CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

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

<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Fantasy Focus: First B... (02/22)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Transaction Action: Ca... (02/21)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Transaction Action: Pr... (02/25)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Focus: Second ... (02/23)

February 22, 2010

Transaction Action

Junior Circuit Jumbling

by Christina Kahrl

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

BOSTON RED SOX
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Released RHP Edwin Moreno. [2/20]

CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Released UT-L Freddy Bynum. [2/21]

CLEVELAND INDIANS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Signed 1B-L Russell Branyan to a one-year, $2 million base contract, with a mutual $5 million option for 2011. [2/19]

Not unlike the decision to sign Johnny Damon in Detroit, signing Branyan in Cleveland is less about a major change as much as a marginal improvement to the lineup, while providing the virtue of expanded depth. PECOTA's expectation for Branyan isn't very expansive (.232/.345/.444), but that's also because it's striking a median between the possibility that he last season wasn't all that fluky for him (hence a 31 percent score to improve), balanced against the possibility that he goes Charboneau on us, with a 19 percent collapse rate, and 21 percent as far as attrition. Which is another, more complicated way of saying that the spread of possibilities for Branyan is a little wider than most players, which we sort of expected given a career that's bounced around hapless flailing and TTO glory. Because of the risk involved-whether or not Branyan proves he's fully recovered from last year's back injury, or whether he'll exasperate Manny Acta with his protracted slumps-the money seems like an entirely reasonable outlay, especially since it helps the Tribe's dark-horse bid to keep up with the top trio in the Central. There might also be a comfort level involved: Branyan has come back to the team that originally drafted and developed him, and he's no longer being shadowed by the man who at times seemed to be his personal bęte noir, former Triple-A skipper and bench coach Jeff Datz. (Datz is now Dave Trembley's bench coach in Baltimore.)

The real question about the measure of improvement Branyan may or may not provide depends on a number of surrounding variables. Will he block Matt LaPorta at first base, or will the offense get a boost with LaPorta getting playing time in left field at Michael Brantley's expense? (And can the defense afford that potential hit?) Or, for the more depth-minded proposition, will Branyan wind up DHing a good amount if Travis Hafner gets hurt or merely continues his slow-mo career implosion? The worst-case scenario is that LaPorta loses a lot of playing time, because Branyan isn't necessarily an improvement, and LaPorta's development as a prospect is a big part of whatever better future the Indians are supposed to have. It seems reasonable to anticipate that playing time gets shared out in a way that gets Brantley, Branyan, and LaPorta plenty of work, in part because Brantley could be the primary backup to Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo, while Branyan and LaPorta can pick up starts at DH. Three players with two full-time jobs and part-time applications in three other lineup slots should yield enough playing time to keep all three fresh, although it might crowd up Trevor Crowe and Chris Gimenez-hardly devastating setbacks in terms of the club's potential active-roster depth.


DETROIT TIGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Signed LF-L Johnny Damon to a one-year, $8 million contract. [2/22]

So, Damon has finally landed in Detroit, signing a one-year, $8-million deal that should plant him in left field in the Motor City. And with that, the tight three-way race in the American League Central picture has radically changed, right? The Tigers had to have added a win or two, right? Unfortunately, there's the problem in a nutshell: a win or two isn't a decisive amount of difference in what's still going to remain a tight race, and that's all that Damon adds.

Why so little difference? The basic issue is one of expectations: the Johnny Damon we've seen, aging gracefully in pinstripes, isn't the player that Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland are guaranteed to get now that they've signed him. PECOTA was projecting him to hit at .272/.356/.424, a big drop off from last season, which takes a lot of the sap out of what his bat is supposed to add. There are several reasons why PECOTA is not wild about the Caveman, suggesting instead that he'll net the Tigers an eight-run improvement, or less than a full win's worth of difference on the sabermetric exchange rate of 10 runs equals one win.

First, there's the problem of Damon heading into his age-36 season. He's coming off of a pair of excellent years with the Yankees, the two best of his career at the plate-which doesn't make for a great bet that he'll just keep on cranking at that level like he was Peter Pan in double knits. PECOTA is a tough evaluator of late-career performance, and Damon, good as he is, isn't among the game's absolute best ballplayers. He could beat the odds and continue to age extremely well, but PECOTA is a projection tool, not a perpetual optimist.

The second problem is the change of venue: trading NuYankee for the more uniform, distant fences of Comerica Park in Detroit isn't going to help him, as he's going from a venue where he slugged 17 of his 24 homers last season, with a huge difference in his home/road slugging: .533 in the Bronx, against .446 everywhere else. While Damon has hit very well in Comerica over his career, that's a sample of 189 plate appearances, not substantive enough as evidence that he's going to slug .500 or better, which, combined with his age, doesn't encourage PECOTA to see premium-level production for a left fielder.

Which brings us to the third problem. Damon isn't replacing the Tigers' worst-hitting outfielder-probably whoever wins their job fight in center field. Instead, he is just slotting into left, where we were already giving the benefit of the doubt towards their best available offensive options, and leaning towards a combination of Ryan Raburn and Carlos Guillen. Now the at-bats from the left-field slot belong primarily to Damon, while DH remains Guillen's primary position-which isn't a bad thing, but it automatically minimizes the relative impact of adding Damon. Raburn is coming off a fine 2009 season, and could still play an important part in the Tigers' year, but shunting him back into a part-time role spotting for Damon and Magglio Ordonez in the outfield corners means that the Tigers have better depth, but not necessarily a significantly improved lineup in terms of this kind of pre-season projection.

The other problem is that the Tigers aren't improving relative to the rest of the division in isolation. In evaluating teams and changing rosters and expected playing time, the dynamics of BP's depth charts and projected finishes change with every club's roster tweaks and projected lineup changes. For example, the Twins' projection moved up to 81-81 by slightly adapting their slate of starting pitchers, particularly with the thought that Francisco Liriano could live up to his past promise as a rotation regular. The Twins ranking 81-81 ahead of the White Sox or Tigers at 80-82 weeks before Opening Day just tells us that things are tight, last week, this week, and pending any other major developments. If anything, the really interesting dilemma is that the big three may not be far enough ahead to keep the division title race among themselves. The Indians' adding Branyan helped bump their projected finish up by a win over the weekend. That's a marginal gain based on the expectation that Branyan's going to filch playing time from Matt LaPorta. If it turns out that Branyan gets even more playing time at first while LaPorta moves back out to left field, bumping Michael Brantley, it might net the Tribe enough runs to add a fourth horse to an already-tight three-way race.


LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Agreed to terms with SS-S Erick Aybar on a one-year, $2.05 million contract, avoiding arbitration. [2/18]

NEW YORK YANKEES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Signed RHP Dustin Moseley to a minor-league contract. [2/16]
Signed RHP Chan Ho Park to a one-year, $1.2 million base contract. [2/22]

As if the the field of competitors fighting to see who gets winnowed to which side of the fifth starter/bullpen divide wasn't crowded enough, the Bombers have added Park as well? Talk about making sure you go into a season with both boots on. Happily, from his public comments Park seems resigned to his lot as a pen-bound pitcher from among that mix, choosing almost certain contention over a possible bid for the back end of the Cubs' rotation. Whatever his ambitions for himself and what he likes to do-start, apparently-his career numbers still argue for his better uses in the pen. Just from the last four years, i.e., the period of his career entirely after his disastrous multi-year run with the Rangers, he's started 34 games for the Padres, Mets, Dodgers, and Phillies, managing 2.4 SNLVAR and just 13 quality starts (counting those blown after six innings). As a reliever in that same span, he's generated 3.1 WXRL in 90 games. To break his performance down further:

2006-09   IP    H  UBB  K   R   ER HR   RA9 UBB9  K9
Starter  194.1 207  60 145 119 109 28  5.51  2.8 6.7
Reliever 125   126  38 107  55  48 11  3.96  2.7 7.7

Now, given that the majority of his starts came as a Padre with Petco to his advantage, and in light of Park's relatively consistent platoon splits that suggest he's best hidden from the better left-handed hitters, this looks like a pretty straightforward proposition. Park's potential value as a reliever who can handle multiple innings with swing-and-miss stuff should seem obvious by now; his career clip of striking out 22 percent of opposing batters as a reliever is the sort of thing you like to have in your arsenal. Having him does give you tactical flexibility, especially against lineups that lean heavily right, and if, say, you wanted to end a bad day at the office for Andy Pettitte early, say, before things got out of control. The price, even if he earns out his incentives, is remarkably cheap relative to the kind of value he can add.

There's not a lot about Moseley that changes with his changing organizations from the Angels to the Yankees. Even in the best of circumstances with good ballclubs, he was back-end staff filler, the kind of guy who might get sucked into the odd emergency start or temporary responsibility for a fifth slot; more usually, he can handle middle-inning chores. While it's always possible that a rash of injuries could create a glory shot-how can we forget Aaron Small's briefly bright run?-Moseley will first have to prove he's recovered from his hip surgery and then provide some value in Scranton before he'll garner much consideration for a job already likely to be crowded with leftovers over who gets the rotation's fifth slot. I might prefer Moseley to Sergio Mitre, but not Park, let alone Alfredo Aceves or Chad Gaudin, and really, when you're making this sort of choice, you're either Joe Girardi, or someone in the deepest of fantasy leagues.


TEXAS RANGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Signed OF-L Endy Chavez to a minor-league contract. [2/15]

This figures to be a nice little addition if Chavez comes all the way back from last year's season-ending knee injury with Seattle. At the very least, Chavez will miss the first month of the regular season, but their other choices for outfield reserves have issues that should keep him in the mix once he demonstrates that health. Consider: David Murphy's hitting needs to improve significantly if he's to wind up as something more than a second-division starter, and he's not really an option for center field behind Julio Borbon. Craig Gentry's talked up as a root-worthy organizational soldier, which he is, but he's also already 26. Whatever he offers in terms of speed on the bases-he produced an incredible 9.9 EqBRR for Frisco-and with range in center that scouts grade as plus, his bat limits him. He's a worthwhile fourth outfielder aspirant where that's his ceiling; his repeat campaign at Double-A last season was merely nice step up in terms of offensive production, from a .246 EqA in '09 to his .213 in 2008. Gentry's lot is at least better former fourth outfielder Brandon Boggs', and more like Chavez' was not so very long ago, when he'd been found lacking as a regular for the Expos.

Whatever Gentry's virtues, however, the Rangers may prefer to have a veteran more experienced in contributing out of a reserve role parked behind Borbon on the bench in the sophomore's first full season as a major-league center fielder. It's not a real job fight, not when Chavez is rehabbing while Gentry's got to fend off Boggs, but it'll make for an interesting decision come May. Never mind if Gentry's struggling to adapt to part-time play, because that's an easy decision; instead, what happens if Borbon isn't earning his keep at that point? What if Gentry's gotten off to a good incredible start? Does he play Bob Brower in a latter-day re-enactment of the battle between Brower and Oddibe McDowell in 1987? Well, probably not, McDowell and Brower had more power than Borbon and Gentry, for starters. And besides, Chavez is too old to be the new Cecil Espy.


TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Signed C-R Jose Molina to a one-year, $400,000 base contract, with a 2011 club option for $1.2 million; placed RHP Jesse Litsch on the 60-day DL. [2/19]
Placed RHP Dirk Hayhurst on the 60-day DL. [2/21]

With that, the last of the old right-handed catchers who were free agents this winter lands, and he should wind up as John Buck's backup. It actually makes sense as a nice little tandem for a club whose expectations are appropriately set to realistic. Buck should be the adequate hitting partner in a job-sharing arrangment-he's projected for a .250 EqA, to Molina's .204-while Molina should wind up as the better-throwing complementary player who also has the benefit of a stronger reputation as a receiver. Given that he's set to make the MLB minimum with a few incentives, the money is negligible. It's easy to accept that Molina was greatly overrated during his Yankee days (and liberally overcompensated compared to this deal), but that's the Big Apple's self-importance for you. That doesn't contradict the fact that he has his uses as a big-league reserve, and now that he's inked, he'll give the Jays a nice alternative to Buck while also sparing them from using someone like Raul Chavez. Later on in-season, if J.P. Arencibia has bounced back from a massively disappointing 2009 season in Las Vegas, the Jays will be free to consider their options, which might involve shopping Buck or Molina. That's a nice situation in that it gives the Jays some wiggle room to provide a catcher-needy contender a player who fits their needs, and at different price points: a bat in Buck, or a catch-and-throw backup in Molina. Since almost everything involved with the Jays these days is about leveraging the present to achieve a better future, that's a nice bit of negotiating flexibility in a minor key.



Thanks to Kevin Goldstein for his assistance and insight.

A version of this story originally appeared on ESPN Insider Insider.

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

34 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

sroney

From 2002 to late last season, Russell Branyan had been the fouth player with more than two 20 homer seasons, but no seasons of 400 AB. Now that he cleared 400 AB in 2009, the list is back down to three.

Feb 22, 2010 13:11 PM
rating: 0
 
jnassiff

Never fear! Mike Napoli is here! The list is still at four.

Feb 22, 2010 14:54 PM
rating: 0
 
jnassiff

Or maybe the list is seven? I'm seeing Jonny Gomes and Ken Phelps (three 20+ HR seasons, no 400+ AB seasons) as well as Wes Covington, Chris Duncan, Mike Napoli, Gary Roenicke, and Marcus Thames (2 each).

Feb 22, 2010 15:12 PM
rating: 1
 
sroney

Well, that is what I get for posting that without actually updating for new qualifying players for the last couple of years.

It was Phelps, Covinton and Roenicke until Branyan joined, and I haven't been updating my list for the last couple of years.

Feb 22, 2010 16:58 PM
rating: 0
 
ElAngelo
(942)

Why did the Tigers claim poverty, trade Granderson, and then give Damon roughly the same money that Granderson was making this year? Granderson seems to be better than Damon + Jackson, methinks.

Feb 22, 2010 13:15 PM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

We should probably take this as a universal reminder: it makes more sense to evaluate actions than spin.

Feb 22, 2010 13:33 PM
 
dwinning

They didn't trade granderson to save money, but he was a popular player around here and the story became we-need-to-save-money. They traded him so they could get as much value as they could while he was still a valuable player; he'd lost a step in the OF and he disappears against LHP and probably won't ever be as good as he was in the past.

Feb 22, 2010 14:12 PM
rating: 2
 
Kman23

Tigers never claimed poverty, the baseball journalist field did.

Feb 24, 2010 07:41 AM
rating: -1
 
cdmyers

Even if Damon merely adds depth, isn't that a very valuable thing for a team that has two players with spotty health records in the outfield corners? It'll be interesting to see the Tiger's THR, but I doubt they can count on full seasons from both Ordonez and Guillen. In Ordonez's case they don't particularly want a full season, given his $15 million vesting option.

Feb 22, 2010 13:18 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

Absolutely, it's a great thing to gain some measure of security as far as their outfield production. The problem, so far as it goes, is that it doesn't do that much to push the needle as far as a pre-season chalkboard exercise like this. For myself, anything that reduces the risk of their giving 400 PAs to Clete Thomas is a good thing. However, there is the question about whether Damon's expense is commensurate with what they think they've gotten in signing him.

Feb 22, 2010 13:31 PM
 
Juris

Another calculus with Damon, I think, was solving the lead-off hitter problem; and further adding a left-handed bat to the line-up. That could have a marginally positive effect on pitcher matchups, but I have no clue how to measure this effect.

Feb 22, 2010 14:18 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

The left-handedness element is important, because it means Damon could do a bit better than a median projection if he gets a larger share of his work against right-handers, against whom he slugs a good 50 points better. This could get worse in terms of team lean, especially if they do something like send Alex Avila back to Toledo, or make him watch Gerald Laird 110 times or so, because the other alternatives in this lineup are so few: Guillen, and then a group of Ramon Santiago, Clete Thomas, utilityman Don Kelly... Jeff Larish? Kory Casto? Ugh. You get the point.

It may not mean much in terms of that many elective rotation decisions from opposing managers--I don't see Ron Gardenhire benching or bumping one of his regular right-handers to make sure Brian Duensing draws the Tigers, for example--but the division's rotations lean pretty far to the right, with only the White Sox having two good southpaws in Buehrle and Danks.

Feb 22, 2010 14:40 PM
 
Joe D.

2006-09 IP H UBB K R ER HR RA9 UBB9 K9
Starter 194.1 207 60 145 119 109 11 5.51 2.8 6.7
Reliever 125 126 38 107 55 48 28 3.96 2.7 7.7

For anyone who was wondering, the HR numbers are indeed transposed. Park allowed 11 HR as a reliever, and 28 as a starter.

Feb 22, 2010 14:33 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

Thanks for the assist, Joe.

Feb 22, 2010 14:41 PM
 
T. Kiefer

Does anybody have any information about Johnny Damon's effect in the clubhouse? If anything, the Tigers could really use a Ken Griffey Jr. to turn the clubhouse around. If Damon is someone like that, then he'll contribute mightily and positively to the intangibles PECOTA can't pick up and the Tigers will be a real contender. If he's just another bat, then the Tigers yet again will become the elephant graveyard for aging vets (Gary Sheffield, Aubry Huff, et multo al.): Damon's numbers will dive in Comerica unless he goes on a salary drive for 2011.

Feb 22, 2010 14:47 PM
rating: -3
 
amacrae

This glass half empty review of the Damon signing seems fairly out of line with the below portion of your AL Central review:

"Why They Might Win: The decision to blend something new with something old might turn into a fine transitional team, with headliners Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera getting support from finally healthy veterans like Carlos Guillen and Jeremy Bonderman—and new kids Max Scherzer in the rotation, second baseman Scott Sizemore, and more. One more bat would put them over the top, but is there enough Ilitch money to ink Johnny Damon?"

Maybe I'm reading each analysis wrong but it seems like Damon went from putting The Tigers "over the top" to not really making a difference at all in a matter of 4 days.

Feb 22, 2010 15:09 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

Whether or not Damon makes the difference in the abstract seems to me like a still murky maybe, given that the margins between the top three teams were and remain so narrow. Does adding him help slightly? Yes. Does he have the same impact as, say, when the Dodgers re-signed Manny Ramirez? No.

Feb 22, 2010 15:16 PM
 
Richie

If Damon's ABs come entirely at the expense of Raburn - and my guess is they will - have the Tigers actually gained a blessed thing?

Feb 22, 2010 16:08 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

Exactly the problem.

Feb 22, 2010 22:10 PM
 
JHaugJr
(332)

Johnny Playmon was essential in helping the Elwood City Grebes to the title....for what that's worth.

I think that i may claim the first tangentially appropriate "arthur" reference on BP

Feb 22, 2010 17:20 PM
rating: 0
 
Mike Petriello

I don't follow the whole Branyan/Datz story, what's that about?

Feb 22, 2010 17:34 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

There were a few stories when Branyan was coming up and being managed by Datz; it appeared to be a case where the elder man didn't care for the cut of the younger man's jib. Or all those strikeouts.

Feb 22, 2010 22:12 PM
 
R.A.Wagman

"Placed RHP Dirk Hayhurst on the 60-day DL. [2/21]"
The Garfoose will rise again!

Feb 22, 2010 20:30 PM
rating: 1
 
Brock Dahlke

I'm kind of sick of hearing how tight the AL central will be. The team that won the division clearly upgraded this offseason while the rest of the division hasn't really upgraded themselves at all, mostly downgrading if anything. The Sox wont be able to hit, and Peavy isn't going to be the beast people think by moving to the AL. Detroit traded a career year of Jackson for a new unproven youngster in Scherzer, and they will only continue to get older at most positions, and they really look like they will have a weak bullpen. Will someone give me a good reason why the Twins won't run away with this division?

Feb 22, 2010 23:43 PM
rating: 0
 
sbrousc

I agree that the Twins should be favored, but there are too many things that could plausibly go wrong for me to feel comfortable predicting they will "run away" with the division. For starters, this isn't an 87-win team returning, but rather an 82-win team that had incredible fortune with runners on base (4th in runs despite finishing anywhere from 17th - 20th in BA, OBA and SLG in those situations). At least 50 runs better than you would expect, given their situational hitting. You just can't expect to repeat that performance and call it your baseline for 2010.

Clearly Hardy and Hudson are improvements over the incumbents. On the other hand, Mauer and Kubel have nowhere to go but down after career years. Even if everything breaks right, I don't know if this team scores 817 runs again. Which is bad news for Carl Pavano.

I'll happily concede Brock's genius if the Twins do finish 6+ games ahead of the field, but from here I have a difficult time seeing it.

Feb 23, 2010 02:39 AM
rating: 8
 
elm
(41)

Because the Twins won it in a play-in game that they probably should have lost last year, so the division was about as tight as possible last year. Even if the Twins had the best offseason, by how much? More than 3 or 4 wins better than the Tigers offseason? If not, then it will be close again especially as a full year of Peavy does upgrade the White Sox, even if he's a not a "beast:" unless he gets hurt, you gotta think he's still going to be at least pretty good.

Feb 23, 2010 06:35 AM
rating: 0
 
Luke in MN

I've brought up the problems with the Twins depth charts several times and haven't seen a response. 1. The Twins are projected to score only about 800 runs with an 802 OPS, which is essentially impossible, and 2. the Twins' pitchers' projections have gotten considerably worse with each new version of 2010 PECOTA, and BP has given no explanation for why ANY pitcher's projection would get worse (the change I understood was that pitchers were being UPgraded to their 75% percentile projection). Pat Neshek went from being projected for an ERA of 3.86 to 6.24 after February's tinkering with PECOTA. Almost every Twins pitcher's ERA went up as well. Maybe there's a good explanation, but I haven't seen it yet.

Feb 23, 2010 08:54 AM
rating: -1
 
LouisArighi

I don't mean to imply that your concerns are not valid and worthy of an answer, but posting them in every single article that discusses the Twins, without really adding anything to the first 5 times you posted it, is neither helping you to get a response, nor improving the reading experience of anyone else. Maybe you could email an appropriate author (I think Clay is in charge of PECOTA now, but maybe Christina or Kevin would help as they are "in charge" in some way)? But I would suggest, and plead, that you not continue copying and pasting this comment in every thread.

Feb 23, 2010 13:19 PM
rating: 2
 
dianagram

Sadly, PECOTA is having about as good a month as TOYOTA.

Feb 23, 2010 09:04 AM
rating: 5
 
Kman23

A Tiger blogger made a chart showing where Damon's HRs would have landed in Comerica and only 3 didn't go over the fence. Another 2 were right on the border where a good OF can jump and catch it but very few RF have the range to get there and jump in Comerica. Overall, I think this whole Damon won't hit HR in Detroit concept way overblown. RF isn't that deep.

Feb 24, 2010 07:45 AM
rating: 0
 
elm
(41)

I guess this depends on whether we think it was the dimension at NuYankee that led to the home runs or, as many thought, the wind patterns. If it was the latter, than figuring out whether it would be a HR in Comerica is not as simple as seeing how far it flew in NuYankee and extrapolating that to the fences in Comerica.

Given that the pace of HRs in NY fell over the course of the year suggests to me the HRs were either a small sample fluke or the result of weather patterns that change over the course of the season, rather than dimensions, that don't.

Feb 24, 2010 08:37 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

Exactly right, elm; fences alone are not the only factors in play. Beyond that, I'm simply a bit skeptical about Damon's continuing to have what seems an extraordinary late-career kick in terms of his production.

In the meantime, I'm curious to see how NuYankee plays this year. One year into its existence, people had very different expectations of the SkyDome/Rogers Centre, for example.

Feb 24, 2010 12:05 PM
 
tigerdog

1. When you start with what the Tigers had in the top two spots in the lineup- NOTHING, and you add Damon, it doesn't really matter where they line up on the field. They now have a legitimate OBP hitter in the 1 or 2 slot, particularly against RHP's, whom they face 70% of the time. When looking at the impact of Damon, think of what they'd have in his spot in the batting order. If Raburn bats no 2- and he's as logical as any based on OBP and other stats, you get a 50 point jump vs RHP's, and you probably keep Raburn in vs LHP's.

2. Comerica is not as unfriendly toward lefty hitters as it is toward righties, but you wouldn't know that because the Tigers have had a lineup that tilts heavy to the right side since they've opened the park. We'll see what goes the other way to the House that Jeter built with Granderson in NYC, but I expect it's less than expected by many.

3. Damon essentially replaces Marcus Thames on the roster. As the season plays out, there will be injuries and slumps, and streaks. Raburn will get his AB's one way or another. But the bottom line for the Tigers is still whether the heroes of 2006 have a last hurrah left in the tank. It's about whether Guillen and Ordonez can stay healthy and produce. If Damon is getting on at a good clip and Ordonez is hitting ahead of Cabrera, the team will score runs, and they have the pitching to keep them in the vast majority of games. Without Damon, the offense was in dire straits.

Feb 24, 2010 20:26 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

If Branyan was available for this cheap, why didn't the Mariners re-up with him?

Feb 25, 2010 17:13 PM
rating: 0
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Fantasy Focus: First B... (02/22)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Transaction Action: Ca... (02/21)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Transaction Action: Pr... (02/25)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Focus: Second ... (02/23)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Friday, May 29
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Thursday, May ...
Fantasy Rounders: San Diego's Marine Player
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: Context is King
Premium Article Daisy Cutter: How the Kipnis Got His TAv
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Another Day, Another ...
Premium Article Release Points: Where Have You Gone, Stephen...

MORE FROM FEBRUARY 22, 2010
Fantasy Article Fantasy Focus: First Base Rankings
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: That Peak Age Thing, Part ...
Premium Article Ahead in the Count: Evaluating Multi-Year De...
Fantasy Article Team Health Reports: Los Angeles Angels of A...
The Week in Quotes: February 15-21

MORE BY CHRISTINA KAHRL
2010-02-26 - Premium Article Camp Battles: NL Central
2010-02-25 - Premium Article Transaction Action: Proof That You Can Go Go...
2010-02-24 - Premium Article Camp Battles: NL East
2010-02-22 - Premium Article Transaction Action: Junior Circuit Jumbling
2010-02-21 - Premium Article Transaction Action: Capital Offenses?
2010-02-19 - Premium Article Division Preview: AL Central
2010-02-18 - Premium Article Camp Battles: AL West
More...

MORE TRANSACTION ACTION
2010-03-08 - Premium Article Transaction Action: Strikes and Slips
2010-03-07 - Premium Article Transaction Action: NL Nibbles
2010-02-25 - Premium Article Transaction Action: Proof That You Can Go Go...
2010-02-22 - Premium Article Transaction Action: Junior Circuit Jumbling
2010-02-21 - Premium Article Transaction Action: Capital Offenses?
2010-02-15 - Premium Article Transaction Action: Feeling Clingy
2010-02-12 - Premium Article Transaction Action: Unglovely Additions
More...