Jones’n a day late

by billfer on November 13, 2007 · 11 comments

in 2008 Season,Contracts,Trades

The Tigers make 2 moves, and my internet connection flakes out that night. As such, I’ll just wrap the analysis into one post. Before getting into the individual evaluations I wanted to note that with the Todd Jones signing, the Tigers payroll has eclipsed the $100 million mark. I have it pegged at $102 right now (not counting the relief the Cubs are sending in the Jacque Jones deal.

Todd Jones

I can definitely see some merit in this signing. It’s a one year deal and at $7 million it is certainly palatable – even if it’s over market value. With a healthy Zumaya, this deal makes all kinds of sense. The veteran comes back for one more year to help transition to the young gun. Trouble is, we don’t know now if that gun will be firing bullets or blanks or anything.

Because of the uncertainty surrounding Zumaya, I feel the Tigers should have gone after Francisco Cordero. The Tigers very well may end up in a situation where they will be looking for a free agent closer next year anyways if Zumaya can’t comeback or isn’t ready to assume closing responsibilities. In a year that the Tigers were clearly in “go for it” mode, getting a top shelf closer would have fit the bill. If Zumaya does come back, you have a pretty solid bullpen – especially as Fernando Rodney becomes a free agent in 2010.

Bill James projects Cordero to throw 61 innings with a FIP (fielding independent pitching) of 3.15. Assuming a league average FIP of 4.43 that would make Cordero worth about one more win than Todd Jones. Jones projects to a 3.77 FIP.

Still, Cordero isn’t a sure thing. He had a bad year in 2006 when he blew 11 saves. It’s probably an anomaly, but it’s out there. Also, Cordero would have wanted to come to the Tigers. It isn’t the laughable proposition it was 3 years ago, but there are no guarantees.

There is value in the Tigers moving quickly to fill a need. Plus Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland have a penchant for the familiar making them comfortable with Todd Jones. As for the $7 million, the Tigers probably overpaid. Jones is about one win above replacement level. Assuming a win in the free agent market is worth $4.4 million then Jones salary should be about $4.8 million (you need to add the major league minimum to the base).

As long as Todd Jones can continue to keep his slugging against south of .400, and if he can limit the walks, the should be okay in 2008.

Jacque Jones for Omar Infante

My initial reaction to this trade was that I liked it, and that has held up over the last day. I like Infante, and at age 25 there is a still a chance he could be a productive major league player. But it was clear that isn’t wasn’t going to happen for him here in Detroit. Plus he’ll be in his second year of arbitration. Plus, the Tigers have a couple players who could fill the utility role for cheap. So even though Infante may have some value to some club, he didn’t have a lot of value to the Tigers. That they got a real major leaguer in return is a coup.

That major leaguer of course is Jacque Jones. The stuff to like about Jones is that he is a solid defender who can play all 3 outfield positions. But his arm has him better suited to center of left. He’s also left handed, which is helpful for the Tigers.

If the Tigers deploy him as part of a platoon, they have the makings of an acceptable offensive outfield. Jones against righties has hit 294/342/483. Meanwhile Marcus Thames against lefties is 263/333/512. For a total cost of $5 million or so a combined 280/335/490 line would fit nicely in this lineup.

The concern with Jones of course is that his slugging fell off the map last year when he only hit 5 homers. It was a Sean Casey-ish year, but it wasn’t nearly as conspicuous as he played a large chunk in centerfield. Whether it was an anomaly or aging remains to be seen. It’s also worth noting that Jones posted the best walk to strikeout ratio of his career last year. For what it’s worth James projects a 278/332/433 line but without facing lefties he has a chance to better that.

So I give the trade a thumbs up. Still, I’ll miss Infante’s salsa at-bat music this season.

Other stuff

  • Craig Monroe is now a Minnesota Twin. Best of luck to Craig. He always has mashed in the Metrodome where he’s hit 305/351/520 for his career so this could be a good fit.
  • The Tigers completed the Roman Colon trade by acquiring Danny Christensen from the Royals. Christensen is left handed and 24. The former appears to be his most dominant trait. He struggled in AA last year as he gave up a ton of hits, 23 of them for homers in 140 innings.
 
 

{ 11 comments }

Joshua M. November 13, 2007 at 9:46 pm

Billfer, I am just curious because I havent heard a single thing about him but is Bartolo Colon washed up??? Seems like he would be worth taking a shot at as a veteran pitcher especially if we used him as a 4th or 5th starter. Plus if he is supposedly washed up wouldnt he be cheap to sign to a 1 year deal?
And what about Troy Percival as one of the relievers we sign in the bullpen?

Matt in Toledo November 13, 2007 at 10:00 pm

Dave Cameron at USS Mariner made a very compelling argument for that team picking him up. However, that was because the Ms already have a bunch of league average innings eaters and they can afford to take a risk with their fifth spot as a result. The Tigers don’t currently enjoy that luxury, so I wouldn’t look for a Bartolo signing in their future.

greg November 14, 2007 at 12:17 am

Even if Bartolo shows up healthy, he eats too many cheeseburgers and drinks too many milkshakes. If you could sign him for 500k fine, but obviously, that’s not going to happen.

I think Percival is a great idea, that kind of veteran presence in the bullpen would be huge, and if healthy, he can contribute on the mound as well.

Jeff M November 14, 2007 at 12:45 am

Still, I’ll miss Infante’s salsa at-bat music this season.

Christensen is left handed and 24. The former appears to be his most dominant trait.

This…. This right here is the icing on the cake. :-) You rock, Billfer.

Mike R November 14, 2007 at 1:41 am

I’m pretty much in line with your thinkings on these deals, billfer.

Ryan November 14, 2007 at 1:06 pm

Odd random thought: Would Jacque Jones and Ryan Raburn be enough to pry Jon Rauch from Washington? Seems like the Nats would want veteran insurance if Wily Mo doesn’t work out in right, and they sure need someone to move Felipe Lopez and his .650 OPS off the roster. With his relatively low salary, I think Jacque Jones’ greatest value may be in flipping him to an outfielder-desperate team in a month or two.

Mike R November 14, 2007 at 2:22 pm

I don’t think so at all. No one was able to pry him away at the deadline and Jim Bowden is notorious for having HUGE asking prices. Hence why Soriano never got dealt from Washington despite everyone knowing he was going to walk at the end of the year.

billfer November 14, 2007 at 10:25 pm

Joshua -

I agree with Matt’s sentiments on Colon. Still, I’d like to see the Tigers sign a Colon or a Wood for 5-6 million to go along with a more stable type starter.

Matt in Toledo November 14, 2007 at 10:30 pm

Billfer – That would be a great idea. I really hope they take a flier on at least one high risk, high reward guy that will come cheap so they can maybe stumble across this year’s Jeremy Guthrie.

Mike R November 14, 2007 at 11:23 pm

I agree with Matt’s sentiments on Colon. Still, I’d like to see the Tigers sign a Colon or a Wood for 5-6 million to go along with a more stable type starter

I agree with this, and Matt’s sentiments.

Mark L November 16, 2007 at 2:34 am

Not many have commented on this, but if they think Craig Monroe will have any revenge against the Tigers when they play us, they should think again. Honestly, he owes us for stinking so badly and that Leyland continued to trot him out to start in left field when he was so horrible. He ought to show a little honor and stink as badly against us this year as he stunk for us last year.

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