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Saturday, December 13, 2003

 
The fake hot stove:

I haven’t done much baseball blogging in a while, so this’ll be fun. As people who read the baseball blogosphere know, two of the most represented teams, for some odd reason, are the Twins (link here, here, and here), and the Mets (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here... Yeah, there’s a lot.)

The Twins have a middle infield of doom, while the Mets have giant sucking sound in two outfield positions. And neither team has a major prospect coming up at their weak positions.

And yet, the Mets are strong in the middle infield, both at the major league level and in the minors. The same is true for the Twins, who have more outfield prospects than they know what to do with. Let’s look at the numbers, using a variety of metrics. GPA works for MLB players, as does EqA (which adjusts for park, league, etc.). MjEqA is the same thing, except that it projects minor leaguers to the major leagues. *=on 40-man roster (40-man info and contract info for later is from the non-indispensable Ahead of the Curve.)

METS:

*Jose Reyes, 2B/SS, .259 GPA, .274 EqA (both MLB only)
*Kazuo Matsui, SS, .258 projected ’04 GPA (from here)
*Ty Wigginton, 2B/3B, .242 GPA, .256 EqA
Victor Diaz, 2B (for now), .224 MjEqA at AA-Jacksonville (Dodgers), .236 MjEqA at AA-Binghamton
*Danny Garcia, 2B, .243 MjEqA at AA-Binghamton, .221 MjEqA at AAA-Norfolk
David Wright, 3B, .224 MjEqA at A-St. Lucie
*Aaron Baldiris, 3B, .214 MjEqA at A-Brooklyn, .209 MjEqA at A-Capital City

*Cliff Floyd, OF, .299 GPA, .309 EqA
*Roger Cedeno, OF, .239 GPA, .248 EqA
*Timo Perez, OF, .226 GPA, .236 EqA
*Raul Gonzalez, OF, .226 GPA, .239 EqA
*Jeff Duncan, OF, .192 GPA, .200 EqA (MLB, 156 PA); .219 MjEqA at AA-Binghamton
*Prentice Redman, OF, .233 MjEqA at AAA-Norfolk
Kenny Kelly, OF, .220 MjEqA at AAA-Tacoma (Seattle), .249 MjEqA at AAA-Norfolk (98 PA)
Ron Acuna, OF, .205 MjEqA at AA-Binghamton

TWINS:

*Luis Rivas, 2B, .234 GPA, .243 EqA
*Cristian Guzman, SS, .231 GPA, .238 EqA
*Nick Punto, 2B, .191 GPA, .196 EqA (99 PA)
Luis Rodriguez, 2B, .229 MjEqA at AAA-Rochester
David Lamb, SS, .215 MjEqA at AAA-Rochester
Alex Prieto, SS, .210 MjEqA at AAA-Rochester
Jason Bartlett, SS, .225 MjEqA at AA-New Britain
Luis Maza, SS, .216 MjEqA at A-Fort Myers

*Shannon Stewart, .279 GPA, .283 EqA (full season, TOR and MIN)
*Jacque Jones, .266 GPA, .277 EqA
*Torii Hunter, .253 GPA, .259 EqA
*Dustan Mohr, .242 GPA, .250 EqA
*Lew Ford, .325 GPA, .330 EqA (MLB, 82 PA); .243 MjEqA at AAA-Rochester
*Michael Ryan, .387 GPA, .376 EqA (MLB, 67 PA); .216 MjEqA at AAA-Rochester
*Michael Cuddyer, .257 MjEqA at AAA-Rochester
*Michael Restovich, .248 MjEqA at AAA-Rochester
Ryan McGuire, .200 MjEqA at AAA-Columbus (Yankees), .250 MjEqA at AAA-Rochester (87 PA)
Josh Rabe, .229 MjEqA at AA-New Britain

So there we are. So if Terry Ryan and Jim Duquette were smart, they’d get together and make a trade from positions of mutual strength and weakness.

Of course, these numbers don’t take into account heavy left/right splits, which four key players have.

Timo Perez: .150 GPA vs. lefties (only 30 PA, but he’s at .138 GPA in 125 PA over 3 years), .251 vs. righties
Jacque Jones: .238 GPA vs. lefties, .277 GPA vs. righties
Ty Wigginton: .284 GPA vs. lefties, .226 GPA vs. righties
Luis Rivas: .178 GPA vs. lefties, .255 GPA vs. righties

Let’s look at the top two first. The Twins are looking to trade Jacque Jones, and the Mets can probably take on his $4.35 million. But they’ve already got an outfielder who can’t hit lefties. And, as it’s plainly obvious, he REALLY can’t hit them (although he hasn’t gotten much of a shot to, then again, that causality could be backwards; he hasn’t had many opportunities because he can’t hit them). So, then again, if you’re Jim Duquette, maybe you do take Jones, simply because he’s better than anything else you can throw out there (for the record, versus lefties, Cedeno, .234 GPA; Gonzalez, .206; Duncan, .167. I don’t have a clue where I would even LOOK for minor league splits).

And if you’re Terry Ryan? Ask for Wigginton. He’s not making more than the league minimum, so you’ll save 4 million dollars on the deal. And Wigginton and Rivas as a strict platoon doesn’t look so bad. If the Average 2B GPA stays at .251 and one assumes a 70/30 split in lefty/righty at bats, the quick-and-dirty GPA is .263. That’s passable! And it assumes no improvement by either player, which given that Wigginton is 26 and Rivas is 24, is pretty farfetched (Counterpoint: Rivas’s OPS the last three years: .681, .697, .689).

If Ryan thinks that Jones for Wigginton is a rip-off, Duquette can throw in one of his three trillion bullpen arms. Jeremy Hill, anyone?

This leaves the Mets one problem. They don’t have anyone to play third base, because Wright’s ETA is 2005. Next year is 2004. Your answer: Tony Graffanino. .256 GPA in 2003. Note: This is an improvement on Wigginton! And he’ll come pretty cheap; figure $1 million to $1.5 million. Add a team option for a second year, just in case Wright’s development screws up somehow. Bang, problem solved!

Twins fans, Mets fans, I know you’re out there. Comments? Anything I’ve missed?

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