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Cards “lose out” on Fuentes, Miles

January 2, 2009

When I want to write about non-farm related things, I will do so here. I’ll be sure to make things brief, as I have found the more I type, the more goofs I make. How’s that for an intro?

I have to laugh at the Cardinal fans lamenting over losing out on Fuentes and Miles, especially Miles. Let’s start with Scrappy, since his signing is so easy to pick on:

The Cubs are going to pay $2.5 million a year for someone is the very definition of a replacement player. 2008 was the only season Miles was of much value to the team, and  it was largely driven by a .343 BABIP.  Other than slapping singles and being “gritty”, Miles doesn’t really do anything that well.  He’s not even a utility infielder in the truest definition of the term, as he can’t play any infield position adequately other than second base, and there he is merely average.

Can any of Luhnow’s overrated Faberge eggs fill Aaron Miles shoes? That’s more of a subject for FR, but minor league journeyman Joe Thurston likely could. His Marcel projects him to hit for a .319 wOBA. Miles’ Marcel projection pegs him for a .309 wOBA.  Unlike Miles, Thurston comes with a reputation for being a good defensive 2B. You also have Brendan Ryan, Brian Barden, Jarrett Hoffpauir and Tyler Greene. What the Cubs apparently don’t get is that you can  easily come up with a list of players either in your own system or that are freely available on the free agent market that basically do what Aaron Miles does.

As for Fuentes, he’s also coming off a career year but is probably about a 2 WAR (win above replacement) player going forward. There was speculation that he was looking to get $30 million for 3 years, but instead he now goes to the Angels at 2 years at $17.5 M. Seems like a decent enough deal. Chone Smith looks at it from a Halo fan’s standpoint-

A bargain in that sense, and a lot cheaper than keeping K-Rod, but I think that closers in MLB are a bit overvalued. Using the concept of leverage, Fuentes’ innings are roughly twice as valuable as the average pitcher, since he’s pitching in tight game situations. But why pay him for the leverage? The only reason he’s getting the leverage is because the team will deliberately give it to him. The leverage could have gone to Shields, or Arredondo, just as easily. I think it would make more sense to split the leverage bonus among your top relievers, unless you have a clear dominant closer like Mariano Rivera, Joe Nathan, or Jon Papelbon. With those guys, there is no doubt you want them to have the ball with the game on the line. With the Angels, do I want Shields out there, Fuentes, or Arredondo? Doesn’t make a big difference to me.

You could take out the names Arrendondo and Shields and substitute them with Perez, Motte or even Kinney and it applies well to the Cardinals. Would Fuentes have helped? Sure. But the Cards will do better allocating their money to a starting pitcher. Plus, as I am sure most of you know, I’m not at all fond of the notion of forfeiting a 1st round draft pick, particularly not for Fuentes.

Kenshin Kawakami, please.

  1. TheBirds permalink
    January 1, 2009 6:59 PM

    Joe Thurston is the guy I’d like to see, only because he bats from the opposite side of the plate as AK and I’m guessing he doesn’t have reverse splits. I’m just glad we aren’t going to be paying millions for utility players (crosses fingers) for once. I also think miles was quite overused last year, and who didn’t cringe when he got a start at SS?

    The more I ponder the starting pitching situation the more Kawakami appeals to me. Sheets is the most talented FA starter currently, but I’m not that much of a gambler, especially when we might not even get that much from Carp next season. If Carp and Sheets are both out of commision are rotation looks pretty ugly.


    It’s the question mark that I’d really like to avoid, and I think it seems destined to happen with Sheets. Lowe looks good now but in a few years his contract could be crippling if he has any major troubles with age. Signing Looper and Garland is playing it too safe. So in the end that leaves Kawakami, he’s an unknown but I think he’s got the right mix of pros and cons to be worth signing. Under the assumption that someone will get hurt we are still left with a reasonable starting 5.

  2. January 1, 2009 8:03 PM

    the grieving over miles departure reminds me of when tony womack left. he had a career year and the cardinals wouldn’t pay him once the year was over, if I remember correctly. he signed a two year deal for big bucks with the yankees and was released by the end of the first year I think. I just don’t see why people think that it’s the end of the world? to me, it’s addition by subtraction.

  3. poorcollegeguy permalink
    January 1, 2009 8:57 PM

    i gotta agree with everyone here on both Fuentes and Miles. After I heard of the Miles signing i searched and searched for an article that was happy about the move and to my surprise i never found one. I think the fact that it was the Cubs might have something to do with that.

    I would love for them to go big with a starter, im hoping sheets on a one year deal to prove his health for a possible long term deal. I would also be okay with a Japanese signing.

  4. January 1, 2009 9:09 PM

    I like Sheets a lot. While I find his injury history troubling, you’re talking about a 3 win player, maybe better depending on how many starts he can make. OTOH, I’d be miffed if we lost him halfway into the season, and it costs 1st rounder to a division rival.

  5. poorcollegeguy permalink
    January 1, 2009 10:52 PM

    I could be wrong here but isn’t there a date when teams no longer get compensation? I think I’m getting confused.

  6. Grant permalink
    January 2, 2009 2:05 AM

    I’m with the majority on the Miles departure. He’s a scrappy, easy-to-root-for kind of guy, but his production can be easily replaced.

    As for SP, does anyone know if/what we offered Penny? I was hoping we could sign him to an incentive-laden deal. He seemed like a good fit if we could have gotten him for the right price. I agree that, at this point, Kawakami seems like the best option, all things considered.

    Erik, good luck with the new blog, and keep up the good work!

  7. January 2, 2009 8:59 AM

    Why not take the cash that they planned to spend on Fuentes and spin it with another couple million to turn into Randy Wolf and Will Ohman?

    Two birds with one stone!

  8. poorcollegeguy permalink
    January 2, 2009 10:35 AM

    I still think that they are going to sign another lefty and Ohman is my guess.

    When Penny signed it sounded like he wasn’t so much after the money but as the greatest chance to win. At least thats what he said.

  9. cards13 permalink
    January 2, 2009 12:11 PM

    Penny for $5 mill plus incentives seems high coming off the year he had.

    Good thoughts on Miles as he is easily replaceable.

    Sheets for 2 years is a good gamble due to the upside imho, even though it would cost us the first rounder.

  10. Michael permalink
    January 2, 2009 4:48 PM

    this is somewhat of a crazy idea but if I were sheets I would be looking at prolonging my career. i’m not sure what kind of cash he is looking for but i wouldn’t mind signing him to be our relief pitcher for the next two years. he’s not healthy to start a full season but he is healthy enough to finish games for a full season. i would rather pray carp stays healthy and hope boggs/Pinero can fill in the fifth spot and have sheets be our guy.

  11. easy permalink
    January 2, 2009 7:12 PM

    I agree that losing out on Miles and Fuentes is not the end of the world. I like the idea of giving Thurston and Barden a chance as utility players and going with Perez as first closer option. What I did mind was being sidetracked from the original plan of building up the loogy’s and middle infielders. Hopefully we will now go after Ohman seriously.
    Good luck on the blog Erik. The more the merrier!

  12. DizzyDean17 permalink
    January 4, 2009 10:33 PM

    FWIW, in response to the first comment about this thread, Thurston does not bat from the opposite side of the plate from Kennedy. Both of them hit left-handed.

    That duplication is a major reason i don’t think he will make the 25 man roster, especially given the excess of lefty bats in the outfield.

  13. TENNISguy permalink
    January 5, 2009 6:45 AM

    Cheers on the new site.


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