How much of an improvement will big new additions be?
With the Super Bowl behind us and pitchers and catchers due to report to camp two weeks from Thursday, now seems like a good time to look back at some of the biggest moves of this past offseason to figure out whether or not they actually represent meaningful upgrades for their teams. How much a player cost (be it by trade or free agency), his long-term impact, or how the player(s) he's replacing are likely to perform in the coming season are not factors. This is simply a comparison of the 2009 production each player is replacing to the 2010 production he's likely to contribute. Also, note that the statistics used below (
When the Phillies simultaneously traded
Vazquez was one of the best starters in the National League last year, while the Yankee fifth starters whom he'll be replacing (
Beltre will be replacing
Figgins replaces not just Beltre, but also
Six players made 10 or more starts in leftfield for the Mets last year and the Mets' leftfielders as a group hit .276/.352/.421. Bay is a career .280/.376/.519 hitter who, save for a 2007 season undermined by injuries in both knees, has been worth roughly five wins above replacement with his bat every year since his 2005 breakout. The catch is that those knee injuries ruined Bay as a fielder and he now gives back more than a win on defense relative to the average left fielder per Ultimate Zone Rating (Ulitmate Zone Rating, a play-by-play-based fielding stat also expressed in runs above or below average). Bay would have been a five-win player as an American League DH, but he's only a four-win player as a National League leftfielder. Still, the Mets leftfielders contributed only about two wins with their bats last year and gave a half-win back on defense themselves.
While Halladay's move to the Phillies didn't seem nearly that significant on its face, Lee's move to the Mariners looked like a tremendous upgrade, but as I wrote in
Whether Granderson winds up playing center or left for the Yankees, he'll be replacing