I tweaked the original a bit and came up with exactly 87 wins this time.

  • This time I used CHONE projections. For some of the more optimistic projections, I scaled down some, as in the case of Molina, Greene.
  • For the pitchers, I used FIP instead of their projected ERAs. I then shaved off a .1 or .2 up or down, depending on the pitcher.

It’s not quite a perfect world scenario, but it does assume everyone but Carpenter remains healthy, so feel free to shave off 2-3 wins in your mind.

You’ll notice there are four tabs.  The 2nd tab I added Orlando Hudson and Randy Wolf.  John Perrotto today said that Hudson has received zero offers to this point and the poor team Nats are biding their time, hoping to scoop him up on the cheap for a 1 year, incentive-laced deal.  I would think the O-Dawg would prefer St. Louis, if the Cardinals are interested.  The downside: He’s a type A, which will make liveblogging the draft over at FR a real bore, at the minimum.  His projection of 2.4 WAR also concludes he’ll bounce back some defensively.

Derrick Goold also earlier in the week tweeted that the Cards are interested in Oliver Perez and Randy Wolf.  Ollie is still probably priced out of the Cards’ budget, while Wolf is more of an injury risk and should come for less $/yrs.  Goold also said the market may push Jon Garland their way.  Bah.  They may as well have offered Looper arbitration.  All three pitchers project to be around equal value, and again, if all goes well, then O-Dawg +  either Perez/Wolf/Looper/Garland could push the Cards up to 90 wins.

The third scenario is the Summer of Colby.  Pushing Luddy to LF, Slick Rick to RF and assuming Colby will provide some darn good defense in CF  bumps the Cards to 88 wins without adding anyone.  (87.7 to be exact)  Combine this w/ the “sign free agents” scenario and it might do the trick. 

The final tab is the ever hopeful, no moves, 90 win tab.  That’s the dreamland scenario of Carpenter winning the comeback player of the year award and Colby having a ROY campaign of a season.   Hope springs eternal.

I’ve been advocating patience, but honestly I’m a little bummed out about this one. NPB Tracker is saying it is believed to be a 3 yr. /$24 M deal. His park/league neutral CHONE projection calls for FIP’s of 3.99, 4.06 and 4.09  over the next three seasons. CHONE believes he’ll only reach 122 innings, and then 110 and 98 from there, which is pretty pessimistic. If that’s what he does, then the contract is a moderate bargain, but if he throws 160+ innings per year, it’s a great buy on Atlanta’s part. Kawakami would be worth 2.5 to nearly 3 wins annually in that case.

Unless Kawakami really wanted to go to Atlanta for some reason, or there’s some sort of injury concern I don’t know about, I believe Mo missed the boat. Barring a trade, he’s now left with free agent pitchers who are either out of his price range or too mediocre to really matter.

From the team who brought you the signings of Charlie Manning and Ian Ostlund, I give you Royce Ring.

I’m sure there will be a lot of head scratching and “low hanging fruit” cat calls on message boards, mostly due to his 8.46 ERA last season, but his FIP was 4.48. That’s a huge amount of bad luck. I’m not here to defend the signing, but when Joe Beimel, Brian Shouse and Dennys Reyes are set to make $3 M a year, signing Ring doesn’t seem like an awful idea for a budget consious team with greater needs. The best of the best LOOGy’s are only worth about 1 WAR.  I can understand the Cards not wanting to shell out a ton of cash for a someone who is going to face only 200 batters at the very max.

I can’t find his 2007 splits, but I was able to dig up at on an old BA article that Ring limited Triple-A lefties to averages of .145 and .140 in ’05 and ’06, including just three extra-base hits. All three XBH came in 2005. During his intermittent big league career, he’s held lefties to a .229 batting average, a .231 SLG and has struck out a quarter of them. He also is adept at getting groundballs, for his career he has a 57.7% GB%.

For what it’s worth, his CHONE projection is optimistic, calling for 49 IP, 43 K, 23 BB, 4 HR and a 3.86 ERA in 57 games. His Marcel projects for 38 innings, 30 K’s, 17 walks, 4 homers and an ERA of 4.62.

I’m guessing he’s going to be paid next to nothing compared to what a lot of the higher profile LOOGYs will be netting, so if you’re going to sign low hanging fruit, this seems to be the right way to do it.

update : Derrick Goold tweets that his salary is reportedly only $475,000. That’s two LOOGY’s for just under a mil. I seem to remember the Orioles were stupid enough to sign Jamie Walker for 3 years/$12M and he’s managed to be worth .5 WAR.

Hat tip to the ever vigilant Mr. Walton for this one:

The Japan Times says that Kenshin Kawakami has narrowed his options to the Orioles, Cardinals and Twins.  Ooh! Ooh! Pick B! Pick B! Sean (Chone) Smith ran projections on the incoming NPB pitchers and Kawakami’s are pretty darn good.

  • 122 IP – 125 hits – 15 HR- 32 BB- 105 K – 4.13 ERA – 3.86 FIP - 2.1 WAR (Forgive me for my ingorance of code.)

Put him in Busch III with the steady Cardinal defense behind him and he should be able to post some solid numbers. Before you write off the notion of projecting Japanese league players, Chone did quite well projecting Hiroki Kuroda’s rookie season-

2008 Kuroda:

  • CHONE: 179 IP – 181 H – 20 HR – 49 BB – 125 K – ERA 3.97 
  • Actual: 183.1  IP- 181 H – 13 HR -42 BB – 116 K ERA 3.73

Unless the Orioles make a big offer which Kawakami can’t refuse, I can’t see him going anywhere else but St. Louis. Minnesota doesn’t need him with their rotation, and we know they don’t spend in free agency. We’ll see how this all plays out. In my view, Kawakami represents the best available arm on the B list of free agent starting pitchers. That B list includes Randy Wolf, Jon Garland, Oliver Perez and our old pal Braden Looper. If Kawakami can manage throw 180-190 innings, he could be 2.8 WAR pitcher.

When I want to write about non-farm related things, I will do so here. I’ll be sure to make things brief, as I have found the more I type, the more goofs I make. How’s that for an intro?

I have to laugh at the Cardinal fans lamenting over losing out on Fuentes and Miles, especially Miles. Let’s start with Scrappy, since his signing is so easy to pick on:

The Cubs are going to pay $2.5 million a year for someone is the very definition of a replacement player. 2008 was the only season Miles was of much value to the team, and  it was largely driven by a .343 BABIP.  Other than slapping singles and being “gritty”, Miles doesn’t really do anything that well.  He’s not even a utility infielder in the truest definition of the term, as he can’t play any infield position adequately other than second base, and there he is merely average.

Can any of Luhnow’s overrated Faberge eggs fill Aaron Miles shoes? That’s more of a subject for FR, but minor league journeyman Joe Thurston likely could. His Marcel projects him to hit for a .319 wOBA. Miles’ Marcel projection pegs him for a .309 wOBA.  Unlike Miles, Thurston comes with a reputation for being a good defensive 2B. You also have Brendan Ryan, Brian Barden, Jarrett Hoffpauir and Tyler Greene. What the Cubs apparently don’t get is that you can  easily come up with a list of players either in your own system or that are freely available on the free agent market that basically do what Aaron Miles does.

As for Fuentes, he’s also coming off a career year but is probably about a 2 WAR (win above replacement) player going forward. There was speculation that he was looking to get $30 million for 3 years, but instead he now goes to the Angels at 2 years at $17.5 M. Seems like a decent enough deal. Chone Smith looks at it from a Halo fan’s standpoint-

A bargain in that sense, and a lot cheaper than keeping K-Rod, but I think that closers in MLB are a bit overvalued. Using the concept of leverage, Fuentes’ innings are roughly twice as valuable as the average pitcher, since he’s pitching in tight game situations. But why pay him for the leverage? The only reason he’s getting the leverage is because the team will deliberately give it to him. The leverage could have gone to Shields, or Arredondo, just as easily. I think it would make more sense to split the leverage bonus among your top relievers, unless you have a clear dominant closer like Mariano Rivera, Joe Nathan, or Jon Papelbon. With those guys, there is no doubt you want them to have the ball with the game on the line. With the Angels, do I want Shields out there, Fuentes, or Arredondo? Doesn’t make a big difference to me.

You could take out the names Arrendondo and Shields and substitute them with Perez, Motte or even Kinney and it applies well to the Cardinals. Would Fuentes have helped? Sure. But the Cards will do better allocating their money to a starting pitcher. Plus, as I am sure most of you know, I’m not at all fond of the notion of forfeiting a 1st round draft pick, particularly not for Fuentes.

Kenshin Kawakami, please.

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