Catching situation: Dodgers vs. Yanks

Open Thread: Ramiro Mendoza
Report: Wood, Cubs close to deal

The Dodgers catching situation had a bit of a Yankee flavor to it this winter. It started when the two teams discussed a Francisco Cervelli for Russell Martin swap on the eve of the non-tender deadline. That didn’t work, so the Dodgers let Martin walk. Immediately afterwards they signed Rod Barajas to a one-year, $3.25 million contract. This week the Yankees ended up with Martin at one years and four million, with the opportunity to retain him next year. Who came out ahead here?

Make sure to check out the other WAR comparisons. Also note that Martin’s worst year was only slightly worse than Barajas’s best year — and Barajas’s best year came in 2005. With a mere $750,000 difference in salary, it appears that the Dodgers got hosed — or hosed themselves.

(Though, in fairness, Martin did turn down a $4.2 million contract from the Dodgers. Still, it’s tough to imagine the Dodgers being worse off by tendering Martin a contract and paying him a bit more, than having Barajas and his poor production.)

Then come the backups. Had the trade gone through the Dodgers presumably would have had Cervelli backing up Barajas. Now they have former Yankee farm hand Dioner Navarro backing up Barajas, while the Yankees have Cervelli backing up Martin. Here’s a telling WAR graph for these guys.

Yes, Navarro has been better, but not only has his graph leveled off in the past two years, it has actually declined slightly. Navarro is two years older than Cervelli and has been in the league four more years, but has produced just 3.4 more WAR. In two more years I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Cervelli pass Navarro in WAR, even though the latter has that four-year head start.

This wasn’t a one-on-one deal, so we can’t say that the Yankees won. But given the way the Dodgers’ catching situation played out, I’ll take the Yanks’, even minus Montero, any day.

Open Thread: Ramiro Mendoza
Report: Wood, Cubs close to deal
  • hank

    While were talking the Dodgers, what about Billingsly for a trade possibility?

  • Craig

    Dont worry everyone incarciratedbob is reporting yankees are in talks to aquire king felix

    • jsbrendog

      where does one learn the ways of incarcerated bob?

      • Craig

        hahaha according to him Lee is a ranger and Melo is a Net

        • FIPster Doofus

          And Girardi is managing the Cubs. Three different sources told him that, so who am I to question anything?

          • Tom Zig

            Joba also gave AJ that black eye.

            Oh and Lee was first a Yankee weeks ago, then a Ranger.

  • Plank

    Why did you use cumulative WAR by age? Wouldn’t it be more informative to just give their WAR the past few years, their ages, and amount of team control?

    • mop982

      Graphs are useful visual representations of data.

      Though I wouldn’t complain if their WAR the past few years, their ages, and amount of team control were posted in the text.

      • Plank

        Yeah, I meant I meant it would be better using a graph of WAR that’s not cumulative. Cervelli has been better than Navarro for the last 2 years but Navarro’s WAR line is way above Cervelli’s. It’s hard to tell that Cervelli has been better the last 2 years the way it is laid out.

    • Mister Delaware

      And career graphs can be misleading if a guy had an outlier/career year early on.

    • radnom

      Came here to say exactly this.

      Good article, poor choice in graphs.

  • KeithK

    I suspect that the Dodgers tried to evaluate Russell Martin alone without really considering the alternatives. They figured that with his recent struggles and hip surgery he wouldn’t be worth the $4-5M he’d get in arbitration and cut him loose. Suddenly without a catcher they needed to get someone on the free market and fell into the “established veteran” trap. It’s an especially dangerous trap when talking about catchers because you have the difficult to quantify “works well with the pitching staff” factor.

  • camilo Gerardo

    montero will blow rOd out of the water!

    • Tom Zig

      hmmmmm I don’t know what to say to this one.

  • Canyon of Blueshirts

    One of these days, I really need to learn what WAR is

    • pete

      “Wins Above Replacement”.

      It’s a metric that tallies the runs created on offense and saved on defense based on context-neutral performance (i.e., runs that would have been created/saved in a completely average situation), and then translates those run totals into “win” totals, such that one win = ~10 runs, because 10 runs randomly distributed across a season will typically lead to a one-win gain.

  • bexarama

    The Dodgers are a fucking mess.

    • CS Yankee

      Only because of the ownership & front office.

      Farm system has always produced, the fans and market are unreal in a great way. I would much rather own them than the majority of other teams (Royals, Pirates, etc).

      But yes, your statement is mostly true.