Uncovering when it is beneficial for a bad team to sign someone on the free-agent market.
When the Orioles signed Mike Gonzalez on Friday, the collective sound of baseball fans' palms hitting their foreheads reverberated throughout the land. The Orioles have virtually no chance of competing in 2010, and they cost themselves their second-round pick. They simply will not have enough games to close, and those games will not push their team over the edge into the playoffs for this season. Instead, keeping the draft pick and concentrating their resources on scouting and development seems to make much more sense.
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Reviewing how badly each team's been hit by its assorted hurts.
For the last five years, we've been collecting injury data based off the official DL reports. While this data isn't complete, since the DL alone doesn't tell the full injury story, it is the only consistent source. By adding extra information to the database, we've been able to establish timelines, baselines, and guidelines for injuries, as well as using it as part of the Team Health Report prediction system. Since teams are starting to take note of this type of exercise, why not take a mid-season look here at the All-Star break, and see if we can find anything of note?
Are the Rockies in or out, plus the Indians make their commitments, and a Royal with boardinghouse reach at the plate.
Are the Colorado Rockies in contention? According to Todd Helton, it's a matter of perspective. "I guess you could look at the standings and say we're in contention, but I don't really think that way at this point," said Helton, the Rockies' first baseman and longest-tenured player, having made his major-league debut in 1997. "I'd say we've put ourselves in position to be in contention." Rockies manager Clint Hurdle feels the same way. "I don't know if we're there yet," Hurdle said. "We're close, but I don't know if you'd say we're contenders."
A quick overview of what to expect from all 30 ballclubs.
It has already been the year of the milestone in baseball. Trevor Hoffman became the first reliever ever to reach 500 saves. Sammy Sosa hit his 600th home run and Frank Thomas belted his 500th. Craig Biggio got to 3,000 hits, and Roger Clemens reached 350 wins. The biggest milestone of all is just around the corner-Barry Bonds has 751 home runs, four away from Hank Aaron's all-time record.
Aside from personal achievements, a number of interesting races are developing in the two leagues and six divisions. Now that the All-Star Game is behind us, here is a division-by-division look at what to expect in the second half of the season:
It's one thing if a manager believes that intentionally walking Bonds is the best strategy to winning a game. And the game is close. I think the intentional walk is a bad strategy anyway, but I can respect that we have different opinions (me and the manager). But if a team is out of contention, or it's a blowout, they should pitch to Bonds. If baseball is a sport, and it is, it's only sporting to let him hit if the outcome of the game isn't in question.
It's one thing if a manager believes that intentionally walking Bonds is the best strategy to winning a game. And the game is close. I think the intentional walk is a bad strategy anyway, but I can respect that we have different opinions (me and the manager).
Baseball's Rule 5 draft, in many ways, is confined to the rural route of the annual winter meetings, so it doesn't get as much bandwidth/column inches as it should. But as many teams are learning or already know that the Rule 5 is a nifty way to add a high-ceiling prospect to the system. The catch, as you know, is that any team selecting a player in Rule 5 must keep the lucky draftee on the active major league roster for the entire season or until he can fake an injury substantial enough to eventually land him on the 60-day DL. Just last year, we saw teams choose a handful of vaguely useful to flat-out good relievers (e.g., Aquilino Lopez of the Blue Jays and Javier Lopez of the Rockies). And reaching back into the antediluvian mists of prehistory, luminary Roberto Clemente first made his way to the Pirates via Rule 5. This winter's crop is the least impressive since I've been closely following this draft, but there were still some engaging names on the board. So, in my stateliest Lance Ito fashion, I shall now pass judgment on the 2003 class of Rule 5 draftees. All rise...
Baseball's Rule 5 draft, in many ways, is confined to the rural route of the annual winter meetings, so it doesn't get as much bandwidth/column inches as it should. But as many teams are learning or already know that the Rule 5 is a nifty way to add a high-ceiling prospect to the system.