Oct 122012
 
Josh Hamilton 14

The 2012 Texas Rangers season came to an abrupt, and disappointing end on Friday night as the club lost the first annual one game Wild Card playoff at home to the Baltimore Orioles 5-1.

The $100 Million Dollar ManTo say the club struggled down the stretch is quite the understatement as they finished the season 2-8 in their final 10 games, including losing a 5 game division lead over the Oakland A’s with 9 games left to play. After winning the second game of a double header last Sunday night over the Los Angeles Angels, the Rangers lost their final four games of the season by a combined score of 24-10. The team went into an extended cold slump at the absolute worst possible time.

How did this team many picked to win the World Series wet the bed in the home stretch? Well, one can argue it was due to a variety of factors. The club quite simply stopped getting the clutch hits the A’s got seemingly every day towards the end of the regular season. Mainly, the Rangers just looked completely mentally and physically exhausted towards the end of the year.

Playing as much baseball as this team has played the last three years can take their toll on the body. Remember, the Rangers played six postseason series the last two years, three more than any other team in baseball. I expect Texas to recover and continue to compete in the American League West, but nothing is guaranteed in the great game of baseball.

Jon Daniels and the front office are faced with some very important personnel decisions in the next few months, none more important than what to do with the enigmatic superstar Josh Hamilton.

The $100 Million Dollar ManDespite Josh Hamilton’s late season struggles, some team will pay Josh Hamilton an exorbitant amount of money to play baseball for them next season. While many Ranger fans feel signing Josh is foolish after he dropped a can of corn in a crucial situation in a do or die game against the Oakland A’s last week, or the fact Hamilton struck out 162 times this season, or the fact Hamilton hit .233 in the final ten games, Josh did produce monster numbers during his tenure in Texas.

According to MLB baseball writer Jon Heyman, he believes Hamilton will sign a contract in the neighborhood of 5 years for $150 million dollars. If Hamilton signs a contract similar to the one Heyman suggested, Hamilton would earn the highest annual salary in Major League Baseball at $30 million dollars per season.

Reading about what will soon become baseball’s newest $100 million player got me to thinking about the history of the $100 million dollar player in baseball (The list is quite fascinating). Would signing Josh Hamilton to a $100 million dollar plus deal be a wise decision for not only the Rangers, but any other MLB team? I decided to do a little research, and I think the results may be a little surprising.

Keep in mind, I realize Josh has rubbed many the wrong way in this area towards the end of his time here.

The $100 Million Dollar ManThere have been 34 $100 million dollar contracts signed in the history of baseball. Many fans have probably forgotten the first player to ever sign a $100 million dollar contract was former Ranger great Kevin Brown in 1999 when he signed a 7 year $105 million dollar deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the 1999 season.

The Rangers have signed one player to a contract exceeding $100 million, and that was Alex Rodriguez back in December of 2000 for a then astronomical 10 year deal totaling $252 million dollars. While Rodriguez played exceptionally during his time in Texas, the club faltered because A-Rod had little talent around him and was traded to the Yankees shortly after winning the AL MVP in 2003.

The average age of the player to sign these mega deals is 28.3. Out of the 34 players to have signed $100 million dollar contracts, only 11 of them have been over the age of 30 at the time they signed their new lucrative contract. 8 of the 11 were position players, and since Josh Hamilton is a position player who will be 31 this offseason when he signs his new deal, I decided to focus solely on these 8 players and crunch their numbers to determine if signing Josh makes sense fiscally.

Here is the list of position players to have signed a $100 million dollar contract over the age of 30:

Ken Griffey Jr. – 9 year deal worth $116,500,000 with the Cincinnati Reds

The $100 Million Dollar ManJason Giambi – 7 year deal worth $120,000,000 with the New York Yankees

Alfonso Soriano – 8 year deal worth $136,000,000 with the Chicago Cubs

Carlos Lee – 6 year deal worth $100,000,000 with the Houston Astros

Alex Rodriguez – 10 year deal worth $275,000,000 with the New York Yankees

Ryan Howard – 5 year extension worth $125,000,000 with the Philadelphia Phillies

Jayson Werth – 7 year deal worth $126,000,000 with the Washington Nationals

Albert Pujols – 10 year deal worth $240,000,000 with the Los Angeles Angels

The first thing I have done is I have averaged each of these eight players final season before they were given their huge pay days, and have compared them to Josh Hamilton’s 2012. By doing this study, we can determine if Josh will receive a similar payday, and it should help predict what type of production we can expect from Josh in the future based on his age. If you want to check out each player’s season for yourself, I am sure you are cognizant of the sites to help you do that. I am just simply providing the averages.

8 players final season before mega deal:

157 games played, 114 runs scored, 176 hits, 80 XBH, 42 HR, 118 RBI, .299/.388/.579/.966, 5.5 rWAR

As one can tell, these players produced huge seasons as these numbers are just the averages between the 8 players. In 2007, A-Rod led the league in 5 major offensive categories and won AL MVP. Jason Giambi led the AL in 3 offensive categories, including an incredible 1.137 OPS in 2001. Ryan Howard knocked in 141 runs in 2009 before signing his extension the following April. Now, let’s look at what Hamilton did this year and compare the numbers to the 8 players.

Josh Hamilton’s 2012 season:

148 games played, 103 runs scored, 160 hits, 76 XBH, 43 HR, 128 RBI, .285/.354/.577/.930, 3.4 rWAR

As one again can easily determine, Josh’s 2012 numbers are very similar to the other final seasons. What does this mean? Well, if Josh’s numbers are similar to the average final seasons of the 8 $100 million dollar players over the age of 30, one is led to believe Josh will produce similar numbers beginning in the first year of his new deal and beyond. Just to be sure, I thought I would perform another test. Since Albert Pujols was the most recent player to sign a $100 million dollar deal, I decided to average the first years of the 7 other $100 million dollar player’s contracts, and compare them to Pujols to find out if the numbers also look similar.

7 players other than Pujols 1st year of new contract:

146 games played, 96 runs scored, 159 hits, 67 XBH, 33 HR, 100 RBI, .285/.370/.530/.900, 3.8 rWAR.

The most eye opening thing one will notice is the decline in all major offensive categories. Jayson Werth’s 2011 season with Washington skewed these numbers slightly, but Giambi and Griffey pushed them up as they were the only players to hit more than 40 HR. Carlos Lee was the only player to appear in all 162 games for his team in the first year of his $100 million dollar contract., which is also the only 162 game season of any player who has ever signed a $100 million dollar contract over the age of 30. And, with Josh Hamilton’s well known inability to stay healthy, he will more than likely play less games than many of these other players who did not have health issues before signing their enormous contracts. Now, let’s compare the numbers to Pujols 1st year.

Pujols 2012 season:

154 games played, 85 runs scored, 173 hits, 80 XBH, 30 HR, 105 RBI, .285/.343/.516/.859, 4.6 rWAR

Again, the numbers are very similar. Based on the similar numbers, I believe we have enough statistical evidence to more or less provide ball park figures of what one can expect from Josh next season, and beyond, wherever he, his wife, and God decide is the best place to play baseball for the next five years.

I will now provide what type of production a team can expect out of Josh Hamilton if they were to sign him to a 5 year $150 million dollar contract which Jon Heyman believes he will sign. Again, all I did was average the 7 player’s years, not including Pujols,  by very simply adding up the total amount, and dividing the total by the number of players. Werth drops off in Year 3 from the equation, and Howard drops off in Year 4 because each has not played in that particular year of his contract yet. Year 1 was already provided.

Year 2:

119 games played, 70 runs scored, 121 hits, 51 XBH, 27 HR, 84 RBI, .281/.376/.517/.893, 2.3 rWAR

The numbers are continuing to decline as the players are beginning to experience injury problems because they are aging. Only 4 of the 7 players played more than 125 games in his second season of his deal. The rWAR has dropped 3 wins in two years.

Year 3:

105 games played, 46 runs scored, 100 hits, 38 XBH, 18 HR, 67 RBI, .252/.332/.443/.774, .3 rWAR

The third year is the worst statistical year as three of the players (Griffey, Soriano, and Giambi) all finish with negative rWARs. Lee played 160 games, but the next most in games played is Rodriguez with 137. Batting average, OBP, Slugging, and OPS has fallen for the third straight year.

Year 4:

119 games played, 62 runs scored, 107 hits, 46 XBH, 22 HR, 69 RBI, .260/.357/.495/.852, 1.5 rWAR

The numbers improve slightly, but not by very much. Lee actually had a rWAR of -2.4 in his 4th year of his deal. Michael Young was everyone’s favorite whipping boy this year, and even he had 38 XBH’s in his horrendous 2012.

Year 5:

126 games played, 65 runs scored, 117 hits, 50 XBH, 24 HR, 82 RBI, .259/.350/.484/.833, 1.7 rWAR

Giambi had the most productive 5th year as he had an OPS of .971. However, no player had a rWAR above 3.7.

5 Season average:

123 games played, 68 runs scored, 121 hits, 50 XBH, 25 HR, 80 RBI, .267/.357/.494/.850, 1.9 rWAR

Yes, this would be the average season one team is paying $30 million dollars a year if they choose to pony up the money and sign Josh. While these numbers are not exact, they give a good prediction of what is probable.

The most shocking number is a total of 9.6 total rWAR in 5 seasons. Meaning, if a team paid Josh Hamilton $150 million dollars over 5 seasons, the team would be paying $15,625,000 per win. Fans admire Josh for his incredible power, but only Jason Giambi averaged 30 home runs per season through the life of his contract. Chances are greater than zero that Josh would not hit as many home runs as he did in Texas.

Also, with Josh already being well known for his injury problems, including his caffeine issue in late September, signing Josh to a massive contract might not be wise based on the injury problems of the previous 30+ year old $100 million dollar players.

The $100 Million Dollar ManThe numbers I have provided are only numbers, but they do speak of what Hamilton will more than likely become later in his career because the numbers I have provided are what the players averaged during their expensive contracts. Essentially, the deal will be for one highly productive first season, two mediocre seasons, and two very disappointing seasons. Signing players to a long term deal for one to three decent seasons is just not wise, just ask the Los Angeles Angels.

I am sure Jon Daniels, Nolan Ryan, and the front office has done their due diligence in relations to the Josh Hamilton matter. However, based on past history, signing Josh Hamilton to a $100 million dollar deal would be a colossal mistake.

The safer and more intelligent move is to pursue a player like B.J. Upton who just turned 28, and is believed by Jon Heyman to be signed to a deal in the ballpark of 5 years and $60 million dollars. Upton is three years younger than Hamilton, strikes out a lot and has a lower OPS, but will cost $18 million dollars a year less that Hamilton will. Players such as Nick Swisher and AJ Pierzynski will also be available to fill the LH power bat void. Swisher can also hit from the right side of the plate as well. The Rangers could even use the extra money on a top of the rotation pitcher like Zack Greinke, or a solid #2 or #3 starter like Hiroki Kuroda.

While we do not know what will become of Josh Hamilton and the Rangers, one thing is certain, and that is the Hot Stove League is one of the most entertaining times of the year. The 2012 season might have ended in disappointing fashion for the Rangers, but things can turn around quickly with a great offseason. Fans should have complete faith in the organization based on their excellent track record that they will make the best decision for Texas Rangers in regards to Josh, and other players.

Follow Dustin Dietz on Twitter @DustinDietz18

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Sep 062012
 
Jered Weaver  3

The last time I produced an article for BaseballDo, I received unexpected acclaim and notoriety from a couple of local sports radio talk shows which I have admired for many years. To hear my name had been associated with decent writing was pretty surreal based on my past failures in freshman and sophomore English at Bryan Adams High School.

I received instant popularity and credibility throughout social media as I gained at least 10 new followers the first day. You might think I am being sarcastic, but 10 new followers in a day for me is something which does not occur very often, even on Follow Fridays.

In all honesty, I really do not feel I did spectacular work on my article in regards to Michael Young’s struggles so far in 2012. I felt as if I was just providing the reader with information any person could have found on the internet late at night when one is unable to sleep. I am still very grateful for all the kind words though.

Well, my last article might have gained me some baseball writing credibility, but with this piece, I might be losing every bit of the cred I might have earned.

Presenting Team D BagOne popular phrase or moniker for a certain type of individual in today’s society is douchebag. We all are cognizant of what a douchebag, or doucher for short, really is. Douchebags tend to walk around with this arrogant, pompous sense of entitlement like they are better than you.

The clothes douchebags wear are more than annoying. There are the button-up shirts with crosses stitched on the back, Ed Hardy tees, and blue jeans with dragons printed on them. Douchers even style their hair a certain way.

The most vexatious (thank you Google)trait douchers have is the tendency to brag incessantly about their accomplishments, possessions, or jobs where they make an infinite amount of money more than you do . Douchers will even begin to speak about themselves before one even touches the subject. Yes, humility is not in the cards for the doucher.

Being a douchebag can be advantageous as I have noticed women tend to flock towards the doucher, and also the D-bag tends to have a chiseled physique resembling a Greek God, while we are left to look like Al Bundy in the later years of Married with Children.

The term douchebag has also found its way over into the sports world, in particular, the great game of baseball. For some odd reason, some select baseball players have earned a reputation of being a douchebag, despite the fact many of the fans referring to the player as a doucher do not even know the player personally.

Presenting Team D BagI cannot tell you how often I hear a player is awful because he is a douchebag. Recently, I was engaged in an argument over New York Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher and whether or not the Texas Rangers should pursue him this offseason when Swisher becomes a free-agent. I asked another writer on Twitter what he thought about pursuing Swish. He responded, and I am paraphrasing, he would be surprised if the team did not try to sign the soon to be free agent.

Immediately, I received all kinds of tweets from fans about what a douche Swisher is, and how he would have this pernicious effect on the clubhouse. My response to these tweets I received was Swisher has produced above average numbers since becoming a Yankee as he has yielded an OPS over .800 4 straight seasons, and is on pace to have a career high in extra base hits in 2012. Well, none of that mattered because many still believed Swisher sucks because he smiles a certain way, or walks to the plate with an overly arrogant stroll with his sunglasses a certain color.

The most controversial perceived douchebag in DFW is former Rangers pitcher CJ Wilson, who now plays for the Los Angeles Angels. As the Rangers ‘ace’ heading into the 2011 postseason, Wilson struggled the entire playoffs and the Rangers lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in 7 games, a game in which Wilson hit the first batter he faced with the bases loaded in the 5th inning.

When CJ signed with the Angels, many were upset with him (myself included) despite the fact he pitched wonderfully as a starter in two seasons while in Texas. Wilson compiled a 31-15 record with an ERA slightly above 3.00 and a WHIP close to 1.20. Ceej gave the Rangers over 420 innings pitched in two seasons, and earned the contract he was given by LA.

Presenting Team D BagFans are still upset with Wilson for leaving the Rangers to go play with their main rival as they have booed Ceej relentlessly all three times he has pitched in Arlington this season. Fans are angry about last postseason, but most are still annoyed by Wilson’s douchebag like behavior he exhibited while in town. His knife fighting, piloting, and DJing skills are just too much for people in DFW to handle. My belief is the CJ hatred is simply in regards to his incessant boasting, and bragging montages.

While the fans should be showing Wilson appreciation for his years of service in Texas, they boo him because they think he is a douchebag, and they do not even know him personally. Much of what Ceej says can make one roll his or her eyes, but off the field stuff should not matter as long as he produces on the field.

All of this unwarranted douchebag hatred and bashing got me to thinking, “What if all of the perceived MLB douchebags were on one team? How would the team fair against other competition?”

So, I began my research by finding out who in MLB is considered a douchebag by simply asking fans on Twitter. I received a few obvious answers, but had to search the world wide web for a few others. I was even tweeted a picture of the All-Douchebag team someone had taken their time to construct.

After about an hour of research, I had compiled my team of MLB douchebags. I even gave them the moniker ‘Arizona D-Bags,’ using a funny play on words. Without further ado, here is my team of D-Bags based solely on reputation according to baseball fans.

C  – AJ Pierzynski

1B – MarkTeixeira

2B – Ian Kinsler

3B – Alex Rodriguez

SS – Jhonny Peralta

LF – Ryan Braun

CF – Bryce Harper

RF – Nick Swisher

DH – Mike Napoli/Josh Reddick

BN – Johnny Gomes, Greg Dobbs, Ryan Theriot

SP  – CJ Wilson, Jered Weaver, Stephen Strasburg, James Shields, Bronson Arroyo

RP – Brandon League, Chris Perez, Jonathan Papelbon, Brett Myers, Jose Valverde, Fernando Rodney, John Axford, Robbie Ross

Yes, I realize I have a 26 man roster, but this is a team full of perceived douchers, someone will get injured. Also, I added Robbie Ross and Ryan Theriot to the team because the team needed a left-handed reliever and utility infielder. While Ross and Theriot do not seem like douchebags, one never knows.

My experiment included using the player’s current statistics from 2012, and finding out how the overall combined statistics stack up against other current major league teams.

What I first wanted to do was appease the traditionalist and see how the basic offensive numbers compared to other MLB teams. The 13 D-bag hitters have combined to hit 224 home runs so far as of September 2nd, that would rank 1st in MLB. The Yankees would be 2nd with 202.

Then, every traditionalists’ favorite statistic, batting average. The D-Bags are hitting a mediocre .267 so far in 2012. However, the .267 batting average would rank 7th in MLB.

Next, I thought I would compare the advanced offensive numbers because those are the numbers sabermetricians will tell you matter. The D-Bags OBP is .340, tied for 1st in MLB. They’re slugging .457 as a team, and have a collective .797 OPS, both 1st in MLB. When one adds up the runs all of the D-Bags have scored, one will find out the D-Bags have scored 758 runs between 13 offensive players, also 1st in MLB.

As one can tell, douchebags can apparently hit the baseball as they are 1st in MLB in 5 of the 6 major offensive categories. But, can the douchebags pitch and play defense?

Again, I will begin with the baseball traditionalist favorite pitching statistic, the W-L record. The D-Bags starting rotation is a combined 64-33 so far, the 33 losses would be the lowest in MLB.

Now, let’s go to the traditionalists’ next favorite pitching statistic, ERA. The entire D-Bags’ rotation, bullpen included, possesses a 3.24 ERA, which would be the lowest in MLB.

The D-Bags have combined to strike out 1,141 hitters so far, which would be 2nd in MLB only to the Brewers. The D-Bags have a slight problem walking hitters as the 376 free passes given would rank 11th in MLB.

Now, let’s move on to the more exciting advanced pitching statistics. The .231 average batters hit against the D-bags would be the lowest in MLB, and the 1.19 WHIP the D-Bags pitchers possess would be tied for the best in baseball.

The .284 BABIP against the D-Bags as a team is about average, and the 3.39 team FIP is outstanding. Sorry, but, I could not find team rankings for these stats.

Can the D-Bags play defense? Well, the 75 errors the team has committed in the field (not including pitchers) would rank 7th in baseball. So, apparently douchebags can play defense and pitch too.

Finally, I wanted to use the Pythagorean expectation formula created by sabermetrician Bill James to estimate how many games this D-Bags team should win based on their current performance. One will notice the Pythagorean W-L record on baseballreference.com next to the amount of runs a team has allowed and scored. If one so chooses, one can look at any team’s Pythagorean W-L record in baseball history. The formula has been slightly modified since the formula’s genesis, but here is the formula used today on baseballreference.com. Remember, the answer to the formula will be the team’s should be winning percentage.

The D-Bags have scored 758 runs so far this season, and the pitchers have allowed 539. Yes, that is a +219 run differential, which would be far and away 1st in MLB this season. After I entered in the numbers and worked the formula, I arrived at a .651 overall winning percentage for the D-Bags. When I multiplied the .651 winning percentage times the numbers of games the team should have already played (133) the answer was 86.5.

The D-Bags overall record after 133 games should be 87-46, best in MLB by a substantial margin. The D-Bags are on pace to have a final record of 106-56, 50 games over .500, and only 10 off the regular season win record set by the 2001 Seattle Mariners.

What does all of this mean? Well, for one, the perceived douchebag players fans think are horrendous because they might wear an Ed Hardy shirt to a night club can play the game of baseball very well. Also, if a fan considers a player a douchebag, the player is probably a stud the fan secretly wishes were on his or her favorite team.

I realize the numbers do not factor in team chemistry, and whether or not other teammates loathe any of these players personally, but the numbers do not lie. Most of these players are very solid, and are key contributors who will help teams win.

Yes, I have been guilty of name calling in the past, there is proof out there I have done this. However, I have realized my foolish behavior, and you can too. So, before you claim a player sucks because he is a speed reader, or script writer, remember those things have nothing to do with baseball. While the behavior may be annoying, it has nothing to do with what happens on the field. These players are enjoyable to watch. Learn to look past the off the field behavior and appreciate the talent these players display on the field.

Presenting Team D BagFollow Dustin Dietz on Twitter @DustinDietz18

 

 

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