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World Series champions rotations (and how much do the Angels need to improve to be comparable?)


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2 minutes ago, Lou said:

If a team trades for a player who's contract includes years of deferred payments, do they take on 100% of the future obligation?

Generally yes, although each transaction could involve different stipulations. So it really depends upon what the two teams work out.

Maybe the Mets should try to trade Bobby Bonilla.

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How good does a rotation have to be to win the World Series? Let's look at the four best starters of the last ten World Series champions, with their cumulative fWAR for quick comparison. Why only four

You obviously missed The A-Hole Actions of IEBruin.

This is probably the greatest single post in the history of this forum.     

1 minute ago, Angelsjunky said:

Generally yes, although each transaction could involve different stipulations. So it really depends upon what the two teams work out.

Maybe the Mets should try to trade Bobby Bonilla.

If so, I'm against trading for Scherzer. I don't think paying him $140M for one year of pitching is a good idea.

 

I should be GM.

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16 hours ago, Angelsjunky said:

How good does a rotation have to be to win the World Series? Let's look at the four best starters of the last ten World Series champions, with their cumulative fWAR for quick comparison. Why only four? Well, there's a common adage that you only need four good starters (say, #3 or better) to win the World Series, and any team should be able to cobble together decent enough starters to fill the 5th slot.

2019 Nationals: Scherzer 6.5, Strasburg 5.7, Corbin 4.8, Sanchez 2.5 = 19.5 WAR

2018 Red Sox: Sale 6.2, Porcello 2.4, Price 2.4, Rodriguez 2.1 = 11.1 WAR

2017 Astros: Verlander 4.1, Peacock 3.2, Morton 3.1, McCullers 2.8 = 13.2 WAR 

2016 Cubs: Lester 4.2, Hendricks 4.1, Arrieta 3.5, Lackey 2.9 = 14.7 WAR

2015 Royals: Ventura 2.7, Volquez 2.7, Cueto 1.1, Duffy 0.9 = 7.4 WAR

2014 Giants: Bumgarner 3.6, Hudson 1.7, Peavy 1.4, Vogelsong 0.9 = 7.6 WAR

2013 Red Sox: Leser 3.3, Buccholz 2.7, Lackey 2.5, Doubront 2.3 = 10.8 WAR

2012 Giants: Cain 3.2, Bumgarner 2.7, Vogelsong 1.9, Zito 1.0 = 8.8 WAR

2011 Cardinals: Carpenter 4.5, Garcia 3.2, Lohse 2.2, Westbrook 0.7 = 10.6 WAR

2010 Giants: Lincecum 4.3, Cain 4.0, Sanchez 2.2, Zito 1.8 = 12.3 WAR

(In the case of pitchers that were traded for within the season, like Verlander in 2017, I've calculated with their full season WAR as it is more indicative of their ability).

OK, let's look at those WAR totals in a descending list: 

19.5, 14.7, 13.2, 12.3, 11.1, 10.8, 10.6, 8.8, 7.6, 7.4

Average: 11.6

Median: 10.95

It is worth noting that only the last two WS champs--that is 2 of 10, or 20%--had starters with WARs of 5 or higher. The Nationals rotation was by far the best, and truly great with three pitchers that most teams would call their staff ace. The worst were the 2015 Royals and 2015 Giants; the former had no pitchers reach 3.0 WAR, and the latter only one above 2.0.

Now there are other factors to a good rotation: health and ERA, most notably. So perhaps if we added more data points like IP (or games started) and ERA, some of these rotations would look a bit better. But not that much better.

The main takeaway for all of us is this: World Series champions do not always--even usually, at least in recent history--have a true #1 starter. At least according to WAR. In fact, some of them don't even have any starters better than a #3 caliber.

Now let's look at the same team and give them a subjective #1-5 starter ranking, depending mostly on ERA, but also WAR, IP, and my own judgement as to their talent level, with an average of their top four starters:

2019 Nationals: 1, 1, 1, 3 = 1.5 average

2018 Red Sox: 1, 2, 3, 3 = 2.25

2017 Astros: 1, 3, 3, 3 = 2.5

2016 Cubs: 1, 1, 2, 3 = 1.75

2015 Royals: 3, 3, 4, 5 = 3.75

2014 Giants: 1, 3, 3, 3 = 2.5

2013 Red Sox: 2, 3, 3, 4 = 3.0

2012 Giants: 2, 2, 2, 4 = 2.5

2011 Cardinals: 2, 3, 3, 4 = 3.0

2010 Giants: 2, 2, 3, 3 = 2.5

When you take ERA and IP into account, many of the rotations look a bit different. But again, the 2019 Nationals were ridiculously good, but they are somewhat of an outlier, with only the '16 Cubs being close.

The outlier on the other side of the spectrum were the 2015 Royals, who had a truly mediocre rotation. Consider that Bundy in 2020 was only 0.7 WAR shy from their top two starters, and all while starting only 11 games. How did they win the World Series? Well, they were known for having a great bullpen, great defense, and playing small ball really well (remember the ALDS series the year before?). So as a side point to this topic, it is important to realize that WS champions aren't necessarily strong in all areas.

If we ignore the outlying '19 Nationals, '16 Cubs and '15 Royals, we get seven rotations (or 70% of the ten) in the range of 2.25 to 3.0 averages. The one commonality all seven teams share is that they have at least one pitcher that was a #2 or better, and three pitchers that were #3s or better. 

But again, it is worth noting that only half of the ten teams had true #1s, and that's including career years from Lester and Hendricks for the Cubs in '16, and Bumgarner in '14 for the Giants, who may have been a borderline #2 who pitched like an ace in the postseason.

The point of relevancy to us: You don't have to have a #1 pitcher to win the World Series. You don't even need to have a great rotation. It doesn't hurt, and you probably need a good to very good one, but not a great one. And again: you don't need a #1. A #2 will do just fine, and you can even get away with your best pitcher being a #3, if you have several of them and are really strong in other areas.

All of this is my way of saying that the "Bauer or Bust" crowd is just flat-out wrong. Half of those teams don't have a Bauer. But on the other hand, almost all of them have someone better than anyone the Angels currently have.

So what does the Angels 2020 rotation look like, in terms of WAR projected over 162 games and # rankings? 

2020 Angels WAR (projected to full season): Bundy 5.4, Heaney 3.8, Canning 2.2, Barria 1.6 = 13.0 WAR

Now given performance trajectories and games started, I think Bundy and maybe Heaney would be a bit lower, and Canning and Barria a bit higher, but 13 for all four sounds about right. That would put them above the median and average for WS champs over the last decade, and better than all but three.

Now maybe we should think more in terms of # rankings, and I would think Bundy, Heaney, and Canning are all #3s, and Barria a #4. Bundy pitched like a #2 in his 11 starts, but the trajectory was going more towards a #3. That would put them as an average of 3.25, worse than all but the 2015 Royals and close to the 2013 Red Sox and 2011 Cardinals.

What about next year? Can we guess? Well, let's assume that Bundy and Heaney continue as 3-4 WAR, #3 starters. Canning should continue to improve and join their ranks. Barria is probably more like a #4, as should Sandoval be. Those five probably aren't quite WS caliber, but they're close. If we consider the two criteria we discovered above--that 9 of 10 WS champions over the last ten years had both a #2 or better and at least three #3s--then one of their number has to have a really good season and establish himself as a #2. Not #1, just #2 gives them that "good enough" ace. The most likely candidate is Bundy, but it is conceivable that Canning or Heaney have that kind of year.

But we shouldn't forget about a fourth candidate: if Shohei Ohtani is healthy and pitches to his talent level. He has the ability to be a #1, but if we estimate his likely IP, probably 100-120 at most, especially if they want him to make it to the postseason, then we can call him a #2 or #2/3.

So one of the three, not two or all three. If two of them reach that level, not only would they have a WS caliber rotation, but a pretty decent one. Not upper echelon, but middle of the pack.

Of course signing Bauer gives them a serious jump. Bauer at his 2020 level, plus just one of the other pitchers jumping to a #2, gives them a 1, 2, 3, 3, or an average of 2.25, comparable to the third best rotation up there. Even if Bauer drops to #2 form and none of the others jump to #2, they'll have a 2, 3, 3, 3, or an average of 2.75. Still pretty good - and good enough.

Now if they sign a Stroman, Ray, Odorizzi, or Gausman, they might end up with a 3, 3, 3, 3 rotation, which is in the bottom third, but still viable. Which brings me to my conclusion:

TLDR

- Signing Bauer would give the Angels a staff ace, three or four #3 types (or possibly better) in Bundy, Heaney, Canning, and Ohtani, and two solid back-end types in Barria and Sandoval. That's a very good starting rotation, with some depth.

- Signing a mid-rotation type doesn't give the Angels a staff ace, but a solid borderline championship-caliber rotation, especially if one of the mid-rotation types takes a big step forward.

- Standing pat gives the Angels a solid rotation, but probably not quite championship-caliber, unless one of their current pitchers takes a step forward to being a legit #2, then it becomes borderline.

So while I came on hard against the Bauer or Bust crowd, the truth is that he is--like Gerrit Cole last year--the type of signing that would instantly make this team jump into relevancy, even WS relevancy (well, Bauer plus other refinements). But it isn't "or Bust." It is "Bauer would be great, but there are other ways to be good enough."

 

This is probably the greatest single post in the history of this forum. 
 

 

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4 hours ago, Lou said:

If a team trades for a player whose contract includes years of deferred payments, do they take on 100% of the future obligation?

obviously jeff is a better person to respond to this, but any deferred payments for years already played are usually paid by the team that he played for during those seasons. i wonder if there are any exceptions to this ever happening?

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5 minutes ago, ukyah said:

obviously jeff is a better person to respond to this, but any deferred payments for years already played are usually paid by the team that he played for during those seasons. i wonder if there are any exceptions to this ever happening?

This doesn't make sense. Deferred payments are made after the contract runs out. 

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50 minutes ago, Lou said:

This doesn't make sense. Deferred payments are made after the contract runs out. 

A trade is simply contract assignment so the new team accepts every obligation of the players contract. Obviously a team can make a new agreement with the original club that fulfills the obligations of the contract, which is generally what happens when a team agrees to send money back the other way during a trade.

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51 minutes ago, Lou said:

This doesn't make sense. Deferred payments are made after the contract runs out. 

perhaps i misunderstood, deferred payments are usually attached to individual years, such as player A makes 30 million in 2020 with 5 million deferred until whenever. if player A is traded in 2021, then the original team would still owe the 5 million dollars for the season already played. having said that, two teams can agree to move dollars however they like as long as it doesn't violate any of the terms of the player's contract or the larger union contract.

i would imagine that a deferred payment not attached to any specific annual salary, one that acts more like a bonus, would then be paid by the acquiring team.

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2 minutes ago, AngelsLakersFan said:

A trade is simply contract assignment so the new team accepts every obligation of the players contract. Obviously a team can make a new agreement with the original club that fulfills the obligations of the contract, which is generally what happens when a team agrees to send money back the other way during a trade.

That's what I figured.

In that case, hell no to Scherzer. 

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(i) Deferred Compensation shall be included in a Player’s Salary as if paid in the championship season to which it is attributed under a Uniform Player’s Contract. If a Contract does not  attribute Deferred Compensation, the Contract shall be treated as if the Deferred Compensation was attributed equally to each of the Guaranteed Years in the Contract.

so the answer to the question of whether another team would be responsible for deferred payments upon assignment of a contract is that it depends.  

my guess is that the acquiring team would only pay the deferred amount that was associated with the remaining seasons on the contract and not anything previously.  I am sure that it would be part of whatever trade negotiation takes place.  

also, Scherzer has 10 and 5 rights.  

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The Angels lack a pitcher who will not be rattled in big games.  That pitcher does not necessarily need to be a true #1, but someone who can show up mentally for a big game and not fall apart if things don't go exactly as planned.  After thinking about the playoffs, and without any useful data, if the Angels needed to play a best 2/3 series for the wildcard, I would start Barria in game 1 because he seems to be mentally fearless, understands what he is able to do and executes pitches well enough to keep the score close.  I would start Bundy for game 2 because he seems to battle with every at bat.  I would not consider Heaney, at all because he seems to be a pussy in big games or crucial situations.  Sandoval is still too emotional to be placed into a playoff pressure cooker.  Canning might work if he can understand what is possible when his pitches are not working as well as he wants.

Bottom line, trade Heaney....I do not see him being anything the Angels can rely on.

Edited by eligrba
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7 hours ago, eligrba said:

The Angels lack a pitcher who will not be rattled in big games.  That pitcher does not necessarily need to be a true #1, but someone who can show up mentally for a big game and not fall apart if things don't go exactly as planned.  After thinking about the playoffs, and without any useful data, if the Angels needed to play a best 2/3 series for the wildcard, I would start Barria in game 1 because he seems to be mentally fearless, understands what he is able to do and executes pitches well enough to keep the score close.  I would start Bundy for game 2 because he seems to battle with every at bat.  I would not consider Heaney, at all because he seems to be a pussy in big games or crucial situations.  Sandoval is still too emotional to be placed into a playoff pressure cooker.  Canning might work if he can understand what is possible when his pitches are not working as well as he wants.

Bottom line, trade Heaney....I do not see him being anything the Angels can rely on.

Heaney is one year away from free agency and he isnt good enough for the Angel's to keep (according to some)  what trade value would he have?

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48 minutes ago, stormngt said:

Heaney is one year away from free agency and he isnt good enough for the Angel's to keep (according to some)  what trade value would he have?

Good point. I didn't realize he was a year away from free agency.  I thinkhe is good enough for the Angels to keep but not rely on.

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