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Baseball Prospectus on the Cards

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  • Baseball Prospectus on the Cards

    St. Louis Cardinals

    100 Million Dollar Man: What difference does age make? The second-best player in baseball is still the second best player in baseball, right? Well, when it comes to an eight-year, $111 million contracts, the difference between 24 and, say, 27 can be the difference between Anna Nicole Smith of six months ago and Trimspa Anna Nicole Smith.
    So when Cardinals GM Walt Jocketty handed Albert Pujols the ninth $100 million contract in the major leagues, we'll assume he was smart enough to do his homework. Here is how the contract breaks down over the years.

    Year Salary Age
    2004 $7,000,000 24
    2005 $11,000,000 25
    2006 $14,000,000 26
    2007 $15,000,000 27
    2008 $16,000,000 28
    2009 $16,000,000 29
    2010 $16,000,000 30
    2011* $16,000,000 31

    Average: 1,367,012.38

    *Cardinals have a $5 million dollar buyout option for the 2011 season
    This contract assures the Cardinals that Pujols stays in the middle of the lineup through his prime years and into his early 30s. Pujols has averaged 10.1 WARP (Wins Above Replacement Player) over the past three seasons. If he was in fact born in 1980, it's safe to assume he can maintain that pace and remain in the upper echelon of players in the game over the span of the deal. Even in the recently-reduced market for talent, this looks like a smart move for the Cardinals.

    Not Just Bad...Linkin Park Bad: What do you get when you combine a match-up loving manager with a bullpen who's lefty options are about as appetizing as a sober meal at the Waffle House. Well in a wacky experiment of idiocy, the Cardinals found out you get the second- and ninth-worst relievers in the game according to Michael Wolverton's Adjusted Runs Prevented (ARP). Manager Tony La Russa's affinity towards Esteban Yan and Jeff Fassero respectively cost the Cardinals last year. The out-hating duo is a big reason why the Cards' pen was second-to-last in the majors in ARP, just edging out Detroit for the worst bullpen in the league.

    Bullpen help was a glaring off-season need for Jocketty's team going into the winter--and one that could be addressed fairly cheaply. Jocketty made some changes, trading for Ray King and signing ex-Pirate Mike Lincoln. Consulting PECOTA, let's compare the VORP of last year and this year's bullpens.

    2003 VORP
    Kiko Calero* 12.1
    Cal Eldred 10.5
    Jason Isringhausen 12.5
    Dustin Hermanson 0.8
    Steve Kline 11.2
    Jason Simontacchi* -2.0
    Esteban Yan -1.6
    Jeff Fassero* -1.8
    TOTAL 41.7

    2004 VORP
    Kiko Calero 7.6
    Cal Eldred 10.8
    Jason Isringhausen 10.5
    Ray King 9.9
    Steve Kline 6.0
    Mike Lincoln 10.0
    Jason Simontacchi 7.1
    TOTAL 61.9

    * Includes starts

    An improvement? Yes. But the majority of the gain PECOTA sees coming for the Cardinals is gained by getting rid of the dead weight. Dumping bullpen killers Yan and Fassero and replacing them with King and Lincoln accounts for more than the total VORP gained here. Isringhausen's low prediction comes mostly from PECOTA's belief that Iggy won't be able to stay off the DL.
    Overall the Redbird pen should be worth about two more wins than last year's version. That is assuming manager Tony La Russa doesn't fall in love with another Fassero/Yan look-a-like, someone like NRI Doug Creek.
    2005 Mandatory Loyalty Oath: I love America, our troops, baseball, Moms, and certain pies. I want no harm to come to any of those institutions, nor do I take any glee in their demise.

  • #2
    the difference between 24 and, say, 27 can be the difference between Anna Nicole Smith of six months ago and Trimspa Anna Nicole Smith
    could this guy really not think of anything else to make his point?

    the difference between then and now of ans is useless-er and useless-est.

    I couldn't continue reading because I got too annoyed.
    Sometimes elections have positive consequences!