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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:57 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
If they believe in the bat, go for it. If not, don't. There's way more risk on him than the others.


What "others"?

StarlingArcher wrote:
And we're getting above league average production this year. The standards are pretty much nada at 1B anymore, we could plug in plenty of guys and be fine. The Rays signed James Loney and he's somehow managed to be one of the best in baseball.


The Pirates' sOPS+ at first base is 101. That's BARELY above league average, with a triple slash of .262/.340/.436. Jones is in decline and Sanchez can't hit right-handed pitchers.

So what's your plan at first base for 2014? Who do you think you can just "plug in"?

Jose Abreu has a good shot of being significantly better than the Jones/Sanchez platoon, and making this team better with the bat should be one of Huntington's off-season priorities.


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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:15 pm 
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I was talking about Man Ram


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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:25 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:

What "others"?

The Pirates' sOPS+ at first base is 101. That's BARELY above league average, with a triple slash of .262/.340/.436. Jones is in decline and Sanchez can't hit right-handed pitchers.

So what's your plan at first base for 2014? Who do you think you can just "plug in"?

Jose Abreu has a good shot of being significantly better than the Jones/Sanchez platoon, and making this team better with the bat should be one of Huntington's off-season priorities.


Puig, Cespedes, Soler. He's old and/or one dimensional compared to them and that's without taking price into consideration.

Have no idea who they could plug in, only that they don't have a particularly high standard to live up to and what you or I think they should do about Jose Abreu doesn't much matter. The fact that there are a large number of dissenters and the most glowing reports have been from sensational amateur sites doesn't exactly make for a clear cut opinion on if he can hack it or not.

I mean, he was the 4th best prospect in the WBC who wasn't signed....that's fine but let's not act like he's some juggernaut who is head and shoulders above the rest of the world but is repressed in Cuba. He has flaws, he plays a position that's not particularly difficult to fill, and he's not viewed as a sure thing. I don't get what's so unpalatable about that. I certainly wouldn't mind signing him, but if the Pirates see flaws they certainly don't seem to be alone....and their track record isn't particularly worrisome in that regard.

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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:13 am 
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J_C_Steel wrote:

So what's your plan at first base for 2014? Who do you think you can just "plug in"?


He's currently playing 3b.

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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:29 am 
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What then? Walker to third, Mercer to 2nd? Because we have no solution at third base in the system for any time soon. We'd have to sign someone. Possibly Andy LaRoche.


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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:09 am 
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First of all, you're wrong on age. Yoenis Cespedes is OLDER than Jose Abreu by more than a year (YC born October 18, 1985, JA born January 29, 1987).

StarlingArcher wrote:
Have no idea who they could plug in, only that they don't have a particularly high standard to live up to and what you or I think they should do about Jose Abreu doesn't much matter.


This is where you're looking at it incorrectly.

You can't look at 1B and say: "Oh, league standards are down, so I can just plug in any guy and he'll hit around league average and the team will be fine." Instead, a team like the Pirates has to look around and say: "Hey, it's a down time for first basemen, so where can I find a value player with upside who can give my team an advantage at first base while the rest of the league struggles."

The Pirates aren't going to sign 32-year-old Mike Napoli this off-season. They're not going to sign old Adam Dunn. Both of those guys would cost a good deal of money and both carry significant risk that, due to age, they'll suffer a decline.

Meanwhile, Jose Dariel Abreu is entering his prime and his numbers in the Cuban league are better than those put up by contemporaries in Cespedes and Puig.

StarlingArcher wrote:
The fact that there are a large number of dissenters and the most glowing reports have been from sensational amateur sites doesn't exactly make for a clear cut opinion on if he can hack it or not.


The bat will play. Even those scouts with "doubts" note that he'll hit 30+ home runs. That's "hacking it." The only question lies with batting average, and he has a chance to hit .300.

As you sit here today, you can't give me a SINGLE better option for the Pirates at first base for 2014. Jones is declining, Sanchez can't hit righties, and there is NO ONE in the upper minors ready to step in for the Pirates and provide even league-average production. Accordingly, Jose Abreu represents an excellent option relative to risk with tremendous upside.


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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:00 pm 
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I'm aware Cespedes is older. Hence why I said "and/or". Cespedes had significantly less risk because at minimum you were getting a guy who gave you strong defense at a premium position and a baserunning threat. If Abreu doesn't hit? You have absolutely nothing of value to fall back on. And you have no time to develop him, he MUST produce immediately.

I'm not looking at anything wrong. I'm looking at a team with limited resources and seeing a guy who a) is an unknown commodity and b) plays the 8th most valuable position on the diamond. If you're going to make him your free agent signing, you'd better be 150% sure that he's going to be a star, because the money is better spent on pretty much any other position besides 2B otherwise.

You keep saying "scouts say this" but haven't produced any link with an ounce of credibility to support it. Ben Badler specifically tweeted that scouts question the power playing against MLB pitching so nothing you've said has been parroted by anybody with extensive sources who is tuned in to MLB.

Again, I don't care if they sign him. It's just not worth it if they feel they'd be in any way taking a chance. You gamble on prospects and guys you can develop. You don't gamble on free agents who you're signing to a long-term deal. That's beyond incompetent resource management.

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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:10 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
You gamble on prospects and guys you can develop. You don't gamble on free agents who you're signing to a long-term deal. That's beyond incompetent resource management.


Yet Billy Beane did it on a player older than Abreu, and one whose defense and baserunning skills are more likely to decline quickly as he gets into his late 20s.

The point is, the Pirates lack a true power bat from the right side. And signing Abreu as a free agent for around 6 years, $54-60M is not a crazy amount of money or a crazy amount of risk given the potential reward. Guys with high power and hit tools are valuable no matter where they play, and, as I mentioned several times, the Pirates don't have a lot of good options for first base in 2014.

If Abreu works out, the Pirates will be getting All-Star level play at first base for a fraction of All-Star cost. I'd take that chance, particularly given the dearth of alternatives.


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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:47 pm 
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I doubt this guy would take Cespedes's contract.

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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:52 pm 
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Billy Beane only signed him through his age 29 year. Big difference. You're getting a guy who is guaranteed to provide value regardless of his bat and have the option of non-rendering him when he hits 30. Big difference in terms of risk management, which shouldn't be surprising. It's and apples and aliens comparison, they aren't even in the same stratosphere.

And again, you do not gamble at a position with little value and with low standards. That's a terrible way to run a small market club. This is how we get into "Cheap Nutting" issues.

You don't tie up payroll on a guy who doesn't play a premium position and isn't a sure thing. Simple as that. They have a bunch of guys to go to arbitration with and they have the ability to make ONE splash signing during their window. If they miss, they're at a huge disadvantage.

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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:02 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
StarlingArcher wrote:
You gamble on prospects and guys you can develop. You don't gamble on free agents who you're signing to a long-term deal. That's beyond incompetent resource management.


Yet Billy Beane did it on a player older than Abreu, and one whose defense and baserunning skills are more likely to decline quickly as he gets into his late 20s.

The point is, the Pirates lack a true power bat from the right side. And signing Abreu as a free agent for around 6 years, $54-60M is not a crazy amount of money or a crazy amount of risk given the potential reward. Guys with high power and hit tools are valuable no matter where they play, and, as I mentioned several times, the Pirates don't have a lot of good options for first base in 2014.

If Abreu works out, the Pirates will be getting All-Star level play at first base for a fraction of All-Star cost. I'd take that chance, particularly given the dearth of alternatives.

And if he doesn't work out, the Pirates have a $54-60M albatross hanging around their neck. It seems to me that if you're a small-market ball club handing out that kind of money to a player, the player better come with significantly less risk than Abreu carries.

By the way, "the Pirates lack a true power bat from the right side"? Have you totally forgotten about your favorite player, Andrew McCutchen?

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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:08 pm 
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Willton wrote:
J_C_Steel wrote:
StarlingArcher wrote:
You gamble on prospects and guys you can develop. You don't gamble on free agents who you're signing to a long-term deal. That's beyond incompetent resource management.


Yet Billy Beane did it on a player older than Abreu, and one whose defense and baserunning skills are more likely to decline quickly as he gets into his late 20s.

The point is, the Pirates lack a true power bat from the right side. And signing Abreu as a free agent for around 6 years, $54-60M is not a crazy amount of money or a crazy amount of risk given the potential reward. Guys with high power and hit tools are valuable no matter where they play, and, as I mentioned several times, the Pirates don't have a lot of good options for first base in 2014.

If Abreu works out, the Pirates will be getting All-Star level play at first base for a fraction of All-Star cost. I'd take that chance, particularly given the dearth of alternatives.

And if he doesn't work out, the Pirates have a $54-60M albatross hanging around their neck. It seems to me that if you're a small-market ball club handing out that kind of money to a player, the player better come with significantly less risk than Abreu carries.

By the way, "the Pirates lack a true power bat from the right side"? Have you totally forgotten about your favorite player, Andrew McCutchen?


This is a fine distinction, but I consider Cutch to be a great hitter with power, as opposed to a power hitter. But he's pretty much it.

I feel like the risk is minimal. The guy's going to hit for power, it's just a question of how much.


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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:14 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
I feel like the risk is minimal. The guy's going to hit for power, it's just a question of how much.

You appear to have much more confidence than the professionals do. I'm curious as to why.

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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:16 pm 
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Willton wrote:
J_C_Steel wrote:
I feel like the risk is minimal. The guy's going to hit for power, it's just a question of how much.

You appear to have much more confidence than the professionals do. I'm curious as to why.


I do?

From ESPN (Jim Bowden):

http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/the-gms ... st?id=7439

It's paid content, so I can't cut-and-paste it here, but these are the scouts' aggregate grades for Jose Abreu:

Hit: 70
Power: 70
Glove: 50
Run: 40
Arm: 50


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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:19 pm 
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Keith Law has also gone on the record saying that no scout ever has given him those numbers for any player, so, I think it's fair to take that with a grain of salt.

This is Jim Bowden we're talking about. He probably got a bunch of 70/50 grades and 50/70 grades and decided to make it 70/70. He goes for water cooler articles instead of insightful, relevant articles.

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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:20 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
Willton wrote:
J_C_Steel wrote:
I feel like the risk is minimal. The guy's going to hit for power, it's just a question of how much.

You appear to have much more confidence than the professionals do. I'm curious as to why.


I do?

From ESPN (Jim Bowden):

http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/the-gms ... st?id=7439

It's paid content, so I can't cut-and-paste it here, but these are the scouts' aggregate grades for Jose Abreu:

Hit: 70
Power: 70
Glove: 50
Run: 40
Arm: 50

What scouts? Who are these scouts? Last I checked, Jim Bowden is not a scout, nor is he the greatest evaluater of talent.

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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:21 pm 
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Here's something from fangraphs on Cespedes, which has a paragraph comparing Abreu's Cuba stats to those of Cespedes.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/yoenes-c ... tradition/

I'm thinking he'll hit. But it also suggests he may be awful in the field.

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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:29 pm 
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SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
Here's something from fangraphs on Cespedes, which has a paragraph comparing Abreu's Cuba stats to those of Cespedes.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/yoenes-c ... tradition/

I'm thinking he'll hit. But it also suggests he may be awful in the field.


Yeah the thing Badler mentioned as the big sticking point is that the bat speed only graded out as "fair" to a bunch of scouts so they worry about his ability to handle hard stuff on a consistent basis. Cuba is huge on baseball, no doubt, but the pitching just isn't on the same level.

That seems to be where the main concerns come from, they mentioned it's a somewhat unconventional setup but the bat speed was what he pinpointed as the main issue guys have with him.

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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:37 pm 
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As with nearly every possible transaction there is certainly risk involved.

However, with the market for available players being what it is, the Bucs clearly needing a player like Abreu and also facing a tighter salary pool compared to others, what do you guys think a fair (or ideal) offer for Abreu would be (and for how long)?

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 Post subject: Re: Cuban First Baseman?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:31 pm 
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Pirates will attend his showcase workout in September. They'll probably make the final decision then on whether or not to jump in on him.

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