Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Makin' S**t Up: Vol. 1

Every blog has to have a unique name for when they just pull something completely out of their ass and throw it against the wall so that's mine.

For the inaugural edition of MSU I consider the Jays' twin needs of Lead-off hitter and Right fielder (or at least, someone to platoon in RF with Bautista). The reason I say these are twin needs is because the realistic candidates for every other spot in the line-up are all players who have one thing in common - they sure as hell AIN'T lead-off hitters.

Jose Bautista is the guy The Manager has designated and that's fine - if the opposition is kind enough to send a lefty to the hill. But what about the other 3/4 of the games the Jays will play in 2010?

After all, Bautista is the owner of a less-than-rhobust slash line of.202/.331/.333/.664 vs. RHP in 2009, and that was no fluke. His career OPS vs RHP is .681 and nothing would suggest a full time opportunity would help that.

Now, there are free agent options, if you want an older guy who may be in decline. I've probably mentioned here before that Ryan Church is probably the most obvious play, although you could go with Randy Winn who'd probably be slightly cheaper or gamble on Rick Ankiel having a bounce back year (as an aside, I saw one suggestion on MLBTR that Ankiel may be as cheap as $3 million for one year by now and if so, that's a nice price for a gamble on a guy who is only one year removed from a .843 OPS).

But if Ankiel is too pricey and Winn is too old and Church signs elsewhere, what's a GM to do? It is this question which forms the basis of the post you are now reading.

I propose the following:

Brian Tallet for Angel Pagan.

Why it works for the Jays -

The switch hitting Pagan gets on base at a reasonable clip, especially vs. RHP (.350 career, .356 in 2009 vs. RHP) and has the kind of speed you like at the top of the order (14 steals in 21 attempts in 2009, plus an astonishing 11 triples in only 88 games played). Certainly 2009 might have been a career year - in particular the triples were probably an outlier - but as a cheap(first year of arbitration) controllable (he'd be a free agent after 2012) outfielder who can shore up RF and competently lead off in 2010 and be a useful fourth outfielder should the Jays land another young outfield stud along the way, it would be hard to find a significantly better fit.

If you took their 2009 numbers and but he and Bautista into a strict RF platoon, you'd get a slash line of .308/.369/.504/.873 which is wonderful but admittedly too high because of those triples. So let me adjust, no over-adjust it by making all those triples into doubles and the slugging percentage drops to .475 which still leaves a nice shiny .844 OPS.

And, to re-state a key point - Pagan is a guy who, like Bautista, blocks no prospect. So if you go out later in the winter and snag - just to pull a name out of the air - Michael Saunders, then Pagan becomes a very good bench player.

Why it works for the Mets:
Tallet has been a solid reliever who's better than a LOOGY and had a run of impressive starts in 2009 to boot, and that in the AL East. He can only do better in the NL and his versatility would be highly valuable to a team like the Mets with a rotation in flux. Depending on who they yet sign this winter, the Mets are looking at Santana and four question marks in 2010. All the candidates except Oliver Perez young and unpredictable, and Perez the very definition of a wild card. Having a LHP who can both provide you solid everyday work in the pen AND serve as a guy who can step into the rotation for an extended period if the planned rotation goes south has to have more value to the Mets than a 4th outfielder (on their team).

Don't think Tallet works here? You could go David Purcey and make it work, or even Brad Mills. Or if the Mets are thinking further ahead than 2010, Luis Perez or Robert Bell.

Do I hear any objections?


eyebleaf said...

It's a good idea. I watched Pagan play a few games last season, and he definitely has wheels, which Toronto always seems to lack. I especially like the combined adjusted OPS of .844. For any one of Tallet, Purcey, or Mills this deal seems to make sense.

Gil Fisher said...

I'd prefer to take FMart and stick him in Vegas, while some gump manages RF for the jays (McCoy?).

But if the price is right, I wouldn't be opposed to Pagan.

Ian H. said...

Go for it!

By the time Tallet hits free agency, he is going to become way too expensive anyway, so might as well ship him off to New York.

The Mets love to overpay starting lefties (cough Oliver Perez cough), so why not get something valuable in return?

Brian Tallet's Mustache said...

I like the idea. I don't think I'd give up much more than the man whose face I live on, but if any of the folks you mentioned go unsigned for a bit (Ankiel, Church, etc), the presence of Pagan could potentially drive their price down a bit.

That said, given the number of young arms we have, wouldn't we need Tallet as a long reliever too?

The Southpaw said...

I'm sure one of Richmond, Ray, Mills, Purcey, Janssen and even Hayhurst can provide a serviceable long reliever/spot starter.

Anonymous said...

I like it too. But heck, why would the Mets trade a guy who's controllable for another what 3-4 years, is paid peanuts, hit .306 last year, with 14 SB, in just over 300 AB's, for a dime a dozen pitcher that they probably already have in their own system.

My guess is that they'd have to give up someone with some upside, such as Hendersen Alvarez. Maybe Purcey or Mills, but their value is probably a little down now. Actually, with the abundance of pitching the Jays have, it might be worth it to ship say a Tallet and Alvarez for 4 years of Pagan.

Looking at FA OF's, there's certainly not much out there to fit the Jays' needs. What about bringing back the Cat? His OPS was 770 last year vs. righties. He could move to left and Snider to right, when he plays; with Bautista in right and Snider in left when Bautista plays.

Cat doesn't fill the leadoff role, or the added defense that is sorely needed though...

The Southpaw said...

Several things...

it's three years of Pagan, not 4our - Cott's hasn't been updated yet;

As far as I can see, the don't have a veteran lefty that is effective in both roles, though you might find a pale imitation as a free agent;

Alverez is VASTLY more valuable than Pagan;

Anonymous said...

A strong case could be made that Tallet shouldn't be in the majors. A marginal MLB pitcher, at best.

Anonymous said...

A strong case could be made that Tallet shouldn't be in the majors. A marginal MLB pitcher, at best.

eyebleaf said...

@ Anon 12:20: That's bullshit. In terms of WAR, Tallet had the best season of his career in 2009 (1.7 WAR).

And the Mets are exactly the type of team AA should approach. They're the team who live for making bonehead trades.