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LOS ANGELES ANGELS
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Optioned C-R Bobby Wilson to Salt Lake (Triple-A); recalled RHP Sean O’Sullivan from Salt Lake. [7/20]
Optioned RHP Sean O’Sullivan to Salt Lake; recalled OF-R Terry Evans from Salt Lake. [7/22]

It’s interesting that they’ve demoted O’Sullivan, because even without the complication of last Tuesday’s doubleheader, the schedule isn’t going to afford them the opportunity to skip the fifth starter’s slot, which comes up again on Saturday. As a result, between normal four-day rest patterns and the ten-day rule, O’Sullivan won’t be back until the calendar flips to August. Although the Angels seem to have sorted out that Matt Palmer was only a rotation piece as a result of injuries, gaudy 7-1 record or no (a .454 Support-Neutral Winning Percentage and just three quality starts in 11 do that for a guy), they might decide to give him that turn against the Twins. They could also turn to Shane Loux (.496 SNWP), but Loux hasn’t started a game in the majors in more than two months, with a DL trip between then and now; he did however take five turns rehabbing at High- and Triple-A, most recently on July 8th.

A quick check of rested starters available from the farm suggests that the available alternatives are limited; would they really want to add a journeyman like Dan Denham to the 40-man? Jordan Walden‘s hurting, and Trevor Reckling and Trevor Bell both pitched on Thursday. In Loux of those limitations, you can probably expect they’ll take their chances with what comes up with a Palmer raid on the park come Saturday. Given that we’re talking about the relative merits of Palmer and Loux, though, Mike Scioscia might just turn Saturday into a de facto pen start, with the two tandem’d up and neither having pitched since Tuesday.

MINNESOTA TWINS
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Optioned RHP Kevin Mulvey to Rochester (Triple-A); recalled RHP Jesse Crain from Rochester. [7/23]

OAKLAND ATHLETICS
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Placed 1BL Jason Giambi on the 15-day DL (strained groin); recalled 1BL Daric Barton from Sacramento (Triple-A). [7/20]
Dealt LF-R Matt Holliday to the Cardinals for 1B/3B-L Brett Wallace, RHP Clayton Mortensen, and OF-L Shane Peterson; recalled UT-L Eric Patterson from Sacramento. [7/24]

Well, that’s the end of that, as the tent gets folded up long after it had been knocked over by stiff winds and a stiffer offense. The range of futures made possible by getting Holliday from the Rockies in the first place weren’t exactly unlimited-the A’s would either win now with him or they’d be moving him around now, or perhaps they’d settle for keeping him the full season and getting the picks, but of those three possibilities, that last seemed very unlikely from the get-go. So they didn’t win-give the corpse of the ’09 A’s playoff hopes the dignity of post-fatality honesty-and they moved the man for goodies. What did they get?

Well, to deal with the added-on guys, Mortensen and Peterson have their merits, but neither is a sure thing. Mortensen’s a stringy sinkerballer who’s come up quick since getting taken out of Gonzaga in the supplemental portion of the first round of the 2007 draft. He’s got a good slider to boot, and while he’s had to work through some past problems with mechanics and lefties, those seem a bit more under control in his work at Memphis this summer. With 82 strikeouts against 34 walks in 105 IP and 1.8 grounders to fly balls, he’s doing stuff that everybody likes; coughing up 11 homers and 58 runs aren’t quite to everyone’s taste, however. He’s not a high-upside guy, he’s a back-end starter or perhaps a good set-up man in a system loaded with better pitching prospects for the rotation. Maybe the upside’s something like Justin Duchscherer or the like, and maybe that’s overstating his merits just a bit. Peterson’s a second-rounder from last year’s draft and someone who starred at Long Beach State, which sounds pretty tantalizing, and he’s only 21 years old and has already made it up to Double-A after hitting .298/.367/.428 in the Florida State League, no place to count on raking. However, he’s also a corner outfielder, so the problem he runs into is no different from the small horde of professional hitters the A’s have littering their outfields in Double- and Triple-A-if he doesn’t hit for power, it’s just not really going to fly, no matter how pretty the swing or nifty the approach. If that comes, and as young as he is, you can always hope, swell. If not, he’s an organizational soldier who will help the affiliates win ballgames. That’ll keep those people happy.

No, the player who really is the key to this deal is Wallace, the hitting machine from Arizona State who inspired so much curiosity in last year’s draft before the Cardinals selected him with the 13th overall selection (immediately after the A’s had taken Miami’s Jemile Weeks). Already at Double-A to open the season, a month in the Texas League had him hitting .281/.403/.438, earning him a quick promotion to Triple-A while the Cards pondered if he might not be the in-season solution to the Glaus deficit at third. That didn’t go quite as well, as he struggled a bit, but has come back up to .293/.346/.423 as a 22-year-old in the PCL. PECOTA didn’t know quite what to make of him; Wallace is a big guy and nicknamed the Walrus for cause, and when it came to comparable players, it ended up giving him a similarity index of 12, which may as well tell you he’s similar to a lot of hominids.

For a more scouty perspective, ask Kevin Goldstein; he’ll tell you that Wallace will hit .300 in the majors and get aboard at a .400 clip. The power, though, is a bit in doubt, which is critical in evaluating what the potential upside of adding him is. In a perfect world, he manages to do his timbering Redwood impression at third base in the major leagues well enough to man the hot corner for a couple of seasons. We can’t rule it out; this franchise got by with Carney Lansford and won a few things in the process, after all. Indeed, his gifts at third seem positively Lansfordian, as he has soft hands and an arm that would play there. If Barton manages to redeem his career in the months to come and re-establish a place for himself in the A’s future, Wallace’s staying at third to boot* could be part of a 2010 or 2011 lineup that gets those things called runs in their halves of innings.

A couple of readers have suggested that one way to look at the deal is by deleting Holliday from the equation, and taking it back to whether or not you’d trade Huston Street, Greg Smith, and Carlos Gonzalez for Wallace, Mortensen, and Peterson. It’s an interesting piece of pretzeling as a logic exercise, but keep in mind that acquiring Holliday was part of a pre-season pitch that they’d be making a run at winning the West. Adding Holliday was attended by other sprigs on that particular branch of the decision tree, like getting Orlando Cabrera and Jason Giambi and Nomar Garciaparra as well, or signing Russ Springer, or trading in February for Michael Wuertz if we want to make it sound less like a litany of Holliday and failure. They built up to take a shot, and it cost money, but it also probably helped make some with pre-season sales, and I’m sure that hope and faith was engendered by some memorable pre-season predictions, PECOTA‘s for example, or those made by the majority of my colleagues. The A’s did get nearly four months of play from Holliday, after all, so you have to throw that onto the scales as well, since such things don’t just disappear.

Still, as an exercise, it’s interesting, and I’d suggest that on that level the A’s came out ahead. Not that two years of Huston Street and Carlos Gonzalez’s future weren’t worth owning and aren’t playing their parts in terms of helping to propel the Rockies toward the National League Wild Card-even without getting hurt, Greg Smith was a sell-high guy unlikely to top his 2008-but let’s line it up as an exercise in worst-case scenarios. Let’s say the worst it works out for Oakland is that Wallace winds up being a first baseman who produces a .400 OBP and not quite the sort of game-breaking power you want at first base. Let’s say Mortensen’s just an organizational arm, and that Peterson is only good enough to ride pine in Oakland or win pennants in Sacramento. Is that worth two years of Huston Street and five or six years of Carlos Gonzalez?

No, it is not, but it’s not if Gonzalez winds up becoming the new Carlos Peña, a near-hit as a pickup by Beane back in the day that (in both instances) was brought to a hasty end when the organization came to the collective conclusion that it just didn’t like the cut of the guy’s jib after having gotten him. Peña’s making the A’s look bad-and the Tigers and Red Sox and Yankees too, for that matter-but Gonzalez hasn’t yet proven he’ll be worth starting ahead of Seth Smith, let alone Dexter Fowler. Wallace, in contrast, seems much more the sure thing, and it’s for that reason that I’d take the package from the Cardinals for Holliday than the one surrendered to get him.


*: Say what you will about Wallace’s limitations as a third baseman in terms of range, but most observers credit him for at least catching what gets hit at him, so I don’t use the term ‘to boot’ with any derision.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS
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Designated DH-L David Dellucci for assignment; recalled UT-L Joe Inglett from Las Vegas (Triple-A); activated RHP Casey Janssen from the 15-day DL, and optioned him to Las Vegas. [7/24]

COLORADO ROCKIES
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Placed RHP Manny Corpas on the 15-day DL (elbow); purchased the contract of RHP Jhoulys Chacin from Tulsa (Double-A); activated RHP Rafael Betancourt; designated RHP Ryan Speier for assignment. [7/24]

Along with yesterday’s acquisition of Rafael Betancourt, adding Chacin is a move with a similar purpose, albeit the opposite provenance, since he’s one of the organization’s best prospects, and was thriving in the Drillers’ rotation down in Double-A. There, he’s struck out 86 in 103 1/3 IP while walking 35, and getting 1.9 ground-balls to every fly thanks to that heavy, low-90s sinker that is so crucial to his success. That said, there are still rough edges; 10 homers and seven hit batsmen suggest the 21-year-old Venezuelan still makes mistakes. Still, from a pure stuff standpoint, he should be ready to help in a relief role, and with Betancourt helping fill out the unit at the top end while Chacin perhaps takes middle-inning chores before earning his way into a set-up role, it makes for a better bet than hoping some free talent lands in their laps (or that they have to count on the recently added Matt Herges, inked to a minor league deal).

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
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Activated SS-R Julio Lugo; optioned RHP P.J. Walters to Memphis (Triple-A). [7/23]
Acquired LF-R Matt Holliday from the Athletics for 1B/3B-L Brett Wallace, RHP Clayton Mortensen, and OF-L Shane Peterson; optioned INF-R Brian Barden to Memphis. [7/24]

Well, if that isn’t a solution to the question of whether or not the Cards can settle for letting Rick Ankiel get his act together, I don’t know what is. Yes, Matt Holliday isn’t hitting what he used to, back when he got to call Coors his home planet. So what, we already knew that would happen in December. If anything, his current performance (.286/.378/.454) is almost exactly in line with reasonable expectations for him, going into the tougher league and coming to a pitcher’s park, in light of his previous three-year performance in major league venues not named ‘Denver’ (.296/.370/.486). Get worked up over his recent hot hitting or not, but he’s been about what he was supposed to be, and put him in St. Louis, and that’s about what you should expect going forward. The difference between Holliday’s MLVr (.146) and Ankiel’s (-.150) leads to an easy envelope-level exercise: a full run’s worth of difference every three games at those clips, a full win’s difference over 30, and 64 games to play? Even if it works out as neatly as a two-win boost on offense in sabermetric terms, it’s what we in the propeller-headed community would see as a potentially division-winning addition.

What Holliday gives you is more than that batting line, though, and was always essential in evaluating his value. He’s been a fine baserunner in the past, totting up more than eight Equivalent Baserunning Runs in 2008, although interestingly enough, he’s had issues with the A’s, especially trying to advance on hits, but I wonder how much that’s trying to make something happen in an almost lifeless offense. With Albert Pujols on base in front of him, I suspect those opportunities might arise somewhat less often, while also being a less frustrating situation any way you slice it. He’s an outstanding defensive left fielder, which is a luxury in left you can afford when it comes with the complete package that Holliday provides. Get a player who can do this many things for you, and it frees up a skipper like Tony La Russa to bend his bean decisioning other tactical chicanery with the remainder of his roster, and with that mess in the infield, that figures to be time well spent.

Beyond the runs and the tactical virtues all that, though, there are other benefits to be realized. The A’s are reportedly paying a sizable portion of his remaining salary, $1.5 million, so the Cardinals don’t even take that big a hit in their pocketbook for having added him, and given how much money making the postseason can mean to a team, they’ll more than make back the roughly $4 million they’ve added to their payroll, and then some. There’s more, of course, in that a stretch drive in America’s best baseball city gives the Cardinals a nice inside pitch to make to Holliday as a free agent during the exclusive negotiating window during the offseason. That doesn’t hurt, but if he elects to walk, take his chances on the open market, and he leaves town, his duties done, he’s sure to yield picks.

As for Ankiel, we’ll have to see if he can get anything going as a reserve, but I don’t think this is going to do his impending free agency any favors. Already struggling to show any kind of patience (13 unintentional walks in 259 PA is just plain bad). There’s no underlying fundamental number to genuflect before in the hope that regressions cures his ills; his line-drive rate is only slightly low. If can’t get his at-bats to go longer than 3.44 pitches per plate appearance, almost a half-pitch per PA less than league average after being around average last year, he’s going to spend a lot of time hoping to run into enough cookies to redeem his impulsiveness. On paper, it sounds good as far as the suggestion that your fourth outfielder bats lefty with power and can play center, and is on a roster that has right-handed hitters starting in the corners, but it’s still up to Ankiel to pull his season together.

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sroney
7/25
well, Santana and O'Sullivan both pitched Tuesday, so both would be on only three days rest for this Saturday, and they didn't want to do that with either. So, they will start Loux or Palmer and won't need the fifth again until O'Sullivan is eligible to return again. Even if they hadn't sent O'Sullvan down, they would still be looking at Palmer or Loux for Saturday. This isn't the fifth spot coming up, but rather the sixth spot.
ckahrl
7/25
You miss my point--they need a fifth man because of the schedule, and they will select one, only it cannot be O'Sullivan, as I stated, for the reasons I already elaborated, and which you repeat here.
birkem3
7/26
sroney makes a valid point. The numbers below don't represent #1 or #2 pitcher in the standard sense, just a numbering to keep track of the pitchers. Pitchers 1 and 2 went Tuesday, 3 on Wednesday, 4 on Thursday, and 5 on Friday. Since none of pitchers 1 through 5 will have 4 days of rest by Saturday, they need pitcher #6. Since O'Sullivan was Pitcher 2, he wasn't an option even before being sent down.
birkem3
7/26
If you look to the future, they aren't going to even need Pitcher 6 again before O'Sullivan can return, so it's not like they even need him around for the 10 days. Pitcher 1 goes Sunday, 3 Monday (remember O'Sullivan was pitcher 2), 4 Tuesday, 5 Wednesday, off-day Thursday, 1 Friday, 3 Saturday, 4 Sunday, and O'Sullivan's eligible to return by this time. They won't actually need him until August 9. So they needed a 6th starter for Saturday and didn't need O'Sullivan or the 6th starter for the next turn through the rotation. The complaint about O'Sullivan seems to be much ado about nothing. Am I missing something?
ckahrl
7/26
I did not say that they did, so you're making an incorrect inference.
Oleoay
7/25
Regarding the Cards recent moves, I find it interesting that a big beef with Jocketty was the number of prospects he traded and Mozeliak was supposed to break that trend.
carpoon
7/25
Is Eric Patterson likely to get any playing time, or is he just going to ride the pine?
ckahrl
7/25
Actually, the very cool thing that the A's are up to with Patterson is their recent desire to make him into their own Chone Figgins clone, having played him a lot at third base down in Sacramento of late. Except that unlike Figgy, Patterson can hit with a modest amount of power, having pasted the PCL at a .326/.392/.523 clip, including 45 extra-base hits in 429 PA, plus 38 UIBB and 34 steals in 40 attempts. Having played second, third, center, and left, he certainly makes an interesting follow-on to Figgins, and in the age of recognized virtue as far as super-utility players, you can reasonably hope for something in this specifically non-specific role where before it seemed as if the team had no real plans.
cjgeisler
7/25
Christina, we Twins fans would prefer if you'd use the name Jesse F-ing Crain in the future, for reasons most obvious. This guys makes us wax nostalgic for Ron Davis....
collins
7/26
cjgeisler, I suggest *Jesse "walk-off" Crain*, in the same vein as Hugh "losing pitcher* Mulcahey. Seriously, they may as well bring in Punto or someone to pitch if it's a walk-off situation.
skorpad
7/25
Ankiel sounds like a perfect KC Royal!
ckahrl
7/25
Frenziedly hacktastic would seem to fit right in, no?
nsacpi
7/25
I thought Crain Wreck was the Twins' fans preferred moniker for him.
cjgeisler
7/27
I think Jesse F-ing Crain Wreck is perfect! The walk-off aspect is implied. ;-)
yourrolemodel80
7/25
It will be interesting to see if Friday's game shows any indication of letting Rasmus get some time off in his first full year and seeing Ankiel. Small sample size and all that, but in Ankiel's case pretty much any time he looks good it seems like it portends a nice run from him - and he laced a couple last night. LaRussa managed to find the right spots for Aaron Miles, so I'm hopeful he can balance Ankiel/Rasmus to the best advantage.
ckahrl
7/25
It's a reasonable basis of faith, certainly.
sde1015
7/25
Christina, What do you think the odds are that the Holliday trade ends up being the biggest trade-deadline deal? I would think only Halladay and Cliff Lee have the potential to be bigger but it wouldn't surprise me if neither get moved. I don't think any of the Diamondback or Reds pitchers fetch as much in return as Holliday and I'm not aware of any bats on the market who match Holliday either. I think it's shaping up to be a boring deadline with lots of deals at the Hinske/LaRoche/5th Starter/Solid Reliever level and no blockbusters.
ckahrl
7/26
That would be very like 2007, and yes, I think the odds of this sort of non-event deadline are reasonably good, between the external factors that can hamper the financial side of any proposition, the general unwillingness to part with top prospects, and a seeming willingness to make do with the already-dealt hands.
sbnirish77
7/25
On the heels of the Indian's white flag, "the tent of (another BP divisional pick) gets folded up long after it had been knocked over." The hopes of the A's relied as much on the Pythagorean regression of the Angels as any collection of talent they might have assembled over the winter. Even with the nearly complete collapse of the Angel bullpen earlier in the year, such hopes were proven to be a misguided basis for Oakland to embark down a path that was counter to their history. The trade for Holliday was pure folly then as it is now. "A couple of readers have suggested that one way to look at the deal is by deleting Holliday from the equation, and taking it back to whether or not you'd trade Huston Street, Greg Smith, and Carlos Gonzalez for Wallace, Mortensen, and Peterson." ... thats the only way to look at it now and the suggestion that "on that level the A's came out ahead" is typical of the green-tint bias at BP. Lets see ... 3 guys who have actually accomplished something at the major league level for one who might and another two who probably never will. Why don't you ask yourself if the Rockies would rather have Wallace, Mortensen, and Peterson? I suspect not. They'll ride Street's performance to the same playoff hope BP writers had figured for Oakland this year. How about this analysis The trade for Holliday was wrong and this is the best we can do to correct it.
Scherer
7/26
Interesting that we have such different perspectives on this. While I understood and agreed with the Rockies' rationale for trading Holliday, I was surprised they got so little for him. This week, I was surprised how much the A's got for him. Some of the difference is because of a diminished perception of Holliday, but I think most of it is in our different perceptions of Street, et. al. I'm not sure what your threshold of major league accomplishment is, but it seems pretty low. Gonzalez has a career OBP of .277, which won't cut it for a slick-fielding utility infielder to say nothing of a corner outfielder. Smith has managed to lose more than twice as often as win, and, over nine innings, will strike out one more batter than he'll walk. Granted, these mediocrities have been achieved at the major league level, but they remain mediocrities and a straining of the concept of "accomplishment". Wallace is a risky prospect in that he has a thick body and limited positional options, but few scouts doubt he can be an everyday bat. So if the ultimate trade turns out to be a relief pitcher and two marginal major-leaguers for an everyday bat and two marginal major-leaguers, wouldn't you take Door Number 2 every time?
Oleoay
7/26
I'm not sure BP ever felt the A's would win the division. It seemed their theory was, if the odds broke their way, Holliday would be good for a playoff run, and if not, the A's could get more value for flipping him than in what they gave up to get him. Also, you seem to be looking at this situation with a narrow view... The A's had a reasonable shot at possibly overcoming the Angels, but could the Rangers and the Mariners have been projected to improve the way they did? Can you, or BP, or anyone, project how well Young would play third base for the Rangers or that Branyan would be a productive first baseman, among other things? The A's have "closers-of-the-month" and fifth-starter wanna-bes all throughout their organization. Meanwhile, they have a lack of position prospects. Assume, for a second, that the A's never traded for Holliday. Could they have picked up Wallace and another positional prospect in Peterson for Street/Smith/Gonzalez in a straight-up trade? The substitution of two mediocre regulars and Gonzalez for Holliday practically mandated the inclusion of a more premium prospect like Wallace. Nor would I put much merit into Street's success so far. He's had good runs before, but he's also been injury prone.. and any reliever can have a good year. Meanwhile, few people can produce like Holliday or have the potential to produce like Wallace. By your rationale, you'd rather have a guy that throws 60 innings over a full year (Street) than have half a year of at-bats from Holliday, then get the extra icing of three rookies... Also, keep in mind Smith has been on the DL and not thrown a major league inning all year. I also don't think it's an accurate comparison to see if the Rockies would prefer to have Wallace/Mortensen/Peterson. The Rockies are awash in people who play 1B/3B to the point where Atkins is riding the bench, Helton and Stewart are starting and Baker got flipped to the Cubs. I doubt Peterson could factor into the outfield mix as well either. So, yes, if the Rockies had kept Holliday, they wouldn't have traded him to the Cardinals for that package... but that's because that package of players didn't meet their organization needs. That kind of appraisal doesn't mean the package had lesser value, though. I don't get it sbnirish. You spent a month complaining about PECOTA for not factoring in PEDs. Now you're somehow using your analysis of this trade, while neglecting all context, to "prove" BP wrong and "prove" you are smarter than BP? BP's made up of humans and they are fallible, but I don't think you've "proven" anything except you don't like what BP says and you think that you know better.
ostrowj1
7/26
I don't think the comment on the Rockies making the trade for Wallace et al was supposed to be taken in context of the Rockies current 1b/3b situation. Say what you will about Gonzalez's OBP (the previous comment), but at least he has made it to the big leagues. Wallace may be a great prospect, but Gonzalez has put up just as good of numbers in the minor leagues. Is Gonzalez value that much less because he was brought up too early last year? I don't know... my thoughts are that the A's lost this series of trades. Is Street worth a top level level prospect right now? I would say yes... I think a team would offer one if he were available. A lot of the analysis in this web page after the Colorado trade assumed that Street was an OK middle reliever and that Holliday's numbers wouldn't change much outside of Coors. That hasn't been the case...
sbnirish77
7/26
Quite to the contrary. It is BP that thinks they are so much smarter then everyone else and, when reality doesn't match their predictions, they quickly dismiss it as dumb luck. "When the Red Sox, Indians, A's have any success its because they are smarter than everyone else. But when the Angels, Rangers, White Sox, or Phillies have had success in the past, we just have to read about their next regression to the mean." Read this years Prospectus where the championship run of the Phillies is labelled as 'Blundering to Glory'. Where we heard how "all of Gillick's big-ticket signing turned out badly" and lament letting Pat Burrell 'slip away' but now get an analysis of how Raul Ibanez will regress to the mean rather than any praise. Yet we are subject to all kinds of statistical handwaving when things such as the Indian bullpen falters (yet again). This goes on and on and on and on ... here at BP. In this case, the A's (and BP writers) make the mistake of misreading that the A's actually had a chance to win this division. Mostly based on the assumption that the Angels really weren't that good because of various sabermetric beliefs - Pythagorean regression, bullpen / save value, etc Yet despite the fact that the Angels have lost nearly all the benefits of last year's rock solid bullpen, they are still 17 games ahead of the A's. In the case of the Holliday acqusition, the A's left the very tenets thay had been following for years (and whole-heartedly endorsed here at BP). But even in doing this they are still immune from criticism by BP. Now we are left with the explanation that Brett Wallace will be better than Carlos Gonzalez. But are those projections for Wallace any less misguided than those for Gonzalez two years ago when the A's acquired him? The A's talent assessment in the entire Haren-Gonzalez & Smith&Eveland-Holliday-Wallace line has been questionable and looks even worse if evaluated from the prospective of Dan Haren as a starting point. But somehow BP just can't admit that the A's have been wrong on this score long ago and have been just trying to catch up. But the house just keeps taking a little more out as each hand is played.
Oleoay
7/26
There is a fair amount of "dumb luck" involved each year. Players magically get injured or break out, teams go through periods where they pitch horribly but it just enough better to win games, or struggle to score runs at the same time their pitchers are throwing shutouts. Baseball is, in part, a game of luck. What separates a good team from a bad team is how well a team is able to take advantage of good luck or adapt to bad luck. Along similar lines, each year, around half the teams in MLB have a shot at making the playoffs. Look at a team like the Astros, who weren't projected by anybody to compete with a powerhouse last year like the Cubs, or an improving Brewers team. Is that from luck or design? They have basically the same team as last year, and that team didn't do as well as this year's team is doing. Is their success due to some long-term plan made two winters ago that just happens to be working right now? But then, even that word "happens" implies some luck. The A's made some moves in the offseason, as did the Rangers and the Mariners. In a four team division with an unbalanced schedule, it is possible for anyone to win (or lose) it. If the strategy is sound, but bad luck happens (or better strategy and/or better luck happens to other teams), that does not mean the A's strategy was bad. Again, you're looking at all this in a vacuum. What would have happened if Haren had been injured instead of traded? Would the draft picks for Haren's free agency been worth more than Gonzalez and the other players received for Haren? Or Wallace and the other players receied for Holliday? And yeah, I'd still rather have Burrell (or Abreu) than Ibanez since who knows how Ibanez will perform as he gets older and his yearly salary goes up in the later years of his contract. As far as being subject to statistical handwaving... I have a membership because I like to look at the statistical aspects of baseball. If you think BP's current metrics are inaccurate, why not design your own metrics? And yet, even the way you use metrics to try to justify your point is a bit weird. You cite the Angels as having a bullpen looked on poorly by sabremetric circles in terms of bullpen/save metrics, yet you claim the Angels lost nearly all the benefits of last year's bullpen... which I assume you mean F-Rod going to the Mets and Shields' injury. F-Rod had a lot of saves last year, so I guess you are claiming the Angels were weaker going into this season for losing so many saves, even though you don't like the save metric... but assuming you like the save metric, Rodriguez was replaced by Fuentes who currently has more saves than Rodriguez. So what was lost? I just don't get your argument, your rationale or your vitrol. And BP has criticized Oakland repeatedly for being unable to develop well-rounded players or legitimate stars, a dearth of power position prospects in the minors, poor defense, roster management issues with a bunch of 1B/LF types and injury management. Or did you skim over reading those parts? So again, I'm trying to let you know that your blanket assumptions only fit your view of reality because you're keeping your blinders on. You're only seeing what you want to see because, for some reason, you're so eager on "proving" BP wrong. So, come up with a metric or a tool that applies to more than just your limited view of the world and I, along with others I assume, will be happy to read and review it. If you don't want to put forth half the effort into that which so far you've been using to flame BP, then don't complain if others wonder why you think the world is flat.
sbnirish77
7/27
My disagreement is much more over the editiorial use of the metrics rather than the metrics themselves. When teams that BP feels embrace the sabermetric method, such as the Red Sox, Indians, A's have any success it is because they are smarter (not because they are more lucky) than everyone else. When they fall short, its because they are unlucky rather than dumber than everyone else. And we get all kind of statistical handwaving to prove such unluckiness. On the other hand when the Angels, Rangers, White Sox, or Phillies have had success in the past, we are left with the impression that they 'Blundered to Glory', were lucky, or will regress to the mean (Phillie bullpen last year or Angels this season). When these teams fall short, the result only confirms the BP take that the approach of management is wrong or dumb. So to make it as clear as possible. RED SOX, INDIANS, A's WIN = SMART LOSE = UNLUCKY ANGELS, RANGERS, WHITE SOX, PHILLIES WIN= LUCKY LOSE=DUMB I have tried to point specific instances of where this BIAS is seen (White Sox write up during their World Series year, Phillie write up as champions, prediction of Phillie bullpen blowup last year that never occured, inconsistent treatment of Indian bullpen problems, inconsistent rationale of the Haren / Gonzalez & Smith & Eveland / Holliday / Wallace trade lineage). The loyalty to the Red Sox, Indians, and A's by BP has been pretty misguided in that the BP writers have picked Boston (4), Cleveland (4), or Oakland (3) to win the division a total of TEN times in the last five years and have been right exactly TWICE (2006 Oakland, 2007 Clev) thus far. I will continue to point out the bias in the tenor of the articles here at BP and am sorry if you are offended by that.
bsolow
7/27
I guess BP was completely wrong about the Phillies bullpen. Brad Lidge is a fantastic reliever who will surely sustain his success many years into the future. I bet they feel really bad that they missed their prediction of his meltdown by a couple months. Doesn't mean the prediction was THAT inaccurate.
ckahrl
7/26
Speaking only for myself, I picked the A's to finish third, which seemed negative at the time, and it looks like it'll nevertheless end being off by one; a big factor in why I did *not* pick them to go last was that I figured the Mariners' odds of going in almost any direction were so all over the map that, in March, I entertained the scenario that they'd have torn down by now. Instead, they had an exploitable opportunity, although the Angels' latest streak might put them back in the sellers' category by the end of this week.
greensox
7/27
The Indians while flag? They traded Mark Derosa.
Tarakas
7/25
Well, while Holliday is certainly an upgrade over Ankiel, that analysis fails to consider Larussa's stubborn love for his veterans, at least those who have yet to earn his wrath, such as Rolen inevitably did. So far, Ankiel has remained in the lineup, while Rasumus sits.
scottlong
7/26
I remembered that most of the BP writers couldn't pull the trigger on the PECOTA-defying Angels. The thing I didn't recall was how many had Holliday rated as a strong AL MVP candidate. That one really stuns me, as Holliday greatly gained from his home splits at Coors, plus Oakland is such a pitcher's park. Didn't seem like good analysis on that one.
ckahrl
7/26
I expect some of my colleagues were assigning their "votes" to whoever they felt the writers would vote for, and in a scenario in which the A's were supposed to win the division, "blaming" the name player who got added in the offseason doesn't seem like such a crazy/insane WAG.