In fact, Melvin Mora said, he recently spoke to former Oriole Miguel Tejada, who was cut this season by the San Francisco Giants, and talked about reuniting in Baltimore. “I said, ‘Why don’t we go back to the Orioles?' And he said, ‘You want to do that?'" Mora said. “I don’t know. I guess we have to see who the general manager of the Orioles is to see if he will take us back.”
-- Baltimore Sun, Nov. 11, 2011
Given their overturned offense, will the 2012 Giants be able to improve their won-loss record from 2011?
Not long ago, while discussing the anemic offense of last year's Mariners, we noted that 10 MLB teams scored fewer than four runs per game in 2011. Only two of those teams finished with a winning record. The San Francisco Giants represented the most extreme case; they won 86 games despite having the National League's worst offense.
That got me to thinking: How often has the team with the NL's worst offense finished with a winning record? The answer may come as a surprise.
Changes of scenery lead to changes in perception, plus news and notes from around the leagues.
It is funny how perception can color the portrait of a baseball player. Miguel Tejada was considered a malcontent last season with the Orioles, as the shortstop was portrayed as moody, a guy who had lost his zest for the game, and one appeared to be on the downside of his career. Astros general manager Ed Wade drew heavy criticism when he traded five players for Tejada last December. Wade came under more fire when Tejada was fingered as a steroid user just one day later, when the Mitchell Report was released. Throw in the fact that ESPN broke the story in April that Tejada is actually two years older than his listed age of 31, and Wade was considered the village idiot of the game's front offices.
Are there any legal-beagle ramifications to the Miguel Tejada and Frank Thomas mini-dramas?
It's been a while since our last foray through the legal underbelly of baseball. We've seen a fair bit of action in the last week in particular, regarding questions of age-one star player skipped across the back end of his prime in the blink of an eye, while another had a disagreement with his ballclub over whether he's reached the end of the road.
Let's start with Miguel Tejada, who joined Ann Coulter and Traci Lords (as well as, yes, a whole bunch of other Dominican ballplayers) as famous people who have fibbed about their age. The Astros shortstop revealed last week that his actual birth date was two years earlier than the one that's been listed throughout his career, making him a soon-to-be 34-year-old rather than a soon-to-be 32-year-old. The revelation came on the heels of an ambush interview with ESPN, where Tejada was confronted with a copy of his 1974 birth certificate, after telling interviewer Tom Farrey that he'd been born in 1976.
After a quick bit of aging, the Astros' shortstop might not lose much to Father Time now, but the clock's ticking.
My first thought after I learned that Miguel Tejada was two years older than his listed birth date was that I wasn't really all that surprised by the news. My second thought was that he just threw away his shot at the Hall of Fame. One of these two thoughts is valid; the other is a little out of place. Let's take care of the obvious part first. Below is a comparison of Miguel Tejada's original PECOTA forecast with a new one that we've generated by aging him exactly two years and leaving everything else alone:
It's an in-house disagreement between the analysts and PECOTA--who got it right?
Bobby Crosby had some big shoes to fill when he was first brought up to the Athletics to take over at shortstop. Miguel Tejada-the Most Valuable Player award winner and a productive player for Oakland over the years-had jumped ship to sign with Baltimore, and Crosby was given the job of replacing him after a breakout year in Triple-A. Despite some initial promise, Crosby has yet to really put it together, and is worse off than ever during the current season. What went wrong with Crosby, or was there never really anything going right in the first place?
Before all the IBA ballots are counted, staff picks give a hint as to what hands the awards may find themselves in.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Travis Hafner posted the highest OBP in the AL while nobody noticed, while Neifi Perez ended up getting playoff PT. The young guns had their day and then some. Jermaine Dye gave a lengthy spanking to his 90th percentile PECOTA projection (PECOTA's .288/.359/.516 versus an actual .315/.385/.622). The crop of AL rookies included a guy with a 0.92 ERA finishing third, and rooks like Jered Weaver (105:33 K:BB) and Francisco Liriano (144:32) threatening to be Johan Santana's biggest challengers in 2007. The National League featured tighter races, including a four-way brawl for the Pitcher of the Year and another impressive crop of newbies.
Eight staff members weighed in on the season that was, casting their ballots for the Internet Baseball Awards. We summarized their findings below, and then let them have their individual say.
Jay Jaffe checks in with a WBC report after taking in some exciting games in Puerto Rico.
But as the first round revealed, even the hardest heart is capable of being warmed once the games begin. The sudden presence of baseball in early March--not the lazy exhibition walkthroughs in front of somnolent audiences of sun-worshippers but tooth-and-nail battles between bitter rivals in front of frenzied fanatics--trumps all. Either find a way to enjoy the first (relatively) meaningful baseball in four and a half months, or fill out your bracket and kiss Andrew Jackson goodbye.
As of five weeks ago, I had been planning my own sun-worshipping Florida pilgrimage when my brother-in-law Adam upped the ante by suggesting a couple of second-round WBC games in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Though mindful of my own reservations about the tourney, I've got enough experience in marquee event attendance to know that even the most pilloried events--such as the birthed-in-scandal 2002 Winter Olympics in my hometown of Salt Lake City--look much better when you're holding a fistful of ducats. As my wife, Andra, likes to say, we're "event people"; it doesn't take much arm-twisting to induce us to hunt big games. So with her blessing, we procured a quartet of tickets for the Pool D winner versus Pool C winner matchup on Monday, March 13 (Adam's girlfriend Nicole would also be accompanying us), and a boys-only pair for the previous night's matchup pairing the Pool D winner and the Pool C runner-up. With the Dominican Republic and Venezuela likely to come out of the D bracket and Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Panama vying for the C slots, we were virtually assured of a pair of high-end Latin-flavored ballgames.
A wild-goose chase comparing two great shortstops illustrates an important lesson about evaluating recent performances.
No, I'm kidding. I actually have to gather some data to finish the piece, so that should run tomorrow. Great story, the White Sox, who are already more than halfway to the 71 wins I predicted they would garner, and now have Frank Thomas back to give them a much-needed dose of OBP.