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55 Responses

  1. Steve

    I looked in the dictionary under the term “cherry-picked statistics” and this post is what I found.

    What’s amazing is that even in these two years – the two selected to be the most favorable for Edwin – Rolen still has higher WAR levels (2.5 vs 1.6 in 07, 2.9 vs. 2.1 in 08).

    Why not throw the 2009 numbers into the mix? Edwin’s injury? Fair enough. But then why post these misleading statistics since they covered Rolen’s injured period?

    The vast majority of the external analysts – even the ones who don’t like the trade – basically say the Reds were wise to get rid of EE.

  2. David

    Let’s say that the Reds make no significant trades from now until next season. However, let’s also assume that the Reds simply add Marco Scutaro after his career year.

    Lineup (w/ ’09 OBP)

    Dickerson – CF (.355)
    Scutaro – SS (.389)
    Votto – 1B (.411)
    Gomes – LF (.363)
    Bruce – RF (.283)
    Rolen – 3B (.366)
    Phillips – 2B (.329)
    Hanigan – C (.399)

    Certainly you can argue that Scutaro’s OBP is going to fall closer to his career norm and that buying on a contract year is a bad idea. That said, that lineup, with Stubbs or Heisey also in the mix is very good IMHO. It’s funny how different this team can look on paper with guys like Dickerson/Scutaro out there instead of Taveras/Hairston/Gonzalez.

  3. Dan

    I, for one, do consider Rolen to be a decent upgrade over Edwin. Mostly due to defense. Maybe a shred more offense – hard to say.

    But, I hate the trade. My reasons are:

    –We WAY WAY overpaid in promising, young, cost-controlled pitchers. 5 years of Roenicke and 6 years of Stewart for 1 year of Rolen? Sheesh. Brutal.

    –3B did not need an upgrade NEARLY as much as SS or CF do.

  4. Steve

    @David – that looks pretty solid, and realistic – in a post-Dusty Baker sort of way. Really good, in fact.

    In addition, I bet we do move Harang or Arroyo, and maybe Cordero, to create salary space to do better in LF. While Gomes has been great to watch this year, his defense is really brutal. (Do we have him signed for next year? If not, you have to add his salary increase into the mix.)

    It’s because I think we can compete in 2010, with the right moves, that I like the Rolen trade.

  5. REDS1

    But what makes this so obviously bad to me is that Rolen’s numbers are going to decline rapidly from here on. EE’s numbers may actually increase.

  6. Andy

    Second the cherry picking comment. I think its fair (and relevant) to include ’09, which would give Rolen the advantage in the slash stats and RBIs. You also forgot to consider defense too.

    I think the best analysis of their relative value was done by Justin. He came up with a predicted WAR of 3.2 for Rolen and a 1.3 for EE over the remaining life of their contracts. I look at that as we’re paying a little over twice as much for Rolen, but could be getting a little under three times as much value. I know that interpretation is a little rudimentary, but the point is Rolen should provide good value on the difference between what we would be paying EE. Don’t get me wrong, there’s is plenty to not like about this deal, but swapping EE for Rolen is not one of them.

  7. Mike

    Player C: 2002/2003: 21 HR/49RBI/~.250Avg/~.361OBP. (im not doing the math for a satirical post)

    Wow, I didn’t realize that E5E5 was better than Ken Griffey Jr! This was a terrible trade!!

    Your post is a great example of the saying, “when you don’t want to lie, lie with statistics”. Only picking the two best years for EE and the injured period of for Rolen.

    Plus, you only included offensive stats – trying to cover up for the single largest deficit of E5E5’s game (I think Steve pointed this out with the WAR).

    If you think the Reds gave up too much and won’t compete in 2010 – that’s one thing, but don’t try to post misleading stats.

    Looking at David’s lineup, I feel a lot better about 2010. Not having two guys at the top who make an out 75% of the time is such a relief…

  8. jason1972

    I don’t know if it can be realistically argued that Rolen is not an upgrade over EE at 3b. The trade is questionable because of Rolen’s age and injury history combined with the prospects the Reds gave up. They cashed in a lot of franchise value for a guy who in all likelihood will only be here through 2010. Since there is no reason to believe the Reds will compete in 2010 at this point, why even bother?

  9. Dan

    Also… beware buying high on free agents (or on anyone for that matter).

    Scutaro looks great this year at .294/.389/.436 — I love those numbers — but he’ll be 34 next year and his career numbers are .266/.336/.387.

    Do you really believe he’s elevated himself to a whole new level of performance at age 33? It’s possible… but very very unlikely.

    I’d much rather take a crack at buying low on someone young like Hardy, if possible. Not only is he having the worst year of his career, but he’s also about to be blocked by Escobar, who’s possibly Milwaukee’s best prospect! I’m telling you – that is basically a perfect storm of “buying low.” There’s no way Hardy is a Brewer next year.

  10. Dan

    Hardy is, unfortunately, kind of OBP-challenged also — like most of our team already is. His career line is .263/.323/.433. (Wow… that’s unbelievably similar to Brandon’s career line – .263/.311/.431. And by the way, would you have believed that our cleanup hitter has slightly worse career slash stats than J.J. Hardy? Me neither. But I digress…)

    Anyway… I’m not saying Hardy is perfect. I’d much prefer getting some higher OBP’s in this lineup. I’m just point out that I do think this could be a nice buy-low opportunity. That’s all.

  11. Jimmy James

    I can’t speak for Chad, but are you guys crazy? How is showing all relevant offensive numbers for the last two seasons “cherry picking”???

    Oh, right, because it doesn’t support the thesis that Rolen is a million times better than EE.

    I’ll agree that Rolen is a million times better than EE, but as I posted yesterday, it kills me that some of you feel like you have to attack EE in order to defend this trade. I like EE AND I like Rolen. I like having Rolen on the team. I do not like what we gave up to get him.

    I like Edwin too…and I think there can be no question that he is going to be a better hitter than Rolen over the next 2-3 years. No question whatsoever..and the stats above indicate that he’s been better the last two years, too.

    As for picking “Rolen’s injured period” …… isn’t that his entire career?

    No one can make a legitimate case that Rolen will be a better hitter than Edwin going forward. It’s not possible. Now, that’s not saying that Edwin will be more valuable in 2010. And I don’t see anywhere in the original post where that was claimed.

    I love how statistics are posted with no commentary, yet it doesn’t fit your narrative, so some of you complain.

  12. Steve

    @Dan – Hardy is slick, and has some power. If we could get him at a reasonable cost that makes sense. Although I do worry that he’s never had a high OBP. Even discounting this year as an aberration, his best year is .343 and had others much lower.

  13. Jimmy James

    I meant to say above that “I’ll agree that Rolen is a million times better DEFENSIVELY.”

    Also, I just know Chad is sitting back laughing at all the consternation. He’s an evil genius.

  14. Y-City Jim

    If Rolen’s defense is the main thing he brings to the team then management needs to be consistent. That means putting Janish at SS and Dickerson in CF (when he heals) every day. The inconsistency, the lack of objectivity, and the reluctance to fess up to mistakes are what drives me most insane about the current management regime.

  15. RiverCity Redleg

    EE will never be a superstar in this league. He will toil in mediocrity in Toronto. We should have sold high during either of the last two off-seasons.

    With that said, I am disappointed in the trade for losing Roenicke. Everyone is lamenting the loss of Stewart (risky, no way to tell if he will translate to the bigs) and the incremental difference between EE and Rolen (Rolen is 100x better). But no one seems too bothered by losing Roenicke, who should have been the deal breaker. A ML-ready reliever who can throw in the high 90s, coupled with a nasty slider is huge. This kid has the blood lines and the talent to have a long and prosperous ML career and has shown it in his brief career thus far.

  16. Andy

    @Jimmy – its cherry picking because it excludes the most recent data (this year) that is arguably MORE relevant. In fact, looking at 07-09 they have an almost equal amount of ABs (1144 vs. 1155) which makes for a more even comparison anyways.

  17. Steve

    @RiverCity – while I like the trade overall, for what it does for 2010, I agree with you completely about Roenicke. I winced when I saw he was included in the trade because I though he had been excellent this year. He is 27-years-old, however.

    @Y-City – Agree totally about Janish and Dickerson. Problem is the Reds (at least Baker) perceive Gonzalez as being a great defensive player still. Range is a hard variable to measure. Gonzalez looks pretty good on the balls he gets to. Although he sure did drop that ball yesterday, didn’t he?

  18. Dan

    I can’t do the fancy html table like Chad did, but I’ll post the highlights here as best I can…

    Let’s compare Rolen and EE for 2007-09…

    Rolen – 1288 PA, 27 HR, .279/.348/.431

    Edwin – 1311 PA, 47 HR, .261/.345/.441

    And I’ll attempt to portray defense here too, for 2007-09, though I don’t know what stats to use. I’ll go with range factor per 9 and fielding percentage, even though I know they’re flawed…

    Rolen – about 2.73 chances per 9 innings, about a .970 fld %

    EE – about 2.35 chances per 9 innings, about a .943 fld %

  19. Dan

    Sadly, I thought of a decent comparison to the Rolen trade while watching Sunday Night Baseball last night. The Braves had Jurrjens starting, which is what reminded me of it.

    October 29, 2007: Edgar Renteria traded by the Atlanta Braves to the Detroit Tigers for Gorkys Hernandez (minors) and Jair Jurrjens.

    Renteria was 32 at the time and was under contract for one more year. He did indeed man SS for the Tigers for the 2008 season. The Tigers finished 74-88, in 5th place in the AL Central. Renteria became a free agent and is now a Giant.

    Jurrjens is now a 23-year-old member of the Braves starting rotation. He’s been good — better than expected probably — w/ career numbers now of 358 IP, 25-19 record, 3.44 ERA, 1.30 WHIP. This season he’s 9-8 with a 2.85 ERA. He’s making $450,000. I think he can be renewed one more time and then he’ll have his 3 arbitration years. So the Braves got 6 years of cost-controlled Jurrjens.

    Gorkys isn’t doing much at AA. He’s a super speedy no-power CF. He got included (w/ 2 other pitchers) in the McLouth trade. He may never be any good, but at any rate, his clock hasn’t started, and if he does make the majors, his team will have him, cost-controlled, for 6 years.

    Meanwhile, I’ll reiterate, Renteria put up one mediocre year as the starting SS for Detroit. One year. They finished 5th, he became a free agent, and now they have nothing to show for the deal. (Maybe they got a draft pick?)

    At any rate… this is the type of thing that can happen w/ this deal. You are trading away 2011-2015 value to get 2010 value.

    THIS is why I hate this deal. We’re not good enough in 2010, nor are we deep enough w/ pitching prospects, to be able to afford this.

  20. doug

    Edwin sucks but I loved him.
    Rolen is good and I like him.
    The trade still sucks because we way overpaid.

    Why is this so difficult?

  21. Dan

    By the way, Renteria made $10 million in 2008 for Detroit, while Jurrjens made $400,000 pitching for Atlanta. Also sadly similar to where we are.

  22. preach

    –3B did not need an upgrade NEARLY as much as SS or CF do.

    Amen. Did anyone consider converting EE and perhaps signing a corner infielder in the off season?

    I still think we should take a flyer on Bobby Crosby in the offseason. However, with the addition of Rolen we have to make sure we get an outfielder with some pop, since Scott’s shoulder prevent his power numbers from being what they used to be (GABP will help, but an injury is still an injury, and it will prevent old form from returning). That kinda eliminates an all purpose guy like Figgins, unless we cut bait with Taveras and put him in CF and then you automatically have your backup 3rd/SS/2nd for the inevitible injury relief (especially for Rolen). We definately need a power bat.

  23. Dan

    I’ve got a super-low-cost, pretty good outfield for you: Gomes/Dickerson/Bruce.

    If the budget is tight, I would be totally fine w/ that outfield every day.

    Heck, that doesn’t even take into account the possibilities of Stubbs and/or Heisey.

    And all 5 of these guys would be put up a better OBP and a FAR better slugging % than our current CF.

  24. doug

    Sure Dan, but our current CF isn’t going anywhere and will be playing next year, in CF, for the Reds. Go gnaw on your toothpick if you don’t like it because Dusty doesn’t care what you think.

  25. brublejr

    Now, Volquez is out next year (Tommy John surgery)…which makes the trade that much worse. Stewart would have provided depth for injuries, trades, or ineffectiveness. Ugh! It really is hard looking at the bright side of things, this trade was very shortsighted and their merit for the trade is something you can’t measure (clubhouse presence).

  26. Dan

    And it was for only ONE YEAR of clubhouse presence, bruble!

  27. Dan

    Check – I’m gnawing away over here, Doug. (And I don’t like it… feels dangerous…)

  28. Travis G.

    It’s easy for fans to get caught up in the numbers and forget that teams are, like Soylent Green, made of people.

    While it’s entirely possible that Jocketty’s overrating Rolen’s veteran savviness, I’m certain that stats-based analysis is going to underrate those virtues. I don’t like what Jocketty gave up to acquire those skills, but I’m willing to defer to a guy who’s built two World Championship ballclubs when evaluating veteran leadership.

    It’s also important to consider that we don’t know exactly how much cash the Reds got from Toronto. I’ve heard the Blue Jays may have paid the difference between Rolen and Encarnacion’s salaries for this season and next, and the team has confirmed only that Toronto gave up cash in the deal.

  29. Sultan of Swaff

    Volquez out for at least a year. Ugh. Looks like we’re stuck w/ Arroyo and Harang for more than just contract reasons. Makes Cordero even that much more expendable if we have to find a bat somewhere.
    Bill Hall has $10mil left on his deal and has fell out of favor in Milwaukee. Do we swap him for Arroyo and play him as a super utility guy or hold out for Hardy?

  30. brublejr

    If they thought EE was such a clubhouse problem, why would you sign him to an extension for two years? This offseason, baring any trades, the team can only really spend pennies, and they will have to find a starting SS and a backup catcher. The outfield will look exactly the same as this year, Dusty won’t have the guts to not play Taveras or not bat Phillips cleanup.

    I hate to buy a player coming out of a career contract year, but I would look a Scutro as a one year replacement, unless they smarten up and move Phillips. Otherwise the only other decent FA SS are O. Caberra, B. Crosby, A. Everett. Caberra and Crosby made 4-5 mil this year while Everett and Scutro made 1-2 mil.

    1. Scutro SS
    2. Dickerson CF
    3. Votto 1B
    4. Rolen 3B
    5. Bruce RF
    6. Phillips 2B
    7. Gomes LF
    8. Hanigan C

    Bench: Taveras (Only because he isn’t going anywhere), Janish, Sutton, Backup Catcher, Nix

    I could live with this lineup, but many things won’t happen because Taveras will start, they won’t get a SS worth anything, and Dusty won’t move Phillips out of cleanup to a spot where he should be.

  31. preach

    Problem with Bill Hall is that he only plays well against Cinci. It’s not just a GABP factor, or I would say sign him. I don’t have the park factors in front of me, but from memory he hit the snot out of us in Milwaukee as well. He was hitting like .400 against the Reds and .105 vs everyone else (exagerrated, I admit, but you get the point).

  32. ty

    i believe the reds could have gotten matt holliday for what they gave up to get rolen. of course he would have signed elsewhere in the offseason, but if the trigger had been pulled, say, july 4th, while the reds were 1-1/2 games back, this season may have been “saved”

  33. Mark in CC

    Another positive for Rolen, over and above the worst defensive third basemen for one of the top 5, is consistency. Rolen should provide a very good 6 months where EE is terrible for 2 months, great for 2 months and average for 2 months. It certainly seems that is EE’s pattern anyway.

    This was always my concern for the Old Dunnkey. Great half the time, terrible the other. A line-up just can not achieve the consistency it needs to contend with this kind of streaky production.

  34. Dan

    Do you have numbers to back up that impression, Mark? I haven’t looked it up, but I’m guessing that’s more selective memory than anything.

  35. David

    Hall can’t hit righties to save his life, but has minor value as a solid defensive third basemen. We have that with Rolen. No way you take on his $8 mil salary. There were rumors going around that the Reds and Brewers were linked in a Harang for Hardy swap. That could still happen as both guys could pass through waivers or Hardy could be a PTBNL.

    I’d be very hesitant to move pitching, even though its expensive, now with Volquez out of the picture for 2010 (what a disaster injuries have had on the Hamilton/Volquez trade for both sides). Harang, Cueto, Arroyo, Bailey, and Owings is not a championship rotation. I’m not sold on Maloney or Thompson either. There really aren’t many FA starters out there next year.

  36. David

    Dan –

    E5’s splits from 2006-2008 by month

    256 ABs: .270/.353/.473 – April
    247 ABs: .227/.307/.360 – May
    177 ABs: .305/.401/.514 – June
    188 ABs: .277/.357/.479 – July
    298 ABs: .302/.357/.527 – August
    242 ABs: .260/.348/.413 – September

    Rolen’s splits from 2006-2008 by month
    159 ABs: .283/.350/.484 – April
    275 ABs: .298/.388/.458 – May
    252 ABs: .310/.380/.488 – June
    255 ABs: .239/.327/.376 – July
    203 ABs: .256/.317/.488 – August
    176 ABs: .267/.326/.460 – September

    Now I didn’t cherry pick the stats to leave out ’09. ESPN just has them sorted by these years. To me I don’t see anything statistical to suggest one thing or another by either player. I will say that just looking at the raw data, E5 seems to follow the typical Dominican line i.e. good in hot months and lousy in colder months. Rolen seems to follow the typical old vet line i.e. good early tailing off late.

  37. RiverCity Redleg

    Doug @ 21.. Pefectly stated!

  38. Jose

    Brandon Webb is gonna be a free agent this offseason

  39. Chris Garber

    Why do people feel the need to bash EE to make the point that Rolen is better (if healthy)? “He stinks.” “Rolen is 100X better.” Really? That’s your honest assessment of his performance?

    One other thing: While it’s entirely possible that Jocketty’s overrating Rolen’s veteran savviness, I’m certain that stats-based analysis is going to underrate those virtues.

    Statistics are nothing more than eyewitness reports of what happened on a baseball field. “He got a hit.” “He scored a run.” Add them up, and you call them stats. If veteran savvieness makes a team score more runs, or give up fewer, then I’m interested.

    The rest of this godforsaken season will be a good test. If Scott Rolen’s veteran magic is real, we should see improved hitting and fielding from the remaining young Reds. (I don’t know who they are, exactly – there’s only one starter under 27, and his OPS is already over 1000).

  40. Mark in CC

    Here is Edwin not counting 2006 when he played a partial season.

    In 2007 Encarnación started the year slowly, struggling to bat over .200. May 10, 2007 Encarnación was demoted to Triple AAA. He was recalled to the on May 22, 2007. He finished the season batting .289.
    April-.221-0HR; May-.286-3HR, June .305-2 HR, July .350-4HR, Sept-.322 -5HR (2 bad, 2 good, 2 average)

    In 2008 April-.293-7HR, May-.172-1HR, June-294.5HR, July 291-7HR, Aug- .234-4HR, Sept-.239-2 HR (3 above Avg.) 3 poor)

    For the 2009 season, through May 1, Encarnación had the lowest batting average in the major leagues for the 2009 season, .127.

  41. Dave

    Chris —

    You wrote: One other thing: While it’s entirely possible that Jocketty’s overrating Rolen’s veteran savviness, I’m certain that stats-based analysis is going to underrate those virtues.

    I don’t agree, necessarily. You and I are taking it on faith that Rolen has “veteran savviness” that EE doesn’t have.

    Rolen, if I am not mistaken, was traded because he could not get along with LaRussa, among other things, who questioned his “heart” when he would not play “hurt.”

    How do we know that EE is a better or worse “intangible” guy than Rolen, save Jocketty’s admitted friendship with Rolen?

  42. preach

    How do we know that EE is a better or worse “intangible” guy than Rolen, save Jocketty’s admitted friendship with Rolen?

    Because Dusty says so, and he played with Hank Aaron.

    As long as toothpick is in charge, we are only one degree from Hammerin’ Hank. Talk about veteran presence.

  43. Kyle

    #41: He just went under the knife as well. He is from Ashland, KY, though and I’d be all for the Reds signing him for 2 years and giving him a small contract (he won’t even pitch next year until the end). Then, you could really go for it in 2011, with the hope that Volquez or Webb made it back alright. Obviously, if both made it back fine you would have a pretty nice rotation.

  44. Tony

    Both Edwin and Rolen will be out of baseball in two years anyway, so we gifted them two good looking prospects…Oh, I long for the days of Jim Bowden looking for those all important “five tool players” who spent their entire careers in the minors.

  45. Kyle

    The Reds could have an excellent defense next year with a couple of minor changes (Stubbs in CF, Janish/Free Agent at SS, Free Agent in LF, Hanigan at C). They would have above average defense at every position, except maybe 1B (I’m guessing Votto is average). They would have gold glove caliber D at 2B, 3B, RF (not that RF would ever win a gold glove with the new rules), and an outside shot in CF (if Stubbs is as good as some think). This could help the itching as much as anything. Can Hardy play defense well at SS? Maybe buy low on Webb and a LF and try to go for it in 2011. The Rolen trade reduced the Reds window and they need to do something to try to compete in 2010-2012.

  46. Travis G.

    That was me who wrote that about veteran savviness, Dave, not Chris.

    I don’t want to overstate the importance of unquantifiable things like leadership or chemistry at the expense of stats, because on-field performance is what wins games, but Jocketty’s not putting together a fantasy baseball team here. He’s built long-term contenders and eventual champions for two franchises, and if he thinks those intangibles are important, I’m inclined to trust him.

    Besides, it’s not like Rolen sucks. Most everyone agrees he’ll help the Reds, but the consensus seems to be that they paid too much for him. One day we’ll know for sure!

  47. Dan

    Milwaukee is now hurting for an outfielder now too, as Corey Hart is out for a month w/ an appendectomy. They’re hanging on to wild card relevance at 52-53. Their options right now in RF as I read them are Catalanotto and Gerut.

    If we offered them Taveras for a non-prospect low-A-ball guy, and paid half the money he’s owed over the rest of his contract… might they consider it?

    It’s time to ditch the dead-weight.

  48. BigRedMike

    The problem with the 2010 defense analysis is that Stubbs will not be playing CF. Taveras will be the every day CF.

  49. Steve

    I’ll chip in some cash to facilitate the WT to the Brewers for a well-grilled brat. Anyone else?

  50. Dick Bronson

    You forgot about EE’s “GOM”….the “Grumpy Old Man” stat. Just the sight of Edwin made Marty sick, and as we’ve seen time and time again that turns into an avalanche of hatred.

    EE was not as bad as so many of the sheep made him out to be, this was a bad trade, and the Reds will be better off when Marty goes away.

  51. David

    I don’t think the Rolen trade reduced the window at all. Instead, I think that it upgraded 3B in the short term while clearing room for some of our best prospects. Don’t forget that Frazier, Francisco and Soto are three of our top prospects and were blocked by Encarnacion.

    Again the only downside is giving up Stewart and Roenicke. Those were costly pieces but none of us know just how costly. Liriano and Nathan comparison is completely far fetched at this point.

  52. Travis G.

    From today’s chat with assistant GM Bob Miller:

    ethanator9: How are the Reds going to have money to pay for Rolen next year?

    bob_miller: The reports on the amount owed Rolen floating around are incorrect. While I’m not at liberty to say what the amount is, we are not responsible for some of it.

    That’s an awkward way of saying Toronto is picking up some of the tab for next year, as well.

  53. REDS1

    #17 We will see if Rolen’s numbers continue to be as high for the remainder of the year. I will bet you he is not hitting .300 by the end of the year. EE’s offensive numbers are going to improve.

    This was a bad trade.

  54. David Lowenthal

    Mark says: This was always my concern for the Old Dunnkey. Great half the time, terrible the other. A line-up just can not achieve the consistency it needs to contend with this kind of streaky production.


    He follows that up with some numbers showing, shock, variance in EE’s production by month (ignoring that, for example, Rolen’s best BA month this year is 100 points over his worst).

    It’s just ridiculous. An offense can’t achieve consistency it needs if everyone is streaky like Dunn or EE? Have you thought about this argument? I don’t think so—in fact, if every one of your 8 guys is streaky, then the expectation is that you’ll be very consistent.

    He also ignores that most players are streaky. It’s just a post that is not based on any fact other than EE’s numbers over a couple years.

    I guess we should go out and look for a guy that hits exactly .285 every month. Even on a weekly basis! No two-hit games for you, I want 1-4 or 1-3 every day.