Re: Sox desperately need 4th starter more proven than Bard
posted at 1/5/2012 2:02 PM EST
Projections are fine, but I really think that after Beltre's deal is all done, when we look back, we will see that AGon did better. However, just comparing the two is not looking at the whole picture. Keeping Youk at first might have helped lessen injuries and missed time (missed offense), and certainly would have saved us runs on defense (assuming health).
If we really want to go back and ask "what ifs?" The clear "what if" do over would have been Crawford. I'm not basing this on his 2011 performance, I said at the time we were "overpaying him by over $50M", that he was nothing more than a "glorified platoon player, and that is contract would "cripple us for 7 years".
Without CC, we could have made many choices, including...
Trade for AGon and sign VMart and Beltre (Do not take Papi's option). We'd have had this set-up:
C- VMart 134 (Salty/Vtek 28)
1B- AGon 110/Youk 52
3B- Beltre 110/Youk 52
DH- Youk 50/AGon 46/Beltre 46/VMart 20
When Youk walks after 2013, VMart slides to DH.
Chances are with injuries, VMart could DH or play 1B more often before 2014.
Don't trade for AGon (maybe trade Kelly & Rizzo for pitching instead)
Sign Beltre, VMart, a pitcher & Berkman
I'll admit, I liked the AGon deal, but at the time I stated two reservations:
1) Moving Youk to 3B would hurt our defense and increase the chance he'd miss time with injuries.
2) 1Bmen are plentiful and there really isn't a great differential between the 3rd best 1Bman in MLB and the 10th best, or the 5th best vs the 15th best, or the 10th best vs the 20th best, etc... Do you really gain a lot by paying over $20M for a top 3-5 1Bman over using that money elsewhere and finding (or keeping Youk at 1B) a cheaper #7-14 1Bman? (see below) Many argued that the offensive gain of having Youk at 3B vs the average 3Bman would offset the defensive loss, but we had just come off of a pretty incredible 2010 offensive 3B season with Beltre.
A look at comparative OPS at 3B over a 3 year span:
1) Pujols 1.007
2) Miggy 1.005
3) Votto .983
4) Prince .956
5) AGon .940
6) Youk .922
7) Koner .908
8) Berkm .889
9) Napoli .883
10) Teix .877
11) How .877
12) Morn .864
14) DLee .844
20) Lind .797
25) Huff .788
30) Kotch .718
(The lits doesn't include some guys who were hurt such as Morneau, K. Morales, etc... and guys like VMart & Berkman who can play 1B.)
As you can see, the differential between great and good 1Bmen is not that much. Paying $20+M for that slight gain may not be cost effective, especially if it create defensive losses, positional logjam* issues, or injury problems elsewhere.
(*Getting AGon caused there to be no slot for Papi to play in NL parks.)