Monday, December 13, 2010

Interesting 2011 Non-Tenders, Part 3

This is going to be the bullpen edition of my non-tender series, as it appears all the players I have left to profile are (coincidentally or not) relief arms. Because they have so much in common, it might make sense to profile them all similarly.

Alfredo Aceves: 28 years old, RHP, 3.00 ERA in 12ip
Last year's salary: $435K
Why Non-Tendered: Injured
Similar to the situation with my man Samuel Gervacio, the Yankees non-tendered Aceves because he was injured and did not want to use a roster spot for him while he rehabilitated. In 2009, when he was last healthy, Aceves posted a 3.54 ERA and 1.01 WHIP while notching a ridiculous 10-1 record. Apparently he is also a ninja, because to do that in New York City and not have your name be nationally recognizable is quite the feat.

Manny Delcarmen: 29 years old, RHP, 4.99 ERA/1.47 WHIP in 52ip
Last year's salary: $905K
Why Non-Tendered: Ineffective
Manny Delcarmen is an interesting case, in that he was very effective for the Red Sox in 2007 and 2008, posting a 2.81 ERA and 113K's in those two seasons with a great WHIP. He slipped a little in 2009, and in 2010 was traded to the Rockies where he put up a 6.48 ERA and apparently could not be used.

Bobby Jenks: 30 years old, RHP, 4.44 ERA/1.36 WHIP
Last year's salary: $7.5 million
Why Non-Tendered: Too Expensive
Jenks, unfairly, has always been one of my least favorite ballplayers. Much of it stems from an old ESPN the Magazine article which made some claims about Jenks off-field behavior, but I'm also hesitant on Jenks due to his size. Either way, he's coming off a sub-par season and will have a lot to prove in the upcoming year.

Going a step deeper on Jenks, it appears that he was very unlucky last season. Despite notching 10.4 K/9 (a career best in a full year) and a K/BB ratio of 3.39, he posted the highest ERA of his career. On the other hand, however, Jenks had a BABIP last season of .368(!), which is far above his career mark of .306. FIP and xERA back up that assessment, indicating that Jenks in fact had the best season of his career last year. Both metrics had Jenks posting a true-talent ERA of around 2.60. Full season stats, however, do not fully capture the downward spiral that Jenks was on in the second half.

With the White Sox unlikely to resign Jenks due to 1) personal issues and 2) the fact that they've already signed Dunn and resigned Konerko, this may be a good opportunity to grab a great pitcher on the cheap.

JP Howell: 28 years old, LHP, 2.84 ERA/1.20 WHIP in the 2009 season
Last year's salary: $1.8 million
Why Non-Tendered: Injured
An obvious non-tender candidate, Howell earned $1.8 million last season but did not throw a pitch for the Rays. When Howell was last healthy, he just dominating out of the pen late in games. He posted a 2.48 ERA over 2008-2009, struck out more than a batter per inning, and was absolute death to and righties. Howell underwent surgery on May 19, 2010 to repair a torn labrum. He will not be ready for Opening Day 2011, but the Rays are working to bring him back.

Chris Ray: 29 years old, RHP, 3.72 ERA/1.311 WHIP in 55 IP
Last year's salary: $975K
Why Non-Tendered: Too Expensive
Like Delcarmen, Ray appeared healthy, but did not warrant a raise from his already hefty salary of almost $1 million. The former Orioles closer of the future, Ray is an intriguing candidate as well. Unfortunately, he pitched terribly in 2009 (7.27 ERA) and his peripherals have been underwhelming to say the least. Ray would be a reclamation project - expecting much from him would be overly optimistic.

The Verdict?[1]
Alfredo Aceves: One year/$500K, major league deal if healthy
Manny Delcarmen: One year/$500K, minor league deal
JP Howell: Provided he is healthy, One year/$1M, with a club option for 2012 for $3M with a $500K buyout
Bobby Jenks: Pass - I'd love to have him, but you know he's going to get $6 million for this season from somebody. I'd take Jenks today on a Two year/$4M contract.
Chris Ray: Pass

I wanted to point out one non-reliever as well, who I neglected in an earlier post, Josh Fields. Fields was also injured last year, and he had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip in April. He returned in September, but did not show the Royals enough for them to elect to keep him through arbitration at a raise of his last salary of $422K. Fields is an interesting buy-low candidate, in that he is in the prime of his career at age 28, but was robbed of his opportunity to play every day by the injury. Fields projects as a below-average defender at third base, but really hasn't played there enough to say so definitively. An excellent article on Fields can be found here at Royals Review.

[1] And keep in mind, every player who is non-tendered has value - the part of this exercise which is useful is figuring out how much value they would have and, as such, how much you'd be willing to pay. It's easy to say you'd bring in Bobby Jenks on a $500K contract, but what's the point of that? In doing this, I endeavor to name a price I'd be willing to sign the guy for, assuming that the proposed contract is in the neighborhood of what he might get. Otherwise, you pass.

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