Friday, December 03, 2004

Sexson or Delgado?

It's time to break this bout of writer's block once and for all. It seems inevitable at this juncture that we are going to be signing one or the other of Richie Sexson or Carlos Delgado this off season to a multiyear contract. In fact, it would seem as though we may have already made offers to both of them with the intention on signing one.

It's been written that Sexson has already turned down two deals with the Diamondbacks ranging from three to five years and valued around $10M a year which probably had dependencies written into them requiring him to stay healthy. As everyone knows, Sexson missed most of last season with two shoulder injuries.

In my opinion signing Sexson has trouble written all over it. The above mentioned shoulder injury has to be a concern going forward. Aside from the shoulder, let's look at the numbers:

2000 25 272/349/499
2001 26 271/342/547
2002 27 279/363/504
2003 28 272/379/548

These numbers don't knock you over, especially when you consider the fact that Sexson has played in relatively hitter friendly parks over his entire career. In 2003, easily his best year, he ranked 7th among MLB first basemen in OPS. He never finished higher than 12th in any year prior to that. Did Sexson have a career year in 2003 or was he just coming into his own? If it's my $30M dollars on the line, I don't want to find out.

On the other hand here are Delgado's numbers:

2000 28 344/470/664
2001 29 279/408/540
2002 30 277/406/549
2003 31 302/426/593
2004 32 269/372/535

Yes, Delgado is slightly past his prime. Yes, Delgado had an off year which was marred by his own injuries. However, Delgado's numbers last year in his "off year" are comparable to Sexson's best year. Although I will admit that Delgado's best years are probably behind him, I'm not convinced that his next three years aren't going to be better than Sexson's despite the age difference. To put it another way, Delgado's numbers so far are somewhat similar to those of Edgar Martinez at the same age, while Sexson's numbers more resemble Tino Martinez. While that seems to be a crude and unfair comparison, all the same it's a gut comparison. My money is on Delgado.