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Thanks, Jay. This makes it clear that that Dodgers have given up on 2010, and that saving $4.3 M was the only reason not to fight the waiver-claim.
I wish I had any info on if the White Sox offered any prospects, because I'm not as clear on why just saving the money is enough reason to let go someone who would help salvage the season, however unlikely that is.
I'm pretty sure, in an earlier article of this series, he said he'd treat those never-won, expansion teams separately.
Thanks for the clarification, re: six full seasons. BTW, how is "full" defined? Being on the big league roster the entire season? Being on the 40-man roster? Number of games played?
I wonder how obvious a move it is that Lincecum's agent isn't looking for a mutli-year deal during a down-market period, realizing that the best way to maximize young Timmy's revenue is to earn bigger and bigger arbitration awards as the market recovers, and then be positioned for the fatness of free agency.
(Moment of confusion: Lincecum isn't eligible for free agency until *after* 2013? I'm reading that after six years of service, one can declare....? And he started 24 games in 2007?)
Of course, he'll be in his 30-year-old season in 2014 (or 29 in 2013, see above confusion), the downside of starting a brilliant career out of a four-year college. So he better be hoping for a booming market, thin for pitching, and continued dominance with few signs of fading, or, a team as gullible as the Giants to hand him a seven year deal (e.g. the above-mentioned Zito-Syndrome).
Well, I'd get slaughtered in my business if I weren't up front about the conclusion. Hey, even a "no findings" conclusion is worth telling a story and thought process, so that others can think about how else to look at the issue.
This was going to be my point exactly. I know that if I ran a multiple linear regression model and found the r-squared (adjusted or otherwise) to be a mere 1%, I'd be looking elsewhere before I cared much about the significant factors in the model. But I can't say I'm an expert statistician.
Russell: I think this is important to address. It is sort of like putting a lot of work out there, and then saying "oh, but the data is deeply flawed so you can't trust any of it".
I think it depends on if GMs are beginning to approach player acquisition on rational approaches, like understanding what the marginal difference a player will make to their team, and if that margin puts them in a position to make the playoffs or not. If you over-performed last year, you might think you are one or two players away and fall into a trap.
You are right. Technically, since his 'true mean' is between 2008 and 2009, he more than regressed.
We just call that regression to the mean... In this case, Cole Hamel's true mean.
Amazingly thorough and persuasive work, Matt. Nice job.
I wish it were a simple matter to look at such things for every pitcher. For example, I know there was lots of analysis to suggest that last year's Brad Lidge was an aberration, but is his awful year this year just a dramatically different roll of the dice? Similarly, how differently did Chad Billingsley perform between the first and second half of the season beyond the conventional "overused" and "its in his head" explanations?
True true true and true.
Strange. Had you said the opposite, that it was OK laterally, I would have subjectively understood and agreed. But my main (possibly biased) impression was that I saw Pitch Trax say that early inning pitches Wolf through, solidly in the bottom of the box, was having strikes called as balls, and that Blanton, hitting equally low spots in the bottom of that Pitch Trax box, was getting those called as strikes.
Someone else said it was the same data as Pitch FX. True or false? Either way, I'd rather not have had Pitch Trax up at all last night, as it gave me something to focus on (negatively, at that) besides the actual game being played.
Okay, but between Blanton and Wolf, who is the "good pitcher" and who is the "journeyman"?
I'm holding back as much as I can about the strike zone, and the trends I thought I observed. Being partisan to the Dodgers will certainly not make me unbiased, and so I'll leave it at this: We need to abolish Pitch Trax, because it bears no relationship to the effective strike zone.
Let me be as idealistic as possible: the strike zone is what the umpire says it is, and trying to show what the strike zone ought to be is a disservice to the fans. I felt ruined by last night's game, but nothing was more to blame than the fact that I had seemingly objective evidence in front of me that the ball-strike calls were going more to the Phillies than to the Dodgers (my biased view: I saw a ton of bottom of the zone strikes that Blanton got calls on and Wolf did not).
Get rid of that, and replays of close calls... or change the umpiring to reflect the ideal. But showing the gap between the ideal and the actual umpiring is ruining the whole thing.
Too much focus on line up order in a game where the team being criticized for it gave up 11 runs. Sure, Joe noted the insignificance of it, but awareness is only the first step. How about explaining why a top offensive team flails at times, as the Dodgers repeatedly have done? Sone analysis of feast or famine? What about how a top ERA team with a well respected bullpen gives up 11 runs? Looking for some more central and meaningful insights here!
I was sitting there, before Howard stroked that double, and thinking: 'Joe Torre is trying to give Kershaw the chance to pull it together and establish himself.'
He lost the gamble, big time.
Sherrill had none of his stuff last night, and that was pretty unusual from what he's done since he became a Dodger.
Between the two decisions, not pulling Kershaw in the fifth was probably Torre's bigger mistake. But I don't think anyone was thinking about leaving in Kuo.
Simple: you have a better chance of winning in the playoffs if you buy your way in than if you don't get there at all.
The Tigers and White Sox have no chance this year. Not to mention a handful of teams with teeny tiny payrolls that haven't been in the playoffs 8 out of the last 9 years.
Right. To expand on your quotes around "setup": Torre brought in Broxton to an appropriate match-up situation, rather than reserve him for a save. Thrice, Torre brought in Broxton in the 8th to face Albert Pujols (two of those times, it was with two outs and Broxton pitched the 9th, one of those times, it was to start the 8th and Sherril pitched the 9th).
Strange: no comment about Torre's use of his bench. He burned both Juan Pierre and Orlando Hudson on pinch-running duties and had a choice between Mark Loretta and Juan Castro. I mean, if Torre puts Juan Castro in for Thome (pinch running at first base) in the 8th (two outs, first and second), he still has Hudson available.
Instead, he's down to Loretta, hitless in his career against Franklin. What luck!
Also, I'm not sure why the homer from Matt Holiday was a "big homer"? It wasn't hit any farther than Ethier's perfect-game busting homer in the fourth.
Fair enough to criticize the method of expression. Best to divide that from making a counter-argument.
Personally, I was astonished that Wainwright made any kind of excuse for another player, least of all one that admonishes *fans*. He should be embarrassed for saying that. Conditions for that absurdly-timed weekday game were all over the map, with the sun shining at strange angles. It was a terribly weak argument and came off as sour grapes -- an unusual thing to see.
Broxton\'s not fat -- he\'s big boned!
(Couldn\'t resist that... Went looking for pictures, and it seems that Sabathia has, or had, a bit of a gut. Broxton, on the other hand, seems to be all thighs.)
Regarding Sabathia\'s size... I\'ve seen several writers say there isn\'t another pitcher of his size, and I guess that\'s true when you factor in both height and weight. However, the 290 lbs number keeps popping up, and there\'s at least one pitcher I can think of at the top of my head at that weight: Jonathan Broxton of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He\'s listed at 6\'4\" and 290 lbs, and got the final four outs of the Dodgers-Cubs NLDS series earlier this year.
I don\'t know what that does to the argument about Sabathia\'s size, but if anything, since Broxton is shorter, his weight is that much more significant.
If you are saying that \'an eye for an eye\' is Justice, then you are saying that the Hammurabi code, from which that comes, a nearly four thousand year old statement of retribution as the core of justice.
Please. Human society hasn\'t evolved since then? Justice is most specifically NOT retribution by the injured party, not any more. Are you saying that if I back my car into yours, then you have the right to back your car into mine? Preposterous. You have the right to ask the state to compel me to pay to fix your car.
Hence, Joe\'s perspective, in this analogy, might be that the Dodgers should be able to complain to the League Office (and get effective justice that way, through fines and suspsensions), rather than having to take justice into their own hands and hand out retribution in terms of physical harm.
My thoughts exactly. Maybe FJM should pay Joe to write a few pieces. Oh, on second thought, then Joe would be required to write in a more snarky manner, and I think he\'s hitting the right tone here (righteously indignant back up by facts).
I had to think the same thing: no fence in Dodger Stadium, for instance is 409 feet from home plate AND 25 feet high... so it surprised me given this park\'s reputation!
Maybe James McDonald will be on the roster in place of Saito, and tomorrow night (well, it will be night in Philadelphia), we\'ll get a Bob Welch-style, Yom Kippur show-down between McDonald and Burrell...
I don\'t recall reading this series of articles during last years\' playoffs, but I have found them to be a great overall and comprehensive read.
I\'m also a Dodgers fan, but while reading this article, I don\'t get a strong sense one way or the other about the series. That is either a testament to Jay\'s even-handedness, or a sign that the teams are pretty well balanced. So Dodgers in 6 might mean something like:
- Hammels wins Game 1
- Billingsley wins Game 2
- Kuroda wins Game 3
- Blanton wins Game 4
- Lowe wins the rematch
- Billingsley wins again
If you project Lowe to start game 4, then Jay has picked Kuroda to once again win the close out game. Could be... Could be...
Really enjoyable and well-explored topic. Thanks for that!
The implication that Berroa at short was good for the Dodgers defense makes me wonder if Gammons really meant that, or if he lost his mind. Dodger fans have been watching Berroa since his he was acquired and just gaped at how limited his range is and how poorly he can execute at times.
I agree. Zambrano\'s 5 runs in the second inning don\'t happen without the infield providing at least two extra outs, if not three. You can\'t link one to the other so easily.
Fine, except that a) we don\'t know that Zambrano would have accepted the risk if a lesser-talent than Manny was on deck, and b) the hole Zambrano was in was 2 runs in, bases loaded, facing the #2 hitter, a 3-1 count and two outs.
ANY #3 hitter is going to make Zambrano (or any other pitcher in that same situation) think twice about risking walking in a run and having to face the next hitter who is NOT ANGEL BERROA, since Angel Berroa would never bat third in a major league, playoff playing lineup.
Lineups tends to bunch the best hitters close to each other, so I don\'t buy that this example talks about protection. It talks about situation and lineup construction.
I\'m also willing to throw in there other unmeasurable platitudes: that Manny brings excitement to the other hitters, that Manny shows an example to other hitters about how to hit, that Manny may say things to other hitters that help them hit. But to say that Ethier\'s jump in production was only because Manny was in the lineup seems an absurdly simplistic and wrong-headed way to view the complex world of baseball.
Not speaking for Joe, but it seemed his point was that, in general, you need to go from first to third in the situation, and had Willits been in there, it wouldn\'t have been close. So Vlad was making the right decision, except that he\'s not fast enough to execute on said decision.
But you do point to a less-than-clear phrasing.
That\'s an awesome question, as both sets of odds are preposterous. 3-1 favorites? I should take that money.
Is that why the VORPs of Santana and Lincecum are so close (73.4 vs 72.5) but Lincecum\'s WARP is nearly a win higher (9.9 vs. 8.9)?
I can\'t disagree more, since what it really does is shed more light on the incredible East Coast bias I keep seeing in many media outlets, Sheehan included. He wrote five times about K-Rod\'s unimpressive Saves record (once, twice would have been sufficient), and here he keeps throwing the NL West up as if this kind of thing never happened before.
I know Joe was perhaps 7 years old in 1981, but that doesn\'t mean we haven\'t known about the downsides of having more than one round of playoffs since the LCS began.
Play the hand you are dealt instead of whining about it.
Juan Pierre = lightning rod, at least for discussion about how to evaluate players.
(I, for one, would never bench Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier in favor of Juan Pierre, and it is fun to point out that Ethier has lost starts to JP but leads the team in HR, however conventional a stat that is...)