Thursday, March 30, 2006

Choi, Graffanino, WEEI

There have been a few questions sprinkled on the air at WEEI - by the hosts - that don't seem quite as impenatrably mysterious as they're making them seem. As a public service, I'm going to address them.

Graffanino was great last year - why didn't they just keep him as their 2nd baseman?

Because Mark Loretta's a significant upgrade. There's a reason that Graffanino's never gotten more than 379 at-bats in a season. Career-wise, Loretta's got a .030 point OBP advantage, as well as .015 points of SLG. And Loretta's a better defender. They're the same age, so there's no advantage there. Graffanino was very good for the Red Sox last year, but you cannot expect similar performance this year. It's an upgrade, and a sizeable one.

Why did they offer Graffanino arbitration? Didn't that cost them $500,000 for nothing?

Graffanino was a type A free agent. If someone had signed him, they'd have gotten a draft pick for him. And they assumed that, if they got to spring training, there would be a market for him if they decided he didn't fit on their roster. As they couldn't find a deal, they had to waive him, but he didn't cost them anything, as KC claimed him, and became liable for his entire contract.

Why did they claim Choi? Isn't that $750,00, wasted, down the drain?

They didn't have a good option for a potential catastrophic failure of Mike Lowell. Now they do. Choi is a player with flaws, but with skills also. League average defense, better than average plate discipline and OBP, he would allow them to move Youkilis to third. At a cost of ~1/2 of 1% of their Major League payroll. No brainer...



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