Monday, October 3, 2011

Free Agent Watch: Phillips and Cordero

The Cincinnati Reds have 2 big free agents that they could possibly lose this offseason. Both starting 2nd basemen Brandon Phillips, and closer Francisco Cordero can test the free agent waters. The Reds have all the intent on keeping these two, as they were discussing contracts even before the season is over. First, Brandon Phillips: how much value does he have, and how much is he worth? He has already said that he will not give the Reds a "hometown discount". In 2011, he had his career high in both batting average and on base percentage. He also posted his career high WAR (4.1) and 30 years old. This is usually bad news, because this almost always adds up to a player being overpaid in the next contract. According to last year's numbers and the Halladay Standard, he deserves 12.3 million dollars. However, even though teams do it all the time, it is incredibly stupid to pay a player because of one year's performance. Instead, lets look at the 09-11. In that time, he averaged a 2.9 WAR, this would mean he is worth $8.7 million. If I were the Reds, I wouldn't go over this number (and may even go lower). I don't have a real pulse on how this situation will play out, but it seems that the Reds are really going to make sure he stays a Red. This may mean overpaying him, and could be a disaster. Now, on to Francisco Cordero. Closers are usually way overpaid (and now 7th and 8th inning guys are getting this way as well). Let me use a couple of examples, Mariano Rivera is making $15 million dollars to put up a 3.5 WAR and -3.843 PE (for those who counter that his postseason experience/success makes him invaluable, 27 of the 30 teams cannot afford to massively overpay a player just for the postseason). His own bullpen teammate David Robertson has posted a 3.9 WAR and -9.595 PE, while only making $460,000. Angels' closer Jordan Walden posted a 1.2 WAR while only making $416,000, Rangers' closer Neftali Feliz posted a 1.6 WAR while making just $457,000, and Rays' closer Kyle Farnsworth has a 1.8 WAR while making $3.25 million. This doesn't mention that a closer is not near as valuable as a starting pitcher, Alexi Ogando put up the same exact WAR as Rivera this season. With Cordero, the story isn't any different, as he made 12 million this year, while posting a WAR of 2.4, giving him a WASP way over the Halladay Standard at 5217. His WASP as a Red is 5302. This doesn't even mention that his PE was very unimpressive this year at .049. Unless Cordero is willing to take a huge pay cut, there is no way I would bring him back. However, I would not be surprised at all to see the Reds bring him back anyway.

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