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A case against Trevor Bauer (and why he may be overrated)


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24 minutes ago, Angelsjunky said:

Or, more likely:

The Angels are interested in trading for Gray, and the Reds are open to it, but thus far the asking price has been too high.

Reds have this asset (Gray) and will wait to see how market plays out. Gray's value will only go up.

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So I crunched some numbers, in a similar formula that I used for my top 20ish position players article awhile back. This time I added up 2019-20 fWAR and RA9-WAR, and divided the total by 2.8. The ide

I think it will come down to the years. If he gets 4 years, yeah he'll probably get 30+ million. But 6 years? I'm thinking 25-28 million.  That said, I think his contract will be backloaded so we

I don’t know if bringing Bauer’s personality into the Angels clubhouse would be an issue, but I do believe that there’s no GM who will take that more into consideration than one who literally grew up

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7 minutes ago, Jeff Fletcher said:

I don’t know if bringing Bauer’s personality into the Angels clubhouse would be an issue, but I do believe that there’s no GM who will take that more into consideration than one who literally grew up in a clubhouse. 

If the Angels don't get Bauer, whether it's because of that reason or other reasons, will Minasian still be able to solve the rotation issues?

I just struggle to see the options for the Angels to improve their rotation if they don't get Bauer.

It's very complex for teams to agree to trades (let alone trades for top starting pitchers) and the options on the free agent market after Bauer are a big drop off.

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2 hours ago, tdawg87 said:

I agree with all of this.

The "right guy" quote was Arte blowing smoke up our ass. He's drawn the line in the sand and he won't cross it. That's fine it's his money and he spends a lot of it each year.

I've thought for the last 2 years that he may not have a choice if he wants to win. There's two "right guys" this year in Bauer and Realmuto. But there's absolutely 0 chance he signs both. And honestly I can't blame him. That's a fucking lot of money and he's been burned by 2 guys already, and you could possibly add Upton to that list.

Tough situation to be in. Not a ton of payroll space, and while we have the pieces to make a significant trade, we don't have the minor league depth to withstand such a trade. 

But spending is the way to go. There's really no better option. 

Yep, this right here.
If he made those two signings plus maybe a Pedersen to fill RF for the year we go from FanGraphs #4 in the AL to a probably WS favorite and have the tools to rival the Dodgers or Padres.
But.. yeah, not gonna happen.
But its also likely our only path, without gutting the farm into oblivion.
Trade for Gray etc... you actually think its not going to take Adell plus?  or so many others its going to lessen the club inb other areas?  WE just dont have the farm to make these deals, i hate to say.

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1 hour ago, Angelsjunky said:

Or, more likely:

The Angels are interested in trading for Gray, and the Reds are open to it, but thus far the asking price has been too high.

What does this likely cost us?  Can we actually make a trade like this without literally gutting the farm?  I dont see it, at all. 

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2 minutes ago, floplag said:

What does this likely cost us?  Can we actually make a trade like this without literally gutting the farm?  I dont see it, at all. 

Take on Moose in the deal for Gray, maybe with the Reds paying down a bit of salary, then add a prospect or dollars and flip Moose to KC or another team looking for a LH bat.

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2 hours ago, Blarg said:

If the Angels were at all interested in trading for Sonny Gray, they would have made the trade already and then used that as a bargaining chip for Bauer. The inaction says one of two things:

The Angels are not interested in trading for Gray

The Reds are not interested in trading Gray

In either instance the inclusion of Gray onto every one of these Bauer scenarios is just wishful thinking.

your first statement is not true at all.  there's a strong chance of interest from both sides yet the Angels likely can't take on both Bauer and Gray or if they are going to take on Gray then they might also be willing to take on other money from CIN to decrease the prospect cost.  

point is, there are multiple scenarios as to why Gray hasn't been traded as of yet to any team.  Let alone the Angels.  And the most likely is that his market will develop once Bauer signs.  

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4 hours ago, Blarg said:

If the Angels were at all interested in trading for Sonny Gray, they would have made the trade already and then used that as a bargaining chip for Bauer. The inaction says one of two things:

The Angels are not interested in trading for Gray

The Reds are not interested in trading Gray

In either instance the inclusion of Gray onto every one of these Bauer scenarios is just wishful thinking.

I suspect that what happens with Sugano has something to do with the lack of action with Gray among other things.  If the Angels win the bidding for Sugano, they wouldnt need to give up the prospects that Gray will command, but instead could trade for a lower tier like Musgrove or just call it a day on SP and spend (money and/or prospect capital) in other areas instead.  Also, it will be a clear signal that they are out on Bauer, likely instead going for a #2 type (Sugano) and a #3 type (?), or less likely but plausible, putting them in a good position to wait to see how the market plays out for Gray (timing is everything).  Anyway we will know more by Friday as obviously we dont know the level of interest the Angels have in Sugano, so this is just conjecture but it rings right to me.

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2 hours ago, floplag said:

What does this likely cost us?  Can we actually make a trade like this without literally gutting the farm?  I dont see it, at all. 

Well, you can play around with the Trade Simulator to get a starting point. Here are a couple:

Brandon Marsh alone. According to the simulator, they're similar in value. I don't think he'd be enough and the Angels would at least need to throw in a Yan or Suarez type.

Jordyn Adams, Patrick Sandoval, and Jeremiah Jackson. More of a gutting, and frankly I'd rather give up just Marsh.

Or for Gray and Castellanos: Jackson and Sandoval. Again, I don't think the Reds would do this, but it fits the simulator.

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Per FanGraphs, over the last three seasons with a minimum of 150 Innings Pitched, I adjusted the final column to show WAR per IP and sorted highest to lowest (deGrom unsurprisingly is on top as AJ showed) and then I arbitrarily broke them into tiers (about ever 0.002 difference in WAR/IP):

Capture.JPG

Did the Top 31 since everyone is hot and bothered with Hendricks. This is a little different from what @Angelsjunky did as it shows efficiency on a per inning basis. Thanks for starting the conversation AJ.

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13 minutes ago, Angelsjunky said:

Well, you can play around with the Trade Simulator to get a starting point. Here are a couple:

Brandon Marsh alone. According to the simulator, they're similar in value. I don't think he'd be enough and the Angels would at least need to throw in a Yan or Suarez type.

Jordyn Adams, Patrick Sandoval, and Jeremiah Jackson. More of a gutting, and frankly I'd rather give up just Marsh.

Or for Gray and Castellanos: Jackson and Sandoval. Again, I don't think the Reds would do this, but it fits the simulator.

Frankly, I'd rather sign Bauer (6 years, $150M), trade Adell + one of Bundy/Heaney + ???? for Luis Castillo + ???? and sign a cheap stop-gap OF on a one-year deal and plug Marsh in next season.

Eazy Peazy!

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3 hours ago, Trendon said:

If the Angels don't get Bauer, whether it's because of that reason or other reasons, will Minasian still be able to solve the rotation issues?

I just struggle to see the options for the Angels to improve their rotation if they don't get Bauer.

It's very complex for teams to agree to trades (let alone trades for top starting pitchers) and the options on the free agent market after Bauer are a big drop off.

Every year it seems we collectively come to a point where it is "X Player or We're Doomed." Last year it was Cole or Crumble, this year it is Bauer or Bust.

Not only do I think that simply isn't the case, also I think it corners us into an untenable and dangerous position of desperation (or the Angels front office, really, but us through identifying with the team).

Now certainly we can look back and see how getting Cole would have significantly improved the team. Cole wouldn't have only added his 1.4 WAR, but he would have replaced some of the Angels worst starts - so maybe a 2-3 win swing, just based upon WAR. Who knows what the psychological impact on the team would have been.

But there were other routes to improvement. Eppler made one really good move, trading for Dylan Bundy who, even if he regresses a bit, gives the Angels another solid mid-rotation starter, at least for 2020-21, and possibly a solid trade chip in July.

If you're Perry Minasian and paid to assemble the best team possible with limited resources, then you're looking at many different paths. You also realize that the starting rotation--while very, very important--is only one aspect of a team. A team doesn't have to have a great rotation, or even a true ace, to win the World Series (I'm too lazy to look it up, but I wrote a post about this a few months back).

What a championship-caliber rotation does need is at least four good, #3 or better starters. Right now the Angels have five or six guys who could be that good. Bundy was last year, Heaney has shown that form, Canning and Ohtani have the potential (if healthy, for the latter), and both Barria and Sandoval look like at least #4s, with a chance of being better.

In other words, right now the Angels have a rotation that could be good enough, although with far too many conditions: If (at least most) everyone is healthy and fulfills their potential; if the bullpen is good; if the offense builds on last year; if the defense is solid. 

No team enters the year as an absolute lock to make the postseason, but the good teams have fewer conditions. Minasian's job is to reduce those conditions.

Minasian has already improved the bullpen (although more work could be done). He's shored up the infield defense, even if not replacing Andrelton's wizardry. He's also grabbed a halfway decent sleeper outfielder to keep RF warm until Adell or Marsh are ready.

There's a lot of work that still can be done, and probably needs to be done. At the very least, he needs to deepen the rotation, probably the bullpen too. The Angels could also use a solid platoon catcher and maybe another outfielder. The last two are both pretty straightforward, and also less dire. 

I imagine that Minasian is serious about Bauer, but I'm hoping he isn't putting all of his chips on him. He seems like a smart guy, so I'm pretty certain he's not. He's also looking at trades for players like Gray and Musgrove, and assessing the handful of mid-rotation types like Sugano, Tanaka, Odorizzi, Walker, as well as combing the lower ranks for possible clean peanut surprises. 

And that barely touches the surface. As you said, trades are hard to make, and there are a lot of moving parts and interested parties with regards to free agents.

The tricky part about Bauer is that he takes up a sizeable portion of available spending funds (to the degree that we have any idea how much Arte is willing to spend). If he doesn't sign soon, I imagine that some teams will move on and focus on the next tier, at which point his suitors and earning potential will go down. so I would think Bauer and his agent know this, so will sign within the next couple weeks.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Angels sign someone sooner, just to raise that floor again on the rotation. If that player costs enough, they'll pivot to trades, and if that doesn't work, sign a second third tier starter, and maybe spend remaining money on improving the bullpen and spending a few more on a right fielder or catcher.

TLDR: Ultimately I have no idea what will actually happen, or what various courses Minasian has charted out, but I'm just trying to point out that Bauer or Bust is a fallacy, and that there are other paths to improving the team towards contention.

 

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16 minutes ago, Condor1984 said:

Even if he is overarated, he'd be a big nice piece of improvement in this rotation.

He would be and thats universally agreed upon, but at what cost.  The fun part is the armchair GMing about options and where you draw the line.  The Bauer threads will be fun to revisit towards the end of his upcoming contract whether he signs with the Angels or not.  Hope Lou doesnt agree with my speculations.

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4 hours ago, Jeff Fletcher said:

I don’t know if bringing Bauer’s personality into the Angels clubhouse would be an issue, but I do believe that there’s no GM who will take that more into consideration than one who literally grew up in a clubhouse. 

I want to read more into this quote than I probably should. It suggests that Bauer is probably the best player to add but possibly not the best fit.

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2 hours ago, Angelsjunky said:

TLDR: Ultimately I have no idea what will actually happen, or what various courses Minasian has charted out, but I'm just trying to point out that Bauer or Bust is a fallacy, and that there are other paths to improving the team towards contention.

That's fair, but the path without Bauer (or another top of the rotation arm) is more complicated and has more moving parts. That path involves still adding 1-2 average starters, bullpen arms, and perhaps supplements at C and RF.

It seems like one of the Angels biggest issues the past few seasons has been that they have a low floor. We've seen a lot of players come up and provide below replacement level value. If the Angels depth could even provide a little bit above replacement value, that'd be huge.

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8 hours ago, floplag said:

Yep, this right here.
If he made those two signings plus maybe a Pedersen to fill RF for the year we go from FanGraphs #4 in the AL to a probably WS favorite and have the tools to rival the Dodgers or Padres.
But.. yeah, not gonna happen.
But its also likely our only path, without gutting the farm into oblivion.
Trade for Gray etc... you actually think its not going to take Adell plus?  or so many others its going to lessen the club inb other areas?  WE just dont have the farm to make these deals, i hate to say.

We have the farm to make those deals and no it won’t cost Adell to get Gray. 

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17 hours ago, Angelsjunky said:

Well, you can play around with the Trade Simulator to get a starting point. Here are a couple:

Brandon Marsh alone. According to the simulator, they're similar in value. I don't think he'd be enough and the Angels would at least need to throw in a Yan or Suarez type.

Jordyn Adams, Patrick Sandoval, and Jeremiah Jackson. More of a gutting, and frankly I'd rather give up just Marsh.

Or for Gray and Castellanos: Jackson and Sandoval. Again, I don't think the Reds would do this, but it fits the simulator.

I dont put much credence in that thing, but thanks for the comparison. 

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9 minutes ago, floplag said:

Well see i guess.
But we lament here how poor it is, the rankings put us in the bottom third.. not exactly stellar territory. 

Not really, we hear about how young our farm is (it is the youngest I believe) and we hear about how the players haven’t reach peak value as far as prospect currency.  Take a guy like Adams, he is going to be pretty darn good.  He is ranked outside of the top 100.  He is a good season away from being in the top 50.  Also I struggle to see any farm system ranking improving or declining in a season where no minor league baseball was played.  

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12 minutes ago, floplag said:

I dont put much credence in that thing, but thanks for the comparison. 

It’s fine to not give much credence in those things, but take a look at how accurate they are in most trades that have happened.  If they are relatively accurate as far as the value placed on players, then it should have some credence.  Now obviously it doesn’t factor in the needs of an organization.  If a team needs a SS badly, but the trade includes a catcher to get the value, then it doesn’t really matter.  

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22 hours ago, Trendon said:

If the Angels don't get Bauer, whether it's because of that reason or other reasons, will Minasian still be able to solve the rotation issues?

I just struggle to see the options for the Angels to improve their rotation if they don't get Bauer.

Trevor Bauer is not the only good pitcher out there. And the Angels have a lot of room for improvement. 
 

They would be better with Joe Musgrove or Jake Odorizzi or Taijuan Walker.

What did you think of Dylan Bundy a year ago?

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36 minutes ago, Jeff Fletcher said:

Trevor Bauer is not the only good pitcher out there. And the Angels have a lot of room for improvement. 
 

They would be better with Joe Musgrove or Jake Odorizzi or Taijuan Walker.

What did you think of Dylan Bundy a year ago?

Scarcity of top tier pitchers does control the market and Bauer will be over paid but then again most players are over paid in free agency. He would improve the Angels rotation considerably, more so than a combination Musgrove and other 2nd tier pitcher because in truth the Angels have those guys in the organization. They really only need Bauer to stabilize the rotation. Now about that money problem...

I think Dylan Bundy falls back to earth in a full season of pitching but I do believe getting out of Baltimore helped. It could have been coaching or just leaving behind seasons of losing teams that never supported his mound efforts. He will settle in a little over league average which is a huge improvement over Tehran, Cahill, Harvey... I rather doubt he posts another 137 ERA+ season. 

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23 hours ago, Jeff Fletcher said:

I don’t know if bringing Bauer’s personality into the Angels clubhouse would be an issue, but I do believe that there’s no GM who will take that more into consideration than one who literally grew up in a clubhouse. 

Jeff, do you think Dodgers could make David Price available if they sign LeMahieu?

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