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August 1, 2002

The Daily Prospectus

Bullet the White Screen

by Joe Sheehan

  • I really miss the old midnight ET trade deadline. July 31 used to be a long, fun day of rumors and deals, all leading up to the before- and after-deadline "Baseball Tonight" shows. Now, with the deadline at 4 p.m. ET, it seems like there's no drama. I'm sure it works better for the teams, so I'm not pushing for a change, just observing the difference.

    No deadline was going to make yesterday's activity interesting, though. None of the name players changed hands, so Cliff Floyd and Scott Rolen end up as the biggest late-July acquisitions. There's no question that the Red Sox and Cardinals did very well for themselves, certainly compared to their competition in the AL wild-card and NL Central races. They got impact players who filled their needs at a reasonable, even low, cost. It doesn't get any better than that.

    Rolen will be a Cardinal on Opening Day next year.

  • Yes, I said, "AL wild-card race." Even with Floyd, I don't think the Red Sox will overtake the Yankees. The Yanks just put too many runs on the board, and I still think the Sox are going to see some decline from their two great starting pitchers. Derek Lowe is about to establish a career-high in innings, while Pedro Martinez shoulder still scares me. I'm stubborn that way.

    That Martinez is pitching as well as he has been despite his arm troubles is a tribute to his greatness. Based solely on peak value, he may be the best pitcher ever. Sandy Koufax can't hold a candle to him.

  • Don't get me wrong: the Yankees have issues. For one, they don't have a center fielder. I love Bernie Williams--really, I do--but he's become a joke out there. He runs more L routes to fly balls than anyone this side of Shannon Stewart, and he no longer has the speed to make up for his awful jumps.

    His bat can carry left field, so if Juan Rivera gets healthy, the Yankees have to consider moving Williams over and playing the glove in center, or at least using Rivera as a defensive replacement. Williams is a significant liability in the field at this point, and while moving him adds to the logjam on the corners, it may be the best way to win a championship. When the Yankees play Williams, John Vander Wal and Raul Mondesi all at once, you can actually hear the doubles fairy singing. The Yankees have slipped to eighth in the AL in Defensive Efficiency, after being one of the best teams in baseball in April and May.

    What the Yankees will do with their pitching now that Roger Clemens is ready to return is an open question. My pet theory has Orlando Hernandez moving into the Ramiro Mendoza role, Mendoza moving into Steve Karsay's set-up job, and Karsay assuming the Jeff Nelson Memorial DL spot, getting six weeks of rest followed by four innings over the last two weeks in preparation for the playoffs.

  • Can we get a moratorium on bad analogies to the current state of MLB? "Would you play in a fantasy league in which you got $100 and I got $500?" Please. There are a half-dozen problems with this, but the most obvious one is that available capital in MLB is not fixed. Revenues rise and fall, and the very wealthy men and corporations that own teams have the option to invest in their teams to grow those revenues.

    The fantasy-baseball comparison is pointless and tired. It, and its many variants, should be retired.

  • I got a bunch of e-mail about the Expos' attendance spike in July perhaps being weather-related.

    
    Month                       Average      Median
    April (after Opening Day)     5,996       4,917
    May                           9,013       5,528
    June                          8,269       6,872
    July (through 7/30)          14,064      13,402
    

    April was a typical Expos month, but once people realized there was a good baseball team here, they started coming to games. When management stepped up and brought in players at the end of June and in early July in an attempt to win, attendance jumped markedly.

    Based on where the break is in these numbers, there's no reason to believe weather was a factor in the attendance spike.

    Well, that and the fact that the Expos play in a dome.

  • This column will get up late today, because I've spent a lot of time wondering whether I should append this last note. I'm going to, and I hope those of you reading it will take it to heart, not only when reading my work, but when reading the work of others.

    I wrote this last August:

    What agitates me is when someone writes in to tell me that my only motivation must have been to promote someone or something, or to degrade someone or something. They disagree with the content, and rather than address it, they simply decide the content reflects a bias, and they attack that. Some of these responses are vitriolic, occasionally they're obscene, and they're almost always wrong.

    I don't expect to change the world by saying this, but it's important to me to make this point: when you read The Daily Prospectus, or any written work, give the writer the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he's thought about the issue and done some analysis and reached a reasonable conclusion. Maybe he does believe what he's saying, and wants to share that information with people, free of an agenda. Maybe the information presented even goes against what his preconceived notions, or established preferences, are. (I can tell you that this happens more than you might think.)

    So much of the public discourse, of baseball and of more important topics, focuses on the people exchanging the ideas. Let's work on putting the focus where it should be, on the ideas themselves.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact him by clicking here.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

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