PDA

View Full Version : Is it worthwhile to sign FA's?


DumpJerry
12-06-2004, 02:56 PM
With the annual hoopla and speculation about the signing of free agents, I wonder, are they really worth it? Think about it: When a team signs a guy who is a free agent, they are paying for past performance since nobody can predict the future. Since most FA's are past 29 years old, oftentimes the past performance is their BEST performance. Pitchers are even more prone to this (with notable exceptions, of course like Clemens and Big Unit).

I would be interested to see if anyone did a study which compares the performance of players before and after signing big free agent contracts to see if the player delivers what is expected in the contract.

Given this, if I were a GM, I would be loath to sign anything longer than 2 years guaranteed unless the kid is still in his 20's then three years guaranteed. After all, who among us thinks Carlos Beltran in Year Six of his ten year contract (which is what he may get soon) will be worth what he will be paid next season? Not too many of us, I suspect.

If I'm a GM or owner, I'd pump $$$ into hiring the best minor league coaching staff I can and scouting squad to identify talent to bring in to that coaching staff. Isn't that what the Dodgers did for many years with success?

Iwritecode
12-06-2004, 04:07 PM
With the annual hoopla and speculation about the signing of free agents, I wonder, are they really worth it? Think about it: When a team signs a guy who is a free agent, they are paying for past performance since nobody can predict the future. Since most FA's are past 29 years old, oftentimes the past performance is their BEST performance. Pitchers are even more prone to this (with notable exceptions, of course like Clemens and Big Unit).

I would be interested to see if anyone did a study which compares the performance of players before and after signing big free agent contracts to see if the player delivers what is expected in the contract.

Given this, if I were a GM, I would be loath to sign anything longer than 2 years guaranteed unless the kid is still in his 20's then three years guaranteed. After all, who among us thinks Carlos Beltran in Year Six of his ten year contract (which is what he may get soon) will be worth what he will be paid next season? Not too many of us, I suspect.

If I'm a GM or owner, I'd pump $$$ into hiring the best minor league coaching staff I can and scouting squad to identify talent to bring in to that coaching staff. Isn't that what the Dodgers did for many years with success?

You could say the same thing about young talent as well. There are a number of prospects that look great in the minors but never make it the majors for whatever reason. So why bother going with young talent when there's a chance that they will never reach their potential?

At least with FA's you have a proven track record that shows they have what it takes to get it done in the majors. Even at 29 most guys are still in their prime. Even if they have a down year sometimes the guy is good enough that his down year is better than another players best year.

Plus the best thing about a FA is that the only thing you have to give up to get them is money. IMO, that's much more preferrable than giving up 2 or 3 solid players to get 1 great one.

It's good to have a mix of young players as well as veterans and it would be insane to completely ignore the FA market.

kittle42
12-06-2004, 04:13 PM
:reinsy

"Not signing free agents is an excellent idea."

Hangar18
12-06-2004, 04:19 PM
:reinsy

"Not signing free agents is an excellent idea."

heh hehh hhehh hehhe

Ol' No. 2
12-06-2004, 04:19 PM
You could say the same thing about young talent as well. There are a number of prospects that look great in the minors but never make it the majors for whatever reason. So why bother going with young talent when there's a chance that they will never reach their potential?

At least with FA's you have a proven track record that shows they have what it takes to get it done in the majors. Even at 29 most guys are still in their prime. Even if they have a down year sometimes the guy is good enough that his down year is better than another players best year.

Plus the best thing about a FA is that the only thing you have to give up to get them is money. IMO, that's much more preferrable than giving up 2 or 3 solid players to get 1 great one.

It's good to have a mix of young players as well as veterans and it would be insane to completely ignore the FA market.If you look over the big $$$ FA signings over the last 5 years or so, how many had a real impact and how many busts were there? How many people were screaming for KW's head last year when he didn't sign Sidney Ponson? It seems to me that the busts outnumber the impact signings. Also, if you spend big money on a FA, you're stuck with him for several years, but if a young player doesn't produce, you just bring up another one (assuming you have another one:(:). I agree that you can't ignore the FA market, but I also think you have to be very selective. Looking at the current crop of FA starters, every one has a wart of some kind. But they're probably all going to get big money. A few will really help their team. I'll bet most don't. If you knew which was which, you probably should be picking lottery numbers instead of wasting your time on baseball.

IMO, the Sox would be better served getting a starter in trade, then filling the hole created with a FA. The end result is the same, but there's less danger of overpaying.

DumpJerry
12-06-2004, 04:31 PM
:reinsy

"Not signing free agents is an excellent idea."Uncle Jerry, read the whole post. We need excellent coaches in the farm system and excellent scouts to locate talent. Just read this post several times, it will start to make sense to you.

Ol' No. 2
12-06-2004, 04:36 PM
Uncle Jerry, read the whole post. We need excellent coaches in the farm system and excellent scouts to locate talent.Isn't that a bit like saying you need a fast car to win the Indy 500? Everybody more or less knows that. It's not quite so easy to actually carry out. And contrary to what a lot of people here seem to think, you can't accomplish it just by throwing money around. Finding and retaining talented people is a challenge for every business, not just baseball.

DumpJerry
12-06-2004, 04:42 PM
Isn't that a bit like saying you need a fast car to win the Indy 500? Everybody more or less knows that. It's not quite so easy to actually carry out. And contrary to what a lot of people here seem to think, you can't accomplish it just by throwing money around. Finding and retaining talented people is a challenge for every business, not just baseball.Correct. The big knock on the Sox organization is that we locate good potential, but something is awry with the coaches in the minors so that when guys are called up to the Big Show, they have bad habits which don't kill them at the A or AA level, but are fatal when Roger Clemens is on the mound. Check out the recent thread on Joe Crede's swing, it gives lots of information about the quality of the coaching in the Sox' farm system and how it has hampered us at Comiskey.

If a team does an excellent job of cultivating its minor league talent, then it won't have to break the bank signing big-ego FA's who may view the team as a means to an end (big paycheck) instead of the family that gave them a chance. Then there is fan base which more easily identifies with a team that retains its essential identity year in and year out....

Worldwide, there is tons of untapped talent for MLB teams to draw on.

Iwritecode
12-06-2004, 04:46 PM
If you look over the big $$$ FA signings over the last 5 years or so, how many had a real impact and how many busts were there? How many people were screaming for KW's head last year when he didn't sign Sidney Ponson? It seems to me that the busts outnumber the impact signings. Also, if you spend big money on a FA, you're stuck with him for several years, but if a young player doesn't produce, you just bring up another one (assuming you have another one:(:). I agree that you can't ignore the FA market, but I also think you have to be very selective. Looking at the current crop of FA starters, every one has a wart of some kind. But they're probably all going to get big money. A few will really help their team. I'll bet most don't. If you knew which was which, you probably should be picking lottery numbers instead of wasting your time on baseball.

IMO, the Sox would be better served getting a starter in trade, then filling the hole created with a FA. The end result is the same, but there's less danger of overpaying.

What do you consider a bust?

Sometimes it depends on what shape the team is in before the signing. Spending big money on a player that puts up great numbers and then putting him on a bad team usually doesn't work. Kinda like when Arod went to Texas. He may or may not have been *worth* the money but he was a bad fit on that team. For the Yankees or Red Sox, they have the money to spare so it would have been a better fit.

I'm sure Angels fans are happy with what they got from Bartolo and Vlad.

Boston fans are happy they got Curt Schilling. Houston fans are glad they had Clemens and Beltran, even if it was for one year.

Some risks have to be taken.

Ol' No. 2
12-06-2004, 04:55 PM
What do you consider a bust?

Sometimes it depends on what shape the team is in before the signing. Spending big money on a player that puts up great numbers and then putting him on a bad team usually doesn't work. Kinda like when Arod went to Texas. He may or may not have been *worth* the money but he was a bad fit on that team. For the Yankees or Red Sox, they have the money to spare so it would have been a better fit.

I'm sure Angels fans are happy with what they got from Bartolo and Vlad.

Boston fans are happy they got Curt Schilling. Houston fans are glad they had Clemens and Beltran, even if it was for one year.

Some risks have to be taken.I would consider the Rangers' signing of A-Rod as a bust, simply because it made the team worse instead of better. Jason Giambi - bust. Sidney Ponson - bust. You could go on and on. I'm sure the Angels are happy they got Vlad, at least for now, but the jury's still out on Colon.

Some risks have to be taken, but they have to be smart risks. When I look at Pavano and the kind of money he's likely to get for a guy who really just had one good year, that doesn't look like a smart risk to me. Ditto for most of the other FA starters. Some will turn out to be worth the money. I'll bet if we look back in another year, we'll agree that most weren't.

Lip Man 1
12-07-2004, 11:58 AM
If you are trying to fill multiple holes on a team without a lot of depth (remind you of a club in particular?) signing free agent's cost nothing but money.

The Sox philosophy of trade first, depletes your farm system and may eventually cost you a pretty good future player (notice I said may) and more importantly, depletes your major league team, opening up more holes.

Creating holes trying to fill other holes is not the way to improve your club.

Lip

doublem23
12-07-2004, 12:01 PM
If you are trying to fill multiple holes on a team without a lot of depth (remind you of a club in particular?) signing free agent's cost nothing but money.
You're not going to even touch the risk of FAs? I remember last year when Sidney Ponson went back to Baltimore how everyone was up in arms and spouting off stupid **** about the Sox not landing such a big time "proven" F/A.

Risk is inherent with any baseball player. If it were up to some people on this board, Albert Pujols probably would be getting his first realistic chance to win a job on the Cardinals this year, while they waste money on mediocre crap like Tino Martinez.

Ol' No. 2
12-07-2004, 12:06 PM
signing free agent's cost nothing but money.Umm...so does a Lamborghini. How many here own one?

Lip Man 1
12-07-2004, 12:14 PM
Ol' No. 2:

Another charter member of the **** club.

Lip

Ol' No. 2
12-07-2004, 12:16 PM
Ol' No. 2:

Another charter member of the **** club.

LipIs that the best you've got, Lip? Just label everyone a ****?

Tickets cost nothing but money, too. Why don't you spring for season tix for all of us?

TDog
12-07-2004, 12:38 PM
I think every team has to be concerned with the inherent risks involved in signing free agents to big, long-term contracts. The Yankees have a large margin of error that allows them to make mistakes. Other teams don't have the luxury to commit big contracts to players beyond the time when they will earn it. Any team that would sign Carlos Beltran for $20 million a year for 10 years has only to look at Sammy Sosa's current situation to see the risk.

DumpJerry's initial point in this thread is an important one that should be made in big bold print. Players don't sign because of what they will do. They sign because of what they have done -- based on the belief that they will perform as well in the future. If great past seasons always determined players will play great in the future, the White Sox might have gone to the World Series in 2001.

Iwritecode
12-07-2004, 12:44 PM
signing free agent's cost nothing but money.

I actually agree with this.

I know it's easy to say because it's not my money being spent but IMO, it's better than wasting a player (or 3).

If we traded for RJ and gave up a package including Garland we would still only have 4 pitchers. If RJ ends up on the DL for whatever reason, we are left with just three pitchers.

Compare that to signing a FA pitcher of similar talent. Then if the FA pitcher goes down, we still have 4 pitchers.

There's a risk with any move that's made but it's easier to lose money than it is to lose players.

Again, easier said than done...

Iwritecode
12-07-2004, 12:48 PM
I think every team has to be concerned with the inherent risks involved in signing free agents to big, long-term contracts. The Yankees have a large margin of error that allows them to make mistakes. Other teams don't have the luxury to commit big contracts to players beyond the time when they will earn it. Any team that would sign Carlos Beltran for $20 million a year for 10 years has only to look at Sammy Sosa's current situation to see the risk.

DumpJerry's initial point in this thread is an important one that should be made in big bold print. Players don't sign because of what they will do. They sign because of what they have done -- based on the belief that they will perform as well in the future. If great past seasons always determined players will play great in the future, the White Sox might have gone to the World Series in 2001.

I hate to say it but that's the way baseball works these days.

If you don't spend the money and take the risks to get the best players some other team will. That's why the Sox always seem to end up in second place.

Lip Man 1
12-07-2004, 08:27 PM
No. 2:

If the shoe fits...wear it.

And why would I want to put more hard earned money in the pocket of Uncle Jerry? Will he take me with him when he laughs all the way to the bank?

Lip