Monday, January 19, 2015

Your 2015 Giants: Aoki is A-OK With Me

The Giants reportedly signed Nori(chika) Aoki, formerly with the KC Royals, to come over to the clubhouse across from them in the World Series, to be the Giants starting LF, as the Giants appear to view Blanco as a valuable 4th OF (as reported by Chron).  He has mostly played RF during his MLB career, spanning the last three seasons (not sure what he mostly played in Japan, but given that he played his last season there in CF, presumably he was a CF in Japan).  He has mostly led off for his teams (occasionally batted second too), but the Giants appear to favor him batting 7th (Blanco's usual spot), though he would lead off when Pagan gets a game off.

He gets a $4M contract for 2015 (age 33 season), with $1.5M in incentives that he can earn, plus a team option for 2016 for $5.5M (also with $1.5M in incentives) or a $700K buyout.   MLBTR reports that he took less years and money so that he could get more playing time playing for a contender, and he liked the idea of living in SF) .

ogc thoughts

Great acquisition by the Giants, as now we have a great backup (career .353 OBP both overall and batting leadoff) for lead-off should Pagan hit the DL again.  He has averaged 22 SB per season, and 25 SB over a 162 game season.  Makes great contact, over 90%, plus his K/BB ratio is a hair over 1.0, which is great, he is a hitter in the mode of Scutaro:  high BA, high OBP, low SLG/ISO.   That is great for both leadoff and batting second, which Aoki has mostly been doing during his MLB career.

He is kind of a reverse Blanco in that he has hit LHP better than RHP as a major leaguer.   Yet he's the starter and Blanco is the backup, and I would attribute that to Blanco never figuring out how to be himself when he's leading off.  He lets the pressure gets to him up there, whereas he's been a good (i.e. average) hitter batting lower in the lineup, 5, 6, 7.  If he could just do what he does lower in the lineup, he'll be a starter and could get a nice longer-term contract.

Personally, if Aoki is the starter, I would rather just go with Aoki at leadoff now, instead of Pagan, since he has a low SLG, and use Pagan in the middle of the lineup, like 3rd, where he has hit before, giving us a couple of speedsters hitting ahead of Posey, Pence, Belt, for them to drive in, with Pagan having the ability to drive in guys as well.   Pagan has said he's fine anywhere in the lineup, as long as he is in the lineup, though that could have been for show.  Aoki has been healthy so far as a major leaguer, for the most part, with just the one DL in late June last season, with a left groin strain, so he would be more likely to provide stability up top.

And if we are going to bat Aoki in the bottom of the lineup (frankly, I don't agree with all the talk so far, as Bochy noted hitting McGehee anywhere from 4th on down, and I think it would be better to mix up 6/7/8 among McGehee, Aoki, and Crawford, depending on who the starter is, and what they have in the bullpen), it might be better to bat him 8th because then he could function as a secondary leadoff hitter, heck, bat him 9th and the pitcher 8th, to put another speedster ahead of the top of the lineup.  But as we all know, this is probably all for naught, as Bochy's talk ahead of the season will typically yield to what his gut (and circumstances) tell him to do later in the season.

On the financial analysis side, it's a pretty good deal even at what he produced last season, where he was at 1.0 WAR (WAR is being priced around $7M per WAR right now, so he's getting paid at around 0.7 WAR production), but if he reverts to his 2012-13 rate of 3+ WAR, the Giants got a huge bargain plus can keep him for 2016 as well.  The main difference appears to be his defense, he was kinda good in Milwaukee, but horrible with KC, resulting in the wide swing.  And so far, wide swings like that is common, it's not uncommon to see players rate well then swing around up and down, like BABIP does.

But if you want to go by performance, he's been good in 2012-13, poor in 2014, which could be a result of him playing with a pulled groin muscle, which would cut into his speed and ability to cover as much as he used to, resulting in lowered defensive stats.  Then again, while rWAR has his defense good then bad, fWAR has his defense bad then OK, so who knows?  UZR has an opposite assessment of his fielding relative to DRS and that other metrics that Baseball-Reference.com uses.

Oh, and by fWAR, he's been roughly average WAR (slightly over) each season for the past three seasons.  That is probably part of the reason Fangraphs thinks the Giants got a bargain (right near end of article; though this other Fangraph article calls it "a steal").  An average player is earning around $12-14M per season right now, and the Giants could retain him for $12.5M over the next two seasons, or roughly half his production value of the past three seasons per fWAR.

The Fangraphs article mentions something that has been noted before:  the Giants are powerless.   To be more precise (as I am wont to do), the article notes the Giants lack of homerun power.   But it is not like they have no power, for while they lack overall HR power, they make up for it with other power, as shown by ISO.  Belt, Posey, and Pence are good power hitters, with pretty high ISO, plus Crawford is right around average power and Pagan a bit behind.  It is McGehee, Panik, and Aoki who are powerless.   And I would note again, the BP study of linkage between a team's offensive profile and success in the post-season found that there is no correlation between power hitting, whether HR or otherwise, with deep post-season runs.  So while this is interesting as a talking point, because of fans' preoccupation with dingers, for us Giants fans, the more relevant fact is that it won't hurt our chances to win another trophy.

The Giants, having their defensive focus, hopefully can help him be good defensively (they have been able to coax good defensive years out of Burrell and Huff in the OF, per advanced fielding metrics), which would mean a huge bargain for the Giants in terms of WAR, because of how well he bats.  Appears that they have learned from the Huff deal:  if you are giving a player an opportunity to make good on returning to prior goodness, get a team option so you don't have to pay through the nose in order to retain him for another season, in case the first one was a fluke.  Though as noted above, Aoki took a lesser deal (less years and money) in order to get more playing time with a contender (plus he likes the idea of living in SF).

But again, the greater deal for the Giants is that they got a great leadoff option in Aoki should anything drastic happens to the lineup, that is a great risk mitigation move on the part of the Giants.   Pagan going out has obviously been a huge problem, both in 2013 and 2014.  But losing other players in the lineup could mess things up, at which point, Aoki could take over leadoff duties, and Pagan could hit in a run-producing role, should something happen there.  Great depth for the 25-man roster and lineup, depth at leadoff that we haven't had in years (heck, there were years where we wondered who would lead off:  remember Dusty pushing Shinjo into the leadoff spot?).

Rosterbation

The roster seems pretty set now, with only a few positions open for competition.  The starting lineup appears to be Pagan, Petit, Posey, Belt, Pence, McGehee, Aoki, Crawford (my best guess at the Giants expected lineup, at the moment).  The starting rotation appears to be Bumgarner, Cain, Hudson, Peavy, Lincecum, with Petit as 6th starter/long relief.  The bullpen is Casilla (presumably still closer), Romo, Affeldt, Lopez, Machi, Kontos/Strickland/Okert/Cordier.  The bench is Hanchez/Susac, Arias, Adrianza, Blanco, Perez/Ishikawa.

One thing that Sabean has been trying to do in the recent era of competitive play, is something I call risk mitigation in terms of roster construction.  He's been talking about this for a long time, talking about the flexibility that certain players provide because they can play multiple positions, and well enough, guys like Winn, DeRosa, Melky, Pagan, Blanco, Arias.  That gives the team the opportunity to move players in the lineup, like a Rubik's Cube, shifting without losing a huge step, as most teams need to do when they lose someone important to the lineup.

As I noted, Aoki is a key addition in this risk mitigation scenario as the backup leadoff hitter, in case Pagan is lost again, for any reason, during the 2015 season.  This is important because Pagan has played only one full season (2012) out of the last four seasons, missing large parts of three seasons.  It is also important because Blanco has proved to not be able to hit consistently well as a leadoff hitter for us during that timeframe.

He actually outhit Pagan for the first month plus after taking over in 2013, but when the bottom dropped out of the lineup, he was caught in the undertow, and started to try hitting 5-run homers to make up for that, dooming his efforts.  And that is what has costed him during this career, being unable to hit within his abilities instead of trying to hit according to what he thinks he should be hitting when leading off.

I think he would have been fine as our starting LF, batting 7th, but if Pagan is gone, he would be the logical leadoff guy again, and we've been there, done that, we know that don't work.  He's just too valuable as a 4th OF who would not be as huge a drop from the starting OF, because of his great defense.  With Aoki in place as the replacement leadoff hitter, Blanco can step in for Pagan and bat in Aoki's 7th place position, with little dropoff in overall production.

Same with other players.  Arias at 3B, he's been even better than Sandoval defensively there, while OK offensively.  Sandoval being out and replaced by Arias would result in minimal reduction in overall production for the Giants in seasons past.  He and Adrianza would also be good enough for a while at 2B, while Adrianza would be good enough at SS should Crawford end up injured again, instead of Bochy simply playing him, as he did in 2013, having Adrianza around could enable the Giants to DL Crawford and let him heal properly and more quickly.

Same with Petit in the starting rotation, he probably would have been fine in that role for 2015, but given the fragility of pitchers (TINSTAAPP), it behooves a team built on pitching and fielding to be able to substitute in Petit when necessary, unlike the Bridegrooms, who, while they had a boatload of starting pitchers that they could go to, they were of the ilk of Maholm, Hernandez, and Correia, they altogether were 5-8 (11-14 overall) with a collective 5.22 ERA in 25 starts.

That type of pitching just eats innings, it leaves a team in poorer position, had Bochy been as good in one-run games as on average, the Giants would have ended up with more wins and won the division.  Starting pitching depth is not the most important factor, quality replacement starting pitching is.  Petit is quality replacement and he can keep the position warm until the Giants can trade for someone like Peavy.

And, of course, we still have multiple closers, good backup there.  Casilla looks likely to continue to be the closer, but we got Romo back, and obviously he was a closer before.  And while he's never been a closer for us (except perhaps briefly, when Bochy said he was going to a committee but still mostly just used one guy, whether Casilla or Romo), Affeldt probably would do a great job for us there as well, if necessary.   And we have had this trio now since 2010.

Need for Another Starting Pitcher

The Giants have continually been mentioned in rumors, even after the Peavy signing, for a starting pitcher.    For example, Shields.  Not sure what that would have meant for the rotation because we already had five starters and the Giants have already said that Lincecum was a starter.  The only way another starter would work, from what I can figure out, is if the Giants went with my idea that I've been mentioning in comments and posts regarding going with a 6-man rotation, in order to lessen the strain on your aces' arm, and the staff in general.

Clearly, post-season work both adds on strain on the arm, while shortening the off-season for rest and recovery.   Having a 6-man rotation means that the average starter gets 27 starts (at 6 IP average that's only 142 IP, at 7 IP, 189 IP).  Plus, it gives the manager the ability to skip someone's start occasionally, which pushes up the other starters up a day, while giving the pitcher a 12-14 day blow to rest or work on stuff.   Or they could go with the top 5 for a month or so, then sometime in May, go to the 6-man rotation.  I think that there are many benefits to having a 6-man rotation, but the negative here is that then there is one less man on the bench, either position player or reliever.  And that would limit Bochy's potential moves, and flexibility in strategy.

I think one way this could work is if the team had a position player who could also pitch relief, like if he pitched only to eat innings in a big blowout type of game.  A guy like Brooks Kieschnick.   I know this is risky, and I'm not suggesting that Posey be the guinea pig, but Buster was a closer in college, and there are other position players who played duo roles like that.  Being able to bring in somebody like that would given the manager another weapon to rely on, assuming the Giants develop the guy's pitching as well as his hitting and fielding.

If you have an alternative idea for why the team is looking for another starting pitcher, even one as good as Shield, I would love to hear it.  Replacing Lincecum is one idea I've seen, but then that means he's in the bullpen or traded for nothing much (plus the Giants would have to cover most of his salary, that would seem to be a waste).   Some might say to replace Hudson, but what if he recovers as advertised and is ready for the start of the 2015 season?  Seems we are back to replacing Lincecum.  Backup for Cain is another possible reason, but again, if Cain is good to go, we are back to replacing Lincecum.  Or the 6-man rotation.

Arbitration Follies

The Chronicle article also noted the arbitration situations for the players eligible and who had not agreed to deals yet.  Petit agreed to a one year deal for $2.1M before figures got exchanged.   Also, subsequent to that article, the Giants (per MLBTR) agreed to a two year deal with Blanco for $3.6M in 2015, and $3.9M in 2016, covering his remaining arbitration years.  He had asked for $4.0M and the Giants had offered $3.3M, so the Giants roughly hewed to their formula of signing some arbitration players to a two year contract with first the Giants offer, then the player's asking salary.  He got $200K more overall, bumped up in 2015, while taking slightly less in 2016.

The remaining players and the offer and asks:

  • Belt:  $3.0M/$4.5M
  • Crawford:  $2.4M/$3.95M
  • McGehee:  $4.0M/$5.4M

I do not expect McGehee to get a two year deal.  So he'll probably get somewhere in near the middle ($4.7M is exact middle).

Crawford I can see getting a two year deal, maybe even three years to cover his entire arbitration eligibility.  Honestly, the Giants offer looks to be on the low side.  Using the 40% rule of thumb for the first year arbitration value, that only values him at $6.0M or roughly a 1 WAR player.  His ask puts him at $10M per season.  Maybe 2 years at $2.5M/$4M, or 3 years at $3M/$4M/$6M.

Belt might be the second arbitration meeting to happen (AJP being the first).  The two sides have been contentious before.  Apparently the Giants offer is only $100K above his salary last season, from what I read in comments somewhere.  Then again, it was a wasted season, as he didn't play very much of the season, plus his batting line went down, as his BA and walk rate plunged, while his strikeout rate went up.  At least they didn't ask for a pay cut, as some teams have done in this situation before.  His agents appear to be like Lincecum's, looking to avoid committing long-term to anything because they expect the player to have an even better season and really knock the ball out of the park in the next round of arbitration.

I can't really see the Giants getting a $3M/$4.5M two year deal.   $4M and $6M is obviously more realistic (mid-point is $3.75M, and the Giants sometimes round upward a few hundred grand for the better players), but I don't really see it happening.  I only expect a one year deal, probably just short of $4M, as Belt and his agents continue to bet on a breakout year from him.  Don't blame them.

I would love to sign him to a three year deal to cover his arbitration years, plus maybe option a free agent year, as I think he's capable of great things and be Votto-lite, but I don't think his side will allow it.  I wouldn't either, if I were his agent.

But as a player gets deeper into arbitration - this is Belt's second of four - money is starting to get kind of big (it's all relative in baseball), and you never know how much a player is willing to take, just for the security, even if he might be leaving money on the table.   $10M could tempt some players.  Throw in a third year at, say, $8M, and the player might bite, $18M is a lot to turn down, especially given Belt's injury prone ways while batting, with two HBP broken hands in four seasons.  Round it up to $20M, and that might get a player willing to sign up.  We'll see, it'll be interesting either way.

17 comments:

  1. Signing is official: http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2015/01/giants-nori-aoki-agree-to-one-year-deal.html

    Apparently the team option can become a mutual option if he meets a certain target (which is unknown, but generally related to games played).

    Forgot to speculate on who might be dropped from the 40-man roster in order to add Aoki. Heston would be my best guess right now. Maybe Jarrett Parket. Oh, I didn't realize that Angel Villalona was dropped off the 40-man, when did that happen?

    And I count 41 players on the roster right now, so he's already off: http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/team/roster_40man.jsp?c_id=sf

    I don't see any trade happening to clear space, most teams would just wait for waivers.

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    1. Wow, Scutaro was DFAed and no chance any team will select him, so he'll end up rehabbing with the team while waiting to see if his back surgery that he had around Christmas time to fuse his spine would help him any.

      Some people are upset over his contract, from what I saw at one newspaper's blog, but Scutaro did very well for us initially in the contract until his injuries took over. In any case, he earned what he got from us with all the extra hitting he did in 2012 in both the regular season as well as the playoffs. Plus threw in a good year in 2013 until he hit the DL. He was a good Giants, all the best to him, hopefully he can recover enough to contribute during September.

      Shankbone had a great post on it: http://www.yougottalikethesekids.com/2015/01/giants-designate-blockbuster.html

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  2. Aoki may have had only 1 rWAR in 2014, but Fangraphs has him at 2.3. That is more than double the fWAR we got from the man he's replacing, Morse.

    Here and on Shankbone's and DrB's sites, the prevailing dyspepsia of MCC provides amusement and bemusement, too. It used to be that if I wanted to find dyspepsia about the Giants to a grotesque, mouth-foaming degree, I would turn to John Perricone's blog. (Why would anyone want to read the rants of roiling despair and Schadenfreude? Because as the team established itself, even in bad years, as one of the perennial golden teams in baseball, the rants became more glaringly comical, and as World Series victories followed one another, hopscotching from even numbered year to even numbered year, the rants would die down into amazed sputters, a fitting end for them.). If any readers of this blog of OGC's, thoughtful, well argued, and rationally upbeat, have the same curiosity that I do about bloggers who toil to turn the finest wine grapes into bad vinegar, I can't send them to Perricone, who the last time I looked had given up. But next best is a chap called Richard Dyer, who managed to denounce the Giants while they were sailing towards their third World Series Championship in five years, but when they won, fell deathly silent. I mention him as a remarkable sideshow to fine blogs like this one, DrB's, and Shankbone's. He is less fun, because less froth-lipped, than Perricone, but he will do to gaze at. Or shun.

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    1. Good points re: Aoki vs. Morse. It balances out. rWAR, which focuses more on what he actually did, had him at 3+ WAR in 2012-2013, before the 1 WAR in 2014, while fWAR, which focuses more on his stats given what is considered standard metrics, had him roughly at 2 WAR, plus or minus, for the three seasons, but summed up, they are both roughly the same.

      Not sure what brought on the discussion about other sites, but I can't say anything bad about John, though I agree with you that he tended to be of that generation of Giants fans who could see no good in the team. He kindly let me post my draft analysis study on his website for discussion and my further thoughts, after I had it published on Yahoo and Fanhome, and then at some point offered to have me join his team and write to his blog. At that point, I wasn't sure how long I would write or if the will would be there to do it long-term, so I kindly turned him down. Yeah, last time I checked, and it was a while back, he had stopped posting to his website.

      I stopped checking out every Giants website after a while (though I still added links to any and all if they contacted me), as I realized that I was tired of the never ending battles and that nothing would ever get resolved except by time, and devoted more of my time to my blog, where I could post my thoughts. That is what drove me to create my business plan section, so that I could just point people who wonder what I'm saying to my plan for explanation. As the trophies have piled up, I feel less the need to blog and have been happy to contribute to other good sites like DrB's and Shankbone. Also, Lefty Malo, Raising Cain, CoveChatter, and Giants Potential.

      But I've loved sabermetrics since I bought Bill James first book, so I'll definitely continue to blog, particularly continuing my study of PQS, and when there is big news about the Giants, but as long term readers might have noticed, my output has been lessening over the years.

      Though the way I write, it would be like noticing that Niagara Falls was flowing less water... :^D

      Never heard of Dyer, I'll have to check him out, for contrast. Reading negative viewpoints is actually good for blogging as then I get fodder for blog posts. Many posts have originally been a comment elsewhere that I compiled and condensed (some) here. But too much just gets me all agitated, and as Glover said in all those Lethal movies, "I'm too old for this...".

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  3. It was looking at Dyer's sour comments about the Giants' signing of "second tier," cheap players that made me post what I did, having earlier read your reasoned take on Aoki. Dyer is on "Giants' Cove," NOT to be confused with the lively "Cove Chatter."

    I'm glad, or at least relieved, to know something good about John Perricone, whose only previous claim in his favor, from my way of thinking, was his sturdy defense of Bonds and his excoriation of Bonds's attackers. Mostly my recollection of his site was of his own fierce indignation and disgust, and a posse of accompanying posters whose decibel level was much higher yet. I have a hard time imagining you in that context.

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    1. Eh, any tier of players will bring it's own attendant share of risk. Free agent = risk, no matter what tier. Thanks for pointing out where he writes, I could not find him at all, searching.

      Well, that's mostly my recollection too and why I stopped reading his blog too, after a while. It was like tag team wrestling there, he would go off, then there would be one or two regulars who would jump in and, to your point, raise the rancor up a level. So, yeah, I would not have fit in there.

      Perhaps he was smart enough to know that both sides needed to be represented, realizing that his one-sided ranting would not work without a counter argument? Like in Saturday Night Live, when Dan Ackroyd would say, "Jane, you ignorant slut"? Hey, I was a bit confused too, I knew I would be different there, as well. But I gave it good consideration and while he promised me a much larger audience than what I was getting (still getting), I was not in it for views and happy to simply write for others like me, without getting into it with hordes of negative fans. At that time, I had enough of that posting at MCC.

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    2. Oh my GOD! I just went into his website and I feel like it's Back to the Future, it's like it was in the late 2000's before all the championships except that he's ranting NOW. Curse you for opening Pandora's box for me!!!

      :^D

      Thanks again for sharing. Whew! I could feel my blood pressure rise with each and every comment I read on his Aoki rant. As Shankbone astutely noted (and reminded me), hard to be bitter anymore, but based on all the people commenting on his site, there appears to be a large underbelly of these people still around.

      And that saddens me. I know that I'm not the best communicator, not even close, which is why I try so hard to explain every detail, and part of me feel responsible for not getting all the Naysayers to see the light about the greatness of this period for the Giants.

      I know I think differently. I've always admired the ant for their social behavior. The goal for them is all about the colony, protecting it, serving it. I feel the same way about our colony of Giants fans, and I feel like I let down all the people who are still bitter and not understanding of the ways the Giants have been run, and successfully run. I understand the phrase, "leave no man behind". Yet I must, else I would go crazy, so I'm disappointed in myself for doing that.

      So the flame flickers and sucks me in. I really need to see what Dyer has to say about the three championships. Does he claim luck? Or does he sees the good but accentuates the bad (as he appears to do in his comments)?

      I feel like answering each and every point just in that post, I saw so much that was wrong, and yet that would probably take me all day to do, and I would just get aggravated by the whole exchange, because he won't see the light. Naysayers never seem to. Even Grant at MCC, he is still flogging that dead horse. And people still join in.

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    3. Wow, just went through his archives. Lots of big words negative on the Giants, but absolute, ABSOLUTE silence when the Giants win each series, despite his protestations.

      "This team has bonded, but there's no magic there"

      Yet each and every series win, while he's there to complain leading up to it, he's such a big fan of the Giants that he can't even be bothered to celebrate the victory with a post. Oy, wow, words fail me....

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  4. I too got into it at OBM until I realized that it meant Only Barry Matters

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    1. ROTFL!!! Thanks for the great laugh to start my day, greatly appreciated!

      Have a great one!

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    2. Hey, perhaps that explains why he don't write anymore, Barry has been gone for a long while...

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    3. My pleasure.

      You'd have enjoyed the frothing every time I posted it there.

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  5. Crawford signs for exactly middle, $3.175M, between his ask and the Giants offer. ($3.95M/$2.4M).

    I guess his agents is hoping to get his breakout season in 2015 (which I had been hoping would be 2014) and get that boost in salary they are hoping for with that asking price. Basically that ask priced Crawford at just short of average (roughly $10M is the implied market rate, using the 40%/60%/80% rule which seems to work more often than it don't). But hey, if you don't ask for it, you don't get it for sure. And SS seems to get priced less than OF (all infield except for 1B, really), so that implied market rate could be average (most estimates value at $6-7M per WAR this off-season, that I've seen).

    Crawford's spread was bigger by both amount and percentage of ask than either Belt or McGehee, and yet got done first. And given it was the mid-point, yet it took this long to finalize, suggests that the other two are tougher deals to finalize.

    Next I assume they are working on McGehee, which should be easier since they probably only want a one year deal with him and the spread is not as wide, then Belt who is probably the tougher case, as I noted in the main post.

    Looking at McGehee's prior (first and only) arbitration contract, his $2,537,500 deal has an implied market rate of $6.34M, and advancing it to his third arbitration year (it looks like he was released and signed to a deal last season), results in a target salary of $5.075M vs. the $4.7M mid-point that the ask/offer results in. $4.8M would result in an implied market rate of $6M (or roughly 1 WAR), so it will be interesting to see what he ends up signing for.

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  6. I was off, Belt signed next, for $3.6M for one season, and it was below the mid-point of $3.75M. I guess Belt's side stretched their target too much, and realized it, else they would have been willing to go into arbitration and fight for their number. This works out to $9M market price, which seems low to me, but probably factors in the fact that he didn't play much either and had a down season.

    The main thing is that he got a bit of a raise, and is signed and ready for the season. McGehee last...

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  7. Final signing: McGehee for $4.8M. Midpoint was $4.7M between ask of $5.4M and offer of $4.0M. Looks like the Giants bumped it up from midpoint to welcome their new player. He was projected by MLBTR to get $3.5M, so he beat that handily.

    The projection probably took his 2014 salary to heart. But using his 2012 salary, which was governed by arbitration rules (his 2013 salary was as a free agent looking, really begging, for a job), represented a market rate of $6.35M (using 40% of market rate for first year arbs). His agreed upon salary of $4.8M for 2015 represents a market rate of $6.0M, which is not far from the $5.08M he would have gotten based on his 2012 arbitration market rate base.

    That seems to make sense. In 2012, if you combine his three prior seasons, that worked out to a 101 OPS+. In 2014, he had a 99 OPS+, just short. So his 2015 market rate also came up just short of his 2012 market rate, and that excludes any salary inflation too, not sure what the effect would be right not (and don't feel like thinking about it right now).

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    1. Just figured out some bad news regarding his 2014 performance. His BABIP was sky high, like it was in his first season. And broken down by months, he was on a massive hot streak from April to July, but then his BABIP fell to his career norms in August and September, to end the season on a down note. Plus, AT&T is tougher on RHH than the Marlin's homepark, so his BABIP will take a hit playing in AT&T. He was also abnormally high in his LD% at 25%, whereas his previous high was 20% and career prior to 2014 was only 17% (versus MLB average of 20%).

      Ugh, a lot of bad signs that he might not be able to hit well enough to make up for the loss of the Panda. The only good news I would draw from this is that if he does falter (or rather when), how far he falls will determine how much playing time Arias and Adrianza will get playing 3B. He's probably more of a danger to underperform than Aoki is.

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