Saturday, September 24, 2011

My final thoughts on Pujols as a SF Giant in 2012.

I’m trying to simplify all this.  I’m trying my best.  I think I’ve finally ‘polished’ my real payroll estimates.  I’ve now accounted for arbitration eligibility and league minimum salaries, and my ‘projected’ contracts for each specific player.

I might expect the Giants to try to stay around $125M payroll for 2012.  This is a problem.  I could see the following lineup costing $134M for the 2012 25-man roster total.  It would likely cost about $130-140M per season from 2013 to 2015 as current player salaries increase:

$134M for 2012:
Jimmy Rollins SS, Freddy Sanchez 2B, Pablo Sandoval 3B, Buster Posey C, Aubrey Huff 1B, Coco Crisp CF, Brandon Belt LF, Nate Schierholtz RF, pitcher P.  (Bench: Justin Christian OF, Ryan Cavan IF/UT, Brett Pill 1B/2B, Pat Burrell LF, Hector Sanchez C).

$130-140M for 2013-2015:
Gary Brown CF, Jimmy Rollins SS, Pablo Sandoval 3B, Buster Posey C, Brandon Belt LF, Brett Pill, Nate Schierholtz RF, Joe Panik 2B, pitcher P.

I can see this team as a big improvement on the Giants’ 2011 counterpart.  But what if Pablo and Buster have a tough game?  Can the 5-8 hitters carry an offense for some games?  Once a pitcher passes Sandoval, or maybe Posey, is there a real ‘threat’ (no pun intended to Brett) to start a rally and turn the lineup over?  I still see a team that likely averages below 4 runs per game in 2012.


I expect this following lineup would cost $160M for 2012:

Erick Aybar SS, Freddy Sanchez 2B, Albert Pujols 1B, Pablo Sandoval 3B, Buster Posey C, Vernon Wells CF, Brandon Belt LF, Nate Schierholtz RF, pitcher P.  (Bench: Aubrey Huff 1B/OF, Francisco Peguero OF, Brett Pill 1B/2B, Ryan Cavan IF/UT, Hector Sanchez C).

And this lineup would cost $150M per year from 2013 to 2016.

Gary Brown CF, Erick Aybar SS, Albert Pujols 1B, Pablo Sandoval 3B, Buster Posey C, Brandon Belt LF, Vernon Wells RF, Joe Panik 2B, pitcher P.  (Bench: Francisco Peguero OF, Nate Schierholtz OF, Brett Pill 1B/2B, Ryan Cavan IF/UT, Hector Sanchez C).

To me, the differences are tremendous.  The depth of Posey batting 5th and the threat of Pujols-Sandoval-Posey-Belt-Wells would be unbelievable IMHO.  I’m looking at this lineup like it could average at least 4.6 runs per game and be among the top-5 offenses in all of baseball- yes, even including AL teams.

Here’s how we get this lineup done.
  • Anaheim trades Erick Aybar, Vernon Wells, and $21M cash to SF.
  • SF trades Jonathan Sanchez, Barry Zito, and Brian Wilson to Anaheim.
  • Anaheim trades Zito and $23M cash to Seattle for Chone Figgins to return to Anaheim.
  • Anaheim trades or DFA’s Figgins and pays off his $17M contract obligation.

Assuming these transactions could be done, I’d say nobody loses.  Everybody wins.

You may laugh me off as simply a ‘hopeful Giants fan’…

  • Anaheim saves $2M of the $63M Vernon Wells contract, and get a LHP starter (J. Sanchez), and RHP closer Brian Wilson.  I think they’d jump on a chance to get a quality lefty like Sanchez, a closer like Wilson, and get rid of Wells’ contract all in one fell swoop.  Do you know J. Sanchez’s ERA and performance compared to four Angels’ starters this season?  Are you familiar with their questions of their newly minted closer Jordan Walden?
  • Seattle would’ve spent at least $17M on Figgins even though he isn’t playing.  Now, they have Zito’s $46M contract, minus $23M from Anaheim means a net salary cost of $25M.  Subtracting the $17M they would’ve paid Figgins, the Mariners are essentially paying $6M total to try out Zito for 2 years.  Have you looked at Seattle’s starting pitching rotation?  And a team payroll already high enough they can barely support one bad contract?  Chone Figgins isn’t even listed on their depth chart for any of the three positions he plays, yes I am serious.  Have you also recognized how poorly Seattle has drafted in recent years?  They will struggle financially, and this offers a new option on a bad contract.
  • Our Giants have unloaded Zito, who is taking a roster spot, wasted payroll money, and likely not earning any playing time.  We turn that $46M contract into ‘productive’ money spent, with Vernon Wells at least able to make a contribution to our team- he might even hit 25 HR’s per year for us.  We also unload J. Sanchez who we probably couldn’t afford on our roster at $6-8M for 2012.  Oh yeah…  We get our 2012 lead-off hitter (until Brown is called up) and solid shortstop for years to come; all in Erick Aybar.

The main factor is getting ANY kind of productivity from (dead) payroll/contracts.  And front-loading contracts.  Sure, it is insane and Pujols would set a record for one-year salary on his first ($46M) and second year ($40M) of his 7-year deal.  But it works so perfectly.  I think it absolutely helps persuade Pujols to come to SF.  I mean, if you won the Lottery, would you chose the lump sum or the annual payments?  See?  Everyone wants the most money right now.  I think Albert might too.

Plus, as Bumgarner and Sandoval and Posey all begin earning $14-18M salaries, by that point we are paying Sir Albert $24M to $15M per season.  It works, we can keep a $150M payroll balanced and Pujols is still batting third.  If we don't front-load his deal, we'd have too many stacked up eight-figure salaries on top of each other by 2014, 2015, and 2016.  I mean way too many.  Maybe above Luxury Tax threshold too many.

I’m using the following salary estimates to figure my 2012-2016 payrolls:
  • Aybar: $62.5M/6-years = 7.5, 9, 12, 12, 12, 10
  • Pujols: $185M/7-years = 46, 40, 28, 24, 16, 16, 15
  • Sandoval: $82.5M/6-years = 5, 18, 12, 12, 17.5, 18
  • Posey: $45M/4-years = 6, 8, 15, 16
  • Lincecum: $81M/4-years = 19, 20, 21, 21
  • Cain: $117M/6-years = 18, 19.5, 19.5, 20, 20, 20
  • Bumgarner: $54.4M/5-years = 3, 6, 12, 15.4, 18
  • Vogelsong: $6.1M/2-years = 2.5, 3.6
  • Casilla: $12M/4-years = 2.4, 2.4, 3.4, 3.8
  • Romo: $15M/4-years = 3, 3, 4, 5
  • Lopez: $11.8M/3-years = 3.5, 4, 4.3

Again, I say…  Everybody wins.  Can we please get this done?

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