In my relentless criticism of the Edgar Renteria signing, I have been accused of worshipping home runs, ignoring cutting edge statistics, and forgetting how horrible shortstop was for the Giants last season. Hmmm….. Lemme see.
I like the work the boys over at Baseball Prospectus put out, so let's see what their projection system, PECOTA, says about Renteria:
It says that Renteria has an 8% chance of having a breakout season, a 29% chance of being better than last year, and a 36% chance of collapsing. It projects him at .280/.341/.410, with 8 home runs, and 60 runs scored and driven in. Upgrades for sure over last season's debacle, but overall, just 1.9 wins over replacement.
Another way of looking at it is to compare Renteria with another old shortstop.
In 2008, Rich Aurilia ran out a season line of .283/.332/.413, with 10 home runs, 52 RBI. and 33 runs scored in 440 at-bats, and being 1.3 wins above replacement.
For 2009, PECOTA projects Rich Aurilia to have about 250 at-bats, and to run out a .268/.323/.400 line, with counting stat rates that are almost identical.
In other words, PECOTA seems to be saying that the Giants could have just ran Aurilia out there every day, and they would have saved that $18 million, or better yet, used that money to land a player who could've made
a real difference.
Of course, no one is suggesting that Aurilia can handle the everyday chores of the toughest position on the diamond. I use him to illustrate the absurdity of suggesting that Renteria was worth this contract, or that his signing is somehow justified. It's not. It is money wasted.
Aurilia and Burris probably wouldn't have matched Renteria's performance, especially if he stays healthy, but the difference would've been negligible, certainly not the fifty runs to our final total that Giants Rain Man wants to believe. However, the $18 million could've been used to land Adam Dunn, who absolutely would've added fifty runs to the team's bottom line.
Although PECOTA only sees Dunn as worth 3 wins above replacement, remember that first base is an offensive position, and that the Giants, as a team, got the worst production in the league at the position. Dunn would add something like 30 home runs, 50 RBI and 50 runs scored to what the Giants got out of the position last year. And he was ignored by virtually every GM in the league, including our fearless leader, and signed for $11 million per, on a last place team.
That is the last I'm gonna say bout Renteria. Well, unless of course, he gets injured. Or completely tanks. Or hits like 30 home runs and wins the MVP Award and the comeback player of the year award. ;-)