Found January 07, 2013 on
Unlike at catcher, most of the quality free agents at first base have already signed. We could evaluate the remaining guys, but it would be a fruitless gesture as the position was already weak to begin with. So, we will match the guys who signed with the few that haven’t to come up with a satisfactory list of impact free agents. Remember, with actual player moves, we evaluate the player’s track record in a little more detail than we do with fantasy baseball or simple player rankings.
1. Lance Berkman– Texas Rangers
The Rangers signed Berkman to a one year contract for between ten and eleven million dollars. It has an option year that will kick in if he has 550 plate appearances or more. When you look at the Berkman track record, it seems like a perfect contract. When he plays regularly, he is one of the top five or six first basemen in the league. This is particularly true when we consider that his poor 2011 fielding record occurred when he played right field.
We could graph his projections or simply come up with an aggregate and neither would be particularly relevant. Berkman is an either/or kind of guy. Either he is going to be healthy and productive or he is not. There really is no middle ground for Berkman at this point and if his last five seasons are any indication it is a 50/50 proposition. The Rangers are playing river boat gambler on this one.
2) Adam Laroche– Free Agent
Baseball is becoming more and more sophisticated and as it becomes more sophisticated we see more intelligent moves made every year. Adam Laroche wants a three year contract. As my pop always used to say, you can want in one hand and piss in the other and see which one fills up first. There is nothing in Laroche’s profile to suggest that last season was anything more than a career season.
That being said, he is not completely without value. What we see is simply a gap between where his true value is and where he thinks his value is. He is one of the better fielding first basemen in the game and I’m surprised he hasn’t gotten any nibbles out there. The problem is that he has a first round pick attached to him where any signing team (other than Washington) will have to surrender their first round pick.
3. Mark Reynolds– Cleveland Indians
Value is a fluid thing in baseball. One of the great things about the science of statistics is that it allows teams to utilize players in the most optimum way possible. Usually, we are talking match ups, player positioning on defense, and other in game situations. With Mark Reynolds the problem comes in positioning on a more global scale, In simple English, his manager needs to hide his glove and never tell Reynolds where it is at.
If Terry Francona finds someone else to play first base he actually could have a productive designated hitter in Reynolds. If you remove his fielding completely, he would have been a positive impact player in four out of the last five seasons. If we assume that an average fielder is one win better than a replacement fielder (ten runs), then Reynolds would barely register as a replacement level fielder over the past five seasons. There’s terrible and then there’s terrible. As a hitter he is surprisingly valuable in spite of his many strikeouts.
4. Carlos Pena– Houston Astros
There are numerous issues with Carlos Pena, but the primary one can be seen clearly with his TRI results. Statisticians can do many things, but we can’t completely forecast the future. What fun would it be if we could? Was 2012 simply a blip on the map for Pena or was it a predictor of things to come. Jeff Luhnow and the Astros are paying a fairly paltry sum (2.9 million) to find out the answer to that question.
Pena’s role is also a bit fluid coming into the season. The Astros have several options at first base and DH, so it is difficult at this point to determine where he will go. If we look at raw numbers it would seem most logical for him to be the first baseman. His offensive value has been zapped recently by diminishing power numbers. He has always been a swing and miss guy, but if you throw 25 to 30 home runs on the board you can accept that. If it is less than that then he becomes very marginal very quickly.
5. Carlos Lee– Free Agent
Carlos Lee is one of those players that a metric like TRI can’t fully explain. He is an accumulator who’s most important quality is his durability. TRI is a qualitative statistic. It doesn’t measure durability in any real way. Lee contributed more than 550 RBIs in his six seasons in Houston (and partial season in Miami). That comes out to more than 90 RBIs a season for the math impaired. That certainly is nothing to sneeze at.
That being said, even if you inserted him as a designated hitter, his value is limited by radically diminishing power numbers. He has always been a high contact guy and he’s even added more walks to his numbers in recent seasons. Those positives cannot outweigh the negatives of going from a 30 home run a season guy to a 10-15 home run a season guy. There are few jobs in baseball for someone that performs on that level.
The post Total Run Index Series: First Base Free Agents appeared first on Hardball Chat Baseball Blog.
BEST OF MAXIM
After watching Josh Hamilton sign with their division rival, the Rangers made a move this weekend to replace his bat in their line-up, signing Lance Berkman to take over as their DH for 2013. Much is being made of the fact that Berkman got $11 million after spending basically the entire 2012 season on the disabled list, but Major League teams have begun to make the correct shift...
There have been a lot of mixed feelings out in the blogging world on what the Texas Rangers have done by signing Lance Berkman. There is a palpable risk for the Rangers since Berkman only played 32 games in 2012 due to continued problems with his knees. But what if Berkman could play a hundred games in 2013? If that could happen or more, then Lance Berkman will be worth every penny...
The Texas Rangers and free agent Lance Berkman reportedly have agreed to a contract that will bring the DH to Arlington.
First baseman Lance Berkman agreed to a one-year, $10 million contract with the Texas Rangers, ESPN reported Saturday. The deal could reportedly include a second year if Berkman gets at least 550 at-bats this year. Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan told Fox26 Sports in Houston on Friday that the club made Berkman an offer. "We are looking for a designated hitter and we feel like...
ARLINGTON, Texas Lance Berkman might not be the missing piece for the Texas Rangers to be successful this season.
But he may have been the piece that brought the lineup the Rangers will be rolling out to start the 2013 season into focus.
Berkman signed a one-year deal for 10 million Monday that includes a vesting option for 2014 that will pay Berkman 12 million of he reaches...
Lance Berkman will play in Texas this season. The veteran will play for the Texas Rangers after agreeing to a one-year deal.
With the Rangers, Berkman is expected to serve as the teams primary designated hitter. Berkman will make reportedly somewhere in the $10-11 million range. There is a vesting option for 2014 but it will require Berkman to have at-least 525 at-bats.
The Red Sox still don’t have a starting first baseman — at least officially — for the upcoming season, and the market is now a little bit thinner with Lance Berkman reportedly signing a one-year deal with the Rangers.
The Sox did do their homework on Berkman, though. According to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford, Boston showed interest in the 36-year-old, but the negotiations never...
Lance Berkman will try to resurrect his career once again.
At one point reported to be very close to choosing to retire, the longtime Houston Astros slugger is set to sign a one-year, $10 million contract with the Texas Rangers, as originally reported by MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. The deal includes a vesting option for 2014 should Berkman see 550 plate appearances this season....
A person familiar with the situation says the Texas Rangers are close to a deal with Lance Berkman to be their designated hitter.
Berkman's deal is pending a physical, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press on Saturday because the contract wasn't finalized.
Multiple reports, all citing unidentified sources, said it would be a one...
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Lance Berkman chose the Texas Rangers this time, and is returning to his home state to be their designated hitter in likely the last stop of his career.
The Rangers completed a 10 million, one-year deal with Berkman on Monday after the slugger passed a physical.
"I spent the first part of the offseason really feeling like I was going to retire,"...
Lance Berkman chose the Texas Rangers this time, and is returning to his home state to be their designated hitter in what likely will be the last stop of his career.
The Rangers completed a $10 million, one-year deal Monday after the 36-year-old Berkman, who played only 32 games last season for St. Louis, passed a physical. The deal includes a $12 million club option for 2014 that...
After all that has not transpired this off-season for the New York Yankees the last thing fans wanted to read was a rumor that Lance Berkman, aka the Big Puma
could be re-emerging in the Bronx in 2013.
Well as of two-days ago, Dan Martin of the NY Post reported that bringing back the switch-hitting Big Puma was a possibility and Ken Rosenthal confirmed this via twitter too.
FanGraphs managing editor Dave Cameron continues, in 2013, to analyze as much baseball as he did in 2012 — which is to say, all of it. In what follows, specifically, he analyzes the part of baseball concerning the recent signing by Texas of Lance Berkman. Also: center field in Texas and who’s playing it. Also-also: how Mike Trout is projected to have an eight-win...
Tomorrow marks the five week mark until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. And those five weeks are going to be a killer...January is the month that drags more than any other in the offseason. Most of the top free agents have already been signed. Trades are less likely to happen because of elevated costs for the players left on the market. So essentially, we're...