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December 23, 2011

Baseball Prospectus News

Introducing the Transactions Browser

by Bradley Ankrom

When you grow up in a military family, change can sometimes feel like the only consistent thing in your life. For me, while bouncing between stations up and down the Eastern Seaboard for much of the '90s, consistency also came in the form of my regular Wednesday routine where, no matter what part of the country I was standing in, I was able to track down a newspaper stand, gas station, or commissary that carried Baseball Weekly (renamed Sports Weekly when they added football to their coverage in 2002). After reading Bob Nightengale’s latest and checking my position in the Clubhouse Fantasy League, I usually found my way to the team-by-team transactions, where the story of a given team’s season could be told in unbiased stock language. That’s where my fascination with roster mechanics began and, based upon the comment threads of our Transaction Analysis articles, I’m guessing many of you share that same interest.

That’s why I’m pleased as Punch (but not as smug) to unveil Baseball Prospectus’ new Transactions page. Let’s take a look around, shall we?

The latest 50 league transactions greet you as the home page loads for the first time. Right away, you’ll notice that instead of grouping all of a team’s transactions into a single row, we’ve broken each player out into separate listings, making it easy to quickly pick out specific players. To see all of a player's transactions, simply click on his name in the text string. If you're interested in his player card, click the headshot. Similarly, all of a team's transactions can be viewed by clicking on the team name in the text string, and clicking on the logo will open up that team's audit page. Some rows feature an “Analysis” link, which offers direct access to the Transaction Analysis article that discusses the move.

Above the listings is a search form that allows you to browse transactions by any combination of player, team, and date range. For example, if you’re interested in the exact dates that Cliff Lee was placed on and activated from the disabled list in April 2010, you can enter his name into the Player Name field and specify a date range of 4/1/2010 to 4/30/2010, which returns the following:

To see the rest of Lee’s transactions, simply clear the date range and resubmit:

If you’re only concerned with the dates Lee has been traded and don’t care about his injury or free agency history, clicking the blue “Advanced Search” link next to the search button will give you myriad ways to narrow the scope of your search, including the ability to limit results to specific transaction types:

Submitting that query will return only the three records for his trades to Philadelphia, Seattle, and Texas:

The rest of the options displayed in the Advanced Search form allow you to narrow your search by league, team, general manager, injury, transaction type, and player age at the time of the transaction. Selecting a second league, team, or general manager enables you to find all of the trades made between the specified entities:

Next to the date fields in the Advanced Search form, you have the option to change the kinds of dates that are returned in your query. By default, the transaction date—the date the move is announced—is used, but you can select “Use Effective/Retroactive Dates” to return, for example, the date Joe Mauer’s placement on the disabled list is retroactive to.

You probably noticed in the screen shot of Cliff Lee’s trades that the infamous Bartolo Colon-for-the-farm move, which sent Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Grady Sizemore from Montreal to Cleveland in July 2002, was nowhere to be found. Currently, our transaction logs only go back as far as January 2009, the earliest MLBAM makes them available. However, you can expect more historical years to be added over the next few weeks.

Aside from adding historical seasons, what features or improvements would you like to see? Let us know in the comments or feel free to send me a note with your thoughts. 

Related Content:  Transactions,  Transaction Analysis

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