Finding ideal landing spots for Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford and others.
Some 176 players became potential free agents when the World Series ended, and other big names are always rumored to be on the block for their respective teams. Within the context of all this, there are moves that seem to be "musts," and in this case, they all involve teams that didn't make the 2010 fall classic. Here are five options:
The Injury Expert's magic number is down to two for a career column milestone and he has further discussion of a controversial supplement.
On Monday, I wrote about the conflict of interest between Liberty Media owning a supplement company that sells substances on MLB's banned list and owning the Atlanta Braves. I want to clarify a couple things. First, Liberty Media is a giant conglomerate of assets, of which both Bodybuilding.com and the Atlanta Braves are just a small part. It's not "wrong" to sell supplements, just a conflict of interest if you also happen to own a baseball team. Also, I want to be very clear that I'm not removing the responsibility for taking the banned substance from those players that have tested positive. MLB provides a list of products and Jack3d, Oxy Elite Pro, and "any product that contains Methlyhexaneamine, DMAA, dimethylpentylamine, geranamine, Geranium oil, or extract" are specifically noted. Agents were warned as well in a memo sent out from the MLBPA with specific warning about "Jack3d" after a series of recent positive tests. MLB teams have athletic trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, and more resources available for athletes to check substances before taking them and putting themselves at risk.
A look at 10 men who should be considered to run a baseball operations department.
Welcome to Top 10 Week. All week long, various BP authors will be revealing their Top 10s in various categories. Today we start off with Will Carroll ranking the 10 best general manager candidates.
A couple years back, I did a list of the "next GM" crop. It's one of those innocuous exercises that nonetheless tells us a lot about what's going on inside of the front offices. We hear about GMs, about trades, about drafts, but even in Moneyball and earlier in Dollar Sign on the Muscle, we seldom hear about the day-to-day operations carried out by a group of people that is overworked, underpaid, and most importantly, vastly overqualified. This is a group that years ago would be more likely to be putting together a hedge fund, working for the State Department, or something a bit more "important" than the game of baseball. With the money of the modern era, teams got smarter, fast.
The Indians' injury woes mount with Cabrera going to the DL and Sizemore hurting, along with other medical news from around the majors.
Asdrubal Cabrera (broken forearm, ERD 7/10) Grady Sizemore (bruised knee, ERD 5/21)
I started to link to the video of the play that snapped Cabrera's arm, but I decided against it. For the squeamish, it's not pretty and it's easy enough to find if you want to see it. The collision with Jhonny Peralta had enough force to snap his ulna at or near the midpoint of the bone, necessitating a plate and/or screws to make sure it heals properly. I say ulna from the video, but it's a bit unclear and there's been no official word from the Indians. It's semantics, since fracturing either of the major bones in the arm in this manner would cause the same sort of lost time. Some are blaming the defensive shift for this injury, but it feels like this one's just bad luck rather than being in an unfamiliar position. Then again, I can't think of a single incident of a third baseman/shortstop collision, let alone one with these kinds of consequences. Cabrera should be out until about the All-Star break, but shouldn't have any long-term consequences. As a lot of young kids can tell you, arm bones heal pretty cleanly. I am curious to watch the timing on this with a lot of the interesting research on bone stimulation coming out of the Cleveland Clinic. The Indians are all about the bones right now, as Sizemore had an MRI to see what his problem is. His knee was thought to be just bruised, but he has had severe pain and some inflammation. He'd had some minor issues with this same knee back in April, so there may be some connection or we could be seeing some underlying pattern that suggests a problem. While the Indians don't sound too concerned, Sizemore's unavailability hurts the Indians' chances of turning things around, even if it's for just a few days.
Papi's hearing sounds in his head, Woody's back, Wagner is waiting, and it may be Joba the Hurt.
I can't say enough good things about participating in Newberg Night, and I can't say enough bad things about flying on United, so let's start with the positives. Joe Sheehan and I were lucky enough to be the Opening Act for Jon Daniels' ninety-minute Q&A session, which is always surprisingly candid and not-so-surprisingly enlightening. From Grant Schiller's opening question to the final standing ovation that thundered through the auditorium, it was a great night to be a Rangers fan. Raising over $5,000 for the Hello Win Column Fund was even better, and I hope it's the start of something big for the next time we do an event. I've done Newberg Night every time Jamey's had one, and even with United doing their best to keep me in Dallas, I'll be back for the next one. (Maybe United will go broke before then, because they did a sorry job of being an airline yesterday.)
There's still a lot of turmoil over who goes where in the top ten picks of this year's draft.
It's draft week, so let's get away from the players getting paid and start the week with a different kind of Ten Pack. Here are ten players generating the longest and most heated discussions during the non-stop internal meetings that took place over the weekend.
Two iconic Yankees are dealing with minor ailments, while a key part of the Rays renaissance faces a more troubling setback.
We can't agree how to assess pitching mechanics or how to measure velocity on pitchers, so why should I expect anything different when it comes to valuing injuries? One of the biggest concerns I've heard about my admittedly quick & dirty Injury Cost calculation is that MORP, Nate Silver's method of valuing a player's contribution, already takes playing time into account, making IC a de facto double counting of value lost. So I'm opening up the floor--is there a better way to do this? I've talked with a couple people on the issue and so far, while better is possible, it's also significantly more complex without the requisite gains. My pal Aaron Schatz over at Pro Football Prospectus always says "the best is the enemy of the better." To me, providing an easily calculated measure of comparison that everyone can understand at a glance ("Oh, losing Garza to the DL is a bit worse than losing Jeter for a week.") has merit. As always, I'm open to improvement. Powered by The Goose, on to the injuries:
Jonah sits down with Lee MacPhail, the Director, Baseball Administration/Special Assignment Scout for the Washington Nationals. Among the items they discuss: old-school scouting, the situation of the Expos/Nationals, and the team's recent draft strategy.
Lee IV has worked in the Orioles, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins and Montreal Expos organizations. He now holds the title of Director, Baseball Administration/Special Assignment Scout for the Washington Nationals. MacPhail recently chatted with Baseball Prospectus about his family legacy, the challenges of working under uncertain conditions with the Expos and Nats and other topics.
This year's four candidates for the second Dick Martin Award for Best Medical Staff include the 2004 winner. See how they all stack up.
Conversely, teams that are able to keep their players healthy can reap the benefits of doing so. Landing few players on the disabled list allows a club to let their minor-league players develop longer instead of having to rush them to the majors to fill in for injured regulars. Minimizing DL costs is also an investment in the future, as preventing traumatic injuries and their lingering complications allows players to realize their ability and produce on the field.
Last year, BP's Will Carroll presented the inaugural Dick Martin Award for Best Medical Staff to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' team. This year, the candidates have been narrowed down to the top four, with the winner to be named and the award presented at the winter meetings in Dallas next month. The criteria for the award include the amount of days spent by players on the disabled list, the amount of money spent on players' contracts while on they're on the disabled list, dollar distance from the average DL salary and percent of team payroll spent on DL salary. These criteria were chosen to demonstrate how well teams were able to keep their players healthy not only in comparison with their peers but also within their means.