getting lately. He would need to hit like he did in 2009 while fielding like he did in 2011. Even then, teams are going to balk, both because of the years committed to a player who didn't take his fitness seriously until he had to and because the Giants will give him the qualifying offer that will strip most team's draft pick away from them for signing Pablo.
And if he didn't notice, the NYY already has a 3B, the Dodgers are right at their ceiling of spending, I would think, the Cubs aren't ready to sign anyone for the future yet, and would they take that risk with Pablo, and I can't remember the last time the ChiSox signed a free agent to that kind of contract. Maybe a lower payroll budget team can take a flier on Sandoval, given that the new ESPN contract basically gave every team enough money to buy one extra-large free agent. But will they blow their extra money on a player who until this season, never took much care to keep himself in shape?
He might find himself waiting for the season to start after it has officially started next season, like Stephen Drew and a few other free agents are this season. That's what happens to players who want and expect big money, but had not really done that much to deserve it.
Angel's Just Trusting His Hands
Angel realized something while on the DL last season.
He said he had a revelation he had while rehabbing his hamstring injury last year that enabled him to raise his game when he returned, and to start this year.
Pagan said his biggest problem as a hitter in his first seven big-league seasons was a lack of patience. As he hit bucket after bucket of balls from a pitching machine he finally realized what coaches had been telling him, to trust his hands. When a hitter trusts his hands he can stay back longer and see pitches longer.
Pagan said that has made all the difference. He cites patience as the key to his hitting since the injury.
“In this game, if you fall for the pitcher’s game, he’s going to get you out a lot,” Pagan said. “When you’re patient and wait for your pitch things can change drastically and you can get some good numbers.
Like these: Since his Aug. 30 return, Pagan is 45-for-127 (.354) with 11 doubles, two triples, three home runs and nine walks.Purdy:
The serenity shown by Pagan on his first at-bat was, according to him, the payoff for a mental reorientation he tried to make during those rehab weeks.
"It was patience," he said. "Before, I had the game backward. I was falling for the pitcher's game, letting them get me behind and get me out. Now, I'm waiting for the pitcher to come to me."
The light bulb went off in Pagan's head about this, he said, while watching all those games last summer and then going into the batting cage. Even though he was hitting off a machine, he would begin waiting for the best pitches or purposely keep his hands back to be ready for pouncing on the ball.That's a key thing that often gets forgotten about major league players: how hard it is to stay within yourself when you are playing the game. Your mind starts wandering, you start thinking too much, and that gets in the way of your true talents from shining. Players use different ways to get their minds out of the equation. Ishikawa reportedly found God and decided to leave it in His Hands, which freed his mind to suddenly hit much better in the minors. Some never find the key and have to leave the game.
Pagan is lucky to have figured this out, it's never too late to learn some key insight into the game: see how Torres parleyed that into some nice money by changing his batting mechanics totally. This might also extend Pagan's career by a few years, if his hitting since returning is truly indicative of his improved hitting.
Let's see what the numbers say. His career BABIP before this season is .317. That's with a 14.4% SO% and 7.4% BB%. That's a 1.94 K/BB ratio. He had a 8.3% XBH% and 32% X/H%. 58.6 AB/HR plus 0.67 GB/FB and 0.78 GO/AO, with a 21% LD% and 3.9% HR/FB and 13% IF/FB.
For this season, his BABIP is .500, clearly going down, so nothing there. 13.5% SO% and 8.1% BB%, both within his career ranges, and so is his 1.67 K/BB ratio. He has 13.5% XBH% but that might be due to high BABIP, especially since his 33% X/H% is right in his career range. 34.0 AB/HR but that could be small samples. 0.81 GB/FB, that is a high for his career for full season work and continues a trend of raising that ratio over the past 3 seasons. 0.75 GO/AO is right near his career average. 34% LD% is very high for his career, he averaged 21% and peak was 24% last season. As well as his 6.3% HR/FB, but again, could be small sample sizing. His peak seasonal high was 4.4% in 2010 and he's been in the low 4's in his recent seasons, suggesting that is his norm, in the low-to-mid 4's. And he hasn't had an IF/FB so far this season, which greatly helps anyone's BA.
So that is his big difference this season so far, his line drive hitting and lack of IF/FB. Obviously, SSS, but he's been a good line drive hitter his whole career, league average is only 19%. So his BABIP should roughly halved once the luck ends. And I don't think anybody averages that high a LD%, though I'm not sure what the high for the majors is. He will definitely come down, but where he ends up will be the question. If he can stay near .800 OPS and .340 OBP, that would be great to get out of the leadoff position.
In this last games of 2013, he hit .323/.376/.496/.871, with a .350 BABIP. Dropping his current BABIP to .350 would leave his BA at .291 and OBP at .336, both right around his career norms. His SLG would be around .430, which would leave him near his career .761 OPS. He appears to be totally near his career norms for everything except for LD% and BABIP being elevated.
So despite what he says right now, his numbers are very similar to his career norms, and as his BABIP normalizes, so should his batting line. He would need to continue to keep his LD% higher, which would leave his BABIP higher, if he hopes to keep his batting line greatly improved. It's something we can only wait and see. Good luck Angel! We're rooting for you!