Offseason roundup

A few quick notes on the Phillies offseason transactions so far:

Signed Jim Thome, 1/$1.25M
Even if he weren’t a doppelganger for my cat, I would welcome Thome back to town, based on the term and dollar amount and fact he’s still an offensive threat at 41. Wherever/however often he ends up playing, he can either help a team (.256/.361/.477 with 15 HR and 46 BB in 277 AB for an OPS+ of 131 last season between Minnesota and Cleveland*) or, in a worst case scenario, not do much other than move a few Thome jerseys and retire as a Phillie. And he’s still 2.5 years younger than Matt Stairs (though Stairs was only 40 in 2008).

* He did have an overall BABIP of .327 last season, his highest since 2001, but it wasn’t wildly out of line with the years in between.

Signed Jonathan Papelbon, 4/$50M
Welcome to Philadelphia, Ilya Papelbonov. Seriously, I don’t hate this signing as much as I should. What’s to hate: the Phillies are paying $50M for, optimally, 264 innings (based on his 2006-2011 six-year average of 66 IP/year, assuming similar lack of injury moving forward). The Phillies have paid Roy Halladay less than $36M for 484 innings (though granted, the average Halladay inning is lower-leverage than the average Papelbon inning, given starter vs. closer usage– unless you’re, like, Ron Washington or something). What’s not to hate: Papelbon is a healthy 31 with a career ERA+ of 197, WHIP of 1.018, and K/BB of 4.43 pitching in the tougher league. As opposed to:

Madson (age 31*): 123/1.294/2.86
Heath Bell (33): 127/1.197/3.07
Jose Valverde (33): 146/1.170/2.72

* Not a typo: believe it or not, Madson is three months OLDER than Papelbon.

I will loathe this deal when the Phillies end up with Yuniesky Betancourt at shortstop and Kyle Kendrick replacing Cole Hamels in the rotation because the team budget is maxed out on Papelbon, Ryan Howard, and Joe Blanton. And I wouldn’t have minded Antonio Bastardo, Phillies Closer at all (depending on health). But Papelbon can pitch. And he’s thrilled not to be moving to Winnipeg.

Resigned Brian Schneider, 1/$800K
I’ve never been much of a Schneider fan, but he’s really not a bad option for the term and dollars. I wouldn’t have objected to taking a flyer on a Jose Molina or Dioner Navarro or (probably too expensive but) Ramon Hernandez, but honestly, what’s the difference.

Traded PTBNL to Colorado for Ty Wigginton, owed $2M in 2012 and $4M (or $500K buyout) in 2013
I have the opposite reaction to this trade than I do to the Papelbon signing. Based on the term and dollars, it’s a good pickup, but a career OPS+ of 100 playing for mediocre teams in (for most of his career) the worse league while playing a bunch of positions poorly doesn’t thrill me. (Or maybe I just remember him as a Met.) If Wilson Betemit, who is 4 years younger, would have been less expensive and available, a dumb move. (OK, Betemit’s defense may be even worse, and his career OPS+ is only 105, but more of it was in the AL, and did I mention he’s 4 years younger?)

Didn’t sign Michael Cuddyer (yet), 0/$0M
Nothing wrong here.


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