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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ross DFA'd: What the hell?

Let's say a team has three catchers: players A, B, & C. They want to give a cup of coffee to another catcher in their minor leagues and see how he does against big league pitching. So they need to get rid of one of their three catchers. All three are free agents at the end of the season, though there's a buyout on player A for $380k for 2009.

Below are forecasted AVG/OBP/SLG for each player, based on the a Marcel projection of their 2005-2008 performances. Note: This is NOT what their final 2008 stats are expected to look like. This is what you'd expect them to hit the rest of the way, and therefore an indication of their hitting talent.

Player A 0.229 0.318 0.420 0.738 +
Player B 0.264 0.325 0.414 0.739 -
Player C 0.221 0.291 0.321 0.612 +

Now, obviously none of these guys is particularly awesome. Of the three, though, Player A is clearly the best player, right? Hitting on par with player B, and good fielding to player B's crappyness. Still not sure? Player A is also the youngest (by one and a half years) of the bunch. So it seems pretty obvious that he should stay on the roster, right?

Depending on how important the defense is--it's hard for me to tell with catchers, as we still don't have particularly good metrics to evaluate their contributions to runs allowed--the player to go would probably be either player B or player C. I'd probably ditch player B, but that's based on a long-held (and largely groundless) dislike of bad defensive catchers.

So why on earth did the Reds DFA David Ross (Player A) today?

Well, he's right-handed, and so is Hanigan. Valentin (Player B) and Bako (Player C) both bat lefty. ... I don't think that's a particularly good reason.

He also makes more money than the other players, so the Reds might save a good $900k million if you include the remainder of his salary and the buyout next year--assuming someone claims him off of waivers. $900k's something, but in an era when a win will likely cost roughly $4.8 million in the coming offseason free agent market, it's not much. Ross projects as a plus-replacement level player, and so he would probably have contributed at least even value on his $3.5 million salary.

Look, I can deal with the Reds making a decision to not have Ross on the roster next year. The buyout's a drop in the bucket, and he's not particularly special. But I think if you make that decision, you also have to decide that Bako and Valentin won't be on the roster next year, right? And if you come to the decision that they've all got to go, don't you ditch the worst players before you ditch the better players? Especially if you're still trying to "win" (play 0.500+ ball, which is probably out of reach anyway) this year? What I see today is my "favorite" team ditching their best catcher in favor of two inferior players. It's a minor move, and probably doesn't matter much in and of itself. But I'm just getting sick of all of this nonsense.


John Erardi has a nice article today comparing the Pirates to the Reds. It states at the bottom that I was a contributor, but that's being overly generous, because I didn't do anything for it. But I do agree with just about everything that's in there.

I have to tell you, I'm pretty tired of following a club that is not only bad, but is apparently making bad decisions. I mean, how can you feel good about a team that is doing things like this?

And here are the Pirates, now effectively in my back yard, hiring smart general managers and good front office people, and doing a freaking fabulous job at the trading deadline (holding onto Bay until he rebounded from his bad 2007 is exactly what a smart team would do--heck of a payoff). Their AA club is less than 15 minutes from my house, and the big league club is only 1.5 hours I can watch HD broadcasts of their games virtually every night.

So why on earth would I choose to follow the Reds instead of the Pirates? Childhood loyalties? That's about all I have these days, and that's fading fast... Maybe I'll start covering both teams around here... I dunno, we'll see.