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Faster than a Delorean, the Toronto Blue Jays have come to terms with speedy outfielder Scott Podsednik on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.  Podsednik, who split last season with the Kansas City Royals and the Los Angeles Dodgers, could have been a Dodger again in 2011 but turned down a team option earlier in the off-season.

Scott Podsednik leads off from first during a game in Toronto April 21.

UPDATE February 17 @ 9:00 am:  Bio information added.

Podsednik tries to increase his lead off first base while his former Milwaukee Brewers teammate Lyle Overbay stays close to the bag.

Podsednik settles in at the plate.  He had a hit, a walk and a run scored as the Royals beat the Blue Jays 4-3 in extra innings.

The "Podfather" looks to extend his big league career to an eleventh season in Baseball North.  The 34 year-old outfielder was drafted by the Texas Rangers out of high school in his hometown of West, Texas in the third round of the 1994 amateur draft.  His stay in the Lone Star State was interrupted when he was sent to Florida for pitcher Bobby Witt after the 1995 season.  Podsednik would return to Texas after he was selected in the Rule 5 draft in 1997.  He never did get a cup of coffee with the Rangers so he left for Seattle after the 2000 campaign.

The left-handed hitting Podsednik got his first taste of the majors with the Mariners during their 116 win campaign in 2001.  He pinch-hit for former Blue Jay Ed Sprague and delivered a bases clearing triple for his first major league knock in his first at-bat against Arizona July 15.  That would be his only hit in six at-bats.  Podsednik saw a bit more playing time with the M's in 2002 and hit his first home run against Anaheim's Troy Percival September 28.  Half of his four hits and 40 percent of his RBI total came in that contest as he hit .200/.320/.350 in 25 plate appearances.  Podsednik would be picked up on waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers after the 2002 campaign.

Podsednik's career picked up steam with the Brew Crew in 2003 as he finished second in National League Rookie of the Year voting to Florida lefty Dontrelle Willis.  He batted .314/.379/.443 along with 29 doubles, eight triples, nine homers, 58 RBI and 43 stolen bases.  In 2004, Podsednik struggled with the bat to the tune of a .244/.313/.364 performance but he did belt a career high 12 homers.  He made his biggest impact on the basepaths by stealing a league leading 70 bases and was caught just 13 times.

The Chicago White Sox figured Podsednik could run like the wind so he went to the Windy City with reliever Luis Vizcaino for slugger Carlos Lee.  He rebounded with the bat with a .290/.351/.349 line and stole 59 bases to earn an All Star berth on the American League squad and he finished 12th in voting for  the AL's Most Valuable Player award.  After not hitting a home run in the regular season, Podsednik hit one in Game 1 of the ALDS as the White Sox swept the Red Sox in three straight.  His biggest post-season home run came in Game 2 of the World Series when he hit a walk-off home run off Brad Lidge to help the South Siders beat Houston 7-6.  Podsednik had at least one hit in all four games of the World Series as the Pale Hose swept the Astros to win their first title since 1917.  He also had six stolen bases in the playoffs and batted. 286 overall.

In 2006 and 2007, Podsednik's batting average dipped to .261 and .243 respectively with 40 of his 52 total steals coming in 2006.  A groin injury and a muscle strain contributed to his struggles in 2007, causing him to miss over two months.  Podsednik left the Windy City for Colorado in 2008 but hit just .253 with 12 stolen bases in 93 games.  He suffered a broken pinky finger that season which sidelined him for nearly a month. 

Podsednik came back to the White Sox in 2009 and hit .304 with 30 stolen bases.  However, Podsednik packed his bags again by signing with Kansas City in 2010 and hit .310 with 30 stolen bases before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers July 28 for catcher Lucas May and reliever Elisaul Pimentel.  He did not have the same impact in Dodger blue as he batted .262 with five steals.

Podsednik is a career. 279 hitter and has stolen 301 bases.  Turning 35 on March 18, he'll team up with fellow outfielder and new acquisition Rajai Davis to burn up the basepaths in 2011.

Great Scott! Podsednik Signs Minor League Deal With Toronto! | 88 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Ron - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 06:42 PM EST (#230354) #
We have our first Jays injury of ST. Jon Rauch twisted his ankle ........... while walking down a flight of stairs. He isn't expected to miss any games.

bpoz - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 06:59 PM EST (#230355) #
AA really loves depth. Scott P provides that in spades.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 07:47 PM EST (#230361) #
Podsednik is a good depth signing.  We'll see what happens with Bautista.
92-93 - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 08:11 PM EST (#230362) #
The reported 5/65m for Bautista would be an absolute travesty if it's five guaranteed years.
RhyZa - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 08:15 PM EST (#230363) #
Way too much.
Grasshopper - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 08:17 PM EST (#230364) #
too many years
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 08:22 PM EST (#230366) #
Travesty?  That seems strong.  Why don't we wait to see what the deal is?
Jdog - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 08:36 PM EST (#230368) #
Would welcome a 5 year/60 million dollar deal for Bautista who was one of the top 5 hitters in the league last year. Locks down a core player for the next few years at a reasonable price. Nothing about last year screams of being a fluke, if anything his BABIP was too low. I expect a good OBP possibly higher average and a little less power this coming season (40 Hr's). Everyone is so scared of long term deals but the fact is if you want to keep the kind of elite players you need to compete with the Yankees your going to need to take some long term risks....and 65 million is a moderate risk compared to what it costs to get a elite Free agent these days
SJE - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 08:49 PM EST (#230369) #
 5 years @ 65 millions seems high. But not bad if AA continues his trend with club options after years 3,and 4.
Thomas - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 09:45 PM EST (#230371) #
Rosenthal reports there is a club option for a 6th year, which seems to imply that the first five would be guaranteed. We'll have to wait for the initial announcement to be sure.

I think labelling it a travesty is silly. I would be much happier if it was 3 years with 2 or 3 option years at the end, but Bautista probably decided that if that was the alternate, he'd rather have taken a chance on hitting 30 homers in 2011 and cashing in as a free agent.
RhyZa - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 09:58 PM EST (#230372) #
Travesty or not, it's a surprising deal to me.
I'm trying to weigh the benefit of the massive and lengthy investment.  I guess it's in securing him and keeping him away from the Yanks or Sox, but quite the premium to pay.  As long as Rogers increases the payroll by x amount of dollars they committed above to what they would pay him at this payroll.  If he tanks to start, this is going to be tough on him.  After the Wells contract, I sure hope AA did his due diligence to make such a bold move.

timpinder - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 10:11 PM EST (#230374) #

This rumored Bautista deal scares the hell out of me.  AA managed to rid the Jays of Wells' $21 million/year contract that took him through age 35 but may sign a $15 million/year deal with Bautista that will take him through age 35?  At least Wells could play CF and had two very good seasons under his belt and some decent seasons in between.  If Bautista was 27 years old and had 2 or 3 good seasons under his belt that would be one thing, but I fear this contract, if signed, would come back to haunt the Jays.

I'll wait and see the official news, but I will be truly disappointed if the rumors are true.  Terrible signing if it happens.

timpinder - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 10:13 PM EST (#230375) #
Oh dear........I just did the math and realized Wells' deal averaged $18 million/year.  Not far off of Bautista's potential $15 million/year and both take these players well beyond their prime through age 35.  If this deal happens, I want some of whatever AA is taking. 
okbluejays - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 10:15 PM EST (#230376) #
Well, I suppose he did lead us to a 4th place finish in our division in his career year. 

I just don't think this was a risk the Jays needed to take.  We were better off keeping the team salary low, collecting young and cheap assets and waiting to spend the money until we have that nucleus of young, cheap players outplaying their contracts.  Now we risk a minor albatross of a contract, and for what?  We're not going to compete in the next few years anyways, and it's a real coin flip as to whether this deal helps or hurts near the back end.

My sense is that most fans already bought into AA's rebuild and were prepared to live with the growing pains of a young roster.  I wouldn't say this detracts from it but it was very unnecessary.

TamRa - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 10:37 PM EST (#230377) #
I really hesitate to comment on so little info, but i agree for the most part with Dave Cameron's take on Fangraphs.

I could modify that a bit to reflect my own thoughts but it would be such a small amount as to be pointless.

i think he covers it pretty well.

Certainly I'd refrain from words like "travisty"

greenfrog - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 10:39 PM EST (#230378) #
As I wrote yesterday, I would have drawn the line at 4 years / $44M. The deal as reported does seem excessive, but AA has demonstrated a lot of savvy thus far. The Jays appear to have a good scouting department and I'm sure they were heavily consulted. AA really seems to like athletic players, and Jose fits right in with that philosophy. Athletic, good outfielder, good makeup, very strong offensive performance over more than a full season, clubhouse leader...we'll see how it all plays out. If he really has become an elite player, then this is a solid deal.
Dave Till - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 10:45 PM EST (#230379) #
I think that the real questions here are: will Bautista's contract mean that the Jays have less available to spend elsewhere? And will Bautista wind up blocking a younger or better player?

My guess is that the answer to both of these questions is "no". The Jays not only don't have Wells's contract to deal with any more - they no longer have to pay for Roy Halladay, and B.J. Ryan's contract is now off the books too. The Jays have the second-lowest payroll in their division - before the signing (if it happens), their payroll was $20 million lower than Baltimore's, $100 million less than Boston's, and one squillion dollars less than the Yankees'. Saving money by developing young talent is a good idea, but the team needs to improve in any way that it can.

Bautista has a broad enough range of abilities that the risk is mitigated. He has excellent plate discipline, a good arm, and is at least passable at two decent skill positions. He likes playing here, and appears to be a positive influence in the clubhouse.

Besides, he hit 54 home runs last year. That was 15 more than anyone else in the AL, and 12 more than NL leader Albert Pujols. Even if you cut his total nearly in half - from 54 to 29 - he still would have made it on the leader board. Plus - if the Jays don't sign him, what are the odds that the Yankees or Red Sox would pick him up?

(As for Podsednik - he's probably better than Corey Patterson. And he's cheap. What the heck.)

rtcaino - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 10:51 PM EST (#230380) #
Travesty is an understatement!

This baseball contract is a sign that the end of days is upon us. We shall soon find out which religion was correct. I'll be in my bomb shelter.
greenfrog - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 11:02 PM EST (#230381) #
I like the Podsednik deal too. Adding speed and a career 340 OBP seems like a good combination for the Jays (team OBP last year: 312 / team SB/CS: 58/20). Not sure where all these outfielders are going to play, though. It looks increasingly like Bautista will be at 3B to start next season.
Glevin - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 11:04 PM EST (#230382) #
Calling this deal a travesty is simply absurd. I don't like it because I think it goes against what the Jays are generally trying to do in building a young, affordable club that will be in position to compete in a couple of years. However, it's not a terrible deal. This was as tough a situation as I've ever seen with a contract as no player has ever really been like Bautista and his career trajectory is impossible to predict. I just think five years is too risky.
okbluejays - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 11:09 PM EST (#230383) #
Unfortunately, cutting his home runs in half may not be a bad place to begin in terms of projecting Jose's stats going forward.  In the four years prior to this on his home run per fly ball rate was: 11.6%, 7.9%, 13.8% and 12.3%.  Last year it was 21.7%.  Those sorts of jumps happen from time to time but they scream for a regression.  Everyone was on the Aaron Hill bandwagon when his career best HR/FB ratio in 2009 (14.9%) led to 36 homers.  When it dropped back to 10.8% last year he was at a more sustainable 26 HRs (and yes there were other factors, including less games played).

Now, HR/FB rate is only one stat.  Bautista hit significantly more fly balls than at any time in his career last year which points to a change in approach at the plate.  So it's *possible* that we should forget about what his previous 2,000 plate appearances in the majors tell us about his true ability.  But 65 million over 5 years for a team like the Jays is a real risk.  With his poor ability to hit singles he pretty much needs to hit 30-35 HR at a minimum to justify the deal.  5 years of that?  Unlikely.

greenfrog - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 11:19 PM EST (#230384) #
I think the other X factor is that (as AA has noted) elite players are so hard to come by. Which means that IF Bautista has transmogrified into one, the Jays *really* need him around. On the other hand, if the two sides went to arbitration and Jose proceeded to launch another 40 HR this year while collecting 80+ walks, he would likely be gone to the highest bidder a la Jayson Werth, leaving the Jays to start sorting through the scrap heap all over again.
Jdog - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 11:23 PM EST (#230385) #
AA isn't trying to build a young affordable club. He said when he got the job that he didn't like the term rebuild. He wants to stock the system so we will continually have young elite talent coming up through the ranks, and this signing does nothing to interfere with that. These are not the Tampa Rays. We are a big market club and need to keep elite talent when we find it. I feel like we are getting a decent discount here simply because Jose is not as well established. I expect another big year from Jose this year
earlweaverfan - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 11:37 PM EST (#230386) #
The travesty is how quickly some of us are able to leap to conclusions without a trace of hard information to go by.

But let's consider the rumoured information as fact - $65 million over 5 years (an average of $13 million, not $15 million, timpinder). I see three possibilities, each roughly equal in likelihood:

A) Bautista delivers 5 years (or even 6) of >.950 OPS and the Jays pay an average of $13MM for that. By the way, this scenario includes the chance (discounted by almost everyone) that JB could actually repeat or get better next year. Either way, the technical word for this scenario is STEAL!!
B) Bautista regresses to an average OPS of, say, .850, but also brings his leadership among and with Latinos, and cements the Jays' reputation among potential recruits in that community. The technical phrase for that is moderately expensive, but a solid return on investment
C) JB flames out. The correct phrase in French is 'un beau risque'. In every portfolio that generates a high average return, there are some deals that lose big time. Nowhere is this deal as risky as Wells' deal turned out to be, or as expensive in the later years

Even better, under either A or B, Alex Anthopoulos has a further option of trading JB, when a better or equivalent option comes up from the minors. He would have no difficulty moving JB when he wants to, with this contract to pass on. Heck, I would not bet against AA in trading this contract under two years of scenario C!

If the rumoured terms are indeed the terms, I call this contract 'team-friendly'.
brent - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 11:45 PM EST (#230387) #
I think what we should be calling it is a "fair" contract. I can see this as a win-win for the player and the club. Bautista avoids the risk of having a down year and the Jays pay for a 3.5 WAR player ( + regressing).
stevieboy22 - Wednesday, February 16 2011 @ 11:48 PM EST (#230388) #
I didn't realize how important it is to everyone that Rogers saves 65 million over the next 5 years...
Maybe I should buy some shares, cause I have never been on a message board where shareholders get this angry over individual transactions...

But seriously, we kept a good player.. We are getting to a point with prospects where it doesn't make sense to overpay to bring them in, because you lose trade leverage when you have a glut of great young talent out of options being blocked all over the roster....

It's 13 mill a year... It's not gonna ruin the team if he goes back to being a stinker....

This is a guy who from the impression I get, is a real leader in bring together the Spanish speaking players and the American players... He even went as far as to call up free agents on AA's behalf to try and recruit... This is a good guy for the organization.. And probably a great player...

At the very least we kept a good player, so let's be happy!

cybercavalier - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 12:15 AM EST (#230390) #
One thing I don't realize is how Bautista's request for 10.5 million becomes 15 million per year in 5 years. Wouldn't the deal be 10.5 million per year for 5 years when the talk hadn't gone into arbitration?
Mylegacy - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 12:46 AM EST (#230391) #
I'm enjoying all these - "I'd have only payed..." "I'd have gone no more than 4..." etc., etc.

Anyone who's negotiated contracts for a living knows that ALL contracts contain the clauses you can't live without and the clauses you had to agree with to get the clauses you can't live without. Remember this - you NEVER get just what you want - you get an "agreement" a final product that both sides can live with - if you're lucky - both sides can still prosper.

As for Jose at 13 per year over five - I can live with that - we dumped an outfielder at 23 million per for one who most likely will give us better results for a cool 10 million per less. AND -  we got a closer thrown in as well. I can live with that.

One final thought - we're due. The Jays are definitely due for something to really go our way - and I think this contract will be the start of something big. Jose will hammer 45 big ones with over 100 rbi's. Combined with a Hill and Lind revival - and Mr Snider hitting 30+ bombs - we're going to be the surprise team of 2011. I can feel it! I need it! I'm gonna get it!!
Thomas - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 12:50 AM EST (#230392) #
One thing I don't realize is how Bautista's request for 10.5 million becomes 15 million per year in 5 years. Wouldn't the deal be 10.5 million per year for 5 years when the talk hadn't gone into arbitration?

Because arbitration awards aren't meant to approximate free agent salaries. In that sense Bautista's salary in his final year of arbitration eligibility is artificially depressed. Whether Bautista had won or lost his arbitration hearing, if he was a free agent after 2011 and would very likely be looking at a pay raise due to the fact 30 teams had the option on bidding on his services.

I am confused why some people think this rumoured signing is antithetical to the idea of having a team ready to contend in 2 years.

dan gordon - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 12:59 AM EST (#230393) #

Why do some people keep saying it's $15 million per season?  C'mon, the arithmetic isn't that hard.  65 divided by 5 is 13, not 15. 

I'm surprised it looks like it will be 5 years guaranteed, but I guess the alternative is to let him play the year at the arb award price and if he has another year of 40+ HR's the price would be over $20 million per season and he probably goes to the Yankees or Red Sox.  I guess you sometimes have to hold your nose and take the plunge.  I think they'll be OK with this deal - based on how consistent Bautista's 2010 numbers were with his late 2009 numbers, I think he's legitimately turned the corner.  Don't see him falling back to hitting like he did prior to the turnaround, but it will be interesting to see how much of the 2010 surge he retains.  Any guesses on what he does over the next 5 years? 

The Podsednik signing is a nice addition.  Would make a nice platoon partner with R. Davis in CF and gives some depth in case of injury.  Hope they don't intend to have Pods and Davis in the starting 9 too often.  You need more mash than that in the OF.

Wildrose - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 01:00 AM EST (#230394) #
Well this is why young Alex gets paid the big bucks. Difficult decision to make, either way you piss people off. Sign him and the pseudo experts complain you overpay. Let him walk and the fanboys go berserk because you may have lost your best player.

You know that the team has thought long and hard about this, they simply don't throw away dollars casually under this new management group. AA has been consistent in trying to obtain high ceiling type players and obviously they think Bautista may be this type of player.

No doubt this is rolling the dice, but I think this shows some skeptics that Rogers is willing to pay the price to try to run with the big dogs. We'll see if this all works out.
The_Game - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 01:15 AM EST (#230395) #
Just checking in to say, for posterity's sake, that I like this deal for the Jays. It's perfectly reasonable for Bautista's expected production and could be a bargain if Bautista comes even close to maintaining last year's level going forward.
China fan - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 04:02 AM EST (#230396) #

If it's a five-year contract for Bautista, this actually makes me a lot more optimistic about the future of the Jays, for several reasons:  1) it means that AA and his horde of a zillion scouts have pored over the video and studied the games and concluded that Bautista is the real deal, not a one-year wonder;  2) it reduces the chances that Bautista will be traded for prospects, which I had feared would happen;  3) it means that Rogers is willing to spend money, not simply dump contracts -- a pledge that Beeston made but was never tested until now;  4) given Bautista's age and the investment in his contract, it suggests that the Jays will try to contend in 2012, rather than 2013 or 2014 as some have suggested.  Those are all very good things.

On the Podsednik acquisition, I'm surprised that some people are dismissing him as a slightly better version of Corey Patterson, destined solely for the bench.  If that's the case, who are the starting players at RF, 3B and DH this year?  Jose Bautista is good, but he can't play two positions simultaneously.  Nor can Edwin Encarnacion.  No matter how you slice it, you need more than Bautista and Encarnacion to cover those three positions in the starting lineup.  So then, looking at the existing roster, if Podsednik is on the bench, you're assuming that Juan Rivera is at RF or DH.    Should we really assume that Anthopolous is hanging onto Rivera and his completely unneccessary salary?  It's clear that AA was forced to take back Rivera in the Wells trade -- he certainly didn't seek to acquire a guy with a .720 OPS and poor defence who is owed $5.25-million this year.  And you can't trade such an over-paid player for a superior RF or 3B -- there's no GM stupid enough to offer that.  So if Rivera is traded or dumped, it's basically for nothing.  Who, then, plays in the OF for the Jays this year?  Until now, we were assuming that Anthopolous was trying to acquire a 3B or OF to solve the lineup problem.  Unfortunately, it's only Podsednik so far, and time is running out, so at some point it becomes a lot more likely that Podsednik is more than a bench player.

brent - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 05:13 AM EST (#230397) #
Having Bautista being able to easily move to the outfield will be advantageous whenever Lawrie starts knocking on the door at 3rd base. It also opens the door for the team to get a look at him later in the season or whenever in 2012. You Bautista off the more demanding defensive position by the 3rd year of the contract and he settles into the outfield. There's a lot of value in a hitter that can decently play something other than 1st base or left field.
85bluejay - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 06:48 AM EST (#230398) #

While I won't have done this deal, I'm not going to criticise it because I understand it - the Jays were in a no win situation either a 1 yr deal or this deal, I don't think Bautista would have settled for a 3/4 yr deal. The analysis by Dave Cameron at fangraphs probably best represent my view. The Jays also had to consider that both the Red Sox (who apparently tried to acquire him this offseason) and Yankees could be looking for RF next year and RH power is difficult to acquire. The jays with an increased emphasis in Latin America are probably viewing Bautista signing as a good anchor for that strategy

The best thing about this deal is that AA and crew having I assume done their due diligence have concluded that to the best of their knowledge Bautista season was not aided by PEDs which was a concern of mine.(Assumption)

I guess also that the FO is not that high on Moses Sierra ( and with good reason) - so if he has a good season it's likely he's trade bait - also not good news for my man Adam Loewen as one of Bautista/Lawrie is likely manning RF. 

92-93 - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 07:00 AM EST (#230399) #
Jose Bautista's best years are more likely to come at the front of this contract than at the back. If this team is in the position to be tossing around 5/65 for Bautista I have no idea why they traded Marcum & Wells and sat on the sidelines for every good FA. They should have used 2011 to evaluate Bautista as an asset, not jump the gun with a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately attitude, as JP Ricciardi was wont to do.

I'm still hoping the details in the report are inaccurate.
Thomas - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 07:57 AM EST (#230401) #
Jose Bautista's best years are more likely to come at the front of this contract than at the back.

That is true of basically every free agent contract signed.

If this team is in the position to be tossing around 5/65 for Bautista I have no idea why they traded Marcum & Wells and sat on the sidelines for every good FA.

They are paying Bautista $8 million per season less than Wells and he was better than Wells last season. Clearly there's risk in this extension for the club, but why should the team have kept an arguably inferior player for more money just because they signed an arguably better player for less money. The Jays have $8 million per season and Bautista and instead you'd rather have Wells? I think you're in the minority on that.

Marcum was traded because the team believed they have an excess of pitching and found the opportunity to acquire a talented hitting prospect.

They should have used 2011 to evaluate Bautista as an asset, not jump the gun with a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately attitude, as JP Ricciardi was wont to do.

Bautista told them, if that happened, he was going to test free agency, for which you can't blame him. If the Jays believed that was accurate, 2011 was going to be an opportunity for all 30 clubs in the majors to evaluate Bautista as an asset.

I'm still hoping the details in the report are inaccurate.

Well, everyone would love to see the last two years as club options but Bautista and his agent. However, if they are accurate, it isn't a disaster at all.

Thomas - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 08:50 AM EST (#230407) #
Back on the Podsednik front, he'll make $1 million if he makes the major league club. That's not unexpected, given his experience and history. It wasn't going to be a minor league deal paying him $500,000 if he played for the Jays.

It's still a good no-risk signing, as he's a better fit than Patterson offensively at least and the price is reasonable.
Ryan C - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 08:52 AM EST (#230408) #
According to Ken Rosenthal on Twitter, Podsednik will earn a salary of $1 million if he makes the major league team.
Forkball - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 08:57 AM EST (#230409) #
Bautista told them, if that happened, he was going to test free agency, for which you can't blame him. If the Jays believed that was accurate, 2011 was going to be an opportunity for all 30 clubs in the majors to evaluate Bautista as an asset.  From the FanGraphs article:
Dunn got 4/56, Martinez got 4/50, and Konerko got 3/37. In terms of annual average value, they were all right in the same range, and essentially in line with what Bautista just signed for as well. Konerko got the shorter deal because he was a little bit older than the rest, but I think we can safely say that Bautista would have been able to command a four year contract next winter had he followed up with a good 2011 season.

The biggest problem with Bautista is that he has such a drastic change in 2010 compared to the rest of his career.  The other factor is that he's in his 30s and going to be declining.  But declining from what?  What's his level of performance you're going off of?

The Jays seem to clearly be betting that 2010 was no fluke, or maybe more accurately, that his years prior to 2010 are not what they're anticipating going forward.  As the Fangraphs article points out, he needs to be a 3 win player when he was a 7 win player last year.  Even if he's 60% of 2010 he's worth the money and then some, as odd as that sounds.

Also, by signing a player for 5 years who's in his 30s seems to indicate that they're aiming to compete within 3 years, otherwise there's no real point to it.

And it's not like Bautista is going to be blocking anyone.  If the Jays let him go they're going to have a hole to fill.  And it's going to be a lot harder to fill that hole with a free agent - either a player that's not as good and/or a player that's more expensive.

The money isn't a big deal.  Even with this contract the Jays still have very little committed to players going forward.  And in 2015 it's possible that's just 10% of the payroll.

Going 5 years today seems a year too long to me.  However, barring a complete collapse 4 years (at least) next year as a FA would have been likely.  But there should be some sort of discount for that.  And maybe paying him as a 3 WAR player a year after being a 7 WAR player is that discount.

A little more risk than I would have wanted or expected, but nothing to go overboard about.
Forkball - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 09:02 AM EST (#230410) #
It's still a good no-risk signing, as he's a better fit than Patterson offensively at least and the price is reasonable.

Exactly.  The thought of Patterson as the 4th OF didn't exactly appeal to me, particularly if he got pressed into duty due to an injury.

But Podsednik sure made an error turning down his $2 million option from the Dodgers.
greenfrog - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 09:02 AM EST (#230411) #
Jose Bautista, career stats at Rogers Centre: 270/392/605 (in 565 PA)
timpinder - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 09:36 AM EST (#230414) #

Ah!  $13 million per year!  I didn't even think about it I think I just read $15 million and ran with it, my apologies.  I'm rather embarrassed now.  That contract doesn't seem as bad.

I wonder what position the Jays envisioned Bautista playing when they made that deal.  I'm assuming that 2012 and beyond would see Lawrie at 3B and Bautista in RF with Gose or Marasnick eventually replacing Davis in CF, though scouts have said that Lawrie might actually be better suited to RF than 3B.  We will see.

MatO - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 09:44 AM EST (#230415) #
Bautista is more likely to maintain decent productivity because he does something that is foreign to most current Jays and that's take a walk.  A big chunk of his value is not stuck in how high is BA is.
okbluejays - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 09:58 AM EST (#230416) #
He can be valuable and justify the contract with a low BA.  He essentially cannot justify the contract if he's not hitting at least 30 HR a year. 
Mike Green - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 09:59 AM EST (#230417) #
Right, MatO.  The operating assumption many people have is that Bautista hit 54 homers last year, and that is likely to hit many fewer in 2011 and in subsequent years.  In consequence, it is thought that he is likely to have much less value than he did in 2010.  I would attach a qualifier to that latter inference.  Bautista's BABIP last year was .233, much below his career average of .270 (the likely cause was a huge change in his GB/FB rate).  As a result, his batting average was .260 despite hitting all those homers while striking out not particularly often.  Bautista could, in my view, hold most of his 2010 offensive value in one of two ways: by continuing to hit homers at a prodigious rate, or by posting a higher BABIP and batting average while still hitting a considerable number of homers. 

A line of .285/.390/.540 rather than last year's .260/.379/.617 would be the outcome.  I am not saying that he should set out to do this (he probably should not change a thing), but pitching patterns may change in response to his displayed power and a line like this could result. 

ramone - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 10:09 AM EST (#230418) #

BP has a good take on the reported Bautista signing, the article is free not just for suscribers, they actually seem to approve of the deal by the end.


MatO - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 10:16 AM EST (#230420) #
Bautista could hit .230 and still have an OBP of .330.  While that's not worth $13M it's not terrible either.  When guys like Lind, Hill or Wells BA dropped their OBP's dropped off a cliff as well.  That's why Tampa was still good offensively last year despite most guys having off years.  They were for the most part willing to take a walk.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 10:25 AM EST (#230421) #
The BP article is interesting.  Before I read it, I had actually thought of Roger Maris as a comp for Bautista.  Maris' move from a bad organization to a good one occurred at a younger age, and he had achieved a higher level of performance with the hapless A's than Bautista had with the hapless Pirates.  I am actually a little more optimistic about Bautista's future; Maris had a lot to deal with psychologically when he hit the 61 homers and the hometown fans were not thrilled about it, to say the least.

BP has Bautista as an above-average defensive third baseman.  That sure isn't the consensus of the metrics, or of those who watch him.

#2JBrumfield - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 10:46 AM EST (#230423) #

The National Post has comments from Alex Anthopoulos on Podsednik...

“For right now, it’s to compete to win a spot on the bench.”

...and on contract negotiations.

“I’d rather do a deal a bit higher on the base salary and take out the incentives so a player doesn’t have to worry about those things. He can worry about winning.”
lexomatic - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 10:55 AM EST (#230424) #
One thing that I think could help with the value of this contract is having Bautista play at one position.  When he was younger (with the pirates) he was basically a UT guy , playing all over the field. That makes it hard to get comfortable and work out kinks. If he's more or less left at 3b for a few years, I could see him getting comfortable and being average-ish defensively (basically a little below).
People also keep forgetting that he basically averaged out to 25+ Hr's per full season before 2010. I don't think it's unreasonable to get s bunch of 250/350/500 30-35 HR seasons during this contract. What the Fangraphs article points out, is that the contract would be a win for the Jays with that level of production. I would not have gone so far as to guarantee 5 years, but I can live with this contract. Short of a bad injury, I can't see Bautista becoming useless, or meeting the reuired production. THe possibility that he far-outproduces the contract is also not inconceivable.

It might take a few days (I need to find the file on an old, disorganized computer)... but if anyone wants I'll dig out my Brock2 spreadsheet and see what is projected for the future. I'll run one prior to 2010, and one post.

John Northey - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 11:01 AM EST (#230425) #
Y'know, I'll have to see if I can put together the Brock2 system online sometime. I know it could be done so one could enter the data themselves and see it without having to go nuts hunting for a spreadsheet. Has anyone done this yet? What about 'favorite toy' and other tools?
Manhattan Mike - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 11:05 AM EST (#230426) #
"Ah! $13 million per year! I didn't even think about it I think I just read $15 million and ran with it, my apologies. I'm rather embarrassed now. That contract doesn't seem as bad."

Actually, I think you are closer to the $15m than the $13m number. The contract has to be viewed as a 4/55 extension, which works out to about $14m per season.

The reason: At most, Bautista was going to get slightly over $10m in 2011. So the Jays are effectively paying big dough for a player that has had a single career year over a relatively short period as mega-contracts go. This above-market contract appears to be good only in the sense that it is limited in the number of years that the Jays will have locked in the player. Which, come to think of it, was the argument that the Angels made in defending the Wells deal.

My bottom line is that I honestly don't know whether I'd rather have the Wells contract or the Bautista contract. And I think I'd much rather the Jays have a Dan Uggla or Adam Dunn locked in for the same money that they're paying Bautista. Bautista could regress by a greater degree than many of the pundits have suggested, making him a much bigger risk for the same money.
Ishai - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 11:19 AM EST (#230427) #
There's a joke:
A particular place in the world is suffering a catastrophic flood. In that place there is a religious man. As the flood waters rise, a boat comes by and they throw him a lifesaver. But he declines their help, saying, "God will save me." The flood waters rise, and the man is forced to the second floor of his house. Another boat, another lifesaver, another professing of faith in God. Finally, the man is on the roof, and a helicopter comes and lowers a rope. Over a megaphone they tell him to climb aboard. "No thank you. My faith in God is unshakeable. He will save me." The helicopterians feel disbelief, but there is no time for dilly dallying. Left alone, the religious man drowns. Pissed off, he gets to heaven and storms to God's throne. "Hey God! What the hell! I had faith in you; why didn't you save me?"

"I sent two boats and a helicopter. What more do you want?"

I am so relieved this deal happened. The worst case scenario is that Bautista is bad, the team wastes money, and everyone feels a little awkward. Even that is only really bad if that money is significantly stunting the teams ability to make other moves, which may or may not be the case. If the Blue Jays fall flat on their faces over the next couple years, then a bad contract isn't actually as bad, since they would have to rebuild anyways.

Now here are some of the numerous reasons this is a good deal:
If they had brought Bautista back on an arbitration deal, regardless of who won, then if he was having another amazing (or even very good) year, then it would become "a distraction" and he would probably be able to get Jayson Werth money (that's twice as much as the Jays paid). The only way to "win" with a one year deal when there was a possibility of extending a player is if that player is bad.
As has been said before: you need stellar players to win! If the knock on Bautista is that he is risky because he only has one stellar season, therefore we should consider turning him into prospects in one way or another is like trying to take over Asia at the beginning of the game. POOR RISK ASSESSMENT! Prospects are riskier than players who have had super success.
Jose Bautista is our lifeboat (here's hoping that EE becomes a helicopter). Take the damn thing! In order to win you need to be lucky and good, and part of being good is being able to see and capitalize on luck. How often does a bench player have a superstar level season? In order to acquire a player like JoBau (including the risk of failure to repeat high-level performance) on the open market, the Blue Jays would have had to spend more money. In order to acquire him on the trade market, they would have had to surrender assets.


Hodgie - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 11:38 AM EST (#230430) #
There is some risk in this contract but it is not tied to whether Bautista is able to replicate his numbers from 2010. At a $13M AAV, the Jays are not paying for a 7 WAR ceiling but rather a 3 WAR floor. The risk is how confident are they that his perceived new true talent has established that 3 WAR floor.

It would seem reasonable to assume that the Jays believe that his new true talent level far surpasses 3 WAR and that the "extra" money on top of what would have been his arbitration award is the cost of securing what they believe will be a below-market deal for a premium talent and not having to compete against the likes of NY and Boston for that talent on the open market.

Wildrose - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 11:42 AM EST (#230431) #
Wow. I'd have to say in terms of commentary Ishai has just hit one out of the yard.
92-93 - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 11:46 AM EST (#230432) #

They are paying Bautista $8 million per season less than Wells and he was better than Wells last season. Clearly there's risk in this extension for the club, but why should the team have kept an arguably inferior player for more money just because they signed an arguably better player for less money. The Jays have $8 million per season and Bautista and instead you'd rather have Wells? I think you're in the minority on that.

Nobody said anything about preferring Wells to Bautista. I prefer both. If the team is in the position to be making the same mistake it made with Vernon Wells (giving a market value deal to a FA one year before they have to), it makes no sense that they trade away their best pitcher and second best hitter from last year. And my issue with Bautista's contract isn't the money, as I'm the guy who is always whining for Rogers to spend more money - my issue is that AA destroyed Bautista's asset value the minute he offered him this extension.

Marcum was traded because the team believed they have an excess of pitching

If this is the case, woe is to us. Cliche as it may be, there's no such thing as excess pitching. I could buy the argument that it made sense to flip Marcum for a top prospect bat, but that was back when the Blue Jays were purging their roster of talent and clearly setting up the pieces for the future. Extending Bautista for 4 seasons though 1 year early runs counter to everything AA has done thus far, and makes my question the strength of his other moves.

If the Jays believed that was accurate, 2011 was going to be an opportunity for all 30 clubs in the majors to evaluate Bautista as an asset.

The other 30 clubs don't have the ability to trade Bautista at the deadline and don't receive 2 top draft picks if he leaves.

Bottom line - if AA was comfortable giving this extension to Bautista, he has to believe there's a market for him at that price. And if there is, he inherently passed up future value to the team just so he can get Bautista's name on a market-value contract - that's the exact same mistake that was made with Vernon Wells, and one this team isn't close enough to contending to be making.

John Northey - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 11:50 AM EST (#230433) #
In Toronto Bautista has been a 1.4 WAR and a 7.1 based on baseball-reference's stats. Outside of that he was a -1.7 total (Pittsburgh and first partial season here). Fangraphs has him as a 6.9 last year and 1.9 the year before plus -0.1 before that.

This deal could be a massive win for the Jays if Bautista is anything like he was in 2010. Given he seems to be a 1-2 WAR player pre-2010 it could be a loss (Fangraphs figures he'd need to be a 12 total WAR over 5 years to be worth it) but not a massive one for the Jays.

Funny, I felt it was too high at first, feeling $60 over 5 was pushing it, but in the end it will probably make AA look really good again in about a years time.
Moe - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 11:54 AM EST (#230434) #
I'm not that big of a fan of the deal.  It's not horrible because 13m is not going to cost as much flexibility as 23m do.  So even if Bautista turns out to be a 3-5m/year guy, it's not ruining the payroll.  However, I fail to see the upside.  Arbitration is anyone's guess, so just take the mid-point of 9m, the Jays buy 4 FA years for 56m.  For Bautista to top that, he would have to have another monster season.  Using a middle of the road prediction for next year, he should be in line for somewhere around 4/50 to 6/75.  The Jays assume a lot of risk for very little discount.

subculture - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 12:11 PM EST (#230435) #
  Though it's been mentioned here already, you have to think about how you would plan to replace JB without this extension.   You need elite bats to contend, especially in the AL East.  JB is the surest thing the Jays currently have to an elite bat.. he's already done it, and IMO is more likely to do it again than Lind or Hill (though I do expect improvement from those guys) or Snyder (whose ceiling may not match JB's 2010 year).   If you let JB walk, or trade him for youth, how do you replace that bat for 2012-2013?  A free agent with a proven history of being an elite bat will START at 18M, and likely comes without the versatility, defence, and perhaps some baggage (and also cost you a draft pick).  
Ishai - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 12:13 PM EST (#230436) #
I don't understand why people think a deal at this level would be an option next year if he comes close to replicating his performance from last year. Everyone knows the Jayson Werth deal was terrible. But when the bidding is opened up to all thirty teams, odds are there is one that is going to offer a terrible contract. And with Fat Albert as the big catch next season, you know there is going to be a team like the Angels this year that needs to make a desperation move to make their summer appear successful.

The fact that Bautista's career so far doesn't follow a normal formula that might allow for prognosticators to make confident projections will just add to his value next summer. Even if he has only an okay year in 2011 (or even if he gets injured), the echoes of 2010 will make it so that whatever team overpays him can sell the move to their fanbase. "Look what this guy is capable of." By waiting to sign him until next year the Blue Jays might have gained a little more information about what JoBau will do in the future, but they would definitely have had to overpay him significantly if they wanted to retain his services for the "window of contention."

And just in case anyone forgot: 54 HOME RUNS! 54!! And such a sweet swing!

onecent - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 12:16 PM EST (#230437) #
Podsednik (especially on a minor league deal) is a good signing for the Jays, more so than for most other teams, since he fits into their needs better. I see no reason to play Bautista in RF. People overplay the significance of his 12 OF assists. I think his value at 3B is no less and that is where the Jays have the greater need right now. In terms of the discussion of Patterson vs Podsednik, I don't think it comes down to that at all. They both enter spring training with jobs to lose - Podsednik, in a platoon with Rivera and Patterson as a back-up/platoon with Davis. If they don't perform in ST or one of the prospects impresses too much to not bring them up, then they can both be cheaply discarded. Podsednik is a left-handed hitter who has hit better against righties throughout his career, making him a natural platoon mate for Rivera, who is a right-handed hitter who has always hit better against lefties. In fact, if you look at their splits for 2010, as a platoon they could make a pretty interesting LF combo. The defense leaves much to be desired, but you take what you can get. The same argument for Davis (bats right) and Patterson (bats left), but with the addition that their plus defense makes up for Rivera and Podsednik. I see Bautista at 3B, Encarnacion at DH, Snider in RF, Davis/Patterson in CF, Rivera/Podsednik in LF and the rest, we all know.
Hodgie - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 12:17 PM EST (#230438) #
I suppose it is possible that in hindsight this contract will be at market value (or even worse) but I doubt very strongly that the Jays view it as such. For it to be a market value deal wouldn't Bautista's ceiling have to be viewed as a 2.5 WAR player on average for the next 5 years? It seems reasonable the the Jays believe that is not the case and the 2.5 WAR is actually his floor. Whether they are correct or not is another matter but based on that assumption I can understand the deal.

Further to that, why do people seem to assume that if they just wait a year they could sign him for $x/x years? They would not have any exclusive negotiating rights after the 2011 season and if the Jayson Werth signing provides any insight it would not take a duplication of his 2010 season to see an open market contract with an AAV approaching or over $20M. Anthopoulos has stated the Jays will have to take risks to compete in the East and this seems consistent with that philosophy. There is risk but it certainly seems reasonable to me.

okbluejays - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 12:38 PM EST (#230442) #

Obviously, if we went to arbitration with Bautista and he played out the year hitting 40 HR and solid defence we would not get him back on a 4 year, 13 million per year contract.  I don't know what he would command, though by comparison to Dunn he might not have gotten a lot more at age 31.  But I accept that he'd get more.

But even if that happens what do we lose?  We get the draft pick compensation and we continue with the rebuild.  Weigh that against the downside of the lost money if he really is more like the player he was for his first 2,000 plate appearances. 

If you accept that the Jays are going to have a payroll well north of 100 million when they're ready to compete then it's not such a bad gamble since we could absorb mediocre performance on that contract - particularly if he plays quality defence at 3B which is the key assumption on which BP bases its somewhat positive assessment of the deal.  I just think the deal is too risky on the back end when we might actually compete, and as a fan who has been in this for the long haul and is in it for the long haul, I really could care less if Bautista helps us win 83 vs. 80 games in 2011.  I want to win again.

Thomas - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 12:53 PM EST (#230444) # makes no sense that they trade away their best pitcher and second best hitter from last year. And my issue with Bautista's contract isn't the money, as I'm the guy who is always whining for Rogers to spend more money

If Vernon Wells hits like he did in 2007 or 2009, he isn't an asset at $23 million. It doesn't matter if the team's payroll is $80 or $140 million. An outfielder with a .700 OPS isn't worth $20+ million to the Yankees. As pleased as I was with Wells's production, I wouldn't want to bet $80 million on him repeating it (or $60 million or $40 million) for 4 years. You can whine for Rogers to spend more money and recognize Wells's contract was an albatross, whatever the team's payroll will sit at over the next four years.

If this is the case, woe is to us. Cliche as it may be, there's no such thing as excess pitching.

Excess pitching for shorthand for the fact that Jays believed that it would be better for the club to redistribute their assets by swapping pitching for hitting. Given the team's relative depth at pitching, Marcum's likely aging pattern and injury history, AA presumably felt it made sense to swap him for a 2B/3B/OF prospect, particularly given the system's lack of depth at 2B or 3B in the minors.

Extending Bautista for 4 seasons though 1 year early runs counter to everything AA has done thus far, and makes my question the strength of his other moves.

I don't think extending Bautista runs counter to everything AA has done at all. This simply doesn't follow.

The other 30 clubs don't have the ability to trade Bautista at the deadline and don't receive 2 top draft picks if he leaves.

Look, supplemental round picks are great for players like Barajas or John Buck. Supplemental round picks are usually not good return for a 35 homer pitcher. It is not good return to lose a star level player for the 40th and 56th overall picks. Sure, the Jays could have traded Bautista at the deadline, but that return will necessarily be limited by the fact that Bautista, if he is true to his word, would not have negotiated an extension with his new club.

one this team isn't close enough to contending to be making.

When do you think this club will be close enough to contend? There is nothing inconsistent with trading Marcum and Wells, signing Bautista and getting the club ready to contend in 2012 or more likely 2013. I don't understand your fascination with "future value," as whatever Bautista's future value is, it is limited by the amount of time he is under contract.

In fact, keeping Bautista is allows the team to contend in 2012 or 2013, as he will still be performing at whatever level he settles in at (acknowledging the risk about him repeating his performance). He is not that old and does not have a lot of wear on his body. Two supplemental draft picks in the 2012 draft, for example, will not be contributing in 2013. If they make it, they'll probably begin to contribute in 2014 or 2015.

Manhattan Mike - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 01:13 PM EST (#230446) #

No one argues that if he were to replicate his 2010 success in 2011, he'd be in for a big payday. But the team is overpaying for a player that has only had one good season.

If he gets hurt or massively regresses in 2011, there is no way that he'd be getting a 4 year deal at $14.5mln per season. That's simply not realistic.

So, yes, the Jays are overpaying for the unknown.

John Northey - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 01:20 PM EST (#230447) #
Dunn is an interesting comparison as he is about as opposite to Bautista at this point as you'll get.

Dunn: barely plays 1B defense, a born DH
Bautista: plays an acceptable 3B/RF emergency CF

Dunn: 7 years of 150+ games, 38-46 HR, 92-106 RBI, OPS+ of 130-146 except for one year at 114
Bautista: twice over 130 games, once over 16 HR, I could go on but we all know this part.

With Dunn you get a DH who hits 40 HR 100 RBI 135 OPS+ give or take about 5 OPS+ points.

With Bautista you get a guy who can play at multiple positions but have no idea if you are getting a 95 OPS+ (far worse than Dunn) or a 160 OPS+ (visibly better than Dunn) guy.

Bautista is the gamblers choice, Dunn the safe choice. If you are in the AL Central (as Dunn's new team is) then he is a good choice as 85 wins could do the trick there. In the AL East though you need lightning in a bottle to do it - slow and steady is not rewarded. High risk, high reward is required. Bautista is most definitely that.
CeeBee - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 01:23 PM EST (#230448) #
"Wow. I'd have to say in terms of commentary Ishai has just hit one out of the yard."
I'd have to agree with you.
BalzacChieftain - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 01:32 PM EST (#230450) #

Comments from Ken Rosenthal on the deal:

Uggla is far more proven, the only second baseman in history to hit 30 home runs in four consecutive seasons. Bautista, though, is a better and more versatile defender, capable of playing all three outfield positions as well as first, second and third base. He also has a more athletic frame than Uggla, and figures to age well....Bautista’s work ethic is impeccable. He cares deeply about winning. John Farrell, the Jays’ new manager, was impressed by how Bautista mentored top prospect Brett Lawrie at a recent mini-camp, knowing that Lawrie could take over at third base, Bautista’s preferred position.

Just awful fact-checking.  Bautista can play LF, CF, RF, 3B, 2B and 1B?  All this is news to me! And he prefers 3B over RF?  What, has Jose had a change of heart on this recently? No.


#2JBrumfield - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 01:58 PM EST (#230452) #

The National Post says the Jays will hold a press conference today at 5:00 pm Eastern to announce Bautista's new deal.

okbluejays - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 01:59 PM EST (#230453) #

Dunn is a useful comparison because he was a free agent this offseason coming off of a 3.9 WAR season.  He got 4 years at 14 million per year as a 31 year old.  If we had gone to arbitration with Bautista he would have been a free agent as a 31 year old.  If we assume Bautista is worth 9 million this year (i.e. the midpoint between arbitration numbers), the rest of the contract is the same years and total dollar value as Dunn.  Nobody thinks Bautista will repeat his 6.9 WAR season.  I think we would all be happy with a 3.9 WAR season out of Bautista and that's what Dunn had when he hit the market. 

They are different players in terms of their skill set and defensive value, but they each provide value to their teams in different ways.  The free market has assigned a value to the contribution that Dunn provides.  Dunn is the very definition of consistency (40 HR, 100 RBI).  I know we're not paying for Bautista to repeat 2010, but we're not discounting the risk in his projection a whole lot, compared to the value we could get out of free agents like Dunn assuming we let Bautista walk as a FA, take the picks, and sign someone else.

James W - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 02:00 PM EST (#230454) #
Bautista played RF, 3B, 1B and CF in 2010, LF in 2009 and 2B in 2008, so I would guess that's where Rosenthal got his facts.
Wildrose - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 02:01 PM EST (#230455) #
"So, yes, the Jays are overpaying for the unknown."

Or perhaps they are underpaying for the unknown.

Risk cuts both ways. If Bautista has another solid season in 2011 imagine how much the Red Sox would have paid for him to hit some of those moon shots over the Monster. Do you really want to be known as the idiot that let a potential star walk?

Honestly I have no idea what's going to transpire for this player in the future. I do know that the team has expert statistical analysts such as Tango and Rally on staff. They also have a whack of great scouts. At some point you have to trust the process and take some calculated risk.
Alex Obal - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 02:15 PM EST (#230462) #
Dunn is a bad comp. His BB/K took a nosedive last year, and no GM in baseball wants to be stuck on that ship when it sinks.

Martinez is a bad comp. He's a contact hitter whose value is tied to scarcity at a position he can't field. Poor man's Magglio Ordonez. Much less potential for marginal wins than Bautista.

Konerko is a great comp as a baseball player. Dead pull hitter in dead pull heaven. One problem: he's 35. For contract purposes, he and Bautista are apples and oranges.

Manhattan Mike - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 03:11 PM EST (#230484) #
"Or perhaps they are underpaying for the unknown. Risk cuts both ways. If Bautista has another solid season in 2011 imagine how much the Red Sox would have paid for him to hit some of those moon shots over the Monster. Do you really want to be known as the idiot that let a potential star walk?"

That depends entirely on your perception of what Bautista can earn on the open market IF (and that's a huge if) he repeats his 2010 line. Let's assume that, in this hypothetical, Bautista gets the same contract that Werth got from the Nats. Even then, no one is calling Ruben Amaro an idiot for letting Werth walk. Because the contract that Werth got - or that Bautista would get - is incredibly dumb.

The Jays are overpaying as much as $6m this season and millions more in the coming year for the privilege of being able to lock Bautista down to what amounts to a 4-year deal instead of a 7-year deal.
subculture - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 03:44 PM EST (#230492) #
The Jays are overpaying as much as $6m this season and millions more in the coming year for the privilege of being able to lock Bautista down to what amounts to a 4-year deal instead of a 7-year deal.
I'm not exactly sure what's meant by this... but if Bautista hits 40hrs, 110rbi, ops of 875+ and continues his strong defensive presence and leadership in 2011, his value in the free agent market would be more than Werth IMO.  Heck it might be closer to the 8yrs/200m rumoured for Pujols.  Especially after the Yanks fail to win this year :)
MLB union wouldn't even allow him at that point to consider a 'puny' 4-year deal, which is the biggest benefit of this contract.  It effectively pays JB for what will likely be his remaining productive years...  instead of being burdened with a typical back-loaded additional 3 awkward years.
Also regarding Konerko, Martinez and Dunn in relation to JB.... if you had to bet your $$$ today on who will be the most productive going forward, it would be hard for me not to pick JB.
92-93 - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 04:12 PM EST (#230497) #
Werth had been a 5 WAR player for 4 straight seasons heading into this offseason. Even if Bautista were to post similar slash stats to 2010 it's unlikely he even sniffs Werth's deal in what's shaping up to be a FA market filled with top-end talent. Adrian Beltre is the same age as Bautista will be next offseason, has a much better career track record, and is coming off a more valuable season according to WAR and even he didn't land himself Jayson Werth's contract.
China fan - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 04:12 PM EST (#230498) #

The National Post article on Podsednik (linked above by #2JBrumfield) is interesting, but the quote from AA is a little misleading, because he makes it very clear (further down in the same story) that Podsednik has a chance to beat out Rivera for a starting job.  Here is the relevant passage:   "If he excels, he could put pressure on a starter, Anthopoulos acknowledged.  Neither Snider, Davis nor Rivera have been promised starting jobs, and 'things can certainly change … We’re open-minded. We have to stay fluid,' Anthopoulos said."

There are also quotes from Anthopolous in the Star which suggest that Podsednik can win a job as a starter.  Here is the excerpt:  "Podsednik, who led the majors with 70 stolen bases in 2004, gives the Jays an option for a fourth outfielder, or a starter in one of the corner outfield positions .... 'Scott will come in to compete for a job, he’ll come in to compete for a spot (in the outfield) or as a bench player,' Anthopoulos said Wednesday night.   'He’s here to win a spot on the 25 man roster and if he does that, we’ll see from there.' ....  Given injuries, individual performances, and matchups, the outfield could shuffle from time to time to see Patterson in centre, Snider moving between the corner outfield positions, and Podsednik in left."

Another very plausible scenario is the one mentioned upthread by "onecent" who suggested that Podsednik and Rivera could platoon in LF.  If the Jays are unable to trade or dump Rivera, a platoon at LF is a very reasonable option.

Mick Doherty - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 04:28 PM EST (#230501) #

P.S. to #2J ... really, really nice piece to anchor the thread. You included many things I either never knew or had forgotten about Scooter Podsednik.

But really, "Great Scott!"?? Why not "Toronto takes on a Scott-ish brogue"? Why not? Because it's even worse? Oh, um, yeah ...

TamRa - Thursday, February 17 2011 @ 09:46 PM EST (#230521) #
I wish there was more commentary along the way that suggested the Jays would give Snider a hard look in RF. For no reason I can explain I just think he needs to be there.

Plus, if all the shlubs are in LF (Rivera, Pods, Patterson) then if Eric Thames rakes he might get a shot (or Mastro even, for that matter) with no one important in the way in LF

FranklyScarlet - Friday, February 18 2011 @ 08:14 AM EST (#230534) #
In today's National Post Farrell is firm that Snider is our leftfielder.  He suggests they will strongly consider going with 5 outfielders.
When Rivera gets a day off he may slide Davis over there and start Pods in center, assuming he makes the team.

Mike Green - Friday, February 18 2011 @ 08:56 AM EST (#230536) #
Today's print edition of the Globe and Mail has a profile of Don Wakamatsu, who is working with Arencibia, Jeroloman, d'Arnaud and Jimenez in spring training.  I am pleased to see that the club has included Jimenez in that group even though he is just out of Midwest League ball and hasn't received a huge amount of love from the prospect evaluators.
Mike Green - Friday, February 18 2011 @ 09:42 AM EST (#230539) #
Speaking of catchers, Baseball Prospectus had a superb article yesterday by Mike Fast on umpire strike zones and catcher set-up. 
China fan - Friday, February 18 2011 @ 10:44 AM EST (#230545) #
Five outfielders?  Makes sense on some levels (Patterson's defensive skills, the speed weapons of Davis and Podsednik, the need to avoid an over-reliance on Rivera) but it leaves the Jays lacking a power bat on the bench.  Of course they haven't really had a power bat on the bench for the past year or two, but I really liked the Matt Stairs option when he was on the roster -- and even the days when Jose Bautista was available on the bench....
Mike Green - Friday, February 18 2011 @ 11:04 AM EST (#230546) #
Podsednik and Patterson would fill the same niche, and there is a need for a good left-handed bat (ideally with at least medium-range pop) off the bench.  Another right-handed power bat would duplicate the talent already on hand. 

To give an example, Molina has the start and is facing a RHP.  In the seventh, the club is down 3-2 against the starter and Molina's spot comes up with a runner on and nobody out.  What you would like to do is bring on the good left-handed bat to pinch-hit and if the opposing manager counters with a LOOGY, you've got Arencibia waiting. 

Matthew E - Friday, February 18 2011 @ 11:26 AM EST (#230550) #
But then how are you going to get nine relievers onto the roster? Come on, guys, think before you type.
MatO - Friday, February 18 2011 @ 11:40 AM EST (#230551) #
I think they plan on going with only 8 fielders including the pitcher.  That way Bautista can bat more ofter to justify the contract, they can still have those pinch hitters available on the bench and carry 9 relievers!
#2JBrumfield - Friday, February 18 2011 @ 11:53 AM EST (#230553) #

I had Back to the Future on my mind but the best headline would have been "From Royal Blue to Dodger Blue to Blue Jay Blue, Voulez Vous - A-Ha!!  A missed opportunity for the Abba reference!!  Maybe we should go Rocky and Bullwinkle and have alternative titles for each thread.

Meantime, the Seattle Times catches up with Don Wakamatsu and here is the Globe article on Don Wakamatsu that I believe Mike "Color of Money" Green was referring to on the Jays new bench boss.

Great Scott! Podsednik Signs Minor League Deal With Toronto! | 88 comments | Create New Account
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