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Mr. Carleton: Thank you, as always, for an amazing performance in subjecting what might appear routine to the microscope that shows the fine detail. And the reason why the Waxahatchie Swap mainly remains in Waxahatchie. Regards,
I will go along with <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Jim+Brown">Jim Brown</a></span>, but also want some love for Dave Debusschere- CWS and New York Knicks (when the latter was a real team, not the punch line to a lot of bad jokes!)
This is excellent, outstanding. Proving once again that if you do some heavt lifting, you find out stuff! This has really improved my understanding of reliever (abuse). <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=77160">Terry Collins</a></span>, I have my eye on you.
An outstanding piece of research and analysis. Mr. Loria ain't Warren Buffett, but he did very well indeed. Thanks.
Weren't the O'Brien twins also basketball players of some note for Seattle University? <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=26902">Johnny O'Brien</a></span> was some sort of national scoring leader? But the brothers, although talented athletes, never really made an impact in baseball.
Confused by the entry on Zeuch. Mentions him as "touching 97 in college", but also says he was drafted 29th in 2016 draft out of high school in Mason, Iowa. What is the real story? (WE do read this stuff, you know.)
While I have not yet had the chance to study the new CBA- at least as much of it as is now public- it certainly seems the interests of the players have not been well served by this latest form. So the players probably need a hired gun. I would favor it as a worthwhile step for the next CBA negotiations, but first I would like to hear the views of some of the players- what about going out sand asking them?
Cant blame Sweeny Murti for dredging up junk like this from his notebook- its the "Hot Stove" season, after all- but this sticks in my craw for another reason- the Yankees destroyed themselves with the <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Alex+Rodriguez">Alex Rodriguez</a></span> contracts. Is there any doubt why they have had little or no post-season success since he arrived? Those contracts distorted every Yankee roster since he arrived. When you make a deal with the devil, he always shows up to collect. Please, no more <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59432">Mike Trout</a></span> stories.
Outstanding. Thank you.
The Wilpons never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. So I don't see it happening, even if Alderson were to push it. And I doubt he will.
Header: That's "acquire from the Mets...." I believe.
Great questions yield a great interview with a great interviewee! Thanks Tim.
An old adage in international affairs: When you have a problem, and you look at it from every angle you can think of, and consult every expert you can reach, and no solution to the problem appears, you don't have a problem, you have a FACT. A FACT: <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59432">Mike Trout</a></span> cannot be traded for prospects. Never going to happen. Sorry, guys.
How does this piece get written without once mentioning <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=67132">Noah Syndergaard</a></span>?
I suggest, perhaps without fully appreciating the problems involved in doing so, that your analysis is intriguing but leaves a lot on the table, and that we need to see a fully-fledged, all banners flying, statistical analysis of the <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OBP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OBP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OBP</span></a> team vs. the CONTACT_Rt team. Is Kansas City right? They have amassed a fair amount of evidence over the last few years to that effect. Are we playing around with serious questions about the efficacy of OBP? Yes, its a question that is ripe for consideration. At least, I think so. Regards,
Outstanding! Filled with useful information not generally seen elsewhere in baseball coverage- many thanks. I think you are right to hint that this could be the next evaluation tool that delivers "<span class="bookdef"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0393324818/baseballpro07-20/ref=nosim/" target="blank">Moneyball</a></span>"- type results, if done well.
The problem is that there is a Papelbon-Harper problem, and nothing has been done to resolve it except firing Williams and hiring Baker, which in and of itself resolved nothing. My suspicion is that Rizzo will himself do nothing, and that the Lerners are not a force for good on this point either. So nothing will get resolved until some point in Spring Training, if then. Maybe nothing else could happen, granted the principals.
OK, I confess I would never have labelled <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=56753">Max Scherzer</a></span> as an unreliable narrator, but then Wayne Booth never made it to the Midwest League, did he?
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=18675">Dusty Baker</a></span>, accumulator of world class Pitcher Abuse Points totals? Only an abuser early in his managerial career, and only of young arms? You might want to check that with <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=932">Aaron Harang</a></span>! OK, OK, mistakes were made and we should move on, but Dusty had a mean streak (or, if you wish,a stupid streak)that earned him that reputation. Doesn't mean Dusty is a disaster from the get-go as a manager, but let's see how he manages, for example, Strasburg's career over the next few years?
Who the hell is "Esky Magic?" Enough with the cute insider stuff. This is BP, not junior high. You are supposed to be a professional.
A good rule of thumb is that, if it has to be explained, it's not a "joke" - which people understand immediately and almost instinctively. It may be "humor", which is a literary genre, which people may or may not understand. So, this is "humor", and I didn't get it. What is the sense in puzzling your readers, and potentially damaging BP's own reputation for accuracy? Sheesh.
Grumpy Old Fan: I suppose your superb writing will be replaced by more fantasy stuff. Bad money drives out good. You are a first rate writer and are developing an excellent baseball brain- I hope you stick in the sport. Happy trails, whatever you do. Regards,
This material is fascinating. The "outliers" are inherently so puzzling! That much said, I think you have gotten fairly close to an explanation for the most puzzling of these results- especially Harvey. Nobody else has noticed how anomalous Harvey's results are until you did. I will still chalk it up to post-TJ effects, until next year, anyway. Still, very puzzling how on earth Harvey produces the mediocre results he has with such talent at his disposal. We may have to wait to next year to see the "true" Harvey. Regards
Very good stuff! I too thought Granderson was getting more balls back to the infield faster, and this provides some evidence for that. What I would also be interested in seeing is what I will call the "Kevin Long Effect"- that is, is reuniting Long and (to my mind) his most significant and successful project when with the Yankees- Granderson-having any results? Regards,
Hey, fellas. Something not working here. What is up? Regards,
Well, we could always go with the classic explanation- a pact with the Devil! Hard work and a willingness to change and take risks- boring!.
A terrific piece of writing, and a terrific job of analysis, along with as becoming dose of humble pie a la mode. Good work.
Joshua: Great idea. How do I follow up? Regards,
Should I take it then that Syndergaard, de Grom, Harvey and Wheeler are perfect?
Joshua: I send prayers for you and your family. I have just gone through a year in which I had three major surgical procedures. How you have been able to cope with your unending (?) problem I don't know. I salute you. Please heal fast so you can get back to your column, your career and your family. Best regards
I seem to recall that MLB has a guy who is in charge of this sort of thing. What's his name? Oh yeah, JOE TORRE. What's up Joe, are you gonna get on this as soon as you are back from Cooperstown?
The blame should be put on the guy in charge, and that is Torre.
This is excellent, and the innovative GIF presentation is a real plus. I am left with the feeling that the "secret" is in a flaw in Wheeler's delivery, but I have no idea what it is. Some Thorburn needs to be applied to this issue, hmm?
THIS is the first plausible explanation I have seen of the replay circus. This only makes more mysterious the Umpires' call on the Anna (Yankees) double Sunday.
The Yankees- Red Sox game, where Dean Ana was "caught off the bag" by Bogaerts- How is this even a play? Anna was clearly safe at second, no matter what. Bogaerts was just trying out his chances, like an avid high schooler. Or is there never a time when a runner like Anna is safe in this situation? I heard one TV commentator say that, if anyone from the Yankees (either club?)had called "Time", Anna would no longer have been vulnerable to Bogaerts' ploy. Is that correct?
What is outrageous is the way in which the umpires- (I doubt at the direction of MLB?) are increasing uncertainty on the field, with no positive benefit to the game. This needs some adult supervision.
I thought Trahan was a catcher? When did they move him?
What he said!
WTF? This is Baseball Prospectus? Cancel my subscription!
What he said.
Have I missed it, or has BP ever dealt at any length with the candidacy of Marvin Miller? He is long overdue for a positive vote.
Russell: Great job. Exctremely illuminating on the thought process and the factors that need to go into it. Thank you.
So, when you are asked to back up your point, you come back with a raw assertion, no data or history? Not acceptable. I'd like to know what your point is, because I think the players are so comparable, I can't figure out how to differentiate!
With Matt Harvey out for the season, the Mets need a starter to fill out the rotation. In another year, that would be Zack Wheeler, but my opinion is that Wheeler is not yet ready to take the ball every fourth dasy. Haren is. His old GM at Oakland should see his value and lock him up to a two year deal.
You know the joke the punchline to which is "It's turtles all the way down"? Well, this is weird (and funny) all the way down. Thanks, Sam.
Sam, this is superb. Next for you: paying off the national debt! Seriously, this is as thoughtful as any BP piece I have read this year, and I will be chewing over its lessons into, well, into spring training! Regards,
All of this commentary is premature until we get the reactions of the MLBPA and the Umpires union- unless (and I don't think this is how Bud Selig operates)the proposal has been extensively pre-viewed with them. My problems with it center around the weird incentives built into the limitations on "challnges"- WHY the limits segmented by the stage of the game? WHY no detail on the time limit within which a challenge can be issued? Yes, this is progress, because there is now a replay regime on the table, however flawed, but this is going to take a lot of time to get approvals from the MLBPA and the Umpires- I don't see it going into effect for the 2014 season. Remember how long it took to get agreement on the drug testing program.
This is just the sort of stuff BP turns up, through carefully looking at the facts, that the print and broadcast guys don't (because they don't have the time for, or just don't do, this sort of work). Great work, Sam. (I could not detect the tiny differences in Wheeler's delivery you honed in on, which is why I am not in the major leagues!) At the end of the day, the problem is traceable to a (not so) simple flaw- Wheeler's lack of command. That could be a fixable problem. We'll see.
I should join in, even at the end of the week. Even if I miss The Quotes during the week, I go back to catch this Monday feature. It is always worth it. The quotes in this one from Puig and Wright- I would have missed completely, because as far as I know, they weren't in the New York press! Always a great job, guys. Thank you.
Sorry, Ian KENNEDY.
The Yankees' approach to pitcher development is still under the spell of the old regime- buy enough arms, throw them into the minors, and see who rises; meanwhile, buy what looks attractive on the open market. But there really isn't an open market any more, and their development traits produce Joba Chamberlain, and the decision to turn loose , for example, Tyler Clippard, Ian Desmond, etc. As a friend of mine says, "The lesson will be repeated until it is learned." Don't know how long it will take the Yankees to learn this one.
Now this is what is meant when you say someone knows what they are talking about. The Dodgers are a very poorly constructed club, all or nothing. Well, so far, it's nothing. And Kershaw pays the penalty.
Maury: MLB seems to me in need of some adult supervision in their approach to the Biogenesis problem. Perhaps the Commissioner is prompted by frustration that all the previous suspensions, adverse publicity, etc., has apparently had no effect on the behavior of players. But it seems to me that the owners are making a very fundamental mistake of judgement if they believe that suspicion without proof beyond Bosch's "testimony" would prevent a massive job action by the MLBPA. Mr. Weiner is no pushover. If I were them, I would take Mr. Bosch's testimony, let it out to the world, and TAKE NO FURTHER ACTION. Let the fallout be what it is. The media, fans, the teams (which can seek to void contracts), the insurance industry (which will refuse to insure certain contracts), the BBWA (and HOF) will sort it out.
A minority view I am sure.
Wally Pipp was the Yankees first baseman until a day in the 1925 season when he came to the ball park with a terrific headache. The Yankees manager tolds Pipp to "take the day off, and we'll have you back in there tomorrow." Pipp's replacement was a guy named Lou Gehrig, who went on to play 2,000+ games as Yankees 1B. You can look it up.
Doug: Terrific article. I learn something new every time I read a piece of yours. And I grew up watching Spahn, then Koufax, then Gibson, then Seaver! All masters, each in their own way. Clearly their longevity and HOF numbers were a by-product of (instinctive?) deliveries worked out on their own? Was there any pitching coach of the era to whom we could attribute any of their style? Thanks,
Trevor Bauer sent down by Indians- any indication why?
Gonzalez leads the league in HBP. You don't need to take more than a brief look at the man's batting stance and style to see why. Yet he was quoted after the game as saying that he and Grienke "have a history"- presumably of Grienke hitting Gonzalez multiple times. Will BP kindly take a look at the facts and let us know if Gonzalez has a point?- the number of times Grienke has hit him exceeds a statistical "norm"?- or is Gonzalez just a hothead with a stance likely to get him hit, and Grienke doesn't hit him any more than any other pitcher? Leave this sort of analysis for others and give us the facts so we can draw our own conclusions. Thanks.
Sam: Thank you. This is devastating. Hope somebody on the Giants asks how Sanchez could be allowed to reach MLB with so deficient a skillset. Great woprk.
Got it, thanks.
Your comment on Nick Franklin: "Fortunately, his solid contact rates and sneaky power will keep him on the prospect radar; .179/.233/.357 in 28 at-bats." puzzles the hell out of me. I just don't read that triple/slash line as "solid contact rates" and "sneaky power." What am I missing?
Noticed this as well. Weeks ought to have a shot at showing 2012 was a BABIP- driven anomaly. If not (life is unfair), then he ought to attract attention as a trade candidate (I'm not talking fantasy here), and the A's ought to move him for someone of more value to them- i.e., any shortstop in the bargain bin.
The perennial speculation in which so many of us engaged to our (almost) continuing entertainment (and disappointment)- will Nick Johnson have a season commensurate with his talent?- is now ended. Sad to find that, in the final year, he allowed (if that is the word?) his headline counting stat- OBP-to dip below .400. It just wasn't meant to be, I guess. At least the guy made $30 million from baseball, all told- not bad for a man in his early 30's with most of his life ahead of him. I wonder if he now becomes a "Go To" batting coach? So long, Nick.
There's an Earl Weaver video game? Please supply details, or where I can look them up. I'd buy a -286 machine to play it!
Accordoing to Aumont's BP card, he turned 24 two weeks ago.
"L.J. Mazzilli UConn, from Greenwich CT"- is that Lee Mazzilli's son?
Is no one paying any attention to the undiminished skills of Billy Beane?
Since when is acquittal on the basis of a lack of credible evidence a "technicality?" The Braun case exposed a serious range of flaws in the MLB drug testing system. In the end, those flaws meant that the evidence presented against him could not form the grounds for a suspension. Please, folks, get this right.
Terrific, Matthew, thanks- esp. for the Bugs gif!
At some point late in September 1962, the NY Times beat writer for the Mets (Joe Durso, IIRC) opened his report of a game with the Cubs in Chicago as follows: "It was so quiet in Wrigley Field this afternoon that you could hear the Mets drop their 120th game...." Never forgot it.
Hmm. 5'9" starters/ Bobby Schantz? Whitey Ford- no sorry, 5'10". That's a short search. But "never"? No.
I think that was "big feel", but I don't know what that means either!
Dan: Thanks for the report! I know The Gaylord, and sympathize with the daunting size of the Amazing Maze- I got l;ost too many times to count.
C.C. Sabathia has a $161 million deal with the Padres? Who knew? And wouldn't that be, um, complicated?
Adam: Thank you, an interesting perspective, and not a bad metaphor at all. I have experienced both levels of helplessness to controil actual events, and it can teach you valuable lessons.
Because we don't like him, we underestimate the cunning and tenacity of Mr. Loria. He won't go until he's damn ready, and he will keep pulling stuff like this until he's gone. At the end of the day, this is a salary dump, in tune with Marlins history. Ho hum. Whenever we think we have Mr. Loria figured out, he pulls something like this out of his bag. Season ticketholders who DONT sue are the yokels he took them for. And MLB will do nothing, nothing.
My research may be flawed, but I think this is the first such award Billy has ever received? Long overdue- he has made a substantial contribution to baseball, as I think every BP reader will agree?
What you say is plausible, but Wright is not necessarily infinitely durable (viz. 2011), and he is on the cusp of his decline phase. Still, he is a better 3B than any in baseball except Beltre, I think will take a 6 year deal at 120 million, which is within the club's reach and unlikely to be one the club will regret until the last (?2) years. Dickey, on the other hand, has just come into his own at 36; should win the Cy Young, even if he doesn't; and as odd as it is for a knuckleballer to be a staff stopper, he is it. Wheeler, Harvey and whoever else steps forward, will still not be up to the pressure of the No. 1 starter role. Dickey, say what you will about himn, is. Especially because knuckleballers are a long-lived species, I think a 4 year deal at $20 million a year takes him off the market, and is within the club's reach.
Thanks for exploring this, and you rightly stress the implausibility of any conventional solution. The most interesting idea explored is that Rodriguez himself, after a few more years of declining results, boos and unkind press, decides he can't reach the Aaron or Bonds numbers for home runs, THAT could trigger his self-exit, but I don't see anything else doing it. Regards,
Sam: Take it easy. This is yet another example of "That's why we play the games." The very fact that in your very thorough review, you cannot spot an easy target for the team's performance should tell you this. And I don't think this can be pinned on the field management either. Some times good teams fall short.
Ben: Thanks for the reprise of the wonderful Veeckness of Bill Veeck. The Marlins aren't the only club that will have to build themselves around their ball park. Some signally fail- the Mets, for example, so far with Citi Field. But give Alderson time. He did it with the A's! And certain eccentric fields have their benefits- Willy Mays' legendary over-the-shoulder catch of Vic Wertz's drive to center field in the '54 World Series would have been a never-caught homer in Ebbets Field! Let's give it time.
Thanks, Jason! And glancing down, I see Bullet Bob is still around- that's great.
Is Nik Turley any relation to Bob Turley, the Yankees pitcher from the '50's- since Bob would be in his 80's if still with us, Nik could be a grandson?
Maury: I generally agree with your basic premise- that this was not handled well. The discussion you provoked seems to me to have covered every issue, but one, which I wiull get to. Whether the Nationals are correct or not, only time will tell. What I woud really like to know, from a BizBall column, is what effect, in your opinion, insurance had on this decision by the Nationals, or on Scott Boras' acquiescence? It is somewhat unuaual for Boras to go along with something like this affecting a client. Just curious.
I agree. This is on the players- or I need someone to point to field decision(s) Valentine has made that lost games? Did anyone in the management boxes or the clubhouse think Bobby had turned into a diplomat? He has always been an acid-tongued motivator.
The Red Sox are a team in which the rot has spread too far. Yes, the injuries are really bad, but wasn't anyone paying attention to the deterioration of John Lackey last year, or Carl Crawford's health record, or Jon Lester's and Beckett's durability? And Youkilis has been fragile for a long time, and it caught up with him.
I also see the off- field manageent as a problem. Good clubs have smooth transitions in key roles. Boston has blown every such transition badly. Epstein to leave. The pay levels Henry and Lucchino agreed to created an overpriveleged tier of players who thought the club was about them, and that they were untouchable. These are all self-inflicted wounds. Rebuild? I don't think they have the aptitude.
Mr. Dawkins: When mentioning an injury to a pitcher's hand, it IS IMPORTANT TO THE READER TO KNOW WHICH DAMN HAND!
Jason: What your analysis lacks is the comps- who is Snider "like"? Is there anything out there in history to show that someone with his herky-jerky development path (I really blame Blue Jays management for this- what were they thinking?) eventually righted his ship? I'm not thinking of stars- I'm thinking of guys who achieved a reasonable career in the majors after experiences like Snider's? Help me out here.
Thanks, Kevin, for a modest celebratioon of the mystery that is baseball. Just as clubs can widely deviate from expected results, so can players. Auystin Wood could be a two-line dismissive comment in the next Annual, but thanks to you, I'll be interested in what happens to him until he is out of baseball- I hope, many seasons from now.
Do you mean Leyland has taken superior talent and gotten them to play poorly consistently?
Finally, someone gets it right. I second this opinion.
I keep shouting at them not to go down into the basement, but they don't listen!
BTW, George Kottaras designated for assignment today.
Stephen Drew is a mystery wrapped in an enigma inside a riddle... whatever. He has to be a very serious disappointment to himself and the Snakes. Is he as fragile as his brother? Just a career underachiever? At this stage, he could be a Change of Scenery candidate for breakout, his talent is still there, but the hard facts don't give you much to hang that dream on.
That would be correct.
One unintended benefit from a Mets fan- we will now see whether Jose Reyes can really carry a team, or if he is just going to be stranded with a meaningless (but lucrative) career in South Florida, with a bad team always "rebuilding", and without a ring to be seen to the end of time. (This is what's called schadenfreude, folks).
It is such a pleasure to see this wonderful feature of BP revived and being done very well. Thanks.
Jason: Nobody does it better. Thanks and regards,
Thank you, Michael! This list is ABSOLUTELY unacceptable without Stan Musial. Where do you think the rest of these wacky, (near) marginal players got their swings? Sure, maybe there isn't much video or film proof, but c'mon, The Man was a legend for his hitting feats AND the stance from which he accomplished it. I'm issuing a demerit to the Editors for lack of Adult Supervision.
The signal to me that the knives were out too soon for Valentine was Youkilis' reaction to Valentine's printed words. When you read something like that, you don't reply in the press, you go and ask to talk to the manager. Youkilis, for whatever reason, didn't do that. That tells me there is a poor clubhouse culture in Boston, and Valentine's only choice is to attack it. Yes, he's a magnet for the press, yes he has a (somewhat) volatile temperament (Dallas Green, anyone?), but Cee is right, if the disease was the long term legacy of Francona's hands-off style, then Bobby is the doctor they need. Let's calm down, and see where the club is at the ASB.
This is true. You can look it up.
This is a good point. No team can actually expect to get repeat high level performance in every year of a multi-year contract; but you can draw reasonable conclusions as to how good three, let's say, out of five will be, and price accordingly.
Doug, thank you, your work is consistently very thoughtful and clear. Question: Would your work achieve greater precision if you had ACCURATE heights for MLB pitchers? Second question: Can you associate statistically arm angle and pitching accuracy? Finally, does your work carry the possibility of any contribution to analyzing pitcher injury propensity? Thanks. Keep up the fascinating work.
Ben: This is terrific! More! More! I love to see BP taking advantage of all the new apps, etc. to bring along a new experience for readers. If this is a mash up, I like mashups! Regards,
Somehow managed not to visit BP over the weekend- I was too busy watching ACTUAL BASEBALL- well, on TV, you know. This is a terrific set of new features! Any method of reviving The Hit List is welcome. Thanks!
The ads, for me, as long as there's no dancing, blinking, obsructing or really distracting stuff, are fine. I would rather BP be able to pay its contributors decently, and keep them around, than the reverse. Another exemplary performance from the indefatigable, insightful, comprehensive and really persistent Pork Pie Hat. Love it. Thanks.
Thanks, Jay. If Bochy and the Giants are determined to remain a low scoring team with a largely punchless offense, I can't think of a better plan than allowing Hensley Meulens the rope to mess up Belt's mechanics (and head). Lord have mercy....
Terrific, R.J. Thanks.
A memorable series- thanks.
Congratulations on a very good piece on the subtle distinctions on which effective player analysis is based. And I understand how these are tough distinctions to draw- the player might be a terrific athlete and a great club house guy and a real team player and you wish he were consistently good enough to help your club, but instead his opportunity to display those qualities will be limited to the PCL. Venable is fortunate that he got to The Show and will, it appears, stick around for a while. A "Shane Mack Career", I think it's called. Thanks.
Maury: That is a stunning differential represented by the parking rights- half a billion dollars? Is that what you are saying? This is simply something the bankruptcy court has to stop, or McCourt's pillaging of the franchise's value will now be forever set in stone. (I don't mean to be melodramatic, but look at the numbers! That value represents the value to the ballclub of the parking income stream over decades.) Frank McCourt wins, and wins BIG. Over to you, Bud. Any comment? Bud? Bud?
Maury: Another question. In discussing the difficulty of estimating gate revenues, I was confused by your reference to StubHub. StubHub is a great innovation and very welcome, but my understanding is that all ticket prices (posted or discount) originate with the ball club, and are received by the ball club in cash from purchasers- are you saying that clubs are now using StubHub to dump unsold tickets? That would not be unwelcome, but it's a new one on me. Regards,
Maury: Thanks for the information. Also, one of the things about the Dodger sale that remains unclear to me- is McCourt going to be allowed by MLB to withhold the parking leases or to separately monetize them, forever removing them from Dodger ownership? This should never have been permitted by MLB (if it was?), and is an example of McCourt's stsandard of "stewardship" of the franchise. What is happening on this front? If McCourt removed parking from the Dodger assets at some point in the relatively recent past, I think the bankruptcy court can set that transaction aside? Just another example of how MLB, when it makes mistakes on ownership, makes VERY BIG mistakes.
You people just don't know what you are talking about. Jay is a major Ron Swanson look-alike! And if you don't know who Ron Swanson is, Jay and I pity you.
This is CLASSIC BP material- set it aside for the next collection. Great job. And with a nice, welcome feel for Branyan as a player, and a person. Branyan has mastered the Woody Allen meme- "90% of life is just showing up." TTO forever! Hope he sticks- not with the Yanks, but with someone in the bigs, and I do not envy the person who one day has to figure out his service time and pension rights.
Peter Guber (not Gruber), of Mandalay Entertainment, is part of the Magic Kasten Group. Not too sure that is a plus for them, but if Stan Kasten is indeed the lead management figure, my concern may not be warranted.
Great work, Max, this is both illuminating in unexpected ways, as well as productive of additional thinking on the issues.
As a Yankees fan, thanks for the mention to Yogi, and I was interested in the omission of Bill Dickey and Thurman Munson. Are they too far below the cutoff points to be worthy of mention, or did they just not measaure up in some other way? Thanks again.
I would hope Dunn swallows his pride, has his eyes examined, goes to an internist for a full workup, talks with a sports psychologist. Anything. There's something wrong, not just a bad case of Regression to the Mean (his Mean is 40 HR!), and he owes it to himself and the club to find out what it is.
What a great read! And why shouldn't the writers be optimistic about their subjects? They have done the work! This is great stuff. I have printed this out and will carry it in my pocket to check against box scores through the season. This is why the game is so exciting! Many thanks.
Clearly this controversy isn't over; it will continue untril more information resolves, if possible, the open questions. Those "open questions", for me, include:
1. Braun's sample (not clear if it was the "A" or "B" sample) tested OFF THE CHARTS positive for synthetic testosterone. Scientifically, is there any way this could have happened OTHER THAN BRAUN INGESTING IT?
2. There were "A" and "B" Braun samples. What happened to the "B" sample? Was it tested?
3. Two other MLB players gave samples to the same collector as Braun. What happened with their samples? Does yhe collector, Mr. Laurenzi, state anywhere on the record that they were handled in every way exactly as Braun's sample(s) were handled?
4. As to Will Carroll's theory that prolonged unprotected, non- temperature controlled, etc., storage under unknown conditions in Laurenzi's car and then his basement for the period in question could have resulted in a sample showing the presence of a high level of a synthetic PED, without outside intervention (or, it has to be said, Braun's sample being dirty becasuse Braun topok a PED? A scientific approach trying to replicate this testing result is a practical impossibility, but can an organic chemist tell us whether, under stipulated conditions, Will's theory is possible?
I hope journalists and expert commentators will continue to seek explanations.
And you know this how?
And you know this how, Mr. Manfredi?
I am surprised that Maury Brown has presented so superficial an analysis after all the excellent factual material he presented. For example, he provides no enlightenment on the "A" and "B" samples collected. Did both samples test positive, and in the same ratio? No information is provided. If there is indeed no information, that would be, well, information we don't have.
In addition, there is an entire chain of circumstances (and potential causes) omitted from this account- what happens to the sample(s) and related material when they finally get through the FedEx system to Montreal? Who handles them? Who gets access to test results? How are the results handled? Is it indeed plausible that, so many persons having "access", real or potential, to the results, there is no way whatever to determine who leaked the results? I don't buy that for a minute.
Extremely tedious to read, as well, is the whole "technicality" meme. In his position, because of the presumption of guilt of the player under the Program, Braun could ONLY argue a "technicality"- once the samples(s) are event potentially compromised, he has NO CHOICE.
I thank Maury for what he has provided in the way of new or more concise information on the scenario, but, with respect, for the reasons stated, I cannot accept any of his conclusions.
The Goldman Touch- a prime examplar. You made my day. Thanks
Thanks, Larry. And you know, it was NBC that cancelled LIFE, too... Still ticked about that one, too. No one is talking very much about it, yet, but I think the MLBPA will have something to say about the Braun case, sooner or later, and those guys have the chops, I would think, to DO something....?
This posting will get no response from me. If nothing is disputable, I would be wasting my time.
I'm sorry, I don't go along with exonerating Quinn and Fainaru-Wada. They could have handled this differently, and I think I have made my attitude toward them clear. But I do agree that the primary responsibility falls on MLB. And I foresee some very bad things down the road as a result of this in MLB- MLBPA relations.
And I still have the question, where does Ryan Braun go to get his reputation back?
Mr. Rathman: You exonerate the ESPN reporters, OK; "just doing their jobs". Where have we heard that before? Then you exonerate the "source", by saying "the source" was "overzealous". Not OK. That person, whoever he, she or they may be, breached a duty owed to MLB and/or his/ her/ their employer. This is something for which, in the real world, there are penalties. MLB should find the leaker(s), and terminate him/ her/ them. MLB's lab has an incompetent technician who casually deviates from protocols-he should be gone too. Messrs. Quinn and Fainaru-Wada? They get to cash their checks and go home (and, by the way, keep their teeth sunk in the neck of the MLB PED problem- nice work.)
One last question: Where does Ryan Braun go to get his reputation back?
Name a franchise that has a worse stadium. Name a franchise that has a worse market. Name a franchise with worse revenue potential. Beane deals with this all the time. He KNOWS, for example, that any star the team develops, he will not be able to hang on to once the player's arbitration years, or free agency, opens up. Are these things other clubs have had to deal with? Yes. Any one do this better than Beane? Maybe Tampa, but only for the last (maybe) five years, and only after being horrific for the years before that, and in the process piling up high draft picks, which Beane has not done, because in his market he can't take an "off" year. Beane is not a genius, and not a saint, but name someone who has consistently done better with what he has had available? The exaggerations belong to others, not Beane, who is fairly modest about what he has achieved. But he'll never get a break.
Jason- I apologize for "temper tantrum"- it was, well, intemperate. And despite the fact that my birthday is in the 1940's, I have long loved "Real Genius"- and a friend of mine had a bit part in it! Love the whole "Animal House/ Revenge of the Nerds Goes to Cal Tech" vibe. My point, if I had one, was that BP is in a better position to analyze what has gone so terribly wrong with the White Sox, and I thought that that was what you were going to deal with from your unique perspective, and this just wasn't that piece. Tant pis. I should loosen up a bit. Regards,
OK. Would any of you people- either of the Jasons or any commente- go ahead, step up and take a whack- be able to provide a reasonable analysis of how this ball club went so bad so fast? Is it Reinsdorf's fixation on outdoing Scrooge McDuck? Is it extreme disfunctionality in the front office? Did Ozzie drive them into dementia? I would like to know. As far as any of this FUNNY (nudge, nudge) stuff goes, the White Sox just one day slid off Antarctica into the mouth of Monstro the Whale. That's it. And everybody is too scared of seeming uncool to call you on it. I say it's unprofessional, and I sday the hell with it.
Next time BP decides one of their authors can have a temper tantrum because the material he is asked to analyze is beneath him, let me know so I can arrange my discount with (you should excuse the expression) management in advance.
Onew can be concerned that, if your guess is true, a sale to Kroenke wil crater when McCourt refuses to sell the additional Chavez Ravine acreage for the Rams' football stadium, or puts an impossible price on it. This is the fatal aspect of the original sale to McCourt- MLB retained no controls on what McCourt could do with other Dodgers' assets. Sooner or later, Selig will have to realize that permitting a franchise to be sliced and diced as if it were a private equity deal or a CMB is fatal to the continuity and value of franchises.
Daniel: I was initially puzzled by "First Take" (or whatever you called it initially), but now check it every day for a "take" I have come to appreciate. Your column brings to mind a topic I don't think I have seen BP tackle: Is there a statistical (i.e. career) or performance (e.e., change in plate approach, or PITCH/fx explanation) for Mr. Bautista's extraordinary performance over the last several years or, if MLB is on his trail, are they right? Just asking. Thanks for your work.
Larry: Fascinting- a great idea. Thanks for the research. I'd love to see more about the contemporary prospects the magazines thought of as "can't miss"- i.e., who came up at the same time and were supposed to become (but never did) what Larkin or Mattingly or McGriff actually became?
"Journo standards"? What are those? You mean the standards of the San Francisco press who built their reputations by serving as conduits for leaks from the Federal prosecutors, who acted out of fear that they could not prove their case against Bonds in court? [The case that eventually would up criminalizing a careless answer to a prosecutor's question before the grand jury.] Those standards? What burns me is that "sportswriters" from the very same newspapers that editorialize stridently about deprivations of the rights of accused felons are themselves the first to throw overboard the presumption of innocence and to use leaks to keep a story alive. "Hypocrisy", said La Rochefoucauld, "is the tribute that vice pays to virtue." Pretty tough to see any virtue around here.
THOSE "journo standards", indeed.
I agree- Selig can let the banks administer the coup de grace. The problem is that the Wilpons are, I believe, prepared to put the club in Chapter 11 before they let that happen- why else would they have hired the CRG firm? This would be a drastic development for the club's future under the current front office/ field management team, who are pursuing what I believe presents the only continuing strategy that makes sense until the club's finances are in order. Otherwise, the personnel drain is going to be intense, and the club will enter a long rebuilding (in every sense of that word) phase.
A thought: Alderson's team is doing what they know how to do- accumulate spare parts other clubs will need over the coming season- when you can swap them for better stuff. You start with a boxful of Chevy parts and maybe a season or two later you wind up with a good solid Buick. We are all having to adjust to the fact that the Mets are a large market team which, through ownership's hubris and incompetence, find themselves having to behave like a small market team. The good part: these guys know how to do that. Previous management, not so much.
This is an entirely understandable take from Girardi, but I remain sceptical. The Yankees could find themselves in trouble fast. If Hughes doesn't quickly demonstrate he has regained his 2010 form, if Nova misses fewer bats, if Garcia's body fails him, they will be scrambling and dependent on "young" arms- and not so young after all, Mitchell, Phelps and Warren average 25!
Let's see what happens. That is undoubtedly what Cashman is doing.
Thank you, Jay. I think both MLB and the WADA lab in Montreal need to come up with convincing demonstrations that the leak did not originate there, or suffer the consequences. Also, where is the MLBPA on this? Not a word from them. This also appears in a week when Bonds is to be sentenced for his "conviction", which I very much doubt will withstand the appeals process- is someone trying to influence the court? Oh yes, the same reporters for ESPN were on the Bonds case too, weren't they? Made their careers, didn't it? Hmmm.
Let's get a few things straight, with the help of this very fine piece of reearch and writing. If the Mets for the foreseeable future are going to be acting like a small market team- and they will be- they could not be luckier in their management team. How those stars aligned, I can't figure. The new CBA is almost an irrelevance for the Mets- they were going to have to walk a hard road in any event, because OWNERSHIP ABJECTLY FAILED to do the only thing ownership is required to do- preserve firepower for when it is needed. So, yes, Reyes had to go, Wright will have to go, perhaps Niese will have to go. But there is some ground for improving expectations in a few years. My hope: Nobody wants to become the Wilpons' partner. MLB wants their money back. And the Wilpons have to sell to new ownership prepared to provide the financial base a team needs to plan long term. Believe me folks, if anyone can figure out how to rebuild under the new CBA, it's Alderson, dePo and their posse. A Great Piece! Let's hear more from these guys!
The Mets need a SS. What's wrong with Hanley, that a change of scene won't change? Can the Mets afford him? With help from the Marlins (say, $5 million a year) they can. "Mr. Loria, it's a barfain!" Discuss among yourselves.
BP's "long march through the institutions" (ask Silver if that phrase is unfamiliar) continues. Hoo-Ah!
Thank you, Jason. Well done. You provide a wealth of information, so those inclined to disagree with you have a fair basis for doing so, plus a well-supported and clearly identified opinion. With which I agree. Today. And I wish the Rangers good luck with their experiment. And I applaud their giving Feliz every chance to succeed at the highest level of which he is capable.
It is no surprise that injuries devastated the Mets, who continue to display the marginal competence of their medical and training staff. In particular, on the basis of published information, Wright's injury was misdiagnosed for months, with the appropriate imaging never even done! And it is impossible to fathom the misghandling of Davis's high ankle sprain, unless that was a misdiagnosis as well. The Wilpons need to demonstrate a commitment to the resources and personnel necessary to sustain team health. In New York City, a woirld capital for medical facilitiers and teaching hospitals, what is the problem?
Will you please have a care for the subscribers who are on caloric limits for health reasons? Sheesh. This is food porn! I didn't sign up for this. I will be writing to my Congressman about punitive legislation directed at poutine- after all, it's CANADIAN!
Hanley Ramirez! Sheesh!
This was always my impression. A GM has to know what the difference is between an interesting transaction and one which can lose him a team. That Hinch never had a chance is not an argument in anyone's favor.
This is what it looks like to a New York observer who doesn't reads the Chicago papers, etc. The Cubs have, in some sense, suffered (until recent years)from an indulgent ownership- The Wrigleys- and the fact that attendance has not, apparently, ever been perceived as a problem. The Tribune Company owned the Cubs for a narrow reason- television programming rights. Sam Zell bought them as part of a package in which the Cubs were not his primary interest. All this, I believe, fostered the rot in the GM's office and baseball operations generally. While Theo Epstein might be the guy who can undo the lost years, he joins an organization with a thickly encrusted baseball operations "tradition" which the Ricketts appear, to some degree, to have bought into. Why else would Epstein, I have seen it said, have to accept the current head of player development, rather than bring in his own guy?
In the words of Han Solo, I got a bad feeling about this.
You did. Keep up the phenomenal work.
Not a Yankees fan, not a Mets fan, maybe an A's fan when nobody's looking, and a Cardinals fan because of Frank Frisch, Dizzy Dean, Stan Musial and Red Schoendienst, my heroes growing up (no, I'm not 80). But I am a Jaffe fan. Jay Jaffe does not deserve this criticism. It's like criticizing Twain for writing about the Mississippi or Hemingway about fishing.
All this whiing is just so much goatswill, and it makes me ill. Jay will write about what he wants to, superbly. You guys who hate reading about the Yankees? Don't read it. If you can get what you want elsewhere, you are a damn fool for paying for this site. Grow up, stop whining, move on.
Excellent prep for the LCS, thanks. I wanted to say that your work over the season was, in my opinion, uniformly accurate, ionformative and helpful. I admire your consistency of approach as well. Hope you stick around.
Mr. Bowden, I see your mega-deals going into the same trash bin as the Fox extension- MLB simply cannot permit McCourt, who should never have been allowed to buy the club, to take steps like this, which would affect the value of the club for the next ten years. I can't believe the bankruptcy court would allow any such mega-deal either. Sorry Prince/ Albert, someone else will have to step forward.
If Selig won't do it, then find someone who will. ["Mr. Selig, this is your legacy. How do you like it?"] I can understand certain owners wanting Selig to continue to twist slowly in the wind, but come on, guys. This is the Dodgers!
Derek: Thank you. This is an admirably concise and clear treatment of a complex topic that even the most incisive commentators on the sport (not you, Joe Morgan!) don't get right. It also constitutes a neat chalk talk I can use to prep my daughter on Moneyball in advance of seeing the movie. Maybe she'll say "ugh!, no way, Dad", but I will at least have a shot at getting her attention. Great job- thanks.
This is a terrific idea, and I look forward to more. Plus, there has to be a place to try out wild ideas, like pursuing Wilson, or assuming that Ramirez will return to health and actually make his PECOTA levels!
If you look at Beltre's career, I think his rejection of the A's was based largely on their park: he learned a lesson from his stretch in an unforgiving pitcher's park in Seattle- don't take the money at the cost of your future performanc. In this light, his signing with Boston was a try at a "showcase" year, and he pulled it off. I think his future in Texas is a little brighter than we project.
Jay, you never disappoint. I can't think of a tyhing you left out, and I can't disagree with your player assessments. Thanks. Since I believe the Snakes are as good a bet as any other AL club to battle the Red Sox for the ALCS title, this is of very real value in figuring out my travel plans in October!
Luck, as Branch Rickey observed, is "the residue of design."
Another feature gone, never coming back. Alex Carnevale isn't even on the masthead any more. You either accept that, in the Goldman era, this is what they do, or go elsewhere. But don't fall in love with any feature, because if the fantasy fanboys don't like it, it's gone. Just like FOX does with a series that doesn't move the Neilsen meter sufficiently (Firefly?). Deal with it.
I second that emotion. Nobody could do it like Weaver.
Dear Sacramento: Some damn fool had the effrontery to make this comment using your name, and I thought you would like to know. Regards,
Thanks Marc. Jeff Mathis's remarks are very interesting. As a former catcher (no higher than high school ball), my vote is on the factors Mathis mentions, combined with the innate attributes of a Jered Weaver pitch. Would Pitchfx do anything to help sort this out? We tend to think of pitchers as tall as Weaver always pitching "downhill"; what if they are most devatating if they can get an "uphill" effect?
Why can't we call this what it is? Two ballplayers displaying a distinct lack of competence at the respective skills involved in the incident. Murphy displayed once again why he has no natural field position- the posture he got himself into was not one a player with any natural athletic aptitude for 2B would ever assume. This was in turn responsible for his injury. This is really sad, because Murphy is a great guy and a really good hitter, something the Mets need. I hope he comes back next year in good form; but I've got a bad feeling about this injury.
As for Constanza, for a guy whose only asset is his legs, where did he ever learn to slide like that? Of course it wasn't a dirty play, it was an INCOMPETENT play- Constanza was completely out of control. If I saw any of my sandlot players sliding like that, I would sentence them to a week in the sliding pit before I let them on the field again. Of course, a fringe player whose only skill is speed will do things like this, and screw up the careers of other players. If I were Constanza, I would not want to bat against the Mets again this year.
You can twist and turn and contort yourself into a Moebius Strip, and there is still no way to justify trading away a player like Rasmus, in his 3rd year in the league at 24, with 5 years of club control left, who over less than three sesasons has a .271 TAV, 50 HR and has averaged nearly 2.0 WARP. No way. Whatever Rasmus's problems were- immaturity, the Dad thing, inability to connect with LaRussa, who knows - there is no way this is not a dramatic failure on LaRussa's part as well. Is Rasmus a spoiled, sullen non-productive child? Time will tell. But Rasmus is fairly clearly not Gregg Jefferies, Milton Bradley or Jeff Kent. Over time, we will get to see who is right. But for me this is the final downgrade on LaRussa: in my book, he's now Dallas Green with a better press.
Sorry- "Did he".
Joey Metropoulos? Didshe actually disappear without a trace? How sad.
This is great, really interesting stuff to ponder, but what do you do with it? Should Billy Beane comb the high school and college stats for Jered-like results?
Interestingly, you never get around to zeroing in on what Weaver (or any one of the top 10 list) does (uniquely?) to get these results? The Sid Fernandez comp is interesting, but what does it mean? Fernandez, IIRC, piched at almost an upward plane? Would it be useful to inspect the Pitch/FX data for Weaver? I suspect there isn't any such data for Fernandez? Might not help anyway. But what about the top 10 pop-up artists with over 700 IP? Is their Pitch/FX data worth looking into? Over to you, Mr. Bennett. Thanks and regards,
Thanks for the List- what should we call it? "The Rowdy Hardy Memorial List" has a nice ring to it. Whaddaya say, KG, should this become a regular feature? Thanks, harderj!
Steve, thanks for remembering Benchley's short films, many of which are hilarious, in a mystifying way- I sure hope they appear on DVD some day- hasn't everything else? (By the way, if you think you recognize the name in another context, right, his son Peter Benchley, was the author of the novel on which JAWS (NOT Jaffe's HoF metric) was based. A sample of Benchley's humor: A man, somewhat the worse for alcohol, needing to get to Chicago, boards at Grand Central Station the type of cross-country train (the 20th Century Limited, etc.) common in the '30's, enters his room in the sleeping car, and falls asleep. Next scene: sleeping car porter knocking on Benchley's door. Porter: "Buffalo, Mr. Benchley." Benchley: (verrry tentatively) "Are they coming our way?"
Thanks for unraveling certain of the mysteries in this deal, but why do you say in the Update that "the option is very unlikely to vest." Is that because you assume the Brewers will use F-Rod exclusively as a set-up man? That's the logical answer, but I don't see it.
Curious- no player card (sorry- just a dummy card) on Mike Morse. Yet it sounds like he has been around at least 5 years? How can that be, even if his time in the majors was minimal?
Thanks, Jason. Consistently fascinating.
The miscalculations abound on both sides. I can't believe the Nationals casually approached the loss of the current field manager in season, and that Rizzo and the Lerners must have talked about an early option exercise. They decided they would not take action now because they saw nothing that said they had to. Maybe they failed to see Riggleman as the type of guy who will take a job with an underperforming club and, when things improve, think it is all him.
Riggleman's reasoning is tougher to understand. He cannot have discussed this topic with Rizzo and have left the room thinking he could push Rizzo to do what Rizzo didn't want to do. So, what was the point of the ultimatum now?
Shame about Kyle Blanks, if only because I looked forward to seeing if a guy his size could actually function as an MLB 1B. If he continues raking, Blanks should get his shot somewhere....
Try anything with Vincent Price in it.
Brian Sabean should know better, and deserves to be fined and disciplined by MLB. And I agree that, regardless of what Sabean (or any other member of the Giants organization) says, the likelihood of Scott Cousins playing against the Giants again this year would have to be nil (unless Marlins management is brain dead).
That much said, I continue to think there is a real problem here that needs to be dealt with. Posey was in front of the plate, in fair territory, awaiting the throw. Cousins, almost all the way down the line from third, could not have missed that, or that he had lots of room to make a slide for the plate away from Posey. Yet from his comments, it appears he never seriously considered the slide in foul territory- what in his view the gods of baseball (that is, you, me, the media, his teammates, his organization)demanded was that he go for Posey. Otherwise, he would be seen (whether he was tagged or called out, or made it) as a candyass. That's the problem. Can this attitude be changed? I don't know. What about you, dude? Any other discussion is hypocrisy.
Forgive me if you have already seen this, but Tyler Kepner of the New York Times (iirc) pointed out Wednesday that only one player other than Granderson in modern baseball history had 17 HR and 5 triples by June 1- Mr. Ruth. Whatever you want to say about the usual sort of Elias Bureau stuff, that is quite remarkable.
Jason, this is a terrific demonstration of the strength of the statistical over the anecdotal. Absolutely fascinating. Thank you very much.
Suggestion: Mat Latos is a Verducci Effect victim. He went from 125+ IP at three levels in 2009 to 185 IP in San Diego in his age 22 rookie season. I'm just sayin'.
Jay, you have just succinctly made the argument for the Mets to hang on to Reyes. Look at the numbers, and tell me who could come up with two players who would, playing every day, and at least statistically, make up for Reyes' production? You mentioned some in your piece, but not as candidates to go to the Mets! Regards,
Concerning Bartolo Colon, I have difficulty matching this commernt up with other comments in the press about his pitching, and his results. Sure, he is a Big Body, and therefore things can go wrong for him in different ways than for, say, Mariano; but he seems to be holding up, is going deep into games, and is holding his velocity late into games. I'll start worrying when he heads through the league a second time and/or his velocity starts falling. Until then, I'm withholding judgement and going with the flow.
Alex, this column is so consistently great it doesn't, I think, get the praise it should. Keep up the excellent work- you are certainly saving me a lot of time!
At this hour in the morning, even after I had had a LOT to drink, I thank God I had the mother wit not to SEND (writing one is another thing) posts like this.
Someone is dismantling my BP and I don't like it. Of course it is not "my" BP, but gradually the features and writers I initially signed up for are gone- Jonah, then Joe Sheehan, then Will Carroll, then Christina, now David. I know things change, and I need to deal with it, but David's interviews were and are the best of their type I have ever read. Thank you, David, and good luck.
No, it wouldn't. The Mets can trade anybody on the roster they want to, EXCEPT Reyes, Davis and Pelfrey (hold the snark, please, as to Pelfrey, unless you can suggest anyone else in the system who even approaches a No. 2 starter?). And I hope Santana comes back healthy so that they can trade him to some system (Texas? Kansas City? Boston?) with the depth to provide some real compensation. I'm trusting Alderson/ Ricciardi/ de Podesta to use their smarts to start the rebuild- trading Reyes would not be smart.
Kevin: Joe Savery comes up in the player cards as a P, not a 1B; which is wrong?
Thanks, Steve. This is why a subscription to BP is worth it, no matter how much I occasionally disagree with your inane political commentary.... [Anyone?]
At the same time as I am happy for Christina and wish her career well, I have to associate myself with FredL's position- everything changes, of course, all the time, but it is not necessarily a positive when some idea or institution one had come to trust and admire keeps changing so that each day it resembles a bit less what it was when one first encountered it. I know there is no stopping change, but that I have the right when- a point I have not yet reached- the course of the changes takes one to a point unrecognizable from the point one stated out. Too far away. Oh and yes, is everyone else happy watching while the ESPN crocodile devours our favorite baseball site, a chunk at a time? So that what we are left with is 50% a fantasy site? Which is not what I signed up for? Just wondering.
The Mets have a real problem at 2B- Castillo ($6m this year) should be gone, and none of the roster filler being tried out to replace him has gained any traction (although a bat-only case for Murphy can be made). Why not Michael Young? He is owed $48m over the next three years. The Mets don't have the payroll room this year, but they would once the Perez and Castillo contracts roll off this year. So, offer the Rangers Castillo (at a discount, if necessary), and see how much of Young's contract they will eat, even if only for this year. Young provides what the Mets have not had for the last three years- an experienced professional capable of working with Reyes- and a more than reliable hitting upgrade at 2B. Does this make sense?
No, they hit 26 HR in their <Age 22> season. Which is what Mr. Young said it was. What is your point? That a very few hit more HR in seasons previous to their year 22 season? How is that relevant to what Mr. Young said?
Am I missing something? Is Colvin not an everyday player? Because he hit a ton better than all but Soriano, in less than 400AB. Or is it Hendry's devotion to the bloated contracts of Fukudome, Byrd and Soriano? However obvious may be Colvin's skill deficits, he can hit. Why will he be riding pine and Byrd or Fukudome playing every day? Neither Byrd nor the other two are the future of the Cubs. Help me out here?
I hate to say it, but is it truly surprising that Barry Zito "has totally lost the feel for pitching?" This is truly the case of The Contract That Ate The Player.
David; You keep on hitting higher levels. This piece is a real eye-opener, an insight you won't get at a game, or in abeat writer's report. Thanks agaion for a great job. And what a guy Adam Greenberg is!
I have revisited this thread because I think its subject matter is important to the future of BP, something in which I think I have an interest. The judicious and pointed contribution of bbienk01 covers well any remaining thoughts I had.
Interesting- this piece is now preceded by an "Adult Content" warning, which I don't believe was there to begin with? I don't think you have begun to hear yet the comments from dads who see what the kids have been looking at since late afternoon? I sure hope I'm wrong. One crummy editorial decision should not harm the BP brand.
I'm resigning from this debate.
I steadfastly refuse to get the point. This is a baseball performance analysis site. That's why I come here and why I pay for it. If the comments from editors whom I thought would be more responsible characters are indicative of where you are heading, you will soon be able to count me out. It's the Pizza Parlor Rule- the store that provides me food poisoning, however nice guys they are and however unintentional, never gets another chance.
You would be wrong.
Ms. Span will come in time to regret her extremely injudicious choice of subject matter for what appears to be her first piece on BP. (I regret it already.)
But what on earth does her loopy subject matter have to do with why I am laying out good money for a BP Premium sub? What are you people thinking? I suggest the new Editor discover fast what new editors always have to discover- that adult supervision (which is really what you are paid for) is still required.
Ken's idea is brilliant. Before a whole generation of fans comes forth who have no idea what a doubleheader is, this is definitely worth a try, especially as a a solution to the November Problem. Baseball has been fortunate so far in pushing the last game out further and further- sooner or late, Mother Nature will catch up.
This is the nuttiest position on steroids I have ever seen articulated. So in this view, all of PECOTA is tainted by including the results of any steroid user, and we can no longer trust any statistics in the game? Am I exaggerating the position? I don't think so. It is ludicrous enough without the need for exaggeration. And it is the hyper- exaggerated positions of this type that shut down or render useless the discussion, research and dialog that will help us determine a way out of the historical trap. In the meantime, try not to be UNhelpful.
Eric: After this labor, any agent who fails to take your work into account will be guilty of malpractice! Hope you get a royalty! Fascinating. Federalism sucks, eh?
Indeed. IMHO, Dick Allen is the single most impressive player not in the Hall of Fame. He certainly merts all the criteria for selection. So why isn't he in? He was a prickly, if not actually unpleasant guy, who never kissed a writer's ass in his career, and has never acquired effective advocates, as Blyleven did. Jay? Jay?
The absolutely weakest part of the Yankees' post-season "plan" is the supposed willingness to rely on Nova as the 5th (or 4th!) starter. But I don't think Francis or Duchscherer would be a solution either- more likely, the Mets should take a close look at both. If their interest in Young has cooled, I'm not sure it relates to the Capuano signing, but more to the fact that these two guys are still available, either of whom could find the capacious Citifield an inspiration. But please God, not Bruce Chen!
Thanks, Bob. I used to say about myself that I knew the day I would have to grow up and get a real job- it was the day, in Babe Ruth League in Seattle in the summer of 1957, when a guy named Ron Waara threw me a curveball that scared the living daylights out of me. (Thanks, Ron, wherever you are.) I've had a nice life since, and tried my best never to look back.
Adrian Beltre is a poisoned cup ("Never fight a land war in Asia...") on which Beane should (and I think will) pass, even given the 5/65 "offer", which I believe was indeed designed to make Beltre very expensive for LAA or TEX. Far better to keep powder dry and then let Beane loose at the trade deadline- a Ramirez rental then might work, but I bet there will be even better alternatives in June. Beltre (just look, for the love of Pete!) becomes a monster (thanks, Fenway) in his walk years, then subsides to a league average hitter when his contract is in the bag. He did this to the Mariners. Believe me, anyone who signs Beltre will have cause to regret it.
I would like to thank Bob Hertzel for an interesting and useful piece on a great player and a good guy, Bob Feller. We have no way of knowing just how good Feller (or others who served) actually would have been in his prime, because he spent it in the service- in Feller's case, as a crewman on an anti-aircraft gun in the Navy, in some pretty dangerous places. Thank you, Mr. Feller. And fantastic career that he had, Ted Williams' career would have been even more so, had he not spent time in TWO wars. Thank you, Mr. Williams.
I am sad that all the previous commentator can do with this is to throw bile- not water- on the facts.
Jay: Excellent summing up of a very complex situation. We don't need a legal treatise, we need to know what happens next! The judge's ruling comes out of the "plague on both your houses" bag, and seems to me can only be complied with by selling the team. Since neither McCourt can "afford" to buy it (i.e., no one is going to offer either one of them the deal that News Corp. did), I can't think of a better outcome. One would especially like to see a new owner challenge the non-compete with News Corp. as void under the anti-trust laws! Meanwhile, in a truly unfortunate side effect of this successful surgical procedure, the patient died. That is, I don't see how LAD can avoid being effectively dismantled- the Martin non-tender is the start. I seriously doubt this demolition derby is over for years.
Thanks, Eric, your conclusions, from the data we all see, are always illuminating. If I'm pulling for any one of this trio to succeed, it's Aaron Harang, who built an MLB career from an unpromising start. He was an unappreciated innings warrior in Cincy, and yet another of those broken on the wheel that is Dusty Baker. My bet is that Jed Hoyer knows what he's doing, that Harang (always a fly ball pitcher) benefits from the Petco ambiance (Note to self- check SD outfield competence?), and that his remarkable basic strengths as a pitcher are not undergoing age-related erosion. As you point out, his peripherals did not fall off the end of the known universe, but they eroded, I think for health reasons. The record of big-body pitchers entering their middle thirties is somewhat equivocal, but not clearly negative- David Wells, Dick Radatz, Sabathia. When healthy, he's a helluva rotation anchor. I hope San Diego got a bargain.
If you are talking about Taylor Buchholz, rather than Clay Buchholz, surely the team which non-tendered him was the Blue Jays?
Non-tendering Russell Martin is the most serious personnel mistake of the pre-arb period by ANY team. I assume Martin is totally relieved to be out of LA. The only thing wrong with Russell Martin was Joe Torre. Not a situation one can expect to change under Mattingly. Just look at the GP figures for Martin under Torre.
I expect the Red Sox will know how to use Martin- Francona added several years to Varitek's usefulness by adroit usage. Happy for Martin- let's see if he remains the "attitude case" label the LA press, following Torre's lead, hung on him. I would experct his triple slash numbers to improve with adequatre, regular rest, which is why, I hope, Salty will stay there.
David, thank you, Jimmy Wynn was one of the ballplayers I loved growing up, his physical skills were so improbable for a guy of his size, and boy he did hit some long ones. I think, but I can't be sure, that I saw the opening day homer in Yankee Stadium he mentions. Great interview, please keep these coming. Regards,
Jay: As much because EVERYBODY sees the Yankees as the next home of Cliff Lee, I don't see it happening. Nolan Ryan will stretch to get a deal done for the Rangers. If Lee's Arkansas- based wife is his agent, do you see her sending him off to NYC? And save the Chen money (how believable is The New Bruce Chen?) and try a performance-type deal with Aaron Harang, a good old fashioned warrior innings-eater- which this staff has lacked since Mussina retired- who should not cost cost what other FA's would.
I don't think the Chad Moeller dog will hunt. He hasn't played anything remotely like a real half-season in years, and he's 35. For not very much more money (some of that Cliff Lee savings), and some pitching prospects, I think you could get Beane to trade Kurt Suzuki, and wind up without an embarrassing weakness at C. Montero is the King Solomon's Mines of prospects- if he's only really up to the DH spot, he's a problem, not an opportunity. (If Suzuki sounds improbable, I was pushing a trade for Granderson at the end of 2008.)
I also think stretching out Joba will be problematic- he's had his only recent success as a middle relief guy, and may no longer be up to either a rotation slot or closing, mentally. The Yankee rotation will already have its rehabs or experiments to deal with- Burnett, Hughes- and one can respect Rothschild and still see that fixing more than two deliveries/ psyches would be a bridge too far. So save the Rauch money, and give Joba a stable job and tell him so. He deserves a chance to succeed after being so comprehensively jerked around.
And I like the Hall deal very much. Good job.
Kevin: I have to ask, who did the picking of these prospects? Dayton Moore? Certain clubs have had tons of high picks (Pittsburgh?), and haven't done nearly as well. To whom (it may be a team) do wse credit this? The Royals look likely to be in the 2015 (maybe earlier?) World Series!
Jay: Terrific job. If I were Cashman, I would be afraid, very afraid....
But that's just it. Health IS a skill, and Castillo's physical decline and attendant injuries REQUIRED the use of Tejada/ Cora. Certainly Manuel would have used Castillo if Castillo presented any better alterrnative than Tejada/ Cora. He didn't.
Jay: This is the best, most comprehensive treatment I have seen of the Alderson hire- but then that is your usual standard. It just might be fun to be a Mets fan again. Now all I worry about is The Jeff. I think Fred picked a guy who will turn Jeff into, if not as asset, then maybe a non-negative. WE can now hope. Thanks for a terrific job.
For once, let's acknowledge that Beane has built a very good ball club with very little money. Like 3-card monte, it can be profitable as long as no one is truly watching what you do. So, some suggestions From Way Out In Left Field:
The Big Bopper: TRAVIS HAFNER. You have a great medical staff- you can keep him healthy when his current club doesn't seem that interested. He is owed $26+ million over the next two years; try out whether Shapiro would welcome being relieved of, say, half of that. BUT: Keep Cust (he actually plays in the field). Sign Vlady if you must, but as part of a DH platoon. Set a ceiling for the combined cost: $12.0 million.
HEALTH RISKS: Your infield is fine from a talent perspective, but not from a health perspective. Thus you need to have some depth here, which you won't necessarily need for the outfield crew. Suggest going after Uribe or, if he gets too expensive, Mike Fontenot, who will not add to your offense much but appears comfortable playing multiple infield positions.
PITCHING: No need to change a thing, but look at every spare arm available in ST, and add selectively for relief depth.
This is worthy of becoming a regular feature, perhaps with periodic calls for subscriber submissions of questions? You could wind up with an ace illustration of, well, Skipper Attitude? Ken, thanks for doing the work to make this interesting.
Matt: These analyses are so densely packed with information it takes a while to absorb them. Thank you. My appreciation of each game has benefitted fropm them. You almost pin down what is so elusive about Cain- that is, with his tools, hopw the hell does he do it? Such sustained low BABIPs are a reeal outlier, unless his real skill is- he works to a low BABIP! I hope that in reading these pieces I can starting to grasp SIERA better, but it is still for me a complex concept. Thanks for your work.
The critics would complain if you hung them with a new rope. It will always be thus. As for me, I pay for a BP subscription because I have had it with the perfectly copy-edited processed cheese of the mainstream media. Why are you here? To take potshots at a working writer who knows enough about the game to be really worth paying a premium for? If not, move on, don't take up space.
Repeat after me: "Montero is a prospect. Montero is a prospect. Montero is a prospect." He has, at the moment, no field position in which a major league team could safely employ him. A promotion to the majors as a full time DH simply is not in the cards. When has that ever happened? In my (fantasy) deal for Suzuki, for Montero you ride the hype for at least one 3rd starter- for Cervelli, you get as well, maybe, a bullpen arm. And I respect your opinion on Cervelli's skills, but tell me how, granted the current state of catching generally, he doesn't have a shot at, say, Brad Ausmus' or Gerald Laird's career? Someone will always want the guy.
The Yankees never re-load, but if they were to do so, here are my suggestions:
1. Seriously work to trade A-Rod. I think he would welcome a trade to LAD, which would give him a new lease on life, and a broader "canvas" than New York. He would feast on NL pitching, at least for a year or two, postponing the real onset of his decline. For the right deal, he will waive his no-trade clause. For LAD it's a relatively painless way to keep the seats full in Chavez Ravine. It will also be attractive to the new LAD team ownership that is inevitable, once the terms of the divorce emerge.
2. Move Jeter to 3B, where his problems with range and going to his right are minimized. For SS, with this lineup, any kid with a great glove will do.
3. With part of the money freed up from A-Rod's contract, go after Kurt Suzuki for catcher. Billy will make a deal, which probably will involve giving up Montero (let it happen) or Cervelli. Use the balance of the savings to restock the rotation after Sabathia and Hughes. (Assume Pettite does not return, or if he does, it will be for a max of a year. There are still plenty of possibilities- call Tampa Bay!- use your dollar firepower.
4. Your outfield is fine- don't trade Swisher- he is your clubhouse, is finally comfortable in New Yankee Stadium, and should produce a .280-.290 TAV with power for at least two more years.
5. If Montero not traded to get Suzuki, he becomes a DH, buys a first basemen's glove and gets close to Texeira.
6. Tell Chamberlain he is the successor to Rivera and instruct Girardi to start behaving like it.
Good work. I agree absolutely on the absence of enforcement of the rules concerning batter time out calls. This has to stop. Also, the nauseating "re-set" time-outs to re-wrap batting glove straps, etc. If the pitcher has to throw, the batter has to bat. Period. An area where the umpires are not doing their job, probably becasuse the league offices are asleep on the issue. Catcher visits are another bad spot. Time to act.
Jay: Girardi finally recognized a high leverage situation for what it was and Mariano pitched the last two innings of Game Six- not that it did any good. Great "Notes"! Thanks.
To me, all these projected stats seem inflated. Why is this? Small sample size effects? Thanks for the work, but I'm just as puzzled as before. And not just because I knowe the Rangers won this game 8-0! Regards,
Sorry, this was a response to Mike and wound up in the wrong place.
This is a lazy, cheap shot unless you come up with better suggestions. Given the resources available, it seems to me there are no magic moves available, and "Don't be stupid" is a better guiding principle than any other. It's hard to be the Orioles- wrong division, wrong ownership- and the best counsel for them is what Steve offers. Thank you, Steve.
I for one hope Aaron Harang is not done. Big Body pitchers can go fast, but I have the examples of David Wells and Sabathia in mind. If in the spring his arm is still attached to his body, clubs in need of reliable innings- eaters (the Mets, the Dodgers, the Snakes) should take a look. I don't think Dusty broke him, but he sure bent him.
Yeah, I want to use that mission statement myself! As for Kevin Towers, as a Met fan, I'm envious- Towers is what the Mets need, not whoever they wind up signing (unless its Sandy Alderson). The Snakes would also do well, as you suggest, to see what sort of incentive deal they can work out with Webb- they have a lot invested in Webb, be a shame to walk away from him. Could he be the rotation anchor they need? Probably not in 2011, Webb may need to learn how to pitch all over again- so I encourage them to go after an older, non-no. 1, staff leader type- I'm thinking of Jamie Moyer?
Fascinating. Thank you, Matt.
This is a tad pathetic. People move on. Everyone on your list has as good or a better job, and has achieved a wider audience. It happens. You might try dealing with it. I recommend it.
OK, the Other Shoe drops from that unexplained hiatus in August. I am sad you will no longer be here, for entirely selfish reasons- I learned a lot from you! And from The Juice, and Saving the Pitcher, and from your crabby hoots at preventable injuries, if guys would only wear some protection...Deeply grateful Will. With best regards for your future.
Conspiracy of Silence Query: How is it that all these writers' contributions never once mention Johnny Damon? Can't be an accident! What do they have against Damon? (Aside from the declining skills, the .279 TAV, etc.?)
This Comment thread is the first I have read where I seriously regretted BP opening up Comments at all. Sheesh. Get a life! Switch to decaf! Do something to become less of a whiny anklebiter! I've said enough.
Thanks for digging up the comment on Wilpon. That anonymous source, by the way, better check into his eligibility for the Witness Protection Program. All the bad roads the Mets have gone down over the last 5-6 years lead back to Jeff Wilpon, a perfect example of a guy who, to adjust the classic phrase, believes he's a home run hitter without realizing it's becsause he was born on third base. Just as the Yankees only improved when GS stepped aside, the Mets are doomed as long as Jeff has the reins.
I want to applaud mikebuetow for the first sensible thing said in this entire thread. Steve, some restraint on your part is recommended- you were the one who put this out there, yet nothing you or any other commenter has said indicates Pujols' attendance at a Beck rally has anything whatever to do with the issue of Rasmus' value to the Cardinals. It's a shame LaRussa appears to be letting the attitude problems of a young player influence his lineup card choices, to the apparent detriment of the ballclub, and its a shame Rasmus can't keep his mouth shut. The reason why I subscribe to BP is to get the facts on which to base my own views on issues like this. If Larussa is sitting Rasmus for personality issues, I'd like to hear it from him. Anything else is irrelevance. Wish that stopped people from this kind of comment overreach, but it never does.
Will: I'm with you on this one, the statement would be hilarious if it weren't ludicrously wrong. Don't pay it no never mind. Regards,
I omitted mention of the "amateur" status problem- does a player entering the MLB draft, or signing an MLB contract, make himself ineligible for college basketball under NCAA rules? That would be a further disincentive.
Kevin: I'm curious. Your analysis doesn't compare the opportunities with basketball- where most high skill players are these days playing a year, tops, in college before entering the NBA draft, whereas in baseball, my understanding is that, once a player has signed a letter committing to a college baseball program, MLB will not allow him to be drafted until his class has graduated?? If I'm correct, wouldn't that account for the problem? Has this been the target of a lawsuit against the NCAA or MLB? Seems to me the players (perhaps with the "help" of agents) are making the right economic choice for themselves? I suspect I'm missing something. Maybe the economic tide has just turned against baseball, and the inevitable result is what we have seen- a tsunami of Central/ South American/ Caribbean players signing up for the best opportunity available to them. This is a GREAT topic that is very much worth study and action- by the NCAA, by MLB or, heaven help us, the Department of Justice? Thanks
Startled to see Volquez in Low A! I guess I'm not keeping up, was this a demotion or is it a rehab stint? Ah, wait a minute, prbably the latter, Dayton is sort of a bike ride from Cincy?
Will, welcome back! In case you hadn't noticed, your readers are interested in an explanation of your absence. Some wild theories floating around....The speculation will continue, you know, until you or BP put out a statement.
Link doesn't work.
I for one appreciate John Perrotto, an incredibly hard worker already, stepping in to provide a stopgap for UTK. I don't know how he does it, because he has kept up his other detailed coverage as well. The guy must be on the Web or tne phone 20 hours a day. John would probably be the first to say he can't "replace" Will, but he's doing what he can, and I think we all ought to appreciate it.
What is maddening about the present situation is how long it has been going on. UTK has not appeared in more than two (perhaps three) weeks. Compounding it, CK is away on a family matter. John Perrotto seems to be trying to fill the UTK gap, but from a completely different perspective- he's just repeating what the clubs say, no analysis. Better than zero, but not the samer. Those who use this sorry pass to run down Will sound just like the farging iceholes they are.
Look, since I've been a subscriber, Chris changed genders, Nate left, Keith left (iirc), Joe Sheehan left, and lots of other things have changed. I kept on because BP always delivers, and has come to be larger than any one person. Change is inevitable. Those of us who are squawking loudly at the lack of information just care about BP and are anxious and unsettled. Anybody out there listening?
Sorry, the title of Colinvaux's book is "Why Big Fierce Animals Are Rare".
Matt: I respect your intelligence, and your opinion- you are a professional at this and I am not- but I don't see you advancing an evidence-based refutation of any of my points. In a favorite book of mine, Paul Colinvaux's ecological classic, "Why Large Fierce Animals Are Rare", it is carefully explained just how tough it is to be an African Lion- (a) you need a very large territory to feed yourselves and your dependents; which (b) your natural adversaries are always trying to take away from you; and (c) in the event you become sick lame sore or disabled, or otherwise fail at your job- to defend your territory- you will be promptly consumed, either by those adversaries or by your own dependents. I think the analogy to a large market club holds up. They do what they do- maximize the benefits of their territories so as to survive- by constantly reinvesting in their asset base- not out of altruism or ego burnishing, but to meet the heavy obligations of maintaining their position at the top of the food chain. That in turn takes heavy payrolls, and investing in the food chain. I'm not a simplistic Darwinian, but the dynamics of evolution sure have some explanatory power here, don't they? More Later. With best regards,
I'm completely unconvinced by your arguments, which totally fail to take into account three implacable facts about baseball today:
1. Player payrolls have a complete lock on team income- all team business decisions have to take that into account.
2. Geography is destiny. This works very strongly in favor of the (post- Steinbrenner dementia) Yankees, the Red Sox, the Dodgers, the Chicago teams- assuming they are run with a bit more intelligence than ego. But unless they want to wind up in a league consisting only of those similarly situated (and very small leagues, indeed) they have to support the other clubs.
3. Most of what you see as the greed-obsession of the large market club owners is simply their need to make a profit, so that they can keep up with their obligations to 1. and 2.
Try reading The Wealth of Nations some time. Someone (maybe you?) has neglected your education.
Kevin: Not good enough. This goes to BP's basic mission and appeal. If something is happening, we have a right to know. Let this simmer one more 24 hour cycle and you will have blown it with me. I hope this is not what I suspect. Oh and by the way, Love my BP.
While it is anyone's, repeat anyone's, guess what an arbitrator would do, I don't think it will get that far. A reasonable settlement will have to take into account, however, the precise nature of the incident here. We have no information whatever on the nature of the altercation with Rodriguez's "father-in-law." Could Rodriguez have been charged with a felony? Was he deliberatly provoked or goaded? Moreover, this incident took place in the ballpark, in a private team area, where other family members and children of team members were present. Mets teammates have been restrained in their public reactions, but I think K-Rod ended his effectiveness as a teammate there. Finally, Rodriguez injured himself in a way which effectively ended his season.
I do think an arbitrator, if it gets that far, could justify cutting Rodriguez's salary etc for 2010-2011 by as much as 40%, and treating the 2012 option as unexercisable. What I think is in turn influenced by my impression that MLB will not want Rodriguez to be seen to walk away from the incident with anger management counselling as the only result.
First rate reporting on a little-understood medical problem. Congratulations to Mr. Covey- AND to Brandon Morrow- on handling a life crisis very well. The Brewers didn't do so badly either! This stathead appreciates this content. Love my BP.
For the sake of clear thinking, let's get straight the relationships. Liberty Media owns the Braves; it also owns Bodybuilder.com, and they are thus subsidiaries of(owned by) Liberty. The technical relationship is that of affiliates- they are owned by the same parent. This is not necessarily uncommon- for a so-called conglomerate- to own affiliates in very different businesses- but the sort of relationship which here concerns Will is rare- as if, for example, Philip Morris owned a chain of pulmonary disease clinics. I think Will is right in more than one way- first, that this is a very clear conflict- at the very least, ought to be seen by Liberty as embarrassing- and second, that the time is long past when an athlete can claim not to have known what he or she was ingesting. That dog don't hunt no more.
Mr. Goldstein, you have hit on an important point. Just why has field management become so sclerotic, innovation so rare? I would hazard three reasons (among may others):
1. The game has become much more complex, and a field manager can no longer exercise the reach (into personnel selection, especially) once common;
2. Player attitudes have been warped by money; players know that the ultimate field manager's sanction- the pine- no longer exists when a player is earning, say $75,000 per game, at the $12.0 million salary level (that covers a lot of players).
3. Owners lack the long term association with baseball to know the field manager talent available, be able to pick one, and then stick with their choice despite players, the press, etc. (This affects the NFL in somewhat the same way- the most consistently sucessful teams have the least head coaching turnover.)
Discuss among yourselves.
Will: Mike Leake. Dusty Baker. Injury Nexus. Footsteps on my grave....(or, in the immortal words of Han Solo: "I got a bad feeling about this...")
Hmmm, Bobby Shantz?
The comp I have in mind for Collins is Bobby Shantz, a similarly- sized half pint with a lion's heart. Started out as a reliever with the A's, in 1949, then transitioned to a starter and stayed one through most of his 20's, including an amazing age 26 season in 1952 for the A’s, when he went 24-7, pitched 279 innings, with 2.48 ERA and WARP 8.9!, for a typical Connie Mack team that lost more games than it won. Listed at 5'6", 142 lbs. When I saw him, in the '56 season, at Yankee Stadium, pitching for KC, when he was, I think, 30 years old, he still looked from my bleacher seat like a schoolkid on the high mound of those days. Not an HOF guy, but a performer at a high level, as a starter and as a "fireman", ultimately pitching 16 seasons for the A’s, KC, the Yankees. I don't see him in the PECOTA comps for Collins- is he not in the data set?
This interesting topic may be getting too far ahead of itself. What, precisely, is meant by "no-name" or "first time" pitchers? Even in today's World of Total Information All The Time (as distinct from, say, five years ago), it is quite possible the "no-name" is a guy drafted in the first 50, been in the minors a while, shows competence but not brilliance, gets called up, and KILLS. So part of this study- which I would very much want to read- needs to be some definition of this pitcher's career, or results my not be that illuminating?
Another part of a terrific series! This captures a lot of the seedy zaniness of minor league ball today! I can't wait for more in this series. Florida Coast League, anyone?
Santo did that in high school in Seattle!
This is terrific, after reading for all these years about Cal League parks ("arena baseball" it is), to visit them in the hands of a capable guide is fascinating and useful. Just keep going- you've only got 400 parks to go! I smell book contract! Seriously, this is a great feature and I look forward to each new installment. Love my BP!
Kevin: This is awesome, but we worry about your exceeding your Verducci Effect ceiling for prospects per day- we may have to put you on a pitch count? Many thanks. Your work gives BP it's truly unique look, feel, patina, aroma, whatever. I can smell the minor league locker rooms from here!
Excellent Jeff. This is a tricky subject, and you have covered the overall issue well. Can you devote some time to the issue overall, like when a player goes all Kevin Brown with a water cooler? Are some of the weirder-sounding off-site (i.e., away from the ballpark) or out of season injuries the subject of lawsuits? Where might we find additional info? Great job. Regards,
David: Thank you. It's very important to get these guys on tape before they pass from the game. They have a perspective that we can find difficult to understand today, but I wish more did take into account. We'll always have owners like the McCourts, but guys who have seen as much, and contributed as much, as Zimmer are rare. Great interview, terrific questions. Thanks.
Oh, and I forgot to add, "OUCH!"
Will: Printed reports say Zumaya suffered a non-displaced fracture of the olecranon bone in the elbow. Though I'm not the physical specimen Zumaya is, in 1967 I busted the same bone in the Army during basic training- in fact, you could say it was a baseball-type injury, because another guy shortened up on a pugil stick and swung it like a baseball bat, striking me right on the "point" (the olecranon) of the elbow. Five weeks immobilized in a plaster cast later, I came out of the cast with a bicep about as thick as my sister's wrist, but in two more weeks passed a PT Test that included covering (I think) 30+ overhead bars. Assuming Zumaya's break is clean (Army doc said mine was the cleanest he had ever seen), will modern methods help Zumaya heal faster, or is his a different sort of injury? Muscle damage? Regards,
Neil: Not on topic (sorry), but the bankruptcy court decision on the bids for the Rangers- are we heading toward a knock-heads confrontation between MLB and the bankruptcy judge?
I think outright release the extreme result- why not DFA him and see who steps forward? (If he were lucky, it would be the Cardinals.) If no one offers any relief on this year's remaining salary, then (if I understand it correctly) release is still available. Another alternative, probably a non-starter, is to ask him to accept a minor league assignment, IF the Mets have a pitching coach in the minors Maine will listen to. The fact that Maine's career is essentially over if he does not accept such an opportunity to retool his approach may seem patent to you or me, but I'm not sure it is to Maine. I admire the guy's guts (and stubbornness), but he has to realize this is a very serious turning point for him.
This gives the concept "Bad Idea" entirely new dimensions. Either Marlins management disavows this, or the Commissioner should step in- he's got to be useful for something, right? Otherwise, there will be the chaos of noisemakers- cowbells, airhorns, whistles....Either the Commissioner stops it or the game goes down a further notch...
Christina, looked at Rowand's Player Card, shows him with 19 HR in 2010. Either what you describe- platooning Rowand- is a very serious personnel error on the part of the Giants, or the HR number is a typo.
Jones has 10 HR, but his triple slash line is 216/333/489, with a TAV of .286. He's scored only 19 runs. Is this a return to the old Andruw? I don't think so. It is an improvement over his miserable record over the preceding three years, but not much. Methinks I hear the sound of the Kenny Williams marketing machine....
I would suggest that it's a "Makeup" point. See the comment earlier about Arnett in Scottsdale. I doubt that Krol would be found, if his pitches were off, pounding his glove or staring at the sky. There may not be a 20-80 value for makeup, but a scout overlooks it at his peril.
Jay, I love your work and this is not a comnplaint about that, but the dis-aggregated Hit List is a failure from my personal perspective- I am forever chasing its parts which seem to arrive from different time zones. If I had to wait until Saturday AM for a Whole Hit List, that's OK with me, but the piecemeal presentation deprives me of perspective on the teams, and personnel, that I got under the previous method. Just sayin'....
In the real world, Perez is not a sunk cost, he is worse- he is a dead weight dragging down team results. He will not stay in shape, he will not try to correct his always marginal mechanics (watch him pitch and watch his arm angle- it never repeats), he will not do anything for the team such as accepting- at no reduction in salary!- a minor league assignment to correct his mechanics, because, ahem, HE WON'T CORRECT HIS MECHANICS. ANY replacement level LHP in the Mets system would be an improvement over keeping Perez around. He is unproductively occupying a slot in the pen that could be held by a minimum salary LHP who would produce better results. So the Mets are carrying 12 pitchers, of whom one is useless. This is what the stupidities of a Perez type contract produce. Cut him loose.
I don't know what's not to like about Ianetta either. Tracy has well known habitys from his previous stints- if he had his way, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier would still be PCL organizational guys. Ianetta: hmm, memo to Omar Minaya....
Your report on Wilmer Flores helps with my gag reflex as I watch Castillo nightly- would Flores be a fit at 2B if, as you say, he can't stay at SS?
Ken: Absolutely terrific. I loved the comment about Eck in 1984: "He looks done." !!!! Tell me that the privelege to write lines like that is at least in part why you do this? I look forward to more.
I think, stylistically, that strange present tense is called "the historical present"?
If you can still find a copy?
Kevin, over 100 AB, the difference between .220 and .139 is eight hits. Small sample size indeed. Or rather, DFA Ackley to my club right now! Sorry,
That strange sound you hear in the background is the last shred of Jerry Manual's reputation as a competent major league manager being torn off his back. Oh, and the pitching coach and bullpen coach too.
I am dismayed that Orlando Hudson, who shouldn't really have any beefs with baseball, and who has made far more money as a ballplayer than I or 99% of the readers of this site could ever hope to in our own lives, now chooses to throw gasoline on this situation. Gentlemen, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier 62 years ago! Is this representative of where relations between the races are in the sport today? I don't think so. If I were one of Orlando Hudson's teammates, I might be hurt and dismayed by his attribution of racism to the business from which I get my livelihood. And I very much doubt his remarks have helped Jermaine Dye. Matt's analysis of Dye's situation seems eminently fair to me. Is it realistic of Dye (or Sheffield?) to expect to be signed by a club at the salary level of their last contract? Johnny Damon wasn't. This really saddens me.
This is as good a test as the Mets new training staff and their pitching cosach can get. Maine is basically sound physically; his problems are, I believe, largely psychological, with the possibility of some sort of cascade muscle strain effect from losing his arm slot and delivery rhythm. I'm prepared to wait to see what they can do, but I think he should be out of the rotation until he gets himself sorted out?
Shawn, thanks for an interesting set of comments on the Forbes List. I have been fascinated for years by the valuation of ball clubs. I suspect not a great deal has changed since the late 70's/ early 80's, when income tax considerations drove a lot of club acquisitions- Liberty Media's is a different type of tax avoidance, but still it's tax avoidance. What drove club finances back then was the depreciation (tax shelter) opportunity with player contracts; today, it may be as much with the new stadiums? The Reagan tax law changes, which (I kid you not) put an end to a lot of abusive practices, at least for a time, probably did not much affect baseball clubs, but I sense my information may be out of date in this respect. Nevertheless, (1) the clubs are predominantly owned by rich men, (2) rich men will tend to pay a lot of income tax, unless they can arrange their affairs so as not to do so, and (3) personal ownership of a major league baseball club (and its stadium) offers a lot of tax avoidance opportunities. Or am I wrong? Of course, the clubs still have to make money- i.e., generate free cash flow- but the business still, I believe, presents some attractive tax planning opportunities, no?
Superb job, Christina, but now you've done it- I will be obsessively scanning the YES Network for a "Yankees Classic" replay of that Yankees- Oakland game, possibly for all eternity- I never saw the actual game itself, and for all the Jeter highlight reels I have watched or that may be out there, I don't recall this one. Since this was an MLB playoff property, maybe the Yankees don't even have the rights? How would I go about finding that out? Neil? Anyone? A little help here?
Marte remains a puzzle, although this piece helps explain part of it- that despite interesting statistical success at lower levels, Marte never seems to have acquired the strike-zone command that characterizes every big league hitter- even the more modestly successful. I think he will remain a puzzle. Thanks for a great piece.
Keep it up, David & Derrick! An article in the Wakll Street Journal today on Ball Four reminded me of one quality not generally found on BP (no knock on BP!)- the zaniness of ther guys who play the game. I remember my "initiation" ibn high school ball....
What happened to upgrade the Mets from 77-85 to 79-83? The rest of the NL East fell down a manhole? The futility is now built in to the team so deeply that even talented players like Wright, Reyes, Beltran (if he ever returns)and Santana can look forward to years of mediocrity, because Mr. Minaya has no concept of roster construction for a pennant race. Or of how to construct and support a medical/ training staff...but I repeat myself.
A problem we are not considering is- Agents. Their interest is in being paid on the basis of the player's bargained-for compensation. The valuation of the non-cash transfer to a player of an economic interest in a ball club would raise difficult valuation issues for purposes of the agent's compensation, and could lead (anyone believe Boras wouldn't do this?) to a demand for a "transparent" valuation process, which would cause many clubs to spit up. It's very much more complicated than the comments suggest. Also, a player given a partnership interest would receive annually a lot of data in his partnership K-1 that MLB would prefer not be made available, in effect, to the MLBPA. Lastly, have no illusions, in the old phrase, "There's nothing so limited as a limited partner of George Steinbrenner". Likely a source of friction with player and agent, because the general partner has no obligation, other than the law of fiduciary duty, to run the partnership's affairs to the benefit of the limited partners, which a player would be. This puts this discussion in the realm of "To every complex problem, there is a simple answer, which is usually wrong."
Will: As always, you enlighten and teach. When, a few years ago, I acted on the impulse (at age 50+) to body surf on a New England shore, what resulted, predictably, for about a week, was me flat on my back, incapable of any physical activity whatever, with what I now understand was the pain-spasm cycle. My sympathies to Brian Roberts, and thanks for again expanding my knowledge.
One cannot imagine a more profound cluster**** than the handling of Chamberlain to date. Now we see yet another exercise in tearing down whatever confidence he might still have. Why does the Yankee organization eat its young so prolifically? Does anyone agree that Chamberlain has been given a fair chance to establish himself as a starter? He's 23! Sadly, we will probably never know what he can do, unless he is traded to a club which provides him the chance he has not yet had, or unless the Yankees staff implodes and they have to give him a chance. We tend to forget that, under Torre, only the truly unique survived. Torre was Dusty Baker, but with exceedingly good cover from the New York press. What a waste! I hope Chamberlain finds an advocate somewhere in the Yankee (or another!) organization who will be capable of the patience to stick with him.
Means "Petty; bothersome or tiresome in a petty way." Has nothing to do with the rightly despised "N" word.
Joe: Very glad to know that us BP readers will still have the benefit of your Stuff. Can't wait to read the book.
Suggested theme for at least one segment: Demystifying the Field Manager, the advent of the Bench Coach, and the perennnial categories of Dreadful Field Management. Go, Joe!
Michael: Thanks for yet another fine analysis, but I continue to think you and Will are too forgiving of Baker for his failings with handling his pitching staff. Is Joe Torre as bad? Yes, I think so- the Yankees were fortunate Torre did not damage the career of Mariano Rivera, as he did those of other “favorite” relievers of his, and Jonathan Broxton is in Torre's crosshairs. But let's look at Dusty. Three years ago at the start of the '08 season he had a starting staff of Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto. Pretty impressive talent. He has succeeded in breaking every one of them, Harang in the notorious 60+ pitch stint after a two hour rain delay in ’08, Arroyo with innecessary overuse, Volquez and Cueto by staggering excesses in violation of the Verducci effect in '08 and '09. Now, he has a young pitcher in whom the Reds have invested $30+ million, and who could reach the majors by mid-season. It’s Dusty’s walk year. Any confusion as to what is likely to happen to Aroldis Chapman?
Sir: Snark becomes you, sir, like the conical cap on the dunce. GO AWAY! Thank you very much...
Can we all hark back to those thrilling days of yesteryear when it was acknowledged that, sadly, Nady is not an every day player? When he plays every day, he breaks down. What's changed?
As to players I watch all the time, I think your call on Cano is right on, and may even be exceeded, but I have real problems with Castillo's ranking- I see him as a potential disaster for the Mets, both defensively and at the plate. He is the definition of "Old player" skills. He came back for the late winter mini-camp claiming to have lost a lot of weight- I didn't see it- what he has lost, very significantly, is mobility, an extreme no-no for a 2B playing next to a defensively challenged 1B like Murphy. A gift from Omar that keeps on giving...
Will: Considering how over-diagnosed ADHD and variants are in the population generally, especially junior high age and upward males, I'm surprised the MLB rate is as modest as it is. (Secret thought from a few years ago- As soon as MLB indicated that amphetamines would be part of the new test panel, everyone on greenies went out and got a TUE for amphetamine, with a convenient ADHD diagnosis. Apparently not true, if the numbers you cite are accurate!) Good work as always Will. And please ignore the Comment Freaks, they're a little uptight wandering around in a strange neighborhood, and think growling is a good defense. Nope. Here the best plan is to be as knowledgeable and thoughtful as possible. OK guys?
What's your point? That the BP guy who has studied more closely than any other the physical task of pitching a baseball and the reasons for the crazy variation of outcomes which affect pitchers' results should cabin his scope of inquiry because it trespasses outside some little box you have set up for him? Please, re-examine your premise for this Comment. You may find, as I do, that it's ugly and pointless.
Will, I need to second that! I have never had an interaction with BP Customer Service which did not end entirely satisfactorily- even when I'm being crabby! And they are quick! A few days ago I wrote in to say that I had once again wiped out a lengthy (sorry!) Comment by switching screens to check a stat elsewhere on BP, could you fix that! Prompt reply- thanks for pointing this out, BP will try to eliminate this, meanwhile try copying your partial entry before leaving the Comment function, and then pasting it back in when you return. Clunky temp solution, but it works. Microsoft, Dell, Chase, you listening? BP Customer Service is terrific. Regards,
Jay: Thanks for another illuminating analysis of Hallworthiness. Clearly Glavine should be in (Frank Thomas too, for that matter.)- I think on the first ballot, but I'm not a BBWAA member. Query: Since consideration of Glavine is five years out, I assume his pending candidacy will do little or no good for the case of Bert Blyleven, who on your ranking here is an order of magnitude ahead of Glavine? Won't Blyleven be in the Hall or off the BBWAA ballot and a candidate for the VC by the time Glavine comes up?
Mr. Bennett: A worthwhile exercise, but you haven't made the sale for ,e. I don't think Blyleven and Glavine are comparable at all. Suggestion: try Warren Spahn. For Frank Thomas, the closest comp I can think of are Boog Powell and David Ortiz, but I agree that neither is satisfactory- there is just too little history with the peculiarities of a DH career. Thanks for trying. And I believe both belong in the Hall, but I assume Glavine gets there first.
David, thanks, another great interview with a true legend. You touch on a very interesting subject- isn't it possible Howard would be in the Hall if he hadn't played so many seasons in parks which suppressed his power? All those years in Dodger Stadium and in Griffith, which as I recall it was also a huge, cavernous ballpark- how on earth did Howard hit 48 HR there in his age 32 season? I'd love to see his park-adjusted numbers. Also, one of the original TTO guys! Thanks again.
Three thoughts: First, thanks for getting on board, however tentatively, with the idea that there is something basically wrong with the Mets' medical/ training effort. More personnel would help, definitely, when you have a team this unhealthy.
Two: Rodriguez just LOOKS risky, but you have to keep in mind that his strikeout pitch is not the heater, it's his devastating changeup. He therefore may not be the high effort, disaster-waiting-to-happen his mechanics lead you to think? Three: Reyes has done this before, and I think he can again- maturity helps. He will need careful maintenance in season, because of his position and speed-based play. Who's going to do that? I hope its not a strength coach type.
And I'm with you on Wright and the helmet. Great report, Will.
No, I meant Frank Thomas! Sorry.
Concerning Frank Robinson, how many players produced a .307 EQA in their Year 38 season? Just curious. First Ballot for sure.
What happened to Kenji Johjima?
Thanks again, John, a great read- the test: I know a good deal useful information than I did before I started reading. And Cashman's remarks on Damon are (excuse the expression) right on the money.
Will has warned that last year for the Mets physically may just have been a once-in-a-century cascade of bad luck, but at the risk of sounding like a one-phrase parrot on this topic, what would draw one to conclude this season for the Mets will be better than last year's if they have done nothing about the Medical/ Training staff? They will just feed rehabilitated bodies (Reyes, Beltran) or new ones (Martinez, Davis, Flores) into the season at the risk of this dysfunctional effort. I for one expect results like last year's; but I will be very happy if that turns out not to be the case.
This is an excellent overview of the Mauer Question, and I appreciate your humility in never quite laying down a solution. I submit for consideration the strong possibility that NOBODY KNOWS what to do with Mauer. He is a singular athlete who has already set new standards of excellence for the position. I suspect his achievements are meaningless to Mauuer, except as a means to an end- to get his team to the World Series. No player can do this alone- the challenge to Twins ownership is to surround Mauer with a cast of characters fit to help him get the team there. Thus I think Mauer will resist any solutions which he thinks not in accord with this goal. Such a solution would be one that results in a player inferior to Mauer catching for the Twins. Not very likely in Mauer's lifetime- or so long as he is with the Twins. If he signs the contract being proposed, I suspect one goal of Mauer's under that contract will be that he remains the Twins' catcher so long as he wishes to do so (and is capable of playing).
So the Mauer Question is immensely interesting, but largely academic. Mauer's in charge of the answer.
David, relax, a guy whose nickname is Pronk is not going to suddenly become a Rick Petersen interview. But the thing I wished you had asked was about his shoulder- not for a medical report, but for what the effect was on him mentally. And I do want to say I think your interviews are as worthy of BP content as anything else on the site.
Even with the return of Wright and Reyes, I can't see this lineup scoring more than 760 runs, and I don't see the pitching staff limiting opponents to less than that. What could change this? Sign DelGado, sign Chin-Ming Wang, trade (what, you may well ask? well, how about Jeff Wilpon?)for a real catcher- say, Kurt Suzuki. Make Billy an offer. What's the downside? Fourth place? Oh, wait....
This is an example of promiscuous blocking. It's an opinion, not a flame.
You mean after the Mets have emptied the bargain bin of weak hitting, no-impact utility guys and late '30's starters coming off "career" years?
Steve: Thanks for yet another historical foray, with a point. Strawmen are made to be knocked down, and you knocked down this one. For a brief moment, Blondy Ryan was one of the keys to the Giants' success, one they could AFFORD. But his moment, however inspiring, was brief. A sad truth.
I second that emotion. Ask Aaron Harang...
Thanks Steve, for both the great (and very sad) story out of the past of Charlie Hollocher, but also for putting out there a framework out of which to derive some sort of answer to the "McGwire Problem". Whether Hollocher might have remained healthy enough to play with the use of anti-depressants is unanswerable.
I am prepared to accept at face value McGwire's position that he took steroid (or steroid-like) substances to advance healing from the toll playing the game took on his body. I am also prepared to believe, as a thought experiment, that, had McGwire not suffered those health problems, his natural ability as a hitter, strength, physique and will would have yielded the same results he achieved. So one is left with the McGwire Problem- how much did steroid use contribute to ameliorating the toll on his body, and did his usage permit him to cross a threshold which his unaided, injured body would not have? I'm not sure we will ever know; I'm not sure McGwire knows. Baseball players/ writers/ fans have already, inevitably, awarded his achievements a Maris-like asterisk. We may have no choice but to leave it there. This in fundamentally unsatisfying, but I don't think it is unfair to McGwire- he knew what he was doing was not legitimate, at least in the sense that he was using a prescription pharmaceutical obtained through "informal" channels, although not then in violation of any MLB policy. The inescapable result is the present, I think prevailing view, that his achievements will forever remain questionable. This is not a moral judgment on McGwire, who I believe to be a fundamentally decent man who was just trying to stay in his profession, and keep the job with which he supported his family. In the end, I think the only person he "cheated" was himself.
Why is anyone surprised by this? The Mets have a completely disfunctional approach to team medicine. If their people got even one vote in Will's annual award, I would be stunned. Why on earth, for example, was another team's doctor relied on for a critical medical opinion on Jose Reyes, a franchise player? The Mets need to clean house on this from top to bottom. But they won't. I for one do not hold anything against Beltran for making his own decision with minimal consultation with the club on a critical matter for his career- they had forfeited that right by previous behavior.
Lincecum asks: $22.5 million. Giants counter: $16 million.
In figuring out what to suggest modestly in the off-season to the GM's of my favorite teams (why don't they pay attention?), Cot's was an irreplaceable resource in order to avoid making truly stupid suggestions, like that the Yankees should go after Curtis Granderson...Oh, wait...
Very good move for BP and I hope for you, Jeff. Welcome and regards,
You are on to something here, although perhaps a modest credit to Gregg Easterbrook (or to whomever he took the format for his column's similar shtick) is in order? But thanks for digging out these illuminating numbers. Interesting game, good material for bar bets, useful platform for commentary- the most illuminating? The A's walk rate! Thanks and keep this stuff coming.
Sorry- Evans, MURPHY, Francouer.
Thanks, Joe, for your usual thoughtful analysis. What you are saying, I think, is that the Mets are stuck with gambling that their core- Reyes, Wright, Beltran, Santana- returns from injury to productive years at or near their prior levels. That is a "real" gamble. While I don't disagree with Joe on bringing back Delgado, it also is not clear his game suits Citifield. But it isn't clear Overbay is a solution either. The Mets- whether it is Minaya or another GM (I like Doug Melvin, if they are looking for someone else)- may have to consider retooling into a defense/ speed/ pitching oriented team- a job Omar would not do well-to adjust to Citifield, which it appears has a more radical effect on roster construction than anyone previously has contemplated. Thus retaining Pagan, rather than trading him, is important, and getting Holliday, plus the best they can for Green/ Evans/ Francouer- Aaron Harang?- is imperative. And will somebody please suggest what is responsible for Wright's power outage? I can't figure it out.
Matt, without devaluing your exhaustive article, which I think is up to BP's highest standards, the really difficult issues here are those that I don't see as amenable to BP type analysis- or if they are, no one's done it yet. I think they are the sources of the uncertainty that prompted Amaro to trade Lee. FIRST, how will Cliff Lee perform in 2010, having pitched 270+ innings in 2009? His past career does not shine any bright lights on that question. SECOND, what would it take to retain Lee at the end of 2010, and could the Phillies have paid it? On this latter question, I think the answer is also unknowable, unless you already know how Lee will perform in 2010? Lastly, a rotation consisting of Halliday, Hamels, Happ, Blanton and Moyer would not cause any NL manager to consider slitting his wrists. So, maybe, Amaro is right? We will find out; that's why you play the games. Regards,
Get rid of this guy.
I believe this gentleman would be happier at another site where his talent for uninhibited comment would be properly appreciated. I suggest BP 86 him and send him back his subscription. Disgusting.
Of course "god" should be "gold."
Matt: I agree, you can't expect this to yeild god on every dip into the stream; but I still think the exercise should be part of the toolkit of every player development exec in looking at "failed" 1B's (failed because they could not rake as the position requires) who might be useful if teachable at C. Same thing for 3B "failures". Again, Matt, a great, thought-provoking essay.
Trading for Granderson is something I recommended the Yankees do in a BP comment last year, promptly derided. And what do I know, they won a World Series anyway without a "true" CF. (I also suggested last year that Melky, Austen Jackson, Ian Kennedy and Bruney might make a package that would lead the Tigers to bite- So much for my deal-making skills). The signal aspects of this deal have mostly been pointed out, but I think Granderson is less recognized as the leading CF he is because he makes it look so easy (and in the process makes his LF and RF teammates look better). His weakness against LHP's will become mostly background noise with the Yankees, but whoever pointed out shifting him to the 9 hole against lefthanders is thinking the BP way- which may not be the Girardi way. I also think his power will be at least sustained in NuYankee Stadium, which they will need if one (or both) of Damon and Matsui depart. This is a serious upgrade defensively and offensively. Good job, Cashman.
Please! Pretty Please! Branyan before Blalock! And do they know for sure Delgado is done?
I just hope Omar gets out of town without buying any more catchers, unless one of them is Geovany Soto.
Many thanks, Matt. This essay is truly illuminating, in the sense that pulling The Wealth of Nations off the shelf will produce illumination from any page! So although the Philies might seem the "slow" kid in class, the results on the final exam prove that perception false. This implies to me that there is some interesting work to be done on the 1B-C player "market's" dynamics- that is, can you create real value by correctly analyzing which of a surplus of good (but not great) hitting 1B's (isn't there always that surplus?) can be successfully transformed into a much more valuable, good(but not great) hitting C? Thanks again.
I should have added that I don't see the logic in dumping Castillo- that contract, one of Omar's Inexplicables, will cost them too much to dump, in cash or prospect sweeteners, and in any event he recovered almost fully as an offensive player in 2009, his defense is still adequate, and Reyes, coming back from a very bad year, should be spared getting accustomed to a new double play partner, at least for this year. They should keep any remaining resources available for a better catching solution, which might fall to them in the Spring.
Joe: As usual, the Mets have entirely the wrong shopping list. I like your suggestion of Nick Johnson, but only at a price that reflects his likely availability. The place to spend dollars is on Brad Hawpe, who probably can be hooked on a salary dump type transaction with some spare parts pitching from the Mets farm system, and who could handle 1B when Johnson breaks (which he will). Next: Adam Dunn. No explanation necessary. Finally, the pitching staff needs Aaron Harang- an innings eater with STF that should work better in Citifield than in GAP, and who is a warrior be good for 200+ innings, taking some of the strain off Santana (who needs this type of guy backing him). A catching staff made up of the discards of the league would then be tolerable, as long as not a defensive liability. The only solution for the Beltran problem is to wait and see. Biggest mistake of their off-season- not working out a deal with Delgado. But life moves on.
Will: With the permission of OneFlapDown, I propose, in all seriousness, an annual Dan Rowan Award to the medical staff which contributed most to their organization's slide into the cellar. First recipient: The New York Mets.
Joe, based on my conviction that the Yankees haven't used a draft pick well since Jeter, what about their hedging their 2010 rotation decisions by signing Harden and Wolf to one-year deals with an option? Instead of blowing huge dollars on Halliday? Or is their fear that Boston gets Halliday and gets a clear advantage in the division? (Not likely, IMHO.) Regards,
Matt: Many thanks, you have a lot of thought-provoking things to say on the topic I find most intriguing now that no one's playing ball in my time zone until February...Have you considered doing a "scorecard" on trades on a seasonal-retrospective basis? Would this isolate astute, or merely lucky, managements? I know we get a great deal of this piecemeal during the season, on BP and elsewhere, but it's on the fly, usually on a too-limited time frame to be meaningful, and a drawing together of deals and your metrics annually would be fascinating. Or am I missing some place in the baseball blogosphere where this is already being done? In any event, thanks again.
This confirms suspicions that the Mets have the least competent medical staff in MLB. So- another lost season. The club needs to deal with this or they will repeat their recent history. And Omar will be out of a job. And some great players- Reyes, Wright, Beltran- will have blighted careers. Sad.
Mr. Seidman: This is really amazing work. Thank you. I have no technical grasp of what you are doing (I don't have a technical grasp of what Einstein was doing either), but the results I believe I can understand- which I see crystallized in the sentence: "A player can utilize a completely optimal strategy while batting and be suboptimal himself, which is more on the front office than the abilities of the individual player, another important distinction to make."- that is, if I understand you, plate discipline is very valuable for a hitter like Albert Pujols, not quite as valuable for a hitter like Jack Cust? This is terrific information. Keep going, please, and I will try to catch up on the math. Regards,
Desme is indeed hard to evaluate. He will be 24, I believe, at 2010 SP. If his comparables are Deer and Tettleton, each started in MLB at 23, so he's a year late, but injuries explain that. Deer had a 12 year career and 230 HR, Tettleton a 14 year csareer and 245 HR. My view is, a guy with these talents, whatever his other skill deficits may be, belongs in the major leagues. The most difficult hitting skill is plate discipline. If any organization can teach him (assuming he's teachable), it's Oakland. Apparently, he fields and runs the bases reasonably well. Why then skepticism as to his having a career? He will have one, we just don't know what kind.
Kevin, if you are going to keep this thread going, you need to supply some data on Desme, which I don't have access to. But a wonderful puzzle. Thanks
Kevin: On Mickey Story: Should this sentence read "doesn't", not "does"?: "Command, location and deception are the name of the game for Storey, but he have enough stuff for scouts to believe he's more than just a smoke-and-mirrors charlatan who will never have big league success." Regards,
Oh, sorry, Matt, I need to say this was a terrific piece, as good as anything I have read this year on BP, and just what I have come to expect from BP. But I have trouble with BABIP as pure unadulterated Luck! Regards,
If: (a) his HR rate was not up, (b) his XBH rate was not up, (c) his SO and UIBB rates were the same or better, and (b) his FB/GB ratio was effectively unchanged, haven't you delivered a non-answer to the question? I agree that luck is a powerful (and unacountable) factor, but isn't there some clue in the quality of the defensive support he received? I think particularly of Rollins and Utley, great players, great athletes, but not complete defenders. Is some of the variation to be found there?
after whether, "the Rios deal represents a wise bet by Kenny Williams that Ozzie can turn Rios' career around."
COMMENTS NOT WORKING!!
previous post should read, after whether,
should read, after whether, Oct 21, 2009 1:06 PM on Roster TweaksGo To Comment
I know this is a TA, but I can't help picking up the threads of various remarks about the white Sox and Ricciardi, and wondering whether a (if not the) key to the White Sox 2010 is whether And that will depend on whether unloading him was Ricciardi's parting unacknowledged gift to the Blue Jays, or yet another missed opportunity in the land of the Openly Canadian.
Confused by your listing Josh Bell as a Royal. Is that his former organization?
Oh, snap! I though what was coming was disclosure of "promotional considerations" to Will from Jenn Sterger....
Will, your work is continually both fascinating and fastidious- the latter, inthe sense that you avoid one-size-fits-all "pronouncements" and put right out fronr your scepticism, uncertainty and lack of dogmatic responses. I appreciate that, in a field as idiosyncratic as analysis of the health of high level athletes under constant stress. But I was alarmed at the near-valedictory tone of your piece- "I hope Will ain't going nowhere?" I thought. Please stick around to keep bringing us your insights on the medical problems of our favorite pastime's players.
And I will go where you won't- sure, the Mets did not screw up Reyes on their own, but I bet they helped! Why else would an athlete who historically (a) had initial, severe physical problems, (b) painfully (and with a false start) worked out a methodology (and a support team) for dealing with it, (c) successfully surmounted those problems for 3+ years, now suddenly, in what should be a career year, fall into the abyss? Either the club changed something vital, or Reyes did. My money's on the Mets.
Best regards again and thanks for a great season.
But your Cubs don't, do they? Boo Hoo. Take your damn frustrations out on your dog, or something, not on the site.
Sorry, I don't believe it. Let's see the math.
Kevin: Thanks for another real innovation. As much sas I would like to see every player report as detailed as today's on Melville,I realize that ain't happening, but more frequent reports of this type on the more intriguing prospects you see would be very welcome. BP just keeps working harder to produce better stuff for us, and I appreciate it. Love my BP!
Tim Kniker, thank you! This is precisely the kind of analysis I find in BP and not many places elsewhere. However, let's not be too hard on McCarver, he ain't the only broadcaster reciting received wisdom. In fact, it's possible contributors to BP (I haven't checked, that's why I said "possible") have over the years bought into this received wisdom- that catchers wear down over the season- which has a surface plausibility. Tim Kniker,Terminator of Surface Plausibility, I salute you.
What he said, too.
S. Holmes: "When the impossible has been ruled out, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." Gordon is 25. He was/is either ready, or he isn't. It is not that he has been thrown into a pressured pennant contender, or forced to play out of position. Or that he lacks talent, athleticism, etc. So I opt for- Approach. The murmurs around him about resistance to change, not adapting, etc., are Approach issues. I know this is not a BP type point, and we don't have a metric for it, but Holy Moly, Batman, maybe some mentoring at the AAA level would help? (Calling G. Brett- is he is this business?) Anybody? If this kid is lost, an experienced and firm guide might get him out of the wilderness- but he has to want to- again, Approach.
MLB teams aren't much on attitude-rehab, but it would be a great waste of talent for a Royals franchise that can't afford to waste any. Get him some help. It's not like it's a mysterious injury- something is seriously wrong here- Gordon is striking out near 30% of his ABs, and has forgotten how to take a walk. Should this tell the Royals organization something?
Dave, this helps with what turned out to be my only problem-if I relied on the newsletter, I wasn't going to get all of "the day's" content without going back to the site repeatedly. I'll be an afternoon newsletter patron. Thank, Good fix. Love my BP!
What he says.
I find this discussion worthless. Players wear all sorts of other stuff (I can't imagine too many not wearing an "athletic supporter", or sliding pads), and my recollection is the cup was initially awkward, and you got used to it. Beltre and others are being juvenile. If I were the Mariners, I'd make it painful in more ways than fines to refuse to wear one. Either that or take Beltre at his word and suspend his salary while he recovers from this needless injury. What a joke.
Trading picks: Probably OK, but no cash! Otherwise, Lerner would sell every pick and put it in t-bills.
Draft Date MAKES NO SENSE where it is. Yes, move it.
Primary goal: If I'm gonna lay out big bucks to some kid, I want him playing the summer he signs. Otherwise, I'm buying a guy whose development is already stunted. Baseball is far more developmental than any other professional sport. Athlete can't make progress sitting around waiting on his agent to conclude it's safe to sign. (P.S., the Agent will never tell him he'd be better off if he had signed right away, as 90% of the picks would be.)
My only concern with trading picks: that The Mother of All Anti-Trust lawsuits is someday coming down the pike to bust the draft (which would be a serious setback for the game), and turning the drsaft into any more of a flesh market will look cosmetically very bad to a Federal judge. Oh well
The wisdom of the Rios pickup will only become clear if Ozzie is able to motivate Rios to regain the level of his best past seasons. If he can, he will look like a genius- and so will Kenny Williams, because then Rios starts looking like a good buy.
This has been initially confusing, so reading all the comments helped. The Media stuff I'm afraid does me no good- I can't access radio or TV at work. So I have always used arrival of the e-mail newsletter as a signal that content postings are done for the day, which is usually when I could get to the content anyway. (I'm not a fantasy player, so I don't uses the updates to do instantaneous trades!). I guess that if this works for the BP staff, it's good with me- just an adjustment. Love my BP!
Universal badmouthing of this deal leads me to take a sympathetic look. What did Kenny Williams get? First, no future contract risk. If Rios has a breakout year next year, there will be no re-negotiation or arbitration risk; put another way, Williams will never have to negotiate with rios' agent about anything. Second, he gave up no players, no prospects. Three, of his three current OF starters, Podsednik is brittle and on the downside of his career, Quentin is talented but fragile and his future usefulness at best uncertain, and Dye, while a pleasant surprise over the past 2-3 years, similarly is in danger of entering a sudden decline phase. Four, Rios may be one of those players who benefits from a change of location and on-field management. If there is something more to be gotten out of him, Guillen is the guy to do it. Five, 5 years of Rios @ about $12 million a year is not a bargain, but is not clinically insane- one or two better years than he has had lately will bail out those economics. So I can see sound reasons to do this deal. But I probably would not have myself.
Will, your observation that it seems Vern Gambetta's program for Reyes' continued productivity got junked along the way- How? by Reyes? by that dimwit strength coach who thought he could replace it with something "better"? by the ATC's, not monitoring and following up Reyes's continued compliance? It worked for a long time, why would anyone want to abandon it? If Reyes just drifted away from it, isn't that what a meduical staff is supposded to monitor! Or is this unfair? Concerned fans want to know....
Will: Welcome back! Watch those painkillers, though. Why can't we deal with the "FLS/ bad sushi" syndrome by simply calling it a hangover? OK, yeah, libel law, what a drag....
So, you want your money back?
Will, all the best on the outcome of your procedure and my best wishes for a pain-free recovery. UTK is indeed a reason why I am a subscriber, and (selfishly!) I hope you are back (too) soon!
The entire Wang injury story, if you could get access to the facts, I think will speak ill of the Yankees' injury management smarts. Of course, a player like Wang, whose instinct seems to be to keep information about his condition to himself as much as possible, sounds like a classic un-cooperative patient. Go figure. The guy's career may be over because he would not speak up to the trainers when he needed to. Also, I wonder how much Girardi figures into the development of this cast of mind in a player? You are right to point out that the Yankees are, it seems, distinctly out of step with the trend of MLB sophistication in dealing with Wang's injury- if they have been hedging on proper budget support for the Training function, that's really dumb and, worse, self-destructive. Wang may be at fault, but the training staff, it seems to me, is to blame. And on pitching mechanics and a "cascade" series of injuries like Wang's, look at what their competitor in Boston has done! Maybe Wang, who was always a kind of high wire act,has just fallen, but nothing about his current predicament seems foreordained to me.
Reasonable points all, but: I wouldn't think a guy who in his age 21 season was caught 8 out of 19 attempts should be encouraged to run? I also believe that, for all but a few players (speed guys, Zimmerman isn't one) their rate of attempts is a function of field management's decisions, not the player's. Zimmerman had down years in his age 22 and 23 seasons, largely due to injury- I see this year as climbing back to his level, or slightly better, without significant sacrifice of plate discipline. His skills at 3B appear undiminished. Joe, I would be inclined to suspend such harsh judgement- do you see him as coasting on the basis of his long term deal?- until rather more evidence is in; but that's me. Regards,
I was startled by the put-down of Ryan Zimmerman- I don't know a lot about his recent career, but his EQA is to date up 20 points on 2008. Is this harsh view justified?
None of the contestants are really finished writers, but Mr. Cartwright's writing is the most unfortunate. He has a world of insight, statistical sophistication and (obviously) intelligence, but his presentation skills, I am sad to say, don't close the deal, in fact make it very hard to grasp his points. There is no question in my mind, however, that he can eliminate this handicap- it will just take some sustained hard work (best, I suggest, with a professional tutor/ instructor), doing the simple (but not easy) blocking and tackling of learning how an essay is structured, and to eliminate the occasional stylistic/ grammatical clunker ("Without throwing any higher of a percentage of strikes..." just doesn't get it), he'll be fine. Great stuff, and good luck, Brian
Maybe Fontenot's 2008 counting stats were a fluke, but I am left to wonder whether loading onto the transition to everyday player the position change to 3B when Ramirez hit the DL was too much? If the Cubs return him to 2B when Ramirez is back, perhaps we then get to see if Fontenot is indeed an everyday player or not.
For position players, the most dismissive valuation that can be received, I believe, is that he "is not an every day player." I have frequently come upon this comment about a player whose mix of skills I have come to appreciate, but who never does seem to have the edge to command a regular lineup position. As frequently as I am irritated by this comment, I also have to admit, at the end of a season (or given a sufficient sample size), the evaluation was correct.
So, for the prospect (or roster occupant) who "just doesn't seem to have it to become an everyday player", what are the telltale signs (is it one, or a cluster, of them? What are they?) Examples drawn from current players who are proving the hypothesis? Examples drawn from those who overcame the diagnosis to have careers?
Look dude. Compare apples to apples, OK? Those are full season numbers 2007-2008 vs. ytd 2009.
I'm not liking this debate- does someone want to score debate points enough to juke the numbers?
I believe in "Papelbon"'s right of free speech, but not on my nickel- go get your own blog! I also don't like people who don't post under their own name. What's to hide? And in addition, he is just dead wrong about Sheehan, who isn't necessarily my instant choice for the top commentator on BP, but who is always interesting, always contrarian and never less than well-informed. Certainly he has never in my experience posted anything remotely as wrong or stupid as "Papelbon"'s jeremiad.
I don't know who this gentleman thinks he's speaking to, but it isn't me- neither the tone of O'Reilly nor of Daily KOS belongs here. I am sorry to say that "inappropriate" doesn't begin to cover my reaction to this "comment". I suggest BP re-evaluate the value of this subscription to BP as a whole.
Joe, thanks as always for your thoughts. I look forward to my first chance to visit the new Yankee Stadium. My dad took me to my first game at the old stadium on August 6, 1948, my 7th birthday. Dimaggio hit a home run. But even better was Yogi, not yet the full time catcher, playing right field. He came out to the field, backed up to the low wall there, and sort of sat on the wall to talk to the kids- I don't think he took a throw from any othe outfielder! we were 5-6 rows up, but I could see that, and I knew I was a baseball fan- a Yankee fan- for life. So the guys who couldn't be less interested in the new Stadium- OK, you are entitled to your opinion, you have expressed it, move on. I think we will be getting used to this new Stadium for a long time- like the acoustics at Philharmonic Hall! Regards,
Just as we thought- John Perrotto don't need no stinkin' Public Editor. Nevertheless, I join those who have applauded you- you did the Right Thing. Doing the Right Thing ain't so common as to be undeserving of applause. As for your source, I believe it was Canning, a British PM in the early 19th century, who defined a Diplomat as "an honest man sent abroad to lie for his country." You encountered a Diplomat. We all do. Public burning of the Diplomat hardly appropriate. Guy's just doing his job.
As a flight instructor of mine once said- "There are two kinds of pilots: those who have landed with the wheels up, and those who are going to land with the wheels up. There are no other kinds of pilots." Regards,
Heath Bell's record is full of contradictions I can't begin to figure out. Career: High BABIP, Above Average STF, good ERA, low WHIP. Recent: BABIP down, STF down, ERA steady, WHIP still at level. K/9, H/9 are a continuing contradiction. Can this all be park effects? Shea was also a pitcher's park, although my impression was, less so than PETCO. What to make of that? Are his recent results all PETCO effects? What does his road record look like in comparison w/ his PETCO results? I guess I'll have to look all that up. One guess: This is how a "successful" finesse pitcher looks? If so, is the evidence of any future instability all in his peripherals? What a puzzle.
The knock on Fontenot has been that he's not an everyday player. This is the Cubs having the sense to see whether or not that's true; the evidence isn't conclusive. Fontenot, on the basis of last year's performance, deserves the shot; but "deserve's got nothin' to do with it." If everyday play exposes deficiencies, Miles is there as a backup/ platoon partner. IMO Fontenot is capable of playing every day; let's see.
Steve: Many thanks for a highly interesting article. I'm in my own way (as a Yakee fan!) as sceptical of this as a diagnostic as anyone, but you have got the issues out there and being intelligently (for the most part) discussed. Long term thought experiment to set for myself: Pick a payroll number- probably at the MLB midpoint. Assemble a group of VORP neutral core players (sort of like the way MLB "stocked" an expansion team?). As the seasons turn, assign yourself theoretical draft picks. Never offer arbitration, never sign a free agent, live with what the "core", the draft and development do for you. If you were the type to be entirely candid with your players, advise them to assume they would never remain with the club beyond their arb-eligible or FA date; you will never be able to afford them if they are still on your roster at those dates. And see what happens. I don't think this is the Rays, or the Marlins- it's a thought experiment, but I wonder what you think about the utility of playing it out?
Love my BP.
Your comment about Moyer startled me. I\'m not a fantasy player, so I tend to treat BP as my \"Baseball Encyclopedia- Current Section.\" Does this mean there is no longer any \"PECOTA Card\" for Moyer, with all the wealth of data it usually has, in the system? Or have you just eliminated him from the PECOTA data set because he\'s such an outlier he corrupts conclusions about other players? What about dropping Warren Spahn, then, or (more apposite) Randy Johnson? What I\'m saying, this may serve your statistical analysis goals, I favor that, but why do I have to lose the rest? Yours in pretty much of a funk,
Will: Aaron Harang? Any data or overview based on observations you trust? (I know you have him \"red\".) I am deeply worried that the cumulative abuse of last season is not something he can come back from, but the guy is such a warrior (look at his IP average over the last five years) I am pulling for him (a) to come back, and (b) get traded out of the singular pitchers\' hell which Dusty has made of Cincinnati.
I am puzzled to run into this comment comment of mine and find it flagged. The negative comments deliberately misread what i was suggesting- the Tigers don\'t need a valuable player like Granderson when they have so many other needs the Yankees could supply. And the Tigers likely will not want prospects, they will want everyday players now..... Ahh, the hell with it.
This essay is, as far as I am concerned, a magnificent exemplar of the value of the BP approach to the game, and in the process the final nail in the coffin of Baker\'s reputation as a major league manager. It is scrupulously fair to Baker in examining all the variables one can think of that could explain Baker\'s usage of Harang, and of other factors that could have contributed to his (overall) dismal season, and it is still overwhelmingly damning of Baker, as far as this writer is concerned. But then, we all knew this, didn\'t we? Yet Baker is still managing. It is sad that such irresponsible usage of a warrior like Aaron Harang (I don\'t use the term lightly, look at Harang\'s annual IP average over the past five years) had to be the conclusive factor in this final destroyer of Baker\'s credibility. I very much hope Harang is not done as a major league starter, and that his virtues are appreciated by another team that plucks him out of the living hell that Cincinnati has become for pitching talent.
Yes, but will Fontenot- a very underrated guy- be with the Cubs? Something tells me he is not a Piniella fave. He is unsigned for 2009; no contract tendered, as nearly as I can tell- and I can\'t tell if he is arb-eligible. I applaud your take on the Miles acquisition- as between UT and starters, I would pick Fontenot as the starter- but things don\'t always work out that way....
John: You say the Cubs intend to platoon Miles and Fontenot at 2B, but I am puzzled by Fontenot\'s status with the Cubs. According to Cot\'s,he had a one year deal for the 2008 season. No announcement whether he was tendered a new contract; apparently he was not arb-eligible. So what gives? The Cubs Web site has his name still on their depth chart, but he has no contract for 2009? I think he\'s an attractive fit for a number of clubs needing help at 2B- the Mets?- but it isn\'t clear to me who owns his contract rights.
Love my BP! What a fascinating range of comments/ requests! Here\'s mine:
1. I\'m very new to statistical analysis, and so would benefit A LOT from a \"How To\" feature which would be a sort of online tutorial in how to derive the most from BP\'s range of sortable stats.
2. Isn\'t Pitch/FX the likely dominant tool in the online world?- more usage would be fascinating.
3. Work on better relations with your book publishers! It\'s a real pain that commentary on a player\'s PECOTA card is a year out of date (and that 2004 data is forever locked away?) In today\'s info world, there has to be a way to make current PECOTA/ Annual player comments currently available. If that involves a premium on the Annual, or revenue sharing with the Annual publisher on a per click basis, or both, why not?
I know all this feedback will improve BP, and that\'s what we are all interested in.
Joe, as usual, you have very good advice for the Yankees, which they will likely not take. They should be actively seeking to trade Matsui, Nady, Cabrera, and maybe Damon. None is a solution to their real outfield problem, which is CF. I have suggested earlier (and got hooted at) that the Yankees should go after Curtis Granderson. The Tigers spent an awful lot on payroll last year and got nothing for it ecept last in the division and a testy relationship between Leyland and Dombrowski. Why would the Tigers trade Granderson? Because he does not supply the power they need. Why would the Yankees want him? He has a deal that is not overpriced and four years to run, he has multiple skills, including playing a first rate CF, which none of the above will supply (except Cabrera), and the departure of the others will clear up a difficult positional logjam and shed payroll- if they are going to sign Tex or Manny (and I think a Manny deal- short term- is a good solution for them), something they will need to do. But I doubt they will.
The responses to my post assume I was positing the same currency for Granderson as mooted for Cameron. Sorry, no. But what about a menu of Cano/ Matsui/ Cabrera/ Gardner/ Kennedy/ Austen Jackson? None of these players, with the exception of a Cano who has magically ceased being a head case, is key to the Yankees future. Surely there\'s a deal there that Detroit could not laugh at? And I have yet to see any comment that says Granderson is not an appropriate solution for the Yankees at a price they can afford? Geez, I assume BP commenters are intelligent and of inquiring minds. Where are they?
Excuse me? Cashman is going for Mike Cameron as a CF solution? This truly frosts me. There are other solutions around, much better, and less expensive. If NYY is signing Cameron as a free agent, or just acquiring his contract in order to exercise his 2009 option, that is way more expensive than, say (here\'s my hobby horse) Curtis Granderson. He is younger than Cameron, plays a better CF, is a better hitter, strikes out less and (if you like that sort of thing) steals more bases. Cameron will be in his year 36 season, his production has been declining (he has struggled to reach an .800 OPS most of the last dozen years), he strikes out too much, and his speed does not translate, lately, to the bases. And Cameron is a one-year solution; Detroit is approachable on Granderson this year, I think, and Granderson is signed through 2013 at near bargain rates. What is Cashman thinking?
Congratulations! A Machiavellian moment- \"Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer\"? Seriously, I see this as a start in BP\'s own \"long march through the institutions. Again, congratulations. Query: Why not Jay, why not Nate? etc erc
This is a little late, but your entry on the Cubs puzzles me. Their depth chart for 2B lists Mark DeRosa, Mike Fontenot and Ronny Cedeno. If Cedeno and DeRosa are figuring in deals, as you note, that leaves Fontenot, one of my favorite players. However, from Cot\'s, it appears Fontenot became a free agent at the end of the season, the Cubs have not offered him a contract or arbitration, and that really sounds strange. Anyone got any news? (Full disclosure: I have advocated for Fontenot as a solution to the 2B problems of the Yankees and the Mets!)
This is a blantant try to get the Yankees to solve their CF problem- they should trade for Curtis Granderson. Without gutting their club, the Yanks have enough to interest the Tigers- out of Matsui, Damon, Gardner, Nady, Kennedy, Bruney, Aceves, none of whom are essential to the Yankees\' future- to turn the Tigers a good deal more competitive. And to solve a problem for the Yankees for at least four years.
Joe: That Santo isn\'t in the HOF is a real indictment of the BBWAA. I played high school baseball against him one year in Seattle (I\'m that old!), when his slugging pct must have been .800. Pitchers were literally terrified of him- the line drives he hit were tactical nuclear missiles. Never saw him play in the majors, but he was the guy everyone in ball in Seattle know was going to The Bigs. To be that good at 17....
Jay, thank you, this is what BP is all about! So, my differences with you:
1. What the Yankee rotation needs are a few innings eaters beyond your rotation; I\'d see what it took to get Matt Cain and /or Aaron Harang. Probably both could be had for a good deal less than CC; if you get Lowe, you only need one of the two.
2. 2B is more of a problem than anyone will concede, and I just don\'t trust head cases- that\'s what Cano is. A low cost option: Mike Fontenot. He\'s a free agent, the Cubs didn\'t offer him arbitration, high OBP, good pinch hitter, and I don\'t believe the knock on him that he\'s not an everyday player.
3. Package up Matsui, Cano and a young pitcher or two- Ian Kennedy? Aceves?- and go for Curtis Granderson, who\'s not \"available\", so the field should be clear. Granderson is easily affordable- in fact his deal is cheap- for the Yankees, anyway. He\'s younger than Winn and a more complete ballplayer. And the lack of a solid CF solution for more than a year or two is a prime weakness of your plan.
4. Finally, catching. This needs to be a long term solution, not an aging 2nd tier guy like Zaun. I\'d see if Billy Beane would deal for Suzuki.
Love your overall plan though. The only other initiative I might take- see if A-Rod and Jeter would switch positions. Jeter is more suited to third- his reflexes haven\'t gone, just his legs, and he has the arm. I think it would revitalize his value to the team.
Love my BP!
Joe: Fantastic idea. You need to do every team! Parcel it out if you have to, but I can\'t think of a better off-season feature. We\'re all doing it too, and we want to see if we dug up things the BP experts didn\'t!
As to the LAD 2B problem- what\'s wrong wirth Mike Fontenot? He\'s a fre agent, he won\'t be expensive, he brings the OBP the Dodgers need from the position, and he\'s competent both with the bat and in the field. The knock on him is that he never made the transition from prospect to regular, and still isn\'t an \"everyday player\". I think we just don\'t know, and he would be worth a try- especially because he is also a good pinch hitter- I think (may be wrong) the Cubs\' best in 2008? In fact, I think both NYC clubs should be looking at him as a low cost option for their high cost duds at 2B. Love my BP!
Yankees, 6 years with opt out after 4, (club option or buyout for year 7), $185 million, 12/25/08
Yankees: Sign Texeira. Trade Cano, Kennedy, Matsui and either of (a) Ohlendorf or (b) two tickets to Spamalot to Detroit for Granderson. Get Jeter and A-Rod to switch positions. Re-sign Mussina (2 yrs + club option) and Abreu (same deal). Sign Mike Fontenot for 2B. Get Posada a really good caddy- try Kurt Suzuki.
The Yankees need to make Texeira their priority no. 1. If they can get any one of Sabathia, Lowe or Burnett, so much the better, but I wouldn\'t stretch too far for anyone except Sabathia. Big body pitchers last longer than is generally realized- David Wells? Roger Clemens?- so if they have to go 8 years to get Sabathia, I would not be worried. Cameron in CF sounds nuts to me- why don;t they go after Curtis Granderson? Trade Cano for him, throw in Kennedy if you need to. Cano will do better for a Leyland than a Girardi. He\'s done in NY. They should also re-sign Abreu, and Mussina- two years with a club option. Figure that a Sabathia-Wang-Mussina-Hughes rotation will get the job done. Oh yes- get A-Rod and Jeter to switch positions- a declining Jeter less of a liability at 3B than SS.
1. Quite strange that this situation has never arisen before (Steve Goldman?), but I agree that there should be a rule covering all post-season games, that they are played to nine innings minimum. Do it now.
2. Fail to see Joe\'s concern with the \"unfairness\" to the Phillies- they are still in the driver\'s seat, and (whever game 5 ends) I expect they will win it. The Rays simply have no time to reverse the bad mojo or whatever that has neutered Longoria, (?Floyd) and Pena in the Series.
3. Still a helluva Series!
Love my BP.
What the devil happened to the Game 1 Roundtable?
KG: What a terrific response you\'ve gotten! Great idea too. I haven\'t had the chance to read all comments, so at the risk of repetition:
1. Scout ratings on the 20-80 scale- usually are integrated in your comments, I recall, where relevant. Seems to me too lacking in rigor to become part of BP, though- just keep doing what you are doing, occasionally but not always telling us, say, an OF or SS guy has an 80 arm.
2. Quality of systems- these remarks frequently come up in other contexts- \"the [Blue Jays] have a terrible, thin system\"- more content telling us (if you can) why that is? When a team\'s needs can be projected and readily seen, why do they have so much trouble getting what they need?
3. What high quality prospects are \"blocked\"- for example, SS prospects in the Yankee system, 1B prospects in the Cardinals system. Wonderful fodder for speculation as to where your favorite team might find the guy they need in someone else\'s system!
But most of all, and for this you don\'t get emough credit- just keep on showing up and doing for us what you have- it\'s the part of BP I linger over longest. All the best,
My experience is that if Will Carroll makes a mistake (damn few), people, he either fesses up fast, or there is a very good reason why he can\'t or won\'t talk. And the most important injured player on the Sox is Quentin. Is it possible Will does indeed know something, but is not in a position to share it with us because of the nature of (or undertakings to) his source? Interesting....
Why has this thread degenerated (I use the word advisedly) into a discussion of politics? I\'m sorry, to me finding \"politics\" in baseball is like those hysterics who find the face of Jesus on the side of a barn. Give me a break.
So, we were talking about The Sun. R.I.P. The best sports section of any paper in the country- IN TWO PAGES! The guy who did that is a genius. The thumbsuckers The Times, the Post and the News try to palm off as sportwriters weren\'t fit to lick the boots of Red Smith, Tom Boswell (or Joe Sheehan or Tim Marchman). The feeling I had when I opened the Sun sports page for the first time was like first opening up a Bill James Abstract in, I don\'t know, 1986? It broke the souind barrier right there. Tim Marchman was consistently the best baseball columnist in the country- he so clearly loved the game and his favorite players. (OK, maybe that just shows, like a lot of New Yorkers, I don\'t get around much?) So, let\'s play Taps for the Sun (which had so much more going for it than the occasionally spoony editorial). We shall not see its like again, I\'m afraid. Sunt lacrime rerum.
Re Jenks\' Two Tragic Pitches- any chance that\'s where his catcher asked for them? Just asking....One could write a very lengthy thesis on athlete\'s (or pilot\'s, etc.) decision making under fatigue...
Your cutoff date (1969?) excludes one of my favorite players, Bobby Shantz. But for the life of me I can\'t remember how tall he was. I think he was sub-Lincecum. Help?
Kevin: My concern is that this \"settlement\" still leaves the playing field tilted in Boras\' favor. Why: He represents so many (seems to me) of the first (and even second) rounders that teams are under a great deal of pressure to get signed. Boras\' tactic: delay, delay, delay. August 15 comes looming, and teams get in a mad scramble to get their deals done. Pittsburgh so anxious that they responded (foolishly) to a Boras suggestion (I\'m dreaming this, of course, it could not happen in the real world) to \"not worry about the deadline\", then, when his client still didn\'t like the ultimate deal, blowing the whistle. Could I be wrong on this? So what is to prevent Boras (or a club) from doing this all over again?
It seems to me the guy shorted here is the player? Losing (as I think it\'s clear Alvarez has) a summer\'s worth of minor league seasoning. But then I may just be a paranoid ranter....
Let me try to figure this out. Is Boras a winner? Yes, in all the senses you have covered, but also with his strategy of refusing to negotiate anything until the End Times arrive, and then using the deadline as leverage. As I read it, no changes will occur which would prevent or discourage Boras from doing this again? So that\'s a win for him. If I\'m wrong on this, please correct me.
Alvarez a winner? Absolutely, he is the beneficiary of what sounds to me like the most generous contract a draftee has ever received. I thought that the worst disservice Boras had done his client was creating a circus in which Alvarez got nothing this year of the minor league exposure he needs, and I guess he\'s not eligible yet (he isn\'t under contract!) for the AFL, so his development has halted until spring training 2009; and also that his arb/FA eligibility had therefore been pushed out an additional year he will never get back; but I guess both those effects remain to be seen.
I\'m not sure Pittsburgh is a loser- they got Alvarez, didn\'t they? He may turn out to be a bargain. He may not. That\'s baseball. I for one think Coonelly had guts taking on Boras\'s tactics, and trying to use his MLB cred (for lack of a better term) to neutralize Boras\'s tactics- but it didn\'t (as I learned to say about both my marriages) work out. Doesn\'t mean he\'s a bad guy.
Joe, thanks for the thoughtful take on what the Yankees need to do. Tim Marchman and Steve Goldman in the New York Sun have also contributed wonderful pieces to this conversation. My take: This could be the best they can do for 2009, but there sure needs to be a plan beyond that! I simply don\'t see the Yankees, ownership or management, as capable of putting one together. For example, it has been (and is and will be) painful to watch the decline phase of Jeter, a great ballplayer. What is their plan for the position? Buy an FA? That\'s a shopping list, not a plan. So in 2010, Jeter, Abreu, Damon, Moose, Pettite are gone, Cabrera turns out to have no upside, Posada is no longer an \"everyday\" catcher, the young pitchers have worked out pretty well, all the salary which disappeared at the end of 2008 and 2009 was not spent on Sabathia. That\'s still not a plan. Aside from the pitching side working out, and a belief that Cano can be encouraged to reach his potential, I just don\'t see what else they have? This is a team which the best power hitter in the game (not necessarily the guy you can buiold a team around) hasn\'t helped! I agree about Texeira, he should be their highest priority. I agree about signing Abreu and Pavano to the right sort of deals (with no confidence the Yankees know how to do that). No more pussyfooting about Chamberlain. Let Nady play left until he plays himself out of a job, or a platoon partner appears. And yet- I still see a team with no (or a very aged) core \"up the middle\".
I think these will be very difficult years for the Yankees.
It would have been helpful if you had noted whether Chipper Jones had enough AB, even if he didn\'t play again, to take the batting title?
Differences between the Yankees and the Red Sox: The Yankees appear to find customer service too challenging to be bothered with, and the shameless (and shameful) exploitation of \"homeland security\" to extract further revenue from fans is a total disgrace. I too (a) lost an umbrella, (b) got soaked because in a series of showery days, the Yankees ran out of $5 (!!!) ponchos, and (c) lost a backpack \"checked\" in a local saloon run by a band of thieves. The Red Sox- admittedly on the basis of only one game there earlier this year- make a real effort to make a visit to Fenway a pleasant experience. The morons the Yankees hire, on the other hand, are probably the kind of people who whack their children for crying on the subway. This could continue as long as the Stadium had cheap seats and everyone wanted to see a good Yankee club play. Shockingly higher prices to watch the decline of Derek Jeter wont cut it any longer. I wonder how the attendance will hold up- unless some investment is made by the club in \"customer service\" generally (not just in the luxury boxes) throughout the new Stadium and its workforce. The example here would be the National Tennis Center, a very well run facility. I\'ll be watching.
Emperor\'s New Clothes Meme: Sorry, friends, no one covered themselves with glory here. Alvarez, it seems to me, was poorly (if not atrociously) \"advised\" by Mr. Boras, if Boras, without Alvarez\'s knowledge or awareness, was using Alvarez to break the system. MLBPA is breaking lances on behalf of a guy who is not (yet?) a union member! Is this the triumph of altruism? I think not. My greatest surprise is that the Pirates, an organization that really can\'t afford this sort of stuff, and represented by a chief executive who supposedly really, really knows his way around MLB Rules, \"conspires\" to break them? Or maybe not? The explanation that works for me: all these heavy hitters decided to be careless about the rules, thinking they could do so with impunity, until one of them, Mr. Boras, decided his competitive advantage was in (or that he had nothing to lose by) blowing the whistle on (himself and) his client. Sad that Alvarez\'s career will be affected by this- does anyone out there really think it\'s to his advantage to miss a year (my estimate) or more of development in the high minors while this sorts itself out? And will an eventual deal make Alvarez whole? Last I remember how it works, Alvarez (or his \"advisor\") have succeeded in pushing out a year further his salary arbitration and free agency years. What a cluster____k.
BP lists Pujols (\"that\'s Mr. Pujols to you, buddy\") as 28 years old. Yet BP isn\'t the only source which has raised questions in the past about that figure being as much as,say 3 years too generous? Would a factor in Mr. Pujols\' thinking about submitting to the knife now be that he knows he\'s not going to heal as well if he waits longer? I\'m just askin\'....
Looking at this a few days late, I notice that the Angels are NINE GAMES AHEAD of their \"Pythagorean\" record. Is this at all unusual? I can see a pitching heavy, punch \'n judy hitting lineup like the Angels getting away with this for a while, but for how long? The Angels don\'t show any signs of imminent collapse-they pasted the Yankees 12-1 on Monday night! What is going on? Concerned citizens would like to know.
It seems to amaze everyone that Robinson Cano has \"underperformed\" this year. \"Underperformed\" what? He has been a hit or miss fielder with a too-casual approach and a high error rate from his rookie year, and not because he was stretching to reach batted balls out of his zone. It looks to me like Jeter has given up on expecting anything much from him other than the pivot when the play is routine. Baserunners know that if they target him, he will move. At the plate, he has always lacked discipline, with OBP well below the level one has to expect from the position. He also appears to have been sidetracked from his true offensive value by a modest increment to his power a few years ago, which he has not managed to repeat. Not the first time, not the last, that the Yankees will throw too much money at a modestly above replacement level player to solve a roster/ line-up problem. And they do have such problems, because the organization just doesn\'t draft or develop position players with anything remotely the frequency of other clubs who long ago learned they needed to develop, not buy, players.
What I have read about the Alvarez/Coonelly/Boras controversy indicates the following, but NOBODY COMES OUT AND SAYS IT. Clubs are used to treating \"deadlines\" with some casualness-after all, baseball IS an exclusive club. As long as no agent (or the MLBPA) had a dog in the fight, everything\'s OK. But this new \"deadline\" Boras sa as a useful tool, and when Coonelly (maybe working his past MLB connections a little) played last and loose with the deadline, Boras called him on it. That\'s what a guy like Boras does. There is no such thing for him as a false step on behalf of a higher salary for a client- he\'ll do it. Lesson: Next time, watch out for the Boras.
Is this about right?