Thursday, December 09, 2004

Jeff Kent?

Jeff Kent? Signed by the Dodgers? For $17 million over 2-years?

I admit that at first blush this made no sense to me. I mean Kent is 36 and this does not exactly seem like a "Moneyball" type signing. Was second base a problem for the Dodgers? I thought Alex Cora was an above average defensive second baseman (way better than Kent) and his OBP was actually better than Kent this year (.364 to .348). Sure he doesn't have the pop in his bat that Kent has but he also won't cost the Dodgers $8.5 million per year.

Jeff Kent made no sense to me as a second baseman for the Dodgers. (Not to mention the fact that Kent is the only teammate that has managed to make Barry Bonds seem likeable in comparison. Kent and Milton Bradley on the same team? Don King should secure the pay per view rights now.)

Then it hit me. Kent won't be a second baseman for the Dodgers. Next year he'll play third. Kent is taking Adrian Beltre's spot - not Cora's.

With Glaus setting the market at 4-years and $45 million there is no way that Beltre accepts less than 4-years $52 million. I guess that realization was just too much for the Dodgers and led to the Kent signing.

As far as power numbers - Kent hit 27 HR last year and drove in 107. He has a career 125 OPS+ - compare that to Beltre who had a breakout 163 OPS+ this year (Kent had a 165 OPS+ year in 2000 but he's been 133, 152, 118 and 124 since - OPS+ just as a reminder is a park neutral stat). The money that Beltre is asking for comes with no guaranty that he'll be able to duplicate this years level of production - so Kent actually was a fairly reasonable fiscal alternative.

Like I said - Kent was not a Moneyball signing (getting Shea Hillenbrand for half the money would have been a better Moneyball move by DePodesta). It is a move that is understandable though.

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