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The Greatest Game

Friday, January 07, 2005

Greedy greedy greedy 

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.
# posted by shawn : 1/07/2005 11:19:00 PM -

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.
# posted by shawn : 1/07/2005 03:40:00 PM -

You gotta love George 

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.
# posted by shawn : 1/07/2005 02:47:00 PM -

Oops! Jumped the gun on Alomar 

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.
# posted by shawn : 1/07/2005 12:17:00 PM -

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Beltran rumors 

There are some Beltran 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.
# posted by shawn : 1/06/2005 11:12:00 AM -

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

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.
# posted by shawn : 1/04/2005 10:59:00 PM -

Sandberg, second basemen, and the Hall of Fame 

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
It makes you think a little bit, eh?

# posted by shawn : 1/04/2005 07:42:00 PM -

Monday, January 03, 2005

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.
# posted by shawn : 1/03/2005 08:06:00 PM -

Whose stupid idea was THIS??? 

Looks like the Angels have a new name:
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

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.
# posted by shawn : 1/03/2005 02:28:00 PM -

San Diego leadoff hitters 

From Stan McNeal at Sporting News:
"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.
# posted by shawn : 1/03/2005 09:59:00 AM -