World Famous StatSpeak Roundtable: December 24

Well joy to the world, the roundtable has come.  The table is only set for three this week.  As you might imagine, we’re all stretched tight with the holidays.  But, the show must go on!!!  So, let’s talk about free agent outfielders, and what you hope Santa is bringing to your team.

Question #1: Hopefully it isn’t too late to get that letter in to Santa – what should he bring your team this Christmas?

Colin Wyers: The Cubs seem to be set in the rotation – although I wouldn’t turn down a reasonable Jake Peavy deal, Santa! I guess I just want the Cubs to not sign an albatross of a deal for the LH-hitting OF they covet. (Asking for an upgrade at shortstop would probably just be greedy.)

Eric Seidman: Santa, is it too much to ask to rescind the Ibanez deal and just bring Pat Burrell back for a 1-yr deal?  Derek Lowe would be nice, too, given that the Phillies fifth starter is now going to be between Kyle Kendrick and JA Happ, neither of whom provide extreme confidence in this Phillies fan.  Hamels, Lowe, Myers, Moyer, Blanton works for me.

Pizza Cutter: Dear Santa, I want a pony, and a bike, and for Fausto Carmona to stop walking more people than he strikes out.  And a new shoulder for Travis Hafner.  And Randy Johnson on a one-year deal.

Question #2: Dunn, Burrell, Abreu, Garrett, Griffey – who do you want and why and for what position?

Colin Wyers: Dunn is by far the youngest, and so the most likely to provide value over the course of a long-term contract. Griffey is the one who is most likely to play below replacement level in the next season.

Eric Seidman: According to my post at Fangraphs today (oh yeah, totally pimping myself), of these four, only Garrett Anderson’s value decreases as a DH compared to as a leftfielder.  Dunn projects to be the most formidable offensive threat, with Burrell about 0.4 wins behind.  Abreu is then 0.4 wins behind Burrell, and Griffey is staked at 0.60 wins.  Dunn is also the youngest, so… Dunn.  I may have a Burrell fetish, but the soundest investment would be Dunn as a DH.

Pizza Cutter: Pat Burrell would make someone a dandy DH.  He wasn’t the worst left fielder in baseball last year.  Just the third worst… ahead of Adam Dunn (shot!), who would probably make someone a dandy first baseman.  Or a DH.  I guess in Dunn’s case he would be a designated walker.  Griffey is one of those guys who’s a fourth OF on a good team and a starter on a bad team, but probably doesn’t want to do (or get paid like) either.  Abreu actually rated out as an average right fielder last year according to OPA!, so he can stay out there. 

Question #3: Is Milton Bradley worth it?  Where will he land?

Colin Wyers: I suppose that depends on what “it” is. The problem is that you can’t rely on him as an outfielder, which hasn’t stopped the Cubs from trying to snag him to play right. If he can rack up enough PAs to keep him from being a fourth outfielder in all but name, sure he’s worth “it,” so long as “it” isn’t an absurd amount of money.

Eric Seidman: I don’t buy into the whole “don’t sign him, he’s a clubhouse cancer” argument.  The bottom line is that the guy is talented.  And his problem with fielding isn’t talent-related, but rather with regards to durability.  As an outfielder, Bradley has actually shown solid skills, but his health usually prevents him from manning the position for too long a period of time.  As a DH, of course he is worth it, especially considering he isn’t going to earn a ton of money with a surplus of similar players on the market.

Pizza Cutter: With all the talk of Josh Hamilton being the five-tool “upside” outfielder who finally put it all together in Texas last year despite a troubled past, there was another guy who pretty much did the same thing.  Bradley’s trajectory wasn’t as meteoric, but he did have a .999 OPS last year and he’s going to be 30 next year.  And he’s on the open market.  My guess is that he’ll end up in Wrigleyville.  I suppose that there’s the question of his “anger issues” that have probably seen him passed along from team to team over the past few years (Bradley’s been with the Expos, Indians, Dodgers, A’s, Padres, and now Rangers).  Speaking as a psychologist, there are ways to deal with that, and for all I know, Bradley has availed himself to those.  But let’s say he is still a jerk… what if he were also the last piece to your team’s puzzle?  Is it worth the bad citizenship points and bad karma to win a championship?  Maybe that’s why Bradley’s name doesn’t come up a lot.  No one wants to face that particular dilemma.

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