Who is really the best baseball team in the majors? I honestly don't know but I try to figure that out by using basic and advanced statistics. I live for talking about baseball, it's my biggest drive in my life and I will jump on the opportunity to talk baseball with anyone, even with people who I don't really like. For me, Baseball is a piece of art that sits in my mind all day, ready to be painted on at any point of the day.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Why the Vladimir Guerrero signing was bad

By Mike Moritz

On February 18th, the Baltimore Orioles signed Vladimir Guerrero to a one-year, $8 million deal. Baltimore GM Andy MacPhail has done a great job this off season. He has brought in Mark Reynolds, Derrek Lee and J.J. Hardy as well as others. Just skim through what they did:

Major League/International Signings
Notable Minor League Signings
Trades and Claims
Notable Losses
  (Courtesy of mlbtraderumors.com)

And here is why I do not particularly like the Guerrero signing:

First, there is now a bigger problem in left field than originally. Noland Reimold and Felix Pie were most likely going to battle it out for the job in left. With Reimold's terrible 2010 season, he will likely start the season back AAA unless we saw a huge spring training from him. So essentially, it was Pie's job for the taking, but I would say that Reimold still has a shot. But based on the fact that the Orioles have enough offense and I suppose could use more defense, it seemed likely that Pie would get the job.

Pie has a career 8 DRS, a 6.9 career UZR, and his career speed rating is 6.9 as well. The only major defensive statistic does badly in is RngR, which is another Fangraphs stat that measures how much ground a player covers. Pie's is -2.4, but it really doesn't matter compared to Remold's defense which is much worse and has a -13.9 RngR. Vlad's defense is arguably worse says his career -20.5 UZR, -8.9 RngR, and -3 DRS.

But now, if you put in Vlad, who is, yes, a nice offensive force to have in the lineup, especially considering age (36), he now has to either A) compete with not only Pie, but also Reimold for a left field spot, but also B) be a platoon with Luke Scott for DH.

The thing that makes the most sense is having Vlad and Scott platoon for DH. Scott had a career year last year but really only saw a spike in his batting average due to a BABIP that was finally back to normal (.304 after two years of .280-range BABIPs) and a nice cut down on strike outs where he dropped his rate from 23.2% in 2009 to 21.9% in 2010. But he hit just .240 against left handed pitching in 2010 and is a career .247 hitter with a 27.7% strike out rate against south paws. Vlad, on the other hand, is a career .327 hitter with a 12.5% whiff rate. Not to mention Vlad's .412 wOBA against lefties to Scott's respectable .342 mark.

So for Vlad to be the DH for Baltimore seems the likely fit and I can almost guarantee that he will not be the opening left fielder and play there everyday simply because of age and the knee problems that he has had recently. He was used primarily as a DH with the Rangers last year so that pretty much seals the fact that he will not be playing the outfield. And do not forget about Derrek Lee playing first base so you can't really say that Scott should play first.

But even so, why use him as a DH in a platoon role and pay $8 million for that? $8 million for a platooning DH that is 36 years old? I don't know about that.

Honestly, I might be making a bigger deal out of this then need be but still, that money could have gone somewhere else, like upgrading the bullpen to join Kevin Gregg in the new uniform. 

Anyways, I still think that the Orioles have one of the better teams that they have had in a while and could give their fellow AL East teams a run for their money.

(Stats in courtesy of: fangraphs.com)

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