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Why can't a "rough" comparable with Rondon be Kimbrel and Venters with the Braves in 2011? If Rondon has the mindset of a genuine closer, he can handle the pressure. If not, the Tigers will just make a trade at the July deadline. Valverde blew his first save in 2012, and lasted just fine in the regular season.
I agree with Chiefsnark about Alburquerque. And I WOULD NOT put Benoit in there--he gives up home runs. And that Scout's comment about Coke being too excitable? I thought closers were supposed to be a little off-kilter.
I'm actually surprised that the network doesn't have a full-blown instructional show, with or without pro's guest-starring; i.e., a half-hour 'Diamond Demo' show showing kids (and adults) how to hit a slider, or how to steal a base, or throw a knuckleball (could we please have more knuckleballers?).
This article brings back wonderful memories in a way. At the time in 2003, I was not following baseball at all (I had been a Tigers fan as a kid thanks to Mark Fidrich), but my father-in-law, Keith, lived in Michigan, and he was a lifelong, devoted Tigers fan, born in Detroit. (By the way, a relative took him to Tigers Stadium as a boy just so that he could see Babe Ruth in his last season, a fact which I learned only a year or so ago, before he died.) During that season, Keith watched almost every game on TV, every day a game was on, despite the wretchedness of it all, like he did every year, and usually to the end. I would talk to him regularly on the phone, and he would update me on the Tigers as to whether they would break the MLB loss record. He was so happy with that last 5-for-6 win streak, and that they avoided the ignominy of 120+ losses! Thanks to him (and his pretty daughter, also a big Tigers fan), I got back into Tigers baseball in 2006, and baseball as whole. A wonderful sport, and I thank him for getting me into it!
To all Angels (and Dodgers) fans: You have every right to be excited, but here's something to help you get out of your dream-state:
Chant that, and you'll remain grounded.
I agree with your reservations about trading Rick Porcello. I think he's being held back simply by his mind. Once he gets his confidence solidified, I think he'll be a *really* nice part of Detroit's rotation (he already is a nice part of it).
I too think you are on to something here. 2013 might be the season where NO wild card comes from the AL East. The AL Central is very competitive (and the Tigers, although the favorites, perennially have problems with the Royals, and Shields pitches well against Detroit if I remember right); all KC has to worry about is possibly both wild card teams coming from the AL West (is that possible, by the way?).
If the English Premier League is any guide, either a Russian Oligarch or a Persian Gulf potentate. Who else has a billion dollars to buy a team (Dr. Evil?)? Goldman Sachs?
A few nights ago on the MLB Network it was intimated that Larry Bowa was interviewed for the job.
The understanding on the MLB Network yesterday was that Hunter would replace Brennan Boesch in right, not Berry in left, and consequentially, would put Hunter in the bottom half of the lineup, leaving Berry in the two slot. I think that would be much better than having Hunter hit second.
Agreed. The Tigers hit, fielded, and so were not rusty --I was more worried about a 2006 replay, which didn't happen, than a first game loss. Verlander simply just got psyched out, which he suffers from from time to time. Fister has shut down stuff. Now--if Fister gets blown up/melts down, and if Lady Luck still fully resides in the SF camp, then I'll start worrying.
Do you think that, given Garcia's upside, the arrivals of Dirks and Berry, the come-and-go potential of Boesch, and decent utility options, that it would be wise or foolish for the Tigers to part ways with Delmon Young at the end of the season (despite his apparent blastability that manifests only during the postseason)?
Specifically, from the second article, "The Tigers' Miguel Cabrera should be an easy favorite in a number of regards. If you're old-school and hung up on batting average, he's second, while leading the league in RBI. If you're new-school, the fact that he's leading in OBP, SLG, True Average, and almost there in VORP positions him somewhat nicely as far as the pure value proposition. Position-relative, he suffers a little bit because the standards are higher at first base, and he's also not a particularly nimble defender, but Cabrera's case for MVP is about as sound as it gets... except for a few incidentals. The Tigers are already dead, which won't really help him with the drama addicts, and last year's incident with drunkenness didn't help him any then, and probably doesn't help him any now."
I hope this satifies you, danteswitness. I apologize for blanket covering of this site. My exasperation got the better of me. I had the MLB network, and the Sports Illustrated types, in mind when I used the word "pundit".
If Miguel Cabrera gets the Triple Crown, but doesn't get MVP, I don't know what I'm going to do. The hypocracy in the stat/baseball pundit world is driving me nuts. When the MVP was Cabrera vs. Hamilton a couple of years ago, everyone (incl. this site) was saying that Hamilton should get it because the Rangers were going to the playoffs and the Tigers weren't, even though Cabrera's secondary numbers were better than Hamilton's. Now, going to the playoffs doesn't matter, but 'individual achievement' and secondary numbers. Pundits will then say, 'But if Trout had broke with the club in spring training, the Angels would be going to the playoffs'. Well, pundits, these hypotheticals can work both ways --maybe if Trout broke with the club in April he would have sprained his wrist and been out six weeks and then tanked from there, or maybe he would've choked and had a miserable month or season due to the irregular playing time in the overloaded Angels outfield, or got a concussion trying to steal a base and lost time there. By the way, if Trout were in line to get the Triple Crown, the press would be all over him and the MVP voting would be unanimous in his favor.
So please, no hypotheticals, and please, consistency and intellectual honesty.
I can't remember if I started in 2007 or 2008, but every year about come about May I'd start howling "They need to fire Lloyd McClendon" around my house -2011 excepted- and continue for most of the season. They should hire Rod Allen --but I think he's been doing some consulting in the clubhouse for free.
Gene Lamont might be leaving for the Red Sox soon despite what happens to the Tigers, assuming Boston's owners are willing to swallow some pride.
How about Austin Jackson?
Watching parts of the game last night, the differences in defensive prowess between the Tigers and Indians were glaring (steam-engine vs. sparkling respectively).
Other than in 2011, in seasons 2007-present, I can be, or could have been, regularly heard around the neighborhood at this time of year complaining that the Tigers need to fire the hitting coach. So first quarter-season hitting paucity for the Tigers is nothing novel.
This year, I do think luck, especially of the bad kind, has played a not insignificant role, especially in the first month or so. (I think playing around with BABIP and its ilk for that time period would be telling.) Balls the Tigers hit would praeternaturally fall into the gloves of the defense, umpires would miss calls (or make up calls), balls for the Tigers would be called strikes for the opponents, etc.
Other than that, their bullpen (sweet on paper) has been stinky (save for Duane Below)--they've blown so many leads 'tis truly tragic.
Prediction (which I hope is wrong): Tigers will get red molten lava hot about a week to ten days before the All-Star Break, then lose all their momentum, and return to playing miles under their potential for the rest of the season until the end. Because the rest of the division is mediocre, they'll still be in the mix in the end, perhaps losing the division in the last day or two, or in a 163 game. Sigh.
I hate to be Debbie Downer, but Rick Porcello's line for the day was better than Moore's.
The Marlins forgot to give their new manager an ideology test before hiring him. The next one will surely be tested for purity before any baseball questions come up.
Heaven forbid a baseball manager might have opinions (even in jest), which he putatively has the freedom to express, that differ from some, even a majority, of the fans (cf. the Tea Partier/Ayn Randian? Tony La Russa).
Ah, but he's a ground ball pitcher with a sub-par defense behind him--so isolated talent is quite at work here, so the extra run support perhaps cancels out the runs lost by the defense. If he had an above-average defense behind him, he'd for sure be an upper-echelon winner.
I think daily off-season training with Miguel Cabrera has a lot to do with it. Some of that talent has got to rub off (cf. Brennan Boesch, who's also been working with Miggy, and is also no fluke), mentally if not physically. Having a father and a grandfather who were or are in the game surely helps too (again, mentally if not physically).
That clip just totally made my morning--and you're right--that probably was his reaction.
Mr. Kory, do you have the transcript of the conversation where Oswalt turns down a one-year, $9 million dollar deal from the Tigers? (Reported on Hot Stove/MLB Network, 02/13/2012)
Thanks for doing this list!
So are the 2015 Padres going to be the next 2013 Royals?
I concur completely. I hope Jim Leyland feels the same.
My initial suspicion was along these same lines--namely, that Braun was involved in some non-baseball extracurricular activities that might prove embarrassing, i.e., he had been using some performance-enhancing drugs of a different sort.
And he was a 13th-round draft pick too. There are many lessons to be gleaned from this fact for sure.
Instead of going by "innings appeared in", a more fair metric would be comparing plate appearances of the batter with batters faced by the pitcher. If you go this route, J.V. had more business involving home plate than Mr. Ellsbury or Mr. Bautista.
One might respond that does not take into account the innings the position player is defending in the field, and so he has more of an impact than a pitcher. In response, one can say that, as noted above in the J.V. posting, a) a pitcher is a defensive player too both with the glove as well as the pitches he throws; b) a starting pitcher has an effect on both the bullpen over time (use, misuse or non-use), and the starting pitchers appearing before and after him; c) has a much, much greater effect on the game with an absence/injury than almost all position players. (Red Sox lose Lester for six weeks, they're in big trouble; lose Ellsbury for six weeks, they can manage okay, e.g. 2010 season. If MVP were determined by "devastating effect on team's performance or on win-loss record by absence", J.V. and Miguel Cabrera would likely be tied; Ellsbury and Bautista would be behind Curtis Granderson or Robinson Cano.)
Wild Conspiracy Theory--is it possible the Cubs are waiting in order to make an splashy announcement of both GM and manager, e.g. Epstein and Terry Francona?
Circumstantial Evidence for Wild Conspiracy Theory--Francona disappeared from the Fox broadcast booth right after the Epstein hire was 'leaked'.
(As a Tigers fan, I was relieved that the White Sox did not hire Tito.)
Brilliant. This should be adopted post haste. My only modification would be to have the first expansion team be Cuba instead of PR (Viva Boricuas!), regardless of politics (I can dream), but PR should definitely get one one day. And I definitely think Mexico should have a couple of teams --wasn't there a Mexico City team that U.S. teams played (in exhibition?) back in the day?
Your ballots are refreshing when compared to the popularity contest that is current fan voting, which in turn is determined by market size.
Is this statement made in seriousness or sarcasm?
The Tigers' announcers spent some time analyzing the Posey/Cousins event (the Tigers were playing terribly) and Rod Allen said two interesting things: First, from the moment you step off the bag towards home, you have to have decided what you're going to do at home plate. So he said that Cousins had to have decided to take out Posey way before he made it to home. Second, and as evidence, he pointed out (as kmbart does) that Cousins would have scored had he done the hook slide.
(After seeing Posey writhing in pain, I thought Cousins should be banned from playing (with no pay) for the length of time Posey is out. I saw a similar slide last year that Mark Teixeira made in the midst of one of his April slumps--he took the catcher out violently (the catcher was taken out of the game if I recall right), and was proud of it. It's unsportsmanlike to say the least.)
Jered Weaver's woes seemed to start when he had the 'stomach flu' (a la most of the Twins' 25-man roster) --if I remember right, he was held back only one day. In the cases when I've had the stomach flu (aka food poisoning), I just can't imagine pitching a major league baseball game the day after. First, could there be any causal connection between the two (an illness triggering a loss of command over a period of time), and second, why to managers send out pitchers to start when they're sick? (I recall a game between the Tigers and Yankees this year when A.J. Burnett was pitching sick --it was brutal to watch, he was hacking on the mound, phlem and whatnot was coming out of his nose and mouth, and he did not pitch well as you might imagine.)
I agree completely, as a general rule, it seems a good idea that a pitcher should get some extra rest, especially mental rest, after they throw a no-hitter --it seems like most tank afterwards for the rest of the season (Buehrle and Braden, and Gallaraga after his imperfecto, come immediately to mind). But Verlander was 11-4 out of 19 starts after his 2007 no-hitter (if my math is right), and his performance seemed much easier, and better, in this 2011 one. Plus, Verlander regularly throws heavy cheese in later innings, especially if he is flustered or trying to get out of a jam.
Oops, just read that Mr. Dawkins just said that. Sorry about that. Just goes to show I need to read more carefully. My apologies--the internet teaches bad reading habits.
Didn't Jeremy Bonderman have TOS?
Do you think Chone Figgins would improve his performance if he was moved to the lead-off spot, as he was in LA-Anaheim? Is there something in Ichiro's contract that says he must hit lead-off until the End of Days? With Figgins' speed in front of him, I think Ichiro would make a great no. 2 hitter. Or am I just wrong?
Could you explain a catcher's balk?
If I remember right, I saw one: I was watching a Tiger's game, I believe last year, and the catcher, Alex Avila, scooped up a ball in the dirt after a pitch with his mask and a balk was called on *him*, not the pitcher. I was very confused, and still am!
Maybe a more apt comparison for the 2011 Red Sox would be the 2008 Tigers. ("...they'll score a 1000 runs and win the World Series...!", "...offense will dominate...", "...unbelievable line-up...", "...buy your World Series Tickets now..." etc. etc.)
What I wonder is how Harper's agent agreed to this --being sponsored by "Miss Utility". It's just one consonant away from "Miss Futility".
You'd think if crass commercialism is going to go this far, the players would want more um, appealing sponsors, like Victoria's Secret or Viagra.
Will Rhymes is a fun player to watch too. He does something very few (if any?) AL batters do--he bunts without being told to if the count is right and there is a guy on first. He'll steal as well. A nice no. 2 hitter.
What makes Brad Penny so fragile? I saw some video recently where he looked like an old Jake Peavy, with a nasty (in the bad sense) recoil after a pitch--it looked like his shoulder was absorbing the torque of the throw instead of his body. Is this accurate, is it something else, or is Penny (like Carlos Guillen it seems) just naturally fragile?
Tenure is not the same as a salary cap. Tenure, at least at the university level, is there to protect teachers' First Amendment rights, and so is a necessity. This means that someone can teach Karl Marx or Fredrick Hayek, or can be pro-life or pro-choice, for example, without fear of being fired. Adjuncts, who can never get tenure, are now the majority of university teachers. They live in constant fear of being fired, and have to be very careful in what they say in class. Experto crede.
Steinbrenner's comments just reflect the attitude currently dominant in our ruling class at the moment: "Anything thing that constrains me in the least (like paying higher taxes for the financial bailout and our two (maybe now three) wars; revenue sharing) in doing whatever I want is socialism or communism and needs to be crushed+it's the little guy who's screwing everything up and needs to be put in his place."
Hence Ratto's comment cited above is on the right track.
Over the last several years, have the Twins been like the Angels in that they consistently over-perform/surpass their Pythagorean projections (meaning that a fall to earth at some point is in order), or are they consistently good in themselves, meaning no fall to earth unless injuries overtake them?
Look out for currency fluctuations. If the dollar increased in value since the bid, then it's possible they paid under $5 mil --in dollars at the time of the interview. At the time of the bidding, it would've been the $5.29 mil figure.
That's assuming they paid in Japanese Yen.
I think the biggest clue I found as to what happened came from a quote by Carlos Guillen, in a story by Jason Beck on the Tigers' website (02/17): "Yeah, I'm worried about him [Cabrera]...Sometimes you have people around you that are not good for you. You think they're your friends, but they're not really friends." It sounds here like Miguel has a Michael Vick-ish problem as well as a drinking one: surrounding yourself with an entourage of rotten, needy hangers-on (aka 'friends') who are nothing but trouble and certainly don't have your best interests in mind.
Could some one explain to me how the Yankees, with their perennial late-round/last-to-go status in the draft, manage to get such good prospects? Is it that their development system is top-notch, or is it that their scouts are fabulous at seeing diamonds when everyone else sees dirt?
PECOTA knows that in 2011 Evan won't find his cap.
I concur. Plus, I took the 2010 Tigers team as an indication that 'mediocre' prospects don't necessarily entail ineffective big-leaguers. (Relatedly, what round was Albert Pujols drafted?) Similarly, top prospects don't necessarily entail effective big-leaguers (sadly, Andrew Miller or Cameron Maybin).
Is there some tactical reason as to why the Tigers' top prospects are almost all pitchers? (Is it one of, 'We'll keep the best, and trade the rest'?) Supposedly their head scout is top-notch, so I'm assuming there's one.
The point here isn't whether Luke Scott's opinion is right or left, liberal or conservative. The point is whether there is any grounding in reality in what he is saying. And there is none. If there is to be any decency and common sense in our society, people can't just be going around creating their own reality, and then calling it "fact".
By the way, I thought baseball players and managers were pretty evenly divided and given equal air-time on the immigration/Arizona law issue, with LaRussa and Pujols in favor of the Arizona law, and Ozzie Huillen against it.
EXACTLY. And if I'm the Yankees, I pull my offer and arrange a blockbuster trade for Felix Hernandez.
Hot Stove on the MLB Network last night (11/29) mentioned that the Giants have contacted Jeter's agent. Any real possibility of Jeter going to the Giants, and regardless, would it be a good move for player or team?
I think the issue you raise here, and in the NL MVP piece, about 'framing' or the 'personal storyline' is spot on vis-a-vis voting. On MLB Network's Hot Stove last night (11/23), the commentators said that if the Tigers had made it to the playoffs, Cabrera would have won the MVP vote 'in a landslide'. Does this simply mean that greater market exposure --something which the playoffs provide and something you mention above-- is the factor that gets an MVP candidate over the top? This doesn't seem like progress to me.
Nor does the fact that 'extracurricular' and team factors are not used in justification for Cy Young voting (e.g., 'the Mariner's offense was one of the worst all time, so Felix shouldn't be punished for such a dismal win-loss record', etc. ), but play a role in the MVP voting. I didn't hear anyone say Cabrera shouldn't be punished for not having Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz around him for protection, for hitting in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the entire league, let alone for his team not making the playoffs.
(Related query: if the Braves had made it to the World Series, or even the NLCS, would Hayward gotten Rookie of the Year? Ditto with Austin Jackson? If so, it's just 'marketing' and team-effects that get players into the winner's circle, not pure individual achievement.)
I'm not saying Hamilton didn't deserve the MVP. I am saying that the vote should've been much closer between him and Cabrera, and that the voters are inconsistent in their standards.
All of the kind of arguments used to justify Felix Hernandez' award certainly weren't present when they were handing out the Gold Gloves, and from what I can tell from the commentariat, will be dismissed when voting for the AL MVP. Josh Hamilton is supposedly going to get the MVP because of BA (analogous to W), Texas went to the playoffs, and an inspiring story of recovery from drug addiction. Miguel Cabrera won't get MVP because 'peripherial' stats (like OPS, games started, intentional walks, etc.) don't matter as much, Tigers didn't go to the playoffs, and recovery from alcohol abuse isn't (as) inspiring. (Maybe Cabrera needed to become a born-again Christian in order for the story to become 'inspiring').
So the logic for Hamilton being MVP, if applied to pitchers, would have meant that Sabathia should've gotten the Cy Young. The logic applied to Cy Young, if it should be applied to MVP, will mean that Cabrera is the AL MVP.
Consistency is a foundation for both rationality and sanity.
I thought Brian Cashman had a man-crush on Carl Crawford, so might we be seeing a Lee-Crawford signing, like we did with Sabathia-Texeira?
Selig et al. are all assuming that entertainment can be found only amongst the winners. I think there could be plenty of excitement to be found with the losers--along with getting people interested in AAA ball. How? Instead of another wild-card, I think he should introduce relegation, like they have in the English Premier League. Each year, the worst team (or worst two teams; in EPL it's the bottom three) in each league gets relegated to AAA, and the top two (or four) AAA get promoted to the Majors. That way we get to see e.g. the Royals, Orioles and Mariners battle to the death for remaining in the Majors, which would actually be pretty entertaining. On the flip-side, we'd get to see new teams like Durham or Memphis or Sacramento (or even Campeche or Mexico) make an appearance in The Show.
Relegation would also help get cheap-skate, revenue-sharing owners off their butts and start spending some real dough on real talent.
As a GM, would you (assuming you have the power) find a new hitting coach? I've been feeling for a year and a half, at least, they need a new one. When a Tiger leaves for other pastures, suddenly their BA goes up; when they come to Detroit, it goes down (e.g. Aubrey Huff, Curtis Granderson on the one hand, Aubrey Huff, Johnny Damon on the other). It can't just be Comerica Park (witness Miguel Cabrera). I know Lloyd McClendon is a great baseball guy, but I am hoping he gets a managerial job. Jim Leyland seems too loyal to him. Are my suspicions on track, or unjustified?
Re: length of games, conferences, batters stepping out et al.--welcome to Yankees-Red Sox style baseball!
Would the Mariners' offense performed any better with Figgins first in the lineup and Suzuki second? Figgins has the speed not to get caught at second with Ichiro's infield singles. Plus, was Figgins' unhappiness due to in part his being moved from a lead-off guy to batting second?
Mike Sciocia is another nice comp for Gardy. And perhaps the Angels as well--the Twins amazingly seem to overperform, relative to what their stats would predict, during the regular season almost every year. It then catches up to them in the playoffs. What Gardenhire was able to do with his staff without Morneau, a less-than-100% Mauer, and relative no-names everywhere else (save Thome) this season was just remarkable.
A fantastic game summary--thanks from someone who missed the game.
Winning sells tickets. Plus Ichiro is their marquis name anyway. Good point though--it works for KC and Zac Greinke.
What do you think the odds are of trading Felix Hernandez for a smorgasborg of top-level prospect talent? The Yankees would seem to be the logical partner.
Amen. However, 'duck fart' is ambiguous: it can refer to an actual duck farting, or it could refer to one's farts after they have eaten duck. Given the reference to a short, stinky, crappy blooper over the second baseman, I'm inclined he means the second.
By the 'he' who should "suffer a lot bit", do you mean Cabrera? As far as OPS for first basemen go, for example, Albert Pujols is currently at .999, Joey Votto at 1.015, Mark Teixeira at .855, and Cabrera at 1.082. Josh Hamilton's OPS is 1.023. (All stats from the MLB site, 08/20/2010.) Miguel Cabrera's in the catbird's seat with this stat!
Thanks for the article on the Tigers --a depressing one, but one with a glimmer of hope.
Yes--The Tigers were looking at Haren, and the official Tigers website noted that Haren had a no-trade clause to the Tigers he'd have to waive.
I simply just can't believe the Tigers' would trade Armando Galarraga after all that has happened between him and Tigers fans this season. It would be like a guy supporting his best pal through successful cancer treatment, then having an affair with this pal's wife right after he was out of the hospital.
Oh--I forgot to ask--any update on Jorge de la Rosa? Thanks.
The vuvuzela is making the World Cup almost impossible to watch. I actually think it is affecting the players on the pitch too. I wouldn't mind the instruments (and atmosphere) one finds in Latin American or Japanese ballparks being imported here though. Much better than "Y.M.C.A." coming over the loudspeakers.
Am I the only one who thinks the hype surrounding Stephen Strasburg is getting to be a little too much, that it's become almost a personality cult, just the same way certain quarterbacks get in football? I certainly don't deny his talent, and I'm happy about Washington getting some recognition and new fans, but baseball is a team sport, and without players doing their job out on the field (he's not going to be throwing no-hitters every time out), and Strasburg getting scouting reports on opposing hitters (maybe he's so good he doesn't need them, despite just two games in the majors), he'd be earthbound in a jiffy. Plus there are other pitchers doing nifty things out there equal to Strasburg's doings (e.g., Max Scherzer recently getting 14 strike-outs in 5.2 innings, the first time it's been done since 1920, if I remember all that correctly) but not getting nearly the hype. Maybe it's just a part of our culture now, or maybe it's just money--hype up a great rookie, and lo! you'll sell 20,000 more tickets at Progressive Field.
I truly wonder what Joe Girardi's, Terry Francona's --or most especially, Bud Selig's-- responses would have been if it had been a Yankees or Red Sox pitcher who was denied a perfect game. Or, if it had been an "elite" pitcher (e.g., C.C. Sabathia or Josh Beckett) instead of a "journeyman"/"working class" pitcher.
My guess: the call being overturned, with the team and pitcher being given their perfect game, and instant replay for game-affecting calls in the 9th.
My two dogs both blew out their right rear "ACL's", and they had TPLO surgery, which sounds different from the kind of procedure yours is getting. I truly feel for you and your dog. Like with baseball players, the hardest part is the rehab, especially keeping them quiet the first six weeks (in my case). Having a crate where you and your family hang out a lot helps. I let mine roam around inside the bedroom when we slept too. Also, some pain medications makes some dogs hallucinate (and usually the trips are bad ones, like the one my dog had --he cried for hours and hours) so watch out for that too. Switching pain meds, or taking the dog off the completely, will do the trick.
I apologize for the line about the Royals and Mets; I was unclear. I didn't mean that they were bad or negative per se. It was meant to be shorthand: In reference the Royals, is was in regard to how they handled Gil Meche last year (where they perhaps weren't conservative enough); in reference to the Mets, it was in regard to how they interacted with the media (where the return dates for Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran were perhaps problematically handled). So, I was asking: Will the Rockies be conservative, really conservative or more likely to take a risk? Will the Rockies interact with the media in a way that is more forthright, or more abstruse?
Again, my fault; I wasn't trolling or knocking the teams or their staffs. (By the way, I'm a Royals fan (2nd favorite team), and my uncle is a die-hard Irish Mets guy.)
I read today on a baseball blog that the injury de la Rosa has suffered is similar to the one that knocked out Adam Wainwright for almost three months a few years ago. Is this true, and if so, could it be the case that in reality de la Rosa is out until after the All-Star break? Or is his injury not as bad? Relatedly, do you know whether the Rockies' staff is relatively forthright and conservative, or are they more like last year's Mets' or Royals' staffs?
Thanks, and keep up the great work!
"Interactionism", by the way, is a position found in the philosophy of mind. It's a dualist view (meaning that the mind or soul is something substantially different than the body). It holds that the mind can affect the body (e.g., free will), and the body can affect the mind (e.g., drugs). The problem with the view is that if the mind is something substantially different that the body, how can they causally affect each other? It seems well nigh impossible.
Sorry for the philosophy interlude.
Even though it might not be the series to watch, certainly today's (Monday's) Detroit/K.C. match-up between Justin Verlander vs. Zac Greinke has to be one of the top (pitching) games to watch this week.
I concur that the mystery factor here is Target Field, and especially its effect on the Twins' defense and baserunning opportunities. If it is anything like Citi Field, it's the White Sox or Tigers in first. If it's like Yankee Stadium 2.0, the Twins definitely have a clear shot at the top --assuming everyone stays healthy.
By the way, I am surprised the Twins are still in first according to PECOTA after the loss of Joe Nathan. The loss of a 2.2 WARP player is enough to tip the scales in favor of the other teams.
Max Scherzer's two bad outings made me wonder if the coaching staff did to him what they did to Dontrelle Willis: They started fiddling with his so-called "wacky" mechanics, in the hope to prevent injury, but instead messed up his head and is sending him on a downward spiral of thinking too much (See also Verlander 2008). But Rick Knapp seems to be better about this than Chuck Hernandez was, so maybe Scherzer is just trying to impress his new team, and consequentially putting too much pressure on himself.
Does anybody have any information about Johnny Damon's effect in the clubhouse? If anything, the Tigers could really use a Ken Griffey Jr. to turn the clubhouse around. If Damon is someone like that, then he'll contribute mightily and positively to the intangibles PECOTA can't pick up and the Tigers will be a real contender. If he's just another bat, then the Tigers yet again will become the elephant graveyard for aging vets (Gary Sheffield, Aubry Huff, et multo al.): Damon's numbers will dive in Comerica unless he goes on a salary drive for 2011.
Am I one of the few that thinks this projection is roughly correct? Adding to all of the better comments about the Twins' problems, I think PECOTA is over-projecting for them. The Metrodome easily got them 4-8 wins a year, so I think they'll be around 76-80 wins now they're in Target Field. (Reason: The Twins offense and defense was trained to take advantage of the astroturf; now that team has to unlearn all that.)
80-84 wins is about right for the Tigers (not counting Johnny Damon) and 80-84 wins about right for the White Sox. I can EASILY imagine 2010 is a year where a 163rd game is required; this time it'll be between the White Sox and the Tigers.
Dear BP staff and readers,
How would the division winner be decided if the season actually ended with a three-way tie for first?
Also, as a thought experiment, assuming a three-way tie for first and the Wild Card selection coming from the AL Central, how would the division winner and the Wild Card winner be decided?
Do Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander have low win totals because PECOTA is projecting injuries for them?
I was wondering: the links you have embedded into the Tigers article--are they code for something? The first one ('a pointless suicide run') goes to a WWI memorial site; the second ('a pointed last throw') goes to an article in wikipedia about a battle in the Franco-Prussian War.
(I felt like I was in the midst of Assassin's Creed II or the DaVinci Code for a moment.)
I will not deny that watching Fernando Rodney close can induce the taking of many Tums. However, as one MLB Network commentator memorably mentioned at the start of the '09 season, "If I'm a batter, I'll be thinking, 'Is he going to hit me? Will the ball go flying over my head? Will I get the change-up? Will his fastball be on or off? Is he going to walk me?'"
Rodney's '09 stats belie an interesting fact. In a save situation, his numbers were phenomenal. In a non-save situation, his numbers were awful. He's clearly an adrenaline junky. That screwed up all his numbers. Could you or one of the staff provide the exact stat difference? Thanks!
I recall an early 2009 season post-game interview with Zac Greinke, a game where he was utterly dominant, and Zac actually smiled and put his arm around Olivo before the camera and said "I couldn't have done this without him". This occurred regularly throughout the season. Why would you let your team's raison d'etre's favorite catcher go?
Oh, it's the Royals.
Maybe Olivo calls a great game, and that's what the Rockies see.
Bud's being politically correct by acting affirmatively to have a conservative commentator on his committee.
Is the talk about the Red Sox trying to make a move for Miguel Cabrera over and done with? I can't imagine the Tigers wanting Beckett though. What would the equation be in order for them to get Cabrera (or, perhaps better put, for the Tigers to let Cabrera go)?
You say "that Curtis Granderson is overrated" and "trading away Granderson is less costly than it seems", yet "this trade likely reduces the AL Central to three contenders next season". This seems inconsistent, unless you mean the three teams to be the White Sox, the Twins and the Tigers. Or you mean to say that the Tigers were competitive in the AL Central by one straw, and Grandy was the last straw. But that doesn't seem right either.
(By the way, since Grandy's stats are almost across the board identical to Grady Sizemore's, to be consistent it seems you're committed to saying Sizemore's overrated too.)
Could it be that they simply have a "win now" over a "win later" attitude, like Brian Cashman? The NL West looks real competitive in 2010, and now with Edwin Jackson in the mix, they could bet on pretty much winning three out of five games with their front three men.
The Tigers treat their pitchers very delicately (cf. Rick Porcello), so if Scherzer has any issues, the Tigers will nurse him well.
Perhaps the only thing I'm happy about the trade from a Tigers' fan's standpoint is that Scherzer is a PECOTA nut, isn't he?
His lifetime stats (offense and defense) are almost decimal-for-decimal exactly equal to Grady Sizemore's, if that's any help. He just shows up a little bit less on the highlight reels.
Yankees fans, you got yourself one heck of human being with Granderson. He and Derek Jeter will be natural friends, and will add humanity to your club to the same degree Nick Swisher added levity. Our Tigers household was despondent to see him go.
Nice article--thank you! If you have time, I was wondering vis-a-vis no. 7: one of the things I hear all the time about the Detroit Tigers is that the economy is suffering in MI, and so they need to unload some payroll (I'm sure many fans of other teams hear the same thing about their towns). This is despite the fact that the Tigers had the fourth best attendance record in the AL in 2009, so clearly Illich must be making some money. So, does the overall economy of the city/state the team plays in matter for trades, or is it a red herring too?
Also, does the amount of 'dead weight' a team is carrying (e.g., the aforesaid Tigers have a ton in Dontrelle Willis et al.) matter?
As a Tigers household we were sick when we heard the rumors about Curtis Granderson being traded. A friend of mine asked to the effect, 'Are the Tigers imitating the Indians?' I hope he stays, as he's a really good guy and, having an off year average-wise, but a moderate-plus year power-wise, he has potential for a couple huge years ahead of him.
Sadly, he loves Angels' stadium. From the Tigers' web site: 'He's a .353 (30-for-85) career hitter at Angel Stadium, and his eight home runs in 21 games there are as many as he has hit anywhere other than Detroit. His 7-for-12, three-homer performance during Detroit's three-game series there in April was one of his two or three best series of the season, and included some solid defensive plays.
'"The running turf is great," Granderson said of Angel Stadium in August. "It's like being on turf, but not as hard. It's extremely fast to move around. The ball's going to bounce around on the ground, but really doesn't take bad hops for the most part. I know the infielders, they say it's hard for them, but for me I know if it's coming through, it's going to stay down for the most part. And it's not that big. Center field right behind me is right at 400 [feet]."'
Woe is Detroit.
Rooting for the Yankees is sort of like rooting for Goldman Sachs: It's great if you've got stock in the firm, or even better if you're employed there, but for everyone else it seems .
Heck, as a Tigers fan, I don't care about making it to the World Series --I'd be perfectly happy with a *division* championship, which we haven't had for 22 years. And people complain about 9 years between World Series championships as interminably long...
Did anyone else notice that while the names of the Phillies players were announced before the game, the Yankee's facilities people played Darth Vader's Theme/Imperial March (i.e., the "Evil Empire song") over the broadcast system, but while the Yankees players were announced, they played the Main Theme from Star Wars (i.e., "the Good Guys song")?
What does that say about the Yankees organization? At least it shows they might have a sense of irony....
Aren't the Royals, and their manager Dayton Moore, notorious for eschewing statistical analysts/analysis?
Great article. However, you state "we’re losing one of the last truly unique baseball environments around" vis-a-vis the Metrodome. I must protest. I am delighted to see the Metrodome go (as most players who are not Twins are, and probably the Twins' knees are too).
Has anyone calculated the WARP of the Metrodome? I can't tell you how many times I've seen the Twins score, turn an out into a single, or a single into something bigger, because an outfielder lost a ball in the lights/ceiling or misplayed a ball because of the extra bounce it gets off the artificial turf. Ditto with strikes as opposed to hits: I heard a commentator once report to the effect that opposing hitters have a hard time seeing the ball there because they weren't used to the blue seats and blue and white tarp opposite home plate. I'm sure Target field will have a much lower WARP.
Statistically Rick Porcello may have had a better game, but as far as intangibles and leadership are concerned, Justin Verlander was the winner. If there is to be a turning point for the Tigers this last week of the season, it'll be when Justin told Jim Leyland "I'm FINE!" in the eighth inning and managed to get out unscathed with 130 pitches. (By the way, I left the room when Wilkin Ramirez got tagged out at 1st --when he was brought in as a pinch runner no less-- thanks to his being asleep at the wheel. I came back in when Curtis Granderson misplayed that ball in the 9th, and left again in anger. C'mon Tigers!)
I think one thing that should be considered in regard to Justin and his stats is the amount of pitches, and innings, he's been giving on average per outing. If Zac Greinke threw as much or as long as Justin does in a game on average, his ERA would be a lot higher. Or, to flip it, if Justin pitched the same amount as Zac, his ERA would be a lot lower. IF either of them pitched for the Yankees, they both would be approaching 30 wins. Or to flip it, if C.C. Sabathia pitched for the Royals or Tigers, he'd have 14 wins.
On the coaching/approach/attitude issues: check out
on Gordon's return to the Omaha Royals. He definitely seems to exhibit some denial here, and hostility to Trey Hillman.
Great article, and I agree that Joe Mauer deserves MVP and Zac Greinke the Cy Young. However, I think there's a strong chance neither will receive their awards, because they come from small-market teams or from cities that have "fly-over" status. Correspondingly, players from large-market teams (New York) probably have a slight advantage, ceteris paribus.
Is this a fair statement? Is there any statistical evidence to back this up--namely, that when there is not a clear winner, odds *tend* to lean in favor players from large-market teams?
On the question of Justin Verlander, is there any weight by voters given to a major turnaround, i.e., the fact that his 2008 season was somewhat wretched? If Zac doesn't get it, he should definitely be in the runner-up category.
Oh--I forgot to add that Jay explained everything all quite well--thank you. I did not know how exactly the rankings were calculated--now I understand!
Hi! I knew that the Hit List was not based on win percentage (give a guy a little credit). I guess, deep down, my question was how Jay/the statistics could have a division leader for most of the season be behind two of its rivals on the Hit List for most the season, *especially* when a few weeks ago the Tigers won 3 out of 4 against the White Sox, and won 2 out of 3 against the Twins.
Doesn't that seem a little odd (enough to get a guy to ask a question on the comments page, risking derision for his apparent ignorance), when you're beating up on your division rivals in reality and yet the computer says in the bitstream you're a worse team than they are? I did!
Hi Jay! Could you explain to me how the Tigers are number 17 (dropping from no. 15 last week if I remember right), with the White Sox being 2.5 games behind them and ranked 13, and the Twins 5 games behind them and ranked 16? Also, for much of the season, the White Sox and the Twins have been ahead of the Tigers in your rankings, yet the Tigers have held on to the AL Central lead since sometime in May. Help!, or, What gives?!? Thanks.
Re: Miguel Cabrera, I heard the x-rays came back negative (a good thing), and he'll be day-to-day. Hopefully that report stays true.
Question: when players get hit by the ball, and think it was intentional, why don't they yell out into the stands, vent and rave, or do something more creative like smash their bat on the ground, instead of running out and trying to beat up the pitcher, knowing that they're going to be suspended or fined, let alone have a good chance of injuring the pitcher or themselves? (By the way, they shouldn't go out and fight or wrestle because they don't know how. Note to players: for those people who know how to fight, or who know what real combat fighting looks like, you look downright clownish when you go out to fight on the field. That includes Mr. Youkilis.)
Kevin Youkilis looked like he really could have hurt Rick Porcello, especially throwing his helmet at him. Porcello got lucky.
Ooops--I was looking at hammersia's spelling, where he has two "t"'s (even though I spelled Brian's name right earlier in my paragraph--sorry it's really hot today and I'm standing next to a cold beer keg I can't drink out of...). Since there's only one "t", it'd be "MAH-tus". Sorry!
It looks like Brian Matusz' last name is Hungarian. In Hungarian, they pronounce "sz" like an "s", and an "s" like an "sh". Plus, the accent is always on the first syllable. To be strict, they would pronounce the "t" twice, and the "a" like "ah". So, his name is pronounced "MAHT-tus". Whew!
I think what Torre is getting at is explained by David Zirin. Please check out:
specifically, his article "Canary in the Mine Shaft" at
Agreed. Is this an example of unwarranted negative BP bias, or just snarky ol' fun?
Thank you for the clarification! I guess I was just looking for baseball wisdom to back up my wishful thinking for the week....
Your TREND category seems to be a lagging indicator, meaning it's just showing what happened in the past week. How about another category indicating your forecast for the coming week?
Thanks Evan for your tabulation. Is your point to indicate a BP bias for the AL East, or that AL East is the best division? (As several have noted, it seems some BP authors evince an *unwarranted* hostility towards certain teams or divisions (often evinced by super-snarkiness), or an *unwarranted* infatuation with certain teams or divisions (often evinced by self-debasing gushing). It's not fun when your favorite team is at the receiving end of that snarky hostility. Yes, I like the Royals and want them to do well, but that's not the team I'm referring to, as there the hostility is warranted.)
"[T]he Yankees have been as good as expected"--is this a compliment, or an insult?
"...with the struggles of Chien-Ming Wang on the mound and Joe Girardi in running a bullpen canceled out by..." Mark Teixeira once A-Rod got back in the line-up.
John--Any talk going on about the Rockies unloading Garrett Atkins? Do you or others think he's a spent commodity, or is he someone who'll perk up in a new park? Thanks!
Dear Christina-- I usually enjoy your writing and learn much from your analysis, but I think your comment on Leyland and Clete Thomas is a little too 'snarky', esp. the "latest favored scrappy white guy" comment. Maybe "latest favored scrappy flyer" or "latest favored scrappy prospect" might be better. I believe that Leyland is on the record (as reported by Rod Allen and Mario Impemba, if I remember correctly) saying that Marcus Thames, who is African-American, is his all-around favorite Tiger. So in other words, your report makes Jim Leyland sound kind of racist. Also, you sound like Scott Boras in saying that the reason Magglio Ordonez is being benched in order to save money. He's batting terribly against right-handed pitchers (hope I got that hand right), so he's benched when facing them. Thomas is benched when facing lefties. Finally, Maggs deserves some proper respect given he's a good guy, all that he's done for the team and his Detroit charity work, so maybe Leyland et al. are motivated by that as well, and not just monetary motivations.
Question: I've learned in Fantasy Baseball that it's usually statistically better for one to go with an up-and-coming flyer than it is to go with an declining yet established hitter when forced to choose. Why couldn't a team, esp. with too big of a payroll, gamble in a similar fashion, or in this case, go with both?
He should be in the discussion because he is a 20 year old with only 125 innings pitched in A-ball last year. His stats may not look as pretty as Romero's, but he has an 8-6 record over 16 games, whereas Romero has 7-3 record over 13 games. Isn't what matters, in the big scheme of things, wins?
Also, how is it that someone who has eight wins manages only six quality starts?
Yet again also, how is it that Edwin Jackson or Justin Verlander are not in the AL Cy Young discussion? I think Greinke is great and deserves the first place, just not so sure about no. 2 and 3.
Nice article Joe, and I agree with your analysis. One thing that might be noted as another reason for the Tigers to sign Pedro is that "mind" factor you mentioned: having someone with that mindset and competitive spirit, as well as maturity, would make him a natural leader and role model in the bullpen. Armando Galarraga's, as well as Dontrelle Willis' and Fernando Rodney's, problems are almost solely mental. Whatever Pedro might lack in pitching velocity, pitchable innings, etc., he might make up for in leadership, thereby getting the Tigers some more wins indirectly, as well as by being on the mound.
I hate to correct the pros at Baseball Prospectus, but my Detroit Tigers are in need of any and all props they can get at the moment: They did not lose two series in a row; they drew even with the Baltimore Orioles (2-2), then they got swept by the Bo Sox.
(The sweep wasn't as cataclysmic as it seems, although the Tigers' bats were on ice, and in deep-freeze in the clutch: the rookie Rick Porcello was a little "geeked" by facing the Red Sox for the first time (who wouldn't?), Josh Beckett was simply dominant, and poor Dontrelle Willis was solid until he hit Jacoby Ellsbury with a pitch.)
Hi Will-- Any word on Jason Bartlett? Thanks!
You got the Sally Radigan story wrong though. Sally was cured of her cancer when Matt laid his catching glove upon her. You also forgot to mention the time when Camden Yards had only a dozen hot dogs and several buns left due to a vendor mishap, they had Weiters man the concession, and he was able to feed not only the entire sold out stadium, but also had plenty left over to feed the poor outside. Is the rumor that when he was a child he had turned water into Bud Light at a local minor league game?
We'll have to see if his playing garments have similar healing powers, like the Shroud of Turin. (The "Jersey of Baltimore"?) When he breaks his bat, Splinters from the True Bat will be given to kings, queens and presidents, and will be deposited in churches across the globe.
Would SOMEONE please explain to me the following?
Here are two outfielders' career stats (AVG/OBP/SLG; FPCT):
A .275/.366/.485; .994
B .278/.349/.494; .993
In addition, both A and B have equal scores of web gems to their names. For some reason though, B never ends up on an All-Star team; A is everyone's first pick and seems to go every year. A baseball official (Zelig?) said this year something along the lines that the Baseball World Classic has the work of B to thank for all the outreach he has done across the globe. This'll give it away, but B also was the second player in MLB history to go 20 triples, 20 homers, 20 steals. A, though, has matinee-idol good looks, whereas B is good-looking, but... well, we can't talk about race here, can we?
In case you haven't figured it out,
What is your source for your claim that the Tigers will essentially commit suicide if they're out of contention in July? I know that Detroit qua city and Detroit qua Illich are in the red this year, but such a decision would make matters even worse: Those three players you mentioned, as well as Jim Leyland, are the core of the team (Miguel Cabrera is a face, but he hasn't been there long enough to be a part of the core). Magglio Ordonez does a lot of charity work in the Detroit area. You lose that core, and many people will just stop going to the ballpark, or watching games, or advertise during their games. It was Illich who got his team into the financial red by doing what they did last year, not Leyland or Dave Dombroski, so if he were a man he'd take his medicine, keep the team together for at least the rest of the season, and at least keep the hearts of his fans if not their money.
PS: What do rumors like that do for the team? Tony La Russa has had several a crappy season with the Cardinals, and he's kept on; Leyland has one crappy season that's not his fault, and the rumors are flying he's gonna get canned.
I certainly hope this isn't the case, because it has to be devastating to any person to whom this is happening, but maybe instead of comparing Wang to C.C. Sabathia or Mike Mussina, maybe we should be comparing him to Dontrelle Willis. I know their pitching styles are vastly different, but it could be the cause of their decline is the same: too much pressure and/or injury leads to certain mental effects, which leads to certain physical effects, which leads to batters being able to read a pitcher like a Harry Potter novel.
On bullpen management:
The thing that drives me more nuts than what Joe is saying is when Leyland will pull a pitcher who's doing really well and replace him with another in order to satisfy a "righty-lefty" or "lefty-righty" match-up. Seay (a lefty I believe) was pitching really well against his *one* batter, then Leyland pulled him because a left-handed batter was coming up. He then put in Lyon, and you could feel through the TV that Lyon was going to blow it. (Please correct me if I have the "left/right" thing screwed up; I get these confused.)
A job of a pitcher, as has been said, is to throw strikes and get people out. If the pitcher is smokin', he should stay in regardless of the batter he's facing.
I agree with whipsaw. In an AL-only league where I was just looking to survive relegation I would be so tempted to take Sabathia as my first pick, and a top closer by round 5. If I were looking to win, I still would be tempted by that strategy.
By the way, a similar thing happened to me and my fantasy team vis-a-vis injuries (mental or physical) last year. That's the reason why the Tigers ended up in last place in the AL central last year --I seemed to curse any Tiger player I touched.
Everything else being equal, it looks like the race to win the division boils down to whether Verlander or Carmona has the better comeback season.
Where would you put E. Santana now that he's on the DL? Or would he stay at 18?
Also, Greinke (no. 19) over Verlander (nowhere) or Carmona (nowhere)? I like Greinke and all, but if I were a GM and had to choose between the three, I think Greinke would be my third pick.
PECOTA gave me a stealth pick with its Weiter\'s prognosis. Finding two decent catchers is really tough in my fantasy league, and with a bias against \"losing\" teams like the Orioles, he\'ll be a great surprise to people --\"who...the Orioles\"? Even if he does 75-80% of what PECOTA projects, he\'ll be a worthy later-round pick to bolster up BA or RBI\'s. Thanks PECOTA!
Despite PECOTA\'s projections, 2009 seems like it could be a repeat of 2006 (incl. Ozzie bemoaning the performance of his team to the press at the end of the season), except with the Royals breaking the .500 barrier. If the Tigers can get their mental game in order (if any team in the AL could use a shaman or Tibetan monk in the clubhouse, it\'d be the Tigers), and M. Cabrera has a monster season, that might be enough for them to put them over the top.