Last week Joe Hamrahi of Baseball Digest Daily sent me a very nice email telling me that he really liked my writing and wanted me to be a contributer to his website. After checking out the site (which is currently going through a redesign - the new design is pretty slick) and talking to him some more, I decided to accept his offer. My first article can be found here: Baseball Digest Daily - A Blogger's Reflection.
I'm planning on contributing one article a week, though he is open to accepting as many articles as I can write. I will still be writing in this blog, so you three people that still check it now and again will still be able to come and read some blog-only content. Of course I'll also link to the Baseball Digest Daily when I do get an article published over there.
BDD gets significantly more traffic than I do (think 100x the traffic) and it looks like his traffic is only increasing, so this will be an opportunity for me to get read by many more people and maybe even drive a little traffic to this little blog. And because of that possibility, I am planning on giving this site a little facelift. Check back in a couple days and hopefully you'll see a new The Greatest Game.
There is a web comic contest that is currently running called the Daily Grind Iron Man Challenge. It is a "competition between online comic artists to see who can maintain the longest Monday to Friday update schedule, following a strict set of rules". The pot is at $1,120 - not shabby. The rules include things like posting by a certain time, etc. The thing is that some of the webcomics that have entered have been EXTREMELY reliable in their output, so the contest may actually go on for a long time. 64 have entered and only 3 have 'lost' already.
I think it would be interesting to have something like this for baseball bloggers. I'm not sure if the logistics could be worked out and if agreements could be met, but it would be interesting. You'd have to have things like minimum number of words, ability to stay on topic and probably 20 other things that I can't think of right now.
Of course, no one will probably read this blog entry and the idea will go unnoticed, but let me know what you're thoughts are. And feel freet o spread the word to see what other bloggers think.
On the March 15 episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the interview was with Tom Fenton, author of Bad News. The book is about the decline of news. Fenton's take on the whole thing is that, starting in the 90's or so, new people have become "supremely lazy and incompetent". I was watching the interview (which was a pretty good interview, I might add) and one thing that I thought, after "oh god, we're in even MORE trouble then I thought" and "yeah, I totally agree", was "blogs". One of the things that blogs, in general, do best, is regurgitate news. Fenton said that the decline of news started in the 90's, which means that blogs, of course, didn't cause it. It seems that blogs have taken advantage of our society's short attention span and helped worsen the problem. Look at the blogs. There are some people like David Pinto at Baseball Musings who are developing new stats and trying to expand baseball knowledge, but most of them (of us, me included) spat out news that we saw somewhere else and through in a couple of wisecracks or wry witticisms or just an opinion or two.
There is something more between Fenton's Bad News and blogs, but I'm going to have to think about it a bit more. It's not just something that I can peel off the top of my head. I just wanted to start the thought process by pointing this out. Perhaps I will continue to post thoughts on the connection here when they pop into my head. If anyone has thoughts or ideas, I'd love to hear them.
David Pinto of Baseball Musings is having a Pledge Drive because he lost his job and he wants, ultimately, to blog full time. I'm all for him. I donated money and I posted comments on his site telling people to donate. I may have occasional issues with David (i.e. his support of legalizing steroids for baseball players), but I fully support him and his blog.
Here's my disappointment. Do you know how much his week-old pledge drive has netted him? A whopping $955. In a week. That's just pathetic. Does that say something about him and his blogging? Absolutely not. It says something about the blogging community (which not only consists of bloggers, but blog readers).
I mentioned in my previous blog entry that I frequent some webcomics. Well, this one guy told his readers that if they were able to donate the equivalent of one years salary (~$30,000) that he would quit his job and he'd dedicate his time to improving his comic and making sure it comes out on a daily basis. You know what happened? Within a couple of days he had his $30,000 and more. What does this say about the blogging community? That they don't care? That they're lazy bastards? That they have no empathy for their compatriots in the blogging community? That they are greedy, money-hording peckerheads? Well, I think that the answer to all the above is "YES". Of course, not EVERYONE is like that. David did get $955, so SOME of us are donating.
David has logged about 12,500 unique URLs in the month of March so far. His $955 is from 98 donations. 98 DONATIONS!!! Think about that. 12,500 unique URLs. 98 donations. You can do that math, but in case you're one of those lazy-bastards-that-don't-want-to-donate-to-a-blogger-who-lost-his-job, well that turns out to be ~0.78% or his visitors have donated.
NOW you see why I'm disgusted and disappointed. A webcomic can collect over $30,000 in a couple days, but a baseball blogger can't come up with $1,000 in a week?!?! It's shameful. It's really very very shameful.
Uhoh. Shawn is pissy again, look out! I haven't written any entries in a while, and for the most part it's because I've just been pissed off. Pissed at baseball, pissed at baseball blogs, pissed at baseball bloggers, pissed at lots of things apparently.
I know it's hard to believe, but I'm really not an angry guy. I have a great wife (Juli), a great job (Java programmer), a great house (red), a great family and great friends. Is my life perfect? Of course not, but it's pretty damn good (or perhaps even great). But certain things piss me off. Inconsiderate drivers. Guys who can't hit the urinal when they pee in a public bathroom. Bad food at the office cafeteria. I have a decent sized list of pet peeves, but who doesn't?
I've been reading baseball blogs for at least a couple years now. I started this blog a little over a year ago in response to my heavy participation writing comments on other baseball blogs that I frequented, which probably numbered 10 or more per day. I figured that if I had that much to say, why not say it in my very own blog. A couple of weeks after I started I was getting 40-50 page views per day. Not bad, I thought! But then I started slacking off with the blog. During last baseball season I stopped writing all together. When I restarted up my blog this offseason, I only got about 20 page views per day on average. That wasn't that big a deal - I was never it in for the page views. What WAS a big deal in my mind was the state of blogging, particularly baseball blogs.
Sometimes I sit back and wonder what happened. I'm sure it was a slow, gradual process. Some bloggers posted less and less frequent entries. Some disappeared altogether. But others transformed, and not always for the best. I guess my problem with the whole thing is the content. What happened to the content? Some blogs still have some great stuff, don't get me wrong. I just became more and more unhappy with the blogs that I read, and when I went to find new ones, I couldn't find any that really grabbed my attention.
One blog is now putting, for example, Rolaids ads next to relief pitcher blog entries. WTF? Other blogs frequently talk about poker night, Minnesota college basketball, past jobs with the Coen Brothers, and on and on. Now, of course, these are just blogs. The bloggers have all the right in the world to blog whatever the hell they want to blog. But I feel that when you publish something like a blog in the public space, you have some responsibility to the reader. Simliar problems are in other spaces: webcomics, for example.
I read a number of webcomics regularly. One comic that I read put out a new comic twice a week. She recently upped it to three times a week. Guess what? Since she did that 3 weeks ago, she's put out 2 comics. And while she did that, she barely put up any notice on her site about her being behind in the comics, being busy in other parts of her life, etc. This just really rubbed me the wrong - immediately breaking (and rebreaking) a freshly made commitment. Maybe take down the "New comics Monday, Wednesday, Friday" sign AT LEAST until you are sure you are back on track.
I know that things come up in people's lives that are infinately more important than publishing a baseball blog. But you know what? There is always time to put something up, to notify YOUR readers of what's going on. A counter-example of a considerate person: my wife shares an office with someone. They rarely, if ever, see each other except for maybe once a month when rent is due. Recently, my wife hadn't heard from her. Then she got a message from this woman: her son had two brain tumors and was getting surgery/chemo/radiation/etc. Guess what? This woman FOUND THE TIME TO CALL MY WIFE and let her know what was going on and she apologized that she hadn't called sooner. This woman, with her son's future still precariously balanced, still found the time to take care of OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES that she had previously created. If she could do that, don't you think a blogger can post a couple sentences letting all of us readers of what's going on?
Back to baseball blogs. So some blogs are rife with ads. Some are rife with anything BUT baseball, and some aren't worth reading at all. Why am I so pissed? I'm not really sure. Maybe it's my disappointment with people in general. Maybe this blog problem is just a microcosm of life in general. Maybe, like the .com bubble, the blogging bubble just burst. Maybe I was looking for more here then there ever was. Maybe I was hoping to find a solid community of baseball fans that I could enjoy, but which I was unable to enjoy for some unknown reason. Maybe I just wasn't cut out for online communities. Maybe baseball blogging has just gone into the crapper. I don't know the answer, but if I find it, if I even bother to look for it, I'll let you know.
I think in a previous post I once suggested that I start an anti-blog blog, one that talked about why blogging sucks. I'm still going to toy around with that idea. Maybe I'll start another general purpose Shawn blog that just talks about my stuff in general and not baseball in particular.
That last line is a suggestion for all you baseball bloggers out there who want to mix in all your non-baseball stuff into your baseball blog because otherwise lots of people wouldn't bother to read it. I think this is one of my biggest peeves right now. I'm sure I can talk for other readers out there when I say I don't care about college basketball or the Coen brothers or poker or whatever. And if I did, I'd go read a college basketball blog. Or a Coen brothers blog. I come to your baseball blog to read about BASEBALL. It's great that you have other interests, it really is. It's good to be a well-rounded person. But put that stuff in a separate blog. Plenty of people have multiple blogs, each of which covers a specific subject. You wouldn't want me to ramble on about Java would you? Or playing the piano? Or knitting? Or where I went on vacation last year? Of course not. You come here to read about baseball (or baseball blogs).
[I'd love to hear what everyone (if there IS anyone) has to say on this subject. What do you all think about all this?]
...yeah, heart-wrenching whether or not to accept the "slap in the face" "offer" of "only" $18,000,000. Roger, please stop treating us like we're stupid. You work where you live. You get special treatment from your employer so you can skip "work" to attend your sons' Little League games (and, I'm sure, other events, too), and you're getting paid a king's ransom to do it. Oh yeah, and you just won the Cy Young Award. Stop telling us how "heart-wrenching" it was to make the decision. And while you're at it, don't tell us it isn't about the money. If it wasn't, then you would have reupped at $5M and let your team (who is TRYING to win a World Series) sign some good players.
So, it seems as though the Tigers are going to sign Magglio Ordonez. I have mixed feelings about this. All winter I've been talking about how I wanted the Yankees to sign Magglio because he'd probably take a cheap 1 year contract a la Nomar because he was injured last year (and not a minor injury, at that). I figured, naively, that this would be the case, but I forgot to factor in The Agent from Hell, Scott Boras. Apparently, he's asking for a 4-5 year deal worth FOURTEEN MILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR. Yes, you read that correctly. If I do my math correctly, that's a lot of money for someone who had such a bad injury. Another report has Boras asking for a SEVEN YEAR DEAL. Yes, 7 years.
Now, I am the first person on the Magglio bandwagon. I think the guy is one of the most underrated players in the game. People know he's very good, but he's VERY good. I like him better than Carlos Beltran who signed a 7yr/$119M deal with the Mets. I have talked about this before. Magglio's OPS+ of his last 3 healthy seasons was 143 compared to Beltran's OPS+ of 120. That's a big difference. BIG. Of course, Magglio is 3 years older (31 for the 2005 season), so you don't want to give him a 7 year deal - 4 would be more than enough. But considering that Magglio, in his past 3 healthy season has, on averge, out homered (33-31), out RBI'd (120-103), out OBA'd (.381-.365), and out slugged (.557-.520) Beltran, well, maybe it makes sense that Boras is pushing for a huge contract for Magglio.
One problem is that it seems that the Tigers are bidding against themselves. I haven't heard of any other team in serious talks with Magglio. The Rangers have cooled to him, and the O's are trading a box of balls for Sammy Sosa.
These numbers that are being thrown around have probably scared away most teams. I'd like to see the Tigers get him since they've tried so hard this offseason to sign some big names, and they've struck out on every one. And this will stop the spread of big names migrating from the AL to the NL. But I never would have guessed that it would take this much to sign the guy.
You can't tell me that the Mets could have found a minor league 1B languishing somewhere (the Marlins have an extra 1B prospect now that they signed Delgado). The Mets went from so close to signing the last, missing piece of the puzzle, to trading a very good prospect for a marginal major leaguer. Put Mientkiewicz in Shea Stadium (extreme pitchers park) and just watch his number drop even lower. Everyone is hoping he "rebounds" to his 2001-2003 numbers, but there is no way he's ever going to reach them playing half his games at Shea. His numbers will be closer to his aggregate 2004 line.
Look for the Marlins and the Braves to duke it out in the AL East this season. The Braves will do it on their pitching, while the Marlins will field a more balanced attack, having both a strong offense and a strong pitching staff (though not as strong as the Braves, plus they lack Leo Mazzone). The Phils and the Mets will be fighting it out for 3rd place.
Tom Verducci has a nice article on how amphetamines are still being allowed in MLB and how they were omitted from the newperformance enhancing drug ban. Some quotes of quotes from Tom's article:
[Chad] Curtis added that amphetamine use is so prevalent that non-users are sometimes ostracized as slackers.
Did you know that baseball moved to ban ephedra because of the death of Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler, but ephedra is a milder form of the amphetamines -- which are controlled substances -- that baseball does allow?
It's all about PR.
It made no sense for Rob Manfred, baseball's chief labor negotiator, to tell us with a straight face that the issue of amphetamines will be reviewed by a health policy committee. Baseball already bans them in the minor leagues, so now you're going to "study" them to see if they should be banned in the majors?
Like I said: PR. Of course, some people (i.e. David Pinto at Baseball Musings) think that all these Performance Enhancing Drugs should be legalized. I'm not going to get into that argument again - it's too similar to trying to convince a Republican that the Democrats are correct (and vice versa) or trying to explain to a atheist that God exists (and vice versa).
Chad Curtis: "Steroids are popular, but quite a lot more guys take [amphetamines] than steroids. I'm talking about illegal stuff. Speed ... ritalin, which is legal only with a doctor's prescription ... sometimes guys don't even know what they're taking. One guy will take some pills out of his locker and tell somebody else, 'Here, take one of these. You'll feel better.' And the other guy will take it and not even know what it is.
All of us fans of Robinson Cano are in for a big disappointment. According to Newsday, the Yankees are getting ready to sign Rey Sanchez as their utility infielder.
"Sanchez close to signing. The Yankees and Rey Sanchez are closing in on one-year, $600,000 contract. Sanchez, 37, who played for the Yankees in 1997, replaces Enrique Wilson as the primary utilityman. Sanchez batted .246 with two home runs and 26 RBIs in 91 games for the Devil Rays last season.
In 2003, Sanchez played for the Mets and caused controversy when he reportedly was seen getting a haircut from Armando Benitez in the clubhouse during a game."
Just what we need. :(
(Though, to give credit where credit is due, he is a great fielder - career Rate2 of 111 at SS and 106 at 2B.)
(Extra side note: Sanchez has played for 9 different teams since 1997, and had two stints at KC during that time, too.)
If you remember way back last year, I talkedabout Mael Rodriguez, the Cuban fireballer who escaped Cuba. He had a prior injury which apparently scared away teams. Well, Julio Dominguez emailed me the other day to tell me this:
In case you don't know it by now, Mael threw 50 pitches forseveral scouts at the end of 2004. He reached 94 miles down 6 or 7 miles because he used to reach 100 and 101 consistently. He finally came to the US and began to train with Miguel Valdez who used to be a pitching coach in Cuba. He is going to hold try outs againthis year.
After a couple more emails, Julio emailed a reporter at cubaencuentro.com and he found this out:
Today in Miami, Mael Rodriguez is holding try outs for the Orioles. Probably, he is going to sign with them.
I'm glad to hear more about Mael. Hopefully he'll land a job somewhere and pitch up to his original expectations. When I first started this blog, I got a large percentage of my traffic from people googling "Mael Rodriguez" - I'm the #1 site on Google with that phrase. Oh yeah, Julio also threw me this tidbit:
Now there is another young (22) Cuban pitcher name Zaidel Beltran. He is in the Dominican Republic and had a very good Rookie season. He is lefty and has alot of talent.
I'll be interested to see what becomes of Zaidel. If I find anything more out, I'll definately let everyone know.
I guess I just don't get it. Byrnes is younger then Cameron. And he had 19 Win Shares last year, compared to Cameron's 18. True, Cameron is a better fielder and he had a slightly off year last year. And played in a pitcher's park. But this just seems like a weird trade for Billy Beane to be making. Their Offensive/Defensive Wins Shares splits are:
I guess Beane is figuring that Cameron will increase his OWS while his DWS will stay the same. But Byrnes is younger by 3 years. Cameron's career OPS is a bit lower, too (.780 to 796). This was Byrnes' second full season in the majors, and his numbers increased from his first year in 2003. He hit 20 HR, stole 17 bases (while getting caught only 1 time) and strikes out less than Cameron.
If someone out there has a good, solid rationale for trading Byrnes for Cameron, let me know please.
You gotta love this guy. I know I do. Back in the 80's when I was a kid I would always imitate Franco's crazy batting stance with the bat wrapped around my head. There was just something about him that I've always liked. I guess that's why I've enjoyed his continued career here in Atlanta. Now he says that he wants to play until he's 50. Good luck Julio, I'm rooting for you! He currently has a careero .300 batting average and has 2,457 hits. He wants to reach 3,000 hits for his career, which means if he plays 4 more years, he'll have to get about 140 per season or so. He only got 99 last year. Unless my math is wrong and he wants to play 5 more season, then he needs 110 per season. I don't think that he'll make it, but I'm definately rooting for him. It's a shame that he missed 1995, 1998, 1999 (1 AB), and 2000. If he didn't, he would be much closer to 3000 hits. He's been a part-time player for the Braves the past 4 years with an OPS of .824 and .818 the past couple of years. Not bad for a guy in his mid-40s.
The last top level free agent (until it's decided that Magglio is healthy) is probably going to sign with a team sometime this week. From all that I've been reading, it's down to the Mets, the Marlins, and perhaps the Orioles. Well, perhaps not the Orioles. Apparently, the Marlins' bid is $9M higher than the Orioles' last offer. That's a spicy meatball! And that's a lot of money. I don't think the Mets' offer is that high, but they just signed Pedro and the other Carlos, so maybe it won't take as much money, plus, the Marlins probably included a lot of deferred money like they always do in large contracts of this nature. The one thing about the Mets and Marlins is that they're both in the NL, which means no DH. I wonder if that fact will influence Carlos' decision in either direction. No one LIKES to play DH, so this might be a chance for him to play in the field every game. On the other hand, perhaps he thinks that 20 or 30 games a season as a DH isn't such a bad thing.
I like Delgado. He's consistently put up large numbers for a long period of time. Last year was a bit off, but his team really sucked, so I'd be willing to overlook those numbers a bit. The numbers were still pretty darn good. His defense is supposedly pretty bad, but last year he put up a 108 Rate2, which is excellent, but it is way off his career 97 Rate2. Still, 97 isn't horrible - it's just a bit below average. For a bat like he has, it's definately worth it.
Carlos Delgado fun fact: he played 2 games as catcher in the 1993 and 1994 seasons. And he played in 58 games as LF in the 1994 and 1995 seasons.
I just realized that it's been days since my last post. I apologize for that. I like to keep my blog fresh with posts going up at LEAST once per day, and preferably several times a day, but I guess there's been a lull in news this week. Beltran & Randy were officially introduced, but I really don't care much about the introductions.
MLB is going to announce a new steroid policy. Not many details yet, but we should know sometime today. But here is my BIG question: how do they define "steroids"? We all know that classic steroids are so old school, that a lot of the performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) are non-steroidal and are very hard to detect. Is this going to be a PED policy? Or is it just going to be a steroid policy? Hopefully the former rather than the latter. One sport that has a ton of drug testing is cycling. They test for almost everything. Too many red blood cells? Banned! Cold medicine? Banned! Horse meds? Banned! What I'd like to see is MLB take a hardline (with the help of the Players Union, of course) on ALL drugs that enhance performance. I'll try and comment more after the announcement, but I wanted to get my pre-announcement feelings down for the record.
Using the fact that they Yankees turned down Boras' offer of Beltran for $100M/6yr, I'm assuming that the Yankees are all but done in the free agent market this offseason. No Magglio. No Delgado. Maybe a small signing to fill in a spot, or a minor league contract or two, but if they weren't going to bite on a "discounted" price for Beltran, then they're not going after any other big names. From cnnsi.com:
Boras also spoke several times with the Yankees on Saturday night, and proposed a $100 million, six-year contract for Beltran, a high-ranking baseball official said on the condition he not be identified. While the Yankees told Boras they thought highly of Beltran, they turned down the offer because they didn't want to commit $140 million -- $100 million in salary and $40 million in luxury tax.
I still hold out a little hope that it was a smokescreen - that the Yankees really think that he's not worth the $100M WITHOUT the luxury tax (I don't think he is, either). I will hold out hope for Magglio until he signs with another team (latest rumor was the Cubs are interested, but they still have to deal with Sammy's huge contract).
As for Beltran, it's hard to feel sorry for someone who is about to sign a $119M contract. He turned down Houston because of a lack of no-trade clause, and he was rebuffed by his top choice because he was asking for much. If he REALLY wanted to join the Yankees, he could have lowered his price and cut the number of years, but you KNOW that Boras would never stand for that. He makes 5%, and he wants the biggest 5% he can get. If Beltran REALLY wanted to join the Yankees, why not take $40M/4yr or something like that? $40,000,000 is a LOT of money. He's already MADE a lot of money, and he would make more money after a 4 year contract. It all comes down to one thing: GREED. I'm not saying that I wouldn't do the same thing, but I would never be able to spend $119,000,000 in a lifetime, so maybe I would take less to play for who I REALLY wanted to play for. Shoot, I make 5-digits, and I'd be happy with a 5% raise this year, much less a salary jump to 8-digits.
A while back, I posted this post running down the remaining free agents. A lot has happened since then, and even more should happen today or tomorrow when Beltran ends up signing with, probably, the Mets. Here is a quick synopsis of the main leftovers:
Carlos Delgado - Going to the Mets? Would Piazza then catch every day? Maybe to the M's and have Sexson butcher LF? Who knows, but this guy can hit. He had a slightly off year with an OPS of .907 which was his lowest since 1997. Is he sliding downhill? Was it a result of being on such a crappy team? My guess is the later, but he'll be 33 next year, so I'd be wary of giving him more than a 3 year contract.
Magglio Ordonez - I haven't really heard much about him this offseason. My guess is that he's lying low until the two guys I mentioned above sign, then he'll go to the team that didn't get him. And his injury is probably really scaring off some teams. My guess is that he'll go for a short term deal a la Garciaparra (go Yellow Jackets!).
Barry Larkin - I haven't heard of anything about Barry so far. Is he not retiring? He had a decent year for an old guy (.771 OPS). He'll stick with a team, but I'm not sure if he's going to get a starting position anywhere. What teams still have SS open right now? And Cabrera is the better choice (depending on $$$). Good luck, Barry, you've had a great career.
And that's about it, folks! Yeah, there are a number of free agents out there that could probably contribute as bench players, but besides the Big Two above, there isn't much. Delgado has been rumored to go just about everywhere, including the Mets, Rangers, Marlins, and any other number of teams. The Yanks are out, since they signed Tino, and I would guess that the Mets are out, unless they've gone totally bonkers. He'd, of course, help the team, but I doubt that they have $10M+ to throw his way. Everyone who reads this blog knows that I would like to see the Yanks take a strong look at Magglio, but I doubt that will happen. One can always dream.
Oh yeah, the Yankees signed Ruben Sierra. Blech. I saw some article (I forgot where) that referenced his veteren leadership. Blech. Like the Yankees need any more veterens or leadership on their team??? Couldn't they find a free agent out there that never played for them that could put up better numbers than Ruben? I bet they could.
Looks like Cairo ended up with a chintzy contract. That's what happens when you get uppity and try to grab more money then you're worth. The Yanks were offering him more than the $900k that he is getting from the Mets AND he probably would have had a chance to win the starting job with the Yanks. Now, it looks like he's going to be backup with the Mets. And now he has virtually no chance to win a World Series. Even with the sorry state of second basemen in the majors, he wasn't worth what he was asking, considering his career numbers. He was a great surprise for the Yanks last year, and I was hoping he'd sign on for 2005, but instead we overpaid for a piece of crap in Tony Womack, all because Cairo was asking for too much, and the Yankees front office can't see Womack for the never-has-been that he is.
Baseball America - Stats vs. Scouts: The Great Debate
Aaron over at Aaron's Baseball Blog has a link to this moderated discussion of stats vs. scouting between Eddie Bane (Angels scouting director), Gary Huckabay (Baseball Prospectus writer), and Voros McCracken (Red Sox stat consultant and sabermetrician). You really should read it. And as Aaron also points out, there is further discussion about the article here.
This is the stuff that makes you appreciate George - not just the standard "putting money back into the team to win" reason:
"While Steinbrenner was talking with the fans, rain fell for about 10 minutes. He had team employees hand out Yankees' umbrellas to fans."
The thought of the Yankees without George as the owner is probably the scariest thing to me, even more than bad signings or losing to the Red Sox or whatever. My guess is that the team will stay in the family, but no one can replace George's love of the Yankees and his drive to win.
Looks like the Cards kicked Alomar to the curb and signed Grudzielanek instead. I think I like this better. Grudz is healthy, for one. In 2004 he was much better vs righties (.881 OPS) than lefties (.561 OPS), which was a switch for him. His career numbers show him better vs lefties (.741 OPS) than vs righties (.712 OPS), so I'm guessing 2004 was an aberration, possibly due to his limited playing time. His career Rate2 at 2B is a bit low (98), but his past 3 seasons were average to good (104, 100, 104), so maybe he worked out some kinks. I would say he's versatile, but he can't play SS particularly welll (career Rate2 of 93). He's never going to put up great numbers, but with the choices of second basemen these days, it's not a bad pickup.
There are someBeltran rumors going around that the Mets have signed Beltran. Of course, some newspapers deny it (from Newsday):
"There was a growing public sense that the Mets' chances were gathering momentum yesterday, thanks to a fan Web site report and other speculation. But that may have been a false sense, as there's no real evidence their chances are greater or worse than any of the other three finalists."
One of those finalists seems to be the Yankees. Do you think Boras would accept an offer from the Mets if the Yanks are still in the running? It might turn out that the Mets sign him, but I don't think that Boras is ready to sign so quickly - he still has a couple of days before the Astros' deadline kicks in. Boras still has a couple days left, I don't really think that he'd pass them up for a quick(ish) signing.
Surprise! Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles keep Odalis
Looks like the Dodgers are keeping Odalis Perez. I didn't even realize that they were in the running to sign Perez. All previous rumor has been the Nationals or Mets (which was silly since they had a full rotation already) or maybe someone else. But not the Dodgers. Looks like he got the standard 3yr/$24M deal, too. Perez had an underwhelming 7-6 record in a full season as a starter (31 starts), but had a 3.25 ERA. And before you complain that he pitched in a pitcher's park, he actually had a 3.21 ERA on the road and a 3.31 ERA at home. Go figure!
I wish that the Yanks would have pursued Perez instead of Wright, since Perez had two very strong seasons in the past 3, compared to Wright's 1 good season in the past umpteen. And Perez is a lefty. I think that I heard something about his "character" earlier in the preseason that scared the Yanks off. Same reason they didn't pursue Clement.
I was wondering how Ryne Sandberg, elected into the Hall of Fame today, measured up against all the other 2B'ers. Here is a list of the top 20 second basemen rated on RCAP* (bold names in Hall of Fame). The second stat column is OPS, and it's just there for curiosity's sake. It's amazing that no 2B'er had an OPS in the .900s. Besides Rogers Hornsby (one of the top 5 players who ever lived), the highest OPS is Charlie Gehringer at .884.
Name RCAP OPS 1 Rogers Hornsby 1094 1.010 2 Eddie Collins 822 .853 3 Joe Morgan 820 .819 4 Nap Lajoie 766 .846 5 Charlie Gehringer 581 .884 6 Craig Biggio 445 .807
7 Roberto Alomar 404 .816
8 Lou Whitaker 369 .789
9 Bobby Grich 355 .794
10 Cupid Childs 354 .805
11 Tony Lazzeri 325 .847 12 Jackie Robinson 323 .883 13 Fred Dunlap 311 .745 14 Billy Herman 298 .774 15 Frankie Frisch 291 .801 16 Hardy Richardson 289 .779
17 Larry Doyle 273 .765
18 Jeff Kent 272 .856
T19 Ryne Sandberg 259 .795
T19 Joe Gordon 259 .822
[RCAP: Runs created above average at his position. It's just like RCAA, except the comparision is to players at his position.
RCAA: Runs created above average. It is the difference between a player's RC total and the total for an average player who used the same amount of his team's outs. A negative RCAA indicates a below average player in this category.
RC: Runs created. A stat from Bill James that projects how many runs a player created. There are a couple of dozen different formulas throughout history, with the appropriate one being in each case. (from Lee Sinins' Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia)]
As you can see, Sandberg is tied for 19th in the list of all time RCAP. Lou Whitaker is 8th. Bobby Grinch is 9th. Think either of those two guys will ever get in to the Hall? Probably not. In Sandberg's defense, his career was shortened, but I think that should only be taken into account a little bit when deciding a Hall of Famer. His career wasn't so unbelievably fantastic that it can make up for his shortened career. I know RCAP is only one way of measuring a player's numbers, but using it shows that his career may not have warranted his induction.
Roberto Alomar and Craig Biggio have a good chance to both make it into the Hall, and by the above numbers, they should make it. RCAPs over 400 and OPSs over .800. But Lou Whitaker and Bobby Grinch played before the juiced ball era, so their numbers just don't look very impressive, and they'll probably never make it in. But Jeff Kent? He's got a couple more years left in him probably, so his RCAP should go up a bit, and his OPS is very impressive for a 2B'er. Of course, the guy can't field a lick, so he'll probably never make it. And who is on the horizon? Are there any young players that are on the path for the Hall? Well, of course it's almost impossible to say, but there really doesn't seem to be much there at all. Soriano, perhaps, but I would tend to think not, unless he learns how to hit (and field). Look at the list of guys playing the position nowadays: Luis Castillo, Marcus Giles, Mark Loretta (who is probably the best of the sorry bunch), Alex Cora, Tony Womack, Rey Durham, Jose Vidro, Ron Belliard, Mark Bellhorn, Orlando Hudson, and the list goes on and on. Really no one of note is left playing 2B. It looks like the lost position. (Maybe Nomar should have tried harder to play 2B for the Yanks - he'd have a better chance to win a ring, and he'd improve his chances of getting into the Hall, all in one fell swoop.)
I'd really like to see a list of second basemen and their respective career Win Shares. I don't know where to find career WS, so if anyone knows, I'd love to know.
(As an aside, who were the voters who DIDN'T vote for Hank Aaron in 1982? He received 98% of the voters. I hope that whoever didn't vote for him got banned from ever voting for the Hall of Fame ever again. It's shameful.)
Just in case you're curious, here are slots 21-30 for RCAP by 2B:
21 Tom Daly 236 .748
22 Willie Randolph 235 .724
23 Bobby Doerr 234 .823 24 Bid McPhee 230 .727 25 Buddy Myer 214 .795
T26 Davey Lopes 207 .737
T26 Chuck Knoblauch 207 .783
28 Eddie Stanky 195 .758
29 Dick McAuliffe 187 .746
30 Tony Phillips 167 .763
More stuff that sets me off - comparison of the Randy Johnson trade with the ARod trade
So I was just poking around here or there when I checked out cnnsi.com's Trade Analysis for the approved Randy Johnson trade. I've used cnnsi.com, along with foxsports.com, as my primary sport web sites, ever since I stopped using espn.com in protest of The Insider (pay site) gobbling up all the decent writers on the site. Well, here is some stuff from the analysis of the trade:
"This is much like the Alex Rodriguez trade last offseason in that the Yankees get a superstar name but only improve themselves marginally. The difference between Alfonso Soriano and Rodriguez wasn't steep enough to justify adding another mega contract, and you could argue the same for the upgrade from Vazquez to Big Unit. Vazquez is no Hall of Famer, but up until his second-half slump last season Vazquez was an elite power pitcher in his own right. In any given season -- in any given postseason start, which is all the Yankees care about -- Vazquez can match Johnson or come close."
What the...!?!?! First of all, ARod had 30 Win Shares last season and Soriano had 17. That's a HUGE difference. That's the same Win Share difference as between Soriano and Nick Punto (part-time backup IF on the Twins). That's more than 4 wins difference.
On top of that, calling Vazquez an "elite power pitcher" for the first half of the 2004 season is a bit dramatic. Was he good? Yes. Was he very good? Possibly. Elite? No. Meanwhile, Randy Johnson had another spectacular year, almost winning another Cy Young. Randy also had 25 Win Shares, to lead the NL, and to be 2nd in the ML (to Johan Santana, who had 27). Vazquez had 10. That's 5 wins difference.
So it seems maybe something that cnnsi said is true - there is a similarity between the two trades. They both exchanged players who weren't cutting it in NY for high priced superstars that improved the Yankees somewhere between 4 and 5 wins. Not bad.
I know that they were obligated by contract to have the name "Anaheim" in their name, and I know that they WANTED to have the name "Los Angeles" in their name, but this is just STUPID! Almost as dumb as naming a professional hockey team after a movie. The owners should have just bit the bullet and kept Anaheim Angels OR tried to renegotiate the contract. It's not like they are scraping around for fans - they had the 3rd highest season attendance, behind the Yankees and the Dodgers. Giving your team a dumbass name isn't going to make you more fans.
"The trade of CF Dave Roberts, a leadoff man, to his hometown Padres should benefit 3B Sean Burroughs, who was forced to lead off last season because the club lacked options. G.M. Kevin Towers admits Burroughs is not suited to leading off and should be more relaxed hitting sixth or eighth. Burroughs, 24, must show more power--he hit two homers in 523 at-bats last season--to play every day. . . ."
While it might be better for Burroughs that Roberts is going to leadoff, it's certainly not better for the Padres. Burroughs had a .348 OBA last year compared to Roberts' .336. Both of those numbers are very close to their respective career averages. And at .719, Burroughs' career OPS is significantly higher than Roberts' .679.
Then again, maybe the Padres should look into replacing BOTH of those players, since they are both below average. Though, at least Burroughs is 24, so hopefully this once-can't-miss-prospect can improve. But for Roberts, at 32 years old, it's probably all going to be downhill from here on out. Ouch.
I have withstood the urge to do one of these things, but I am caving in now. Take a look at these three players and their (approximate) 3-year averages of their last 3 full seasons (two of them had injuries in the past 3 years, so, to make it easier on me, I took their last 3 full seasons). Their age for 2005 is in parentheses.
Player X (28)
Player Y (29)
Player Z (31)
Well, of course you'd pick Player Y, but let's say he's off the market because he signed a (relatively) cheap last year with the Angels. Except for the 3 year age difference, you'd probably pick Player Z. More HR, RBI, higher OBA, SLG and OPS+ (a 23 point difference is pretty darn big). OK, how about if I told you that Player X's agent is asking for a $120M contract, while not much has been heard from Player Z because of an injury last season. Yes, except for an injury and several years, Magglio Ordonez (Z) has outperformed Carlos Beltran (Y) in just about every possible category (SB is the marked exception Magglio was a good base stealer before 2002 season).
So why on earth is Beltran worth so much more than Vlad was last year? Besides the fact that the Yankees are looking for a CF. There is none. He's not nearly as good as Vlad. And Magglio is only a hair beneath Vlad. Any team would be insane to sign Beltran to the kind of money that Boras is asking. And of course with 3 or 4 teams in the bidding, I don't doubt that the final number approaches the $120M that he's asking for.
The Yankees have recently cooled to Beltran, while the Mets have heated up their pursuit. The Cubs may also be in the running, and the Astros definately are. I say, as a Yankee fan, to let those teams bid for him. I have no doubt that Beltran will continue putting together very nice numbers. Will they be $17M worth for the next 7 seasons? I really don't think so. I dread going into the season with Bernie playing CF each and every day (I think he has a bit more bat left, but everyone knows his fielding blows big time at this point in his career). But I dread even more, the Yankees overpaying for another superstar, just because he's been hyped to kingdom-come. I want the Yankees to take a long hard look at Magglio. Put him through as many doctor's tests as need be to confirm that he'll fully recover. Maybe try and sign him to a smart contract. If he's going to be fully recovered, just sign the guy! He's played CF before, and played it pretty well. I'll bet he can be signed for $10M/yr, maybe a bit more with the rising cost of contracts this offseason. But he certainly can be signed for less money AND fewer years than Beltran.
There is one big problem, though. If I remember correctly, Boras is Ordonez's agent. That could definately throw a kink into the whole Yankees-signing-Ordonez scenario. Boras might not take kindly to the Yankees dropping out of the bidding for Beltran. Boras is probably waiting for Beltran to sign his huge contract and then he'll go to the teams that didn't sign him and say, "Hey, Ordonez is going to be 100% AND his numbers are comparable to Beltran's. PAY UP!" That's what I fear. He'd have the Yankees over a barrel, since Ordonez would be the very last good free agent out there. He would probably drive his price up toward $13M or $14M/yr. But even with that, I think I'd prefer Magglio, just as long as it's not longer than a 3 or 4 year deal.