Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part I
posted at 2/3/2014 8:51 AM EST
I think Lester at 5/$100 mil is cheap. I think his idea of a hometown discount might well be more than that!
Agreed. Maybe we will offer him $100M/5 with a 6th year option at $20M with a $5M buyout- making it $105M/5 year deal (or $$120M/6, if we take the option).
The whole Salty thing doesn't fit conventional analysis. If teams thought he would come anywhere near this year's numbers going forward they would have signed him to a contract commensurate with this year's numbers. And the staff did fine this year so how do you explain it other than no one thought he was the reason the staff did well and no one thought he would replicate his numbers any time soon.
This past year was considered an aberation. They valued him as if he were at 2012 numbers.
Salty's 2013 numbers may end up being the best of his career, especially since he will not be playing in Fenway anymore (40 point higher career OPS in Fenway than his overall OPS that includes about 33% of all his PAs) , but I'm still not so sure his great numbers were a fluke. As a catcher, I think he had been concentrating on improving his biggest weakness- fielding, and perhaps had neglected his offense to some extent. He just turned 28 last May, so it was his first "prime year". He is still in his prime now and will be for the full 3 year contract. He had improved on his OPS for 4 straight years (.625> .676> .737> .743> .804).
I get the argument over his high BAbip numbers in 2013, and how that signals a drop off this year, but when you look more closely at all the data, you'll see a big part of it was not luck, but rather a much improved LD%. His BAbip was about 50 points higher than his overall career mark and over 100 points higher than 2012. If you adjusted his 2012 BAbip number to his career norm, then his 2013 numbers would be more in line with a gradual improvement curve that most players experience as the enter "prime", and his 2013 season would not look so freaky. Salty had about the same amount of PAs in 2013 as 2012 (470-448), but he had 21 more line drives (82 to 61). That's about a 33% increase! When you figure he had 25 more ABs and 26 more hits, those 21 more line drives could have accounted ofr just about all of the increased BAbip. It might not have been more bloopers and seeing-eye grounders.
If I had to project Salty's 2014 numbers, I'd have bet he'd end up close to his .804 OPS had he stayed with Boston (maybe around .795), but now that he is in Florida, I'd project about .780 to .785, which still makes his $21M/3 year deal look like a steal. Speaking of steals, it will be interesting to see if his CS rate improves by moving out of Boston.