2012 Cubs CAIRO Projections, Part 1 ***UPDATED***

We can thank the Yankees early exit from the playoffs for SG’s CAIRO being released so early. For those of you who read ACB, the format for these projections will be similar. For those who didn’t, what we try to do is post the relevant information for each Cubs player. Last year we tended to do so in three parts: batters, pitchers, and splits. As more and more projections are released, we’ll post an average projection, but that’s sometime during spring training. I know berselius is writing on the player cards on The Hardball Times again for their Oliver projections. I’m not sure when those will be released, but my guess is they’ll be the next projections available.

These CAIRO projections extremely early. SG will release several more versions of it and when free agents sign with new teams we’ll get new projections. For now, it’s all the players on the Cubs from a year ago. I’ve included some guys who may be free agents just to get an idea how valuable they may be next year.

Player PA avg obp slg wOBA WAR
Carlos Pena 597 .226 .349 .470 .340 2.2
Aramis Ramirez 544 .278 .341 .476 .338 3.0
Geovany Soto 399 .245 .337 .430 .324 2.3
Bryan LaHair 368 .261 .327 .450 .323 0.9
Starlin Castro 631 .287 .340 .412 .321 2.9
Reed Johnson 226 .280 .329 .423 .316 0.5
Blake DeWitt 327 .263 .330 .401 .312 1.1
Alfonso Soriano 463 .249 .308 .446 .311 1.2
Marlon Byrd 468 .270 .324 .409 .310 1.6
Steve Clevenger 274 .273 .327 .397 .309 1.2
Jeff Baker 228 .267 .320 .408 .307 0.7
Welington Castillo 208 .248 .302 .411 .298 0.9
Darwin Barney 399 .270 .311 .354 .288 0.6
D.J. LeMahieu 364 .271 .308 .353 .287 0.3
Tyler Colvin 308 .225 .278 .406 .282 0.2
Tony Campana 346 .260 .308 .327 .280 0.1
Koyie Hill 235 .222 .283 .320 .262 0.3

Not at all surprising to see Pena and Ramirez at the top in terms of wOBA. A little disappointing the projection is as low as it is. Ramirez is obviously more valuable because he plays a more important defensive position (even if he plays it poorly). In terms of WAR, Ramirez and Castro are about equal.

I can’t think of any reason why Koyie Hill should be on the roster and I find it hard to believe the new front office will even offer him arbitration. They have three better catchers on the roster in Soto, Clevenger, and Castillo. There are probably additional catchers in the system who are better. Carlos Marmol would probably be a better backup catcher than Hill and Marmol hasn’t caught in 6 or so years.

Bryan LaHair is probably good enough that the Cubs shouldn’t consider signing Pena to a contract worth much money at all. If Pena wants to return for a few million, go for it, but he’s not that much better than LaHair.

Yesterday Fang asked about how much Ramirez may be worth on the free agent market since he now seems open to returning. I had planned to create a generic projection for him, but this is even better. He’s projected to be 3 WAR next year and at his age he’ll obviously get worse by about half a win each year. He wants a 3-year deal, or did last we heard about it anyway, so over 3 years he’d be worth 7.5 WAR.

The win value in 2011 was $4.5 million again. We have to expect some inflation so if we use 5% annually, we get an average win value over those 3 years of $5 million per win. That makes him worth about $37.5 million over the next 3 years. Teams get a discount when signing players to deals 3 years or longer of about 10% so signing Ramirez to a 3-year, $33.75 million would be fair. If I were the Cubs I’d try to knock that down to $30 million or even a bit less considering Ramirez’s tendency to get injured. The more he ages, the more the injuries are going to become a factor. I also think it’s reasonable to ask for some type of hometown discount. After all, he’s probably not best suited to play 3rd base anymore. The Cubs may be best to move him to 1st and go from there. If that’s the case, 3 years, $30 million is more than fair. It will also help Ramirez stay healthier.

The question is whether or not he wants to move to 1st base and how much he thinks he can get on the free agent market. I’m guessing there aren’t many teams that would sign him as a 3rd baseman at this point, but if he’s insistent on it there is certainly a team or two who would. More than likely one of them would be a legitimate contender next year.

Ramirez isn’t necessary to the Cubs success (or failure) in 2012 so I don’t want the Cubs to spend more than $30 million. If the Cubs could get him on a 2-year deal, that would be even better. Something like 2 years, $24 million would work.

Or maybe even a vesting option for a 3rd year based on plate appearances. Something like the 3rd year becomes guaranteed if he has 600 PA in 2013 or 1000 combined PA over the next 2 years. If he’s playing that much he’d still be pretty good so you don’t mind throwing in a little more money. Maybe the Cubs could do a 2-year guaranteed contract for $20 million with a 3rd year vesting option for $12 million. If the option doesn’t vest it becomes a mutual option.

Any other ideas? Just let him walk?

UPDATE: Since the WAR for Ramirez doesn’t include defense or baserunning, figured I’d include it. I I posted this on Tango’s blog.

Based on Ramirez’s 2012 CAIRO projection, he’s a 3 WAR player next year with the bat. Figure 2.3 including defense and baserunning. Using Tango’s .5 WAR decrease per season, that would be 1.8 and then 1.3. That’s 5.6 WAR over 3 years.

If the average win value over that span was $5 million, he’s worth $28 million. Add in the 10% bonus to the team for 3-year deals and it’s a 3-year, $25 million contract that he’d be worth.

Since the Cubs would pay the $2 million buyout, that would have to be factored in so he’d get a new 3 year, $23 million contract. As a Cubs fan, if he signs for that I’d be happy. I’d not be so happy if it was anything over $30 million and I want nothing to do with a fourth year.