As I’ve previously written, a good way to judge the efficiency of a team’s front office is to compare the amount it spends on players to the number of wins it registers beyond that which could be attained by fielding a replacement-level club on which everyone earned the major league minimum salary. To compute this, I’ve assumed that a replacement-level club would play .300 ball, which translates to 48.6 wins in a 162-game season. A club’s “marginal wins” thus equals ((winning percentage -.300) x 162). For marginal payroll, the baseline assumes a 25-man active roster and three-man DL with everyone earning the major league minimum of $300,000, which would produce a payroll of $8,400,000. As several people have reminded me, the 2003 Tigers broke the formula. Their 43-119 record is worse than I had thought possible–the first team in 40 years to finish with a sub-.300 winning percentage. How bad were the Tigers? Compare them to the last two clubs to lose as many as 110 games: the Montreal Expos and San Diego Padres, who both finished 52-110 (.321) in their inaugural season of 1969.
Jason Schmidt took a lot of, well, rhymes with “Schmidt” on Saturday when he didn’t take the ball for Game Four. We soon learned why: Schmidt has pitched since early August with a torn flexor tendon. Surgery will be necessary to correct this, and the procedure was actually recommended back in August. After consultations with several orthopedists, Schmidt elected to continue pitching after being advised he could not exacerbate the injury. This injury is very similar to one suffered by Robb Nen at the end of the 1999 season. After having surgery on Oct. 7, 1999, Nen was able to return for Spring Training with minor limitations and went on to have a phenomenal 2000 season. The outlook is good for Schmidt’s 2004, a season one hopes will come without the questions about his fortitude. Tim Hudson left Game Four of the Sox-A’s series after only one inning with an injury, alternately described as a hip flexor and as a strained oblique. Hudson will have an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the injury, which sources tell me is a strained oblique. Hudson will not be available for Game Five, but the MRI will determine when–or if–Hudson would be available, assuming there are games he’d need to be available for.