26 October 2015

Rumor Has It...2016 Orioles Edition (10/26/15)

Click here for Jon Shepherd's archive.

This series considers briefly players who have been connected to the Orioles by the press.  You can find previous post here.

This post considers players mentioned in:
A Look at a Few Pitchers..., Steve Melewski
Click here for previous Rumors posts.

The growing mantra being leaked out of the Orioles front office is that the club was to shore up its starting rotation.  It is uncertain if Melewski was fed these names or if through his own experience finds these pitchers as probable for the Orioles to focus on.  Regardless, we will address them here.

Marco Estrada, RHSP
Arbitration Eligible: No
Currently Under Contract: No
Qualifying Offer: Unlikely
Projected Contract: 4 / 44 MM
Fastball: 89 mph, Curveball: 77 mph, Changeup: 79 mph

Past Five Seasons:
Year
AgeWLERAIPERA+FIPBB9SO9bWARfWAR
2011
27
4
8
4.08
92.2
97
3.67
2.8
8.5
0.4
0.9
2012
28
5
7
3.64
138.1
113
3.35
1.9
9.3
1.5
3.3
2013
29
7
4
3.87
128.0
100
3.86
2.0
8.3
1.6
1.8
2014
30
7
6
4.36
150.2
87
4.88
2.6
7.6
0.6
-0.1
2015
31
13
8
3.13
181.0
126
4.40
2.7
6.5
3.6
1.8
8 Yrs
36
34
3.95
722.0
100
4.19
2.5
8.0
 
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/19/2015.

In our own series, it was suggested that Estrada could be had for four years around 32 MM, but the algorithm disagrees slightly.  If someone really believes Estrada is responsible for the poor contact off of him this year, then you will likely see this deal and maybe something richer.  As it stands, the word percolating throughout baseball is that Estrada is a fringe QO case.  The Blue Jays do not want him back at 15.8 MM, but Estrada could make serious money declining the option.

For the Orioles, he is another non-traditional pitcher for Camden Yards.  He has extreme fly ball percentages and actually led the National League in home runs allowed in 2014 even though he only threw 150.2 IP.  I would argue that a pitcher like Estrada is someone you would like to possess as an arbitration year player as opposed to a free agent where you must commit multiyear money.  To be blunt, I have no idea why anyone would prefer Estrada over Miguel Gonzalez or Chris Tillman.

Doug Fister, RHSP
Arbitration Eligible: No
Currently Under Contract: No
Qualifying Offer: Highly Unlikely
Projected Contract: 1 / 12 MM
Fastball (2S): 86 mph, Cutter: 82 mph, Curveball: 71 mph, Changeup: 79 mph

Past Five Seasons:
Year
AgeWLERAIPERA+FIPBB9SO9bWARfWAR
2011
27
11
13
2.83
216.1
138
3.02
1.5
6.1
2.5
5.1
2012
28
10
10
3.45
161.2
123
3.42
2.1
7.6
3.3
3.4
2013
29
14
9
3.67
208.2
113
3.26
1.9
6.9
4.1
4.2
2014
30
16
6
2.41
164.0
155
3.93
1.3
5.4
4.5
1.4
2015
31
5
7
4.19
103.0
96
4.55
2.1
5.5
0.2
0.2
7 Yrs
65
63
3.42
1085.2
117
3.62
1.8
6.1
 
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/19/2015.

Fister is another player whose recent struggles, lost velocity, and injury has taken what was once considered an easy payday into needing to reestablish value.  2014 saw the beginning of Fister losing velocity and seeking out a cutter a la Dan Haren.  This past season has seen Fister lose further velocity and rely a little bit more with a mix that includes the cutter.  The 2015 hiccup may simply be Fister learning to adapt or it may well be that he is no longer an elitish pitcher.

For the Orioles, the hope is more realistically attached to Fister learning how to use his current skill set as opposed to him regaining form, which would seem like a deus ex machina event at the moment.  The shadow of his former excellence is likely to push his value up an extra million or so, but it seems that other pitchers look a bit more promising as reclamations (read: Mat Latos).

Ian Kennedy, RHSP
Arbitration Eligible: No
Currently Under Contract: No
Qualifying Offer: Likely
Projected Contract: 1 / 7 MM
Fastball: 91 mph, Slider: 85 mph, Knuckle-Curve: 77 mph, Changeup: 83 mph

Past Five Seasons:
Year
AgeWLERAIPERA+FIPBB9SO9bWARfWAR
2011
26
21
4
2.88
222.0
137
3.22
2.2
8.0
4.8
4.8
2012
27
15
12
4.02
208.1
101
4.04
2.4
8.1
2.3
2.5
2013
28
7
10
4.91
181.1
76
4.59
3.6
8.1
-1.5
0.6
2014
29
13
13
3.63
201.0
93
3.21
3.1
9.3
1.4
3.5
2015
30
9
15
4.28
168.1
85
4.51
2.8
9.3
-0.4
0.8
9 Yrs
75
68
3.98
1234.2
97
3.99
3.0
8.3
 
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/19/2015.

The algorithm suggests Kennedy is a poor pitcher and it is based on how awful 2013 and 2015.  That said, some clubs are interested in him as a result of the poor catching the Padres provided their staff this year.  The thought is that with a more competent catcher framing pitches that Kennedy would excel.  That may well be what the Padres are thinking to be willing to put a QO on him as has been reported.  To that end, could Kennedy get 30+MM out of it?  Maybe.  If not, then he might well be the first player to accept a QO.  It is a difficult decision on his part because he could be worth 80+ MM if he had another catcher.

Would the Orioles be willing to cough up a draft pick to get Kennedy?  Maybe.  It would probably mean putting four years and 56 MM on the table.  It would make no sense to lose a pick on a one year deal.  A club will need to believe in Kennedy enough to go long term on him.  It requires a level of faith the Orioles showed with Jimenez, which has not quite worked out.

Conclusion

Put me down as a firm no on Estrada.  Again, maybe he has figured out how to skillfully defy FIP.  He has not shown this ability for a long period of time and his pitching style appears to not leave a great deal of wiggle room to maintain success.  As such, I would be fine with him on a one year deal and not expect much, but a multiyear commitment for someone on the fringe is a risk I would be uncomfortable with.  Fister better represents a risk worth the discomfort, but he contracts with Estrada in that he has not had recent success.

Kennedy would certainly be a more interesting arm.  Unfortunately, it comes with a probable loss of a draft pick.  At that point, one has to look at whether his inclusion from 2016 through 2019 or 2020 would be worth the lost pick.  Eventually, excluding yourself from the first round of the draft pool on a complete or partial basis eventually will impact a club's ability to sufficiently provide enough cost-controlled talent coming up through the farm.  Eventually, a club has to pay for that.  Is the team an Ian Kennedy away from the playoffs, I am not sure of that.  I certainly am not sure that the club would fail making the playoffs with a commodity like Fister in his place.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Agreed, about most of what you wrote. Someone like Fister, especially, is attractive to am extent, yet most of that attraction is based on his past success and blind hope. By and large, these three pitchers make little to no sense to me. I read Melewski regularly and was pretty disappointed in his suggestions. None of these guys are true ground ball pitchers, none of these guys have the kind of stuff that gives them some upside, and none of them fit well in OPACY. It kinda seems to me that these free agent signings were suggested without much consideration of peripherals or playing to Orioles defensive strengths.

Philip said...

This sure seems to be a discussion about which bad player are we going to overpay for.
It doesn't seem as if any of the options that have been discussed offering anything except a whole lot of "maybe" while costing a whole ton of money.
And we don't really have anything in the farm system worth trading, so we can't improve via trade.
Is there an argument to be made for doing nothing? I hate to suggest it because I'm 53 and I don't know how much longer I'm going to live, but one great player isn't going to save the team, and four average players probably won't either, so maybe just trading away the assets we have aside from Manny, and rebuilding the farm system, while promising not to make any more stupid prospects for rental trades?

Anonymous said...

Is there any possibility that pitchers like Estrada and Miguel and maybe even Tillman outpitch their peripherals specifically when they get good run support? The theory being that the other team starts over-swinging to get back in the game and biting on pitches they wouldn't bite at when ahead? Just askin'..... If it turns out to be measurable then one might argue that better hitting also improves the pitching.

Jon Shepherd said...

To my knowledge, there is no evidence that pitchers perform better or worse according to the level of run support they receive. This was looked, to my recollection, several times largely because of trying to determine whether Jack Morris belongs in the Hall of Fame. Short answer, we know of nothing that suggests that dog can hunt.

Matt Perez said...

Estrada had a 2.74 ERA in 7 games and 42.2 innings when his team scored between 0 and 2 runs and went 1-5.

He had a 2.83 ERA in 12 games and 89 innings when his team scored between 3 and 5 runs and went 5-3.

He had a 4.89 ERA in 7 games and 38.2 innings when his team scored 6+ runs and went 6-0.

If anything, the question would be the other way around. But like Jon said, studies have showed that the answer is no.

Anonymous said...

Any chance the O's go for Leake?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Matt and Jon, for your responses.....

Jon Shepherd said...

Leake? Sure, I think he will be well sought after, but he would fit in with what the Orioles should be doing. However, a 5 year deal would not be desirable to the team, I think.

Michael Wallace said...

I know this post was about possible pitchers, but any thoughts on the recently posted Nexen Hero, Byung-ho Park? Assuming Davis goes elsewhere, I think it would be kind of dumb for the Orioles to not least consider.

Jon Shepherd said...

We did touch on this for the Blueprint series where I and Perez advocated that the club should sign him. I viewed him as a right handed Pedro Alvarez. Should be an average or below average 1B bat, which probably means you save maybe 2-6 MM signing him instead of getting a similar talent in the FA market.