Hitters, IceBat, OffSeason, Salaries

MLB Free Agency Modeled-Out

Hey folks. Sorry to keep you all at bay these past couple of weeks. IceBat was…sick.

Another final report I wrote was based on MLB Free Agent contracts, and how or if we can model their outcomes based on prior years’ performance. The contract terms I used as response variables were contract length (in years) and average salary per season. I also focused on hitters and how metrics like Batting Average, On-Base Percentage, Home Runs, or even advanced ones like Wins Above Replacement (WAR) can help us see what the market is favoring and at what price. The reason to use different sources of metrics is to see what MLB Executives are listening to: traditional statistics or those advanced ones used by the Sabermetric community? Using models like this can also have some predictive powers.

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My New Year’s Resolution

So I feel bad for digressing from this blog…if you’ve been checking in from time to time, waiting for that one day to come for me to post…I’m sorry to you…you unkown reader, if there are any of you out there.

So a New Year’s Resolution (b/c everyone does it…)¬†of mine: blog blog blog.

I thought it’d be fun to act like some of the other 30 GM’s of the major leagues.

New York Mets

Omar Minaya has been trying to fix his team so the 2010 version looks like absolute nothing like the 2009 version that collapsed on all sides of the field, and by the end of the season even a die hard Met fan couldn’t name half of the roster that came to be. Something the Mets have been known for is giving huge contracts to players over their prime and aging fast. So, for you Minaya, “I vow to not give out so much money to these aging ballplayers..*COUGH* except Jason Bay [5 year, $80 million]…” …Whoops, right?

Cincinnati Reds

This doesn’t have much to do with the Red’s GM, except that he recently signed 22 year old pitcher Aroldis Chapman [a phenom Cuban who signed for $30 million]. By doing this, he’s putting this fine prospect into the hands/care of Dusty Baker in a couple years when he’s up with the big club. Dusty Baker, you ask? He’s kinda been at the helm of top pitching prospects who have suffered numerous injuries in their careers [think Mark Prior, Kerry Wood]. Not saying it’s his fault, but he has been known to overwork these pitchers. So, Mr. Baker, your resolution entails to play it safe with Mr. Chap, as well as the rest of your pitching crew, especially Edinson Volquez who’s coming off season ending surgery.

New York Yankees

Brian Cashman: I will continue to flex my yankee blue power [AKA $$$] and keep the core players in tact for several years, so that by 2020, 8 more rings will be won. YANKEE POWER!

Oakland Athletics

Billy Beane: Yeah..I’ll keep ahead of most GM’s by going against the curve. Remember back when I liked fat catchers like Jeremy Brown eight years ago? While you guys are doing that now, you’ll be eaitng my left coast dust while I pick up suave-looking guys for my team. Hang-ten.

I tried to be funny at the end. Can’t you picture Billy Beane all relaxed and embracing his native San Diego vibe? [On the contrary, I’ve heard he yells a lot when he’s mad…and throws things..]

PS – It’s IceBat’s first New Years! He says hello to all you “loyal” readers.


The World of Baseball…Without Baseball…

So baseball season is over, and I’ve been pretty flakey in writing since the post season. So what to write about when no baseball is occurring in the majors? Hopefuly I can keep you entertained..

Despite first impressions, I find the offseason just as interesting as the baseball season. A lot goes on that will affect next season, just like any other professional sports league. But there’s more to it than just free agency. Here’s a rundown of things to look forward to:

Rule 5 draft: The rule 5 draft is different from the regular amateur draft in that teams select players from other teams’ minor league rosters. That’s right, it’s like stealing players from other teams. Why do this? If a team doesn’t select a player onto their 40 man roster (basically what they view as the top 40 players in their system), they are unprotected and can be selected by another team to be put on their top 40 list. It’s beneficial to players because they are given a chance to play when their original club is stockpiled in resources.

Arbitration: There are two forms of arbitration. The first occurs when young players are given raises due to their past season performances, once they have reached a three or four year mark with a team. Kids like Tim Lincecum fall into this category, where he’s been with the Giants for about 4 years and is able to get a raise from them. Due to his stellar performances the past two years, it’s evident he’ll get a bloated raise from about $650K to at least $10 m+…

Free Agency: The other form of arbitration occurs where a player has completed a contract with a team, and that team can offer a raised salary for one year that the player can either accept or deny. If he chooses to deny, he’ll become a free agent and can sign with whoever he wants. If he does so and is classified as a top free agent, the team he leaves usually will be given draft picks as compensation for him leaving. You can see a pattern here, where a balance of power is continual and a sort of fairness equilibrium occurs. If i lose a player, I can select another young player in the draft next year. If I’m a good baseball player but my club has two other shortstops in front of me, I can get selected by another team and be given a chance.

Trades: Just like during the busy trade deadline at the end of July, the offseason can see quite a bit of movement in the trade market. Teams will want to trade up for a star, or if you’re like the A’s will trade down. Say I have a player who has one year left on his contract, but I know he’ll leave through free agency. I don’t want just two draft picks, I’m gonna want more for my product. I’ll try and get up and coming players, or a mixture of major/minor league players in order to compensate my loss of one of my top players. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. Bartolo Colon (an ace, for a couple years) was traded for 3 minor leaguers at the time: Cliff Lee (who won a Cy Young), Brandon Phillips (an all star 2B) and Grady Sizemore (an all star CF). Talk about bang for your buck…The trade tree can grow to be pretty big.