Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Arbitration Files: The Bullpen

Matt Lindstrom
2007-2008, 134 G, 6-7, 5 S, 33 Holds, 124ish IP, 3.10ish era, 1.38ish whip, 105 K
2009, 41 G, 36 IP, 2-1, 14 S, 3 H, 5.75 era, 1.69 whip, 29 K
Reasonable Projection Season Line - 50 G, 45 IP, 3-2, 20 S, 5 H, still really high era/whip
Career - Around 185 Games, 170 IP, sub 4 era, 1.45ish whip, 25 saves, 40 holds

Leo Nunez
2005-2008 106 G, 160 IP, 9-7, 0 S, 10 H, 5ish era, 1.40ish whip, 110ish K
2009 58 G, 53.1 IP, 3-4, 14 S, 13 H, 4.05 era, 1.24 whip, 49 K

Reasonable Projection Season Line - 75 G, 70 IP, 4-5, 15 S, 18 H, 3.50 era, 1.20 whip, 70 K
Career - Around 185 Games, 230 IP, mid 4 era, 1.40 whip, 15 S, 30 Holds

Reynel Pinto
2006-2008 - 151 G, 153 IP, 4-9, 2 S, 36 H, high 3 era, low 1.40s whip, 150ish K
2009 - 56 G, 47 IP, 3-1, 9 H, 2.87 era, 1.51 whip, 46 K
Reasonable Projection Season Line - 70 G, 60 IP, 4-2, 2.90 era, 1.50 whip, 60 K, 12 H
Career - Around 220 Games, 220 IP, mid 3 era, 1.45ish whip, 2 Saves, 45-50 holds, 200+ K

Scott Proctor
2008 - 38.2 IP, 6.05 era, 1.68 whip
2009 - Injured
Career - 262 G, 297 IP, 16-10, 1 S, 48 H, 4.42 era, 1.40 whip, 256 K

A basic primer of recent RP comparables.

Years 4-5-6 salary trends

Grant Balfour $.500, $1.4
Scott Downs $.705, $1.025, $2.25
Brian Shouse - $.725, $.975
Frank Francisco $.775, $1.6
Jason Grilli $.8
Jason Frasor - $.825, $1.125, $1.45
Matt Thornton $.875, $1.325
Dan Wheeler $.930, $2.1, $2.8
Matt Guerrier $.950k, $1.475
Jesse Crain $1.05
Heath Bell $1.2
CJ Wilson $1.85
Mike Gonzalez $2.25

Let’s start from the top. Mike Gonzalez was awesome in Pitt, doing sub 3 era, 1.22 whip over 50 innings, got 24 saves in year 3. If Lindstrom gets every save here on out, he can match the saves total (and Gonzalez prior years were loogy-holds years, so this is similar to Lindstrom as well), so this is the PEAK. However, Lindstrom has the double era, and the atrocious most recent season. So let’s find a less awesome Gonzalez.

CJ Wilson in 2008 - 24 S, 6.02 era, 1.64 whip, and the two years prior very solid 115 IP of work at a 3.5 era, 1.30 whip, 22 H, etc. Career wise, CJ pitched 2005-2008 in 184 G, mid 4 era, 1.40+ whip, 24 S, 27 H, and around 170 K. This kind of looks like Lindstrom. Except Lindstrom has better career ERA rates (ballpark factor, but I don’t know if arbiters will care for that argument), and more holds which are becoming slightly more ‘sexier’ as agents find ways to get middle relievers paid.

To show how dramatic these save stats are, look at Heath Bell, unquestionably great. He is coming off back to back seasons which combine into 175 IP, a 1.10 whip, a low 3 era, an absurd 57 holds, 2 Saves, and 173 K. He makes less than CJ Wilson, because CJ Wilson has 20 more saves. Yea, the save stat is stupid.

Basically, going to stop with Lindstrom right here, and I am very surprised at where I am projecting this number. Based on CJ Wilson, Lindstrom is going to get paid quite handsomely. He has a better overall resume than CJ. The only thing CJ has is, more saves in year 3. This projection is based on Lindstrom getting 5-6 more saves, but overall isn’t probably going to change much if he doesn’t get him. The change would move from the medium to the low.

Low - $1.65 million. He does not get any saves the rest of the year
Medium - $1.85 million. He gets CJ’s contract and his better career rates make up the gap of not getting more saves in year 3
High - $2 million. Lindstrom is balls awesome the rest of the year and gets more saves.

So let’s move down to Leo Nunez now. Who is getting saves to. He is 1/2 the saves of everyone else, low teens.

Wheeler in 2006 had a 9 S/25 H year, and career wise had 14 saves entering arbitration. 4th year arbitration got him $930K, and he had really wicked back to back 70 IP, 2.50 era, 1.05 whipish seasons leading up to that. RP are insane! I love how CJ Wilson makes twice the money as Wheeler because he got 15 more saves. So, Leo does not have Wheeler’s resume, but he may end the year with some more saves if the Marlins opt to pitch him as closer versus Lindstrom. Let’s end Leo here, and assuming no horrific era explosion

Low - $1,000,000. Leo gets no more saves
Medium - $1,300,000. Leo gets 5-6 more saves.
High - $1,600,000. Leo gets 10 more saves.

So now we’re down to Pinto, just an ordinary non-save getting relief pitcher (that happens to love putting baserunners on like they're going out of style).

I like Thornton here, for similar career rates (3.79, 1.35 whip, tons of holds, Under 5 Saves pre year 4), the lefty factor, and games played. Pinto has played a lot for a RP. He’s not as good as Thornton from the whip factor, so he probably won’t get all the way to him, but you can see the range of all of these guys falling into the 700-850k range, so that seems safe for pinto.

Low - $750k. Whip hurts him
Medium - $850k. All the games played add up to one of the higher RP comps.
High - None.

So now we’re at Proctor. He made $1.15 in 2008, coming off 180 IP and an absurd 135 games over 2006-2007. All good rates, around a 3.50 era, 1.30 whip, 45 holds, a save, etc. Really nice workhorse reliever, and it shows you that ‘saves’ aren’t determinative because he got over Wheeler’s 9 saves, with an extra 50 innings of work or so. Then in 2009, he was non-tendered because he sucked, and was surely going to get a bump to the $2-2.25 million range. Marlins signed him for $750k.

I cannot think of any awesome RP for two years, crappy relief pitcher for 1 year, injured for entire next season, and then 6th year arbitration eligible RP comp. If you can, awesome. So I’m just going to guesstimate looking at some of those 6th year salaries (Guerrier and Frasor $1.4, Downs $2.2, Wheeler $2.8), where Proctor would land. Career good, recent two years bad. He’d at least get over $1 million. Maybe even a bit higher. But I’m going to just wild guess about $1.2 million. Making him a clear DFA for this organization.

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