Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Buried in the bottom of an article about the resolution to the lawsuit were words that lifted my spirit and just about caused me to dance a jig:
Bowden also has pulled an earlier offer the club made to its third baseman from last season, Tony Batista, who is also a free agent, a source said. Batista, who made $1.5 million in a one-year contract last season, had balked on a two-year offer worth slightly more than $3 million, the source said, so Bowden has turned his attention elsewhere -- for now.

But then the other shoe dropped.
Bowden also has his eye on power-hitting third baseman Vinny Castilla of the Colorado Rockies in the early stages of the free agent signing period, a source said.

You take the good. You take the bad. You take them both.

The article also mentions Cory Koskie and Cristian Guzman as possibilities.

With the wealth of Free Agent SS available, Guzman should be near the bottom of our priority list. The only advantage he has is his age--he'll turn 27 next year. If you signed him to a 2 or 3 year deal, you probably couldn't expect a catostrophic decline. Unfortunately, if he declines much more, he'll barely be useful. Last year, he batted .274/ .309/ .384, which is right in line with his career numbers. Those aren't horrible, but that on-base percentage is pretty craptastic. While the accounts are that he improved his defense, he's slightly above average, at best. (Not that there's not value in being average). Guzman should be the kind of player we should settle for, not seek out. With all the others available, we should invesitigate some of our other options first.

I like Cory Koskie's style of play. He's a productive left-handed bat who gets on base and plays solid defense at third. You can expect around 20 HRs, 25-30 doubles and 70 walks. That being said, he's about to turn 32 and had a down year last year. He started off slowly and picked it up over the second half, finishing with a career high in slugging, but a career low in on-base percentage. Bill James has talked about old player's skills before--and how as players age, their batting average drops, but their homers and slugging go up and how this usually portends a decline in their overall abilities. I'd be hesitant with signing Koskie, because some of those signs are there. Our friends at USS Mariner had a similar, but much more exhaustive analysis. I highly recommend it.


  • Guzman had a real breakout last year defensively. He was by far the best defensive SS in the AL last year (depending on the metric you're using, of course - he led all shortstops in defensive win shares). He can't hit, though, and he hasn't improved over the years either. Anyway, if he keeps his D at his 2004 level, he could be worth having. If he doesn't, he's a disaster.

    By Blogger Ryan, at 11/16/2004 10:15 AM  

  • How much value can we put into one year's worth of statistics when we have 5 or 6 year's worth saying he's average, at best? The other thing about the defensive stats--at least comparatively--is that the AL seems to be in a bit of a funk defensively. There aren't any standouts this year. When Jeter's winning the Gold Glove, you know it's a mediocre year for shortstop.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 11/16/2004 10:18 AM  

  • That's very true. He is 27, so this may represent a new level of performance rather than a fluky season. I'd take him for, say, $2 million or less.

    By Blogger Ryan, at 11/16/2004 10:20 AM  

  • $2MM on a 2-year deal or so would probably be fair. It's just frustrating because that's one of the open positions we have that will really allow us to improve the team. Guzman's just a place-holder.

    Would you still do that if it was coming from the Rickey portion of the budget? :)

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 11/16/2004 10:22 AM  

  • No! We break the bank for Rickey!
    That USS Mariner take on Koskie is pretty deflating. He was the only free agent Bowden was after that I really liked.

    By Blogger Ryan, at 11/16/2004 10:25 AM  

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