Friday, October 31, 2008

Free Agent Hitters part 2

Obviously, the top player on the market is the one we've already had a 2 month sneak preview on. Mark Teixiera will be 29 next year, so he should have many years of productive hitting ahead of him. His projection is +33 runs batting and +6 defending 1st base. A first baseman gets a -10 run position penalty, so Mark is +29 runs above average and +49 vs. replacement level. A great player, and with an expected going rate of 5 million per win, he may be worth 25 million per year. He will certainly get at least 20 million per year, so if the Angels can sign him between 20-25, consider it a good deal. The question is how many years will it take? An 8 to 10 year contract is probably too long. It all depends on what the Yankees, Orioles, or other teams plan on doing this offseason. The Angels will make a big offer that will make Mark a wealthy(-er) man, but so will others. It's his decision where he wants to play and a lot of it is out of our hands.

If health were not an issue, Milton Bradley would be the 2nd best player on this free agent market. At 31, he's a guy who you can expect close to a .400 OBA, a .500 SLG, good outfield defense, and even good baserunning. But health is an issue. Per 150 games he projects to +29 runs batting and +5 in the field. He'd be worth 24 million if he could play the field for 150 games. Using him in the field offers more chances for him to get hurt, so it might be best to evaluate him as a DH. As a DH he's worth 17 million, that is, if we could count on him to DH 150 games. The injury risk should not mean you don't want him at all, having Bradley for 2/3 of the time and Gary Matthews for the other 1/3 still beats having most outfielders around for the whole season. We just need to discount any offer for the injury risk. If Bradley is available for 3-4 years between 12-15 million, he's worth it. Ideally, he and Vlad could split the DH role and right field, depending on who's knee felt better on any given day. Bradley should be target #1 if Mark Teixiera decides to play somewhere else.

Manny Ramirez is still the best hitter on the market. His finish with the Dodgers was incredible, .396 average and .743 slugging. Almost Bondsian. His hitting projection is +38, and his fielding projection suggests that his best position is DH. Ramirez is worth 20-22 million, and at 37 that should be no more than a 3 year deal. He'll probably get more than that, and signing a fulltime DH may not be what we want, since Vlad should DH at least some of the time. We'd be better off not getting involved here.

Jason Giambi's hitting projection is +27, still one of the better bats despite his age (38). The Giambino can play first, poorly, but is best at DH. As I mentioned, that may not be a good fit in Anaheim. Giambi is a health risk as well, but on a one year deal he's worth about 10-13 million.

Pat Dunn/Adam Burrell. The mistake here is intentional. You won't find two more evenly matched players. Their hitting projections are +21 and +22, fielding in left is -13 and -14. Both should be strictly used as DH, though each has played some 1B in the past. Dunn is younger, and so will get the better contract. One bats righty and the other lefty, so that will sway some team's preference. They are worth 12-14 million, Burrell probably for no more than 3 years and Dunn maybe 5. Neither is a good fit for the Angels, given our DH concerns.

There are a few more bats among the 1B/LF/DH crowd, I'll just post their offensive and defensive projections per 150 games, and a suggested salary:

Carlos Delgado +15, -3, 11 million
Bobby Abreu +16, -11, 11 million
Raul Ibanez +12, -13, 9 million
Jim Edmonds -1, +2, 5-7 million

One or 2 year deals is the maximum I could suggest for any.

Juan Rivera is a +7 hitter, -7 fielder, worth about 7 million. He would be a decent resigning for say, 3 years if the Angels were willing to give him the fulltime job in left.