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Mar 242010

I must admit I was a bit surprised at the reaction I got on my Carl Crawford piece from yesterday. People seem to think more highly of Carl than his numbers would suggest, and underrate Werth for some reason. So I wanted to take a minute to lay out some numbers, offensive and defensive, and then discuss contract status.

First, let’s look at both players offensively. I’m going to use ESPN’s 3 year split, since both players have made strides in recent years and the 3 year numbers are more representative of who they are at this point in their careers. Here goes:

Jayson Werth-

Three year (2007-2009) Batting Splits
Overall AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HBP SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
Total 1244 214 343 53 7 68 215 192 14 348 47 5 .276 .376 .494 .870

Carl Crawford-

Three year (2007-2009) Batting Splits
Overall AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HBP SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
Total 1633 258 490 77 27 34 205 113 15 271 135 33 .300 .349 .443 .792

No surprises here. Werth is way ahead in power numbers and OBP while Crawford blows away Jayson in Hits and Stolen Bases. It’s worth noting that Werth has produced his totals in 310 fewer Plate Appearances. Jayson has also stolen 20 bases each of the past 2 seasons, so his knees can’t be in as bad shape as some have tried to suggest.

Now let’s look at both players defensively using UZR/150:

Crawford-

2007 -1.4

2008 +25.6

2009 +17.5

Werth-

2007 +35.3

2008 +35.3

2009 +3.4

Of course, Werth plays the more valuable defensive position in RF. It’s also interesting to note that Crawford has played a grand total of 54 games in CF in his 8 year career. It’s not as if he was always blocked and hasn’t had an opportunity, the Rays 2005 starting CF was Damon Hollins and up to 2007 it was the often-injured Rocco Baldelli. The fact that he’s played those 54 games tells me they’ve moved him around at times, they just never seem to stick with it. Must be a reason. I suspect there’s something else going here, he probably doesn’t pick up the ball well out there, but that’s just a guess. In any case, I wouldn’t assume he can play CF for us, as others do.

Now let’s compare their value using total 3 year WAR and 2010 CHONE projection-

Crawford-11.3 total WAR/3.8 CHONE

Werth-14.6 total WAR/3.2 CHONE

Werth’s CHONE gets pulled down by being fairly useless early in his career, and Crawford’s 3 year WAR gets taken down a bit since he was hurt in 2008 and missed roughly 1/3 of the season. But even if you give him a 50% bump on his 2008 2.7 WAR, that would increase his total to 12.65, still well behind Werth over that period.

Finally, onto contract demands. Of course the marketplace will dictate what either player will get, but given their age (29/31) heading into free agency, it would stand to reason that Crawford will garner the longer deal. A good comp for Werth would be Jason Bay’s 4 year/66 mil deal. Crawford will likely get more years at a lower AAV, something in the 5-6 years 80-90 mil range. Carl’s value could shoot up even further with a big 2010 campaign, especially if he matches last year’s production. If he puts up another 5.5 WAR season, his price tag could soar north of 100 mil.

38 Responses to “Jayson Werth vs Carl Crawford”

  1. My one problem with Werth is his age. He’ll be entering his mid-thirties so I would expect some type of decline defensively, where he does get a good amount of his value. With Crawford I feel more secure getting a few more years of elite defense.

    I still think Werth would be a good option though because of years. I’d rather sign Werth to a shorter deal than Crawford to a 5+ year contract. If Werth would take a 3 year deal (3/45?) I’d be down for that option, unless Crawford would sign for only four years.  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    I agree that length of deal is an enormous factor here. I’ll bet that teams will line up to give Werth 3 years and Crawford 4-5 years, so to sign either one will take longer than that.  (Quote)

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    Jay Reply:

    He’s only 31, so he won’t be reaching his mid-30′s till the end of the deal.  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    werth is not a 15mil player..is arm is not that good..niether is bay or holliday. matt is a NL player. crawford gives you a lot more.. but i will pass on those numbers.. lets get pitchers  (Quote)

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  2. 6/96 is worst-case scenario. If Jason Bay can land an essentially a 5 year deal (that last year will likely vest), then i can see Crawford demand similar AAS over 6 years. Crawford, however, isn’t that level of a power-hitter, and the biggest contracts in baseball (> 100mil) for positional players are largely power hitters. Crawford won’t see an AAS north of 15 mil, and that’s only possible if Crawford repeats his 2009 season, and if bidding is healthy.  (Quote)

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    Reggie C. Reply:

    B/c Werth is a couple yrs older, i dont see teams going beyond 4 guaranteed plus 1 vesting yr. Werth may very well end up with a contract identical to the one Bay landed. Crawford’s likely to demand 6 yrs. I’m squarely in the the Crawford camp, but i fear the 6 yr demand, & that might make Werth more attractive at the end.  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    Bay signed with the Mets. Let’s be honest, the Mets HAVE to overpay people to go there.  (Quote)

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  3. this is a no brainer. Ill take worth every time…carl is a sleeker sexier model, but- werth has the better arm and man we’ve needed one…additionally the new yankee stadium plays to power in a big way, and worth has legit power…would fit nicely in a sometimes lefty dominate lineup lets say in the six hole as posada recedes  (Quote)

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  4. I think either would be excellent. My concern with Crawford is his speed makes him valuable. Once that declines, and it will, he will start a sharp decline. Werth has the knee issues. I think either would be ideal, and I would make the decision based on dollar value… whoever comes cheaper/shorter term deal wins.  (Quote)

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    bobbybaseball Reply:

    they have a branch of the us mint behind the owners box where they print 24/7….please lets not worry about money….  (Quote)

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    Jay Reply:

    Yes they have money. However, this is the same team that turned away Mike Cameron when Cashman asked about him last year because of the 4 million left on the deal. Hal runs a tight budget, and if you can save 20 million dollars that can be invested elsewhere for two guys that are equally talented, you do it.

    I know the common fan is all… “WHO CARES??!!??? iTS NOT MY f’N MONEY! I WANT THEM TO BUY BOTH CRAWFORD AND WERTH AND CLIFF LEE!!! WE HAVE MONEY!!!!” Every team has a budget and a limit. The Yankees spend 200 million, more then any other team ever. Let’s not act like they skimp here, and let’s be realistic; every team wants to make money. That could be 20 million of profit, and if you own the team, you want to win and you want money.  (Quote)

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    bobbybaseball Reply:

    agreed my friend but…i have no sympathy for overpaid players or for that matter owners who freeze out the die hard but not well heeled fans with $1200 seats and $11 beer. its obscene. i think the budget is about the luxory tax which should be abolished anyway. it just enables greedy owners who take the money and run…  (Quote)

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    Jay Reply:

    So it’s OK to spend whatever they want and don’t even bother thinking about budget, but when it comes to them charging money to sit down and watch it and they should reduce the cost. For the most part, the cost is comparative to Broadway. I don’t think the Yankees seats have anything to do with budget, it’s more just NYC pricing.  (Quote)

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    bobbybaseball Reply:

    ugh  (Quote)

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    smurfy Reply:

    my COMPLETE sympathy, bobby. Jay, you are right except for that last, the player budget, the TV budget, the seats, the collectibles, the beer, they’re all connected.  (Quote)

    Steve S. Reply:

    Just FYI, the $1200 seats get all the free food and drink they want. No, I still wouldn’t pay $1200, but that’s a lot of money to me.  (Quote)

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  5. Once again as the Honorable Congressman Mndesi suggested yesterday and I supported, pure silliness on your part in twisting the numbers to make this point

    1- Offensve numbers

    What these numbers don’t take into account is that Werth home run totals and slugging percentage would likely be adversely effected by coming to YS III with the longer dimensions in left while Crawford’s would most likely be spiked by the short right field porch(See Johnny Damon). Also, in 2009, Werth led baseball by a wide margin in homers that barely cleared the fence- 10 or fewer feet- and history indicates that players that do that historically regress in their HR totals Combined with YS III that would indicate a major problem for a player whose BA dropped 30 points from 2007 to 2009 when he played full time for the first time.. In YS III what appears on the surface as a large divergence in their home run totals would be greatly reduced.Additionally, Crawford achived career highs in BB and OBP in 2009, an indication that he might be gaining better control of the strike zone.

    2- Defensive statisics-

    Werth’s totals in 2007 wre accumulated in playing fewer than half the Phillies games in the OF. Thus,we have one full season in which his UZR was well above average and the most recent one where it was about the league norm. As you are aware, the designer of this stat has often stated that UZR only takes meaning after THREE full years of play in the outfield.

    By contrast, Crawford has been consistently well above league norm throughout his career, 2007 notwithstanding, and is generally regarded as the premier left fielder in the game as the advanced metrics show.

    “The fact that he’s played those 54 games tells me they’ve moved him around at times, they just never seem to stick with it. Must be a reason. I suspect there’s something else going here, he probably doesn’t pick up the ball well out there, but that’s just a guess. In any case, I wouldn’t assume he can play CF for us, as others do.”

    This conclusion is inappropriate and just flat out wrong.He played 30 of those games in one year- 2004 with a plus UZR by the way- and 24 the other seven years of his career- an average of 3 games in CF per season. This is hardly enough information to draw any negative conclusion as to his ability to play CF. Does the name Barry Bonds ring a bell?

    I would expect that Crawford will get the longer deal, assuming good health for both in 2010, because he has the longer track record, is younger and is a better bet to maintain into his mid 30s due to the fact that he is one of the premier athletes in the majors( Scholarship offers to Nebraska(football) and UCLA(basketball).  (Quote)

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    The Honorable Congressman Mondesi Reply:

    This is classic steve.

    (Just to clarify my position on this, I don’t think Steve is totally off-base here. I just thought, yesterday, that he was trying to build a case instead of looking at the evidence and trying to come up with the best answer. He just seemed to have an agenda… But that doesn’t necessarily make him wrong.)  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    CS, just want you to know that posts that start out with something rude or snarky get skipped over by me.  (Quote)

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  6. One thing I think you should probably be cognizant of when you examine this issue… Take a look at how Werth hits at home in CBP. By my count, 12-13 of his homers at CBP in 2009 would not have been homers at YS3. That’s a pretty sizable chunk of his power output in 2009 that might be neutralized by a move to YS3. On the other hand, only 1 of Crawford’s homers at the Trop looks like it wouldn’t have been a homer in YS3.

    Crawford, it would seem, would be moving to a ballpark that would fit his style – his speed would be valuable in YS3′s spacious LF, and his power numbers would probably see a bit of an uptick since he’s a left-handed bat. Werth, on the other hand, will see his biggest asset, his power, diminished by this move due to the move to YS3 from CSB and possibly also from the move to the AL East.

    Just something to keep in mind, I think it’s probably pretty relevant to this discussion.  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    Good point, and if I was doing a piece solely on Werth that would be one of the first things I’d examine. I even brought that up myself either here or at RAB.

    But this was a comparison piece, and if I was going examine Werth’s home/road splits I’d have to have a reason to do the same for Crawford. This was a simple overview of each player, I’m sure we can get more granular in all sorts of directions.  (Quote)

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    The Honorable Congressman Mondesi Reply:

    So if it’s a comparison piece… Would it not be helpful to consider how each of these players would translate to playing in the AL East with half his games, his home games, in YS3… And compare? I’m not sure how this being a comparison piece is reason to not look at this stuff.  (Quote)

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  7. I’d take Crawford. The signing-if it happens, will remind me of the Damon one.
    Left hand hitter that you bat at the top of your lineup. Doesn’t hit for a whole lot of power but will get on base and steal.
    Only difference is Crawford would be younger then Damon when he signed. Crawford is a better defender and is much more of a threat on the bases.
    As for as speed going away when he gets older. Not necessarily. There are plenty of players in their mid thirties who are still fast. Hey a couple of them were on the team last year with Damon and Jeter. Doubtful Crawford’s speed disappears overnight.
    And he will likely get a 4 or 5 year deal taking him up to age 33/34 win the contract is over. He will still have his speed.  (Quote)

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  8. Who are the teams that will want them and be willing to pay them?  (Quote)

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    smurfy Reply:

    Good question, rooster. Boy, you keep beating me to the punch.  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    Off the top of my head, the Phillies, and Rays will need replacements. The Mets and Yanks may have opening depending on what happens this year. Teams with free agents Tigers (Damon/Ordonez) Dodgers (Manny) Cards (Ankiel) Cubs (Nady) will all be shopping for outfielders as well.

    All big markets, except for the Rays.  (Quote)

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  9. You guys are turning my head toward Crawford, tho Werth has been an eye magnet since even in LA. He comes thru a lot* when you need it. If Jeter slows down in the future (someday?), Crawford could supply some of that leadoff sparkplug stuff. The honorable and classic steve, the OBP is a concern, a huge difference, so watch his development there, it’s a good point.

    I count 140 extra base hits for Crawford to 120 for Werth. I love doubles, they do wonders for rallies, my favorite thing. Triples, oh my!

    But I would want a real good medical knowledge on both these guys before I committed three years for topping AAV for either of them. I’d, of course, let them know that our team wants to restrict itself to guys who really want to be here, and win. If you win, I’d tell them, your next contract will be dandy.

    * only personal metrics apply  (Quote)

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  10. and they’d say “Johnny Damon” to me.  (Quote)

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  11. Honestly how much better are Crawford and Werth compared to Granderson and Swisher? Do the Yankees really want to lock up the 3rd starting outfielder position for years to come at high salary and likely have to pay luxury tax on top? Both Grandy and Swisher AAV salaries are under 7 million for the next 3 years for Swish and 4 years for Grandy. Both are cheap when it comes to luxury tax.

    What if Gardner puts up a .285 ba, .365 obp with 50 sb while playing stellar defense do you still want Werth or Crawford?

    I still believe the Yankees will look again to the trade market then sign a high dollar high year free agent outfielder.  (Quote)

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  12. I wouldn’t sign either. I’d sign a pitcher and make do with a cheaper option in the outfield.  (Quote)

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    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    Co-sign. Sink the money into pitching, avoid long-term deals to corner outfielders. I wanted Holliday, but I think that might have been a mistake.  (Quote)

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    Jay Reply:

    Suddenly my preaching of dealing Joba or Hughes for a really good young outfielder doesn’t sound that bad…  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    You can sign me up as well. I’ll always take the pitcher when there’s a need, and with Andy appearing to be looking to retire I’d rather have Cliff Lee if they only have payroll space for one big free agent. Assuming, of course, Lee is healthy.

    My only point in writing this piece is I was surprised how dug into their trenches the Crawford supporters are. Both are fine players, but I think Werth is better, without getting into length of contract or other issues.  (Quote)

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  13. Or we could not get Werth or Crawford and stick with what we have and try and sign Cliff Lee? Andy Pettitte may want to hang up the spikes. Just a thought! A rotation of CC, AJ, Lee, Vazquez (big IF), Joba/Hughes. That would be a great rotation. But this all depends on how Gardner plays in 2010.  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    No argument there from me.  (Quote)

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  14. I just like Crawford better. Gifted athlete, great work ethic. I’m not sure if either one is a great presence in the clubhouse or not. Werth just looks like a dirt bag, he just turns me off every time I see him. I guess that’s it. I just don’t like Werth so I’ll stick with Crawford. I also don’t buy any of this “doesn’t pick up the ball well” nonsense. I’ve never sensed that with him. UZR is a worthless stat IMO.  (Quote)

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  15. Carl is an electric player. He can cause defenses and pitchers to make mistakes that they would not ordinarily make, which is a benefit to him and the hitters around him. Crawford at 29 can produce anywhere in the lineup and has been very durable outside of his 2008 campaign where he missed some games with injury. He rebounded last season very well. Some speak to a leg injury would make him a mediocre player going forward. If Werth has his wrist bother him again, with the type of hitter he is, he would become “werthless” if you will. Crawford is a .300 hitter and does a little bit of everything for you offensively, Werth is predominately a power guy who has done this for a total of 293 games as a starter even though both players broke in to MLB in 2002. Crawford has made the most of his call up and Werth did not really find himself until 2008. Crawford is more proven in most peoples minds because he has been doing since 2003 and a few of those years on a very bad team.  (Quote)

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