Monday, September 07, 2009

Placido Polanco's Free Agent Type

Alas, I've been typecast as the Elias guy. As long as there is great Tigers coverage in other places, I guess I'm okay with that.

As I was running the Elias numbers (which were posted at MLBTradeRumors today), I saw that Placido Polanco was inching ever so close to Type A status. I don't really want to get into the implications of Polanco reaching Type A status, the likelihood of an arbitration offer, or the possibility of Scott Sizemore taking over the 2B job. No, this is simply going to be a close look at Polanco's ranking and the possibility that he reaches Type A status.

First, I'll post the AL 2B/3B/SS rankings, which can be found at the link above.

Name Team Type Score Pos
Alex Rodriguez New York A A 93.27731092 3B
Derek Jeter New York A A 90.47619048 SS
Michael Young Texas A 85.97883598 SS
Dustin Pedroia Boston A 85.71428571 2B
Marco Scutaro Toronto A 83.06878307 SS
Evan Longoria Tampa Bay A 82.35294118 3B
Ian Kinsler Texas A 80.71428571 2B
Jhonny Peralta Cleveland A 80.68783069 SS
Brian Roberts Baltimore A 77.85714286 2B
Jason Bartlett Tampa Bay A 77.77777778 SS
Mike Lowell Boston A 76.47058824 3B
Orlando Cabrera Minnesota A 75.92592593 SS
Chone Figgins Los Angeles A A 73.94957983 3B
Placido Polanco Detroit B 73.57142857 2B
Robinson Cano New York A B 71.42857143 2B
Alexei Ramirez Chicago A B 68.25396825 SS
Melvin Mora Baltimore B 68.06722689 3B
Erick Aybar Los Angeles A B 67.1957672 SS
Aaron Hill Toronto B 65.71428571 2B
Adrian Beltre Seattle B 65.54621849 3B
Mike Aviles Kansas City B 63.49206349 SS
Asdrubal Cabrera Cleveland B 62.85714286 2B
Jose Lopez Seattle B 62.85714286 2B
Yuniesky Betancourt Kansas City B 58.73015873 SS
Jack Wilson Seattle B 58.2010582 SS
Brendan Harris Minnesota B 57.40740741 SS
Cesar Izturis Baltimore None 56.61375661 SS
Howie Kendrick Los Angeles A None 56.42857143 2B
Brandon Inge Detroit None 55.46218487 3B
Ben Zobrist Tampa Bay None 55 2B
Ty Wigginton Baltimore None 54.62184874 3B
Bobby Crosby Oakland None 54.4973545 SS
Mark Ellis Oakland None 54.28571429 2B
Nick Punto Minnesota None 50.79365079 SS
Carlos Guillen Detroit None 50.42016807 3B
Akinori Iwamura Tampa Bay None 50 2B
Edwin Encarnacion Toronto None 49.57983193 3B
Maicer Izturis Los Angeles A None 49.28571429 2B
Joe Crede Minnesota None 48.7394958 3B
Ramon Santiago Detroit None 48.67724868 SS
Alberto Callaspo Kansas City None 48.57142857 2B
Elvis Andrus Texas None 44.70899471 SS
Jed Lowrie Boston None 43.91534392 SS
Jamey Carroll Cleveland None 42.85714286 2B
Omar Vizquel Texas None 40.21164021 SS
Adam Everett Detroit None 38.62433862 SS
Alex Gonzalez Boston None 38.0952381 SS
Adam Kennedy Oakland None 37.85714286 2B
Jack Hannahan Seattle None 33.61344538 3B
Jose Bautista Toronto None 32.77310924 3B
Gordon Beckham Chicago A None 31.51260504 3B
Cliff Pennington Oakland None 30.68783069 SS
Bill Hall Seattle None 28.57142857 3B
Chris Getz Chicago A None 26.42857143 2B
Nick Green Boston None 25.66137566 SS
Andy Marte Cleveland None 25.21008403 3B
Alexi Casilla Minnesota None 20.71428571 2B
Eric Chavez Oakland None 16.80672269 3B
Robert Andino Baltimore None 15.34391534 SS
John McDonald Toronto None 14.81481481 SS
Luis Valbuena Cleveland None 14.28571429 2B
Andy Cannizaro Chicago A None 14.28571429 SS
Robb Quinlan Los Angeles A None 13.02521008 3B
Josh Wilson Seattle None 12.16931217 SS
Jayson Nix Chicago A None 11.42857143 2B
Brent Lillibridge Chicago A None 3.703703704 SS
Esteban German Texas None 2.142857143 2B

Polanco is ever so close to Chone Figgins for that last Type A spot. Let's take a closer look. First, we need to remember that each of the players on this list get their score from players at their own position, noting that players' positions are defined by where they played the most games over the past two seasons. Here are the 2B:

Ian Kinsler Texas 80.71428571
Aaron Hill Toronto 65.71428571
Ben Zobrist Tampa Bay 55
Jose Lopez Seattle 62.85714286
Robinson Cano New York A 71.42857143
Dustin Pedroia Boston 85.71428571
Brian Roberts Baltimore 77.85714286
Mark Ellis Oakland 54.28571429
Placido Polanco Detroit 73.57142857
Howie Kendrick Los Angeles A 56.42857143
Maicer Izturis Los Angeles A 49.28571429
Adam Kennedy Oakland 37.85714286
Jayson Nix Chicago A 11.42857143
Asdrubal Cabrera Cleveland 62.85714286
Alberto Callaspo Kansas City 48.57142857
Akinori Iwamura Tampa Bay 50
Luis Valbuena Cleveland 14.28571429
Alexi Casilla Minnesota 20.71428571
Jamey Carroll Cleveland 42.85714286
Chris Getz Chicago A 26.42857143
Esteban German Texas 2.142857143

Possible Position Changes
If one of these players "changes" positions, everybody's ranking will change. The ones who are within 15 games of moving to another position are as follows:

Ben Zobrist*: 88 games at 2B, 75 games in OF
Maicer Izturis: 79 games at 2B, 76 games at SS
Esteban German**: 29 games at 2B, 29 games at OF

*Ben Zobrist, by the way, is getting straight up overlooked in the AL MVP race.
**I'm honestly not sure what happens in the event of a tie. My projections default to the lower scorebook number. It was just easier that way.

And players at other positions who could move to second base:
Brent Lillibridge: 26 games at SS, 16 games at 2B
Eric Patterson: 24 games at 2B, 3o games at OF

Zobrist (Did I mention he deserves MVP mention?) has been playing a lot of outfield since Akinori Iwamura returned. Will he get 14 more starts in the outfield than second base? Possibly.

Barring an Erick Aybar injury, Maicer Izturis will probably continue to play more second than short this year. We'll leave him with the second basemen.

German hasn't played in the outfield at all with the Rangers this year. As a result, I'll say he'll get some "Rest Ian Kinsler" time and qualify at 2B.

Brent Lillibridge, Chicago's second utility infielder, probably won't play enough to make up a 10 game difference. He stays at shortstop.

Eric Patterson has been playing mostly outfield with the A's this year. He won't make the move to 2B.

In total, Ben Zobrist is the only player who projects to move. How do the 2B look without Ben Zobrist, who is more qualified to win the AL MVP than Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, and Miguel Cabrera?

Dustin Pedroia Boston 86.46616541
Ian Kinsler Texas 81.20300752
Brian Roberts Baltimore 78.94736842
Placido Polanco Detroit 73.68421053
Robinson Cano New York A 72.18045113
Aaron Hill Toronto 64.66165414
Jose Lopez Seattle 63.15789474
Asdrubal Cabrera Cleveland 63.15789474
Howie Kendrick Los Angeles A 56.39097744
Mark Ellis Oakland 54.88721805
Akinori Iwamura Tampa Bay 50.37593985
Maicer Izturis Los Angeles A 48.87218045
Alberto Callaspo Kansas City 48.87218045
Jamey Carroll Cleveland 42.85714286
Adam Kennedy Oakland 37.59398496
Chris Getz Chicago A 26.31578947
Alexi Casilla Minnesota 21.05263158
Luis Valbuena Cleveland 15.03759398
Jayson Nix Chicago A 12.03007519
Esteban German Texas 2.255639098

You can see Polanco is helped, but not enough.

Let's start digging into the statistics a bit:

Plate Appearances
Ian Kinsler 1354.0394
Dustin Pedroia 1328
Brian Roberts 1312
Jose Lopez 1236
Robinson Cano 1215
Placido Polanco 1184
Akinori Iwamura 1137.5
Aaron Hill 1093.7778
Mark Ellis 1000.4535
Asdrubal Cabrera 993.66238
Alberto Callaspo 904.26335
Adam Kennedy 858
Howie Kendrick 857.50549
Ben Zobrist 829.89116
Maicer Izturis 839.45848
Jamey Carroll 773.18395
Alexi Casilla 734.29393
Chris Getz 397.78797
Luis Valbuena 369
Jayson Nix 339.17419
Esteban German 275.53459

Do you see Polanco getting 30 more PA's than Robinson Cano the rest of the year? Me either. I also don't see Hill or Iwamura coming from behind to catch him, even though they are going to get roughly 1.2 PA's per PA the rest of the year. Polanco will not move up or down in this category.


Ian Kinsler 56.77
Aaron Hill 42.17
Ben Zobrist 40.12
Jose Lopez 39
Robinson Cano 37
Dustin Pedroia 27
Brian Roberts 23
Mark Ellis 22.01
Placido Polanco 18
Howie Kendrick 13.42
Maicer Izturis 13.38
Adam Kennedy 12
Jayson Nix 11.96
Asdrubal Cabrera 11.92
Alberto Callaspo 9.594
Akinori Iwamura 8.75
Luis Valbuena 8
Alexi Casilla 7.537
Jamey Carroll 3.381
Chris Getz 2.133
Esteban German 0

The same goes for homeruns, where there are 4+ homers separating Polanco from the players in front of and behind him. He won't move up or down here unless Ben Zobrist moves over to the outfielders.


Ian Kinsler 180
Jose Lopez 173
Robinson Cano 147
Aaron Hill 145.7
Dustin Pedroia 140
Brian Roberts 122
Placido Polanco 121
Ben Zobrist 116.9
Asdrubal Cabrera 112.7
Maicer Izturis 111.9
Mark Ellis 110.1
Howie Kendrick 108.6
Adam Kennedy 88
Alberto Callaspo 83.95
Akinori Iwamura 83.75
Alexi Casilla 69.98
Jamey Carroll 65.37
Chris Getz 34.13
Jayson Nix 33.7
Luis Valbuena 25
Esteban German 23.31

Things are a bit tighter with RBI's. Polanco is only one RBI behind Brian Roberts, but only 4 above the AL's second most valuable player. If Polanco can pass Roberts, while holding off Zobrist, he will gain a point in the standings. A point in the standings, with 20 2B in the rankings, will be good for 1*100/(20*7)=.714 points in the rankings. Assuming Figgins stays put and all of the other categories stay the same, Polanco could reach Type A status by out-RBI ing Roberts and Zobrist.

Batting Average

Dustin Pedroia 0.310810811
Alberto Callaspo 0.298118669
Howie Kendrick 0.295902883
Robinson Cano 0.293554007
Placido Polanco 0.293040293
Brian Roberts 0.290546401
Asdrubal Cabrera 0.28875
Ian Kinsler 0.287148594
Maicer Izturis 0.28363047
Jose Lopez 0.283491789
Adam Kennedy 0.282802548
Jamey Carroll 0.281879195
Akinori Iwamura 0.279156328
Aaron Hill 0.279040404
Chris Getz 0.275147929
Ben Zobrist 0.273322422
Mark Ellis 0.249655172
Alexi Casilla 0.249169435
Luis Valbuena 0.241176471
Esteban German 0.238095238
Jayson Nix 0.205882353

With any rate stats, you have to worry about players who have such little playing time that a 3/3 day could move them all the way up to the top of the list. Luckily, there are no such players among this year's 2B crop. You can see Polanco is in the midst of a tight group of players. As such, a strong or weak finish to the year from him or one of the players around him (Kendrick, Cano, Roberts, Cabrera, or Kinsler) will affect his rankings. Polanco can likely move ahead of two players (+1.428 in the rankings) or move behind three (-2.143).

Ben Zobrist 0.378976487
Dustin Pedroia 0.371016692
Brian Roberts 0.364678899
Jamey Carroll 0.359583952
Asdrubal Cabrera 0.356026786
Akinori Iwamura 0.35209713
Ian Kinsler 0.351302785
Alberto Callaspo 0.35059761
Maicer Izturis 0.344023324
Placido Polanco 0.336170213
Chris Getz 0.333333333
Adam Kennedy 0.332942556
Howie Kendrick 0.331428571
Robinson Cano 0.326194399
Aaron Hill 0.324324324
Mark Ellis 0.319753086
Jose Lopez 0.312143439
Alexi Casilla 0.311844078
Esteban German 0.30078125
Luis Valbuena 0.298102981
Jayson Nix 0.296774194

Getz and Kennedy are right on Polanco's heals, and Izturis will probably be hard to catch. There is a potential for a move behind two players (-1.428).

Fielding Percentage
Asdrubal Cabrera 0.993630573
Mark Ellis 0.992639327
Placido Polanco 0.992307692
Jamey Carroll 0.991683992
Aaron Hill 0.991351351
Dustin Pedroia 0.990740741
Howie Kendrick 0.990123457
Maicer Izturis 0.989041096
Ben Zobrist 0.988795518
Brian Roberts 0.986373959
Akinori Iwamura 0.98569857
Chris Getz 0.984649123
Luis Valbuena 0.984496124
Robinson Cano 0.984016678
Ian Kinsler 0.979953739
Jose Lopez 0.978740157
Jayson Nix 0.978647687
Alberto Callaspo 0.977746871
Alexi Casilla 0.977719528
Adam Kennedy 0.976190476
Esteban German 0.969924812

I'd say Polanco is relatively secure here. Unless he goes on an error binge, he probably won't be moving up or down enough to change his ranking. Asdrubal Cabrera won't be moving anywhere, given that he's playing shortstop these days. Errors are so random, that this is tough to predict.

Total Chances (A+E+PO)
Ian Kinsler 1566.63
Robinson Cano 1439
Brian Roberts 1321
Placido Polanco 1300
Dustin Pedroia 1296
Jose Lopez 1270
Aaron Hill 1181.94
Mark Ellis 1163.12
Akinori Iwamura 1136.25
Howie Kendrick 988.022
Alberto Callaspo 862.288
Alexi Casilla 821.505
Asdrubal Cabrera 680.502
Adam Kennedy 588
Jamey Carroll 542.13
Chris Getz 486.304
Maicer Izturis 444.061
Ben Zobrist 409.214
Luis Valbuena 387
Jayson Nix 305.474
Esteban German 140.947

Pedroia could catch Polanco here (-.714), but it's not exactly likely. There aren't likely to be any significant changes at the top, given that everybody around Polanco is playing every day at 2B.

So, assuming Zobrist stays at 2B, Polanco could possibly move up a total of 2.143 points and down a total of 3.790. The math gets a bit complicated if Mauer's should-be MVP runner up gets a lot of time in the outfield this year.

Overall, Polanco has the potential to move into Type A range with a strong batting average, no errors, and plenty of RBI's.

Next time, I'll take a look at Chone Figgins and the possibility that he can move behind Polanco.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Amazing what you can miss in a day...

Thanks to the great service at Comcast, much of the Jacksonville, FL area was without cable and internet yesterday. While I really don't like boring my eight readers with personal details, it sets up the shock I had when I checked up on the Tigers during my lunch break today.

The most obvious shock was the wave of transactions before and after last night's game.

Recalling Wilkin Ramirez makes sense. Curtis Granderson was in need of a day off, and there is a shortage of right-handed bats on the team. If you can make a roster move for a spot starting pitcher, why not for a spot starting outfielder? Sending down Fien also makes sense. His last two outings have been rough.

I particularly liked Jim Leyland's quotes about this from

"We might be tinkering with our rosters for the next month or so," Leyland said. "If we overtax our bullpen tonight, we may send [Ramirez] back down tomorrow. He'll start tonight and who knows, that could be it. For one day, we have enough [rested arms] in our bullpen so we went out and added another right-handed bat."


"We're not trying to reinvent the wheel here," Leyland said. "If you have the flexibility with your Major League roster, why not tinker with it. So don't read too much into this move."

It makes sense to me to utilize roster flexibility and take advantage of the short distance between Toledo and Detroit. It's a way to effectively expand the roster for the rest of the season. In a tight division race, it's the type of strategy that could make a huge difference.

After the game, Ramirez, no longer needed to spell Granderson, was sent back to Toledo along with Dusty Ryan (Honestly, was he even on the roster?). Chris Lambert, effectively taking Fien's place on the roster, and top catching prospect Alex Avila came up.

Lambert is a quality choice. He's been rolling lately. Had I been a motivated blogger, you would have seen me calling for his promotion back when Eddie Bonine got the spot start.

Avila is interesting, because there are procedural roster implications to this move.
  1. He was not Rule 5 eligible until after the 2011 season. He'll now be using up a 40 man roster spot that could be used on somebody else for two years.
  2. He'll also be using up option years he wouldn't have otherwise been using if he's not ready for the big leagues. Recent history shows that there is a learning curve for top catching prospects once they reach the Majors. Look no further than Chris Ianetta, J.R. Towles, Ryan Doumit, Miguel Montero, and Matt Wieters as guys who came up with high expectations and took (or are still taking) years to live up to them. It's definitely a risk that could come back to bite the Tigers if Avila runs out of options as he's reaching his potential.
  3. He'll probably be riding a lot of pine. For whatever reason, Gerald Laird is still starting somewhere around 10 games per week. This, however, could be an intended benefit of purchasing Avila's contract. How could that be? Catchers take quite a toll. Often, in the minors, catchers' workloads are built up gradually, much like pitchers. Rather than have him start 20-25 more games with Erie the rest of the year, they may be wanting to limit his workload, much like a pitcher in his first professional season. Having him sit the bench in the bigs could provide him that opportunity, while allowing him to get comfortable instead of being shell shocked in April.
Finally, these moves are also intriguing because of the new postseason roster rules. Rather than having position player and pitcher quotas, the rules have changed to have players on the 40 man roster as of August 31 eligible. Alex Avila is now eligible for postseason play, if the Tigers make it. This gives the Tigers two choices for backup catcher, rather than the one if Dusty Ryan had remained on the roster and Avila had been called up in September. Cycling players like Ramirez, Fien, Freddy Dolsi, Ryan Perry, and Lambert through the roster give the Tigers an extra look at players if they need to make a decision on who to put on the roster in early October.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Rule 6.05 (k)

In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of) the three-foot line, or inside (to the left of) the foul line, and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base, in which case the ball is dead; except that he may run outside (to the right of) the three-foot line or inside (to the left of) the foul line to avoid a fielder attempting to field a batted ball;

Interpret as you will...

Friday, June 26, 2009

$13.84 Million

Nate Robertson has always been a favorite of mine. He's been a great Tiger in the community and was an underrated pitcher in his early years. Unfortunately, he can no longer retire Major League hitters at a suitable rate.

In this day and age of the seven-man bullpen and endangered pitchers, a black hole cannot be hidden in the bullpen. This is evidenced by the fact that Robertson has been brought into games twice this week with narrow leads. While it hasn't come back to bite the Tigers, it could in the near future.

The $13.84 million dollars that Robertson has left on his contract are on the plate. The Tigers should be hungry enough to simply eat it already. It's not going to go anywhere else.

Updated Elias Rankings

Can be found here:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tweeting now...

I'll try to keep up with in-game commentary and Tigers randomness...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Refused Optional Assignment

A lot of doubt has been raised over whether the Tigers would still owe a player money if they refused assignment. Let's apply this to the case of Nate Robertson, a player who is clearly taking up space on the roster and is incapable of giving the Tigers high leverage innings.

Let's take a look at the CBA:

I want to break Article XIX A (2) down line by line to attempt to answer this question.

The contract of a Player with five or more years of Major
League service, not including service while on the Military List (or
seven or more years of Major League service, including service
while on the Military List), shall not be assigned otherwise than to
another Major League Club, without the Player’s written consent.

As this applies to Robertson, because his service time exceeds five years, he needs to provide written consent to be sent on an optional assignment, despite the fact that he has options remaining.

Not earlier than 4 days prior to the contemplated date of
an assignment requiring the Player’s consent under subparagraph
(a) above, or 8 days, if the Player has no options remaining or if
the assignment is during the period from the close of the championship
season to the opening of spring training, the Club shall
give written notice to the Player, with a copy to the Association,
which shall advise the Player that he may (i) consent to the
assignment, (ii) refuse the assignment or (iii) elect to become a
free agent.

There are a few things in this sentence. First, the Tigers would need to submit the paperwork to Robertson four days before he is to be optioned. Second, this is different for players without options, but it doesn't matter in that case, because those players are typically designated for assignment. The final clause of this sentence is crucial. The player can either consent to the assignment, refuse the assignment, or elect to become a free agent.


That is important, thanks in large part to XIX A (2c), which led to some confusion.

A Player who elects to become a free agent under this
paragraph (2) shall immediately be eligible to negotiate and contract
with any Club without any restrictions or qualifications.
Such Player shall not be entitled to receive termination pay. Such
a free agent shall receive transportation and travel expenses in the
same manner as he would if he had been unconditionally released
except that he shall be limited to receiving travel expenses to his
new club if he reports to it directly, provided such expenses are
less than to his home city.

If a player opts for free agency, the team is no longer on the hook for his salary. This is not the case for a refused assignment. Because refusing an assignment and opting for free agency are different cases for players with options, the loss of termination pay does apply when the player decides he wants to stay on the Major League roster.

If the Tigers try to option Nate Robertson, he has the right to stay on the roster and still get paid. This is likely what happened.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Elias Rankings Moving

They'll be on from here on out. I'm sure if you found this site, you know all about MLB Trade Rumors.