Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Teixeira Trade Revisited

I wanted to clarify my comments from yesterday about recent Braves acquisition Mark Teixeira. What I said was that while it was still a great trade for Atlanta, Teixeira was somewhat overrated. Actually, a better word choice probably would have been overvalued. There are two main reasons why Braves fans’ enthusiasm should be slightly restrained.

The first issue is the ballpark that Teixeira has played in his entire career. Baseball Reference lists the Ballpark at Arlington as having a Park Factor of 104 for hitters (anything over 100 favors the hitter, under favors the pitcher). Turner Field, on the other hand, has a Park Factor of 97. The effect of the park can be seen in Teixeira’s career line. His career OPS is 107 points higher at home, and most of that difference comes from his home/away slugging split.

The other thing to consider is Teixeira’s future, since he will be a free agent after next year. The switch hitter is a Boras client, and Boras almost always has his clients hit free agency to get full value. Now I realize that the Braves will most likely be off the hook for Andruw Jones’ contract and their ownership is increasing payroll. However, the important thing to remember is that the Yankees will also be looking to fill a spot a first base with Jason Giambi’s massive contract coming off the books. The Orioles and the Red Sox could also potentially be interested. Boras almost always gets people to overpay for his clients (Barry Zito, J.D. Drew, Johnny Damon, Ivan Rodriguez, to name a few). My point is not that the Braves can’t or won’t sign him; it’s just that if they do they will pay a very steep price.

Like I said before, this is still a good trade for the Braves. I think Teixeira is still a very good player and he greatly improves their lineup and it doesn’t cost them anything that will hurt them in the long term.

21 Comments:

Guy said...

It definitely gives the Braves a chance to get it done this year-- which is what makes it a very good trade as well as the reasons stated above.

I just realized that the Rangers traded Lofton for a catcher, and then they just traded Tex for a catcher. Does the Rangers' GM have a little thing for guys that crouch behind a dish? Awwwwkwaard.

Buzzsaw said...

The Rangers also have a really good catcher in their minor league program. Shockingly they have no Molina.

Buzzsaw said...

Overvalued is also the incorrect word .. He would be overvalued if Schuerholz didn't consider the fact that he played in Texas, I'm sure that wasn't the case. Over his five major league seasons he's had 15 fewer home runs away than at home, not that significant, 3 a year (and this year isn't finished). I think a little bit of that also has to do with the fact that players naturally play a little bit better at home.
So unless you're saying the Braves front office didn't realize the fact that he was playing in a hitters park, then I think the point is moot. If you take away the three extra homeruns per year he hit playing in Texas then he's still one of the best players in baseball.

Buzzsaw said...

Oh I forgot to mention in my catcher comment that they are probably planning on playing him at first eventually, if not right away. He wasn't really that "redundant" for the Braves though, because they were in the process of switching him to first when they traded him. The problem with him as catcher is that he's 6'4 which is huge for a catcher, and I read somewhere that tall catchers always end up with huge knee problems when they get to their thirties.

Logan said...

Home runs isn't the only thing that goes into slugging and therefore OPS. A 100 pt split difference IS significant.

The reason I said he's redundant is because he loses alot of his value if you switch him to first base. 1B is at the very left of the defensive spectrum, meaning its the easiest position to play. Catcher is at the complete opposite end, meaning its the hardest to play. Translation: good hitting first basemen are much much easier to come by than good hitting catchers.

However, the health concerns you bring up are a legitimate point. Still probably better to move him as a catcher while his value is still high and get a better 1B in return.

Buzzsaw said...

I know what slugging and OPS mean, I only mentioned HRs because that's what makes Texas a better hitting park. It'll actually be easier for him to get singles, doubles, and non-HR) RBIs in a bigger park, since there's more room, right? So, what I'm saying is that the adjustment for him in changing parks is being way overstated.

But that wasn't my main argument, the biggest thing was that he's not being overvalued because the Braves front office has clearly already taken those stats into account. It's like betting, if you bet on a certain team just because of an individual stat, say, the Pistons have a .700 win % at home, then you're actually at a disadvantage because the bookies have already taken that into consideration... You wouldn't make a bet just because a team has more wins, you realize that's already being taken into account, but you'd be fooling yourself if you thought the .700 win % at home wasn't taken into account as well.

That was a confusing example, but you get what I'm saying, you can't say he's being overvalued based on his home stats because that would have been considered before the trade took place just like HRs, RBIs, BA, etc were.

Buzzsaw said...

They officially got Dotel, moving on to Arroyo ... this is the craziest couple of days ever as a Braves fan. Has any team ever been this active at the trade deadline?? I can't imagine it. Enlighten me biglots.

BigLots said...

Ha, why are you asking me? If I had to guess though I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that some team has gotten more than two players at the deadline before.

Buzzsaw said...

Wow, you're a smartass, those players were two of the top 3 available, and they're also in on Arroyo. Btw, it was three players .. asshole. And it's not the number, it's the fact that they are all major league ready players brought on to make the team compete this year.

Buzzsaw said...

You guys aren't gonna believe this, but I'm at the library (you SHOULD believe that) and I'm listening to Pandora.com on the computer I'm working on. You pick a band, I choose Dave Matthews, and they play music thats similar. No fucking joke, the song that just came on is a cover of "Slide" by the Goo-Goo Dolls, it's being sung by Bronson, Fucking, Arroyo. If that's not a sign from God that this trade is going through, I don't know what is.

Guy said...

"RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE"

-The Town of South Park

and/or

-Buzzsaw

Haha, just kidding Buzz. I would be excited, too.

Buzzsaw said...

Guy's just jealous ... Logan, I'm still waiting for your response to my response.

Logan said...

Buzz, I really don't have a response. The gambling analogy really made no sense to me.

As for the rest of it, I was never saying that Schuerholz overvalued him, that would mean he made a bad trade and I said he made a good trade(esp. considering what he gave up). I was just saying I think Teixeira's numbers are inflated and he is not one of the best hitters in the game, although he is a very good one.

Park Adjustments do not only account for HRs. Check out this website http://www.baseball-reference.com/
about/parkadjust.shtml but it basically shows if a league average player would create more or less runs by playing in that park. (Think not only about HRs but doubles off the wall, etc.) Also a more spacious outfield would only benefit the hitter in the way you suggested if they had a crappy OF defense.

Buzzsaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Buzzsaw said...

I get annoyed when people don't respond, especially when you wrote a whole article about this. I guess my biggest question is how playing at Texas helped in any way other than HR's, I just don't understand the concept.

Also, we all know I hate stats anyway, they are the worst support because they can be soo easily manipulated. You're biggest reasoning for him being overvalued is that there is a career .100 difference in his home/away OPS. How would you account for his OPS's for last year and this year, this year his home OPS is .938 .. away? .906, an insignificant difference. What about 2006? His last full season, home OPS= .791 away OPS= .983; he actually hit better on the road. You'd have to agree that those numbers are a better indication of his performance right?

Daris said...

buzz,

I understand your gambling analogy almost entirely as you are assuming the Braves made the right decision after all of the statistics were calculated. Honestly, thats just a matter of opinion. One team could have taken that same cumulative information and passed on Teixeira saying that he was overvalued. We wouldn't know who made the right value judgement until the player performs in the future.

The value of a deal is completely dependent on what the player/stock (business side) does in the future. Attaching value to something that has yet to perform makes sense only before a deal is made.

You can suspect that the Braves valued Teixeira correctly, but we really won't know until he starts playing.

Think of it like this: everyone tries to beat the stock market by finding businesses that are undervalued or overvalued. In a perfect market, they all have the same information (minus Martha Stewart), and make decisions on that information. Two people can see the same stock and arrive at starkly different conclusions on its expected return.

I don't think Log was saying that OPS was the only relevant factor in making the decision, he was just suggesting that it might be more important than other statiscics. Remember, certain statistics vary depending on the weight we add to their significance. One can take the same information and attach different values to different pieces of that information.

Essentially, that brings me back to my point about gambling. Bookies do take everything into consideration, but that doesnt mean we shouldn't question the values of those things they take into consideration. One GM could think OPS, when weighted, is more important than all of the other statistics combined. He might be right or wrong, who really knows until it plays out!

A shitty booky who takes all information into consideration might set a line that has no chance of holding up. Should we say that we can't find holes in his consideration just because he in fact considered everything?

Doesn't make sense to me.

Buzzsaw said...

I'm glad you understood the analogy, and I agree that different people put different values on each stat, that's what makes for the differing opinions. That's basically what I'm trying to ask, why does Log think that those career OPS stats matter? Especially with what I said about his recent improvement. If you're going to say something bad about a player my team just picked up, I think Logan knows me well enough to realize that I won't back down to an opinion that said player might be overrated, unless I'm convinced of his reasoning. Which I'm not, I'm trying to hear his side out though.

Daris or anyone- if you have any insight to the benefit of hitting at a "hitters park" for anything other than HR's please help me with that.

Logan said...

A couple of points and then I'm done with this because, frankly I think its kind of a stupid argument.

1. You have to look at why this made you so upset. You even said its because its a player your favorite team just aquired. Would this have made you as mad if I was talking about someone the Mets just aquired? Just wondering.

2. You say that you hate stats and they are the worst stat in baseball because they can be manipulated. I'm really not sure what else there is! Yes they can be manipulated but thats why you have to carefully pick what stats you use and the more the better! Its the same thing GM's have to do, they're just better at it than we are.

3. I thought I already explained why the ballpark factor matters for things other than HRs but maybe I didnt do a good job. That stat quantifies total run production above average from the past and BP has a pretty complex and accurate way of doing it, but if you want to how it is affected by things other than HRs consider several of these things. Foul territory-more benefits the pitcher, less benefits the batter. Short fences and high walls-lead to more hits when the ball hits the wall and stays in the park. The fielder has no control over this and also must deal with sharp angles and bad bounces. Big ballparks with lots of space in the OF- (smart) teams usually cater their OF defense to their ballpark by putting players with lots of range out there to take adantage. Yeah they have more ground to cover but they can position themselves accordingly (i.e. play deeper and keep lots of balls from going in the gap and over their heads.

Bottom line is that the Park Factor stat doesn't even try to explain why it helps the hitters, IT QUANTIFIES THE EVIDENCE OF THE PAST ADVANTAGE (obviously runs), from all aspects, not just home runs.

4. Yes I realize that Teixeira had a reverse split last year, which is unusual, but it only reduced what was previously a larger difference. And it was back to the normal trend this year. And no, I don't agree that last year's stats are a better indicator than his career stats. A larger sample size is always more accurate than a smaller one.

You can have the last word.

Buzzsaw said...

First, I don't like the way you approach my arguments. What is the point of writing articles about news events if not for the discussions? You think people don't know 95% of the news before it's posted on here? The purpose of stories like this is discussion, so I can't understand why you're so unwilling to back up your arguments when I question something. Now I will resond to the numbered comments.

1) Why does this matter at all? You're attacking me and not my argument, it's just like accusing me of arguing just to argue. It's just unnecessary and counterproductive.
2) I never said stats are the worst stats in baseball .. I'm not sure what that means. I saw stats are the worst support for any argument, and that's true (Gerencher told me so, RIP). I get that it's the only thing there is in baseball, but I'm saying taking one stat is just not useful and misleading like you did with OPS.
3)Good points on the field, I don't know enough about the stadium in Texas to comment further. If you had left out part 1 and just kept things like this, it'd make for a much nicer argument.
4)I disagree that this year is "back to the trend." The difference this year is .30 not .100. He played soo much better offensively away than at home last year that I think it throws that stat out completely, a .200 difference, that's insane. I wish you would have admitted, at least a little, that last year kind of made any OPS talk moot with regards to him. Sure it will make a difference, but not that big at all.
Lastly, what part of the argument was stupid?? Just me disagreeing with you posting one stat as a reason for a player being overrated? Please explain.

Buzzsaw said...

I didn't mean that his year last year throws the stat itself out as being worthless, but I think it shows that the stat is extremely misleading in his case, since he definitely doesn't need the stadium to play well.

Logan said...

Buzz,

I'm sorry if you felt I was attacking you personally. That wasn't my intention. I was merely trying to say that you should try to look at players objectively and not defend them simply because they play for your team. It makes for better discussion. That's all.

As for my point #2, that was actually a typo. It should have read 'you say you hate stats because they are the worst 'support'. Reread that with that instead and see if it makes more sense. Sorry for the confusion.

I disagree that OPS is not useful and misleading. I choose that stat because I believe it is the best readily available indicator of offensive production. And while last year was certainly unusual it does not make his career OPS line a 'moot' point. If I was saying he can't hit on the road it would, but I was simply saying that his numbers have been inflated by playing in Texas.

But if you still want to look at last year it is interesting to examine why there was such a significant reverse split. Yes, he did have 9 more home runs on the road than at home. But he also had 25 more walks on the road! (and 7 less strikeouts) Both of these things have nothing to do with the park and provided a significant boost to his OBP and thus OPS.

I probably shouldn't have said the argument was stupid, but it is frustrating because it seems like you're still missing the point of what I was originally trying to say, which was simply that his numbers are somewhat inflated by his home ballpark--not that that led the Braves to make a bad decision or that he can't hit anywhere else.