CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Vote in the Internet Baseball Awards for a chance at a free copy of Dollar Sign on the Muscle
Voting ends in 15 days and 12 hours

No Previous Article
<< Previous Column
The Daily Prospectus: ... (08/27)
Next Column >>
The Daily Prospectus: ... (09/04)
No Next Article

August 28, 2002

The Daily Prospectus

I've Never Seen So Much Rain

by Gary Huckabay

OK, so we're 48 hours from an entirely different type of DTs, and the whitespace on ESPNEWS is becoming far more pronounced than it already is. Let's dive in....

  • Ted Frank wrote a piece yesterday piercing holes in the luxury tax proposal put forth by the MLBPA. Today, Doug Pappas aerates Ted a little bit.

    Interesting article -- but there are a couple of factual errors.

    First, the luxury tax can't be evaded through a series of easily attainable bonuses, because earned bonuses count as payroll for luxury tax purposes.

    Second, because of the average-annual-value treatment of multiyear contracts for luxury tax purposes, the Yankees' 2002 payroll is $171 million, not $125 million. The Texas Rangers are second at $131 million.

    Another point: indexing the minimum payroll to national TV revenues will be difficult, because the ESPN contract jumps from $40 million this year to $175 million in 2003, $200 million in 2004-05. The Fox deal has an average annual value of $417 million, but I'm not sure how that's distributed within the contract.

  • Back to the diamond....

    In Monday's Arizona/L.A. game, Alex Cora made one of the weirdest slides I've ever seen as he went into second base, basically whacking Tony Womack on the knee with his head. Cora was knocked out by the impact, and Womack doubled up with what appeared at first glance to probably be a nice, big-ass bruise come today or tomorrow. I've reviewed the play a couple of times, and have no idea what the hell Cora was thinking. If anyone can explain his slide, I'd sure love to hear it.

  • The Indians, who have already announced that they're not going to be competitive until at least 2005, took a step forward on that bold path today. Joel Skinner announced that Danys Baez would be removed from the rotation, and installed as the Indians closer, following the injury and subsequent scheduling of surgery for Bob Wickman. The question which popped into my rather profane mind:

    What the *$%^ are Shapiro and Skinner thinking?

    I have never understood or agreed with the mystique of the closer. Saves are an artifice of the baseball accounting system, and like all arbitrary measurements, the further we move away from the time of their creation, the more perceived importance they gain.

    Here's Baez's line thus far for the 2002 season:

    
    GS      W       L       IP      H     BB      K      ERA
    26      9      10      154    151     75    121     4.44
    

    For a 25-year old, that's not too bad at all, especially pitching in Jacobs Field, which is a pretty decent hitter's park.

    You've got a young pitcher, doing moderately well in a starter's role, with peripheral numbers that have some promise, specifically striking out just over 7 batters per 9 innings. Your team has a rotation that consists of Baez, C.C. Sabathia, and a carousel of the aged, ineffective, or both. There's some potential help in the minors, but the organization doesn't have a great track record for developing rotation starters, and you'd be pretty happy if one or two of the prospects turned into Baez.

    So, naturally, you want him to be a closer. Rack up them save totals.

    Look, gang, closers are just not that hard to dig up. Saves are an artificial stat. Often, the most important outs in the game occur before the 9th inning. 1 run lead, runners on 2nd and 3rd, 1 out in the 7th? That's important. 6-3 game, nobody on, nobody out, start of the ninth? That's Dave Burba time. Get Terry Felton up.

    Baez has the potential to be an excellent front line starter. Excellent front line starters are harder to find than closers, which can come from failed starters, middle men, the minors, the waiver wire, or even the independent leagues. Clubs that buy into the mythology of saves are clubs that overpay for a relatively small number of innings. Saves serve primarily for roto, and to inflate the perceived value of a reliever for trading or draft pick compensation. Pump 'em up, and move 'em out.

    The Indians need Baez as a starter far more than they need him as a closer. Even if things work out great, then what? How does Baez fit in to the club's plans as a closer? Maybe they can jack up his perceived value by having him run up his save totals, and be anointed as "a major league closer." Perhaps at that point, they can trade him for a promising young starting pitcher. That'd be a nice bit of closure.

  • Pizza Feed in Concord, CA tomorrow night. Come on out! Email huckabay@baseballprospectus.com to confirm. Make the trip! You can drive or take BART.

Gary Huckabay is an author of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact him by clicking here.

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

0 comments have been left for this article.

No Previous Article
<< Previous Column
The Daily Prospectus: ... (08/27)
Next Column >>
The Daily Prospectus: ... (09/04)
No Next Article

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Edinson Volquez
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Are Elite Pitchers Becomi...
Premium Article Pitching Backward: In Love With Lohse
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: ALDS Preview: Angels vs....
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: NL Wild Card Game Recap
Premium Article Moonshot: Fastballs and the Collapsing A's
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: ALDS Preview: Orioles vs...


MORE BY GARY HUCKABAY
2002-09-11 - Premium Article The Daily Prospectus: The Focus
2002-09-11 - The Daily Prospectus: The Focus
2002-09-04 - The Daily Prospectus: Back From a Long Weeke...
2002-08-28 - The Daily Prospectus: I've Never Seen So Muc...
2002-08-27 - The Daily Prospectus: Administrivia
2002-08-26 - Premium Article The Daily Prospectus: Two Hours of Rambling
2002-08-26 - The Daily Prospectus: Two Hours of Rambling
More...

MORE THE DAILY PROSPECTUS
2002-09-11 - The Daily Prospectus: The Focus
2002-09-09 - The Daily Prospectus: A Look at the Pitching...
2002-09-04 - The Daily Prospectus: Back From a Long Weeke...
2002-08-28 - The Daily Prospectus: I've Never Seen So Muc...
2002-08-27 - The Daily Prospectus: Administrivia
2002-08-26 - Premium Article The Daily Prospectus: Two Hours of Rambling
2002-08-26 - The Daily Prospectus: Two Hours of Rambling
More...