Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pierrot le fou

Finally, Colletti proves his sabermetric worth. Other GM's looked at Pierre's numbers and decided that he just wasn't that good. However, Colletti looked beyond that and noticed that Pierre, a lefty, was playing an obscene amount. No doubt, Colletti realized that if Pierre were to sit against southpaws, you'd be looking at more of a .300/.350/.400 player with good baserunning and averagish fielding at centerfield. And likely, Pierre would get another bump in his performance from not being as frequently exhausted, and so he'd be better rested and maybe hit, oh, .310/.365/.415, and the effects of aging on his range in center would be subdued. A platooned Pierre is then about a win better than an average CF, and the Dodgers have Repko on hand who should be about average at CF starting only against southpaws. That's a combo that's about 3 wins * 3/4 + 2 wins * 1/4 better than replacement, or 2.75. Knock .25 off, say, for each season Pierre ages, and that's 11.25 wins above replacement for only about $42m above replacement. Free agent wins cost about $4m, so this is pretty reasonable.

Colletti looked at the free agent market, looked at his budget, realized they were both oversaturated, and decided to "overspend" on someone who would not be so obscene; with Drew out of the picture, the alternatives would be overpriced flukes (Matthews) or ludicrously misvalued corner OF's (Lee, Soriano). And given the general dearth of quality players, period, on this free agent market, Colletti can now leverage his young outfielders on the trade market.

And off in the distance, Thomas Kinkade painted a portrait of Norman Rockwell, and all was happy and good.


Do I honestly think that signing Pierre at this price would be a good idea for any team? Not really. I do actually think it's close; 4/30 could be pretty reasonable, considering the market, for a team that could cover the off days with a good enough young/cheap RHB centerfielder, and in reality that's something that any franchise should be able to swing at next to no cost.

But of course, Colletti probably is excited that Pierre can play every day! I understand the sentiment, and I'm not a huge fan of Repko or anything, but the Dodgers already have someone on their roster who will be a better CF against LHP than Pierre. Repkos aren't forever, for sure, but I'd take my chances on the proposition that the Dodgers could consistently have somebody on hand to play better against LHP than Pierre for at or near the league minimum. So why pay a premium for a proven 'everyday player' to decrease the performance of your team? That is not something I would do.

Like the bulk of baseball GM's, Colletti has, I think, stumbled upon a good idea by accident, overpaid for it, and been ignorant of the reason it was a good idea to start with. It's remarkable that this group of genuinely highly skilled and experienced individuals continues to make so many decisions on the basis of anecdotal evidence and the uninterrogated opinions of celebrity experts. As such, it's been remarked upon so many times that this post seems petulant.


At 10:01 AM, Blogger DodgerRoger said...

I'm surprised you don't hate this deal, actually. I was convinced that this would hands down be the worst deal of the offseason until the matthews deal was announced this morning (which IMO is comparable in badness). Your arguments have prevented me from jumping off a ledge, but there is the very very very strong caveat that he is actually platooned. I don't see that happening, but one can hope.

At 11:52 AM, Blogger bigcpa said...

if Pierre were to sit against southpaws, you'd be looking at more of a .300/.350/.400 player

Pierre career
.304 .350 .349 vs LHP
.302 .351 .387 vs RHP

Looks like the only thing you're losing vs LHP is the 4 HR per 1,000 ab's.

This is quite the case study given that DePodesta gave away Dave Roberts with essentially the same skill set. Roberts is arguably the better player given his 10% walk rate and 84% sb rate since 2004. Keith Law nailed this one- "On a good team, he's a bench player."

At 7:25 AM, Blogger Muratos said...

Interestingly there is a French movie called as Pierrot le fou


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