Posts tagged Prince Fielder

Anthopoulos’ Blue Jays Christmas List


In Blue Jays beat writer Gregor Chisholm’s most recent blog post he talked to Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos about his thoughts on Kelly Johnson, the Pujols contract, and most importantly Anthopoulos’ objectives and wish list for the rest of this offseason. On the topic of his wish list for the rest of the offseason Anthopoulos said, “I think there are a lot of areas we could still address. You’d always love if you could add a bat to the middle of the lineup — that would be great. Realistically, I don’t know how possible that would be and right now I don’t see us being able to do that but things could change…I would love to add a mid to front rotation starter, again, that’s easier said than done because I think every team in the game is going to look to do something like that. We definitely still need to solidify our bullpen. We’ve taken care of the ninth inning but we still need to take care of the eighth inning and continue to build that depth.” In the spirit of the holiday season I thought I would go over a couple of options to fulfill all the items on the Jays GM’s Christmas list.

Middle of the Order Bat
Currently the Blue Jays have two “middle of the order bats” in Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind, but after some lack luster production from Lind in the second half and Edwin in the first half, Anthopoulos obviously wants an upgrade. To start the offseason there was two prime first base bats in Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, but with Pujols signing with the Angels and in the process reseting the market for Fielder, it has become a little bit more difficult. Despite that there is still some bats in both the trade market and free agency that Anthopoulos has the chance to go after, I’m just not sure he needs to, but nonetheless I looked at options anyways.

Ike Davis

2009 22 NYM-min A+,AA 114 488 58 128 31 3 20 71 0 2 57 112 .298 .381 .524 .906
2010 23 NYM NL 147 601 73 138 33 1 19 71 3 2 72 138 .264 .351 .440 .791 115
2011 24 NYM NL 36 149 20 39 8 1 7 25 0 0 17 31 .302 .383 .543 .925 155
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 12/9/2011.

Recently we heard that the New York Mets are willing to listen to everyone on their roster save for David Wright, which would therefore include first baseman Ike Davis. Davis spent a majority of the past season on the disabled list, but prior to his injury in the month of April Davis had the 3rd highest wOBA in the MLB only after Joey Votto and Miguel Cabrera. In that short time Ike Davis hit 7 home runs and was on a 30 home run pace despite playing in one of the worst hitters parks in the MLB. To go along with his Major League success Davis was ranked as the number 62 prospect by Baseball America prior to the 2010 season. As the market has yet to be set for Ike Davis I can’t really say what it would take to get to acquire the young cost-controllable first baseman, but I will guess something along the line of Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Perez.

Kendrys Morales

2008 25 LAA AL 27 66 7 13 2 0 3 8 0 1 4 7 .213 .273 .393 .666 72
2009 26 LAA AL 152 622 86 173 43 2 34 108 3 7 46 117 .306 .355 .569 .924 139
2010 27 LAA AL 51 211 29 56 5 0 11 39 0 1 12 31 .290 .346 .487 .833 129
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 12/9/2011.

With the Pujols signing the MLB lost the best free agent option, but also presumably gained another great option in return. This is because with the signing the Angels now have four 1B/DH types in Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo, Bobby Abreu, and Kendrys Morales and with only Trumbo to move to third base, there is likely going to be one who is the odd man out. Granted Morales is coming off a season in which he was injured and the Angels would likely be selling low, but it doesn’t seem like they have another option. Plus the sell low likely works in the Blue Jays favor. Like Davis there has been no set market yet, but if I had to guess I would say it could take the likes of Deck McGuire and say J.P. Arencibia.

Prince Fielder (In Depth Look)

2009 25 MIL NL 162 719 103 177 35 3 46 141 2 3 110 138 .299 .412 .602 1.014 166
2010 26 MIL NL 161 714 94 151 25 0 32 83 1 0 114 138 .261 .401 .471 .871 135
2011 27 MIL NL 162 692 95 170 36 1 38 120 1 1 107 106 .299 .415 .566 .981 164
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 12/9/2011.

Since the Albert Pujols signing has gone through Prince Fielder has by default become the most sought after power bat. We have heard that the Cubs, Brewers, Jays, Mariners, Rangers, and even the Orioles could be players for Fielder. Currently the reports are such that Scott Boras is looking to get Fielder a 8 year 200 million deal, which would be out of the Jays price range as they have stated that they won’t go past a 5 year deal at this point. There is still the possibility that the market for Fielder falls through and the Jays can become a player, but it is highly unlikely. Fielder would look great hitting behind Bautista, but I doubt it happens.

Mid-Front of the Rotation Starter
Currently as the Jays rotation stands it looks to be Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, Henderson Alvarez, Brett Cecil, and Dustin McGowan. With that rotation the Jays have a usable set of starters, but not one that is anywhere close to being a contending rotation in the AL East. With that said here are a few options to up the front of the rotation.

Yu Darvish (In Depth Look)

Link to Yu Darvish‘s “Japanese Baseball Players” Page

Darvish was recently posted by his team in the NPB the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters and has become the most sought after pitcher on the market. It has been reported that the Red Sox, Rangers and Jays are the ones with the most interest, but in the posting system it only takes one team to change everything. With that said the Jays have had reported interest, mostly based on the fact that Anthopoulos himself went to see Darvish in Japan, but with the Jays policy of not commenting on any players it is impossible to know their true thoughts. I personally believe that Darvish will make a good transition to the big leagues and would love for them to pick him up, but with the posting system it is such a crapshoot anything could happen.

Jon Niese (In Depth Look)

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA GS IP H R HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
2009 22 NYM NL 1 1 4.21 5 25.2 27 12 1 9 18 98 1.403 9.5 0.4 3.2 6.3
2010 23 NYM NL 9 10 4.20 30 173.2 192 97 20 62 148 93 1.463 10.0 1.0 3.2 7.7
2011 24 NYM NL 11 11 4.40 26 157.1 178 88 14 44 138 84 1.411 10.2 0.8 2.5 7.9
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 12/9/2011.

Niese rumours like Ike Davis rumours are a product of the Mets statement that they would be willing to trade everyone on their roster. Niese also like Davis is young and cost controllable and potentially an undervalued asset. He may take a little more than expected as he is supposedly sought after by multiple teams, but I believe he is worth it. Based on his peripheral stats as well his scouting reports he seems to be a good bet to become a future #2 starter, something the Jays could always use more of. In my other post I outlined that I thought it would take Travis Snider and Deck McGuire to acquire Niese, which may seem like a lot, but the pitching market is low and Niese is a lot better than you think.

Ervin Santana

2009 26 LAA AL 8 8 5.03 23 2 139.2 159 83 24 47 107 87 1.475 10.2 1.5 3.0 6.9
2010 27 LAA AL 17 10 3.92 33 1 222.2 221 104 27 73 169 102 1.320 8.9 1.1 3.0 6.8
2011 28 LAA AL 11 12 3.38 33 1 228.2 207 95 26 72 178 112 1.220 8.1 1.0 2.8 7.0
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 12/9/2011.

Before the offseason you would not have thought of Santana as a obvious trade candidate, but he is coming off a career season that the Angels could sell high on in an offseason with very little pitching. Plus with CJ Wilson being added to the Angels pitching staff Ervin Santana becomes expendable. First off of the three candidates listed Santana is probably a last resort as the Angels are selling high and Santana would likely cost much more than he is worth. As well on top of the sell high aspect Ervin Santana only has two years left on his contract and would be paid $11.2 million in 2012 and $13 million in 2013, likely above what both Niese and Darvish would get, for what could quite possibly be lesser production. The reason I see to acquire Ervin Santana is a better track record and therefore more probable production, but with Niese and Darvish you have the upside, which may appeal more to AA.

Solidifying the Bullpen
This offseason the bullpen is often brought up as the biggest thing that the Blue Jays need to address because of their “25 blown saves”. As flawed as the argument is I’m not going to get into it and instead look at the bright side. First the Blue Jays acquired their closer for a little while in Sergio Santos and second the Jays have many young arms vying for a bullpen spot, which are both positives for the team. I’m sure Anthopoulos will acquire some middle reliever be it in trade or free agency, but picking the starters and positions players that the Jays will acquire is hard enough with The Silent Assassin as the Jays GM, trying to guess which relievers he acquires would be like trying to find a needle in a hay stack. Sergio Santos is a prime example, I bet you could count on one hand the number of people that projected that the Jays would trade for Santos. The Santos deal came out of nowhere just like the Rauch deal from last year as well as the Francisco trade, it’s simply too hard to guess. All we as Jays fans can hope for is that the Blue Jays bullpen is better and has less blown saves, not because blown saves matter, but to silence the complainers who have no idea what they are talking about.

Big Papi could bring Big Return

David Ortiz
Photo by Keith Allison licensed by Creative Commons

With news coming out today regarding impending free agent David Ortiz and the Blue Jays, it has got a lot of people in Toronto talking about Big Papi as a possibility in Toronto. He’s big, he’s friendly, and he is exactly what Toronto needs, that big left handed bat. He has the obvious connections to the Jays with John Farrell having been the pitching coach over in Boston and Jose Bautista being among his best friends in the MLB, which only betters the odds of dealing getting done. Still, Ortiz may not be that true marquee free agent that many Toronto fans are looking for, but if the Jays can’t or won’t get a Fielder or Pujols, Ortiz is a very nice backup option. He has the potential to be as good a hitter, will command a much better contract (for the Jays), and could end up being the better long term option.

This year Ortiz took a big step up in his production after a couple lackluster seasons with the Red Sox. He went from 0.3 fWAR and 2.6 fWAR seasons in ’09 and ’10 to a vintage Ortiz 4.2 fWAR season. That number is only ~1 win behind Fielder and ~2-4 wins behind Pujols depending on your thoughts on him going forward. Added on to that with Fielder and Pujols you get a little more certainty of production as they have put up fairly consistently good numbers over the past three years, but the difference that you get between Ortiz and the other two players is good, but is not worth the extra $10 million dollars in the average annual salary that it will take to sign one of the two.

Obviously Ortiz isn’t and won’t be of the same calibre a player as Pujols or Fielder, but the length and value that the Jays will get out of a contract with Ortiz makes him much more appealing. What we do know is that Pujols is pushing for a 10 year $300 million deal and Fielder is looking to beat Mark Teixeira’s 8 year $180 million deal with the Yankees, either of those guys could become an albatross contract for the Blue Jays. On the other hand Ortiz is looking for a much more reasonable 3 year offer at an average annual value of a third of what Pujols is asking for. The added benefit of a possible Ortiz signing is that if he is only signed for those two years then the Blue Jays would be able to make a serious run at Joey Votto when he is a free agent in 2014. Votto being a player that the Jays have coveted for a while and would likely make a run at if they didn’t have another highly paid first basemen, such as Fielder or Pujols.

Some Jays fans are pointing to Frank Thomas as a comparable for a possible Ortiz signing and they are right there is a few similarities. Both were seeking two year contracts and both are DHs at this point in their careers, but the similarities end there. First when Thomas signed his contract with the Jays he was 39 and right now Ortiz is only 36. Second when the Jays signed Thomas he was just coming off a good year, but for him a good year meant only a 2.7 fWAR. That 2.7fWAR is roughly the same as Ortiz’s lead-up season and 1 and half wins away from Papi’s WAR this year. Thus you can in no way compare the two players, it is a situation to situation basis and is really no different from comparing Darvish to Dice-K, it can’t be done.

Soon enough we will see what really happens with Ortiz as the offseason officially commences at 12:00 AM on Sunday, but it seems like a reasonable belief that the Jays will at least be in on Ortiz. He may cost a first round pick by that time, but the Jays have two first rounders in 2012 and can easily get first round value out of any of their picks in the first 3 rounds barring any changes to the CBA. I’d like to see the Jays take a shot at Ortiz, he’d be an excellent stop gap while the Jays young players develop and gives them a shot at Votto in 2014. It would be a “win now” move to many of the Jays fans asking for such and would certainly shut many of them up for the foreseeable future. It is a win-win-win move and would be well responded by this Jays fan and hopefully many others feel the same.

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Why Votto, but not Fielder

Photo’s by OlympianX and Keith Allison both licensed under Creative Commons
Since the what seems like forever Jays fans have wanted Toronto born first basemen Joey Votto on his hometown team the Blue Jays, but it is only recently that rumors have really started to “heat up” if you can really even call it that. Buster Olney said on Twitter, “Rival executives getting signals that the Reds won’t shop Joey Votto — but that they are fully prepared to listen to offers.”. This was encouraging, but then in an interview with Reds beat writer Mark Sheldon,  Reds GM Walt Jocketty said on the subject of trading Votto, We haven’t talked about it. I wish that people would stop writing it, why would we trade one of the best players in the game? We’re trying to win.” 

Obviously those are some pretty strong comments that should be taken into consideration when going after Votto. Though despite that strongly worded quote from Walt Jocketty, it doesn’t mean that Votto in a Jays uni is completely impossible, but I’m guessing that because of those comments Jocketty will probably take the same route Kevin Towers took with Justin Upton last year. Essentially meaning that he will listen to offers, but that you would have to blow away the Reds to obtain Votto. In the end it should also be the same outcome of the Justin Upton rumors, with no trade happening. Votto may be traded, but probably not this offseason, even if his value is at its peak.

What I want to know is why exactly do we want to trade for Votto, when there is a better option on the free agent market in Prince Fielder. Votto obviously includes the plus of being able to play first base at an above average level and the fact that he is Canadian definitely doesn’t hurt, but Prince Fielder, with the right contract, is clearly the better option. He is younger, he is only a marginally worse hitter , and most of all he won’t cost the Blue Jays anything other than cash (which can easily be spent if Anthonpolous feels it is warranted) and a 1st round draft pick, which the Blue Jays have two of in 2012.

Starting off on the value aspect, here are the stats of the two players on the past three years.

Prince Fielder
2009 25 162 719 103 177 46 141 2 3 110 138 .299 .412 .602 1.014 166 356
2010 26 161 714 94 151 32 83 1 0 114 138 .261 .401 .471 .871 135 272
2011 27 162 692 95 170 38 120 1 1 107 106 .299 .415 .566 .981 164 322
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/21/2011.

Joey Votto

2009 25 131 544 82 151 25 84 4 1 70 106 .322 .414 .567 .981 156 266
2010 26 150 648 106 177 37 113 16 5 91 125 .324 .424 .600 1.024 171 328
2011 27 161 719 101 185 29 103 8 6 110 129 .309 .416 .531 .947 156 318
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/21/2011.

Prince Fielder’s fWAR has been an average of 5.1 and Votto’s has been a better, but not otherworldly better at 6.3 fWAR. Though once you take fielding completely out of the equation the gap closes a bit as Fielders average offensive contribution to his fWAR over the past three years is 4.5 wins and Votto’s is 4.7 wins. When you consider that if on the Jays Fielder will be most likely be DHing quite a bit, it seems reasonable to assume that there wouldn’t be a giant value gap between Fielder and Votto. Either would be a huge upgrade over both Encarnacion and Lind, but for what it would take to acquire the two, it easily gives Fielder the edge.

To acquire Joey Votto would be a monstrous task. First he’s obviously not a free agent nor is he an obvious trade candidate with two years still left on his contract, so a trade for him could take a lot. Some people were suggesting that the Jays should trade something along the lines of Anthony Gose, Travis d’Arnaud, Drew Hutchison, Deck McGuire, and then some of the high end arms in the lower minors like Noah Syndergaard and Justin Nicolino. If the Jays could get Votto for this, then I would go right ahead, but I along with others can easily see that this isn’t an adequate package for a guy who is a year removed from an MVP season in which he had 7.3 fWAR. 

A more accurate representation of what it would take to acquire the former MVP would be something along the lines of Brett Lawrie and Ricky Romero. It may look nice to have that hometown hero, but is it really worth it to give up Lawrie and Romero to do so. First off Lawrie has some of that same patriotic appeal that Votto has as well as the fact that he is cost controlled and is projected to be a future star. Then to add on Ricky Romero who is the unquestioned leader of the pitching staff  and the only guy who is a lock to throw 200 innings, it becomes way too much to give up.

Besides by adding Votto to the 2012 roster you really aren’t gaining much if anything at all in terms of added value if what you are giving up is Brett Lawrie and Ricky Romero. This year Votto had a 6.9 WAR season and it is quite reasonable to expect him to reach those heights again. But Lawrie and Romero combined this year put up 5.6 WAR and it isn’t unprecedented to expect even more value next year out of Lawrie and Romero than out of Votto. Sure some of Lawrie and Romero’s value would be added in other ways, but if you assume you get Snider/Thames replacing Lawrie’s production and one of the young pitchers replacing Ricky’s production it would be exceedingly close to the value added with Votto over Encarnacion. Combined Lawrie and Romero provide probably an extra 5 wins over their replacements, but Votto over Encarnacion is only 5.5-6 wins added, so unless Lawrie completely tanks next season Votto doesn’t add much to the Jays. 

Despite the obvious marketing positives of having the best Canadian player in the MLB on the only Canadian team, giving up what it would take to acquire Votto is too much. If the Blue Jays truly want a first basemen now then Fielder is the only option. He’s only 27 and if you can get him for less than 7 years, then I’d say jump on it. It doesn’t matter even if the Jays pay Fielder upwards of 22.5 million a year, the real issue with him is the long term sustainability. Plus Fielder adds that big bat that the Jays supposedly need, without taking away the prodigy himself Brett Lawrie. In the end I don’t think it will be failure whether or not the Blue Jays get a big middle of the order bat this offseason or not, but if they do want to acquire someone, why not Fielder.
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