December 19, 2010

This Makes No Sense

Nick Cafardo, Globe, December 19, 2010:
[A]ccording to major league general managers, [the Red Sox] went so far as to offer Mariano Rivera a three-year deal for $51 million, with the idea that if they landed the 41-year-old, Papelbon would be gone. Papelbon is in his final year of arbitration, and there's a chance his agents will ask for about $11.5 million. The Red Sox have never gone to arbitration with Theo Epstein as GM, therefore they'll likely settle at around $11 million ...

Papelbon and the Sox have long had an understanding that he will test the free agent market when eligible, and the Sox would only sign him long term if they received a team-friendly deal, as they did with Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, and Jon Lester.

Despite all the reports, the Red Sox never thought they would actually land Rivera, because of his loyalty to the Yankees. But ... the Red Sox were prepared to take Rivera ...
Let me see if I follow this correctly. According to Cafardo, the Red Sox:
(a) are not all that keen on paying $11 million a year their 30-year-old closer, and will likely let him walk after this season due to his expected excessive salary demands

(b) but they would sign their 30-year-old closer for (as an example) three years if it was a "team-friendly" deal similar to what some other Sox signed -- with average annual salaries in the range from $10-12 million (i.e., about $11 million)

(c) and they were "prepared" to pay $17 million a year for a 41-year closer*
Yes, that sounds exactly like the progressive, smart front office we have seen in action for close to a decade. (Although snatching Rivera away from the Yankees and leaving them with a gaping hole in their pen might have been worth the extra dough.)

* - Rivera is Rivera, of course, and shows no signs of declining. He posted two of the top three WHIPs of his 16-year career in the last three seasons; and five of his seven lowest WHIP seasons have come after he turned 35. And, while I fully acknowledge the huge difference in service time (Papelbon has pitched six seasons, an entire decade less than Rivera), Papelbon has a higher career ERA+ (209-205) and a roughly identical career WHIP (1.033 to Fruitbat's 1.003). We all know Papelbon blew 8 saves last year. Well, Rivera blew 9 in 1997 and 7 in 2001. Career save conversion rate: Rivera 89%, Papelbon 88%.


Mark Greenway said...

I would assume that the other 7 million would be to prevent him from being on the yankees.

Dr. Jeff said...

Those comparative stats are interesting. Yet, all year when Papelbon came into the game, I would think, is he going to blow it again? I never had that feeling with Rivera. Maybe (probably) I'm wrong, but this year it just seemed like Papelbon had zero movement on his fastball, and he had no other pitches other than a fastball. So the opposing teams could just tee off on him knowing that they were going to get "heat" that was slower in previous years.

Jere said...

"I would think, is he going to blow it again? I never had that feeling with Rivera."

I guess you've never seen him pitch against the Red Sox.

Brad said...

There have been - literally - a handful of deals in my career where I have made (multi-million dollar) offers to a prosect that i knew wanted to stay with my competitor and knew the competitor would pay more than they had offered - just to drive their offer up... EVERY time I did this I was VERY nervous that they would actually take my offer (knowing i would have to live with it if they took it). I like to think this was one of those moments for Theo.

P.S. They always stayed. As Jack Welch said - "Sometimes the best thing you can do is send bad business to your competitors".

Jim said...

Using these career stats is what makes no sense. Papelbon was godlike for his first several years, and is now a mortal. Rivera has been Pedro-like every year for 15 years. When Rivera blows a save, there is usually a freak broken bat bloop in there. Every time he goes out he pitches in such a way as to maximize his chances of getting the save. Papelbon was like this for a while, but no more. He also does not seem to have the intelligence and even temperament that have helped Rivera excel for so long

L-girl said...

I agree with Jim, except for his first sentence.

Rivera has obviously been more valuable to NYY than Papelbon has been to the Sox, by an order of magnitude. If the statistics chosen don't show that, it could be you're looking at very selective statistics that don't give an accurate picture.

Or possibly, it's not appropriate to compare their careers at this stage, because of the great difference in seasons (and postseasons) pitched.

redsock said...

Using these career stats is what makes no sense.

And that is why I prefaced that bit with "I fully acknowledge the huge difference in service time".

When Rivera blows a save, there is usually a freak broken bat bloop in there.

"Usually"? There is almost no chance this is accurate -- 67 regular season blown saves is a lot of bloops (not to mention the number of put-1-or-2-guys-on-then-get-out-of-trouble situations that exist) -- but feel free to post the evidence.

redsock said...

Poking around:

Inherited runners allowed to score (career):

Rivera 29%
Papelbon 21%

I did not expect that.

Bot's % has gone up the last 3 years: 13, 25, 33.

Rivera's has bounced around a bit, though from 2000-2004, he was at 42, 20, 45, 49, 35!

Benjamin said...

Poking around some more:

Fruitbat has 96 inherited runners allowed to score. Approximately 50 in the 8th inning (R-ER, though as many as 5 of those may be from errors), i.e. 52%. Despite pitching only 13% of his PA in the 8th.

Fruitbat doesn't enter the game with many inherited runners. When he does, they're mostly in the 8th inning.

L-girl said...

What is an median % of inherited runners scoring?

L-girl said...

Bot's % has gone up the last 3 years

In this case, the numbers confirm our observations.

redsock said...

What is an median % of inherited runners scoring?

AL: 31%
NL: 31%

AL: 34%
NL: 30%

AL: 34%
NL: 30%