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My only quibble with this story is that Valentine did err in Saturday’s 15-9 comeback victory by the Yankees. I didn't have a problem with his choice of relief pitchers, but he yanked Doubront an inning early. He was in the groove and had thrown less than 100 pitches, I believe.
A small correction, but you meant to say that "keeping a one-run lead when you have runners on SECOND and third with no one out..."
Also, while I don't think that this would have been a great idea, what about intentionally walking Hamilton to let Motte face Young?
As bad as the Pavano contract was for the Yankees, surely the Kei Igawa acquisition is worse?
An interesting article, Steven. Once your back heals, I wonder if you might write something about the reverse -- instances in which small sample size or superficial stats screamed for a player to be yanked from the lineup, but the manager/GM knew better and were vindicated with superior performance.
Drew gets complaints from Boston fans, but that's for being undemonstrative, taking too many called third strikes, and seeming as if he's not hustling in the field (that last complaint is a total crock). As someone who follows the Red Sox, I've never seen a whisper of complaint from his teammates in the press. He's stunk this year, but after Josh Reddick supplanted him in the starting lineup, he was a total class act about it.
Um.... shouldn't there be a third team analyzed in this report?
"The Yankees had tried [bunting] 20 and gotten away with it 11 times, or 70 percent of their attempts."
Something is wrong with that sentence.
Jay, why do your think Jed Lowrie's offense will taper off? I can see him as an injury risk, but he's always been a quality hitter when he's healthy. I assume Reyes would have better range, but still.....
Agreed -- Iglesias is the only prospect that's generated real excitement, and to be fair to his bat looks better than Ordonez. Plus, if there's a mid-season trade, I suspect the key part will be someone on the Major League roster, like Jed Lowrie, than a bevy of prospects.
Don't forget Daisuke Matsuzaka too!
Would Kevin Millwood be viable/feasible?
Is it just me or does it look like a strong majority of the NL had crappy offseasons? The Mets placed 5th primarily for not doing anything really stupid. That's a really low bar, and yet 10 other teams did worse.
If memory serves, a couple of years ago Keith Foulke signed a contract with the Cleveland Indians and then retired in Spring Training because he didn't think he could compete. He left money on the table too.
Interesting as always, Christina. One question: at what point do the Royals have to be concerned about falling into the Washington Nationals problem of "no one will take our money," despite the bevy of promising talent in the pipeline? Free agents will be necessary, even fir a team this stacked with prospects. Will they have to trade to fill gaps in the roster with premium talent? Or is this kind of concern too premature?
Regarding Kalish, I think the Red Sox plan is to have him develop/spend a full season at AAA rather than be a bench player in the majors. That job will likely go to Cameron and/or Darnell McDonald.
Drew and Cameron are gone after this year, so then Kalish will likely start if he's still around.
Jay, one quibble to your point about "the specifics of Steinbrenner's third act—his evolution during the success enjoyed by the Yankees under the relative stability of the Joe Torre/Brian Cashman era." Wasn't that stability achieved only because Steinbrenner was barred from making baseball decisions in the early 1990's? That allowed Gene Michael and others to amass the home-grown talent that formed the core of their late 1990's dynasty.
I understand your thesis here, but you overlooked one thing Texas did that's pretty extraordinary in retrospect -- it managed to conjure up its three best starters with very little in the way of cost. Converting C.J. Wilson to starting, signing Colby Lewis from Japan, and trading prospects for Cliff Lee were pretty savvy moves. Texas' defense is good, but I doubt they go to the World Series with Scott Feldman and Tommy Hunter as their 1-2.
Contrast that with the Rich Harden bust, and doesn't it suggest that there are more creative ways to build a starting rotatioon than signing free agents?
"Have any other pitchers made noteworthy shifts from the bullpen to the rotation?"
Byung Hyun Kim? Philip Hughes? Braden Looper?
Another was to parse this out is to get rid of the pitchers who broke into the majors by being in the bullpen even though they were groomed as starters. Pitchers who carved out decent stretches as established relievers and then switched to starterdom are more interesting.
I understand not going all out on the free agent market for relievers, but wouldn't it make sense to sign an Octavio Dotel clone in the hopes of picking up decent talent at the trading deadline? If you're a team like the Orioloes, it might not make sense to spend much money on "win now" but spending money now of free agents that can be converted midseason into rent-controlled prospects makes some sense.
The important thing is that the neighborhood surrounding Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap has definitely improved with age... though not perhaps back to its 1920's heyday.
As both a Red Sox fan and a baseball fan, what would interest me is if the Red Sox at least closed the gap with the Rays and Yankees to make late September baseball interesting. Otherwise, both New York and Tampa will just be coasting into the playoffs.
Has anyone compared the number and extent of the injury cost to the Red Sox to that of the Yankees and Rays? My gut instinct is that the Sox have been hit harder, but I'd like to see the data.
Well, it sure looks like Galarraga will stick for another start or two. I hope he sticks just for the class he displayed about the blown call on the 27th out of his perfect game.
A righteous Umberto Eco trashing AND a Jenna Jameson reference in the same Transaction Action? I can only read this with awe.
Foucault's Pendulum was the first novel I ever started that I decided not to finish.
This was a fun exchange to read -- especially because, if memory serves, the sabermetric conventional wisdom a few years ago was that the Red Sox were making a mistake in keeping Papelbon in the closer's role.
One question about your narrative, Marc. You write/link that Papelbon resents the fact that Red Sox never gave him a chance to develop as a starter in the major leagues. But wasn't Papelbon himself complicit in this decision? In Spring Training 2007, he was treated as a starter, but requested a return to relief. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/spring2007/news/story?id=2808345. It seems to me that this is an important point in thinking about the counterfactual scenario.
One nitpick: WEEI employs Rob Bradford, not Chad Bradford.
Park effects might impose a serious constraint on this strategy. If you think of Fenway, for example, I'm not sure you want a pitcher patrolling either left field (the Wall) or right field (vast area), even if you put them on the opposite field side.
If you were the batting team, wouldn't you have an incentive to draw out each at bat to make the fielding pitcher cool off? Or would the new pitcher be allowed to warm up with every stint?
Given his backstory, it's really nice to see Jon (not John) Lester earn a green.
Some discussion of the marginal benefit of stealing might have been worth including -- particularly if/when it leads to an IBB.
Russell: perhaps it would be possible to post the list of current managers?
Good luck with the Astros.... expecting lots of gallows humor in that one.
On behalf of all Red Sox fans, a profound and hearty thank you to Dayton Moore for:
A) Trading the good Ramon Ramirez to Boston for Coco Crisp;
B) Grabbing Betancourt, thereby ensuring that the Red Sox quartet (Nick Green/Jed Lowrie/Julio Lugo/Alex Gonzalez) did not win the coveted SS slot.
Good article, but I think you're confusing "risk" with "opportunity cost" when you talk about the merits of signing someone like Garland.
No, that's WAR (Wins Above Rapscallion)
The WARP3 numbers are stark, but c'mon, that's mostly because Wagner and Glaus barely played last year. The real question is whether Wren is too risk-loving in signing players coming off injury years.
I read this and all I can think is, "Thank you, BP, for enabling Christina to write more often."
As you note, one of the issues with bullpen management is "resource management and getting pitchers the right amount of work." I'm wondering if your system doesn't punish managers of teams in a position to win often at the end of the game. There might be times, for example, when Gardenhire would love to use Nathan, but he can't because he pitched the previous two nights and is essentially unavailable.
The slowest player in recent memory has to be Sean Casey in 2008. The man couldn't get a double to save his life because so long as the baseball stayed in the park, it was going to get to second base before Case.
Wait, did I miss a TA about the Red Sox signings of Mike Cameron and John Lackey?
Joe, two thoughts: First, if Halliday is at the phase in his career where he's interested in consistently pitching for a playoff-caliber team, then doesn't the contract make more sense? He's signed to the Phillies for the peak-to-start-of-decline years of their core, and can then go into the "ronin" phase of his career by signing with another playoff contender come 2015.
Second, aren't you exaggerating the money Holliday could get in free agency? He's not equivalent to Sabathia or Santana because of his age at free agency. Would anyone have signed him to an 8 year deal going into his age 34 season? I mean, maybe the Astros, but....
If the Lowell trade goes through, might the Sox just decide that they'll go with, say, a Max Ramirez/Nick Johnson combo to start the year and then see what happens come the trading deadline?
I see your point about the Sox dealing from strength with starting pitching, but I can also see Theo Epstein and John Farrell vowing to themselves, "we are NOT going to have Paul Byrd pitch this year."
The problem with the analysis is that it assumes the Jays have no ption, but they do -- they have the opportunity of playing the Ultimatum Game again at the July trading deadline.
The question to ask is, will the Jays get more trading Halliday now for a team that wants him for the whole year or will they be able to ignite a bidding war among contending teams -- like Cliff Lee or C.C. Sabathia -- during the year?
Unless they trade someone like Ellsbury, they're completely locked in on the right side of the field and up the middle. The only positions where they can improve are left field, shortstop and third base. I wonder who they'll make a run at in the off-season.
Joe, in focusing on pinch-hitting only, is underselling his point. In the playoffs, when the importance of a single run is magnified, both pinch- runners and defensive specialists matter more as well. The opportunity costs of a shallow bench can be pretty massive.
I'm curious, Christina: the Yankees will likely have the option for the three-starter or four-starter schedule. Does the SNWP gap between a three-man and a four-man rotation point towards an obvious choice for them?
I played Ultimate for Stanford in the early nineties when I was in grad school, and we used to play Chico State all the time. Except that they'd get very huffy and explain that they went to Las Positas College. Which just encouraged everyone else to call their school "Chico State."
Joe, you write, "Let's be very clear that this suspension would not be happening if the Cubs had continued their late charge to the fringe of the race, or if they had any kind of chance of making the postseason." Undoubtedly true -- but isn't it also true that had the Cubs been in contention, Bradley would likely not have said what he said?
I'm not disputing the statement, but I honestly never thought I would see "Chan Ho Park" and "a key bullpen piece" in the same sentence.
Can I humbly sugggest assigning Kevin Goldstein the task of evaluating all the the players Pittsburgh has acquired in the past year to see what they actually have? A lot of these prospects (Tabata, Clement, Milledge) have potentially great upsides, but all of the underwhelmed their former franchises for one reason or another.
Given that his bat still plays, it might have made sense for the Sox to keep Lugo as a utility infielder -- had Lugo been at all willing to BE a utility infielder. It was pretty clear in Boston, however, that he wasn't going to go along with that plan (he didn't take to it too well in Los Angeles either). Given his diminshed range, I'll be curious to see whether he adapts to his new circumstances, lucks into a starting position, or quits the game.
Yeah, it was Snow. My bad.
1. The 2002 World Series, when Jeff Kent had to grab Dusty Baker's kid to get him out of the way of a possible play at the plate. I know Kent doesn't have the greatest reputation in the sport. As a parent, however, I was struck by how gently Kent managed to pick him up and get him out of harm's way.
2. Wily Mo Pena. The man had/has no idea what to with a breaking ball, he's awful in the field, etc., etc. Whenever he connected on a fastball, you were just gobsmacked at how hard and how fast that ball would travel.
Kevin, I know he's old for AA, but no love for Aaron Bates?
"the Rays did go from having the worst record in the major leagues in 2008 to the World Series in 2009, before losing to the Phillies in five games." Ummm... you meant worst record in 2007 and World Series in 2008, right?
The content is fine, but the structure and prose style need some work. The author should have started with the Nolasco vs. Cain example, and used it to set up the utility of FIP. Hell, I'm an academic, and even I thought there was too much literature review in this submission.
To what extent do Bayesian approaches help you out here?
Isn't this also an issue of what kind of fan you're trying to reel in? Harcore baseball fans will find the information, notes and analysis regardless of whether there are game stories or not. For the casual or only semi-interested fan, however, the newspaper story is likely to be the first access point. Cutting that off can cut off a potential fanbase.
Kevin, might Washington offer less money to Boras for Strasburg in return for a guarantee of putting him right on the ML roster, so his free agency clock starts at the earliest possible point?
I see there are no worries about rumors regarding Alvarez\'s conditioning.
One of the best things about your prospect lists is the top 11 players under 25 in each organization, which puts many of these prospects into perspective. Have you thought about a similar Top 100 list?
Kevin, you mentioned Will Middlebrooks in passing, but it looks like he didn\'t come close to cracking your list. Where does he rank, and what\'s holding him back?
Ribs & Bibs, from the South Side of Chicago. It destroys anything that passes for BBQ on the East Coast.
He\'s not abandoning core principles. He\'s saying that the probability of a Sox comeback from 7-0 with seven outs left was such a low-probability rare event that the standard explanations don\'t work. For extreme bounds events, sometimes you do need to consider other effects.
After Weaver, pitchers everywhere will demand that they be allowed to carry a piece of sandpaper with them.