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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