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Kenny Lofton

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by DoitDickau, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. DoitDickau

    DoitDickau Member

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    I think the Astros should make a move to pick him up Kenny Lofton and install him as the team's starting centerfielder.

    All the team's moves this offseason were made in a kind of "go for broke" effort for this season. Lofton is an unsigned free agent and, while he is 41 and not any sort of long or immediate term answer to the cf problem, he would be the best option that the team has this year.

    The Astros are an old team. Their core, except for Pence, are all entering their mid-30s and are likely to be near or in the decline phase of their careers. This may be the last best shot the team has to contend in the immediate future. All of their personnel moves were to set up this short window. Now that it's here, while they are in contention, they should continue down that line even if it means sitting your future for a one-year stopgap.

    Lofton is 41 but has also put up lines of 335/392/420 (367ab), 301/350/403 (469ab), 296/367/414 (490ab) the last three years respectively. His strengths would address a lot of the Astros' current needs. The Astros have been good so far at situational hitting with one of the highest batting averages with men in scoring position. The problem is that they have not been getting on base enough to take advantage of that (they are 4th from last in the league in OBP). It particularly hurts when your not getting people on base in front of Lance Berkman. Lofton has only one season in his last six with a OBP less than .350 (it was .346). Sign him, he'd be a big upgrade over what Bourne has given the team and he'd be someone who will get on base for the middle of the Astros lineup.

    I was all for giving the young players a chance to sink or swim, but at some point, especially given the age/state of the roster, you need to do all you can to win now. Bourne, like Towles, has been given more than a fair shake.

    Abercrombie is not the answer. He was exposed by major league pitching in Florida and there is nothing in his Triple-A line that would indicate that anything has changed. Erstad has been a pleasant surprise this season, however, if his history has told us anything, it's that 1) his body can't handle the pounding from playing everyday in center and 2) he hasn't been able to hit well in extended playing time. As well as he has been hitting, and he's be very good, he still only has a .314 OBP. He would not help solve the Astros problem there. They need someone who will be able to get on base in front of Berkman, Tejeda, Lee and Pence. Erstad not going to be able to do that anymore than Bourne has. Plus Erstad been doing great in a utility, pinching hitting role, so why would you change what's been working so well.

    It just seems like such a logical move. You have this gaping hole on your team and there is a player out there who will fill it almost perfectly.
     
    #1 DoitDickau, Jun 8, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2008
  2. BranJ17

    BranJ17 Member

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    From what I hear, Lofton is not a good clubhouse guy. I do agree tho, that we should pick him up. Anything is an upgrade.
     
  3. ryan17wagner

    ryan17wagner Member

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    Not happening. He's been blacklisted.
     
  4. DoitDickau

    DoitDickau Member

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    For what? What has he done that is serious enough to be blacklisted? That's what's so strange to me. From what I can tell he hasn't been in trouble with the law. Unlike some Astros, he hasn't even been implicated in any steroid scandal. I don't care if he's a jerk. Absent some kind of egregious crime, I only care if he would help the team win. And any well managed ball club should feel that way as well.
     
  5. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Member
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    I read somewhere he won't play for less than the $6 Million he earned last year, which would be the obvious reason nobody has picked him up yet.
     
  6. DoitDickau

    DoitDickau Member

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    Even so, this is a market where Juan Pierre signs a 5yr-44million dollar contract. Where Gary Matthews Jr. signs a 5-50 million K. Where 30 yr Aaron Rowand is given a 5-60mill K. Where a 32 yr Torri Hunter signs a 5-90 mill K. etc.

    In contrast, Lofton at one year for 6 million seems reasonable. It's not the kind of contract that is going to hurt the club going into the future. It's a low risk type of move. Especially for someone who has been as consistently good as Lofton has been.

    I could understand why the Indians (with Sizemore), or the Cubs (with Pie), or even the Astros (having traded their all-star closer for Bourne) would want to go with what they hoped was a long-term centerfielder to start the season. But now, given that this is the Astros window to contend, that Bourne has basically flopped, and that the Astros don't have any other adequate cf replacements, 6 million (or hopefully a prorated 6 millions) seems reasonable given how much of an upgrade he would likely be.
     
    #6 DoitDickau, Jun 8, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2008
  7. Major

    Major Member

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    The problem with those examples is that they were all very stupid signings. That's 2 teams combining to sign 4 expensive centerfielders. They were forced to move their great defensive centerfielders to left field to accumulate more great defensive (but better offensive) centerfielders. The first two signings (Matthews and Pierre) both have sub-0.700 OPSs - that's fine in CF, but they are in left field now! They took a premium offensive position and put mediocre hitters there just so they could sign more defensive centerfielders.

    I wouldn't use those signings as a guide for anything except bad management decisions. In the case of SF, it fits with their $100+ million for Zito and all the other stupid decisions they've made. Not sure what the Angels were thinking.
     
  8. DoitDickau

    DoitDickau Member

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    Sure they are bad signings, but while they may be bad, I don't think they are out of place with market. I could have also cited Andruw Jones getting 18 + million per year, Beltran getting 120 + million, Mike Cameron getting 7 per year. If there are more accurate measures (or examples) of what a starting-caliber centerfielder would go for on the open market I would be all ears.

    Even ignoring those bad contracts, and just looking at a stats like marginal $ per marginal win, it would be worth it. The average and median mlb team spends over 2 million of salary per marginal win http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pY1xXeEWy1GjYDqiZp9irJg the Astros last year spent over 3,500,000 per marginal win. Lofton, if he plays like he has the last few years, will be worth more than 2 wins over Bourne.

    The basic point is that Lofton's demands aren't unreasonable when looking at what the market has paid for other centerfield talents. It likely would be a pretty efficient use of resources that addresses a specific team need. Since it's a hopefully prorated one year deal, there would also be little downside/risk.


    The average for NL center fielders is NL: .264/.335/.418, Lofton put up 296/369/414 last year with similar stats the past 5 years. Our centerfielder now is putting up 224/282/311. At 4 million prorated for that upgrade, it would be money well spent.

    EDIT:And even if you think the price is a little high, I don't understand making all these moves this offeason (which I liked), trading away almost all mlb ready prospects in your system in order to contend this year, and then once in contention, not be willing to spend 3-4 million to significantly upgrade a glaring team need.

    It's like if youre playing poker and you're in a $200 pot, you gotta put in that last five dollars because the pot is so big and you have potodds and can't fold now.
     
    #8 DoitDickau, Jun 8, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2008
  9. msn

    msn Member

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    All this "window" talk seems really ironic with Biggio and Bagwell gone. We've been hearing "the window is closing" since like 2000.

    And, if this is the Astros' "window", then just go ahead and close it. Unlike other years where the "window was closing", the Astros' pitching sucks. Hard.
     
  10. DaDakota

    DaDakota If you want to know, just ask!
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    Yes it does, when Wandy is outpitching Roy by a HUGE margin...something is not right.

    DD
     

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