Futile But Fun
Dayn Perry goes over his list of the worst starting players by position.
To be honest, I thought I would see Brian Schneider on this list unjustly. There are worse and sure enough, Mr. Perry agreed.
C — Jason Kendall, Brewers
Kendall narrowly edges out Paul Lo Duca for worst catcher. In 2007, Kendall "hit" .242 AVG/.301 OBP/.309 SLG and tallied only 24 extra-base hits in 514 plate appearances. Unless you're a pitcher, those power numbers are patently unacceptable. That's to say nothing of Kendall's poor throwing arm behind the plate. At age 33, he doesn't figure to improve going forward.
LoDuca was the other choice and it is funny because people are still harping on him being an offensively superior player than Brian. Right. Perry did get it right here as Kendall actually added negative value.
One of the bigger mysteries in the universe is why GMs prefer guys like him to the Geovany Soto's of the world. One is a known quantity whose name you have heard, but at least the Soto-type players represent hope, upside, and possibly positive value.
1B — Kevin Millar, Orioles
Last season, the 36-year-old Millar hit .254 AVG/.365 OBP/.420 SLG, while the average major-league first baseman hit .276 AVG/.357 OBP/.463 SLG. Millar took his walks, but that's about all he did in 2007. Throw in the fact that he's a liability with the glove and on the bases, and you've got a player who would be best deployed as nothing more than a pinch-hitter against lefties.
Kevin Millar is actually the first base equivalent of Paul LoDuca minus the hankering for teenage girls. He is still living off his gritty, gamer personality and few good years with previous teams.
2B — Ray Durham, Giants
Durham was a very good player for a long time, and he put up excellent numbers as recently as 2006. Last season, however, he went over the statistical cliff, batting just .218 and getting on base at just a .295 clip. He's now 36, so a significant rebound seems unlikely. Fortunately for him, the miserable Giants don't have any other options.
Ray Durham did not add much nor did he take anything away with his 0.0 WARP1. There has to be someone out there who could help them out. A 0.1 WARP1 would represent an upgrade of infinity. INFINITY!!! Dare I say that Anderson Hernandez would be huge upgrade for them here?
3B — Rich Aurilia, Giants
Yes, Aurilia, at 36, is currently atop the Giants' pile — and it is a pile — at third base. Last season, Aurilia managed an OBP of barely better than .300, and since he's very much in his decline phase, there's no reason to expect improvement. These days, his bat won't play anywhere, particularly at a power position like third base.
Of course, I wanted him as a super sub. Not that I would have been wrong because maybe he might have done well in that role, we'll never know. However, he did have a really good season in 2006 after a pretty decent one in 2005 and not many could have predicted such a horrible decline. Ok, maybe many could have since Aurilla has been so up and down.
Just a side note here, if Wes Helms was still a starter, he would have won by a landslide.
SS — Omar Vizquel, Giants
Seriously, props to the Giants, without whom this column might not have been possible. Anyhow, Vizquel has a credible Hall of Fame case, but at this stage he has no business being a regular at the highest level. Defensively, he still makes the routine plays and the occasional highlight grab, but his range is now well below average. His offense is even worse than that. Vizquel will be 41 years old not long after Opening Day, so it's probably time to consider making graceful exit. On a broader level, it's challenging to impart just how bad the San Francisco
This all does beg the question, how does Brian Sabean even have a job much less get a two year extension? Please, do not tell me he was handcuffed by Barry Bonds. Bonds is no reason to decimate your ball club.
LF — Juan Pierre, Dodgers
As long as Pierre's in center field, he is mediocre enough to tolerate, but in left field, where the offensive bar is much higher, he's not adequate. He hits for average and runs the bases well, but when it comes to doing the two most important things a hitter can do — get on base and hit for power — he comes up woefully short, particularly by corner-outfielder standards.
If Juan Pierre sniffs any playing time this season, Joe Torre should be lambasted. The only reason he has any value whatsoever is because he steals a lot of bases. He literally adds nothing else to the equation. The key to making the playoffs is winning games, which should not be a big shock. With that in mind, Pierre in no way adds value over Ethier and Kemp.
CF — Mark Kotsay, Braves
Kotsay is injury prone, merely average defensively at this point, and last season, when healthy, wasn't able to hit a lick. Certainly he won't put up stats as grim as he did in 2007, when he flailed about to the tune of .214 AVG/.279 OBP/.296 SLG. However, you can improve upon those deliriously bad numbers and still not rise to the level of acceptability. The sooner top prospect Jordan Schafer is ready to take over in center, the better off the Braves will be. Of course, Schafer hasn't played a game above the Triple-A level, so they're likely stuck with Kotsay for the time being.
I do not like the Braves and it pleasures me to see someone who actually took wins away from their former employer lace up their cleats and put on a Braves uniform. You would have to go back to 2004 when he was 28 to see an above average season from him. That being said, the Braves did not make a bad move here. He might have one more league average year in him and it is not like they had a plethora of options.
RF — Mark Teahen, Royals
Teahen isn't a horrible player, and he's only 26. However, he makes it on this unfortunate list only because right field is a fairly deep position. Teahen had a good campaign in 2006, but last season he regressed, slugging just .410 and managing only one homer every 78 at-bats. That just doesn't cut it. He's young enough to reverse course, but he may not have the bat for such an "offense-first" position.
Out of this team that Perry compiled, Teahen would be the All-Star representative. He actually adds the most value out of any of the bunch and is legitimately league average. However, that .410 SLG% from a corner outfield spot is horrendous. Can he rebound? Possibly, but unlikely. His SLG% from the last three years is .376, .517, and .410. Which one does not belong? For those of you still trying to remain optimistic about him, his minor league SLG% is .421.
He will forever go down as the poster child for why you should always trade for the most talent rather than try and pigeon hole needs. Beltran for Wood, Teahen, and Buck? No esta bien.
Overall, it was a fun read. I do think Teahan was unfairly targeted and you could have certainly made a case for Johnny Damon and just made it three outfield spots in general rather than try and find someone for each spot. Damon posted a .396 SLG% at a corner outfield spot and to answer your question, only eight qualifying outfielders had a sub .400 SLG% in the bigs and the Yankees had two of them. Besides, Teahan is still only 26 while Damon is likely to continue to regress. Is David DeJesus still a starter? He could certainly qualify for a spot as well if so.
With arbitration hearings approaching, the Mets have yet to come to terms with two players: Oliver Perez and Ryan Church. GM Omar Minaya said Perez's agent, Scott Boras, is not interested in negotiating a contract that covers beyond the 2008 season, meaning Perez should be a free agent next winter. Perez has asked for $6.5 million, with the club countering at $4.725 million. Church, the newly acquired outfielder, requested $2.45 million, with the club offering $1.75 million. The Mets haven't gone to an arbitration hearing with a player since David Cone in 1992. ... Duaner Sanchez will have no limitations when pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie next Thursday, according to Minaya.
I guess this answers my question. However, I still think it is worth a shot. Really, $12 to $13 million is on the low side of what he would get. If he replicates 2007, he might receive $15 million per. As crazy as that sounds, it is entirely possible. My reasoning...
1) The guy has good enough stuff to succeed in either league. There are some pitchers who AL teams want nothing of because they simply lack the ability to dominate with 'stuff'. Oliver has no such issues. He battles himself a lot, but should have no problem putting up great numbers in the AL when he is on which opens up the market a lot more.
2) Carlos Silva. While Oliver is not an ace, he has front end potential. Carlos Silva does not and received a boatload of cash after Lilly, Meche, Marquis, and Suppan received rather handsome pay raises over the past few years. Basically, even Perez tosses up a 4.00 to 4.25 ERA, he will get paid. A four year deal for a guy on the right side of 30, throws with his left arm, throws in the low 90's, and is injury free is going to be a hot commodity and obviously Boras knows that. He would have to toss up a 5.00 ERA to really blow things up, which I cannot see happening.
3) Who else is going to be out there? Best case scenario, there will be Sheets, CC, Smoltz, and Burnett.
- Burnett may not have a great year and not opt out. Even if he does opt out, he will be looking for just as much or more money as Perez while being substantially older and carrying a huge injury risk.
- As for Ben Sheets...see AJ Burnett. The same reasoning applies. A long term deal on Sheets is frightening.
- Is there any chance Smoltz leaves?
- If you are looking at CC and lose, you will certainly look at Perez. Overall, anyone looking to drop cash on a starter may look to Perez first being more affordable than CC and perhaps a better option than the other household names. Of course, CC might not even be changing addresses.
Maybe Omar can get a one on one a la A-Rod and the Yankees, but that seems doubtful. If Perez wanted to have a hand in this and was looking for something other than the best payday from any team regardless of long term outlook, he would have hired another agent.
Well....with the exception of Lastings. I still think they wanted him gone.
thegup Feb 7, 2008 8:14:26 AM
You could give that idiot Willie 5 Santanas and he will find a way to mess things up. A fish rots from the head