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Friday, December 24, 2004
the contact/power game
varitek, eckstein

first of all, eckstein for $10.5 million? $3.5/yr?

but we're talking about varitek. 4 years 40 million. is he worth it?

well the other day we ranked him twelfth. defense maybe shoulda moved him ahead of piazza, but anyway he's a strong contributor. is a strong contributor worth $10 million? hell yeah. figure a strong contributor to be worth eight games over replacement. if you want to win 100 games, you need 58 games above replacement. seven times eight is fifty-six. so you can get seven strong contributors and win 98 games for $70 million dollars. the rest of your budget is for the other two games. and the rest of the players. 25 man roster. should be able to fill for half a million each. anybody can find guys for half a million. if you do it right. say $13 million. so if 100 wins are worth $83 million dollars, do it.

are 100 wins worth $83 million dollars to the red sox? you bet. so great. but, is there a cost saving solution that can allow for more purchases at other positions?

who do the sox got behind him? doug mirabelli. what can he do?

Player aab w k hr 23 wal con pow avg
mirabelli,doug 160 22 46 9 12 .121 .713 .184 .281

that's stupid power. how reliable is it? his previous three years in boston were 17, 14, and 19 extra-base hits, in 141, 151, and 163 at-bats. so a pow of .150 is reasonable expect it. he walks a ton, he strikes out a ton, he hits a ton, so put him in there against soft tossers and he'll knock em out. sit him against strikeout artists and pick up someone like toby hall. toby does not strike out:

hall,toby 411 29 41 8 21 .066 .900 .078 .255

so he's useful against power pitchers, who tend to produce low-run environments. i bet the combination would be worth $5 million, and 5 games. so the difference is $5 million and 3 games. it's a savings on a per-game basis, but you still gotta find a way to get those games.

so anyway, the red sox are fine, but it's fun to find a viable contact/power platoon.

incidentally, the red sox could also do it at second base, with mark bellhorn, who is a nut:

bellhorn,mark 526 93 177 17 40 .150 .663 .163 .264

that could make up 2 or 3 of the games. pokey reese is not a good platoon mate for him cause pokey can't hit anybody.

conclusion: contact/power platoons are fun and occasionally moderately useful. don't want to say anything too extreme. don't want to overstate the case. that's what i should have said the first time. instead of that "too extreme" remark. god that was stupid. eckstein the cardinals lose put they do have pujols and the red sox gain a couple of games at shortstop and so do the angels. shortstop is up next, after an article on jd drew and the dodgers.
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