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Amaro says Howard needs to play better (duh) and from that you extrapolate that he "still thinks Howard will once again be the Howard of 2009"?
And then you ask if I've even read the article? That's very clever.
As I originally stated, Amaro's offseason strategy this year was to hedge - not selling off prematurely in case the vets still had a run in them, and not going all in in case the vets were really toast. I don't see any problem with that, and the moves are hardly as obvious as everyone here seems to think they are.
The Phillies intentionally hedged this offseason, neither reloading nor rebuilding. They made a few low-cost investments, avoided any big splashes, and waited to see if the veteran core - one year removed from THE MOST WINS IN FRANCHISE HISTORY - could bounce back. The fact that they haven't wasn't unexpected - the offseason moves (or lack thereof) should have made that clear. But it's not at all unreasonable to give that group a second chance.
Guy who doesn't learn from mistakes? How many guys on the team got massively overpriced contracts after Howard's? How many free agent bombs detonated on his watch? The Angels doubled down on Pujols by signing Hamilton. Now both are gagging on the field for the next eight years and you think Amaro has a problem?
Yes, Amaro has mistakenly given low dollar contracts to fringe ballplayers we could have reasonably expected to be terrible. Yes, Amaro has mistakenly relied on guys we could reasonably expect to be washed up. Yes, Amaro has made trades that looked bad at first glance, and still look bad today. Yes, Amaro has gone into a season without quality Plan Bs at positions that were known to be iffy. But the point is, so does every other GM if they stick around long enough.
The easiest parlor game is to pick a team with a losing record and LOL at the moves they made to get themselves there.
If you can contrast Amaro's hedging with that of other GMs who saw their offseason plans fail to impress, and - contra Amaro - they're all proactively making moves to sell the farm, let the vets ride the pine, etc., then yes, you're on to something here. But it's pretty quiet out there.
So the question is, what makes Amaro so worthy of derision if he's just like every other member of the club?
Here's Brian Sabean, owner of 2 of the last 3 WFC rings, blaming reality on June 25th:
“A lot has happened with injuries, poor play, not performing up to expectations.”
Better not stand pat, then.
"The Giants are preaching patience, even as they flirt with a losing record."
Fair enough, genius, but you've gone 1-9 since that interview! Learn from your mistakes already.
Glad to see this anywhere, but not surprised it was BP. Worst thing about saber is this unfounded assumption that anything to the right of the = sign is proven. There is such a thing as garbage in, garbage out.
I don't think you can dispute that the article is based on a presumption that this season is (already) a bust, and it's only going to get worse. A team that expects to compete deep into the postseason does not decide to give up in favor of a chance (not a certainty) that they'll be better in the long run, unless they no longer think they can win in the current year. The point I was making is that the Phillies are a long way off from needing to contemplate that. This team, with these starters, could feasibly play .600 ball between now and the ASG. Would you still want them to sell off assets and roll the dice on prospects? I get that selling now and setting the market has some value, but it's dwarfed by the gains that would accrue if the team hit its stride and was in position to go to the playoffs again. Giving up too soon would be a mistake far more damaging than not selling at the optimum time, and no GM could reasonably be expected to take that gamble at this point in the season.
Trumbo and Morales walked up to Pujols in spring training and recreated this bit from the Simpsons:
T&M: You're Albert Pujols!
T&M: You play first base.
T&M: We play first base too.
T&M: Well, are you better than us?
Pujols: Well, I've never met you, but... yes.
With 75% of the season left, the highest payroll team in the NL is 4.5 games out. And the advice is punt the season?
phuturephillies makes a good contextual argument about why this is unnecessary, but even without the context, it's just way too premature to put this amount of effort into trying to think through what should happen if somehow the Phillies stayed in last place.
Two fingering on the 'it's a lot more complicated than that' idea, here's Joe Maddon, commenting on Robertson's blown save: "''The ninth inning is a different inning than the seventh or eighth inning. It's a different inning based on emotion. The passion that inning possesses is just different."
The point isn't that a win in September is worth more than it is in April, it's that you don't know in April who your reliable guys are going to be.
Apart from the fact that, under a microscope, every manager's bullpen usage sucks, there's also the fact that it's only the beginning of May to consider. The beginning of the year is a good time for evaluating your roster, putting guys in different situations to see if they can handle it. Some guys crash and burn, and get dumped to the 6th inning or worse (bus ticket!), and some guys rise to the occasion. Do you think Manuel started last season penciling in Bastardo in the 8th inning and spot closing? Or did he prove himself in tough situations when he was still unproven? Only way for a manager to find out what his team can do is to put it to the test. This inefficiency in April makes for much a better use of the roster's talent later in the season. Manuel and the Phillies can probably get away with treading water here in the early stages. Like most good teams, they have a tendency to turn on the jets once the roster starts to gel.
I don't get it. Don't hit Frank Robinson because he likes to sit back and take it easy, and only plays hard if he needs to take revenge on a pitcher?
Think of how good he would have been if he *always* tried to hit mistakes over the wall!
Three things: If the Nats had gone on to win that game, esp. by something like 9-3, there would have been lots of braying about how Hamels 'fired up the [Nats]', 'woke the sleeping giant', etc., etc. (See Chipper Jones' non-stop discussion about Jamie Moyer for a recent example of the 'We were all content to lose quietly, but then... oh no they didn't!' narrative.) So if you want to talk about 'taking revenge' for the plunking, the fact that the Nats were so fired up that they went quietly in the night ultimately strikes me as an empty sort of revenge, style points for a steal of home notwithstanding.
Second point: Zimmermann hit Hamels on purpose, too. So, if we need to be outraged about this sort of thing, broaden the target set. I'm happy to go along with it.
Finally, let's not try so hard to impose narratives. One could easily come at the same facts from a 'Hamels intimidated the Nats/stole the 'Nattitude/showed the young bucks who's boss'' angle, and it would be just as artificial. The official line out of Philly has been a collective shrug at the Nats and everyone who wanted to make more out of this 3 game series than was warranted. Something worth emulating?
While you're at it, can you go through the other comments and let us know if anyone wrote your when they meant you're, or mixed up its and it's? And start it with something like, "Grade school grammar says..." That would be super helpful.
On Opening Day last year, the Phillies started Raul Ibanez in left, Ben Francisco in right, and Wilson Valdez at 2nd. J.C. Romero, David Herndon, and Danys Baez all pitched out of the bullpen in that game. Chase Utley's knee was shot, Jose Contreras was the closer, and Dom Brown had a broken hamate bone. Somehow, despite the decline-phase core, prospect mismanagement, lousy contracts, and stubborn resistance to statistical analysis, the Phillies still won 102 games. They've gotten better every year since 2007, even as Utley, Howard, and Rollins all got worse. And got injured. The idea that the window for this team is closing only makes sense if you somehow imagine that the team won't change. Or that they decide to stop spending money. Or that they haven't already shown the ability to overcome the flaws mention in the article and its comment thread.
Zig when they zag, Ben. Rather than write the 'Philly is probably too old to repeat' article, which has been an ongoing rite of spring for at least the last three years, it may be worth trying to analyze why Philly is defying the conventional wisdom and still winning loads of games, despite an increasingly unreliable core.
Doesn't every single guy who ever got a 50 game suspension say some variation of, "Wow, I can't believe I tested positive! That's just the strangest thing! My body must have had a one in a million reaction to lasagna and Red Bull."
MLB isn't going to fry the reigning MVP on a borderline case. Everything these guys say after they're caught is sound and fury.
Hard to see CM pulling Halladay from Game 5 unless the squirrel chews his right arm off.
Did someone say ultimate folders of all time? The 2007 Mets don't want to be left out of this conversation.
He's going Galt!
Sorry, the premise of the article may make sense for a team like Florida, which seems to be a money laundering front, but for everyone else - guys like Billy Beane aren't trying to win? He's trying to lose cheaply because he is under orders to keep revenue checks flowing? He's cleverly not trying too hard? That doesn't compute. These guys are trying to win, but their need to be incredibly risk-averse (because bad contracts are a lead balloon) probably accounts for mediocrity more than gaming the system.
I mean, if revenue checks are so great, why isn't everyone chasing them? The real money is still in winning.
Yes, LoMo may be hitting, but more importantly: is he tweeting, rolling his eyes when the bosses mention his batting average, or showing up late to the lobster-fest with last week's fan raffle winners? He's down there to learn how to be a more complete ballplayer.
It doesn't even look biblical when you write it out like that. The trope needs to be retired.
In reference to the biblical run of injuries, how many teams could say the same thing? Posey is the standout injury, but the time off up and down the rest of the roster seems pretty normal, doesn't it?
Cards who have been on the DL this season: Wainwright, Pujols, Freese, Holliday, McClellen, Craig, Schumaker, Laird, Tallet, and Sanchez
Phillies: Lidge, Utley, Contreras, Blanton, Oswalt, Ruiz, Polanco, Madson, Brown, and Schneider
Braves: Jurrjens (twice), Hanson (twice), Chipper (lost count), McCann, Heyward, Jones, McLouth, Prado, Beachy, Moylan, and Linebrink.
IIRC, for the past few years (at least the previous 2) the Phillies bats have disappeared right around the time that interleague starts, and returned more or less exactly when interleague stops. No idea why, though.
Fredi could have been thinking of testing a different reliever in that situation to see if he could 'handle' it. Sometimes you need to learn about what you have, and of course it's a SSS, but managers seem to like putting, say, unexpected players into high leverage situations to see what they do.
The usual suspects may not be around for the whole season, so managers apparently feel the need to test guys under fire (at the risk of losing a game) in order to see if they have viable Plan Bs.
Fredi's quote had nothing to do with that, but that notwithstanding, there may have been some logic to his in game behavior anyway.
Great, great quote from Papi.
Wait, what? "However, this was a lineup that might have been barely average with Werth available and continuing to operate at the peak of his powers."
I can't choke that one down.
The Phillies had injuries all over the diamond last season, gave significant playing time to (among others) Juan Castro and Wilson Valdez, and wound up with the best record in baseball. The Yankees are another team that has worked around regular bouts of injuries to their core in recent years.
I think we tend to exaggerate the impact of injuries to key players when we're talking about teams that are solid all-around. A stars and scrubs lineup might have to worry about aging stars, but the real elite teams can pick up the slack.
The Phillies have a demonstrated ability to work through significant injuries to their best players. There's probably a reason for that.
Thanks, BP. That was a fun diversion. Too bad about the controversy.
Maybe this will spark anti-fan fic porn, where Jaret tells Melky, "Melky, bro! Let's work on our fielding and take batting practice." Balance things out a bit.
Btw, Boras on Maddux absolutely deserves to be in The Week in Quotes.
"Because the game itself is the tiger; it's the force; it's the thing that removes you in many situations from the game."
And fwiw, the game is not a tiger. It's clearly a leopard with red pointy shoes.
I'd error on the side of Greg Maddux, smart executive, with the Pena deal not really impacting that one way or the other.
W/r/t Pena, 1 yr. $10 million isn't a whole lot of risk for the Cubs, so that probably helps explain the lack of incredulity about the deal. If Pena is a bust all the team loses is money, but they have plenty of that.
Good stuff, Mike.
Gagging at the McCourts using the Dodgers as their own personal ATM.
And Frank doesn't pay any taxes. Thanks, parasite.
On the point that most multi-year deals are net gains early and net losses later, the Phils almost certainly got exactly what they expected out of Ibanez, and it's a bit silly to think that because they're paying him $12 million in 2011, that indicates that they thought he'd be an $12 million player in 2011. They paid him $12 million for 2011 so they they could get him for 2009 and 2010, and I'm sure they envisioned platooning him or worse at this point for 2011. 39 year old players don't usually bring it 6 days a week.
Phils don't need a right-handed OF bat so much as a right-handed *power* OF bat. That was Werth's unique contribution, and Frenchy won't do much to address that.
No, a one-year $12 million contract is not keeping the Phillies from doing anything. A payroll that big can afford short-term inefficiency, and in any case RAJ has already said the team has the money to add payroll.
My biggest objection to Black, which IMO should have ruined his chance to win, was the fact that when the Pads experienced a bit of pressure, they completely folded. It's a 162 game season, and losing the plot at the end when everything is on the line shouldn't be a resume booster.
But certainly, I think CK was considering the right 5 guys.
KG, having links to the top 11 from previous years is a nice touch. Gracias.
Somehow I doubt that many teams will try to emulate the Giants and build their lineups with some shots in the dark from the leftovers bin. And somehow I doubt the Giants will either.
The more likely takeaway is to aggressively tweak your weak roster spots throughout the season, and hope for the best.
Seems to be significant that RAJ bluntly stated that the Phillies had the money to re-sign Werth. No one really thinks they will, unless Werth likes Tastycakes so much that he signs a Longoria deal, but RAJ (apparently consciously) has invited an expectation that the Phillies will use that money somewhere and raise the payroll even further.
RAJ has aggressively pursued upgrades during his short tenure as GM, so that tendency plus some money to play with makes standing pat seems very unlikely.
Phils have gotten plenty of value out of Ibanez, and "killing" and "haunting" the team seems to be wildly off the mark. He killed them to the tune of a WS appearance in 2009 and the most wins in baseball in 2010. Actually, he's been the opposite of a lodestone, and I think the Phils have been justifiably satisfied with his contributions.
Ryan Howard might yet be the example you're looking for, but the Phillies are far from being crippled by overpaying for the final year of someone's contract, particularly when the guy in question is only going to cost $12 million. The Phils ate more than one contract in the last few seasons (Eaton, Jenkins) and it didn't exactly ruin everything.
One indication of the new FO's competence might be whether or not they try hard for Cliff Lee. Objectively, he has around a 0.5% chance (+/- 0.5%) of wanting to sign there, so the FO should pass on the blue pills and take a more sober look at what is possible. Most fans seem to want rosterpocalypse and blood sacrifice, so that might be a good place to start.
Figured an atta boy for a great column was in order.
Ross is so on fire that he probably has the confidence to try anything and expect it to work. I think the thought bubble above his head as he slid was, "This eye black makes me invisible."
It's not really the length of the game that's the problem. After all, lots of people would enjoy an epic 14-11 game that took 4 hours to play. Long games are fine if things are going on.
Rather, the problem arises because the game gets bogged down by loads of timewasting, as if someone's calling a time out after each and every pitch. Stepping out of the box to do a Nomar tic routine and stepping off the rubber is excruciating, especially when a particular pitcher (*cough* Burnett *cough*) looks like he's perfoming a 40 item mental checklist before he throws to the -- oh wait, it's a toss to first... and now he's back to square one. Gah. Frequent mound visits from the catcher only seem to crop up in the playoffs and only with certain teams, so I hardly see much impact from trying to regulate it with a rules change.
Halladay apparently changed up his piching repetoire because he couldn't throw his 2 seamer properly. Threw loads of change-ups and curveballs.
Groin strain, presumably.
Story of this game was that the Phillies made loads of little mistakes all night, and the Giants, conversely, did lots of little things well. Even when the game was tied, the Giants felt like the better team. Philly was in disarray, and most of the buttons Manuel pressed returned a wet raspberry. Not exactly the sort of inspiring effort Philly wanted to see in a 'must-win' game.
I think Girardi's willingness to let the game blow up in the 9th instead of trying to stop the bleeding with some bullpen moves was because he figures he's going to need a lot of arms for tonight's game.
But it was strange to see him sitting there while Robertson threw batting practice.
What about trading Strasburg for Roy Oswalt?
Steve Phillips :shifty:
Cody Ross must have been hypnotized into thinking it was Cole Hamels on the hill.
I think the Yankees use Sterling and Waldman to drive up YES ratings. They're fine enough for the mundate parts of the game, but once Sterling's pulse rate gets above clincally dead, you need to switch the station ASAP.
We probably need to know the Braves payroll situation and willingness to spend money. Can they chase a big name(s) or are they going to have to try to get lucky in the leftovers bin?
It's going to be hard to keep the band together if the fans aren't coming out and boosting revenues. Maybe making the playoffs moved the dial for next year.
"The Rays threw to the correct bases to get the right outs. It would be hard to identify “mistakes” made if you look at this game in the abstract. In the first inning, Price and Peña made an unextraordinary, safe play—it took Andrus to stretch the opportunity."
I'm reminded of Utley double clutching a fielder's choice throw to first before coming home to nail Jason Bartlett (who was trying to score from 2nd) in game 5 of the 2008 World Series. To be fair to this year's Rays (and to +1 your assessment of the plays in question) everyone seemed to recognize that Utley did something very special there.
The mission statement should include something about China and/or 3-D, shouldn't it?
3-D Jumbotron = $100 bleacher seats. You can have that one for free, D-Backs.
Cliff Lee + playoffs = walk in the park
Will it continue to hold?
I know it's not in Seattle's interests, but the fan in me wishes Ichiro could go to a contender. Such a great player, and he's Ernie Banks-ing it over there.
It's too bad the Braves had to enter the playoffs with backups to the backup's backups at a few positions. They spent 162 games to get to the promised land, and then had to play with a scrubs lineup.
Looked like Hinske's HR doinked off the foul pole mesh to me, fwiw.
Although this detail matters not at all.
Wow Jay, could you look down and see the Conan blimp from up there?
All the HPB (phantom or not) did was put one guy on base to lead off an inning. So 'another case of blown calls playing too big a role in determining the outcome' seems a bit overblown. The history of baseball is littered with examples of pitchers who pitched a scoreless inning even after the leadoff guy reached base.
Utley did have an 'Angels in the Outfield' trip around the basepaths, though. Questionable HPB gets him to first. Questionable force gets him to second, and no one's sure he touched third on his way home after Bruce's inconceivable error.
Two things: 'has to rate with Chernobyl for big Red meltdowns' gets an A+, and Cox forcing the ump to toss him (unless he thought spiking his cap at the ump's feet was going to be welcomed) in the second inning - over a call that had a negligible impact on the game - was unconscionable. With the Braves already down 3-0, it made him look like a manager who didn't want to be there with his boys while they got their heads beat in. Do not like.
I think you could write a stand alone piece just on Joe Maddon's decisionmaking. Qualls is a big piece, but what in the world is Desmond Jennings doing starting in a must win playoff game? Sure, the benefits of playoff experience might be overrated, but what about ANY experience?
I think the easy assumption to make is that Posey was called safe because McCann's throw wasn't 'on target'. It was well to the right of the bag, so it was easy to lean towards calling Posey safe. Catchers can't usually miss their targets that badly and still make an out.
And just to avoid the impression that everyone agrees that it was a 'too close to see in real time' call, he looked out to me in real time.
I think the point was that Qualls is not pitching well, groundballer or not, so why is his name even on the short list in that situation? It's not like moving over to Tampa Bay miraculously revived his season. Guy had a 7+ ERA in September.
I'm exaggerating (slightly?), but it's like trying to say that bringing in Ollie Perez would be defensible if it was for a lefty lefty matchup. The more germane consideration for a manager would be that OP isn't any good.
Or maybe BP could employ this in a 'Game of the Week/Day' during the reg season, since doing it for every game every day seems daunting.
Can the new Yanks win without the backing of a Jay-Z anthem? I'm thinking intangibles.
Considering the brutal tank job the Padres are about to complete, I can't see Bud Black getting the MOY.
This (just about) end of season Hit List serves as a useful reminder of how few contenders there are in the NL. The elite teams here should have it all to themselves for at least another year or two.
Minaya's chances of being fired are only 50-50? That only makes sense if one 50 is 'today' and the other is 'tomorrow'.
Great work here to examine what went wrong from a variety of angles. The star and scrubs theory (results show high volatility) is a really interesting one to work with. I wonder if there are benchmarks for deciding when a team is S&S, besides the eyeball test and clear examples like this one.
On topic, I selfishly would love to see Ichiro in a pennant race, playing for a contender. Please set him free, Jack Z.
Complaining about ESPN content on here is as boring and predictable as posting "FIRST!" in the comments section.
It's already understood that paying for a BP subscription makes you a better, smarter baseball fan than the rest of the rabble out there. So posting something that draws attention to the fact that you are smarter and superior to the 'drivel-writing' analysts at ESPN actually makes you seem less smart and superior. If you're really cool, you don't need to tell people you're cool, right? So when ESPN walks over and wants to chat, you just grab your PBR, frown, and quietly move to where the real baseball fans have congregated. Contamination minimized!
I still remember getting offended by a "This Week in Quotes" item from around midseason where Jack Z was quoted saying something like, "Well, it's unfortunate that there was so much hype around this team, but I never believed it." Yeah, like you signed Cliff Lee to get you to .500. I don't think the org deserves to walk around in sackcloth begging for forgiveness, but its reluctance to publicly acknowledge its responsibility for a disaster probably makes people more inclined to treat them harshly.
That said, while the 'it's the media's fault' is a pitiful brew, I get the sense that Lincoln was mostly just trying to maintain morale and assure everyone that he wasn't going to start mass firing.
I look forward to the day when Jamie Moyer starts against his great grandson in the World Series.
JP, I think it's worth printing Albert's full quote about Rasmus. He didn't say "We need to find a way to get him out of here." He said, "If he doesn’t want to be here next year, we need to figure out a way to get him out of here and find somebody that wants to be here and play."
The qualifier IF makes a significant difference. All week long this dustup has been written up as if Pujols demanded that Rasmus be kicked off the team, and that's (purposely?) sensationalizing what he actually said.
I wish all the, "Ooooh! What's going on with Will?" nudge nudge voyeurism would dry up and find some other car crash to ogle. As devine has noted, a $35 subscription doesn't put you on the Board of Directors. Will's here, writing, and not saying his goodbyes. This is all good. Let it be.
Expedition Stout, please.
David Sampson's dogged determination to find the criminals who exposed his shenanigans reminds me of OJ's search for the real killer. He'll scour the golf courses and resorts of America until he finds the evildoer, just you wait and see. See? Look over there! (*Stuffs money under a mattress, whistles innocently*)
Huh? Better to not have an injury report at all, so we can waste time googling around for the information ourselves? Will Carroll is obviously unavailable, but someone is still offering readers (or me, anyway) useful, necessary information re: injuries. I appreciate the workaround.
Hi Craig, Just wondering why Happ was a Sit (instead of at least a Consider) against the Mets and Marlins. Sorry if the rationale should be obvious, but I don't know what I'm missing. Happ seems OK.
Fwiw, the last NL team to win 3 consecutive pennants was the St. Louis Cardinals (42-44). This has been mentioned ad nauseum in Philly, so it sinks in after a while. BRM, surprisingly, never did it.
Cheers to your reader for putting in the work. That softens the history, but the perception that Madson isn't as effective when he's a closer didn't emerge out of thin air. More importantly, here is Manuel complaining to the beat writers after Lidge's latest blown save against the Nats:
"I hear you guys say that for two (gosh darn) years," said Manuel, when asked about Madson. "I hear this and that, this and that. What the hell? We try this guy. We try that guy. We try this guy. Then I hear you bitch to me sometimes about their roles: 'Guys don't know their roles.' I can go on all night now. Let's just drop it right there."
h/t Todd Zolecki
Madson, for better or for worse, is locked in as the set-up guy. He's good at it, and I'm almost sure he's going to stay there.
I'm not trying to disagree with the notion that Madson couldn't be a good closer. I'm just saying that I doubt he'll get the chance. And I thought that was relevant for anyone thinking about a speculative pick-up in fantasy.
("Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing.")
I don't think the outsized narcissism of either fan base (in this case, I mean that in a good way - there is no juice in the stadium without it) is media generated, although it probably plays a role. But both fan bases think they're especially special, so when both their teams are good the head to head games tend to be proxy wars for a 'who is more special?' battle going on in the stands. Hence the fans treating the rivalry as bloodsport.
Fwiw, I *always* got my money's worth sitting in the old Yankee Stadium bleachers for these throwdowns.
Madson in 2008: 1 save, 2 blown saves
Madson in 2009: 10 saves, 6 blown saves
Madson in 2010: 4 saves, 3 blown saves
Lidge vs. Madson isn't quite cancer vs. AIDS, but the contrast between Madson as set up guy (good) vs. Madson as closer (Maalox) is severe enough that he pretty much blew his chance(s) of taking Lidge's job. There's no obvious replacement if someone Tonya Harding's Lidge in the leg, but Manuel et al may decide that Madson, for one, is better off staying where he is in the set up role. I'd set the over/under for saves between now and the end of the year at 3, and go under.
Just wanted to chime in on #32 as well. I think there is a non-trivial impact on the game from players who feel particularly confident against certain other players or in certain situations. Going up to the plate with a head full of doubt, because you've been 'owned' too many times in the past, vs. going up to the plate thinking you can hit anything because you've 'owned' the pitcher is psychologically relevant, and it's bound to make a difference.
The problem with trying to pull that out of a data set is that you won't be able to restrict it to the people and situations where that very particular kind of confidence is in play. Players who have had extreme success against a pitcher in the past (thus getting treated as an example of this phenomenon) don't always feel like they 'own' them, and vice-versa. Conversely, a guy may feel 'locked in' against a certain pitcher even if his success rate doesn't justify the feeling. But that confidence might help him do better (less badly) than he otherwise would have. In any case, in any data set you'll almost certainly include players and situations that don't actually belong in the study, and the false positives will obscure whatever the real effect is.
In the absence of interviewing every player to see when, if ever, they feel like Superman so that you can try to measure the phenomenon, it's just a theory. But it makes plenty of intuitive sense.
A Pastime Betrayed? How Obama and the Democrats Are Destroying America's Game
Grab it before Hannity does.
Will, I don't know if you covered this already, but I haven't seen it, so I thought I'd ask. Any thoughts on Don Cooper's statement that Strasburg's 'inverted W' pitching motion was a red flag that reminded him of Mark Prior?
Nicely done, JJ. I will remember The Boss with fond nostalgia in the future when I fly into George M. Steinbrenner Airport (formerly JFK), take the train to the George M. Steinbrenner Station (formerly Penn Station), and go see a New York Steinbrenners (formerly New York Mets, in search of better karma) game in Flushing.
Also can't wait to visit the eternal flame at Steinbrenner's Yankee Stadium gravesite, where Challenger will stand guard in perpetuity, heroically stuffed and mounted on his tombstone.
Great owner, and New York will miss him.
Agreed that the best way to describe the Werth backlash was 'tepid'. Everyone loves the guy even if he's f-bombing Steve Bartman.
I'm pretty sure MLB can't fine fans.
Appreciate the shout out for Franzke, since he's been a great add for the Phillies.
The Phils performed an almost identical swan dive last season that coincided exactly with the start of interleague play. Last year the vague excuse floated around the clubhouse was that the Phils for some reason couldn't muster enough intensity when playing against teams who weren't chasing them in the standings. It doesn't make a lot of sense, but the Phils charged out of the gates once interleague ended last year, so I assume for some reason that they'll do it again this year.
Was TWIQ sponsored by the Player Haters Ball this week? Silky Johnston wants to know what happened to his invite.
AP is reporting that Grady Sizemore had microfracture surgery, and is expected to be out for the rest of the season (6 to 9 months).
Aren't those 'we're embarrassed because we should be better than this' D'Back quotes a carbon copy of the sort of thing they were saying last year?
@shanecris: You can find SIERA in the statistics section. Just customize something like the 'Pitcher Season - Standard' report. Or follow this link, assuming it works:
FYIL 'Awesome' pic is Jose Mourinho in a Jesus pose.
You get the feeling that Steve Phillips was always every other GM's first call, don't you?
Just wanted to say I'm a fan of this feature. Thanks for putting it together.
How about in five years we replace Buck and McCarver with Ozzie and Ichiro?
That's a nice outing for Scherzer. Since the big eyebrow raiser for him in Detroit was his decreased velocity, I wonder if you have any word on how hard he was throwing?
The Newark Bears are anxiously awaiting this decision.
Why did Wilpon unexpectedly fly hundreds of miles for a face to face with the team's top brass, only to emerge with a 'nothing to see here' report?
And fwiw, I'd expect Werth to re-sign before he gets to free agency, so I don't think we'll get to see a bidding war.
phuturephillies was all over this a week or two ago, and also thought it would be entirely possible for the Phils to retain Werth with a backloaded deal. The Phils could conceivably squeeze Werth in for 2011 even if Ibanez stays, before increasing Werth's payday as Ibanez and other big contracts (*cough* Lidge *cough*) come off the books.
Werth is a great player who is a great fit in Philadelphia, so I can't imagine him leaving, even if it seems hard right now to make the numbers work. The Phillies are a license to print money these days, so if they keep up their postseason success, the finances have a good chance of working out.
That's some weak tea from Jack Z, saying that other peoples' expectations were getting overinflated in the offseason. Like he signed Chone and traded for Lee in order to shoot for .500? Pat yourself on the chest, say 'My bad' and don't insult people by suggesting that you knew better all along.
I saw a Fangraphs article earlier this week (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/stantons-got-that-super-swing/) that said Stanton's results this year show such an extreme bias towards pulling the ball that he'd probably be pretty vulnerable to MLB pitching if he came up to the bigs.
Brad Lidge's 2009 was a never ending litany of 'I finally feel right' promises, which never panned out. So far in 2010 Lidge has already made similar ('I feel so much better than 2009') promises about 5000 times.
Define 'lawful stop'. A sobriety check point? A "Hey, can I talk to you for a second?" Cops are allowed to try and engage you in a conversation, and if your english not so good...? Maybe you fit the description (male, Hispanic) of someone who just committed a crime nearby, and the cops just want to stop you and make sure you're not the guy. I assume there are loads of lawful reasons for a cop to stop a person that doesn't necessitate the person breaking the law first. "Lawful stop" seems like some pretty broad language, offering cops lots of leeway if they want it.
There is a reason why this bill is attracting insta-lawsuits, and there's a reason why some AZ sherrifs are saying they won't try to enforce it. And that MAY be because the people who know the most about it (lawyers and the people in charge of implementing it) think it's a turd sandwich that's going to cost a fortune in wrongful arrest lawsuits. Maybe Barajas and others are conjuring up an unrealistic worst-case distortion of what could happen, but a lot of people who *have* read the bill are hating on it just as much, and their reasoning isn't too far from the reasoning displayed by our quote machines above.
Add in the fact that the bill effectively singles out Hispanics (no one is under any illusions that AZ is sweating the influx of Canadian illegals) in a way that they feel (with some justification) is hostile, and you have a very hot button issue for MLB, and Hispanic players in particular.
Cost certainty also lets the Phillies plan what the team will look like in 2012 and beyond, which can affect draft strategies, trades, and other facets of team construction. Again, I think it's a mistake to think the Phillies were hung up on exactly how much Howard would cost, or that they were trying to secure a bargain. His agent gave them a price they could live with, and that was it.
Well, it's simply untrue that we *know* what Howard will be in 2012-2016, but the Phillies (or whoever they trade Howard to) do know that they have locked down a mid-career player who currently has a track record of being a top tier first baseman. Maybe it's better to say that there's no other name the Phillies can realistically pencil into to that spot for the next seven years who will give them the cleanup hitter production they expect to receive. Tossing out names like Fielder or Pujols, as others have, is an unrealistic parlor game, and I don't think it's practical to toss off Howard and count on some as yet unknown name to emerge either. No team not in a rebuilding mode wants to start the year with Daniel Murphy as Plan A, and the Phils clearly don't want to risk getting stuck in a similar predicament.
To the Phillies, knowing right now that they have a top tier first baseman in place for the next seven years is better than *hoping* that they can get a marginal upgrade in a few years' time, for an unknown number of dollars. And I think most teams would agree.
To this point, no one's made money shorting Ruben or the Phillies, but the perception that he's a clueless moron persists. It hurts my pride as a fan, but as long as he's pulling off coups like Cliff Lee, or bringing in valuable upgrades like Ibanez and Polanco, then his rep among the chattering classes is a side issue.
Well, I can't imagine the Phillies talking to Howard's agent, reaching a concensus that 5 years, $125 would do it, and then saying, "OK, when we get to that point, we'll offer you that deal." It's only cost certainty if the deal is signed, and until it was signed, the Phillies didn't have cost certainty.
I know people are hung up on the numbers, but it's probably not the dollar figures that the Phillies were sweating. They apparently didn't see a need to be dollar efficient with Howard, but they did see a need to know that 1B was locked down for the next several years, at a known price. For the Phillies, knowing the price in advance seems to take a clear precedent over haggling over the price.
If we're going to use 'past as prelude' as our guide, then it's worth noting that a) the payroll *has* been growing by leaps and bounds, and b) pretty much every assumption about what the Phillies FO will do has been wrong lately, including, obviously, the one where the Phillies would let Howard walk before he entered his Mo Vaughn phase. So I wouldn't be surprised if Werth stuck around for another 3-4 years. He's a right-handed hitting stud in a lineup that wouldn't have one otherwise. He'd be hard to replace.
Maybe we have different tastes. I'll take BP's approach over the 'LOLZ!!! Am I right?' analysis over at fangraphs:
"When the news first broke and the details started to emerge, I was tempted to fill this entire article with just me laughing. My co-writers convinced me that while an appropriate response, that was not quite informative enough so I have relented and will actually map out the value of Ryan Howard’s new extension. I’m laughing pretty hard, though, in case you wanted to picture it."
Or Keith Law: "The contract extension the Phillies gave Ryan Howard made me laugh when I first heard about it."
It should be noted that this is how each guy started his article, so it set the tone for whatever followed. CK seems to have similar doubts about whether the extension was wise, but she expressed it in a much different way.
I disagree with JS pretty strongly on Howard in particular, but we can disagree without resorting to that last sentence, can't we?
It sounds like the Phillies are trying to get a clearer picture of their long terms costs, so that they can better work around their tent pole contracts in putting together a long term strategy for constructing the rest of the team. The Phils have already demonstrated a fetish for cost certainty, and they seem to like being able to avoid spending their offseason wondering how to fill holes. They have a guy they think can fill the 1B slot for the next several years, so they locked it down. Now they can strategize around that. It's risky, but it makes FO people's jobs easier as well.
There are virtues to going year to year, or waiting until a deal is almost up before you talk extensions, but the alternative is not without its charms either.
Except that the Phillies now know with certainty (because they just did it) what Ryan Howard will cost through 2016. They don't know anything like that with Werth or Lee or [fill in the blank with big name]. In a free agent market, which Cliff Lee, at least, will probably test, the Phils have no way of knowing if they'll succeed in being the highest bidder. From that perspective, the money spent for certainty on Howard is not equivalent to the money they *might* be able to spend on Werth, Lee, or some other big name big dollar contract.
The club kids are all hating on this deal, and congratulating themselves on coming up with the cleverest putdowns, but I'm glad CK and BP resisted the temptation. It's nice to be able to come here and read a reasoned analysis of this deal that doesn't rely on the need to seem oh so superior to some hapless GM.
While I know that the number of players who went from drafted to the majors in two years is bigger than 123, I still expect that the total size of the group is a small number. And the number of people who did it and actually turned out to be good is even less. Which is why I'm usually not on board with the argument that teams facing the loss of a Type A player to free agency should pass on making a mid-season deal if it doesn't blow them away, in favor of two draft picks in the following season. If you make a deal for current minor league talent, in all probability they are going to get to the majors well before the two draft picks, and that's usually worth quite a bit to the team making the trade.
The phrase 'silly move' does not suggest that *any* move Minaya makes would be silly. 'Silly move' seems to specifically refer to the possibility that Minaya will chase a pennant with a useless, pointless, and potentially harmful deadline trade, even if the Mets have no realistic shot at the playoffs at the time. It's not unusual for someone in Minaya's position to do this, because recognizing that he can't win this year, and admitting as much by not making a chase the pennant move at the deadline, might be bad for his job security. Considering that Minaya made noise last season about being a buyer at the trade deadline, despite how bad the season was imploding, it's not out of the realm of possibility that he might do something like this.
Anyway, the silly move stems from the precarious position he finds himself in, not personal limitations as a GM.
Thus, not a personal attack.
Although the McLouth projection screams 'proceed with caution' to me, I'll take a stab at answering your question. First off, McLouth's Depth Chart projection lists his 5x5 counting stats as 109/25/91/23/.267. This matches well with the 113/26/94/23/.276 he put up in 2008, so if the system simply sees this as a bounce-back year, then the numbers line up. Although McLouth's flyball rate dropped significantly last year and he struggled more against LHPs than in years past, his walk rate also increased and he joined an Atlanta team that should be far superior to the one he left in Pittsburgh. He missed time with a hammy injury that should be healed now, and rates a 'green' on Will's THR. If you look at your other prognostications, I think you will find that PECOTA's triple slash projections for McLouth are not far off these other systems at all. The big difference in counting numbers comes because PECOTA sees 713 PAs for McLouth, while others I've seen have him well below 600. As I said before, I plan to proceed with caution, but I don't know that I'd discount the projection completely.
"The reality is, the product you are offering for a price is inferior to those being offered elsewhere for free."
The following are a random sampling of projections. One comes from the current Depth Charts at BP. The other comes from a popular free system. Without identifying which is which, can it really be said that one is demonstrably inferior? Or that based on these numbers, that one should wonder whether anyone at BP has a clue?
Brand X: .274/.375/.491
Brand Y: .272/.369/.484
Brand X: .310/.366/.504
Brand Y: .325/.368/.526
Brand X: .264/.327/.362
Brand Y: .266/.328/.367
I can't tell which of these brands is 'delivering a stinker,' or 'permanently impaired', and I suspect that most of the commenters on this article can't tell either. You will get no disagreement from me that the roll-out for PECOTA this year has been flawed at best. Certainly the site has taken a hit for that, and they've acknowledged their mistakes. However, instead of simply massaging the numbers to make it work out right, at least the site has been transparent about its efforts to correct the programming, and apologetic for the delays. That does not excuse their errors, or make it OK that PECOTA is still not 'locked,' but I think the scorn being heaped upon Dave and the rest of the BP team in this comment and others of its ilk is unwarranted. I also believe that the errors are not 'fundamental' ones, and that the fact that Adam Jones' 80th and 90th percentile projections don't add up, doesn't make BP's .283/.344/.459 inherently inferior to CHONE's .294/.349/.497. It doesn't mean that Christina Kahrl can't say anything intelligent about the Blalock signing. It doesn't mean that Will Carroll can't explain an arm injury, and it doesn't mean the Kevin Goldstein doesn't know how to evaluate a prospect anymore. It is an annoying logical error, but that on its own does not signify to me that BP no longer knows anything about baseball, or that I can get better analysis/information from Yahoo, Fangraphs, or MLB.com.
As someone who has used PECOTA data to draft for several years with varying levels of success, I do not see anything in the current iteration that renders that data worthless. Even during the Silver years, PECOTA managed to produce individual projections that, in retrospect, whiffed badly. I believe that the data have always needed to be interpreted based on whether you make the same assumptions about a player that PECOTA does. I can name several players from past seasons for which PECOTA has seemed to have a multi-year blind spot (Chris B. Young, Jay Bruce, and Kelly Johnson off the top of my head) and after some bad blunders, I learned to adjust accordingly. The problems with internal consistency in this year's numbers are frustrating, but I don't see PECOTA churning out a steady stream of outlier projections. While some may believe that CHONE has a better read on (say) Kendry Morales simply because its team standings add up correctly, I'd argue that this alone does not inherently make it more accurate. I still feel that there is plenty of accuracy left in PECOTA, and that if it is less useful this year than in the past, the differences are not as significant as is sometimes maintained. (Of course, I draft in a traditional 5x5 league, so problems with UPSIDE or 10-year projections do not affect much of what I do.) As I see it, BP's biggest mistake this year (and last, admittedly) appears to be that they did not recognize the size of the problem back when there was sufficient time to deal with it. However the "problem" to me has more to do with getting PECOTA from 'good' to 'the best it can be', instead of from 'useless' to 'OK'. Your mileage may vary, but I still say the numbers can be used, and used successfully. Good luck with your draft.
According to Fangraphs, Burnett's fastball got knocked around badly last year - it was the worst year for his fastball by far. His curve, on the other hand, still got great results. One thing that was obvious watching him pitch last year was that if he could get players to chase his curve, or drop it in for strikes, then he could dominate. But if the curve wasn't there, he didn't have much left to work with. The two games he pitched in the WS against the Phillies (one good, one bad) illustrated the difference pretty well. Anyone can tag a fastball if they don't have to worry about the breaking pitch.
I'm pretty sure I've also read that changeups are easier on your arm than curveballs, so maybe that's another good reason to try it out.
I suspect that the system sees an injury/age decline for Ibanez in '10.