Hot Stove Breakdown Part 2

November 29th, 2010 by Johnny G | Filed under Baseball, General.

After another week in the off-season hot stove, we have two more major deals to breakdown. Victor Martinez gets a five year deal worth approximately $50 million to leave Boston for Detroit and Aubrey Huff receives a 2 year deal with a vesting option for a third season at $22 million.

Victor Martinez is a fine offensive catcher that would be an extremely valuable piece to a team if he had the ability to play even league average defense behind the plate, unfortunately he can‘t. This deal has two ways it could go, and both have major issues to them. The Tigers could force Martinez behind the plate and deal with his defensive shortcomings, which would cause major issues regarding production or they could use him to catch a couple of times a week while making him their 1b/DH when he’s not catching. I probably don’t have to explain to you why option one is an issue, but option two would seem fairly reasonable to most fans. The problem with making Victor Martinez your full-time 1B/DH is that it saps the entire value out of him as a player. Martinez is a tremendous offensive catcher but when you put him over at First Base, he’s a pretty mediocre type run-producer. He blends in with the rest and is somewhere in the middle of the pack as far as production for a first basemen is concerned. To put it into perspective, Martinez’ OPS when compared to first basemen around the league would have ranked 18th, just ahead of Jack Cust, who by the way is a candidate to be non-tendered by the A’s.

This is the second questionable move by Dave Dombrowski this off-season, as he already committed 3 years and 15+ million to a middle-reliever in Joaquin Benoit. The odds on Victor Martinez providing enough production to call this contract reasonable are rather slim, and at the rate Dombrowski is giving away contracts to aging veterans, I have serious concerns for the long-term future of the Detroit Tigers.

Aubrey Huff is reaping the benefits of a commonly made mistake by many GM’s in recent memory, over-paying for a player who got hot for you en route to a World Championship. Don’t get me wrong though, this deal is not a franchise set-back or anything of that nature, I just wouldn’t have made the move. Huff is a defensive liability at whatever position he is going to play and he’s a prime candidate for a regression. The overall length of this deal isn’t all that long and the money being exchanged isn’t eye popping but the Giant’s best hitting prospect in the minors, Brandon Belt, is a First Basemen. It makes you wonder about the long-term plans for Belt and Huff. If the plan is for Huff to spend a significant portion of time in the outfield, this deal is worse than expected.

As I was taking a break from my all-nighter of Craps in Atlantic City, I was having breakfast with a friend and the topic of off-season moves came up. It finally hit me, the entire free-agency period is full of over-paying aging veterans. That’s just the nature of the business and why building through the draft and your farm system is so important. I’m going to try to look at these deals in the context of the team’s particular situation and not just in a vacuum but I have trouble getting away from the “value” each player represents. Basically what I’m trying to say is, if you’re going to be the top bidder on a particular free agent, you probably are going to over-pay. Unless you’re going to pick guys up off the scrap heap as the Giants did last year with Huff, the free agent market is not the best tool to use for filling out your roster.

Tags: , , , , ,

One Response to “Hot Stove Breakdown Part 2”

  1. Schmitty says:

    Johnny great stuff! I think I should have stayed off the vodka and whisky and practiced more baseball in college. Hell a bench player these days is an instant fucking million dollar dude!

    Speaking of Huff, ain’t it amazing guys of his caliber who essentially stay in the majors mostly under the radar have a timely breakout, then get overpaid and USUALLY go on and don’t earn their pay!

    I agree GM’s like Ruben are fucking up baseball with these contracts WAY outta proportion and not letting the market settle first.

    A good pick up for the Marlin’s with Vasquez. I can’t figure him out. I would have loved him as the Phils 4th starter. For some reson he SUCKS in the AL but gives tons of innings and a pretty good era in the NL.

    Speaking off free agents, unless Werth really thinks he has a title shot with Philly and likes his teammates he will be well overpaid. Glad I am not a 70’s player with the talent and caliber of a Schmidt, Rose, Parker, Stargel, Garvey, Jackson, etc. they must salivate at how guys make tons more than them (inflation aside). These cats would not even crack their lineups or even make the roster! Kinda like the saps in TV who never got sindicated and are now broke as a joke!