Tuesday, November 21, 2006

5 years, $45 million???

5 years, $45 million. $9 million a year! I wanted to write about this last night, but I just knew that I would not get any intelligent thoughts on paper aside from outrage. You know that baseball teams have found new sources of revenues when Juan Pierre just received that fat contract. Pierre is a 28 year old leadoff hitter who can get hits (.292 BA last year) but isn’t able to draw walks (32), who steals bases (58) but gets caught way too often (20), adding barely 5 runs to his team’s totals with his stolen bases. He has only had one OPS+ over 100, the benchmark for being average. All in all, Pierre is a good player (18 VORP), just maybe not a player who should be awarded $45 million deals. The market has simply gone crazy and it really makes you wonder who will be next to receive an incredible deal. At the beginning of the off-season, I thought it would be a smart strategy to trade Vernon Wells and sign a mid-level free-agent like Pierre or Roberts to leadoff and replace Wells in the outfield.

Now, Roberts should be demanding a short-term deal for about the same amount of money. He’s a smarter base stealer (49 steals, 6 caught stealing) and is recognized for changing the face of the ALCS when the Red Sox were down 3-1. He’s better at drawing walks (.360 OBP last year) and actually had OPS+ of 100 or over in the last two seasons and had a better VORP last season at 22.2. Originally, I thought he’d make $5 million over 3 years, I wouldn’t be surprised if he receives a deal similar to that of Frank Thomas’. So what’s going on this off-season? The pitchers aren’t even signed yet and already the deals seem incredibly high. It really puts a premium on growing your own talent in-house.

So are the Jays ahead? They could receive 4 draft picks in the top 50 for the loss of Speier and F-Cat unless
Texas and Anaheim sign higher ranked free agents. If someone signs Molina before December 1st, there’s a possibility of two more high draft picks, allowing Ricciardi to re-stock a farm system which is lacking in quality prospects. This could be the off-season that makes Ricciardi’s career as a general manager with signings, trades and draft pick compensation.

Buster Olney has this quote on his INSIDER column today:
"Our guys think it's going to be a very, very good high school draft," said J.P. Ricciardi, the Blue Jays' GM. "What this will allow us to do is to maybe draft some high school kids, and then give them some time to develop. When we first came in here, we really were in a position where we had to draft college kids. Not next year."

  • Over at Batter's Box today they have a review of the Jays' prospects that are playing in the Arizona Fall League, it's a good read.
  • Top Prospect Alert has a Top 100 prospects for the next season, note worthy for Jays fans is Adam Lind at 29 and 19 year old Travis Snider at 64.

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