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Alright! Congrats Jason, and good luck.
THIS is what I pay for. Quality entertainment, Sam.
Fantastic article, and spot on.
Cervelli beats Stewart. That makes me smile.
"...if God didn't want us cherry picking our win-above-replacement figures he wouldn't have invented so many different websites."
a) Thank you for a fine article
b) You can write - please do more of it!
I think one of the factors at work here is:
When a baseball player is done playing baseball, what are they qualified to do?
If a player had some training, education, or skill outside of that required to play baseball, then there's probably an answer for that player, other than "not much".
But I imagine that there is a sizable number of former players who have no external skill set to fall back on, and put a substantial amount of effort into trying to get people to believe that being good at playing baseball = being good at coaching it.
And if there is an existing network of coaches/managers/executives who were former players, those people would likely be highly susceptible to buying it.
The quote about Ortiz bugs me. It's as if the scout is saying that he should have refused the Blue Jays offer to join the big league roster. His business there is to fulfill the terms of the contract he was offered. If you want to disparage someone for his presence there, aim higher.
Kudos to the editors to keep this out in front of the paywall. It needs to be read by many.
Hawk does, however, make a really salient point when he goes on about people getting fired.
It finally occurred to me, as I listened to that, that the entire fight is really about who gets (and keeps) jobs in baseball.
It's being fought in the media, and for some reason, we grab out popcorn and cheer for one side or the other, but it isn't our fight.
It's about whether people should be hired to participate in the constructions and management of teams based on the fact that they played the game well (or not so well, but for a long time), or for qualities unrelated to their ability to play the game.
People who played the game well have a few years in which it is a viable career path, and then... they have to find something else to do. They'd like to leverage their experience, but are finding that it isn't as easy to do so as it once was. And their friends and colleagues with access to microphones, and who long for the time when such the experience of having played the game was all that mattered, start getting bitter about the changes.
Which all of you probably knew already, but then I'm a bit slow.
What he said.
I can't help but think that the real-world way to test this would be to replace a fifth starter with the tandem concept - with the tandem being comprised of two guys who otherwise would only get the long-reliever type jobs.
You're not alone.
I love watching baseball. I love thinking about game strategy, and breaking down the way the game works, and admiring its elegance and beauty.
I find that more and more, I dislike talking to most people about baseball. And the idea of reading baseball message boards simply boggles my mind.
(And yes, I just posted this as a comment on a baseball message board, assuming that the world is entitled to, and waiting for, my opinion. Your point?)
I'm not really interested in jumping on this article for the Royals commentary. Kind of an old story, methinks.
However, "button-downed" should be "buttoned-down", no?
Whether he's trying to hard is sort of beside the point, though. The question is why we even bother to notice, much less get upset.
Would "referred pain" be a plausible reason for the confusion?
CJ, you seem to be saying that one way to measure the effectiveness of a coach would be to measure the consistency of the players he's responsible for working with. Is this a fair read?
Nice job, guys. Looking forward to both.
It's also interesting that Broxton was missing location with his fastball - variable #2 notes velocity, but not location. That may have concerned Broxton (and Navarro) more than the speed.
We like to look at run differential across an entire season - it's a reasonable sample size, and corresponds to one of our basic units of baseball.
But do we know how quickly the sample becomes meaningful? And when we might be able to simply treat the runs scored and allowed from previous days, weeks, or months as a kind of "sunk cost"?
We're okay with not using last season's run differential as an indicator of the quality of this year's team, after all. It's a different team! But as someone on this site wrote a while ago, the O's this year have used a higher-than-usual number of players - and thus, really, a higher-than-usual number of "teams". There have been a lot of different O's teams this year; does it really make sense to hold the run differential of April against September's O's?
Congrats to both Jason and Kevin.
My opinion on the BP turnover of the last however-many years (I think I've been a subscriber for 10 or so)?
It's an unmitigated benefit.
I really loved the work that Nate and Christina and Joe and all the rest published here. But were they to have stayed longer than their muse let them stay, their writing would have staled, surely. They benefited (as far as I can see - I do follow as many of them as possible) from new challenges and new venues, and BP benefited from bringing in new voices. Jason's is a particularly weird one, but yeah, his too.
I eagerly await the arrival of the fresh meat.
Congrats, Kevin. Spectacular news.
This is the best thing I've read this week.
Any analysis of the Houston side of the deal?
Inky, McDowell, and Sierra WERE a hell of a lot of fun to watch that year. Especially for long-suffering Rangers fans. Such dreaming is fun.
Meen. But funny. Didn't you violate some rule by not noting his fine 'stache?
Well done, Ben. Reads like the first chapter of a memoir - one I'd like to finish reading, once you finish, you know, living it.
Larry, that is a fabulous story about Edson. I'm really happy you're writing here.
I like the meme "guilt-free guacamole". Add it to "Beer and Tacos", and your really... cookin'.
Thanks, Steven! I'll be reading you elsewhere, and will look forward to the writers who will be stepping up to fill your column-inches here, if not your shoes.
Evidently you start drinking early (if Goldman is to be believed).
I miss reading Nate's articles here.
Didn't Jeter used to prefer hitting second? I seem to remember his move to leadoff happened with a bit of grumbling.
Thanks, Dave! I'm torn between wanting it on my Kindle (which is where I read everything now) and in print, so it could sit next to the annuals from 2000 on.
Any word on when the "Best of BP" books will be in Kindle format?
I too am a big Yankees fan; and have been for 20+ years. I agree with tommybones' assessment, and am willing to say that many of the second basemen were pretty bad, too.
But damn, they won a whole lot of games with that miserable up-the-middle defense.
What do you think of the argument that Barajas may have been signed in part because of his pitch-framing skills?
Brosius' best offensive season was 2008?
I like Clamato! But the n/p grade made me laff and laff.
Yeah, I'm not real sure that Murray Chass has written anything nearly this good in decades, if ever.
Thanks for keeping out from behind the paywall.
Thanks, Colin. Very well done.
I agree. Plus, Marc's argument should be publicly readable by his voting peers. And I'm not going to estimate how many of them have paid for subscriptions here, but it's probably less than 100%.
The last line kinda makes me feel a little sad...
The burning question is "who would the Mets need to trade to the Mets in order to get Beltran?"
Knowing the Mets, they'll screw that one up two ways.
Spectacular. Thanks, Allen.
Inky is a fabulous choice. I, too, was a youngun in Dallas during his debut. I will always also pine for what could have been with Oddibe McDowell.
And as a Yankee fan living (finally) in NYC in the early 90s, I will always always venerate Jimmy Key.
"Athletics manager Bob Geren became the third man to be fired following a loss to the Orioles in Baltimore in as many years"
Is there any significance to this? If so, I think it would be fascinating to know what it could be.
Yep. Overall, I think it is great that so many writers here get other opportunities that they want to take, and take them. It speaks well of the reach of BP. But it would be cool if BP could put together a "BP Alumnus" guest-writing series.
"Because this is Baseball Prospectus, here is a gratuitous chart" -- Thank you for the best laugh I've had in a week.
I'm no longer that interested in Fantasy-related content, so I'd missed Marc's final column. So... thanks, Marc, for funny, fabulous writing and excellent chats. Good luck with what's next!
And I'm with eliyahu on everything else. Turnover happens. It's okay. We can miss the old, embrace the new, and keep reading as long as we like.
Jeter may have needed the Yankees as much as they needed him - for the next 4 years. After that? Jeter could just retire to St. Jetersburg and play with starlets and skip the old-timers games and spring-training appearances and the like. And the Yankees will definitely want him to do all of that, for the next 40 years.
Posada is my favorite Yankee, but I'd never argue that the Yankees shouldn't make some cold-hearted decision on him, and likely soon.
Jeter? There's one angle to that story that few people seem to credit, but I think it makes all sorts of sense. The $51 million, and the reduced chance of winning this year by batting him leadoff, are (perhaps) reasonable prices to pay for the future marketing value of a living, telegenic, lifetime-Yankees who is the only man to ever have 3,000 hits as a Yankee.
It's a *business* decision - an investment in a marketing asset. Winning is a great way for teams to make money, and we often discuss it as the *only* way. But it isn't, and the Yankees, more than any other team in the league (and perhaps in the country), know how to turn history, Mystique and Aura, and other related goodies into sponsorship dollars and brand equity. God knows I'd love to be the marketing guy tasked with leveraging Brand Jeter for the next 40 years. DiMaggio (with help from Paul Simon) was great for marketing the Yankees, Yogi has been great, Jeter? He'll be better than either.
Which, I submit, is why he is leading off.
I want to echo the praise for David's Q&As, and the dismay that the series is going to be discontinued here at BP. I generally don't get worked up about evolution and change in a media product, and won't do so here, but I will say that these were very well written, and I enjoyed them greatly.
I'll be watching Fangraphs for the next installment...
(And as a staunch Yankee fan, whose only player-specific garb is a Posada t-shirt bought long ago - ouch.)
Excellent catch, BP. I love love love FlipFlopFlyball. Thanks, Craig!
Indeed. And really, is "I got bit by a spider on a field trip to the museum" any more credible than "I thought it was flaxseed oil"?
Nicely done. I used to read pieces like this and automatically identify with the once-child author. But now I'm the father of a 12-year old boy, and think "uh-oh, what did I do today that's going to leave a scar?"
Still, thanks Steven.
Nice work. Does playoff revenue currently go into the revenue-sharing pot? And if so, would this also create more incentive for teams with little hope of competing to try what the Marlins and Pirates were trying for a while, and stay completely out of the FA market completely, tank the season and pocket the bigger rev-sharing check?
Well done, David.
Nice work, Josh. Thank you.
I'm sure Tom Boswell is agreeing with you when you reference the usefulness of Total Average in paragraph 5, but that's a typo, methinks.
I have to believe that Girardi's usage patterns are going to change when Cervelli comes back - he was pretty willing to use Cervelli quite a bit last year.
And if Montero forces his way into the picture by July, my guess is that the Yankees will really want to see how bad his defense is in the bigs.
Yeah, I think it pretty much has to be everyone, or else you get lots of "why didn't ________ wear it? These players are IGNORANT of HISTORY!" flack.
Could a player have a more saber-friendly attitude than Gardner? I'm a Yankee fan, and obviously biased, but I reeeeeeally like watching Gardner play, because he just seems to be so smart about his approach.
Thanks, Michael. Great stuff.
Great news for you, Christina. Thanks tons for everything you wrote here; I look forward to the of-necessity reduced volume.
Go make some waves over there.
Slide. All the time. Into every base, at least once a week.
And choke up on the bat.
That's a great idea - who WAS Joe Shlabotnik.
Of course, there are probably hundreds of candidates...
Once upon a time, when I was a young book editor, I tried to talk one of my baseball-book authors into writing the great Branch Rickey book - an exploration of everything he did to revolutionize the game. He didn't take me up on it; I moved on to another line of work, and I still wonder why no one has written that book.
Fun piece. I don't mind the questions being edited out, since the piece was labeled as a Q & A, after all.
No, its the decimal point - he thinks Wieters is going to hit 275 home runs.
There are definitely foodies who (almost?) prefer to read cookbooks than cook or eat, or prefer to cook things that are challenging than ones they really want to eat.
Excellent article, Craig. Thanks for that.
I too have my metafan side. I get the whole thing. But there's another side to my love that I fall into some years - and it can only happen when I see (on TV or live) some inordinately long streak of games (say 30-40) played by my favorite team (the Yankees, which I name only so I can put in telling details as examples below.)
There's a zone I fall into then, when any particular game is not as interesting as the greater story arc of the season at hand, unfolding in real time.
At times like this, I'm often very interested in the scrub or mostly-useless player or steps in and plugs a hole, and maybe plays way over his head for 10-12 games (e.g Luis Sojo, or Aaron Small - God, I was geeked when he showed up for Old-Timers day) and you wonder perhaps what he could have been or might one day be, but you know that this season, he won't for more than that one sporadic stretch and then he isn't hitting, or isn't playing, and is catching a huge amount of pine time and you wonder what he's thinking, and what his teammates think of him and if the GM is going to dispose of him before the season ends for some other replaceable part, and you wonder why you care or even if you care, but at least you care about how this type of thing helps define a season at least as much as a star-level performance, except for the fact that few people will remember it as important.
There are other little story-bits like that that only really become visible when you get deeply immersed in a long stretch of games. And the fan base that understands and tracks these story-bits is at least as small (if not smaller) than the universe of metafans - and we are (when we find each other) at least as weird to the mainstream. At Old Yankee Stadium, we sat in the loge - we were the partial-season plan holders, who spent way too much of our income on a 33-game package and went to the games with radios and earpieces, and considered the people in my section to really be "my people", even if I knew very few of their names. I have no idea where my people sit in NuYankee Stadium - I switched coasts years ago, and although I watch 80-90 Yankee games a year, I miss my people. There is a hard-core group who goes to see minor-league games here, and that is a very close substitute.
Sorry for the long comment.
Grab some popcorn and watch the comments fly by...
I'll match your $25 for the Portland event. And Annie Bloom's Books had Rob Neyer out for a BP signing a couple of years ago, right? I'll go bug them to invite you all again.
I'm a little surprised that Nolan Ryan hasn't been able to stare down Young until he discovers that no, his feelings aren't hurt after all, not really.
Good stuff. Thanks, crew.
Post your email address - I'm sure someone can round up a few extra curse words and send them to you.
This was a great interview.
Love the scout stuff, mostly because of the sourcing. Scouts still seem willing to say things to you that are not part of the standard storylines.
Water-cooler stuff is easily available and free elsewhere. What I hope BP always believes in is that if some story is well-covered in the mainstream sports media, then it isn't necessary to repeat it here.
I think this is what initially turned me off by the idea of a seasoned beat writer here (you've mostly won me over, btw) - a paper HAS to cover the major stories, and cover the "faith-and-hope" beat. BP doesn't - you can count on us to have read those pieces elsewhere.
And thus I get a little worried about MORE frequent OtB columns. It's undoubtedly hard enough to find fresh, uncovered stories twice a week - if you are going to write four or five OtBs a week, I am skeptical that they won't have to draw from the same well the rest of the sports journalists drink from.
Indeed, congrats, David!
"I drank a lot of milk."
That made my day. Thanks, David and Jimmy.
You know that the IBAs are not the BBWAA awards, right? That this is not the official voting for the actual physical trophies that get handed to players in front of cameras?
Why on earth would you cite the tradition of the BBWAA votes as justification for a pattern of voting the exact same way for these alternate awards? The whole point of the IBAs is to shake off the weight of the historic voting patterns established by the BBWAA.
I really enjoy this series. Thanks, David.
I don't know. Think about the Ripken case. Whoever comes after Jeter is a sacrificial lamb; it's whoever comes after HIM that will actually be the critical decision.
Really good interview, David. Thanks.
"This year I got crushed in my fantasy leagues, and I blame society."
This may be the funniest thing I read all morning. Thank you.
Maybe it's noise to you. You are stepping up to represent one (probably very important) segment for BP; fantasy baseball players (I'm presuming here, but I bet I'm right). But there are other segments; some of which don't play fantasy baseball, and have been clamoring for PECOTA to be a more transparent, open system for years.
Thanks Will! I've got your tumblr bookmarked...
Every publication evolves. Every creative team adds and loses members. I'll honor what was and salute Will and look forward to what is published tomorrow.
Who is writing the Rumor Central stuff? Yeesh.
Pete Rose has a permanent place in baseball history. His story is told over and over again, by people who admire him and people who don't.
I'm not sure why when writers write articles like this one, anyone even notices, much less argues. Whose mind is going to be changed?
The one observation I have is that many of the articles on this site obviously have a tremendous amount of preparation behind them: research, a search for alternative hypotheses to consider, etc.
Hertzel's pieces here are different. They read like personal ruminations, like he lit a decent cigar, poured a finger or two of scotch, and then knocked out 1,000 words on a subject he's talked about around the pool table a hundred times already.
Which can be fun to read, I suppose. But it's such an odd fit here.
Thanks, Ben. That was a fun project to contribute to and to see the results of.
I'm beginning to suspect that Jeter's next contract will be notably "non-standard" - that is, it will have some feature to it that we do not see often. I think about Wakefield's unusual contract, and where I do not think Jeter would be likely to sign a deal that leaves that much money on the table, something like a perpetual mutual-option clause after a two- or three-year deal could happen.
I do not doubt for a second that Jeter has the first part or two of his post-baseball career plotted out, and that he and Casey Close have figured out someway to leverage this contract to help launch that next gig.
A subscription here runs, what, $35 per year? C'mon, $35 does not give any of us the right to demand inside info into PEV's negotiations, or the right to demand that a certain writer be renewed or whatnot.
We get 4-6 intelligent articles a day, plus some blog posts, plus a chat every week or so. Asking for more than that is a little delusional.
Javier Vazquez, no? Not Jorge
It would be great to have a mobile theme for BP, and better navigation between the blog articles - reading four or five of these in a row requires going back to the home page between each, currently.
Love the quote about Gordon. Neither does Moore or Hillman, evidently.
Thanks, Tim! Great stuff...
Fine with me, Christina and crew. Let me add my voice to the people praising the general upgrade this season.
My only quibble is that the "blogged" content is not really in a bloggy form - I'd like to be able to move from one blogged bit to the next without having to go back to the home page each time. I'll assume that you have heard similar comments already and are working on some way to address this.
Yeah, I loved the "questions" here, too. It must be great when you get a subject who can just go go go with so little prompting.
Fun interview, David. Thanks.
...or the Rays. How about the Rays? They didn't get their new stadium, did they?
Hi from Portland! We'll take those Pirates whenever you're finished with them, Pittsburgh.
I love this series, David & Derrick. It really rounds out BP for me.
Thanks, David! This is going to be one of my favorite features, I can tell.
I love the idea of a "gateway drug" - it's the perfect analogy.
I'm a marketing guy who uses Linux and bought a Google Phone because I'm philosophically and Open Source guy, although I don't actually know how to even compile from source. I am also a BP reader who cheerfully dives into articles I don't understand, even when I'm pretty sure that I won't understand them any better for reading them. SOME of the time, really interesting stuff breaks through.
The gateway drug for me was definitely DIPS theory - it still blows my mind.
Wow. Colin, thanks. I'm sure I need to read it again (and maybe a third time) but it really sounds promising.
Wait, so you mean that this year we get an index? I'm going to be really upset if there isn't an index. You jerks, how come you won't put in an index? Why do you hate America?
Love it. Can you also tag these so that related conversations can be followed easily over time?
Just to balance this a little. Or to try.
I'm the casual fan, too.I also love the Pinstriped Bible. I also will miss Joe, although it is pretty clear that he was in a bit of a rut here. I do not have the chops to really follow some of the heavy lifting in Matt and Eric's articles.
But I am glad they are here, and writing, and I like seeing that they have posted new articles and I read them and sometimes I learn something. Sometimes I can't. But I don't need to get my dime back for those articles I don't understand.
Matt and Eric are Not A Problem. At least for me.
Thanks for the update. I'm excited about Cot's, and really excited about an updated player-card interface. I'll second the thought that I'd pay $60 for a subscription that has the player comments integrated.
Change is always tumultuous, and always invokes protests. We know how good Joe has been, we don't yet know how good the new blood is going to be here.
Wow. Joe, I hope your future includes more writing in a forum where I can find it. Too bad it won't be here, but that's baseball, I guess.
I will of course continue to subscribe to and read BP. I love the idea of reading the work of the new contributors, and assessing their efforts and witnessing the good work that I'm sure many of them will do. And I'll read Fangraphs, etc., too. I seem to have a lot of time to read baseball analysis. Funny, that. I don't seem to have enough time for a lot of other important things in my life...
Baseball is a lousy morality play. professional sports in general aren't a particularly interesting or effective way to discuss justice or fairness.
But baseball is a hell of a game, and often a joy to watch, if we can avoid poisoning our own fun by convincing ourselves that the most relevant factor is that the people who hold jobs we would die for are a bunch of idiots and crooks.
That was a great series, and had a lot of amazing moments and performances. And as well-paid as the Yankees are, they definitely had flaws that the Phillies were able to exploit occasionally. Congrats to the Yankees, and a big thank you to the Phillies for playing them hard and making the series suspenseful.
Probably v. skeptical about playing time for Posada.