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Neither Here Nor There, Again

Can somebody please tell me what makes Paul Konerko a $60m+/5yr player?


It's not like this one requires a complicated statistical analysis, either. It's a simple as looking at his home/road splits - Konerko just isn't that great of a hitter away from US Cellular.


@Chicago: .295 BA, .539 SLG, .244 ISO
Elsewhere: .265 BA, .444 SLG, .179 ISO

2003-2005 ("Prime"):

@Chicago: .288 BA, .563 SLG, .275 ISO
Elsewhere: .248 BA, .432 SLG, .184 ISO

It's bad enough that this guy's going to get at least $12m per season, but for five years? With his batting average down and his home run/walk rates up from where they used to be, Konerko's already begun his transition into having an old-player skillset, and those types of players generally don't have the career longevity of their more athletic peers.

If Konerko re-signs with Chicago, the home park will mask his true offensive production, just like it has for the past seven years. Me though, I'm hoping he ends up in Anaheim. If the market has to go crazy, and available players have to get way too much money, I'd like it if they'd at least end up with teams I don't like.


This morning, I was reading an article saying that ten teams have contacted Scott Elarton's agent, but that, as of its writing, none of them had offered an actual contract. Which got me thinking - Elarton's the kind of low-strikeout, flyball-prone guy who could succeed in Safeco, right?

Well, yeah, he is, but what I didn't realize at the time is that Scott Elarton is pretty much Ryan Franklin v2.0. Sure, his strikeout rate is a little higher, and he doesn't issue as many free passes, but his GB/FB ratio is obscenely low. Like, second-lowest in baseball low (among qualified starters). It wasn't a fluke, either - his GB/FB was 0.71 in 2004, and stands at 0.79 for his career. When you give up that many fly balls, you're guaranteed to allow a ton of homers as well, which makes it difficult to have sustained success.

There's a simpler way to look at this:

2005 FIP:

Franklin: 5.08 (42nd out of 44 AL pitchers)
Elarton: 5.11 (43rd)

2005 xFIP:

Franklin: 5.42 (43rd)
Elarton: 5.19 (41st)

Just say no to Scott Elarton. His numbers make him an intriguing option for Safeco Field, but that's the kind of thing you look for in a randomly-generated #5 for $400k, not a guy who's going to get several million dollars over a guaranteed two- or three-year contract. Like Eric Milton a year ago, I'm comfortable letting Elarton be someone else's problem. As far as the rotation is concerned, focus on the top, not the middle.