Sunday, July 10, 2005

No More Mister Wilson

Barry, the Times, and a Mountain of Rocky Newspapers are all poo-pooing the crappy Wilson trade, saying that the money is the largest hurdle.

On that point, if that's the obstacle to the deal, it's a stupid one. Wilson is owed the ungodly sum of $12.5 million for the season. But since the season is more than half over, he's owed less than that. For convenience's sake, let's say $6 million. Obviously the Rockies would want the Nats to pay all of it; the Nats would want to pay none.

Split it in the middle, and each side would pay $3 MM. Make it $2/$4 even.

The point is, it's not a ton of money that we're dealing with, and that shouldn't be an impediment to acquiring him. (Not that it's necessarily the right move anyway, as the Inquirer discusses)

Remember, this is a team that was under-budget BEFORE the season started. The Nats were given a $50 million payroll, and the opening day roster was at $48.9.

Since then, we've had public pronouncements that the team can go above that level because they understimated revenues.

The team has also saved money with the trade of Tomo Ohka for Junior Spivey. Ohka was making $2.75 MM, Spivey $2.125. That's not a ton of money, but it adds up.

In other words, the money excuse is, in all probability, just a negotiating ploy, or pure bunk.

  • Another point that needs to be addressed is the defense. Barry Svrulga pointed out that Wilkerson will probably be sliding over to left field to start the second half for fatigue reasons. A Church/Byrd platoon is more than able to handle the duties in center, and I'll even go out on a limb and say that that would improve our outfield defense.

    But if the Wilson trade goes through, Preston would probably slot into center.

    That's not pretty.

    Every defensive statistic I've seen paints Wilson as a pretty poor defender. In the comments to that Inquirer article I linked above, Yuda points to the Baseball Prospectus numbers, which show a pretty marked decline from Wilkerson to Wilson.

    He's 30. He's had knee troubles in his career. And he was never very good to begin with.

    This team, for the most part, doesn't get a lot of strikeouts. As a result, batters put the ball in play more than on an average team. When that happens, you need to rely on your defense. That's been a big reason why the team has done so well. Even if a batter hits the crap out of the ball, the park and the long runs of our outfielders to the gaps have been able to reign some of those long drives in.

    With Wilson in center, there will be a lot more doubles, and Patterson, especially, will see his ERA suffer. Preston would have to hit a lot better than he has to make up for that.

  • One final point. In the last Wilson thread, a commenter brought up the point that because Wilson's a Free Agent at the end of the year, that the team would get compensatory draft picks when he signs elsewhere.

    Hypothetically, he's correct. Practically, that's wrong.

    To get draft picks from another team, you need to offer the player arbitration.

    Under the rules of arbitration, you cannot cut a player's salary by more than 20%. As a result, Preston Wilson would be guaranteed a minimum of ~$10 million next season. He could certainly decline arbitration, but then he'd be lucky to get a 3 year/ $10 million contract on the market; he's simply not that good.

    He'd be stupid to decline the Nats' arbitration offer, completely hampering any financial flexibility this team would have heading into an off-season with new owners (hopefully!).

    So no go on the prospect of draft picks.

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