Nov
17

The Anti-Cliff Lee

By

Nearly a full twelve months after the Yankees watched Cliff Lee spurn New York and depart from Texas for Broad Street in Philadelphia, they find themselves yet again eyeing a big name free agent starting pitcher. This year’s premium talent is lefty C.J. Wilson, and he’s reportedly seeking six years and $120m, a hefty sum for a pitcher with just two years of experience as a starter in the major leagues. Aside from the fact that he’s a lefty from the Rangers seeking big money, Wilson really is the polar opposite of Lee. In a lot of ways, C.J. Wilson is everything that Cliff Lee was not.

The easiest place to start is their performance. Cliff Lee is a savant when it comes to control, while Wilson is one of the most wild starters in baseball. In the last two years, only three people have walked more batters than C.J. Wilson’s total of 167 (Gio Gonzalez, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Ryan Dempster). Not even A.J. Burnett has walked as many as Wilson over this span. By comparison, in the two years prior to hitting free agency, Lee walked a mere 61 batters, tied for the lowest amongst any pitcher with at least 200 innings pitched. Their career walk rates (Wilson 3.75 BB/9, Lee 2.15, but not higher than 2.00 since 2007) really drive the point home.

Wilson and Lee are also very different in their personalities and home lives. Based on what I could gather from watching the way Lee handled his negotiations and subsequent press conferences, he seems to be a very laid back guy. He’s from Arkansas, not just geographically but also in the sense that it’s his home. It’s where he’s from. Like a smart husband, Lee also placed a very high premium on the wishes of his wife and family when choosing a new team. The positive experience his wife and kids had in Philadelphia went a long way towards convincing him to stay. By comparison, Wilson is a hipster from California, to put it bluntly. He tweets with the best of them, he’s outspoken on political issues, and he’s gregarious. He’s also not married, a factor which he emphasized when talking about his pending free agency. Wilson’s a free bird, limited only by his suitors.

There’s also the interest factor. It’s hard to know how much Lee really likes New York and would have been happy playing here. Personally, I never got the sense that he was dying to spend his off-days in Central Park and go out to dinner in SoHo, but that’s just post hoc explanation. Like a lot of free agents in high demand, Lee made the Yankees, and several other teams, fly down to Arkansas to pitch him on a new deal. By comparison, Wilson seems to want to play in New York, or at least have the Yankees bid up his price. He even had his agent ask the Yankees if C.J. could come to New York and visit the Yankees to discuss a new contract. After the way the Lee negotiations went, it’s almost refreshing.

But here’s the rub, and here’s where their greatest dissimilarity stands out most prominently. As of this morning, the Yankees still hadn’t gotten back to Wilson’s agent to let him know if they want him to come meet with them. Unlike Cliff Lee, over whom the Yankees front office and fan base nearly salivated, no one in New York seems to want C.J., certainly not at any price. No one seems to be clamoring to open the vault in the Bronx for the Texas lefty. Perhaps this and all the other differences between Wilson and Lee will create a commonality between the two after all: hitting free agency only to end up in a new home other than New York.

Categories : Musings
  • Lou

    Cliff Lee jinx

    • Gerald Williams

      TIME OUT!

      Wilson is much better than any of our current pitchers besides CC. Considering that all the Yankees have to do is open up their wallets and get a solid number 2, why not? This is a much better option than trading Montero/Banuelos/Betances for a pitcher. He’s the best pitcher on the market (we have no idea what Darvish will do IF he’s even posted) and is a rather large upgrade. Just go get him!

      PS I’m so glad we didn’t sign Lee. He was a back injury waiting to happen.

      • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

        Because he appears likely to morph into AJ Burnett, or even worse, Barry Zito

  • Steve (different one)

    In other words, if only Wilson was as good as Lee…sigh

    • Dennis

      they do both have the same amount of rings.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        Zing.

      • Johnny O

        same amount as jeff weaver. and A-rod.

        • craig

          uhhh…no.

          • Johnny O

            holy brain fart. for some reason i thought lee and wilson each had 1. then i forgot that lee’s ring was from the preseason predictions and wilson’s is still one out away.

            sorry, i was drinking heavily last night.

            • MannyGeee

              yes, their rings is right next to AGons and Crawfords…

            • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

              One strike away, twice, no less, regarding Wilson.

      • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

        It’s all about the rings, right?! I mean Luis Sojo has five world series rings while A-Rod has just one. That means Luis Sojo is better!

        In football, Rohan Davey has Two Super Bowl rings while Peyton Manning only has one. That means Rohan Davey is better than Peyton Manning!

        It’s all about the wins, and it’s all about the rings!

        • Chris in Maine

          Right now, Rohan Davey IS better than Peyton Manning…

          • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

            That’s not the point. Who the hell knows what Rohan Davey is doing these days.

            • MannyGeee

              hes doing it upright, without a dog cone around his neck… so there’s that.

  • craig

    It would be interesting if the Yankees offered 4/$60 and he took it. Won’t ever happen on either side, but at that price & length, I would be okay with him.

    • Holy Ghost

      If signed, on paper atleast, he would be the Yankees’ second best starter so I doubt that he would sign for less than what the Yankees gave AJ.

  • CP

    This year’s premium talent is lefty C.J. Wilson, and he’s reportedly seeking six years and $120m, a hefty sum for a pitcher with just two years of experience as a starter in the major leagues.

    Cliff Lee only had three seasons as a quality starter, and people weren’t questioning the offers he got.

    • BR

      Big difference. Lee turned into an elite pitcher. Wilson turned into a good pitcher, not even close to elite, and certainly not worth $20M per year…

      • CP

        But the argument made was based on the time that he was a quality starter. Not his performance during that time.

      • MannyGeee

        this. compare the bodies of work…

    • JobaWockeeZ

      He’s had elite walk rates since his transformaiton. Pitchers like that age nicely. People like CJ Wilson, not as much.

  • Mike K

    I think as with many things Darvish is the fly in the ointment. Everyone is going to wait and see what happens with Yu. After that, Wilson will heat up. I won’t be surprised if the Yankees accept Wilson’s offer shortly, just to keep the lines of communication open. But until Darvish is done, I don’t expect any serious offers for Wilson.

    • Holy Ghost

      I like the idea of going after Darvish but I don’t like this posting fee business. I don’t think spending 100 million(estimated posting fee plus estimated contract) on someone with no ML experience can really be justified.

      With that said, there’s no guarantee that he’ll post this year. Perhaps he’ll wait til he’s a free agent to make his debut in the US.

  • RetroRob

    I guess if he’s the true anti-Lee, then he will end up signing with the Yankees.

  • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Alex Taffet

    That difference between their pitching style is one of the main reasons I am weary of a long-term deal for Wilson. Sure, Lee will be deep into his 30′s at the end of his contract, but as a strict command and control guy, his decline in stuff should not be a death warrant. For C.J., unless he can develop better command, I can see the last couple years of his contract being pretty ugly.

    • CP

      I disagree to some extent. With Lee, he already has exceptional control so as his stuff diminishes, what will he compensate with? Most pitchers will improve their command and control as they get older, which balances their decline in pure stuff.

      • Mike HC

        That worked out great with AJ, ha.

  • craig

    “If signed, on paper at least, he would be the Yankees’ second best starter so I doubt that he would sign for less than what the Yankees gave AJ.”

    This mindset has to stop. AJ signed his contract at a different point in time, with a team having prospects much further away from the majors and it has nothing to do with their situation right now. If you want to be picky, salaries for most workers have been flat (or actually regressed) from 2007, which just adds more credence to the “player A got X, so player B must get X++. I don’t want to get into the particulars about AJ, but he is not a parallel I would use. Each FA is unique.

    “Cliff Lee only had three seasons as a quality starter, and people weren’t questioning the offers he got.”

    Cliff Lee had 3 dominant seasons that blew away anything that CJ has ever done. The doubts about CJ are real and valid.

    • craig

      *less credence*

    • MannyGeee

      welllllll… i think its a perfect parallel.

      In 2009, AJ Burnett was the second best FA pitcher on the market (not “in hindsight”, he was STILL better than all… http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.c.....gents.html). he got the 2nd best deal that season.

      CJ is either the best or 2nd best (depending on how YU feel)… he should be paid as such. He will NOT sign for less than AJ did.

      Hes not getting his money for his place in his future rotation, hes getting his money based on the supply and demand on the market.

      • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

        Right on.

    • Holy Ghost

      “This mindset has to stop. AJ signed his contract at a different point in time, with a team having prospects much further away from the majors and it has nothing to do with their situation right now.”

      Really? If you’re Wilson’s agent, how can you not ask for equal to or more than what Lowe, Lackey and AJ got? 15-16 million per season seems to be the current rate for second-tier free-agent.

      Wilson is the top second-tier free agent this year. He certainly is out of his mind if he expects to get 120 million from any team but 4 yrs 60 to 70 million or 5 yrs / 80 to 90 million seems to be in the range of what other pitchers of his caliber have been getting.

      I’d be content with the Yankees offering CJ 4/65

      • craig

        I don’t care what CJ’s agent will ask for. I am talking about how a team (and fans, to a certain extent) should view FA’s. Because one player signed a bad deal, that doesn’t mean everyone else should too. Because free agency is not about getting someone for market value, it is about bidding higher and longer than everyone else (most of the time), you end up almost never getting fair value for FA’s. That said, too many people regurgitate the lines from agents that justify why a certain player should get some outrageous deal. I am simply saying that that is not only overly simplistic, but that it is patently false.

        Each winter teams have different needs and different levels of seriousness about those needs. Because of this + the nature of free agency, each FA situation is a new and unique snapshot in time. Therefore, if you think CJ should get 6/$100, then he should get it because a team is in a unique situation where they desperately need to add a starting pitcher, they have little to no resources to get this starter via internal promotions or trades and because they are willing to take the plunge and overpay for a player and make the highest and longest bid.

        This is completely different than, CJ is better than AJ so he should get more $ or CJ should get more money and years than player X because he is the 2nd best FA pitcher this year. These are false arguments that cloud the issue and should not factor into the discussion.

        Smart organizations operate on the first example (despite what it may seem at times) and fans, agents and writers operate on the second example.

        • Holy Ghost

          The point that you haven’t quite touched on the ‘leverage’ issue.

          CJ is negotiating from the standpoint of being ‘the’ top free agent pitcher for 2011.

          The Yanks are negotiating from the point of needing one more starter who could give them 200 innings and/or 15 wins.

          CJ isn’t the only available pitcher that could meet the Yanks’ need so they aren’t desperate and are unlikely to be the top bidder for Wilson.

          But the starting point for FA bidding on Wilson isn’t going to be whatever the Yankees want it to be. It’s going to be comparable second-tier free agent pitchers. The most recent comparables being Lowe, AJ, and Lackey…

          • MannyGeee

            this, and we keep blaming AJ for signing a contract that was on par for his place in the market (again, it was CC, AJ, and a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong drop off to Derek Lowe/Carl Pavano/Odalis Perez/John Smoltz/Mark Prior)…

          • craig

            And along those lines, the Yankees are probably looking at it and saying that:

            1. We paid AJ more than we wanted to 3 years ago because we were more desperate, we had no one in the minors ready to pitch in the majors and couldn’t make trade for a similar player.

            2. AJ’s contract isn’t a good value. The deal was made out of necessity, so there is no need to repeat that “mistake” now.

            3. CJ may be a 2nd tier FA, but it doesn’t mean the starting point is the top range for 2nd tier pitchers. We are going to offer X to play here and that is it…take it or leave it. We have other options.

            4. The contracts to AJ and Lackey look terrible from a long term standpoint, so I wouldn’t rush to repeat a mistake. Why not say, CJ is better than Zito, so he should get more $ than Zito. This argument is ridiculous.

            • Holy Ghost

              “4. The contracts to AJ and Lackey look terrible from a long term standpoint, so I wouldn’t rush to repeat a mistake. Why not say, CJ is better than Zito, so he should get more $ than Zito. This argument is ridiculous.”

              Zito was an elite pitcher when he signed his contract with the Giants so he got elite pitcher money.

              Wilson is a #1 starter on the Rangers. He’d be a #2 starter on most teams including the Yankees and he will likely get #2 starter money. Maybe not from the Yankees but he certainly has the leverage to get a contract of equal to greater value than AJ/Lackey’s contracts….

    • Bandwagon fan

      Are you Ted Nelson?

  • John Ya Ya

    A six-year deal for a 31 year old pitcher is a bit scary, especially when we don’t know if he can handle pitching in NY or not.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      Like most people here, I’m not too keen on signing him either, but it’s for neither of those reasons.

    • MannyGeee

      A six-year deal for an overweight pitcher is a bit scary, especially when we don’t know if he can handle pitching in NY or not.

      fixed… 2009 style.

    • Kiko Jones

      +1

      • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

        -2

        • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

          +2

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    Can you imagine the cries of foul if Lee had signed with the Yankees and then blew up in the second game of the LCS. Yankee fans would be yelling for a trade.

  • Dave B

    I could envision a scenario where the Yankees’ plan is to sign Wilson and unload Burnett. I can’t see both these guys in the 2012 rotation, and I also think the Yanks would be banking on Rothschild helping Wilson drive down his walks, which is his forte.

    I don’t think any rational fan would say that Wilson is as big a question mark as Burnett. The guy has had two very good seasons with stats comparable to CC’s in that timeframe, and Burnett has had two relatively atrocious seasons. Wilson is definitely an upgrade, and if they got rid of Burnett the rotation could be CC, Wilson, Nova, Hughes, Garcia/Noesi/other rookie. I wouldn’t be too worried about their starting pitching with that rotation.

    • Jose M. Vazquez..

      I could accept that except that he is asking for 20 mil per year. I do not think he is in that category yet.

      • Dave B

        I agree, but don’t think anyone will give him that much money,not even the Yankees.

    • MannyGeee

      I don’t think any rational fan would say that Wilson is as big a question mark as Burnett.

      ~~~~

      I don’t think any rational fan would say that a converted reliever who has been a good starter for 2 seasons is as big as a question mark as a guy who has been hit or miss (OK alot more miss than hit) for the past 4 years. and has also given 4 seasons of 200 +IP.

      wait, what?

  • http://rlyw.net njasdjdh

    There’s something funny about the fact that no one wants to sign CJ for “just money” but is willing to deal significant prospects to acquire Cole Hamels when there’s not much evidence Hamels is definitively better…

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      Here’s just a few reasons why Cole Hamels is better.

      1. He’s younger. Hamels is 27 (Turns 28 in December) and Wilson is 31 (His birthday is tomorrow).

      2. Hamels is in his prime while Wilson may not have a whole lot of prime years left like Hamels should have.

      3. Hamels is not as wild (walk wise) as Wilson. In their careers Hamels has a 2.3 BB/9 while Wilson has a 3.8 BB/9. Also, in the last two seasons, Wilson has the fourth most total walks (167) in MLB.

      • Jon Targaryen

        Not to mention his much longer track record

    • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig Maduro

      Wilson won’t just cost money. He’s going to cost a first round draft pick as well. Say what you want about the long odds of first round picks making it to The Show, but it is another factor that works against guys like Wilson (in the fans’ eye at least).

      • http://rlyw.net njasdjdh

        That is a good point and something I did forget about. However, I believe Wilson is good enough that I wouldn’t worry about it with him. I would with the Rafael Sorianos of the world.

  • cranky

    Wilson’s a good pitcher. But no realistic person thinks he’s a #1 guy on a contending team. And NO team is going to give him $120m. That might not yet be apparent to Wilson. But it will be.
    That said, I don’t think there’s any reason at all to conclude that the Yankees aren’t interested in his services. To the contrary, I think they’re VERY interested.
    There would be nothing wrong with giving Wilson a five year deal. He has accumulated–relatively speaking–less wear and tear on his arm than most 31 year-olds. And, at 35 at the end of a five-year contract, he still wouldn’t be “old.” But his relatively brief track record makes any team wary of giving him a long-term commitment.
    If I were Brian Cashman, I’d make CJ an offer, just because CJ IS is a good pitcher and I’d need pitching.
    But the offer would be something like this: 3 years/$50m, with 2 team option years at $20m each.
    And I’d keep it mind that Mark Buehrle is more of a “sure thing” AND that I’ve got a few kids in my farm system–Manny Banuelos, Bryan Mitchell, Matt Tracy, Dellin Betances–who could be really, really good ML pitchers sometime over the next couple of seasons.

    • Steve

      This has to stop. You know why people think he is a number one on a contending team? Because he is. His team has contended for a world series two years in a row with him as a number one.

      • Tom

        And here I was thinking Cliff Lee pitched for Texas the previous year…

  • http://rlyw.net njasdjdh

    Wilson’s a good pitcher. But no realistic person thinks he’s a #1 guy on a contending team.

    Someone should really tell this to the ’11 Texas Rangers.

    Hamels is not as wild (walk wise) as Wilson. In their careers Hamels has a 2.3 BB/9 while Wilson has a 3.8 BB/9. Also, in the last two seasons, Wilson has the fourth most total walks (167) in MLB.

    Considering Wilson pitches deep into games, I’m not sure what the relevance of his seasonal walk total is. For all his superior walk totals, Cole Hamels has never had a season as good as Wilson’s ’11. Over the last 2 years Wilson has averaged 214 IP and a 142 ERA+. Cole Hamels is at 212 and 136.

    I am willing to admit that I can kind of see why people may be worried because Wilson has been a starter for only 2 years, however to imply he’s been anything other than one of the handful of BEST PITCHERS IN BASEBALL in those two years is disingenuous at best.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      Hamels does pitch deep into games. Over the last two seasons Hamels averages 6.58 IP per start while Wilson averages 6.37. Hamels actually pitches deeper into games than Wilson, but the difference is pretty marginal so it doesn’t matter a whole lot to argue back and forth on. Hamels not only pitches deep into games, but he walks a lot less than Wilson does.

      • http://rlyw.net njasdjdh

        The reference to Wilson’s IP was more about the initial comparison the author made to AJ than it was about Hamels. I recognize Hamels does a good job of that as well. I’m not sure why it matters that Hamels walks less guys than Wilson does if Wilson’s overall peripheral performance is still really good (which it is).

        • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

          It does matter that Hamels walks less batters than Wilson because it makes it a little easier to predict future performance, although nothing is guaranteed. I’m not saying C.J Wilson is Oliver Perez wild or anything, all I’m saying is that Hamels is not as wild, which matters.

          • http://rlyw.net njasdjdh

            Can you please provide a link to the study where it shows pitchers with better walk rates are easier to project? I have never heard of such thing and so I’d like to get up to speed.

            • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

              Logic.

              • http://rlyw.net njasdjdh

                I think something is wrong with the hyperlink in your post, can you just post the URL?

                • MannyGeee
                • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                  Good God, give it up. Anyone who thinks walks don’t matter is just flat out silly.

                  • http://rlyw.net njasdjdh

                    Nice strawman. I never said walks don’t matter. Walks matter, but Wilson counteracts his higher than ideal walk rate by striking guys out and keeping the ball in the park.

                    • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig Maduro

                      So does Hamels. A few more HR than Wilson, but the low walk rate suppresses some of that damage.

          • Holy Ghost

            In your comparison, you didn’t note the glaring difference that Hamels pitches in the NL. Even if his peripherals are a slightly better than Wilson’s how much is due to the fact that most of his games are in the NL where the #9 hitter is usually the pitcher?

            I personally would rather sign Wilson than give up prospects for Hamels…

            • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

              The whole AL vs NL thing is valid, but people tend to take it a little too far. I’m sure Hamels would be just fine in the AL.

              • Holy Ghost

                The DH thing doesn’t make a huge difference for most pitchers but it does indeed seem to make a difference.

                • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                  I doubt it will for a guy like Hamels.

                  • Holy Ghost

                    Perhaps but when comparing AL and NL pitchers with similar or close numbers head to head it’s important to keep that difference in mind.

                  • Holy Ghost

                    Perhaps but when comparing AL and NL pitchers with similar or close numbers head to head it’s important to keep that difference in mind.

            • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

              I would give up any position player the Yankees have for Hamels plus draft picks in a second for Hamels on a long term contract.

              • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

                Plus Jesus.

                • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

                  Well you can’t trade draft picks so that’s out. You’d be okay with Cano and Montero for Hamels? Seems excessive.

    • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

      Hamels >>> Wilson

      Hamels has averaged 200 innings a year for the past 5 years. Wilson has had a ton of injury problems his career.

      Also, define “handful of BEST PITCHERS IN BASEBALL”

      Is he in the top ten?

      Pitchers I would take easily over Wilson no argument and who have clearly been better the past two years: Verlander, Sabathia, Halladay, Lincecum, Lester, King Felix, Lee, Price, Kershaw, Jered Weaver.

      That’s 10. So he’s not in the top 10.

      Well where does he fall?

      I’d also argue that Zach Greinke, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Jaime Garcia, and Cole Hamels are better pitchers and will have much better upside the next 5 years.

      So where does CJ fit?

      He’s in the pack of pitchers that incluees Gio Gonzalez, Matt Cain, Matt Garza and John Danks who have been modestly successful but are simply not dominant, have iffy peripherals, and are questionable to succeed in the AL East.

      I’d take CJ as a #3 starter with #3 money, but not as a #1 or #2. The basic truth is that you have to argue really hard to make the case that he is is likely to be one of 20 best starters in baseball the next 5 years his performance the last two years notwithstanding his injury history.

      • MannyGeee

        any other year, I agree. but he is the best of whats around this season.

        See: Pavano, Carl

        The other reason that CJ scares the shit outta me

      • http://rlyw.net njasdjdh

        IP and ERA+ over the last two years for every pitcher named:

        Verlander 475.1 IP 145 ERA+
        Sabathia 475 IP 141 ERA+
        Halladay 484.1 IP 166 ERA+
        Lincecum 429.1 IP 121 ERA+
        Lester 399.2 IP 128 ERA+
        Felix 483.1 IP 137 ERA+
        Lee 445 IP 146 ERA+
        Price 433 IP 122 ERA+
        Kershaw 437.2 147 ERA+
        Weaver 460 IP 144 ERA+

        So, he’s clearly been better than Lincecum, Lester and Price

        Greinke 391.2 IP 101 ERA+
        Shields 452.2 IP 98 ERA+
        Hellickson 225.1 IP 124 ERA+
        Garcia 374 IP 115 ERA+
        Hamels 424 IP 136 ERA+

        He’s been HUGELY better than 4 of your 5 here and slightly better than the 5th (Hamels).

        • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

          I wasn’t making an argument for who had a better ERA+ over the past two years.

          I am saying that the pitchers in my top 10 are all better than Wilson: I’d rather have them on my team.

          Anyone starting an expansion team tomorrow would take Lincecum, Price, or Lester over Wilson in a second.

          In terms of Greinke, Shields, Hellickson, Garcia, and Hamels, I would also take them all over CJ, not because of ERA+ or WAR over the past two years, but because they have performed at a very high level and have the potential to be dominant #1 starters the next 5 years.

          Jose Bautista had two nice years but he’s not Albert Pugols or Adrian Gonzalez. I wouldn’t give the guy a $250 million contract.

          • http://rlyw.net njasdjdh

            I am saying that the pitchers in my top 10 are all better than Wilson: I’d rather have them on my team.

            Do you have any factual evidence to back up your assertion?

            Anyone starting an expansion team tomorrow would take Lincecum, Price, or Lester over Wilson in a second.

            I might take Price over Wilson, but I don’t see the case for Lester or Lincecum at all. You are aware that Lincecum’s K rate has dropped like 3 or 4 years in a row right?

            Jose Bautista had two nice years but he’s not Albert Pugols or Adrian Gonzalez. I wouldn’t give the guy a $250 million contract.

            If he projects to perform better going forward (and I’m not sure, but I think he does) why wouldn’t you?

            • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

              It’s funny how you completely disregard age. Just pretend it’s not even a factor at all…

              • http://rlyw.net njasdjdh

                a.) Where have I disregarded age? Age would be the only thing preventing me from easily picking Wilson over Price.

                b.) Unless my memory is off, all the studies I’ve seen indicate that age is less important for pitchers than it is for hitters.

                • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                  You’ve disregarded age the entire time. Taking Lester and Lincecum over Wilson is absurd.

                  Lester and Lincecum are both younger than Wilson, have a longer track record than Wilson as a starter, look at their respective last two seasons:

                  Lester: 63 starts, 6.34 IP/start, 3.36/3.47/3.39 e/f/x
                  9.17 K/9, 3.56 BB/9, 0.77 HR/9

                  Lincecum: 66 starts, 6.5 IP/start, 3.08/3.16/3.22 e/f/x
                  9.45 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 0.69 HR/9

                  Wilson: 67 starts, 6.37 IP/start, 3.14/3.39/3.72 e/f/x
                  7.92 K/9, 3.52 BB/9, 0.55 HR/9

                  Basically, when you compare all the stats, they’re basically a wash. The reason you take Lincecum and Lester over Wilson is because both Lincecum and Lester are younger and have a longer track record as starters than Wilson.

                  • http://rlyw.net njasdjdh

                    You seem to be disregarding park effects.

                    • Tom

                      You seem to not understand advanced stats… the “x” is xFIP (which is park independent and uses a league average HR/DB rate)… and oddly this is where Wilson trails by the largest margin.

                      And while you mention considering park…. at what point does Wilson pitching 40% of his innings against the vaunted SEA, OAK and ANA offenses over the last 2 years come into the discussion? (~176 of his 427 innings were against these teams)

              • Holy Ghost

                Age is a factor in terms of the duration of the contract.

                It shouldn’t be a factor in annual salary. He can and probably will get 15 to 17 million per season. I doubt that any team will offer more than 5 years. I’d be perfectly content with the Yankees signing him for 4 years…

                • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

                  He’s not going to sign for 4. It will take at least 5 years.

                  • Holy Ghost

                    If he thinks he can get 6 years and 120 million he should go for it. If he’s not signed with anyone by mid-December, he’ll probably lower his asking price.

            • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

              All of the pitchers in my top ten are better than Wilson based on either:

              1) Being at a high level over a significantly longer number of years, or

              2) Being extremely dominant over a short period, and being young.

              Verlander, Sabathia, Halladay, Lincecum, Lee and Felix have all been dominant pitchers with longer track records and have been generally healthy.

              Kershaw and Weaver have been flat out better and are younger.

              I think with Price there is a question of whether he will be dominant or just very good. I think it is hard to say where he ends up. But given age, track record, and lack of injuries I still like him better than Wilson.

              Jon Lester’s stats are slightly less impressive and he’s on the margins of being elite. Still he’s been good for 200 innings a year in a very tough setting. And he’s 3 years younger.

              Again, if Wilson had 4 or 5 years at the level he is at, I might put him up there. But he’s had only two years. And he’s had injuries. And he walks a lot of people.

              Are people worried about Lincecum’s K rate? He’s still better than 9K/9 innings

              I don’t think he’s a bad pitcher, I just don’t want to bet $120 million on him being a dominant pitcher.

  • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

    CJ is the Jayson Werth of this year’s free agent class. He’s at the head of a mediocre class. He’s pitched well two years, but there are serious questions about whether he can maintain that performance given some poor peripherals and a worrisome injury history.

    In fact, I think he would be the perfect accompaniment to Werth in Washington DC. Drop $250 million for two only above average players.

    Seriously though, it only takes on team to give him a big money contract for him to do it. No way he signs 4/60. Minimum will be AJ or Lackey money.

  • http://rlyw.net njasdjdh

    He’s pitched well two years, but there are serious questions about whether he can maintain that performance given some poor peripherals and a worrisome injury history

    He does not have poor peripherals. fWAR is peripheral based and he’s the 9th best pitcher in baseball by that system over the last two years. And as for the injury history, I may be wrong, but I don’t believe he’s missed any real time related to an injury in 3+ years.

    • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

      Ugh.

      I hate WAR as a stat.

      So last year CJ was better than Jered Weaver?

      CC was better than Verlander?

      Doug Fister was just as good as Weaver?

      Brandon McCarthy was just as good as James Shields?

      It’s a crappy stat. Please please stop using it.

      • http://rlyw.net njasdjdh

        I hate fWAR, but it is peripheral based and posters were attempting to make the argument that Wilson’s peripherals are scary. My point was merely that even by the measure that would put him in the worst light, peripheral based valuation, he still ranks as one of the 10 best pitchers in baseball these last two years.

      • thenamestsam

        Why is it a crappy stat? Because it ranks pitchers who you think are better below pitchers you think are worse? I’m just curious.

        • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

          WAR is a pretty complicated statistical model.

          It purports to give you a value for how many wins a player will offer compared to a replacement player.

          Fine. Great idea.

          My question is, what is the methodology that goes into creating that number and does it actually measure what it says it’s measuring?

          Whenever you create a complicated statistical model you make all sorts of decisions about what to add and what to take out and how much different things are important. All these choices profoundly effect your results.

          Making a model is more of an art than a science (I am an epidemiologist).

          For example, FIP plays a big part in pitching WAR and I hate FIP as an isolated metric because it assumes all balls hit in play are the same.

          A pitcher can have a high or low WAR because of the biases of the model.

          For example WAR says Doug Fister was just as good as Jered Weaver last year. Both had WAR of 5.6. Also, in case you weren’t aware, CC Sabathia had a better year than Justin Verlander. So says WAR.

          When you look at the output of your model, and get wacky results, you have to ask yourself is it a good model?

          The people who make the models will always say their models are great.

          I don’t think WAR has been vetted. I think that <1% who think WAR is a useful stat actually understand the model well (myself included).

          I really don't understand what WAR adds when we have excellent stats that make perfect sense and measure things clearly like ERA+ and wOBA.

          What I would ask people who like WAR is, why do they like it? Because it "measures everything"? Without knowing the technical specifics of how you calculate "wins" you really have no idea what it is measuring.

          • FIPster Doofus

            If WAR is flawed – and I agree that it is – then so is ERA+.

          • thenamestsam

            You seem to be confusing WAR and the components which make up certain versions of WAR. WAR is a framework which values players by adding up their offensive and defensive values above replacement level players at their positions. To say that FIP is part of WAR is incorrect, FIP is the way that fangraphs chooses to calculate pitchers runs saved relative to replacement level for their version of WAR. If you don’t like FIP, rWAR uses a different pitching component in their version.

            As for your other critique, that it gets “wacky results” I would ask: “Wacky relative to what?” Why are you confident that Doug Fister wasn’t as good as Jered Weaver last year? If it’s just because you heard a lot of people say that Jered Weaver is better, or because he looked better, you should proabably think about how accurate those measures are before critiquing WAR on that basis.

            As for what WAR adds, you hit it on the head when you said it measures everything. It may not be perfect, and it certainly shouldn’t be treated as gospel, but the ability to compare two players based on their overall contributions makes comparing players easier. Say we’re comparing Brett Gardner and Jose Bautista. JBats is clearly the better hitter, Brett is clearly the better fielder and baserunner. Who’s the better player? To answer that we need to be able to measure the relative worth of their advantages. Without WAR you’d be purely speculating if you said “I think Bats’ advantage with the stick outweighs Brett’s advantage with the glove”. With WAR I can say that as close to definitively as the current quality of offensive and defensive metrics allow.

            • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

              “With WAR I can say that as close to definitively as the current quality of offensive and defensive metrics allow.”

              I think you’re missing the point.

              Fine. Great idea idea to be able to compare players with one be-all and end-all statistic. I get that.

              But that’s not the question. The question is, does WAR actually properly value the total value of a player? The devil is in the details.

              What is the methodology that you are using?

              How do you value defense compared to offense?

              How is it that you compute defensive and offensive value?

              When you build a model this complex you are making innumerable choices that will inevitably bias your model in certain ways.

              If you understand and are able to articulate what your model biases are, how it valuates certain parameters and weighs them, well fine.

              But again, I’ll maintain that <1% of people who think WAR is great actually understand the nuts and bolts of how it is computed (myself included).

              And I'm fine with a statistical model coming up with counterintuitive results. However, if a model comes up with improbable valuations: i.e. Sabathia had a better year than Verlander, and you are an advocate for a model, you should be able to explain why this is a valid finding, because Sabathia-Verlander finding on its face appears invalid.

              Just because a model purports to do something well, it doesn't mean it actually does that.

              In epidemiology people come up with all sorts of models that purport to show different things. Some of the models are good and some are lousy. However, as a general rule the people making the model will say that it is great.

              So until someone can explain to me how Verlander had a better season than CC, I'll maintain my position. WAR is crappo. The fact that a model comes up with unexpected results doesn't validate it. Quite the opposite.

              • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

                Just as an example of what I’m talking about (in terms of “choices” in building your model), the appropriate comparison group is probably not a replacement player.

                For example, there are about dozen offensively outstanding first baseman in MLB. A reasonably good offensive first basement (compared to a replacement player) can easily be had. So should we value a first baseman compared to a replacement player or should we compare the first baseman to the league average?

                In comparison, a second basemen who is excellent offensively is relatively rare, and the added offense is not only much higher than a replacement player but also much higher than the league average.

                By using “replacement players” as opposed to the average player in the league you are biasing your model towards making the contributions of an offensively excellent first basemen look better than they are, compared to the same scenario for a second baseman.

                This was an arbitrary decision that was made in making the model.

                WAR, by design, places a very low value on relief pitchers. Mariano “the greatest ever” Rivera is worth about 2.5 wins a year over a replacement.

                Is that really what Rivera is worth? Are we all idiots and Rivera’s annual contribution to Yankee success is about the same as Craig Counsell’s contribution to the 2009 Brewers?

                I just don’t buy it. Even if the reason for putting the model together is a great idea, if the model is crap, then the results are crap, no matter what the intention.

                People with PhD’s spend years putting together models that are much less complicated and often don’t end up being happy with the results.

                WAR has been embraced with a degree of enthusiasm that is totally unjustified, and the reflex response when WAR comes up with a crazy result is, “Well how do you know that WAR is wrong, just because all of the other statistics say something else and your eyes tell you something different. It can’t be WAR that is mistaken.”

                If you’re going to defend WAR, you have to be able to explain why its methodology (not the intent of the model) is showing a valid finding.

                If you can explain to me why CC was better than Verlander last year and Mariano is worth 2.5 wins a year over a replacement, please do that.

                • thenamestsam

                  This is a bit of a late response obviously, but your whole CC was better than Verlander thing is a total strawman, because again you’re not distinguishing between WAR the framework and certain versions of WAR. But to address it, by fWAR he was because that uses FIP and CC had much worse results on balls in play. FIP makes the assumption that balls in play are entirely out of the control of the pitcher. rWAR uses a slightly RA/9 to calculate pitching wins, which assumes players have total control over their balls in play. By that stat Verlander crushed CC. Personally for pitchers I like to take a blend of the two, because pitchers probably have some measure of control over their balls in play, but not total. I’m interested in what makes you so sure that Verlander was, in fact, far superior. Did you watch every one of his starts closely, or are you sure its true because ESPN kept saying it?

                  As for relievers, I love Mo as much as the next Yankees fan, but we clearly all have a blind spot when it comes to him, and I think most people are coming to the realization that dominant relievers are just not that valuable relative to other positions. The Phillies just locked up the 2nd best reliever out there for 4 years and 50 million dollars and got made fun of on this website and many others. So yes, it seems like most people except that dominant relievers should be paid at about 2-2.5 wins a year.

          • Bandwagon fan

            Epidimiology is not statistics.

  • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com Eric

    “By comparison, Wilson is a hipster from California, to put it bluntly.”

    Dealbreaker, right Stephen?

    • MannyGeee

      ‘You call that a hipster? Let me show you a hipster….’

      – Barry Zito

      • Tom

        Ziti? I laugh at his hippiness!

        - Little Timmy

  • Rainbow Connection

    I also see on wikipedia that he is ‘Taoist’ and ‘straight-edge’, unless nomaas added those.

    • MannyGeee

      nomaas bloggers woulda just called him something anti-semetic or homophobic

  • http://rlyw.net njasdjdh

    So does Hamels. A few more HR than Wilson, but the low walk rate suppresses some of that damage.

    I never said Hamels doesn’t do this. For the record, I think Hamels and Wilson are interchangeable in terms of quality. I would probably be willing to spend more on Hamels because he does have the longer track record and because I’ve had a mancrush on him since the time he struck out Jeter, A-Rod and someone else I can’t remember in ST almost a decade ago. All I’m trying to say is that people are underrating Wilson’s performance record.

    • FIPster Doofus

      Wilson’s previous two years were excellent, and I agree that people are underrating what he accomplished in those seasons. But he’s a 31-year-old with control issues and a limited track record of success as a starter. Wariness is warranted as far as signing him to a mega-deal is concerned.

      I think he merits a Burnett-type contract, and nothing more. And I don’t really want the Yankees to give him said contract because of the issues listed above.

      • Holy Ghost

        “I think he merits a Burnett-type contract, and nothing more. And I don’t really want the Yankees to give him said contract because of the issues listed above.”

        I think most people agree with the above. I really don’t believe that there’s a team out there willing to offer him 6 and 120. He might touch 100 million but I can’t see him getting much more than that.

      • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

        I’d have no problem with CJ getting AJ/Lackey money to be a Yankee.

        If Wilson could be had for 80/5-ish, and you are signing him as your #3 starter that would be fine.

        However, that would be the low end of what people have been saying he will get.

        For that to happen for the Yankees a lot of teams will have to take a pass on him, and I can’t see someone (Angels, Rangers, Nationals) not getting stupid and giving him close to $100 million.

        • http://rlyw.net njasdjdh

          From Carig’s column today:

          Wilson is reportedly seeking a six-year deal for $90 million