Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Your 2014 Giants: Sandoval Free Agency Thoughts

Some well-known media person wrote that the Giants plans were to 1) offer Pablo a QO, 2) expect for him to reject it, and 3) offer a 3 year offer to Sandoval, with 4 years a "stretch".

Someone thought that three years was a significant point.   I also see a lot of people thinking that Sandoval is going to get a big contract and use Shin-Soo Choo as a good comparison, as apparently he has been injured a lot too.

ogc thoughts

I know Shin-Soo Choo and Sandoval is no Choo

Shin-Soo Choo is a way different situation than Sandoval.  I see this comparison all the time and don't understand why.

First of all, in four of the five years leading up to free agency, Choo had at least 646 PA in the season and over 150 games 3 of 5.  So he might be injured often, but he sure seems to play through it most of the time.  Sandoval, at the moment, has zero seasons with at least 646 PA in his career and over 150 games 2 of 5.  Sandoval might reach 646 this year, but unlikely unless the offense goes crazy.

Second of all, Choo in those five seasons hit .288/.392/.459/.851 with 87 HR.  Sandoval, for comparative purposes, in his five seasons leading into free agency is hitting .285/.338/.446/.784 with 78 HR.  More importantly, Sandoval hasn't even reached .800 OPS in four of the last five seasons and, worse, not at all in the last three seasons.  Choo had been over .800 in four of the last five, and .883 and above in three of the last five.

Third of all, research by Fangraphs shows that outfielders get paid a lot more than infielders do, significantly so.  If you look at the top outfielder contracts and compare it with the top 3B contracts, like Zimmerman and Wright, you can see the dichotomy.  On top of that, both Zimmernan and Wright had great batting lines often and overall.  Sandoval only had two good seasons, last time in 2011.  Hence Sandoval asking for Pence's numbers just don't make sense given the realities of the marketplace.

Three Years is No News
  
And this 3 year offer is not really any news at all.  Observant Giants fans know that the Giants offered a 3 year, $42M contract to Sandoval in the pre-season.  This is the one his agent spat on publicly and gave the quote that they want to start the bidding at Pence's contract and hope to get to 9-figures.  So it figures that the Giants will continue to offer that amount, that is where they last left off at.

Value Is Not There

The fact is, Sandoval hasn't been a good hitter since 2011.  His ups and downs, for whatever reasons, whether injuries, family issues, or whatever, just seem to happen and that is the package any team signing him would be getting.  Teams have been stupid with their contracts, but generally they have had good reasons to be stupid.  If Sandoval had hit 900 OPS in 2014 like he did in 2011, he probably could find at least one stupid team.  But he didn't, having another middling season.

And 2011 was the last year he had at least 20 HR, a mark he has only done twice in his career.   Teams have gotten stupid signing up players who has a lot of power, and this is his first season to beat 15 homers since 2011, so no, that's not a power hitter's profile.  His 3-HR game in the World Series is looking more like Elster's 3-HR game at AT&T, an outlier, not a norm.

So there is no reason to think that he's going to get a bigger contract than what Zimmerman got with the Nats or Wright got with the Mets.  They were much better and more healthier players than Sandoval plus they hit for a lot better batting line.  The Giants offer was totally in line with what he had produced up to this season, and there is no reason for them to go much more above that.  In fact, with how poorly he has hit this season, the 3 year, $42M contract looks like it might be overpaying now.  He plays nice defense, but nothing like he did in 2011, so his value is reliant on hit hitting, which has been up and down but mostly down the past three seasons.

How I See It

If Sandoval's agent is stupid enough to continue to ask for Pence-sized contract, I think that Sandoval will end up not signing until sometime in Jan/Feb before spring training, and probably will end up signing with the Giants for the QO (even after he rejected it, the Giants don't seem to like to take advantage of players in that situation and would still leave it on the table).

Who knows, maybe he finally gets it and take the Giants 3 year offer.  As I noted in the pre-season, I can see the deal going as high as $15M per year, or $45M, or roughly 2.5 to 3.0 WAR per season production, which is about what he has done the past three seasons (roughly just under 3).  So that would make it a "win" for his agent (by getting more than originally offered) while nowhere close to what he was asking for.

2 comments:

  1. Right on target! The stats you cite make the case perfectly, and to underline it is the ongoing matter of Sandoval's unprofessional behavior, centering on his weight. As I suggested on DrB's site, the Giants can make up for Sandoval's 3.5-3.7 WAR in 2014 if Panik produces for a full year as he has been, Belt produces for a full year as he did previously, and the Giants have a capable, not stellar replacement at 3B. This scenario has lots of IFs in it, but so does relying on Sandoval, as you have shown.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment! I did not think of it that way, thanks, that makes a lot of sense, a full season of Panik and Belt should make up for what we got but would lose from Sandoval this season.

      Again, I think we are OK with Adrianza, Duffy, heck, maybe even Arias or Duvall, trying out at 3B to mid-season, at which point, Sabean can trade for an upgrade there.

      But given my druthers, I would rather get Sandoval signed up to the contract the Giants offered (or close to it, with option year or extra mil),

      Thanks again.

      Delete

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