Still going with the PMR. This time, second basemen. Again, two models are presented by David Pinto, but I prefer the latter. Ahoy!
Top: Tony Graffanino
Top Everyday Player: Jamey Carroll
Bottom: Todd Walker
Bottom Everyday Player: Jorge Cantu
Mariners: Jose Lopez, 11th out of 37
For the most part, everything seems to be in order - Orlando Hudson's near the top, Jorge Cantu's near the bottom, Mark Loretta is as average as they come, and, well, it's no coincidence that Todd Walker doesn't get to play as much second base anymore. What's peculiar is seeing Lopez come out looking so good. PMR has him at ~16 outs better than expected, but if you factor that into THT's team defensive performace values, you get Beltre/Betancourt/Sexson coming out as a net negative, which doesn't make much sense unless you think that (A) Betancourt's overrated, or (B) Sexson really really really blows.
It doesn't work exactly like that, of course, since THT differentiates between grounders and fly balls while PMR includes them both, but something doesn't add up. Weirder still, Lopez has consistently looked good to PMR, even as a shortstop back in 2004, which flies in the face of both his reputation among scouts and his reputation among fans. I'm not entirely sure what to make of this, although a little UZR would go a long way towards clearing things up.
Willie Ballgame is set to make a whopping $1.875m over the next two years before becoming a free agent. His six-figure 2008 salary is hilarious when you consider that even Julio Mateo's going to crack a million in his arbitration years, but before you start crying from laughter, take a look at these absolutely terrifying incentives:
I can see it now - Howard Lincoln claiming that the team has no room for a deadline addition because Mike Hargrove's allowing Willie to trigger his incentives ate up all the budget. It's the worst kind of double-whammy, like a car that's programmed to self-destruct when it gets caught in traffic. The only reason I'm able to declare with certainty that no one will live to see the day Willie gets his 450th plate apperance is that all of us will kill ourselves a month before that happens.
In case last Thursday left you with little for which to be thankful, here's an early Christmas present: Adam Eaton's going back to Philadelphia for $24m over three years. It's actually a little less than I expected him to get, both in terms of money and length, but that's what happens when you have a medical history as extensive as Richie Sexson's Ukrainian vocabulary in Opposite Land. Besides, it's not like Eaton's ever actually done anything to deserve that much money in the first place - his contract just isn't as outrageous as I thought it would be. Gil's is going to be worse, although perhaps this may lower the market a little bit.
Since Eaton was at or near the top of the Mariners' free agent wish list, this can only be construed as good news. Where this leaves them now, I'm not entirely sure, although I imagine they'll make a push for Schmidt or Lilly or Ohka or someone in an effort to get a starter locked up in the early going. Disaster has thus far been avoided, but we're still in the middle of the woods.
In pretty much any other winter, Randy Wolf would look like a good bargain, a post-op #4/5 worth an incentive-based flier. Instead, he's signed on with the Dodgers for $8m/1yr, with what looks to be a pricey 2008 option. If Wolf can get that much money after looking like crap for 12 starts, imagine what he'll get on the open market once he's back at full strength and Dodger Stadium shaves a half-run off his ERA. Of course, exactly when that happens depends on whether it's a team or player option, but no word on that yet.
Late update: I should say that I'm big on one-year contracts, since there's little risk, but I don't understand how a guy like Wolf with that kind of recent history gets $8m guaranteed.
Danys Baez is now officially the most expensive setup man in the league. Once again, the most incredible thing about this contract is that at least a half-dozen people had to sit down in a room and decide that it's a good idea. If there was ever a difference between the Orioles and the Arizona Cardinals, there sure as hell isn't anymore.