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Exactly. I consider myself a Mets realist and realize that a .791 OPS doesn't cut it for a legit starting first baseman, but based on the good he delivered in 2010 -- decent power, nice BB and K rates, little platoon split v. lefties -- I'm optimistic Davis can become at least that. He should certainly be the presumptive incumbent for 2011.
I'll assume this is coming from a bitter Mets fan rather than a troll. If the former, look at the bright side of 2010 and hopefully 2011. The team found/stumbled onto, until proven otherwise, 2011 starters at 3 positions (Ike Davis, Josh Thole, Angel Pagan) and 2 starting pitchers (Jon Niese, RA Dickey), and jettisoned overpaid Proven Veterans like Jacobs, Matthews, Cora, and Francouer. One can hope that they've realized that Maine, Perez, and Castillo represent sub-replacement sunk costs, and with any luck the K-Rod fiasco has them thinking they shouldn't overpay for bullpen pitchers, like smart teams already know. This winter, they could use a real second baseman, a starting pitcher, sufficient healing from Beltran's knee, and some realistic hope that 1 or 2 AAA outfielders will be major-league ready next year. Progress and hope.
What I really notice on this chart is how eerily similar Jeff Bagwell and Frank Thomas's career stats are -- starting with their same birthdate (5/27/68) and finishing, more or less, with their teams facing off in the 2005 World Series when each was an injured shell of themselves (though Thomas had a couple of productive seasons left). Thomas had slightly more power and walks, Bagwell better defense and baserunning, and that's about it. I imagine they are as similar as any two good players in history.
As a Mets fan, I look back on a lot of good things that happened in 2010 to till the soil for a potentially good 2011, though not without many stumbles to get there. Mets wisely jettisoned Proven Veterans at several positions and gave starting jobs to Ike Davis and Josh Thole, both of whom proved to be adequate starters with some upside. Similarly, Jon Niese and RA Dickey were nice surprises in the rotation. Angel Pagan proved to be a solid starter rather than a bench outfielder. They were allowd to do varying degrees of damage, but the team eventually figured out that Mike Jacobs, Luis Castillo, Jeff Francouer, John Maine, Gary matthews, Alex Cora, and Oliver Perez are sub-replacement sunk costs that have no part to play next year. Perhaps they've figured out that smart teams don't overpay for relief pitchers. I see a limited to-do list this winter: 1) find a 2nd baseman and a starting pitcher 2)trade Mike Pelfrey (consistenly low K rate + nice looking W-L record + decent contract = overvalued asset) 3) test Beltran's trade value, but I suspect they're better off rolling the dice on his health next year 4) give major league jobs to 1 or 2 of their AAA outfielders.
And for love of God please don't take seriously Buster Olney's suggestion of getting rid of Reyes or Wright.
The small gap between the Cards's WC chances and the Phillies's division crown chances is even more surprising given that the Cards's WC chances are "suppressed" by the scenarios in which they overtake the Reds for the division. That is, there's a greater chance than just 13.5% that the Cards leapfrog both the Giants and Phillies, but in some of those scenarios they'll also leapfrog the Reds, which shows up as a WC "failure".
I'd prefer if all BP articles about awards or rankings ignore what the author thinks the voters will ultimately decide and instead focus on what this site does best, evaluate players based on performance. I don't read BP to get a sense of who's most likely to win the Cy Young, MVP, make the Hall of Fame etc but rather who deserves it. Just my opinion, and not to take away anything from this article.
(But as for the comment that Gump, The Shawshank Redemption, Pulp Fiction, and Quiz Show "all rank in my top 20", I sure hope you're talking about movies from 1994 and not all-time.)
Absolutely the Yankees deserve credit for finding and developing their home grown talent. But it's a little silly at this point to call Jeter, Rivera, Posada, Pettite et al "home grown" because they've been paid free-agent wages for years (not that anyone did). The Mets might be the only other team in the league that doesn't have to make difficult choices about which home-grown successes they can afford to keep (and with the Mets' drafting history this is usually a moot point, although I'm optimistic about their current talent.)
Agreed, that is one of the more shockingly inane lines I've ever read on this site.
"Even though we play in the biggest market of all, you can't just go out and buy a championship because that doesn't work," Manuel said."
I'm wondering how Manuel responded when a reporter reminded him that the Yankees play in the same market.
What happens if a team claims a player and the two sides can't work out a deal in 48.5 hours? Does the waiving team have a final chance to pull him back or is the default that he goes to the claiming team? (I'm envisioning a situation in which the waiving team prefers to work out a trade and will work to the final minute to make it happen, but in the end would rather retain than release the player.)
Is Fernando Martinez not here because he's not stalled or because he's been stalled for so long it's not list-worthy anymore? I assume B.
I love BP's projections, but to me the Phillies' 11.7% to win the division does not pass the smell test (even more so since you say this does not factor in Utley's or Polanco's injuries). Someone wants to give me 8-to-1 odds to take the Phillies being in first at the end of the season, I'll take it. Sure, a 4.5 game lead (now 5.5) with 75 to go makes the Braves a solid favorite, but I can't believe the Phillies' chances are truly that long.
Does BP go back to past years to see how accurate the in-season playoff odds hold up? Seems to me we've seen several very-long shots end up making the playoffs in recent years, suggesting perhaps that the ex ante probabilities need some recalibration (but that's just based on imperfect memory).
I find the NY-based MSM discussion of Beltran's return very disturbing, with the primary focus being how it's going to cut into Angel Pagan's playing time. Apparently everyone writing about it is locked into the idea that Beltran = CF, and since Pagan plays there now there's nowhere else for him to go but the bench, ignoring the obvious superior option of starting Beltran in RF, keeping Pagan in CF, and benching the far-inferior Jeff Francouer (perhaps with Francouer platooning against lefties and trying out Beltran in CF in those games). I'm sure 90% of BP readers understand this, but I have very little confidence that Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya do.
"Strasburg..is being credited for striking players out.The Mets third baseman is being blamed for striking out. Both can't be true, can they?" Why not? Clearly both pitchers and hitters influence strikeouts, and if a pitcher does it a lot we credit them and if a batter does it a lot we do the opposite. I'm not terribly concerned about Wright's K's as long as his OPS is right in line with his career line, but I'm a little concerned because I assume strikeouts, or more accurately his marked upturn in K's the last 1.5 seasons, indicate something is off with his swing or approach.
I feel compelled, having attended the game, to mention Matt Latos's very-near perfect game last month against the Giants, with his only non-out in 28 plate appearances being an infield single leading off the 6th that was so close that even watching the replay I still couldn't tell if the batter was safe or out. Clearly not in the same category of 'almost' as Galarraga's, but still, we've been shockingly close to 4 perfect games from May 9 to June 3.
I am very late to this discussion, but wanted to add that I'm shocked that Matt Latos's 1-hitter for San Diego last month v. the Giants hasn't come up at all despite similar circumstances -- infield hit with questionable safe call at first the only blemish on an otherwise perfect game. The important differences between his and Galarraga's games are 1) the play at first was truly a tie (I still wasn't able to tell if he was safe or out watching on replay), not an egregiously bad call on an obvious out and 2) it happened leading off the 6th instead of with two out in the 9th. But less than halfway through the season we are remarkably close to having had an absurd 4 perfect games thrown.
Oh, and as a not-quite-so pessimistic NY Giants fan, how similar are Beltran's and Kenny Phillips injuries? I know that KP had microfacture surgery, but sounds like his injury is similarly a degenerative arthritic condition.
Call me a pessimistic Mets fan (which I am), but really? Beltran, or anyone else for that matter, can really play a professional sport with his "femur banging into the tibia/fibia area"? I've never experienced that thankfully, but unfathomable to me that would create merely a "manageable" level of pain from anything more strenuous than walking.
Howard really has a .261/.348/.529 against lefty starters? Is that really possible given his total .225/.308/.442 against all lefty pitching, with I assume many fewer PA's against relievers than starters? If so, he's basically hitless against southpaw relievers.
As a Mets fan, I like this move by the Phillies, especially given the concurrent aging of the rest of the team's tremendous core talent into their mid-30's.
What I need to know is: does Pelfrey officially get credit for a complete game (a Mets reliever entered the game and threw one pitch before the game was stopped, but does the top of the inning officially disappear under those circumstances?), or more laughably, a shutout? That had to be one of the luckiest rain-shortened wins ever, with Hanson mowing down the Mets and giving up one unearned run while Pelfrey completely labored through 5. What a stupid rule...
Re Reyes: I'm still not clear what the impact or risks his thyroid condition present on the field. Is it mostly a matter of conditioning, or that he could get very ill if he overextends himself?
I think what surprises me the most here is that Cal Ripken still leads A-Rod in all 3 JAWS categories -- how is that possible? Ripken's 3 off-the-charts seasons (83, 84, 91) doesn't seem to anchor a peak that I would have thought comes close to Rodriguez's.
Perhaps equally shocking is that your rankings suggest that Jeter is going to have to continue his very graceful decline for a few more years at least to be Hall-worthy by JAWS standards -- I'm guessing Yankee fans would have an opinion about that.
Why no analysis of the Padres, Astros, Rangers, or Mariners, who should all slot in between the Pirates and Giants? (Part IV?)
as noted in the first line of the 2nd paragraph (unless this fact was added to the article after this post)...
Yes, i've always suspected that Koufax's peak isn't all it's cracked up to be. (and if that's the case, then does he really have a good HoF case? dare I say he's among the most overrated pitchers of all time, or am I going too far here?)
Is Glavine's career one of the best (and few) exceptions to Bill James's golden rule of pitchers, that a young pitcher needs a high strikeout rate in order to have any hopes of longevity and success?
You probably don't want this to become a forum on any pitcher on your list, but Pedro's peak figure looks suspiciously pedestrian, given his dominance from 1997-2002. Many observers consider his and Koufax's peak the best in history, or at least modern history -- what gives?
OK, I'll admit it: I have no idea what that means.
Similar to preceding post, in reference to #1 on the list: you say "Halladay is worth about 2.5 wins for this season if you trade for him. So, he is worth the same as a decent but unspectacular third starter would be for free." this seems like a false comparison -- why can't I have Halladay and the free unspectacular third starer? Halladay is replacing my otherwise even-less-spectacular fifth starter, not that guy.
Actually, my misinterpretation was based on the fact that the '96 Braves were the previous NL champs trying to repeat as Series champs, which clearly is not what you wrote or meant.
"They were vying to be the first NL team to repeat as champs since the Big Red Machine" -- no, that's not true either. '96 Braves.
right, which is completely independent of their location in the largest metropolitan area in the country, which also facilitates their massive local TV contract.
It's a little disingenuous to categorize Posada/Jeter/Pettite/Rivera as "home grown". Yes, they're all Yankee farm products, but almost every other team would have had to make a choice which ones to keep a long time ago. Keeping them all isn't significantly different than their ability to sign top-tier free agents.
Let's not forget 1976, the first year of an essentially new Yankee Stadium. Made the Series that year, but would have to wait one more year for the 6-game WS victory.
Joe, love your stuff, but: "A.J. Burnett didn't allow six runs in two innings because the Yankees started him on three days' rest. He allowed six runs in two innings because he's A.J. Burnett, and he sometimes shows up with nothing.." 1) You, nor anyone else, knows if this is true; 2) since AJ Burnett sometimes shows up with nothing, it was dumb to increase the chances of that happening by pitching him on short rest. I wrote yesterday it is, in my opinion, a bad decision for Girardi not to adjust his defenisble pre-series rotation strategy (top 3 guys on short rest) with his team needing to maximize their chances of avoiding a 3-game losing streak. Going with Gaudin last night ensures that you've got your best chances of winning game 6 or 7, and I'm not so convinced that Gaudin gave the Yankees a worse shot at winning last night v. Lee than Burnett on short rest.
Last night's performance by Burnett hardly proves that my opinion is the correct one. But I think Girardi's strategy takes a big risk where conservatism was called for and maximizes the chances of the Phillies delivering a knockout punch while they're behind on every judge's card.
Re use of Mo: the problem was Girardi panicking and using him for no good reason in game 3, when Hughes would have been fine protecting an 8-5 lead with 1 out in the 9th. (Had Hughes given up a single instead of solo HR, which are equivalent events in the bottom of the 9th, no way Girardi would have pulled him.) Only 5 pitches, but with warmu-up clearly enough to have Girardi decide he was only using Mo 1 inning, thus compounding his mistake. Had Damon/ARod not come through, excellent chance he would've lost with Phil Coke. Thus repeating almost exactly the strategy Joe Torre employed in 2003: overuse Rivera in low leverage innings in game 3, then lose with your 10th or 11th best pitcher in game 4 while holding Rivera for the save situation that never materializes.
I'm late here (game 4 is in the books), but "the Phillies did make the Yankees use Mariano Rivera" is not true -- Joe Girardi panicked with 1 out and a 3-run lead in the 9th. I'd bet dollars to donuts that he wouldn't have lifted Hughes if Ruiz had singled instead of hitting a solo shot, even though those two events are equivalent in the bottom of the 9th. Seemingly inconsequential with Rivera throwing 5 pitches and then saving game 4, but could have been a major blunder: I'm sure Girardi would have brought Rivera in for 2 innings in game 4 had he not used him in game 3, and Girardi was prepared to lose the game with Phil Coke in a tie game in the bottom of the 9th of game 4 had Damon and Rodriguez not come through. This is almost exactly the blueprint Joe Torre used in helping the Yankees lose the 2003 Series -- use Rivera in low-leverage game 3, keep him in the bullpen in tie game 4 while Jeff Weaver loses in extra innings.
Not to go back to my rant last thursday, but I'm again shocked by Joe's crediting Girardi for his aggressive use of Rivera when his failure to do in the 7th inning of game 5 quite likely extended the series by a game. The only rationale for excusing Girardi going to Marte+Hughes with 2 on and a 2-run lead in that game is that no other manager would have done so either.
Agreed -- another example of each manager competing to put his team in a worse position to win. I know these guys do a lot of things besides make in-game tactical decisions, but in what other line of work would repeated decisions to handicap your organization's chance of success be tolerated? And Scoscia is considered among the best in the business.
Wow, I expected this to be the #1 issue of the day. Yeah, Hughes has been good, but I still see a gaping hole in the percentages between him and Rivera in that situation. How can you realistically expect a higher leverage scenario the rest of the game?
It was just nuts to pinch run for A-Rod. What percentage of the time does the pinch-runner's speed make the difference between scoring and not scoring? Even in the most celebrated pinch runner decision of all time (Dave Roberts), the subsequent events played out that the Red Sox would have scored the same exact one run they did even if Cecil Fielder had come in to pinch run. Every time a manager makes a pinch running move like Girardi did I hope that the pinch-runner has come to bat in a crucial situation in extra innings that brings to light how steep a cost such a move brings. (And my favorite almost example of that is the 1993 World Series -- Cito Gaston pinch-ran Alfredo Griffin for John Olerud, a difference of probaby 400 OPS points that season; Griffin didn't score and was on deck when Joe Carter saved Gaston much embarrassment.)
Really shocked that neither Joe nor any comments so far have mentioned what I thought was a glaringly egregious mistake by Girardi: not bringing in Rivera in the 7th. Yanks up 6-4, Angels have 2nd-and-3rd with one out and the heart of the order coming up; Rivera's pitched one inning in the last 4 days with an off-day tomorrow. Bring in Rivera there and there's, what, a 75% chance the inning ends with the Yankees still winning (and, as he would show an inning later and as he showed in game 3, and excellent chance no runs would have scored). You want Marte to face Abreu, fine, but there's no reason other than the Manager's Bible of Closer Usage to go to Hughes over Rivera. Rivera can then certainly pitch the 8th, and I'd say a decent chance he could go the rest of the way. I know, I know -- it's the 7th inning, no manager in the last 20 years would go to his closer then. Still, no manager other than Joe Torre has had such a unique weapon at his disposal.
Joe writes "...a manager can't win a game with any one decision." I don't think it's hyperbole to say that this is a counter-example.
You're kidding, right?
Surprised no one mentioned what I thought was Tracy's failure before the obvious Street/Beimel fiasco, which was not leaving Betancourt in to start the 9th. That would have left him the more palatable (in Tracy's mind) option of bringing in Beimel when Utley/Howard came up without showing up your closer by removing him, not to mention worrying about what would happen if Beimel didn't get Howard out. Completely ridiculous bullpen management all around.
"Bunting with a runner on second and nobody out in the first inning is one of the few tactical decisions that is so obviously wrong as to make me want to fire a manager on the spot." Please, please make sure Omar Minaya gets this memo.
Sure, this is true, but if a key situation comes up in the 7th worthy of using your relief ace you have no idea if a later such worthy situation will arise. That's why I can't stand the common practice of managers losing with their 5th best reliever in extra innings on the road, holding back their closer for the save situation that may or may not materialize. I suppose I should be impressed that they've figured out this is pointless strategy at home.
I still don't understand why the focus of this article isn't the Giants, who have worse LF's than Anderson and therefore for whom Dunn represents a difference of more than 5 wins, and for whom those 5-6 wins would likely have them in the wild-card lead (at least until Colorado keeps its September 07 impersonation going another few weeks). I also assume they could afford Dunn's contract at least as easily as Atlanta, if that indeed was a deciding factor for the Braves.
Tangential question to this article, but I've always wondered why MLB expands rosters mid-season like this (or, more accurately and intriguing, late-season). No other sport I know of does this, and it seems odd to do so down the stretch. Is it mostly because it allows teams to give their minor leaguers more playing time?
Two more examples: Rickey Henderson re-signed with the A's in '94 after being traded mid-93 to the Blue Jays. Mike Bordick went back to the Orioles in 2001 after his wretched half-season with the Mets in 2000 (with the Orioles fleecing the Mets out of Melvin Mora in the process).
Doesn't the presence of a constant (22.538) in the regression equation [MW = 0.1106*MP + 22.538] imply that the base number of wins for an all-minimum wage payroll isn't 49.6? If I'm understanding correctly, this suggests that a team that spends zero on marginal payroll will still end up with 22.5 marginal wins, or 71 wins on the season? Something's not right (quite possibly with my brain or how I'm understanding this regression).
On this note, you say Varitek's other qualities don't "make him a better player, just a more important player to his team." Not that I believe or don't believe he has those qualities, but if they lead to more wins, as you're implying, why wouldn't they make him a better player?
Who says voters are supposed to "throw out the stats" and decide on whether a player is "one of the best of his generation"? This rule would lead to some poor inclusions and exclusions depending on how good a player's peers happen to be.
Feel free to pass on this, because it's easy to see how comments on the other players can quickly bog this discussion down, but how many more years like this do we need to see from Pujols before he's got a serious case for best 1B (player?)of all time?
The more fundamental question though is what were the ex ante signs that Rios (and Wells) likely had peaked at the time of their extensions? There are certainly counter-examples, players with ostensibly similar skill sets who signed big contracts in their late 20's who proved to be wise investments (eg, Beltran, Damon w/Red Sox, Jim Edmonds, Bonds of course) -- except for Bonds, not too hard to imagine each of those guys immediately declining and their contracts becoming millstones.
You write of Ortiz "he looks done, unable to hit great fastballs, and having to cheat to hit good ones..." Interesting choice of verbs, and I can only assume you mean "guess".
Any chance that the warmup pitch Niese threw aggravated the initial injury he had from the stretch, or did that merely show conclusively that he had done something serious? I ask because after the stretch he was able to walk (gingerly) back to the mound, but after the pitch he was writhing in pain and needed to be carried off the field. I would think if the stretch tore the hamstring completely he would have been incapacitated immediately.
I've always felt that the hand-wringing over the lack of African-Americans in MLB today hinge on a very narrow definition of AA, excluding African-Americans from Latin America. I think it's a little disingenuous or misleading not to consider Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, or David Ortiz as black, and including them makes this a non-issue. I understand part of the perceived problem is under-recruitment of USA black youth to baseball vs. other sports, but I think that's a much narrower issue.
And Mets fans, despite Seaver, Ryan, Gooden, Cone, Fernandez (near the top of all-time leaders in fewest hits/9IP), Santana, etc., 7576 games later, continue to wait in jealousy...
Joe, love your stuff, but I just don't get the Ryan Howard shpiel. 'Most overrated guy in the game'? That's nuts. I'm sorry, regardless of position, defense (which you even say is 'at best so-so', not abominable), and home park with a career .276/.375/.582 line can possibly be a candidate for those honors. Yes, big platoon splits, but he's still a career .750 OPS hitter v. lefties. Overrated, sure, and clearly he had no business winning the 2006 MVP, but the frequent repitition of your extreme position is hardly the conclusion of good analysis.
Perhaps your consideration of offering up Wright is tongue-in-cheek or strictly wondering, but it makes me shudder because there are enough impatient, loud, flat-Earth types in NY that actually want this to happen. You know, so they can get rid of that bum Wright for some Leaders who Know How to Win. I'm all for doing the un-emotional valuation of any player, and I'd rather see the Mets sell rather than buy this season, but Wright and Reyes are likely to be stars (underpaid at that) for long enough into the future that, even if the Mets face a multi-season drought, they will be crucial players whenever the team contends again. Beltran, on the other hand, given his age and still-excellent performance, is likely to be worth dangling this offseason.
Not germane to the excellent dialogue in the comments, but I went to summer camp (with very limited TV watching) for far longer than anyone should admit. As a lifelong baseball fan, you can imagine how excited I was to finally get to watch my first All-Star game at age 23, heightened by having to wait yet another year because of a long rain delay at the start of the 1990 game. Took about two innings of watching my inaugural ASG in 1991 to realize "Wow, I really couldn't give a rat's ass about this game." Since then I've been lucky to check in for about 5 minutes each year.
Soriano is 33, not 31 -- he aged two years instantaneously following the trade for ARod.
Not that anyone should complain about a guy with a .544 SLG, but David Wright's ISO is also down around 40-50 points this year (around .180 instead of remarkably consistent .220-.230 for previous seasons). New ballpark that appears to be even more stingy for HRs than Shea and we're only 25% of the way through the season, but perhaps worth keeping an eye on. Even Wright can't keep up a .360 batting average.
Regarding The Play, I just took another look, and as great a play as it was by Mauer, I don't believe he made a conscious decision to eat the throw to first based on Gardner. He was looking at first and couldn't have seen Gardner coming home at that point, and without knowing what was going on in his head, it looks like he simply decided he wasn't going to have a chance for the out at first. Hardly takes away from what he did, especially since the pitcher didn't notice Gardner coming home.
Wow, a manager that's too enamored of the bunt and uses his bullpen woefully inefficiently. Look no further than across the Triborough Bridge for another such manager, Jerry Manuel. Who replaced another manager with exactly the same tendencies. I would contend that almost every MLB manager follows the same script, some more rotely than others.
Had to laugh as I found this article immediately after reading Joe's: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=AvILgoOWF4XLSFcKwD9Y2loRvLYF?slug=jp-ibanez050609&prov=yhoo&type=lgns
I can't wait to read your reaction to today's Jeff Passan column: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=AmgvopVy.zZBNrAyCg6WZ4ARvLYF?slug=jp-panicnumber041409&prov=yhoo&type=lgns
Exactly. I was excited to see this headline, but upon reading the article I realized that Manuel means he's going to use Rodriguez even more inefficiently than the standard modern closer role would.
Imagine my amazement to see the headline of this story after my previous post disparaging Jerry manuel (and every other manager that would have done exactly the same thing):
But no, apparently Jerry means not that he'll bring him into tie games or prior to the 9th inning, but that he's going to be so bold as to bring him in with a 4- or 5-run cushion. G-d help me if I'm interpreting this correctly.
I've never understood why catchers are allowed (in practice) to block the plate at all. Can you imagine allowing first basemen to do this?
What's to be done about insane bullpen management? Such as the practice of keeping your closer out of a tie game so that you can lose the game with your 5th best reliever on the mound? The Exhibit A I have in mind is Jerry Manuel losing with Darren O'Day on the mound and keeping Francisco Rodruigez fresh for the save situation that never materialized Friday night (but he made sure to bring in K-Rod the next day to protect a 4-run 9th inning lead). I know Joe's written a lot about this, but really, what's a civic-minded fan to do? The depressing thing is I can't think of a single manager in baseball that doesn't follow this particular "Book". I react a little more strongly to this early in the season because it's been 6+ months since I witnessed such dumb managerial moves.
This seems to prove the original point more than refute it. Throw in large park differences, age (which you mention, but Utley and Rollins are both at the age where there are real chances of decline and Wright/Reyes are both still in their early prime), and recent injury history, and I'd expect Wright+Reyes '09 to have much higher expected production than Utley+Rollins '09. But you're talking about 4 potential MVP candidates here, so probably not where the focus should be when analyzing the differences between the teams.
You hit the nail on the head, but not in the way you intend: \"...highly competitive young men fighting for fame, honor, and a cut of $6 billion would do everything they could to beat the guy next to them...\"
This is why steroid use remains troubling to those of us who share your disdain for the shrill and self-righteous tone of PED reporting in the media. It puts pressure on players, particularly those on the fringe of a major league roster, to do something dangerous to their health.
Just as the media and many baseball fans overreact by turning this into a good-vs.-evil issue, BP\'s take on PEDs consistently goes too far the other way. In addition to wondering about the health issue, I wonder about the effect of PEDs on modern statistics, and think it\'s reasonable to debate whether users should have their statistics and records stand. Yes, no one is writing in outrage about Chris Donnels or Guillermo Mota, but that doesn\'t dismiss these other legitimate concerns.
I think phuturephillies has it right, and therefore TB should stick with Balfour vs. Stairs/Dobbs, Rollins, and Werth. Ideally TB fans would want to see Balfour get out of the inning 1-2-3, and then make sure they don\'t do the same in the top of the 7th so they can pinch-hit for Balfour, clearing the stage for Price to come in for multiple innings starting by facing Utley and Howard. If Utley comes up in bottom of the 6th, then it gets real interesting. But for the reasons stated, would probably be a mistake to go with Price and risk burning him after just one inning (theoretically you could start off with an immediate double-switch, which would be hilarious to see right off the bat, but that wouldn\'t be appropriate in this case given who\'s batted recently for TB).
Wilson\'s 1980 WS: 4-for-26, 12 K\'s, .154/.267/.192. Certainly worthy of at least honorable mention.
I thought Willie Wilson was the biggest goat for KC in 1980 -- didn\'t he go something like 1-for-21 with a dozen strikeouts?
I\'m sure everyone\'s moved on to Game 4 discussion by now, but I disagree strongly that walking the bases loaded was the correct move for Maddon in the 9th. I thought once Dobbs came up, with no good righty hitter on the bench, he had to bring in a lefty to go after Dobbs and then play matchups from there if they survived. I generally hate the walk-the-bases-loaded strategy because it forces the pitcher to make hittable pitches. In this particular case, who knows, and you\'re right that once you get the runner on 3rd with no one out you\'re in big trouble.
Just checked the schedule, and I\'m wrong about the day off between games 4 and 5. Game 4 Sunday, 5 on Monday. (Why would they do that for the LCS but not the WS??) So scratch my comment immediately above.
Wait, isn\'t there an extra rest day between Games 4 and 5, just like with the LCS\'s? That would mean Hamels would have to go on short rest only in game 4, and he\'d had full rest for game 7; it also means Myers and Moyer could start games 2&5/3&6 on 4 days rest too, meaning no need for Blanton.
Great juxtaposition of lines from Garza: \"When I came out, I wasn\'t out of gas,\" Garza said. \"...I didn\'t know if today was last start of the year, so I just went out there and emptied my tank.\"
\"You have to go a long way to find a baseball team taking the field with a worse recent memory than the Rays have.\"
How about the 2005 Astros?
I\'ve never understood the \"you can\'t let your season end without putting your best starter back on the mound\" argument for pushing up a starter when facing elimination. The Red Sox need to win 3 games and lose none, and Lester can start only one game, so what difference does it make that it\'s game 6 or 7? Granted, he would have full rest and Beckett might be more effective with an extra day of rest (both of which Joe points out), but these are a different line of argument. I guess I\'m just surprised that Joe would make such a point.
\"The fact that the Mets were 6 games out of first and similarly far back in the wild card is part of what makes that trade such an absurd decision (not that I\'m still bitter about it...)\"
(To clarify, by \"that trade\", I meant Zambrano-for-Kazmir in 2004, which I referenced in an earlier post.)
Don\'t we need a little more context to evaluate these deals, such as the likelihood that the trade would have some marginal impact on a team\'s playoff chances? I can understand a front-runner making a trade to boost its chances in the post-season, such as the Johnson or Rolen trades, even though both teams were likely to make the playoffs without such deals. But the Giants\' trade for Winn, despite Randy Winn hitting like Mickey Mantle down the stretch, was an absurd gambit to begin with, since they weren\'t going to make the playoffs even if, well, Winn hit like Mantle. The fact that the Mets were 6 games out of first and similarly far back in the wild card is part of what makes that trade such an absurd decision (not that I\'m still bitter about it...)
I guess I\'m suggesting looking at also looking at teams\' playoff odds prior to the deadline deal.
I\'m shocked that Victor Zambrano for Scott Kazmir in 2004 didn\'t make the list, what with that trade propelling the Mets to the playoffs and a World Series title that year.
Oh, wait -- he pitched about 3 games and then sucked thereafter.
JS should have written \"Cole Hamels, cable-subscribing America.\" Am I the only one who thinks it\'s a travesty that only 3 of 8 post-season series are available to those of us Luddites who still get their TV signals over the air?
Perhaps I\'m nitpicking, but was any other Mets fan out there critical of Manuel\'s decision to have Murphy bunting in the 9th? When you\'ve got Jose Reyes on first, who\'s more than capable of getting to 2nd on his own? After the count went 2-0? Even when he had two strikes? I was watching mlb.com\'s pitch-by-pitch, and someone told me Manuel was upset with Murphy afterwards, so perhaps Manuel didn\'t order the bunt.