Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Wayne Krivsky Memorial Cardinal Rule of GM-ing

There are certain things you just don't do as a major league GM. You don't lie to your players. You don't compare the players' union to al Qaeda. And you don't overpay for relief pitching.

I know it's hard for us Scats fans to hear this just now, what with our historically intolerable bullpen and all. But to trade Nick Johnson for Manny Delcarmen would be just crazy.

Hey, I'm the guy who hit the panic button when we let Jesus Colome go because I could see this year's bullshitpen implosion coming back in December. I'm not saying you don't invest in relief pitching at all. Jeremy Affelt, Bob Howry, and Juan Cruz would have been good, smart investments this off-season. Add them to Beimel, Hanrahan, and Bergmnn and you have a damn good group for a reasonable price.

But individual relief pitchers just aren't that valuable, mainly because they don't pitch that much. In Delcarmen's best year he was a 1.5 wins above replacement player. Nick's given us a full win over replacment this year alone. In his best year, he was a 5.3 wins above replacement value.

They also aren't reliable from year to year, other than the very best of the best. We've seen that here in DC over and over. And honestly they aren't that hard to come by (I know, I know, it doesn't feel that way now, but...). You can take a fifth starter and turn him into a serviceable relief pitcher anytime. The average starting pitcher converted to a reliever will see his ERA improve by about a run. Now, our starters are pretty awful too, and the near-total absence of replacement-level major league-ready options within the organization is an indictment of Bowden's regime.

Nick's contract is up at the end of the year, and personally I'd like to see them re-sign him. Aside from the newly broken out Zimmerman, he's the best player on the team. Yes, yes, the injuries. Whatever. There are very few players on all of baseball that could ever produce a 5.3 wins above replacement value, and Nick's one of them. With Dunn in left, we have the perfect in-house plan B in the event Nick misses time.

Regardless, Nick for a reliever shouldn't even be a thought.
Update: Here's what Rizz said today on the matter, which I like: “He’s an extremely valuable player to the Nationals. We need him here, we like him here and we want him here," Rizzo said. "If someone overwhelms us with a deal that we can’t refuse, of course we’re going to listen to a deal about Nick or about anybody else. But he’s an extremely valuable player for us."

Hopefully the rumors were just that.


Deeznats said...

I'm supportive of trading NJ while his stock is high, but making a desperate trade to try to paper over this lost year's deficiency is insane. I think trading NJ and only getting Delcarmen in return would be one of the few things that could make this season worse.

Will said...

Don't worry, Red Sox fans don't want a guy like Johnson who's injured all the time. Though they are willing to consider Adam Dunn for Delcarmen. If not that, they're also interested in dealing Delcarmen for Adrian Gonzalez or Justin Upton.

I'm amazed by the utter stupidity of most Red Sox fans commenting on the deal.

I hope Rizzo is looking for suitors for Guzman too. His numbers are still pretty gaudy.

Steven said...

I've been dreaming of a Guzman trade since the Lasik. The Dodgers last year were running Angel Berroa out there, and the Cardinals needed a SS. The White Sox too.

But I think the window of opportunity closed on that when the free agent market crashed. $8 million a year doesn't make him untradable, but it means you probably need to trade bad contract for bad contract, and that means you're getting back a veteran.

Who knows though. It certainly would make sense for the Scats.

Deacon Drake said...

I'd do Johnson for Buckholz, Bard, Masterson, but not Delcarmen...