If you read the Monday Rockpile last week, you'll probably remember where I talked about the need for the Rockies to acquire one more legitimate starter and one more quality bullpen arm to push the young hurlers, who have yet to gain traction at the major league level, back to AAA in Colorado Springs.
Well, in less than a week, the team accomplished both. Last Tuesday, the Rockies acquired Brett Anderson giving them a projected rotation of Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa, Tyler Chatwood, the aforementioned Anderson, and Juan Nicasio. Then, before the week was out, the club also landed lefty Boone Logan to nail down the back of bullpen. This move makes the Rockies projected relief core Logan, Rex Brothers, LaTroy Hawkins, Matt Belisle, Adam Ottovino, Wilton Lopez, and Josh Outman.
Not only are those dozen arms pretty decent, but they also push Jordan Lyles, Christian Friedrich, Chad Bettis, Tommy Kahnle, and Rob Scahill a couple of hours down I-25 as discussed last week. Now these guys are likely to represent a first line of defense against injury and ineffectiveness instead of being part of the 25 man roster from the starting gate.This creates a buffer from having to call on the Collin McHughs and Jeff Manships of the world later in the season. Not a big enough buffer if the injury bug really comes to bite with unusual ferocity, but certainly a buffer.
While all of this is good news, the price tag on the Boone Logan signing ($16.5 million over three years) has me uneasy. I see a solid reliever with both strengths and weaknesses, but not one that's necessarily worth that type of contract unless he continues to improve. Let's dig a little deeper on Logan.
1) His K/9 numbers have been on the rise for four consecutive seasons.
In fact, if we just take the last three seasons, Logan has a K/9 of 10.9, a BB/9 of 3.6, and a K/BB ratio of 3.04. When you compare that to his career K/BB ratio of 2.30, it's pretty clear that Logan is a more overpowering threat now than he was earlier in his career.
2) He's proven to be a very durable option that a manager can use often.
Over the last seven seasons, Logan has appeared in over 50 games six times, including a league leading 80 appearances back in 2012.
3) His four best seasons in terms of ERA, WHIP, and OPS against have all come in the last four seasons.
Before 2010, Logan never posted an ERA under 4.97. Since the start of the 2010 season, Logan has never posted an ERA over 3.74.
Before 2010, Logan never posted a WHIP under 1.68. Since the start of the 2010 season, Logan has never posted a WHIP above 1.37.
Before 2010, opposing hitters had an .838 OPS against Logan. Since the start of the 2010 season, opposing hitters only have a .710 OPS against Logan.
1) While he gets in a bunch of games, he doesn't rack up a bunch of innings.
Logan has never pitched more than 55.1 innings in a season and as a result he's never faced more than 239 hitters in a season. That makes the $5.5 million salary he'll be earning over the next three seasons extremely steep. Think about it this way. How good would a hitter have to be to give him $5.5 million a season when you only expect about 200 plate appearances out of him?
I know on thing, if I ask the question in reverse, the numbers Logan has held opposing hitters to are not worth $5.5 million for just a couple of hundred plate appearances a season. Well, unless they are replacing a couple hundred plate appearances by guys who likely would be well below average.
2) Logan is hittable for a guy who strikes out so many batters.
While it has gotten better in recent seasons, Logan's hits per nine innings numbers have always been underwhelming. Nothing terrible in recent seasons, but just enough so that he remains merely a pretty decent pitcher instead of an overpowering one.
Along these same lines, his ground ball rate is just average, so a move to Coors and its spacious outfield will probably only make him more hittable when guys put the ball in play against him.
3) The splits
Logan's splits are annoying. For his career he's been much better against left handed pitching, but in recent season's he's gotten his numbers against righties to a respectable level. In fact, this improvement against righties is largely responsible for many of his strengths listed above. The problem is that his splits leave you hanging in between a couple of rolls.
Logan's splits against left handed batters are good, but not good enough to justify making him a lefty specialist. At the same time, his numbers against righties are no longer terrible, but they're still just mediocre enough to limit his overall value as a reliever.
There's really no role you can use him in that really kicks up his value to the club. You're just king of stuck with what you have, which again is annoying..
4) He doesn't get out of jams like J.P. Howell.
If you do a simple Google news search for J.P. Howell, you'll find that all of the recent articles written about him still connect the lefty to the Rockies from about a day before they went a different direction and signed Logan. I guess I just don't understand what happened there and why they chose to go in a different direction. If Howell wanted even more money than Logan got, then I can see why the Rockies went this way, but if he signs a similar deal to this one, I'll be firmly in the camp that the Rockies bought the wrong item even though they went shopping at the correct store.
While both have positives and negatives, Howell's a guy I'd much rather have on the mound to get me out of a sticky spot. A full breakdown between these two players would require significantly more time than I have this morning, but I will touch on one of the stats I think it most telling.
In Boone Logan's four best seasons - his last four seasons - He's posted a winning percentage added (WPA) of just 0.22. Compare that to J.P Howell's four best seasons (2008, 2009, 2012, and 2013 as 2010 and 2011 were derailed by injuries), and you'll find that he was worth a WPA of 6.32. Even if you just take the career numbers of each pitcher in this stat, Howell has been worth 3.43 more WPA than Logan.
In other words, Howell is much, much better at coming into jams and working out of them. I've seen him do this time and time again and if I'm the opponent, I'd much rather face Logan in a bases loaded and two outs situation than Howell.
So to put a bow on this of some sort, I don't hate the Logan signing - especially since it adds pitching depth - but I just can't walk away from this feeling that the Rockies made the best deal possible. I know after what I wrote last week I probably sound like the kid who asked for Lincoln logs as a present and is now complaining that he got the "Horseshoe Hill Station" set instead of the "Classic Deluxe" box, but I just can't shake the feeling that we could have done a little better here with the type of money available.
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In a baseball note unrelated to the Rockies, there's something else I just have to get off my chest this morning. I was originally going to post it as a comment early in the weekend and then decided to ignore it concluding that I might be overreacting, but after thinking about it for 48 hours, I just keep getting madder and madder and madder.
The item I'm referring to that has a bee under my bonnet is Robinson Cano's comments regarding the Yankees seven year, $175 million offer which he turned down. The former New York second baseman called the offer.......wait for it......."disrespectful".
$175 million million over seven years!!! - Gee, I sure wish somebody would disrespect me like that.
Jackie Robinson, who probably knew a little something about people disrespecting him is likely rolling over in his grave right now knowing that a player named after him has now shifted the definition of "disrespectful" to being offered $175 million by your former club. Just how far do you have to have your head up your own tailpipe to believe that you are wonderful to the point where somebody offering you $175 million is considered disrespectful in your mind? I can't even wrap my brain around that.
Somebody being that out of touch with reality makes my skin crawl. Maybe Robinson can make a stop at one of the job fairs in this country and tell people who have been actively looking for work over the better part of the last year his sob story about how his former employer disrespected him with that $175 million offer. I'm sure he'll find unending sympathy.
If you've read this blog long enough, you know that there are few people on this Earth who dislike the Yankees more than I do, but even I think that the Yankees having to deal with comments about a $175 million offer being disrespectful is absolutely ridiculous! The Yankees were 100% right not to offer him a ten year deal, especially with how disastrous almost every other contract that compares to the one Seattle gave Cano turned out. The Yankees know this better than anyone.
I really thought Robinson Cano was smarter than this. I really thought he would take the Yankees offer and annoy the living daylights out of me producing for New York day in and day out for the rest of the decade. I really thought I would be reaching for a bucket in about ten years having to listen to the never ending nauseating tributes lifetime Yankee players get near the end of their career - But instead, I'm left here dumbfounded by the audacity Cano had to call New York's offer disrespectful.
If Cano would rather take more guaranteed money than stay with the same club his entire career and build up a legacy there, that's his right. It's the game we play in free agency. However, unless Cano is planning on buying an aircraft carrier after his career, I hardly think the Yankees wrecked his financial dreams with that offer. The idea of a $175 million offer being disrespectful is outrageous beyond belief.
Here's what's likely to happen now. By 2020, Robinson Cano will be entering his age 37 season with his production in decline and still $100 million left on his contract that now threatens to paralyze the Mariners organization. If the club has not produced a few successful seasons by then, the venom will be targeted at Cano, and he'll end his career as an overpaid former star who choked out the finances of a mid market team. In that environment, he'll probably run into a few situations where he'll be taught what disrespect is really about.
Tracy Ringolsby says the the Rockies should be optimistic about 2014.
A couple of Dodger infield notes. First, they brought back Juan Uribe on a two year $16 million deal. Second, the Cardinals are about to sign Mark Ellis, meaning the man who appeared in 126 games for the Dodgers in 2013 won't be playing second base for them again next season.