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Time to extend Gerrit Cole? Pirates prominent in Baseball America’s league rankings and Nutting extras

SOUTH HILLS COMMAND CENTER – Gerrit Cole has been in the big leagues 121 days, counting the postseason. He is five seasons from free agency.

 

His agent is Scott Boras.

 

Yet, it might be the perfect time to talk long-term deal with the rookie.

 

In December of 2011, the Rays agreed to an eight-year, $39.5 million deal with rookie lefty Matt Moore. It was the most money ever guaranteed to a pitcher with so little service time.

 

Considering one win above replacement is valued at about $5 million on the free agent market, the opportunity to buy out arbitration years and several free agency years of a potential front-of-the-rotation arm is a grand bargain for clubs.

 

Such a deal does place risk on the club. Pitchers have a higher likelihood of injury than position players. But clubs have to have elite pitching to be postseason contenders as we’ve seen again this fall. The Pirates are not going to have the chance to draft and develop many, if any, arms like Cole, and they’ll never have more leverage to negotiate a long-term contract.

 

Now, Cole arrived earlier to the majors than Moore in his debut season so he’ll have more service time. Still, when accounting for one year of service time, why not offer Cole seven years and say $42 million this offseason? That would buy out one year of free agency and three years of arbitration.

 

It’s not a lose-lose for Cole.

 

Cole would become a free agent at 30 and would have earned more than $50 million in his career when including his signing bonus. Moreover, he could still enjoy a free agency megadeal. But the Pirates would have his prime and he would be cost-controlled.

 

Of course that Boras is his agent makes and that complicates matters.

 

One issue is Boras is not a fan  of the trend of team-friendly deals that buyout arbitration and free agency years of young stars. More than 50 such deals have been signed in recent years. But Boras does not believe in trading risk (injury) for financial security (millions garutneed). He believes in chasing maximum value.

 

“My job is to teach our players to [maximize their value],” Boras says, “and I can’t fathom how [any agent] would give direction to players [to sign] contracts of this nature at that young of an age.”

 

Still, at the end of the day the client says ‘Yes’ or ‘No” and perhaps like Moore, like Chris Sale and Madison Bumgarner – other young 20s arms who have signed deals to trade risk for security – Cole and his family might be more open to this than his agent.

 

And while much of the offseason hot-stove talk will focus on the Pirates connection to free agents, the best thing a club can do is lock up its young core.

 

This is what Neal Huntington told me earlier this year of locking up pre-arb players:

 

“In perfect world we’d love to sign them all. The challenge is is there a common ground financially: where the player is willing to give up a little bit for security and the club is willing to invest a whole lot of dollars when they don’t need to to buy out a year or two or three of free agency. It certainly needs to part of the plan. But as the industry has shown us it needs to be the right players for the right deals and not just because he’s a young player.”

 

Players like Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker might be too close to free agency now to approach with such deals. But Cole – and Starling Marte – are assets worth locking up and worth targeting early.

 

PIRATES DOT BASEBALL AMERICA RANKINGS

 

The record for most prospects by a single organization to be ranked in the top 100 of the Baseball America prospect rankings is nine, set by the Royals in 2011.

 

The Pirates might brush with that number this offseason.

 

Baseball America has released its lists of top 20 prospects per minor league and there’s a heavy Pirates presence (some prospects are listed in multiple leagues but I’m only listing players once at their top level).

 

Double-A Eastern league: No. 6 Gregory Polanco, No. 7 Jameson Taillon, No. 15 Nick Kingham.

 

*Polanco responded to the challenge of Double-A, keeping his plate discipline, and he along with Taillon could be in line for major league debuts in 2014. Kingham is another impressive right-handed arm who is not far away.

 

High-A Florida State: No. 13 Alen Hanson 

 

*Potential impact offensive player in the middle of the field.

 

Low-A South Atlantic League: No. 2 Tyler Glasnow 

 

*Top breakout prospect of 2013. Held opponents to a .147 batting average. Has Taillon upside.

 

Short-season N.Y.Penn: No. 1 Harold Ramirez

 

*More fine work by Rene Gayo and his staff.

 

Rookie: Gulf Coast League: No. 1 Austin Meadows, No. 3 Reese McGuire 

 

*The Pirates might have hit on a monster first round in 2013. Meadows has earned Jay Bruce comps and had a stellar debut. McGure is an elite defensive catcher and hit better than most expected. Both have smooth left-handed swings.

 

Those are eight strong candidates for the top 100 and the lists don’t include Josh Bell who regained his prospect status after an injury-riddled 2012 or Luis Heredia who took a step back in 2013 but still is just 19 and has three years of pro experience.

 

 NUTTING LEFTOVERS

 

As we wrote in today’s paper, Bob Nutting touched on a number of topics – from payroll to AJ Burnett – in a radio interview yesterday with 93.7. Nutting also touched on some other areas of interest:

 

On finding the next undervalued asset (shifting, defensive efficiency) …

 

“I think that’s the whole game. You have 29 other clubs with very smart, very competent, very focused people also looking for that edge. I think what we’ve seen is a steady progression in talent base and dynamic leadership with Clint, but also have a realistic view that we have to be in a constant state of improvement whether it be baserunner, holding runners on base or shifting, those are all area were identified and ones we continue to work on.”

 

On any mediation needed to have the on-field staff buy into more front-office analytics …

 

“I’d say (Huntington and Hurdle) have a tremendous relationship. …. I’d also say both have a deep understanding of both sides of the equation. Clint does have players’ history, players’ mindset , an emotional guy, but very smart and savvy when it comes to bringing in and implementing statistical data. Neal spent enough time as a farm director, enough time scouting, to have a good feel for those intangibles. I think both come in closer to that center….. I love the phrase ‘constructive dissent,’ an an opportunity for someone to listen to value a different opinion and build it it into their decision making process. I think it makes us all better.” 

 

On the fans ….

“This fan base just made that stadium electric I know the impact it had on players. I know the impact it had on Clint and the coaching staff. I can’t give enough credit to the fans who showed up, and gave the encouragement and helped drive this team forward all season long.”

- TS

Comments

  1. Leo Walter says:

    As for trying to sign Cole to a long term,I would only give you one reason I think it would be smart : # 1,as it always has been,pitching is the name of the game. And if the Pirates are to challenge the Cardinals ( and the Reds for that matter ) going forward,they are going to need all the elite arms they can get. Those two orginizations have a really good supply themselves.

  2. Jim S. says:

    They have to find a way to strike that common ground where it makes enough sense for Cole to have long term financial stability for him and his family that he is willing to tell his agent that he is doing the deal regardless of how much the agent advises against it. I’m sure that is a lot easier said than done, considering that his agent will be focused on getting him to “roll the dice” that he will stay healthy and continue to get better as a pitcher, and potentially make more money by not doing the deal. He needs to understand that his agent will drop him like a hot rock if he gets injured and loses his earning power as a pitcher.

  3. NMR says:

    It sounds like a great idea, don’t we first have to determine if the Pirates can even afford it? $42m, including a free agent year, is unfortunately a pipe dream. If Gerrit Cole continues to pitch as he did this season, he’s worth all of $20m/yr on the open market in TODAY’s dollars. Good luck making the case that salaries will remain flat SEVEN years from now. $30m through three years of arbitration alone is probably conservative. Fact is that unless there are major financial changes, the Pirates could be forced to spend 20% of their payroll on him before he even gets to a free agent year. That just isn’t worth it for a guy who plays once every five days.
    .
    The next undervalued asset will, or should, be pitching staff usage. Single inning relievers are an inefficient use of a roster spot. “Middle relievers” are the best value in baseball right now because the days of them being crappy (at least on good teams) are gone. Two innings from a fresh Justin Wilson is often better than pushing a tiring starter through the heart of the order for the third and fourth time. And the whole narrative about pitchers liking routine overlooks the fact that this is a LEARNED behavior. Nobody comes out of high school/college with the demands of AJ Burnett. Train these guys to be flexible from the start.
    .
    Deciphering Nutting speak is pointless most of the time, but the “constructive dissent” comment stood out coming from an organization that circles the wagons better than anyone. I’ll be optomistic and consider this a positive change as a result of The Investigation.

  4. NMR says:

    Since the improvements in Tommy John surgery, how many pitchers have actually lost big money due to injury? Honest question.
    .
    I’m sure instances exist, but it seems like in todays game there are very few injuries that severely impact a pitchers long-term earning potential.

  5. Brendan says:

    Speaking of Meadows and McGuire Baseball America released their 2013 Draft Report Card and the Pirates finished #1, at the very top of the list, largely on the strength of the performance of those two tops picks:

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/draft/2013-draft-report-cards-first-impressions-of-the-draft-classes/

    Obviously this is completely and entirely preliminary and like all prospect rankings merely just snapshot. I’m sure the list will change considerably in a years time. But it’s encouraging that the Pirates were able to add several players who have the potential to be impact talents to their system and we’ll see where we go from here.

  6. Brendan says:

    Also and somewhat off topic, there’s a great piece over at Beyond the Box Score that suggests Michael Wacha is tipping his pitches as there’s notable mechanical difference in delivery for each:

    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2013/10/16/4845020/the-cardinal-sin-wacha-is-tipping-his-pitches.

    The piece observes that the Cardinals may have arrived at temporary fix to address this issue, namely having Wacha work much faster, so the hitters don’t have time to pick up these differences. There was a lot of discussion circa his start in Game 4 of hte NLDS that Pirates should have made more of an effort to step out of the box to slow him down and alter his rhythm, rather than allowing him to dictate the pace. If this article is accurate, it appears there would have been an added benefit to doing so.

    While Wacha’s ‘pitch tipping’ is the headline, there’s also a great deal of detailed information that I’d say is a must read for anyone interested in pitcher development and the finer points of the craft. Here’s an excerpt that’s worth noting given the Pirates emphasis on fastball command:

    “Additionally, since college, Wacha has added a high 80′s breaking ball, to go along with his slow curveball and darting changeup. This is pretty in tune with a recent fad across all of baseball where power pitchers have adopted faster yet lesser breaking balls, whether a slider or cutter, to their repertoires. Due to their relative similarity to a fastball grip and release angle and therefore to their movement and velocity, power sliders and cutters are probably easier to learn to command than other pitches once already possessing fastball command. In other words, the better you command your fastball, the better your command will be over a power slider or a cutter.”

  7. Brendan says:

    Without thoroughly researching the matter I’d say that’s probably true. Given the success rate of TJ in recent years and the increasingly quick turnaround, at this point it seems like only shoulder injuries have the potential to greatly impact a players future earning potential, generally speaking. The greater risk might be a decline in performance. Off the top of my head though a few young pitchers who probably missed out on money because of injury or decline in performance and likely wish they would have signed an extension:

    Francisco Liriano, Michael Pineda, Mark Prior, maybe Brett Anderson. Tim Linceum has certainly done just fine financially. But in retrsopect he may have left money on the table by opting for arbitration.

    Generally though most of the guys I was thinking of, guys who got off to fast starts early in their career but then declined—-Dontrelle Willis, Brandon Webb, Ubaldo Jimenez, etc–saw or will see some sort of substantial payday none the less.

  8. Jim S. says:

    I guess we can ask Matt Harvey in a few years, but Tommy John is pretty successful. There are other injury issues, though, that I believe are real enough that I know there is a balancing point financially where I would want the piece of mind of guaranteed money forever now, and I would give up some of the potential long term increased money to ensure I am set forever. There is also the possibility that a pitcher does not continue to get better, which also argues in favor of taking the financial security route. I just think, though, that based on the quote from Boras, Cole will experience a great deal of resistance from his agent if he tries to sign a long term deal. Ironically, Boras says other agents are doing a disservice to their clients in allowing them to ink long early deals, when the same thing could be said about him for dissuading guys from achieving financial security early on. It is not a “one size fits all” proposition, and I don’t believe Boras even entertains that possibiilty.

  9. NMR says:

    Jered Weaver, Carlos Gomez, and Carlos Gonzalez are all Boras clients who have signed extensions buying out free agent years, so he is not a “one size” agent.
    .
    I think your response has a ton of real world logic, but just doesn’t resonate in the crazy economics of Major League Baseball. Scott Boras is unquestionably the best agent in baseball. If his tactics were harming clients, we’d hear about it.

  10. BostonsCommon says:

    I have no issue with trying to lock Cole up, and I think the Pirates should go ahead and give it their best shot. If they do it now, maybe they can get Cole to agree to $5M, $10M, $15M and $20M (3 arb years + 1 FA)? He hasn’t put up back to back Cy Youngs yet, and he probably won’t be a Super 2, but Lincecum numbers look like this ($9M, $14M, $18M, $22M).
    .
    I don’t think Cole is going to sign off on it though. I mean the Pirates already handed him $8M up front when they drafted him, so it’s not like he’s hurting for cash.
    .
    If he bets on himself and wants to go through arbitration, the sky is the limit. Premium pitching is just so highly valued, he could see $12M, $17M, $25M easy. Especially with the national TV revenue coming in.
    .
    Locking in those dollars, and creating cost certainty would probably make it easier to move him as well… Not that I condone that or what to see it happen…. But you don’t see the Rays getting ready to pay for David Price’s big money arbitration years.
    .
    I see Marte as a guy who would be much more willing and likely to sign a team friendly extension. I think his signing bonus was something like $80K out of the DR. Although I would probably approach him after next season. Only 748 PA in the bigs, and questions about plate discipline. I just want to make sure the bat is going to carry his extension.

  11. NMR says:

    It is good for knowledge of the game to have writers always looking for angles like the author of that piece, but it fails to pass the smell test for me.
    .
    The entire baseball world has had it’s eyes on Michael Wacha, and yet this guy is the first to realize his hand speed isn’t the same on all his picthes? Does that make sense? And there’s no way he’s ever stepped into the batter’s box against Major League pitching if he feels a 4″ change in release point is keenly perceptible to the batters eye.
    .
    And the author does not claim the Cardinals have Wacha working “much faster”, namely because he provides no baseline for time spent between pitches during the regular season. Why would he do that, you ask? Well, maybe because Wacha’s regular season pace was already below 20 seconds, coming in at 19.6.

  12. Brendan says:

    Fair points all, and you’re right he provides no baseline of comparison for his pace, which undermines that point.

    That said I was less interested in whether or not Wacha might be tipping his pitches than some of the details of his development, such as what I referenced above.

    We’ve heard a lot of about the Pirates emphasizing fastball command but that’s a more detailed explanation of its utility than I’ve read previously.

  13. NMR says:

    No doubt, Brendan, and thank you for providing the link. Good read.

  14. Brendan says:

    I’d also add that I took a look at his game logs and his his two weakest outings as a starter seems to correspond with his two slowest paces:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/statsd.aspx?playerid=14078&position=P&type=16&gds=&gde=&season=2013

    9/19 @ Colorado (Pace 21.0)

    4.2 IP, 12 H, 4 ER

    6/4 Arizona (Pace 22.0)

    4.2 IP, 10 H, 6 ER

    How much of a relationship there between Wacha’s pace and his results it’s difficult to say with such a small sample. I’ve also not done the work to see if such a relationship between pace and results is typical of most pitchers–intuitively that’d make sense–and/or if happens to be more true in Wacha’s case.

    Also for reference his two best outings as starter also correspond with his quickest pace between pitches.

    9/24 WSH (Pace 18.3)

    8.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER

    9/8 PIT (Pace 17.5)

    7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER

    Whether or not he’s tipping is pitches–and I think you’re right to express skepticism on that count–it does seem like the Pirates or any other opponent would be wise to attempt to force a slower pace from Wacha, at least based on this small sample.

  15. NMR says:

    Good info. Personally, I think this is just actual data validating the age old baseball narrative of a pitcher being “in the groove” whereas the author of the article leads one to believe the opposite, that the pace is the CAUSE of the groove.
    .
    Completely agree with you as well. I doubt there is much evidence of stepping out of the box actually working, but ya gotta try something.

  16. Brendan says:

    Hard to say. It is worth nothing that the average pace between pitches in 2013 for all pitchers was 22.6.

    I took a quick look at the average 2013 pace for some of the top pitchers:

    Wainwright – 23.3
    Scherzer – 22.8
    A. Sanchez – 21.3
    Harvey – 20.8
    Felix – 23.7
    Verlander – 22.2
    Lee – 21.1
    Sale – 19.9
    Kershaw – 22.4

    So it doesnt appear there’s a general correlation between pace and success, at least based on those numbers. Also of interest, just looking briefly there wasn’t a clear correlation for individual pitchers.

    For instance Wainwright worked quicker during his less successful 2012 when coming back from TJ surgery, at 21.5. While Kershaw had his most successful season while pitching at the slowest pace of his career.

    Lastly here’s the leaderboard for 2013, in terms of pace. To my eye it looks pretty much all over the place:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=sta&lg=all&qual=y&type=15&season=2013&month=0&season1=2013&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=11,a

  17. NMR says:

    ” But you don’t see the Rays getting ready to pay for David Price’s big money arbitration years.”
    .
    Or the A’s. Ever.
    .
    I think it’s dreaming to believe the Pirates ever will, or should, pay one pitcher $20m/yr. Doesn’t leave many crumbs left for the other 24 roster spots.
    .
    I, too, want to see another year of Marte before talking extension. Without being 2nd in the league in HBP and top 10 in BABIP, he’s replacement level at the plate. Those aren’t the kind of areas that scream “sustainable”. And sure, he’ll always have value given speed and defense, but those are still the two areas valued least in terms of arbitration. BJ Upton averaged 3.7 WAR per year with the Rays and the most he ever made in arbitration was $7m his third time through. Lotta risk to take on a lengthy contract.

  18. NMR says:

    Bravo, sir.

  19. Travis Sawchik says:

    Incredible conversation. Bravo, gents

  20. Travis Sawchik says:

    I wonder if pace is an undervalued asset in baseball much as it was in college football until the advent and proliferation of up-tempo offenses

  21. Brendan says:

    A good question. As I mentioned above it’s hard to see a correlation generally. At least looking in variations among the elite pitchers of 2013.

    The data on Fangraphs only goes back to 2007 but Yu Darvish among the ten slowest.

    I was wondering if pitchers with particular repertoires and or deliveries benefit more so from an increased pace?

    For instance RA Dickey and Tim Wakefield are among the 7 fastest since 2007.

  22. BostonsCommon says:

    Good point on Upton. Seems like a good comp.

  23. leefoo says:

    agree….

  24. leefoo says:

    My feeling is that we wait until after the 2014 season. Just call me conservative.

    It’s the same with Marte.

    I’ve seen too many sophomore slumps in my days.

    One more year won’t hurt.

    As for the TJ surgery, don’t fooget about Charlie. And, as Matt Harvey demonstrates, you never know when it’ll ‘bite’ you.

    If Cole becomes that dominant # 1, at best we keep him for his 6 years (or trade him as the Rays are seemingly gonna trade Price). That way, you can keep replenishing your farm system. Because, if we’re gonna start picking low in the draft, odds are pretty good that we aren’t gonna be getting these same studs.

    I suspect Pedro and Marte will get traded also for younger talent. That is the ONLY way I see us continuing to compete.

    Foo

  25. Travis Sawchik says:

    I wonder if Boras opposed the idea of those deals. He did say he’d be open to the idea of an extension for Pedro Alvarez, so he’s not one-size-fits all …. but more often than not Boras is going to take his clients to free agency and through arbitration.

  26. Travis Sawchik says:

    No doubt modern medicine and science has extended careers but pitching still carries a high attrition rate.

    It took Liriano years to get back to his pre-TJ level. Edinson Volquez has never returned. Mark Prior and Kerry Wood are two Cubs who also failed to return to their previous levels of performance post injury. That whole Mets class of elite young pitching in the 90s – Pulsipher, Isringhausen and Paul Wilson – all were derailed by injury.

    33 percent of pitchers on MLB Opening Day rosters have had TJ and it’s not a 100 success rate. Moreover, losing a year of playing time will push suppress your earning potential by at least a year, and can have a trickle-down affect to future earnings potential.

  27. Travis Sawchik says:

    No doubt Cole has the potential to earn record or near-record arbitration salaries. But Matt Moore had that potential, too, as did Chris Sale and they elected for financial security. I have no idea what Cole’s aversion to risk is but it may very well determine whether he’s open to similar deals.

    The Pirates at least have to approach him to try to create cost certainty.

  28. BostonsCommon says:

    “I suspect Pedro and Marte will get traded also for younger talent. That is the ONLY way I see us continuing to compete.”
    .
    I don’t know how much Pedro is going to command on the trade market as he moves through arbitration. We’ll see where is salary and production settle, but my early, early thoughts on him are either extend him (which is unlikely as a Boras client), or submit a qualifying offer, and take the Yankees 1st round pick when he signs with them for 6 years $105M.

  29. NMR says:

    “I have no idea what Cole’s aversion to risk is but it may very well determine whether he’s open to similar deals.”
    .
    When you hire Scott Boras, you already know which route you’re going to take.

  30. NMR says:

    Good call on Pedro, especially given no replacement in sight. Buys them an extra year to figure it out.

  31. leefoo says:

    Here’s the thing about Pedro(if I may borrow from a commenter from another site):

    “If Pedro had shown any improvement at all in the last season then I’d say estend him, but his BB% decreased, he still struckout in over 30% of his ABs, and his OPS decreased.
    He swung at more pitches outside of the strike zone last season than he did in previous seasons. He made less contact than in previous seasons. I do believe he needs to be platooned with somebody, and I definitely don’t want him locked up long term. It’s one thing if they can buy out a couple of his arbitration years, but I have no desire to see an all power, no OBP, poor defensive player with that type of body build on this team past the age of 30.”

    Btw, Boros clients like Jared Weaver, Carlos Gomez and others HAVE signed extensions.
    Personally, if we had another 3b candidate in our system, I’d move Pedro. But, I would DEFINITELY platoon him, starting next year. Sure, Pedro’s HRs went up, but his 2bs and singles were down. He is a left handed Mark Reynolds.

  32. leefoo says:

    “extend” not “estend’…
    .
    Fat Fingered Foo

  33. Travis Sawchik says:

    Pedro is a prime candidate for a qualifying offer in 2016-17 offseason. I would suspect he’s three-and-done in Pittsburgh

  34. BostonsCommon says:

    The warts that you mentioned are exactly why I doubt the trade return is going to be there.. I’m interested to see where his arbitration salary goes this year, if they jump him straight to $10M, or if its closer to $5M.
    .
    I’m not suggesting extending Pedro with a $100M contract. But maybe 4 years $35.5M ($5M, $7M, $10M arb + $13.5M), or even 4 @ $40M… With a contract like that, he’s still going to be providing value.
    .
    It will be interesting to see what happens with him. If he doesn’t improve, and he’s going to be a 35HR, 100 RBI, .230 hitter with a 35% K rate… then maybe the best thing to do is just pay the arbitration salary and let someone else overpay when he his FA.
    .
    But I think for the production he is going to provide, that his salary will probably be reasonable over the next three years.

  35. NMR says:

    I don’t know that you can say Pedro didn’t improve at all. Posted career high line drive and home run rate, while also hitting more fly balls in general. Next year will be interesting.
    .
    And present day Mark Reynolds? Boy, that’s too harsh for me. Present day Mark Reynolds is pretty darn bad.
    .

  36. BostonsCommon says:

    Who knows maybe I’m all wrong here. I mean Mark Reynolds had numbers in his first three season that were across the board better than Pedro’s. And his arbitration salaries were only $5.3M, $7.5M, and $6M.

  37. leefoo says:

    NMR…referring to Reynolds as a HR/K guy with low BA type of player. Not using current or past comparisons….sorry for the confoozion.
    .
    BC may be right….however, I think we could get something useful for Pedro, even as he is right now?
    .
    I saw on fangraphs that Pedro’s career BABIP is .299. This past year he was .302. His ISO was .207, the worst it has been in the last 3 years.
    .
    So, maybe his line drive rate was up (a paltry 1.8 %), but the results sure didn’t reflect that. Yes, the commenter did say ““If Pedro had shown any improvement at all”, so you can probably find other things he improved on but…..
    …overall Pedro’s numbers were down.
    .
    Foo

  38. leefoo says:

    With you on that Travis….then it becomes “Let him walk or try to trade him the year before he walks”.
    .
    I just wish we had someone in the system at 3b. Perhaps Mercer moves to 3b and Hanson surprises me at SS (I think he is a 2b in MLB…jmho)
    .
    Foo

  39. leefoo says:

    The neat thing about all this stuff, is that there is sooooooooooooooo much out there on the ‘net, statistically speaking.
    .
    Foo

  40. Travis Sawchik says:

    Indeed. So much good information – and baseball writing – out there right now.

  41. Travis Sawchik says:

    Tim Williams thinks Hanson can stick at SS. He’s seen much more of him than I have. Still, I’ve read other scouting opinions that think he’s a second baseman. We’ll see. Either way he has a fit

  42. BostonsCommon says:

    “however, I think we could get something useful for Pedro”
    .
    Are you going to get something more useful than 3 years of an above average defensive 3B, who’s going to club 100+HRs and drive in 300 runs?
    .
    To me, Pedro seems like a good thing. And you don’t mess with a good thing.

  43. NMR says:

    Ah, I gotcha, Foo. Can we at least throw him a bone and make it an Adam Dunn comp? :)
    .
    I think a couple of your numbers might’ve gotten mixed up, btw. Fangraphs had Pedro with a .276 BABIP and .240 ISO in 2013, meaning that his drop in batting average isn’t necessarilly due to declining skills (I hate using the work “luck”).
    .
    One area I think Pedro improved in 2013? He has a career .206 batting average on ground balls and a .357 batting average on fly balls. He posted a career low 1.18 GB/FB ratio last year. If this was a purposeful change in approach, it could mean he’s still evolving as a big league hitter.

  44. NMR says:

    Big data and bloggers for the win! (and no, “blogger” shouldn’t be looked down on)

  45. NMR says:

    No, I think you’re actually dead on, Boston. Reynolds was DFA’d by the O’s before signing that $6m contract with the Indians. He had an $11m option that was turned down and Matt Schwartz came up with an $8.9m projected salary through arbitration.

  46. Warren says:

    Tell Jered Weaver that….you have no idea what Cole’s thoughts are on an extension, just like Travis doesn’t, so stop prognosticating. Ultimately, it’s Cole’s decision. Plain and simple.

  47. Jim S. says:

    Isn’t the point of a blog to put forth ideas? None of us know for certain what Cole would do. This is just speculation. I think we all get that it is Cole’s decision.

    If we only discuss certainties, doesn’t that cut out 99.9% of the debate, Warren?

  48. Jim S. says:

    I agree. It is extremely encouraging. We have not heard things like this in a long, long time.

  49. Jim S. says:

    Awesome stuff, Brendan.

  50. Jim S. says:

    I wonder if guys who throw several different pitches tend to work slower. More options to consider between pitches.

  51. Jim S. says:

    I think the only Boras clients that sign extensions are the ones that have the onions to tell him to do it or they’ll find someone who will. His comments on the issue were that it is a disservice to have your client sign an extension. Left to his own devices, he would not have guys signing them.

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