FanDuel - WFBC

January 26, 2006

Hot stove talk about Sosa, Thomas and Piazza: Do theses three "old timers" still have some value?

posted by daddisamm to baseball at 11:03 AM - 23 comments

I'd rather invest money in Thomas this year than Sosa or Piazza. Last two seasons: Thomas - .997 and .905 OPS Sosa - .849 and .671 OPS Piazza - .806 and .778 OPS Thomas just signed for $500,000 with the A's (one year contract). That's a smart investment. If he only gets 300AB (DH/PH/injuries) and produces at a .850 clip (a big drop off), he'd still provide positive value. Piazza might have value as a back-up catcher/DH on an AL team. If you are expecting him to be the core of your lineup, you'll be in trouble. Sosa? Stick a fork in him. He seems done. I don't wish him ill will, but a OPS+ trend like this suggests no positive returns in 2006: 201, 160, 135, 110, 82 (yes, he was 18% worse than the average AL hitter in 2005).

posted by grum@work at 11:16 AM on January 26

Piazza is one of the really good guys in baseball, and I am rooting for him to make a comeback this year. I hope his rumored discussions with Philly fall through, because his best chance to rebound, in my opinion, is to become a full-time DH, and not a part-time catcher. I think that, productivity-wise with consideration to the likelihood of injury, the ranking would be Piazza, Sosa, Thomas if all three become DHs with regular playing time. In fact, these three guys, in my opinion, are a great argument in favor of the DH. Some would argue that the position just allows has-beens to hang on longer than they should, and that's legitimate, but another thing it does is allow some eight-year old who is going to his first big-league game this summer to see a great player, maybe a future HOFer, who might otherwise have to retire early. I know the DH is the only reason I got to see Hank Aaron play, and while it certainly was not vintage Aaron, I have never forgotten that privilege. Granted, Sosa, Thomas and Piazza aren't exactly Aaron, and I don't want to launch into an argument about their HOF-worthiness, but they are, at the very least, likely to be someone that eight-year-old would brag about seeing in person down the road.

posted by BullpenPro at 11:25 AM on January 26

Grum: those stats might be a little misleading, considering that Thomas has had 345 AB in the last two seasons combined, fewer than either of the other two had last year. I think you have to take durability into consideration, and Thomas seems to have the least of that. I know your assessment of Thomas in conditional on ABs, but there doesn't seem to be any indication he's capable of reaching those numbers.

posted by BullpenPro at 11:29 AM on January 26

Man I don't think I would invest a WHOLE lot in Sosa or Piazza. Frank can hit and does walk, but it isn't like he is a great basestealer, so all in all unless you get Piazza or Sosa for $500,000 or less, leave them at the house. Personally, I hate to see real catchers whose records were broken by Piazza. I guess he is a decent guy and all, but he was in reality an above average hitting first baseman who was playing below average catcher.

posted by Wrigley South at 11:29 AM on January 26

Myself being a Philly boy and a huge Phillies phan I would have rather seen Piazza(another Philly boy) in say the early 90's. Much love phor him but hes done.

posted by GoBirds at 11:34 AM on January 26

I think the A's got a deal with Thomas at a 500,000 base salary and a maximum of 2.6 million. Piazza, I think could still hit 25+ homers as a full-time DH/back-up catcher. Sosa, I wouldn't want him on my team and I don't think he will do much better than his miserable season last year. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't get a guaranteed contract offer from any team this year, his bet bet might be a non-guaranteed contract and an invite to Major League spring training.

posted by erkno11 at 11:50 AM on January 26

The trouble with Piazza being a fulltime DH and a back up catcher, is that he is not the best defensive catcher. If you are a team with a great starting catcher and and a very good back-up, it would be a waste of a roster spot to him. Fr example, a team like the Twins wouldnt sign him for that very reason: great young catcher and a good ddefensive/cluth hitting back-up. I hope Piazza is picked up by somebody-he could be a big help to the right team!

posted by daddisamm at 11:56 AM on January 26

There is NO doubt Mike Piazza will become an Angel. The Halos have not pulled the rigger on the big one eyt, everyone knows it's Piazza.

posted by Joe88 at 12:16 PM on January 26

Grum: those stats might be a little misleading, considering that Thomas has had 345 AB in the last two seasons combined, fewer than either of the other two had last year. I think you have to take durability into consideration, and Thomas seems to have the least of that. I know your assessment of Thomas in conditional on ABs, but there doesn't seem to be any indication he's capable of reaching those numbers. Oh, I wholeheartedly agree with you. I'd be a bit surprised if Thomas can manage 500 AB. However, if he's not able to get even 300AB this season due to injury, there is just as likely a chance he'll have retired mid-season due to the injury. In that case, the A's would be free from the remaining portion of his salary. My suggestion is that if you have to gamble, go with the "injury-prone but talented" player instead of the "old and on a downhill slide" player. The Halos have not pulled the rigger on the big one eyt, everyone knows it's Piazza. If the "big deal" for the Angels is getting Piazza, that's not a good thing for the Angels. Personally, I hate to see real catchers whose records were broken by Piazza. I guess he is a decent guy and all, but he was in reality an above average hitting first baseman who was playing below average catcher. The other way to look at it is that at least 1/3 the catchers in history were "below average" at fielding (assuming that a bunch of them would be considered "average", and the rest "above average"). Even those horrible fielding catchers are better than sticking your utility fielder behind the plate in an emergency. He wasn't the worst fielding catcher I can think of (Hello, Mackey "flinch-flinch-throw" Sasser!), but he definitely had his deficiencies. Even still, it's not an insult to other catchers that he holds these records. He earned his time (and shortened his career) by putting on the tools of ignorance, so he deserves all the accolades he can get.

posted by grum@work at 12:36 PM on January 26

A big reason that Joe88 may not be correct, and I hope that he is correct--is that the Los Angeles Angels have signed Mr. Angel, Tim Salmon to a minor league contract and they are going to give him every possible chance to become the DH. Piazza will probably sign elsewhere before the Angels are ready. Add to the mix that the LAA have a very solid starting catcher in Jose Molina and one of the highest rated catching prospects around in Jeff Mathis and there is even more reason to doubt that Piazza and the Angels can get together.

posted by Termite at 12:51 PM on January 26

Termite, I agree with you that Piazza is not going to go to the Angels. Besides Mathis, they have another good catching prospect in Mike Napoli, who had a good winter in Dom. Republic this offseason. In fact, the bastard took me deep over the batters eye on a changeup I thought was a pretty decent pitch.

posted by erkno11 at 01:09 PM on January 26

A big reason that Joe88 may not be correct Say it ain't so!

posted by yerfatma at 01:13 PM on January 26

All three are washed up! Hopefully Piazza will retire so we dont have to listen to him cry anymore!

posted by LiveWithIt at 02:45 PM on January 26

As much as I loathe to say but it Piazza would still have some value as DH. Piazza isn't the worst devensive catcher by a looooong shot. He can't throw two second for shit but you won't find many catchers who blocked a ball better than he did. The Thomas makes a lot of sense for the A's, not much up front nut lots of incentive to play more games. Slammin' Sammy is the least desirable of these three. He's gonna have a hard time finding work.

posted by HATER 187 at 03:06 PM on January 26

CUBS SUCK. jim hendry has got to get his head on straight. hes looking at crappy old players that WERE good but arent anymore. i cant see why the cubs are looking for players anyway. they gat that speedy rookie that supposed to be amazing, and they are going to keep their pitching staff up and running with the same players.

posted by siouxhocky at 03:06 PM on January 26

they are going to keep their pitching staff up and running with the same players. this is like picking out the sentence in the S.A.T. that has one thing clearly wrong with it.

posted by ninjavshippo at 03:19 PM on January 26

Sosa should not play anymore, he looks like he's back to his rookie size again without the juice. And watching him flail and fail at the plate was depressing (yes, I am an O's fan). Thomas should have a reasonably decent year in Oakland and I'd like to see Piazza hit DH for a bit. And yankfan1, please do everyone on the internets a favor and de-select your caps lock.

posted by fenriq at 04:27 PM on January 26

THE NATIONAL LEAGUE SHOULD EMBRACE THE USE OF DH'S, THEN THERE WILL BE MORE PLACES FOR OVER THE HILL PLAYERS TO EXTEND THIER CAREERS. why would anyone want that? you can keep ruben sierra and your DH, thanks very much. as a former utility man myself (in elementary school kickball), i appreciate the strategy that goes into managing an NL game.

posted by ninjavshippo at 04:56 PM on January 26

DH rule should be eliminated period. C'mon pitchers stop being such wussies!!

posted by GoBirds at 05:51 PM on January 26

DH rule should be eliminated period. C'mon pitchers stop being such wussies!! There is nothing more exciting than watching a pitcher bat. The skill! The drama! The quick walk back to the dugout! I'd be perfectly fine with things the way they are. The DH in the league that I watch, and no DH in the other league to keep the "purists" happy.

posted by grum@work at 09:50 PM on January 26

There is nothing more exciting than watching a pitcher bat. The skill! The drama! The quick walk back to the dugout! Don't forget the 400 foot Dontrelle Willis home runs.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 02:12 PM on January 27

Don't forget the 400 foot Dontrelle Willis home runs. The annual Willis home run is exciting, but it's so hard to guess when that might occur.

posted by grum@work at 02:39 PM on January 27

I like two different takes on the game. Keeps the All-Star Game and Series interesting in spite of Bud's attempt to integrate the two leagues. I don't like the idea of outliers like Dontrelle, Mike Hampton, et al being used as important data points. The 20 home runs hit by pitchers aren't the interesting part of the NL game. The interesting part comes when managers pitch around the bottom of a line up to get to the pitcher who lays down a squeeze, etc.

posted by yerfatma at 05:49 PM on January 27

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