One of the very special undocumented features of the Baseball Prospectus website is one that staffers have come to call the Time Machine: If you load the front page at just the right moment (when the database is rebuilding, or the bandwidth is being refilled, or some such thing), you’re flung back into a Baseball Prospectus of years past, when ballplayers were ballplayers and so was Bernie Williams.
That’s what happened to me one recent morning, and by happenstance, I ended up reading a vintage Transaction Analysis that reported on the latest multi-year contract handed out by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Wrote Christina Kahrl at the time:
The problem is that the Pirates are operating under a false assumption, one that’s guiding what I’m beginning to think of as the Age of New Mediocrity. Teams are using salary as a proxy for talent and quality, assuming that expensive players must be good … the Bucs have joined the rush to perpetuate the careers of perpetually mediocre (or worse) players, players who haven’t earned the right to keep their jobs, but who keep them because they were expensive, and possibly even good once or twice in their careers.
Anyone who cares to play Name That Ill-Advised Pirates Signing, drop me a line. One guess per customer, and no peeking - I’ll report back here with the answer (and winners) in a day or two.