Today is the deadline for exchanging arbitration numbers. Unless there is progress, the Astros will be going to arbitration with THREE players. Last year, only three players went to arb in the entire major leagues, and as usual, the owners won 2 of 3 cases.
Adam Everett, age 29 in Feb, – no hit great glove SS, signed a 1 year, 1.9 million contract. Well, I was figgering about 1.5, so Adam did just fine for himself. I didn’t think he’d get moren a year – if Benny Zobrist isn’t ready next year (and neither is, say, Tejada) we can resign Adam to another 1 year contract. Adam had his worst hitting season so far – he strikes out too much and Gaetti has tried to get him to swing for the Crawford boxes a little too much, I think. He should try bunting for hits more, I think, or at least try to stop hitting the ball out.
Lee Sinins at www.baseball-encyclopedia.com shows the following stats for Adam:
YEAR AGE RCAA OBA SLG OPS ..OWP RC/G AVG .HR RBI –SB –G
2003 – 26 (-) 13 .320 .380 .700 .392 4.21 .256 – 8 — 51 — 8 – 128
2004 – 27 (-) 11 .317 .385 .703 .412 4.35 .273 — 8 —31 – 13 – 104
2005 – 28 (-) 21 .290 .364 .654 .364 3.65 .248 – 11 — 54 – 21 – 152
CAREER ….. 53 .305 .365 .670 .375 3.91 .253 – 27 – 140 – 46 – 433
LG AVG …….. 0 .340 .431 .771 .500 5.14 .269 – 47 – 191 – 23
POS AVG —–38 .318 .388 .706 .414 –4.27 .265 -26 – 147 – 35
- not real too good, hunh? I mean, with the bat…
The other Astros players are:
Brad Lidge, age 29, elite RHP closer (click here to read article on him in today’s USA Today:
Dan Wheeler, age 28, pretty good set up guy
Morgan Ensberg, age 30, great hitting good fielding 3rd baseman who came in 4th in the MVP voting
Well, none of these guys are particularly young, they are all first year arb eligible, so I seriously doubt that they would get any contracts buying out any FA years.
As yall know, most ML players (with VERY few exceptions) are not paid much over the ML minimum for their first 3 years, then their salary usually at LEAST triples, and with very valuable players, well, teams gotta pay.
It’s better if the player and team agree on a contract BEFORE they have to appear before the arbitrator, so that there aren’t hard feelings, especially if the team wants to keep a player as a FA. The Astros have already offered contracts to all four guys, but the terms have not been released.
So I am going to do some guessing here.
I’m not real too sure that Brad Lidge, whose numbers weren’t as good last year as they were in 04, would even be healthy enough to still be an elite closer 3 years from now, so I would bet that the Organization would only want to give him a 1 year contract – at most a 2 year contract, not backloaded so we could use him as trade bait if we needed to. I would bet that as one of the top 3 closers in the NL, Brad will get a GOOD 4 mill. Easy. My question is whether or not the Organization could get 2 years at 4 mill apiece. I doubt it, because if Brad has another year in 06 just like 05, he would be worth a LOT more than 4 mill, and I promise you that his agent knows it. One thing – remember that he didn’t look real too good since like late September and I wonder if his arm was hurting and if the Organization will want a physical…
It should be an easier decision with Dan Wheeler because he’s a set up guy, not a closer, and it might could be cheaper to sign him for a couple years, especially because if Lidge goes down, we might could end up needing to use Wheeler to close, as he did, and very successfully when Lidge was “resting” with a sore arm muscle (ahem) back in July. IF we needed Wheeler to close next year and we had him at set up prices, that would be a good investment. (Hard to believe that the Mets DFA’d him in 04, hunh – but I guess Jim Hickey was the pitching coach Dan had been needing…)
And last but not least, Morgan Ensberg.
He’ll be 33 years old when he becomes a FA for the first time, well into the stereotyped decline phase, and he’s not gonna ever get a Scott Rolen contract. But he’s gonna get a VERY hefty paycheck next year fer SHER, and seeing as how salaries, um, skyrocketed (ahem) this year, I would bet that a FA who hits like Mo hit in 05 will be getting a LOT more than the 5 or so mill a year that I would bet Mo is going to get, they might could want to consider buying out his arb years. We don’t have ANY 3rd baseman who can hit NEAR Mendoza line, let alone a .945 OPS. And guys who can hit like that AND provide at LEAST league average defensive skills and are decent baserunners are NOT cheap.
The other thing is that although Morgan LOOKS like a California surfer dude, under that cute little face, the boy got a banker’s brain – he has a college degree in economics (or was it accounting) and he’s no dummy, so it won’t be real too smart to treat him as if he was.
And of course, the MOST important contract to get signed is Roy Oswalt’s extension. But that is for another column. Actually, MANY columns until the job gets done