In a piece for the Hardball Times, Matt Swartz gives an in-depth explanation into the methodology he used when projecting the value of this offseason’s opt-out clauses here at MLBTR (links to Swartz’s valuations). As Swartz explains, the key to placing a dollar value on such a complex clause is in forecasting the extent to which the projections of a player’s value will change over time. As Swartz points out, whatever amount we currently project a player to be worth for the post-opt-out-date duration of his contract will assuredly change by the time that opt-out decision surfaces (especially in cases like David Price, where the opt-out is in three years). Setting a standard deviation of that expected value is crucial. Those that have a strong interest in the financial/economical side of the game and the math that goes into the financial decision-making of clubs will want to check out Swartz’s column in its entirety. Additionally, you can check out Swartz’s offseason appearance on the MLBTR Podcast (although the focus of that discussion was on his arbitration projections).
A few more notes from around the game…
- Right-hander J.J. Hoover will no longer serve as the Reds’ closer, manager Bryan Price told reporters, including C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The Reds will mix and match, perhaps turning to options such as Tony Cingrani, Blake Wood and Caleb Cotham, though Price said that none of the three is ready to take over the closer’s role on a full-time basis. The Cincinnati bullpen has struggled across the board this season, with Jumbo Diaz already having been optioned to the minors and Keyvius Sampson finding himself designated for assignment earlier today. Hoover posted a strong 2.94 ERA in a setup role last season, though his modest strikeout rate, elevated walk rate and excellent fortune on balls in play all served as warning signs that he could struggle to repeat that success. Hoover won an arbitration hearing this winter, resulting in a $1.4MM salary.
- Ben Badler of Baseball America provides some updates on a pair of intriguing Cuban free agents: 20-year-old right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez and 21-year-old outfielder/infielder Randy Arozarena. Gutierrez’s most recent showcase increased interest around the league, and he’ll host another open showcase for clubs on May 29. Last month’s showing for scouts saw Gutierrez sit 92-94 mph with his fastball to complement a “hammer” curve that he was throwing around 80 mph. Gutierrez’s projectable frame has long led scouts to believe that he would grow into more velocity, Badler writes, and that appears to be the case now. Badler also recaps Arozarena’s recent performance in Mexico and notes that he’s likely to wait until July 2 to sign.
- The Braves have optioned right-hander Williams Perez to Triple-A Gwinnett, and his rotation spot could be filled by either Mike Foltynewicz or Aaron Blair, writes MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. Both right-handers have come over to the Braves in high-profile trades over the past 15 months, with Foltynewicz arriving by way of the Evan Gattis trade and Blair coming over from Arizona alongside Dansby Swanson and Ender Inciarte in the Shelby Miller blockbuster. Blair’s stock is currently higher after Foltynewicz struggled in his Braves debut last season, but Bowman notes that Atlanta could also elect to keep Blair in Triple-A to gain more experience and delay the start of service time/arbitration clock.