Freddy Garcia was coming off a down year, but you chose to bring him back at a considerable salary. What was behind that decision? What will it take for him to back to where he once was? Bavasi: How will it happen? Greater focus on his part, and more focused instruction working with the pitching coach. This is a young guy who’s a good pitcher who’s had good years and only had one down year. His stuff is good, his strength is good, physically he’s fine. There’s no reason he can’t come back and be better than he was last year. How much better is open to discussion. Our approach to him in the off-season–considering him as a possible non-tender–as we went through that decision, thinking about throwing him into the pile of non-tendered players, we would have his salary to spend. Having analyzed potential players in the group of remaining free agents and potential non-tenders, if you threw all those guys together and threw Garcia in that pile, the best guy in there was going to be Freddy Garcia. Once Lee made the deal with his agent, to bring him back at the same salary, it was a no-brainer.
Paul DePodesta takes the helm in L.A. Dusty Baker is not a government agent. Turk Wendell apparently has spy cameras in every clubhouse in baseball. Bob Melvin saw Eddie Guardado taking magic closer pixie dust. These and other notable quotables in The Week in Quotes.
It is one of the most suspenseful moments in a baseball game. There’s a smash to the second baseman, he slides, knocks it down, picks up the ball, throws from his knees, and the first baseman can’t dig it out. The crowds waits, and then the message appears on the scoreboard “On the last play, the official scorer has ruled: HIT.”
Many of the problems inherent in evaluating defense are evident in the situation above. The first, and most crucial, is the fact that one of the most basic statistics involved in defense, the error, is assigned by one of baseball’s loosest rules, left to the interpretation of the various official scorers. While the league has struggled for the past few seasons to remove the subjectivity inherent in calling the strike zone, it has done nothing to remove the same from the assignment of errors. Rules 10.05.a-e discuss in detail what is to be considered a “base hit”–essentially any ball that could not be fielded with “ordinary effort,” a phrase that is never defined or clarified. In any field, statistics are only valuable if they are consistent and accurately reflect the action on the field. Errors, especially recently, have become assigned in such an ad hoc fashion as to relegate the statistic to nearly unusable status.
Pay attention, folks, because I’m about to reveal the identity of the 2004 world champion. Two years ago, in a column titled, "No Hope, No Faith," I pegged the Anaheim Angels as one of eight teams who had no chance of being competitive during the 2002 season. Last year, in a non-BP article (not online at this time), I reprised the concept by naming the Florida Marlins as one of just seven teams whose fans should have no hope for the 2003 season. As you might recall, the two teams did all right for themselves. I didn’t start out trying to make a fool of myself. The idea behind the annual column listing the teams with no hope and faith for the upcoming season stemmed from Bud Selig’s catchphrase during the 2001-02 labor negotiations. He insisted that "hope and faith" was lost for fans of as many as 18 teams, and the media picked it up and ran with the concept. I was just trying to find the teams that, looking out from early spring, legitimately looked as if they did fit that description. I suppose the fact that my conservative listing of just seven or eight teams each year has included the eventual world champions two of three times is an indication that even the most overmatched team can surprise. That should given hope and faith to all but the most destitute of organizations.
Miguel Cabrera has a bright future ahead of him–at least according to PECOTA. Bernie Williams had a bit of a tummy ache; luckily Kenny Lofton is there to pick up the slack. And the Pirates have a slew of questions to answer regarding their pitching staff. All this and much more news from Florida, New York, and Pittsburgh in your Monday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.