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Friday, July 31, 2009

More on the Rolen deal

Photo of Scott Rolen originally taken by Googi...Scott Rolen's a fine player. But was the cost too great? Image via Wikipedia

Through a strange twist of fate, I suddenly have a bit of time to spend working through today's big deal in a more careful way than I did earlier today (I have no real opinion on the Hairston deal as of now). Let's look at the players one by one.

Scott Rolen, RHB 3B
Year Age Team PA %K %BB %LD BABIP AVG OBP SLG ISO wOBA RAA WAR
2006 31.2 STL 594 12% 9% 20% 0.301 0.296 0.369 0.518 0.223 0.380 22.1 4.0
2007 32.2 STL 441 13% 8% 20% 0.287 0.265 0.331 0.398 0.133 0.327 -3.6 0.9
2008 33.2 TOR 467 15% 10% 21% 0.292 0.262 0.349 0.431 0.169 0.346 5.5 2.3
2009 34.2 TOR 373 11% 7% 25% 0.341 0.320 0.370 0.476 0.157 0.368 11.1 2.5
2009 34.2 TOR (ROS)
174 13% 8% --
0.308 0.284 0.351 0.439 0.155 0.349 2.2 0.9
2009 34.2 TOR (ZiPS)
547 12% 7% --
0.331 0.308 0.364 0.465 0.156 0.362 13.4 3.4
Rolen's had a bit of a resurgence this year, though as noted elsewhere it seems likely to be, in part, based on a "lucky" BABIP (though his LD rate is also up...though that too is also likely unsustainable). His updated ZIPS, based on stats to date and rest of season performance, put his value this season at 3.4 WAR (0.9 WAR the rest of the way). He's a nice all-around hitter, with average walk rates, nice power, and good contact ability. A big part of his problem has been injuries--he hasn't hit 500 PA's since 2006 (a full season is 700 PA's!). A weighted 3-year average of the 07, 08, and projected 09 stats puts his expected "true talent" hitting value at 2.4 WAR.

Fielding-wise, he's not what he once was, but still is a plus defender. A weighted 3-year average of his bUZR puts him at ~8 runs above average. His Fan's Scouting Report in 2008 was outstanding, rating him best in all of baseball at his position. I'll put him as a +1 WAA fielder, with the understanding that injuries can pull this value down.

So, in terms of win value (i.e. total value) the rest of this season (60/162=37% games remaining), we have:
+0.9 offense (from ZiPS Rest of Season)
+1.0 WAA * 0.37 = 0.4 fielding
+0.25 WAA * 0.37 = 0.09 position adjustment
---------------------------------------------
1.4 WAR over the remainder of this season, which is worth around $6.3M.

He's due to make $11M this season, of which I'm estimating 37% should be paid by the Reds, which is $4M. That's a surplus value of ~$2 million this season.

Next year:
2.4 WAR offense
1.0 WAA fielding
0.25 WAA position
-0.5 WAA aging
----------------
3.2 WAR Total

That's worth between $14.5 M and $16 M, depending on how the free agent market goes this offseason. He'll make $11 million, so that's ~$4 million in surplus value. Overall, we have a "property" that can reasonably be expected to provide ~$6 million in surplus value over the rest of his contract. He also fills several holes on the Reds--he's a good RHB, and solves (at least until the end of July 2010) the defensive problem at 3B. He's a good pickup. The question, of course, is the cost...

Edwin Encarnacion, RHB 3B
Year Age Team PA %K %BB %LD BABIP AVG OBP SLG ISO wOBA RAA WAR
2006 23.5 CIN 467 17% 9% 21% 0.307 0.276 0.355 0.473 0.197 0.361 9.7 2.4
2007 24.5 CIN 560 15% 7% 19% 0.322 0.289 0.354 0.438 0.149 0.353 8.3 2.5
2008 25.5 CIN 582 18% 10% 16% 0.264 0.251 0.340 0.466 0.215 0.352 9.6 2.7
2009 26.5 CIN 165 23% 15% 14% 0.250 0.209 0.333 0.374 0.165 0.322 -1.7 0.3
2009 26.5 CIN 181 19% 10% 0% 0.288 0.259 0.348 0.449 0.190 0.354 3.1 0.8
2009 26.5 CIN 346 21% 12% 0% 0.271 0.236 0.341 0.414 0.178 0.339 1.4 1.1
Eddie's had a horrible season thus far with the stick. But prior to this year, he had posted three consecutive seasons with offensive WAR's in the mid-2's. I tend to think that this year is an aberration. But to be objective, a 3-year weighted average puts his "true talent" offensive performance at almost exactly 2 WAR.

The problem with Eddie is that his fielding really hurts his value. A 3-year weighted average of his bUZR puts him as a -10 run fielder. His Fan's Scouting Report was more "positive," rating him just in the bottom third of 3B's defensively. Consensus seems to be he has a solid glove, but an awful arm--seems right to me. FSR data would put him at about a -5 run fielder. I'll split the difference and call him a -0.75 win fielder.

So, over the rest of this year, we have:
0.8 WAR offense
-0.75 * 0.37 = -0.3 WAA fielding
0.25 * 0.37 = 0.09 WAA position adjustment
----------------------------
0.6 WAR, which is worth ~$2.7 million on the free agent market. He makes $2 million this season, and 37% of that is $0.7 M. That makes his surplus value over the rest of this year ~$2 million.

Next year, we have:
2 WAR offense
-0.75 WAA fielding
0.25 WAR position adjustment
-0.25 Aging (I'm not taking off the full 0.5 WAR because he's still young; injury risk and my lack of regression still warrants a deduction)
-------------------------------
1.3 WAR, which is worth between $6-$6.5 million next year. He'll make $4.75 M, so that makes for about a $1.5 million surplus value--entirely due to the fact that he's still in his arbitration years (otherwise, his salary would be better).

So, overall, I'd rate Encarnacion as being worth about $3.5 million in surplus value. You can guestimate that he might be worth another $0.75 million surplus in his third year of arbitration (arbitration players don't make what free agents do), which would bring his value to $4.25 million.


Zach Stewart, RHP
Year Age Team GS% IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP ERA FIP
2008 21.8 Reds (A) 0% 16.3 7.2 1.7 0.0 0.232 0.55 2.34
2008 21.8 Reds (A+) 0% 16.6 12.4 5.9 0.0 0.400 1.62 2.60
2009 22.8 Reds (A+) 100% 42.3 6.8 1.7 0.2 0.345 2.13 2.63
2009 22.8 Reds (AA) 100% 37.0 7.5 2.4 0.2 0.276 1.46 2.77
2009 22.8 Reds (AAA) 0% 12.3 11.7 5.8 0.0 0.369 0.73 2.55
Stewart was the Reds' 3rd-round selection (their second pick, as they did not have a 2nd-round selection) in the 2008 draft. He's done very well thus far and is skyrocketing through the minors. Scouting reports on him are strong, and he's put up extremely good ERA's thus far. His strikeout and walk rates have been a bit all over the place, but somehow it has all balanced out thus far in a very consistent FIP. Sickels rated him a B- pitcher prior to this season, and the consensus view is that he's a legitimate "B" pitcher now. "B" prospect pitchers are worth about $7 million in surplus value, based on their typical success rate and expected 6 years of below-market pay.

Josh Roenicke, RHP
Year Age Team GS% IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP ERA FIP eW% WAR
2006 23.9 Reds (R) 0% 15.6 13.8 6.9 0.6 0.308 6.32 3.26 63% ---
2006 23.9 Reds (R) 0% 7.6 10.6 3.5 0.0 0.388 1.17 2.42 73% ---
2007 24.9 Reds (A+) 0% 27.6 13.3 4.9 0.3 0.373 3.25 2.44 73% ---
2007 24.9 Reds (AA) 0% 19.0 7.1 2.8 0.0 0.237 0.95 2.57 71% ---
2008 25.9 Reds (AA) 0% 22.0 11.5 4.9 0.8 0.358 3.27 3.47 59% ---
2008 25.9 Reds (AAA) 0% 39.0 9.9 3.2 0.5 0.323 2.54 2.74 68% ---
2008 25.9 CIN 0% 3.0 18.0 6.0 0.0 0.709 9.00 2.13 75% 0.1
2009 26.9 Reds (AAA) 0% 28.0 10.3 1.9 0.0 0.390 2.57 1.77 80% ---
2009 26.9 CIN 0% 13.3 9.5 2.7 0.0 0.355 2.70 1.85 79% 0.5
2009 26.9 ZiPS (RoS) 0% 17.0 7.9 4.2 1.1 0.313 4.24 4.23 52% 0.1
2009 26.9 ZiPS (Update) 0% 30.9 8.6 3.6 0.6 0.331 3.56 3.19 63% 0.5
Roenicke's been all over the place the last few years. But his profile is fairly consistent: hard thrower, very good strikeout numbers, and high-but-not-outrageous walk totals. He's in his first full season, so I think it's probably best to go with Sickels' pre-season rating for him and use that to assign value to him. Sickels gave him a B-, which I'll guess makes him worth about $4 million in surplus value, given his fairly advanced age (he's the oldest player in this deal aside from Rolen!). That's spread out over the first six years of his career.

Trade Tally
Rating strictly on surplus value, we have:

Update: Fay says they get cash to cover the rest of Rolen's 2009 salary. That would be ~$4M. I've updated the below bit to reflect that guesstimate.


Rolen: $6 million surplus
+$4 million cash(??)
vs.
Encarnacion: $4 million surplus
Stewart: $7 million surplus
Roenicke: $4 million surplus
Total: $15 million surplus

Assuming the cash sent to the Reds above is accurate, Toronto "wins" trade by ~$5 million, which is roughly the value of a bench player as a free agent.

Does this deal make sense for the Reds? You can make the argument in a lot of ways that it does. They upgrade third base by roughly 1.5 wins next season, get a good right-handed bat (though only modestly better than Eddie's), and continue to upgrade their fielding.

The problems from my perspective are two-fold. First, the Reds overpaid by roughly one Josh Roenicke (though we're admittedly within the margin of error here). Second, even if this was the market rate, they acquired a single aging, injury-prone player in exchange for cheaper, younger players. If the Reds were likely to contend this or next season, it makes sense to do. But who outside of Bob Castellini really thinks that the Reds are in that sort of position? Rolen doesn't improve them by more than 2 wins per season, tops. The Reds prior to this trade were a sub-0.500 club, and by at least one way of forecasting these things, on their way to finishing last in the division. The Reds sacrificed a small part of the future for the now, and the two wins Rolen provides don't help the now very much.

On the plus side, at least I don't have to fret about why the Reds aren't moving Edwin to the outfield anymore. ;)