Ed. Note: The writeup below includes an advance release of the 2009 projections from The Bill James Handbook 2009, which are used with the permission of the book's publisher, Acta Sports. The book will be available on Nov. 1 and can be pre-ordered direct from the publisher by clicking this link. We're not affiliated and aren't making a commission, just giving credit where credit is due. Everybody knows that Bill James rocks. [Jay]
I got an advance copy of Bill James's 2009 projections (as did Jay, I think). Here they are for Cleveland Indians hitters (AVG / OBP / SLG / OPS):
Hafner,Travis 0.270 0.384 0.496 0.880 Sizemore,Grady 0.277 0.374 0.500 0.874 Martinez,Victor 0.300 0.374 0.463 0.837 Choo,Shin-Soo 0.282 0.365 0.452 0.816 Shoppach,Kelly 0.256 0.328 0.485 0.813 Garko,Ryan 0.282 0.358 0.449 0.807 Peralta,Jhonny 0.274 0.341 0.461 0.802 LaPorta,Matt 0.252 0.324 0.446 0.771 Francisco,Ben 0.271 0.334 0.428 0.762 Gutierrez,Fran 0.271 0.329 0.428 0.757 Cabrera,Asdr 0.277 0.349 0.404 0.753 Dellucci,David 0.241 0.329 0.409 0.738 Marte,Andy 0.248 0.314 0.408 0.722 Carroll,Jamey 0.260 0.340 0.329 0.669
And pitchers (IP / BB / SO / ERA):
Betanc,Rafael 72 18 70 3.19 Mujica,Edward 45 11 39 3.93 Lee,Cliff 194 42 146 3.90 Perez,Rafael 77 23 71 3.32 Kobayashi,Masa 51 14 37 4.31 Lewis,Jensen 70 27 70 3.84 Reyes,Anthony 168 53 135 3.88 Rincon,Juan 56 23 50 4.01 Laffey,Aaron 121 37 72 4.36 Sowers,Jeremy 83 24 45 4.28 Westbrook,Jake 64 20 35 4.14 Carmona,Fausto 141 53 88 4.17
Some early thoughts:
- Asdrubal's numbers are perfectly acceptable... if they let him play as an elite defensive shortstop. As a second baseman, they are marginal at best. Moving Asdrubal to SS, Peralta to 3b, and trade (and negotiate an extension) for Brian Roberts would be very ideal IMO. The Orioles need a bunch of filler and league-average players. We have a lot of those.
- We need to trade Kelly Shoppach. His value will never be higher when you combine his work in 2008 plus the fact that this year's free agent catchers have a bunch of 35+ year olds on the list who can't hack it anymore (Varitek et. al.). Yes, it would be great to have him catch 100 games while Victor catches 62, reducing the load on both, but that kind of luxury is reserved for teams that aren't the Indians. Like BPro said, "it's hard to find a backup catcher this good. Hell, it's hard to find a starting catcher this good."
- Shin-Soo Choo
- I am hoping for better upside from LaPorta, but who knows.
- Our pitching is thin.
Payroll considerations on the next page ...
It looks like we'll gain a bit more payroll flexibility. Our payroll in 2008 was $78,970,066.
We drop this much in salary commitments from former players in 2008, not including losing these players entirely from the 2008 total payroll (as well as Sabathia):
$6,100,000 (Casey Blake)
$4,000,000 (Joe Borowski)
$1,500,000 (Aaron Fultz)
$1,681,148 (Jason Michaels)
Salary increases for our players falls in around $8M. I think we end up with a 2009 projected payroll of $64-66MM, meaning we have some payroll flexibility assuming that Dolan keeps payroll north of $75MM (not a foregone conclusion, unfortunately).
Signing Brian Roberts seems like the obvious and completely possible thing to do. I'd like to see a lineup of:
RF Choo / Gutierrez platoon
C Martinez or Shoppach (assuming we trade one of them)
If we can get a ton of Victor, we should deal him instead of Kelly, since we have Carlos Santana tearing shit up and Shoppach is young. Max Ramirez (the catcher we dealt that ended up with Texas) might start next year - Bill James projected him to have a batting line of .308/.390/.548, vomit. Oh well.
Anyway, if they get Roberts and we end up with that lineup, I would be most happy.
However, a pitching stable of:
...does not inspire much confidence in me, mainly because I am positive that Reyes will go down with an injury and Laffey/Sowers are back-end starters, nothing more.
Meh. Even if we don't trade Roberts, we're slightly better than a .500 team and we could go on a tear. Still, we need an impact player - either LaPorta blossoming, or trading for Roberts. Preferably both.