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We're not talking about one year of Bradley blowing out his knee arguing with an umpire. We're talking about a series of years where Bradley has been hurt, and whether he's hurt on an offensive play or defensive play, the fact he's been hurt far less when a DH supports the assertion that he can't play defense, stay healthy, and hit at the same time...oh yea, he sucked last year too while trying to do all three--so there's that.
If Smoltz is right, they get a solid innings-eater with a long line of playoff success (for what that's worth)...if Smoltz doesn't come back, they've lost a handful of major league starts. That's all. It's a worthwhile gamble.
And yes, it would be difficult to put a positive spin on an organization that correctly leverages its economic advantages to take chances on players. It would be difficult to put a positive spin on an organization that has won 2 World Series in the last 5 years. It would be difficult to put a positive spin on an organization that has made the playoffs 4 of the past 5 years.
By the way, I hate the Red Sox.
The Giants are competing for a playoff spot. The Royals are competing to avoid 100 losses. Sanchez can hit at a positionally-average or better level. Betancourt doesn't do anything well. At all.
Did the Giants overpay? Maybe, but they overpaid from a position of strength for a position of need in a playoff push. It's not at all similar to the Royals acquiring Betancourt.
Now is a very good time for me to point out that you consistently rip the writers, especially Joe, instead of simply offering your counter-analysis.
I am also an Indians fan. If there was ever a year a team's guy DESERVED to be intentionally walked based on their team's first-half performance, it was a 2009 Cleveland Indian...it would have only been more appropriate if the AL Bullpen would have blown the save in the 8th inning...
Other teams being competitive? Like the fact there have been 8 different World Series champions in the last 10 years (and that includes the Yankees championships at the start of that 10 year run in '99 and '00) in a sport without a salary cap...versus the NFL having 7 different Super Bowl champions in the last 10 years with a salary cap...versus the NBA having 5 different champions in the last 10 years with a soft salary cap and luxury tax...versus the NHL having 7 different champions and a locked-out season in the last 10 years with their cap and tax...
But we need more competitive balance in baseball! There are only 11 teams left in the hunt for a postseason birth! Oh wait...there are still 20 teams either leading their division, leading the wild card, or within 5 games of a playoff birth as of right now? Nevermind...
How is it possible that Morneau could be "not the best in the game, not the best on his team" and yet he still should be the MVP in your eyes? By definition, YOUR definition, that's factually inaccurate. But Joe's the homer...
Jeff Clement is no longer catching at the same time his organization was running sub-mendoza line guys out there while Johjima was hurt (who isn't exactly crushing the ball either). Jeff Clement does not fit in there somewhere too.
But there was a definite divide about who should be taken first.
That couldn't be hyperbole?
Either way, I want that mindset from a starting pitcher. That's what Ryan was; that's how he thinks. I love it.
Citing their success absolutely matters. Kemp hitting 7th may not be why they're winning. Kemp hitting 7th may not be optimal from a sabermetric perspective. However, maybe Torre has found that he wants someone in the 7 hole to drive in runs since he has a high OBP, low SLG guy in the 5 hole with Ramirez out? He's thinking he'll let Kemp sit down there and drive guys in because the table is set for him. Maybe it's a personal comfort level where Torre thinks Kemp is more relaxed hitting lower in the order. Maybe it's none of those things. I don't see any reason to change the batting order when things are going as well as they have so far.
It may not be statistically optimal, but managers have to deal with human beings too, not just the stat sheet. I may be only a lowly high school manager, but there are real cause and effect relationships when you move guys up and down the order when the team is having great success. I'm very much on board with the importance of OBP, SLG, range factors, UZR, and the like, but sometimes I think people on this site underrate the human side of things because they can't be measured.
If the Dodgers drop 8 of 9, Torre will likely be willing to shake things up--he did last year. Kemp moved up and down the order like a pogo stick; Ethier hit anywhere from 2-6 if my mind serves me correctly. Torre's a good manager who consistently wins with good talent. Who cares if Matt Kemp is hitting 7th?
We're not talking about choosing pitchers; we're talking about usage of pitchers. If you have the worst 11th and 12th men in the league on your staff (in this era of 12 man staffs) and don't have to go to them unless you're up 7 or down 7 because your starters consistently give you length, you'll have a good staff. If you have to use your good 11th and 12th men more (relative to the league average) versus having to stretch a starter out to get another couple outs consistently, I'll take my chances with the starter.
The key is the conditioning before the season. I've seen guys jump 4-8 (yes 8) MPH in 9 months in high school with a core-dominant training routine, throwing more, and pitching less. Yes, physical maturity comes into play too, but these are guys going from 77-79 to 83-86. That's a huge leap. If Ryan and his system can get major leaguers' arms and cores stronger, then why couldn't they throw longer in a game?
I don't think it's just "choose the right guy" versus the "choose the right method of training." It's both...and they must be choosing some of the right guys because Rangers' pitching and defense (yes, the defense is a huge upgrade) has been better this year than in past years.
I agree with Ryan to a point, at least on the macro level. The less you go to a pen, the more you can avoid your worst relievers. If you've used your bullpen for 3+ innings 4 games in a row, somewhere in there you likely will have to use a low-leverage reliever in a high-leverage situation. However, if you've received 7-8 innings out of your starters for 4 games in a row, now if you're down 4-3 in the 6th you can go to a set-up guy as opposed to a poorer option.
That, and saying Nolan Ryan doesn't know what he's talking about pitching is ludicrous. If there's one thing he knows, it's pitching and it certainly looks like his pitchers are buying into his philosophy. Whether or not you agree with the philosophy is up for debate, but so far it certainly looks like they are getting results (his pitchers are going deeper into the game...they're taxing the bullpen less...they're using a good offense to supplement what pitching deficiencies they have to win ballgames. Yes we're only one-third of a year into the experiment, but it looks successful so far.
The lineup construction isn't that bad (or that important maybe?) if the Dodgers are as far as up as they are. Argue the merits of advanced metrics all you want, but Torre is doing a good job in L.A. and if that lineup is working to the tune of winning 2 of every 3 games, there's no need to change it.
Drayton McLane's comments...well that's a different story...
Then you let CC continue and throw Joba the next day. However, working within the parameters of relief pitching today, it's a theoretical argument. I could make an argument that the best usage patterns of pitching happen in high school baseball.
When the best guy (starter) struggles, you go to the next best guy available if the game's close. Sometimes that includes the next day's probable starter. If it's a blowout, you use your mop-up guys. If you have tough back-to-back games, maybe you save your starter for tomorrow, but you bring in a good pitcher. You don't bring in a closer--you don't have enough quality pitchers for a closer.
Now this is also the reason HS pitchers get abused, but that's a different story. Aside from the reckless managers, I think you use your best guys most often and in highest-leverage situations in high schools across America.
With Indiana's pitching and solid lineup, do they have a shot to find a way through the Louisville district against, admittedly, one of the weaker #1 seeds?
For me anyway, I think part of it is the idea that there are no black holes in the Indians lineup. Francisco could get better as he ages into his peak (I tend to doubt it, but it's possible) and while below-average for a left fielder, isn't awful. If Cabrera's 2nd half and call-up in '07 is the real guy and not the first 2 months of '08, he'll be fine. The elephant in the room is Hafner...if they move quickly to limit his ABs if he starts slowly (which I doubt because of his salary, and that's what worries me), then the offense will be okay. You have 3 guys for 2 spots right now between Hafner, Garko, and Shoppach but LaPorta could factor into that mix as well. That's a lineup with one stud and no automatic outs...
The Tigers have Laird (a bad offensive fit for that park), Everett (has never hit--and not being asked to), and Inge (certainly not an asset). Guillen is also below average for a LF (why will he age well?). That's 3 lineup black holes and an underperfoming one. That's a lot to overcome. Defensively, they won't improve in the OF, they'll get worse. Guillen and Ordonez don't exactly run well, track balls well, get good jumps, etc. The IF defense will be better.
Pitching has a lot of question marks for both sides. The Indians made a move to solidify their pen with one of the best arms in baseball and have other good relievers in front of Wood. Even if the closer-of-the-month does well for Detroit, what about all of the other non-Zumaya (and maybe Rodney) relievers? Yea, I think 9 wins is about right...so is 4th place in the division.
How about defense? Curtis Granderson is fast...but how many balls are Guillen and Ordonez going to get to in that mammoth outfield? What has Edwin Jackson ever done? Why is Brandon Inge playing? How is Gerald Laird going to solve the catching problem? Everett can pick it, but can't swing a lick. Those seem to be more holes than the Indians to me. Also, the Indians AAA replacements are closer to being ready/have more upside than the non-Porcello Tigers.
Ned Colletti doesn't care what PECOTA thinks...
This comment becomes infinitely funnier if this is actually Nick Johnson of the Washington Nationals...let\'s at least pretend it is...
Jay, how much would the type of injury Martinez had (absolutely no power after being a 15-25 HR guy for most of his career) factor into the projection? Does that automatically make it pessimistic or is type of injury and power sapped factored in? I would guess that objectively it would be hard to quantify falling off the extra base hit cliff without knowing about a specific type of injury? Correct me if I\'m wrong.
A high school area scout, looking for \"the next big thing\", especially in an area where warm weather doesn\'t afford nearly a hundred games a year (thinking north of the Mason-Dixon Line, east of the Mississippi River)...
Value wise, it probably is a good move...but as an Indians fan when he broke in, there wasn\'t a player more infuriating to watch than Russell Branyan. It\'s not that he strikes out--I can handle strikeouts--it\'s the WAY he strikes out. He misses balls by feet, not inches. Even when he gets one, it angers you because of how far he hits it and why he can\'t replicate it at least some of the time. I know he has value, and actually his approach has seemed to improve since his Indians days (maybe it\'s just because I don\'t see him every day?) but he\'s that blind spot that drove me nuts as a fan...and yes, I\'d play him at first before Willie Cairo-Bloomquist...
It\'s not a witchhunt when a guy tests positive. You may not care that he was caught, he may not have known he was using, but he did test positive.
You might be right, but let\'s give Jack a chance. As an Indians fan, I was wondering why the heck Lee Stevens was the fourth guy in the Sizemore/Lee/Phillips trade (okay, I still am), but he was the ultimate definition of a placeholder and was not even on the roster the following season. Let Lopez play out the string, if Clement really can\'t catch then you still get his bat in the lineup without angering Johjima (some would argue why it matters...) and if you find out he can catch as a DH/backup C then he can catch the following year or transition Clement to the starting spot mid-year. Zduriencik is a talent evaluator first and he should bring in young talent--the right guys should be in place when Seattle\'s core is ready to win.
I have nothing to add here, but that might be the best post of the entire thread.
Other teams are building markets and chasing revenue--or trying to. The Indians created STO (Sportstime Ohio) to broadcast their games and now they have become an unofficial hub for high school state championship events and other professional sports, small college, and regional programming. They keep revenue produced by STO...but it\'s a drop in the bucket compared to what the YES network brings in; market size does affect that. That said, if you listened to the average Indians fan here (including my dad who is a long-time \"baseball guy\" who knows the game inside and out and has coached for many years--so it\'s not just know-nothings saying this), you\'d find out owner Larry Dolan is cheap, a bad businessman, won\'t spend money on free agents, and likes to snack on little children\'s oreos and milk that were left out for Santa. All he has done is keep the Indians competitive and given Mark Shapiro the tools to be effective...
...but when the bet on David Dellucci doesn\'t work after year 1 of a 3 year deal, where can he turn? More hurtful, what if Travis Hafner really is a pumpkin? What can he do? When Carl Pavano doesn\'t work, the Yanks can turn to the next investment on the market the next year. Why? Because they\'re making $2500 a seat each night for the best seats in the house at the new Yankee Stadium and the money brought in from the YES network, etc. Other cities don\'t have those revenue streams and they\'re not all created from a wise owner. Steinbrenner has grown the Yankees exponentially, is overall good for the game, and a great owner...but he\'s not the only one and the fact he\'s in New York is an incredibly immense advantage.
It\'s one of the factors, but not the most important factor when the principal owner is going through a publicized divorce that is causing him to cut back on payroll by 25%-50%. That may be outside of the general discussion, but pertaining specifically to Greene, it\'s very relevant.
What a great baseball game. David Price, Matt Garza, and Joe Maddon--unbelievable. What else is there to add?
I guess my overall point is that random player has a 66.1% chance to get the run in, but not necessarily Aybar right then and there in that situation. He looked bad all series long. I think it\'s a rational decision to have him bunt and keep him in for defense. If you pinch-hit for Aybar, you lose his defense. That being said, I wouldn\'t have minded hitting Morales there (Wood\'s lack of contact would have worried me) either.
How is it indefensible? If a good bunter who has 1 hit in the series, has little fly ball power, and has been late on fastballs all series is facing the infield in during the 9th inning of a tie game gets the bunt down anywhere, the run scores and the Angels are up 1 with 3 outs left. Just because a squeeze in the 2nd inning might not be a good idea, and \"small ball\" tactics aren\'t generally good ideas early in the game, it does not mean that a squeeze in the 9th inning with a bad hitter/good bunter/good defensive SS is a bad play. It was the right play for the situation. The execution was poor. I\'ll take my chances up 1 in the bottom of the 9th inning with Rodriguez on the mound against the middle-bottom of the Red Sox order. I like the odds of Aybar getting a bunt down on the ground anywhere over hitting a groundball through the infield or a fly ball deep enough to score the run (or get his 2nd hit of the series). Unless it\'s a slowly hit ball, Willits isn\'t scoring on a ball to an infielder with the infield in. Those extra 3-4 steps he gets while the ball is traveling to the plate on the squeeze is huge.
One thing no one is mentioning on the suicide squeeze attempt is the job Willits did at 3B. He can fly and didn\'t tip off at all that it was a squeeze. He got to his primary lead, took a hop, and took off at a point the pitcher couldn\'t adjust where he was throwing the ball (almost at the pitcher\'s release point--from the TBS high-angle replay). It might be a little late for a slower baserunner but because of Willits\'s speed he could afford to be patient. The pitch was adequate enough to get down: fastball, middle-in, around the belt to a good bunter. You could argue that hitting for Aybar was the play, but if let Aybar hit, then I think having a good bunter bunt to get a one run lead with 3 outs to go is a smart play. Anything but a rocket back to the mound gets the run and the game to Rodriguez. I\'d take my chances there. It didn\'t work because of one man\'s execution, not because of the call.