Tag Archive | "Price Tag"

Carpenter, Beltran and the Cardinal’s Pandora’s Box

The big question regarding the Cardinals going ahead is how will all of the assets they have fit into one roster. While there is no clear solution to that question yet, one thing that is for certain is that the biggest variable is the team’s most versatile player, Matt Carpenter.


Whenever the 2013 season comes to a close, the season’s steadiest question will quickly become its loudest: what is going to happen with Carlos Beltran? The club’s most high profile free agent-to-be has made no secret of his desire to return with the team next spring, but while admitting that it is on the club’s radar of decisions to be made, John Mozeliak has not public committed to what extent the team would be willing to go to in order to pursue a continued relationship between player and team.

The reasons for this are simple; despite an unquestionably strong tenure in the Cardinal uniform, including two All-Star Games and 55 home runs, neither age (he will turn 37 next year) nor positional alignment fit easily into the picture going ahead. Reasons for this have included most prominently the presence of Oscar Taveras at Memphis, but perhaps more quietly the price tag of a potential part-time presence in the outfield. Add in the urge to find more at-bats for Matt Adams, while not sacrificing Allen Craig’s presence in the lineup as well, and there are a plethora of optimal situations that make a Beltran return a tough situation to imagine.

But on the other side of the equation, there is the question of if the team can afford to let him go as well. He has been a dependable power threat in a season where they have been few and far between for the team. And the issue of if Taveras both returns healthy from the nagging ankle issue that ended his 2012 early, as well as how he transitions to the Majors, loom as well. If either of those issues looms, an absence of Beltran could create quite a hole for the team, which could have been avoided.

However, the presence of Carpenter could alleviate any and all of these issues. While he has risen to his call as a second baseman in a resounding fashion, he is only a year removed from being the team’s ultimate utility man. In the upcoming years, the everyday lineup of the Cardinals has the potential to fluctuate on nearly a matchup-to-matchup basis, due to the meeting of the veterans and emerging farm system at the MLB level.

A regular feature of this mix will be Carpenter, who Mozeliak made it abundantly clear the team will be pursuing a long-term pact with soon. However, his position going ahead could best be considered being deployed again as an everyday utility weapon, in the style of how Tampa Bay’s Ben Zobrist has been used over the years.  The best starting spot for this could prove to be right field, where alternating Carpenter in a few times a week gets a chance to use himself, David Freese and Kolten Wong together, in addition to allowing Allen Craig or Matt Adams to stay in a first base. A move back to second or third gets the uber, “Coming Atractions” duo of Wong and Taveras on the field together as well.

While the possibilities of the Cardinal lineup are very diverse in the next few years, there is a chance that the full potential is oddly not reached by keeping one of its current All-Stars in the mix, while maximizing the abilities of another showcases more of the team’s full potential can currently being imagined.

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King Felix Is Not Adam Wainwright

The Seattle Mariners extended Felix Hernandez‘s contract on Thursday and many St. Louis Cardinal fans reacted quickly, feeling Adam Wainwright‘s price tag just went up.  The problem with that thought is simple, Hernandez is no Wainwright, he’s much, much better.

Cardinals Spring Baseball

Hernandez agreed to a deal that will keep him in Seattle for a reported financial windfall to the tune of seven years and $175 million.

That is not to say that Adam Wainwright is not a very good pitcher, we all know that he is.  It is not to say that Adam Wainwright will not be a very wealthy man when his contract is resolved, he most likely will.  But to say that Wainwright’s price will be based off of Hernandez’s price is a bit absurd.

Both of them debuted in the same year for the team they still play for, the Mariners and Cardinals respectively, and both were due to hit free agency at the same time, after the 2013 season.  That is where the comparisons end, however.

We can start with the obvious point of age.  Hernandez (26) is five years a junior to Wainwright (31).  If you are giving a seven year deal to a pitcher, you would do so to a pitcher Hernandez’s age, not Wanwright’s.  Beyond that, Hernandez has not spent any significant time on the disabled list, has substantially better career numbers, and has earned many more accolades than his St. Louis counterpart.

Tale Of The Tape
Wainwright Hernandez
80 Wins 98
1 20 Win Seasons 0
3.15 ERA 3.22
908 Strikeouts 1487
1073 Innings Pitched 1620.1
214 Games 238
11 Complete Games 23
4 Shutouts 9
1 All Star Selections 3
0 Cy Youngs 1
1 Arm Surgeries 0
1 Missed Seasons 0

That graph shows two very good pitchers.  It also shows one with an injury history, that is older, and is not quite on the same level.

Hernandez translated his career into a $25 million a year payout.  Wainwright will probably look to translate his into $20 million a year for a much shorter period of time.

Calm down, Cardinal Fans, the price of King Felix had little to no impact on the cost of Adam Wainwright.  That price was set before and I highly doubt it moved at all with this news.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
Follow him on Twitter here.

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20 Years after Mark Davis, Royals look to spend again

All the talk since the All Star break has been how the Kansas City Royals may actually be ready to hit the free agent market for some starting pitching.

Well, July 21st marks the 20th anniversary of just how wrong things can go when you go shopping.

For those of us who pine for the good old days of Royals baseball, we recall how the era came crashing down at the feet of one man – reliever Mark Davis.

Coming off a 92-win season, the Royals were ready to load up for another run at the pennant. And who would expect less, with a lineup of George Brett, Willie Wilson, Frank White, Bo Jackson, Danny Tartabull, Kevin Seitzer and youngsters Mike McFarlane and Brian McRae.

The rotation was equally stacked with Bret Saberhagen and Mark Gubicza being joined by 22-year-olds Kevin Appier and Tom Gordon.

But the team had no established closer, and prior to the 1990 season, the best one in baseball became available.

With San Diego in 1989, Davis saved 44 games, made his second straight All Star appearance, and became just the seventh reliever to win the Cy Young award.

With a price tag of $3.25 million per year – at the time the highest contract ever award – Davis was just what the Royals needed to slam the door on all those games pitched by their young starters.

But what ensued was a free agency nightmare, the end of the Royals golden era, and a cautionary tale to any team going shopping in the off season.

Maybe it was the pressure of the big contract. Maybe it was the move to the American League. Maybe it was the Kansas City barbeque.

Something didn’t agree with Davis and he was taken out of the closer role before the season was over. He was still striking out guys, but he was walking them too, at an alarming rate of 6.8 per 9 innings. His WHIP ballooned to 1.791. And his miniscule 1.85 ERA from the year before suddenly shot to 5.11.

The Royals even tried shifting Davis to the starting rotation, trying to find anything that clicked. But when the curtain fell on a season that started with such great promise, the Royals record stood at 75-86, sixth in the Western Division.

Jeff Montgomery settled into the closer’s role for 1991, and Davis tried to right himself in middle relief and spot starts. KC’s record improved to 82-80, but tremendous turnover had taken place. This was no longer the Royals of Brett, Wilson and White.

Bad as things had been, the bottom fell out in 1992.

With a clownish 7.18 ERA and an unheard of strikeout to walk ratio of .068, the Royals finally had no choice but to dump Davis for whatever they could get. The ax finally fell on July 21, 1992, when the Royals traded Davis for Juan Berenguer.

Berenguer was hardly an improvement, and he was granted free agency following the season.

So for their $14 million investment, the Royals got 7 saves and a 10-17 record between Davis and Berenguer combined. The team finished 72-90.

There probably isn’t some sort of Mark Davis curse at play here, but there’s no question that the Royals have had little to no luck in free agency ever since. The team has just two winning seasons in the 20 years since the Davis experiment was mercifully cut short.

Strangely, that wasn’t the end of the story however.

From 2006 to 2010, Davis served as the pitching coach of the Arizona League Royals. Following the 2010 season, he was promoted by the Royals to Minor League Pitching Coordinator. For 2012, he returned to his former role in Arizona.

Is having someone who flamed out so famously instructing young pitchers really a good thing? Hard to say. Not much is going right for Royals’ pitching prospects at any level. Which is precisely why the Royals will be shoppers this off season.

But with the topic in KC turning to free agency, it’s worth looking back at the Mark Davis signing with a wary eye. The Royals need to sign some pitching, no doubt. But doing so isn’t always the fix you hope for.

Sometimes it turns into a franchise killer.

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Bruce Chen Returns To Royals

Bruce Chen has played for ten different major league teams and never for one team longer than three years. That changed today.

On the heels of another consistent showing in 2011, Chen has agreed to a new contract that will put him in Royal blue for two more years. It will extend his time with the club to a total of five years, two years longer then his stays in Atlanta and Baltimore in his career.

Chen has been consistent and solid for the Royals over the last three seasons and looks to shore up a rotation that includes newcomer Jonathan Sanchez, Luke Hochevar, Felipe Paulino and Danny Duffy.

Chen will earn $9 million over the next two seasons with bonuses and incentives that could bring that to a total of $11 million.

Here’s a look at Chen’s numbers with Kansas City:

2009 KCR-min 4 2 3.40 14 13 0 3 3 0 82.0 57 33 31 8 23 69 0.976 6.3 7.6 3.00
2009 KCR 1 6 5.78 17 9 4 0 0 0 62.1 74 42 40 12 25 45 1.588 10.7 6.5 1.80
2010 KCR-min 0 1 1.31 3 3 0 0 0 0 20.2 13 3 3 0 5 20 0.871 5.7 8.7 4.00
2010 KCR 12 7 4.17 33 23 4 1 1 1 140.1 136 68 65 17 57 98 1.375 8.7 6.3 1.72
2011 KCR-min 0 1 8.18 3 3 0 0 0 0 11.0 16 10 10 3 1 10 1.545 13.1 8.2 10.00
2011 KCR 12 8 3.77 25 25 0 1 0 0 155.0 152 71 65 18 50 97 1.303 8.8 5.6 1.94
KCR (3 yrs) 25 21 4.28 75 57 8 2 1 1 357.2 362 181 170 47 132 240 1.381 9.1 6.0 1.82
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/23/2011.

Fans and experts seemed to think Kansas City was a good home for Bruce Chen. His return to the team solidifies a rotation that may not wow many fans, but is certainly looking to shape up for consistency for the young Royals. The only question that remains was the price tag and whether or not Chen can live up to it.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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DeJesus Injury Could be A Blessing

DeJesus7.jpg image by dsanford

David DeJesus is out for the year with an injury to his hand. He was the Royals’ number one trading chip going into the deadline but his recent injury has guaranteed that he will not be leaving the club this season. He has an option for next season which will most likely be picked up by the team after the Alberto Callaspo trade.

The Callaspo deal gives the team enough money to keep DeJesus next year even at a price tag of $6 million. Replacing DeJesus for less than that might be a hard thing to do so it is safe to say he will be in blue next year.

His trade value may go down some next year but if he can regain his form after his hand heals, DeJesus will still be a good deadline pickup for a contending team this time next season. The Royals will have two options in my mind with DeJesus during the offseason. The first is to just pick up his option for next year, letting him play out the contract and trading him at the deadline if they are blown away by an offer. The second is to pick up his option in the summer to turn around and trade him before the season starts. I personally like the idea of letting him play the season out. Kansas City could get off to a good start and they might not even want to trade him them.

One good thing about DeJesus’ injury is that it allows the team to try out new players as an everyday outfielder for the remainder of the season. This can mean bringing up AAA talent or letting a bench player earn his way into the starting job for next year.

The second reason that DeJesus getting hurt is good for the team is because it has now put more focus on Jose Guillen and Scott Podsednik. The trade value for these two players is not as high as DeJesus but getting rid of these two players is a better move for the team. Podsednik was the first to move from the outfield yesterday after being traded to the Dodgers. The fact that Podsednik was moved just furthers the point that DeJesus being on the DL is actually a good thing.

Guillen will more than likely follow Podsednik out the door in the next few days. The market for serviceable outfielders has increased after injuries to DeJesus, Corey Hart, and Shane Victorino and gives KC the upper hand as teams such as the Giants are scrambling for a deadline move.

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