As the Rockies take the field tonight for the second of three games at home vs. the Diamondbacks, there is one question on the lips of many Rockies fans: what the heck are we going to get with Jose Contreras?
The 37-ish Cuban, acquired from the White Sox for Brandon Hynick, will take the mound tonight for the first time in a Rockies uniform and I am excited. Like I've mentioned before, I'm drinking the Contreras Kool-Aid.
I'll let RMN's excellent analysis of the Contreras acquisition speak for itself as to the Cuban's merits. However, I did touch on something in that article's comments that I'd like to expand on here.
I plugged Jose Contreras into the Trade Value Calculator (created by Sky Kalkman at Beyond the Boxscore) with a conservative estimate for four starts' worth of WAR given his production this season and the league change. This is what the spreadsheet kicked out:
|Year||Sal (M)||WAR||Val (M)||Net (M)||Sal (M)|
This is without the undisclosed amount of cash the White Sox gave to the Rockies as part of the trade. Let's assume for the sake of simplicity that Chicago contributed $1.2 million to the Rockies (this is likely), making Contreras an asset with net zero value for the Rockies.
According to Jon Sickels, Brandon Hynick grades out as a C pitching prospect that is over 23 years old, giving him a value of $1.5 million as a trade asset on the Kalkman scale. So the Rockies lost $1.5 million on this deal, right?
Well, the answer to that question is yes and no. Yes, the Rockies lost overall future value on that deal, but they gained present value. According to WAR, Contreras has pitched better than Aaron Cook this year (2.3-1.9), and in a harder league. In other words, this move represents not only an upgrade from Josh Fogg, Hynick, et al, the Rockies are now running out a fifth starter that has provided more value than Cook has.
This extra value very well could be the factor that propels the Rockies over the top and into the playoffs. According to Baseball Prospectus, a playoff berth is worth about $30 million in revenue to a team (which I can definitely believe). In other words, the Rockies are gambling with a $1.2 million loss to secure a $30 million windfall.
Fangraphs' Dave Allen analyzes Contreras' arm slots.
In any case, all of this analysis is done in a vacuum and I must sometimes remind myself that baseball is a funny game in which anything can and will happen. Let's hope that I'm right, Rockies fans.
#49 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks
Sep 21, 1975
The Diamondbacks will counter with Doug Davis, a soft-tossing lefty (and cancer survivor) who the Rockies have knocked around to the tune of an 0-2 record and a 14.73 ERA this year. Here's to that trend continuing.
Finally, BP posted a player profile on Jason Hammel that is a good read.
This lineup gets the Jabberwocky seal of approval:
09/05/09 6:10 PM MDT
|Arizona Diamondbacks||Colorado Rockies|
|Stephen Drew - SS||Carlos Gonzalez - CF|
|Ryan Roberts - 2B||Seth Smith - LF|
|Justin Upton - RF||Todd Helton - 1B|
|Miguel Montero - C||Troy Tulowitzki - SS|
|Gerardo Parra - LF||Ryan Spilborghs - RF|
|Brandon Allen - 1B||Ian Stewart - 3B|
|Chad Tracy - 3B||Yorvit Torrealba - C|
|Chris Young - CF||Clint Barmes - 2B|
|Doug Davis - P||Jose Contreras - P|