The first edition of a new column for those who play in leagues in which Logan Schafer and Maicer Izturis are worth owning.
I never thought I'd find people out there like me.
For years and years on end, I subjected myself to nothing but standard 10- and 12-team leagues. I thought I knew stress. "Oh, which no. 3 starter should I pick up for this spot start?” I would ask a more innocent, less world-weary version of myself. "Which decent outfielder must I claim as an injury replacement," a more hopeful, younger Ben would ponder in 2010. Those were the days of sound sleep and easy championships.
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Adam Dunn walks away. Alex Gordon walks away. Other players' walks, also, have gone away.
Not all samples are small, but all samples are samples. Still, some samples are better samples than other samples. Russell Carleton showed us which are which last year, by which I mean that he showed, for a variety of stats, how big a sample we need for the signal to outweigh the noise. One happy outcome from that study is that walk rate for hitters is a stat that "stabilizes" faster than almost any other.
Jose Reyes’ ankle injury is causing all sorts of shuffling in the Toronto lineup. One positive side effect is Jose Bautista potentially gaining third-base eligibility, with two starts at the hot corner over the weekend. The speedy Rajai Davis also figures to receive more starts in the outfield as a result. At first glance, you might think the injury also opens significant playing time for Izturis, but that might not be the case.
Smart GMs don't pay for the brand name, but for the product. These players might have baggage but they get the job done as well as their expensive counterparts.
The free agency period, which got underway over the weekend, is a time when smart teams tread carefully, aware that the market contains as many potential pitfalls as it does opportunities. Land a high-profile free agent and you’re likely to improve your team, but you’ll also run the risk of succumbing to the Winner’s Curse, the tendency of a team to have to overpay for a player in order to outbid all his other suitors.
However, some less prominent players with lower contract demands stand a chance to approximate a more expensive player’s production, so a team can always try to cut costs and minimize risk by looking for comparable players with a little less buzz. Just as a smart shopper saves on over-the-counter medications by buying generic instead of paying a premium for a patent and nice packaging, a smart GM ignores name recognition in favor of production and price.
With Vladimir Guerrero pondering Japan, Bill asks who will be the baseball's final ex-Expo.
A bit less than two years ago, I noted that it had been nearly six years -- a long time, in baseball -- since the Montreal Expos had been a thing in Major League Baseball, and Iwondered who was likely to be the last active player to have worn an Expos uniform. I chose Vladimir Guerrero-- who was in the midst of a momentary resurgence--in a fit of something like nostalgia.
Well, now, in a little more than 24 hours, the team that once was les Expos will kick off its eighth season as the Washington Nationals, and it seems a good time to revisit the question: Do we have a better idea now of who will be the last Expo standing?
The Angels didn't get what they wanted, but does that mean they're going away?
Los Angeles gives one the feeling of the future more strongly than any city I know of. A bad future, too, like something out of Fritz Lang's feeble imagination. --Henry Miller Usually, criticisms of the state of affairs in Southern California hone in on well-worn complaints, like superficiality in achievement or personality, or a strangling inability to get anywhere despite all sorts of expense, or its lack of a coherent, organizing center. Or diseased bats that menace all who come in contact with them. And that's just the Angels.
Consider general manager Tony Reagins' lot as we head towards pitchers and catchers and the opening of camps in just a few short weeks. After all sorts of speculation, and after so many busy winters in past seasons, the Halos wound up with no Carl Crawford, and no Adrian Beltre. There was no late, spoiling cameo as the mystery third contestant in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes. There were -- initially -- no major trades for major stars who were on the move, not for Dan Uggla or Zack Greinke or Adrian Gonzalez. Up until a very short time ago, even the Dodgers, purportedly prostrated by McCourt squabbling, managed a more dynamic winter by re-inking Ted Lilly and adding Juan Uribe to their infield. In contrast, the Angels settled for letting people leave, while inking a pair of veteran lefty relievers to not-inconsiderable contracts. Between that and the anticipation that Kendry Morales would come back and bop, it made for fairly thin fare to make it through the winter with.
The three-time defending champion Angels will have payroll flexibility after this season.
Baseball’s smallest division includes a big-spending defending champion, two clubs working on relatively tight budgets, and one team in the middle. Winding down our 2010 payroll outlook (we’ve covered the NL Central, AL Central, NL East, AL East, and NL West), so let’s examine the books of the Angels, Rangers, Mariners, and Athletics.
The showdown between East and West is echoed in the junior circuit, but is it power versus power?
Whether due to the simplicity in casual conversations or the attractiveness of identifying the major component of team-wide success, combining several aspects of play into a tidy unit has become fairly commonplace. Most teams, however, are multidimensional, and many instances of such identifications are simply incorrect, based on reputations and not actual facts. Did the Twins really succeed through small ball and the manufacturing of runs, or was it simply assumed that they did based on using Nick Punto and a general lack of familiarity with their roster beyond Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau? And did the Yankees really not execute the little things throughout the season just because they could bop the ball all around the yard? I raise these questions because, for at least the next week, we are going to hear about how different the Angels and Yankees are in terms of their respective styles of play.
It's a fourth spin in six years for these two teams, but will the outcome change this time around?
Well, this certainly seems familiar. One of the reliable features of a divisional playoff slate that involves twice as many ballclubs and wild-card teams makes for a few rematches, so it's not too much of a surprise that we get to see the Red Sox and Angels square off for a fourth time in six years in October. Perhaps it's the easy isolation of living in the Midwest, but there seems to be little of the overwrought provincial self-absorption for Angels fans, where they might deserve to be filled with equal parts trepidation and anticipation. Where the hysterics of Red Sox Nation would treat three series losses to the same opponent in five years in October-the very same opponent from the epic '86 ALCS no less-there seems to be no such elaborate attention devoted the equally desperate concerns of Angels fans for having to be the ones who have seen their team fight and falter before the Red Sox in those three LDS matchups. It can't be taken as too much of a surprise; no doubt there are Rangers fans still bitter over how their team was squashed thrice in four seasons by the Yankees in the late '90s, and no doubt Yankees fans, those East Coast sophisticates, were like so many crushers and enjoyed the stomping, and Red Sox fans are no doubt no different when it comes to their post-season entertainments.