In the tenth and final graphic in the series, we look at how to replace runs the Tampa Bay Rays will be losing due to free agency. Not a team that will be making as any major moves this offseason, they need to fill holes left by both Casey Kotchman and Johnny Damon. Earlier in the offseason, John Jaso and Kelly Shoppach were replaced partially by Jose Molina.
Instead of just using runs scored straight up, I've used wRC (weighted runs created) and wRAA (weighted runs above average) to get a more accurate reading. 2012 projections are from Bill James data on Fangraphs.
Click after the jump to see how the Rays can stay competitive.
The Shoppach/Jaso platoon had worked, and while they're both projected at 59 wRC, Molina at his projected 20 wRC won't cut it. Assuming Jose Lobaton is replacement level (last season, replacement level was about 14 wRC, in 81 games, see Eli Whiteside and Humberto Quintero), it'll be slightly below Shoppach/Jaso:
2012 Projections based off Bill James data on Fangraphs. ^ indicates improvement
Shoppach/Jaso: 59 wRC
Molina/Lobaton: 34 wRC
At DRaysBay, they ask the question, Is Johnny Damon Worth Re-signing?. Short answer, yes. The other options I'd recommend at their price range, Vladimir Guerrero, and Luke Scott, all will produce similar wRC results.
Damon: 62 wRC
Guerrero: 68 wRC (Has better L/R splits)
Scott: 75 wRC
See "Looking at the DH Options" at DRaysBay
The latest rumors in terms of both Casey Kotchman, and Damon, is that there's no action in terms of re-signing. Although Kotchman had a pretty good year in 2011, 79 wRC, his 2012 projection is much lower at 45 wRC. Now I'm not the best at guessing contracts, but assuming that Carlos Pena and Scott Boras would ask for more money than the Rays would like to pay. He did make $10M last year, but for less Derrek Lee could possible give you the same production. There was also discussion about this at DRaysBay.
Kotchman: 45 wRC
Pena: 75 wRC
Lee: 73 wRC
Hope everyone enjoyed the series!