Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hindsight GMing

Just for mierda and giggles... Let's say that the Lerners decided to open up their wallets, deciding that a payroll similar to last year's level would be appropriate. Further, they've dusted off the H.G. Wells-era time machine they've kept in the basement of Wheaton Plaza, and are allowing you to travel back to December with all the info you know now. Further suppose that you have absolute power of persuasion and that any player you select (not named Bonds!) would come play for you for the same salary they eventually accepted. (Lots of suppositions, huh?)

Here's the list of Free Agents signed over the offseason. You've got $30 million to spend or not spend. Who, if anyone, would you have signed? And who would you have left off the Nats roster?

I'll be working on my answers...

  • Alright, here's what I'd do...

    $1.75 for Ryan Klesko to replace Robert Fick

    $.85 for Damien Easley (or Aaron Boone) to replace Tony Batista

    $6 for Kenny Lofton to replace Ryan Langerhans and to platoon with Logan in CF

    $1 for Jorge Sosa to replace Jerome Williams
    $10 for Greg Maddux (or Tom Glavine) to replace Jason Simontacchi

    All of those guys, save for Easley, have played for Stan Kasten before.

    That's a total of about $20 million, and none of those are long-term contracts. (The players we're giving up are about $2 million).

    Would this team win more?

    I'm using Runs Created as a proxy for offense and prorating it to give them an approximate % of Nats playing time.

    Klesko to this point has been worth 10 more runs than Fick, given Fick's playing time.

    For Easley, I summed up Josh Wilson's and Tony Batista's playing time and prorated Easley's performance. So far, he's been worth 6 runs (about half a win) more than they were.

    For Lofton in Center, I had to tweak it a bit. I took Logan's, Casto's and Langerhan's stats and assigned Lofton 2/3 of the playing time to account for the platoon. (Church would've started the season in LF, negating Casto had Lofton been signed)

    With Lofton, that position would have produced about 21 runs. Without him, just 15, so Lofton has added another 6 runs, or half a win.

    It's harder to do a direct pitcher comparison, but if you sum up the starting performances of our backups: Bowie, Williams, Simontacchi and Bacsik, they gave up about 90 runs in 140 innings.

    Sosa and Maddux have combined for about 56 runs in 130 innings.

    So there's about a 30-35-run difference in performance, which is about three total wins. (of course, there's some added bonus to the relievers not having to strain so much, but i ain't calculatin' that!)

    So for a net of about $18 million, we could have about 5 more wins and be 33-32.

    Of course that's all hindsight. Nobody was calling on the team to sign Jorge Sosa, and we all mostly thought that Fick was a good idea.

    It's not a perfect science. And this doesn't prove anything. But it's fun to think about.


    • I ruled out any free agents that would have required compensation if signed given "teh PLAN".

      Of the remaining guys out there, the only one I'd have gone after were starters Jason Marquis and Randy Wolf; center fielder Kenny Lofton; and, relievers Hideki Okajima and either Eric Gagne or Octavio Dotel. That puts you at $28.25M if you take Dotel, $29.25M if Gagne. That gives the Nationals two solid SPs for an injured rotation; a more legitmate CF than they have (even given his age); and two extra arms for the pen. And the added bonus is that with the exception of Okajima and Marquis, the others are on one year deals so you can move them at the deadline if you are out of it.

      By Blogger Brian, at 6/14/2007 12:20 PM  

    • Tough question to answer.

      I think a preliminary question must be asked: Is this team closer to contention than originally thought? By this, I mean is the team, as comprised by its core rather than short-termers playing/pitching over their heads, closer to contending than anticipated over the winter?

      If so, I think you can look at some FAs that could have been signed to mix into a growing contender. (A Vicente Padilla, if you will, though we all now know you won't!)

      If not, then I'm not sure the answer makes much of a difference. You can't undo the 9-25 start, but it is beginning to be history now and it at least appears like it'll be a respectable team from here on out.

      By Anonymous Basil, at 6/14/2007 12:25 PM  

    • But since this is apparently a game, I'll go with Ryan Franklin, Brian Jordan, and Gabe Kapler.

      Oh, and Gil Meche.

      By Anonymous Basil, at 6/14/2007 12:46 PM  

    • None of guys who signed long-term are really appealing (Ramirez, Lee, Soriano, Meche, Dice-K), but I thought long and hard about Carlos Lee.

      I'd take Alou and then play Church in CF.

      Randy Wolf seems like an easy call.

      And I would actually go with Glavine.

      If I'm still under 30, then I'd look for a cheap reliever and maybe another SP (Jamie Walker perhaps).

      The Nationals wouldn't be a playoff team with those 3, but signing them also wouldn't impact the team beyond this year and who knows they might have been able to smell .500.

      By Blogger RPS, at 6/14/2007 1:11 PM  

    • My first pick off of that list is Greg Maddux. He's a veteran who throws 200+ every season (sparing the bullpen) and he would be a tremendous clubhouse presence for the younger pitchers. Then, I take Kenny Lofton to have a reliable CF/ Leadoff hitter. The other guy I would consider would be Damion Easley, but when Nick Johnson is healthy and our bench has Young and Belliard, that may be all we need.

      Finally, I would take Alan Embree as a solid bullpen guy who can set-up or close. But, that's about it, and it leaves $12M on the table.

      By Blogger Natsfan74, at 6/14/2007 2:00 PM  

    • SP's Jason Marquis and Randy Wolf. Both eat up some innings plus Marquis is pretty decent with the bat.

      CF Kenny Lofton so we'd have a true leadoff hitter and slightly better than average defender.

      Then I'd have signed Mark DeRosa. Durable 2B but could also play most outfield positions. Decent hitter (.270-.280) with some power (10-15 HR, 20-30 2B).

      By Anonymous e, at 6/14/2007 2:44 PM  

    • I don't know, but as part of the plan, I would've also signed these guys:

      Marlon Byrd (lol, yeah), Matt Stairs, Doug Brocail, Jose Cruz, Damion Easley.

      And maybe traded Felipe Lopez back to the Reds for Josh Hamilton and Matt Belisle.

      By Anonymous King, at 6/14/2007 2:57 PM  

    • Fick is still a great idea...did you see his two-out rocket in the 11th that started the rally? Plus, as Bob Carpenter/Ray Knight pointed out, he's looking like K. Hernandez in the field! Fick's the guy!

      (ok...maybe it wasn't a rocket, just the same can of corn that has led to his .190 average this year...but it did fall in! A hit is a hit!)

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/14/2007 3:38 PM  

    • Hey, 20 years from now, when Fick is talking to his grandkids (assuming he doesn't burst an artery before then), he'll be able to tell his grandkids that it was a scorcher off the wall, and they won't know a thing! ;)

      Carpenter and Knight need to be taken out back behind the shed... ;)

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 6/14/2007 3:39 PM  

    • Interesting, and really demonstrates how hard it is to sign a quality FA without breaking the bank. FWIW, Greg Maddux would not have signed with Washington for the same price as SD. Maddux's family lives in Las Vegas, and he had his eyes on SD heading into free agency.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/14/2007 4:14 PM  

    • That's very true about Maddux. That's why I listed Glavine as a backup. ;)

      You're right on one hand. You can't build a team entirely through FA. You need pre-arb players like Zimmerman and Church to add to the roster. They provide league average or better performance at their positions for near minimum. To buy equal players at their positions would be millions of dollars.

      But it is interesting to think about what could've been had they supplemented a little. My problem wasn't them relying on kids for the pitching staff. It was relying on so many of them, and my concern about what'd happen when the first and second tier broke down -- Bacsik and Speigner is what happens! If Guzman and Young weren't playing out of their mind, we'd be feeling a lot worse about the recent pitching performance.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 6/14/2007 4:17 PM  

    • Sandy Alomar Jr. is still alive!?

      By Anonymous the nationals enquirer, at 6/14/2007 8:48 PM  

    • Why can Simontacchi? Why not the Golem? Is he that key to TEH PLAN? Or even replace Chico and let him learn in AAA?

      By Anonymous Simon Oliver Lockwood, at 6/15/2007 8:51 AM  

    • Kenny Lofton is 40! Maddux is 41. Alou is 40. Easley is 37.

      That's the O's drive toward respectability, year after year: to patch with old guys and see what is left of their diminishing skills. What fun!

      The Nats' season is basically hopeless. However, they do have the intangible of youth going for them-- guys who feel that it is more than just a paycheck, that it is still a game where winning counts. They are not jaded yet, and that somehow traslates into more success than the team on paper should have.

      Plus at this stage of rebuilding, if you go with the open tryout approach, you do not block the path of a surprise prospect who emerges. Most of us are skeptical of Langerhans, for good reason, and he is an older "prospect" at 27. But he had a AAA season where he was .300 with decent power and .400 OBP (rounding up only a little). If he flops, fine, try someone else next year. But I would like to see what he does rather than have a 40 year old CF.

      Young, Belliard, Colome, Bacsik, King, Simontacchi: not too bad.

      By Anonymous Ed, at 6/15/2007 9:39 AM  

    • I always assumed that it was difficult to turn around a losing ball club but this exercise really confirms it.

      Assuming 20/20 hindsight (and an extra $18 million) we could only add 5 wins! Suck it whiners who complain about not spending money, surprise it doesn't guarantee anything.

      One point, touched on late in the comments, seems important. Playing time at the major league level is an asset! Assume the Nats signed two medicore FA starters, would Jason Bergmann have even made the final roster? He certainly would have been under the bus to C-Bus after the 6 walk performance. But now, we may have, through the proper use of major league playing time, created an asset out of nothing! The same goes for Dmitri. Someone should pay something for a switch-hitter with power to sit on their bench for the post-season. That's turing our lone asset playing time into a something useful for the long term (a prospect). The essence of the PLAN.

      By Anonymous Kirk, at 6/15/2007 1:32 PM  

    • That's a semi-valid point about Bergmann.

      I'd go for it a lot more had the Nats not completely buried him either. Remember, he was ticketed for the minors quite early in spring training, and only a bunch of injuries let the Nats discover what they had. They didn't give him a shot even with the crappy pitchers we had.

      (That being said, let's wait for more than 8 starts from Bergmann before completely anointing him)

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 6/15/2007 1:39 PM  

    • By Blogger Sneakers hobbies, at 10/28/2009 9:50 AM  

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