The Poor Man’s Analyst

Settling the Score

with 13 comments

Today, in the comments section of this post at RAB, I got into a little bit of an argument with Ben over a potential Manny Ramirez acquisition. The comments by both of us are kind of scattered all over that thread, making it hard to follow. But the gist of the conversation was that Ben wants Manny Ramirez as the DH next season, which would put Hideki Matsui on the bench or on the trade block. I don’t want that to happen. Matsui can’t play the outfield–his knees are just too bad to either handle the position or to simply stay healthy over the long haul.

Ben’s plan is summed up in this comment, when he says, “The Yanks should go after Manny and deal with Matsui after the fact.” I responded by saying that doing that is incredibly shortsighted, considering that Matsui and his $13 million salary can’t just be cast off like it means nothing. Signing Manny to be the DH would mean that Matsui is on the bench used only as a pinch-hitter or occasional fill-in. He’s certainly not a defensive replacement, and can only play two positions–left and right field. So let’s see how this goes….

This isn’t a stats-heavy post, but let’s look at some numbers. Let’s project Manny for 40 runs above average next season. The past four seasons, he’s been 46, 49, 21, and 56 runs above average.  He then gets a positional adjustment of -15 runs for playing DH instead of the outfield. [We don’t need to compare him (or Matsui) to replacement because we’re not figuring total value, which would be versus a replacement player, we’re just comparing the two of them in similar playing time. If you really want to, add 16 or 17 runs to the total to approximate a replacement level comparison in slightly limited playing time (~140 games)]. So that’s 25 runs above average for Manny. Doing the same thing for Matsui now…. his somewhat healthy 2007 had him as 20 runs above average in 143 games, so that’s 5 runs above average for Hideki after the DH adjustment.

So for 2009, Manny is projected to be 20 runs above what Matsui would provide. That’s probably what people expected, I know I didn’t think the gap wold be any smaller. But Manny is reportedly demanding a 3-year deal in the neighborhood of $65-70 million. Are those 20 runs worth the $11 million per win (above Matsui) that they would cost? Is any win worth $11 million on December 15th?

I can’t tell you the answer, that’s for the Steinbrenners to decide. For those people who say it’s worth it, I’m going to spend a little time thinking of other ways the Yankees can get those two wins over what Matsui provides for less money. Anyone care to make any suggestions for finding those missing 20 runs that seem so necessary to some?

Note: Why does 10 runs equals one win? See here.

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Written by dcn29

December 14, 2008 at 11:19 PM

13 Responses

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  1. Well if the Yankees can get Sheets or Lowe, then their first 4 starters are CC, Wang, AJ, and Sheets/Lowe.

    The Yankees never really had pitching like this before. Cashman has always focused on the high powered offense and never pitching. He seems like a changed man and if those pitchers pitch as expected, then they will not need the extra 11 million dollars for the wins because they will not give up a lot of runs.

    Also according to Sweeny Murti who was on my show tonight, he said Joba will be a starter. He would be the 5th starter. If he develops, then with A rod, Jeter, Cano, a powerful Swisher, Nady and so on, they will not need to spend the 11 million dollars on Manny.

    sportsheavenwithmarkandevan

    December 14, 2008 at 11:46 PM

  2. While I agree that the Yankees are in very good shape as they stand right now, that wasn’t really the argument. I agree that they don’t need to do anything.
    But some people are advocating signing Manny, and seem to be ignoring the effects of doing it. So as a compromise, I’m going to look for ways that the Yankees can equal Manny’s additional 20 runs, but for much less cost than the $22+ million he wants per year.

    dcn29

    December 15, 2008 at 12:20 AM

  3. But they do not need to match 20 runs. Who cares what everyone thinks? They are wrong. They do not need the extra runs like they did in the past. They are a new team. End of story.

    sportsheavenwithmarkandevan

    December 15, 2008 at 12:23 AM

  4. Every team could use an additional two wins, you never know what’s gonna happen. Whether it’s on offense or defense, they still count roughly the same. I think they would make the playoffs with the team as it stands right now, but not everyone does. So this “search” for 20 runs is for them.

    dcn29

    December 15, 2008 at 12:31 AM

  5. Well then think of it this way. The pitchers are TAKING AWAY 20 runs at least from the other teams. There you go. Instead of adding the 20 runs to the Yankees, you take the 20 runs away from the opposing team. There you go. That’s it.

    sportsheavenwithmarkandevan

    December 15, 2008 at 12:35 AM

  6. Sabathia, Burnett, etc. will be taking away 20+ runs more than the staff took away last year, correct. With the Manny situation, people are talking about 20 the runs on top of what they’re projected to score/allow with the current team.

    Team as it stand now, with made up numbers:
    Score: 900
    Allow: 700

    Hypothetical team with Manny added, playing DH:
    Score: 920
    Allow: 700

    Is 20 runs worth the price? And can we find a cheaper way to either add those 20 runs or take them away?

    dcn29

    December 15, 2008 at 12:40 AM

  7. Maybe I am wrong but 900-700 or 920-700 is still a win. Why do they need the extra 20 runs?

    sportsheavenwithmarkandevan

    December 15, 2008 at 12:52 AM

  8. Those are seasonal win totals. Those 20 runs would allow them to win two more games. Do they need to pay $22+ million for those two additional wins?

    dcn29

    December 15, 2008 at 1:05 AM

  9. […] But Dan disagreed, and in a well-reasoned piece on The Poor Man’s Analyst, Dan offers up his take: Let’s aggressively project Manny for 40 runs above average next season. He then gets a […]

  10. Well with Manny in New York you will have something similar to what Boston had where you had Big Papi and then Manny Ramirez. They made it so pitchers had to face Ortiz because Manny was up next. If you put Manny before Alex Rodriguez then they will have to face Manny and they cannot walk him.

    Matsui a lot of times is put at the end of the batting order. A lot of times he is walked to face a Jose Molina or a Chad Moeller.

    With Manny there you can have Manny in front of A Rod which would just be a deadly combination.

    sportsheavenwithmarkandevan

    December 15, 2008 at 12:00 PM

  11. dcn29

    December 15, 2008 at 2:23 PM

  12. I don’t buy it. I would prefer pitchers have to pitch to Manny with A Rod up next rather than have pitchers walk Matsui to get to Molina. Maybe that’s just me. Despite what anything proves you cannot tell me that the 2 above turnouts would be equal.

    sportsheavenwithmarkandevan

    December 15, 2008 at 3:28 PM

  13. I’m not saying Matsui is better than Manny. You don’t get any external benefit outside of those 20 runs by having Manny in the lineup instead of Matsui.

    dcn29

    December 15, 2008 at 10:35 PM


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