FIRE JOE MORGAN: Joe Chats with Ken. Literally.


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Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Joe Chats with Ken. Literally.

Let's not let the weird firing of ESPN's Harold Reynolds (see multiple posts below) distract us from the biggest sports news on this or any other Tuesday: Joe Morgan Used a Computer!

Buzzmaster: Joe will be here in a couple of minutes. Send in those questions!

Ken Tremendous: Okay. Why not. (sends in a question. For real.)

Jeff (Texas): Would Prior or Woods benefit from a shift to the bullpen? It should be less stress on their arms only throwing 70 innings a year.

Joe Morgan: They tried to do that with Wood and they sent him to the bullpen. It's very difficult to throw every day with him. It sounds like a good idea for him, to be honest with you. Just use him for a while, and then go back to starting.

KT: For those of you keeping score at home: four sentences, four “him”s, zero comprehensibility. What exactly is Joe saying here? “It’s very difficult to throw every day with him” means one thing, and “It sounds like a good idea for him” means something else, and finally “Just use him for a while, and then go back to starting” means a third, middle-ground-type thing. We’re off and running!

Bobby (VA Beach,VA): Who do you think will be this years NL MVP?

Joe Morgan: That's tough. We're not there yet. Pujols has led his team. The Mets have the best record, so you have to look at their best players. We're not there yet where you can name the MVP yet.

KT: Three “yet”s in this one. Also, who is writing these answers, Raymond Carver? What’s with the 4-word sentences?

Chad (NY): Do the Mets need to make a move in order to make it to the WS?

Joe Morgan: They need a fourth and fifth starter. They need a veteran pitcher. That's why they acquired El Duque. They need one more pitcher that can fill that role.

KT: Well, they’ve sewn up the division, so they’re halfway there. And in the playoffs, fifth starters don’t really pitch. They’ve scored the most runs in the NL and have surrendered the second-fewest. Is it a good idea to take on a 5th starter in a huge sellers’ market, possibly surrendering Milledge or other good prospects? No it is not. Assuming Pedro is healthy – a somewhat large assumption, granted -- they are the odds-on favorite to make the WS from the NL, and there isn’t a close second. So: no, Joe, no.

Dave (Blacksburg, VA): This year notwithstanding, what is it going to take to get the Indians back in contention?

Joe Morgan: This year's been very devastating to the Indians. The last two years they played well in the second half and almost got to the division title last year. Then this season they thought they could win and then to have the season they are is frustrating. I think Cleveland faces a difficult path to get back to the top. They have some good players, but they haven't played well together to get in the race.

KT: Just to reiterate: the question was not “Can you just barf up some junk about the Indians that everyone already knows?” The question was: “This year notwithstanding [emphasis mine], what is it going to take to get the Indians back in contention?" Then you notwithstanded the concept of “this year” by starting your answer: “This year’s been very devastating to the Indians.” And then you did not answer the nice man’s question. Kudos.

Tony Martos Boston, Mass: Given David Ortiz's offensive proweless this year and Boston's current lead in the AL East. Do you feel Ortiz is a legitimate clear choice this year for AL MVP as long as the Red Sox win the division?

Joe Morgan: I don't think he's a clear choice. Last year, if I would have had a vote last year, I would have split it with him and A-Rod. He's a DH. Guys that play every day, make no doubt about it, help the team more. I think Ortiz is different than any other DH, because he's also the leader of the team. Guys rally around him. Normal DHs, I say no. I think what seperates him is that he's the leader of that team.

KT: Here’s a distillation, if you don’t want to read Joe’s whole answer: Last year, last year, DH DH DH, leader of the team, leader of that team.

Also, I think that position players should be considered more for MVP than DHs, assuming – and this is important – assuming they are good at playing the position. For example, should Paul Konerko have a huge second half, I’d say you could make the argument that he is a more viable MVP candidate than David Ortiz. Baseball Prospectus has Konerko at 4 FRAA, meaning his defense is better than average, and by itself has been worth about half a win to the ChiSox. Not great, and he plays 1B, which is widely regarded as the easiest position to play. But good. Valuable. Tangible. (Right now, FWIW, BP has Ortiz and Konerko at an identical 4.4 WARP1.)

Jason Giambi, on the other hand, clocks in at –7 FRAA. His defense is well below average, and has cost the Yankees nearly a full win. (This is anecdotally evident as well, given that in the field Giambi has the mobility of a soggy refrigerator crate.) Should Giambi be considered a more viable MVP candidate than Ortiz just because he plays a position, even if he plays the position terribly and hurts his team?

Side note: hard to believe, but last year, BP had ARod at –4 FRAA. ARod was a below average 3B last year – at least by this metric. Even so, his WARP was a full 2.5 higher than Ortiz, and I think he should have been the MVP.

Anthony (Scotia,NY): Good Morning Joe, What Moves Do The Yankees Need To Make I Order To Make It To The playoffs?

Joe Morgan: The Yankees have over performed, as far as I'm concerned. With the injuries they've had, Joe Torre has done a good job of mixing and matching. They need another outfield bat, they need another outfield hitter out there.

KT: Oh buh-ruther.

The Yankees have about six terrible pitchers on their MLB roster right now. They have Farnsworth setting up Rivera. They have Chacon, Ponson, and Aaron Small (in the minors, just waiting for his chance to come back up and pour gas on the fire). They also have like $28 million worth of Shef-sui coming back in the next two months, and despite all of their injuries, they are 4th in MLB in runs (with three more, they’d be second). Pitching, Joe. Pitching pitching pitching zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Dan (Pittsburgh, PA): Do you think Ozzie Gullien will be fired if he keeps acting up?

Joe Morgan: The only thing that he's done that was really upsetting was when he used the derogatory term toward the gay community. But him yelling at his players, that's his perogative. The thing that he's done is yell at his guys in front of other people. Managers tell guys to hit guys all the time and then hide behind it. I've seen it happen, he's just doing it out in the open.

KT: So the only thing he’s done that was upsetting was calling someone a “fag,” and then claiming it wasn’t offensive because in his country it means something different. That’s still pretty bad. Also, if you really think that’s the only thing he’s said that’s offensive, I invite you to trawl around the interweb for "Ozzie Guillen quotes" and make up your own mind.

Ken Tremendous, CA: Joe, thanks for taking my question. I've been telling my friends that the Yankees will be fine because of Jeter's leadership and intangibles -- do you think that intangibles can be as important as "stats" like HR, walks, etc.?

Joe Morgan: Intangibles are definitely important, but they don't replace home runs. HRs provide instant runs. But intangibles are important, but you can't win on just them alone. They need A-Rod to hit HRs for them to win.

KT: In retrospect, if I had planned this a bit better, and not just had the idea to write in with an actual question this morning as the chat was beginning – and by the way, how have I never thought to do that before? What is wrong with me? – I might have been able to come up with something more clever. Or at least more elegant. As it was, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision, and just typed the like most basic possible trap-laden question I could think of.

I’m going to say right now that I am proud of Joe. Yes, he does say that intangibles are important. Twice. But he also recognizes the importance of actual baseball ability. And I think that’s a step in the right direction, don’t you?

Ryan(Tampa, Fl): Will the Tigers get enough out of Dmitri Young or will they still need to make a trade for another bat?

Joe Morgan: If they get the real Dmitri Young back, the guy that's been there for the last four years, then they'll be OK. If he performs then they won't need anyone else.

KT: I like that his answer here is: if Dmitri Young is good, then they don’t need to get somebody good. Are you insane?! You’ll be laughed out of the Institute of Tautology with such a hare-brained theory!

Also, here are D’Meat Hook's WARPs for the last four years:

2002: 1.0
2003: 6.6
2004: 2.2
2005: 3.1
2006 (small sample size) -0.4

He's missed a lot of games to injury in a lot of years. Last year he was .271/.325/.471/.796, which is certainly not terrible. But his .203/.253/.284/.537 in 74 AB this year is. I’d say the chances are pretty good, all things considered, that he is not going to provide a whole lot down the stretch. And if he is bad, he will be bad. On the other hand, if he is good, then he will be good.

Kevin (Manassas): What are the Cubs going to do with Dusty Baker? There is obviously no hope for the Cubs this year, so if they are going to fire him, why not do it now? Is there a realistic chance he will return next year?

Joe Morgan: It doesn't make any sense to fire him now, who are you going to bring in?

KT: Anyone but Dusty Baker.

He's been the best Cubs manager in the last 20 years.

“Fire him?! He’s the best systems analyst we’ve ever had at Enron!”

(Have I used that joke before? Apologies if I have. Take us home with an apropros-of-nothing defense of your buddy, please, Joe.)

Joe Morgan: New York fans shouldn't be booing A-Rod, they should be cheering for him. He's one of the best players to ever play the game and they should want him to perform. Thanks for chatting.

KT: You’re welcome. Thank you.

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posted by Anonymous  # 7:19 PM
Check plus on "Institute of Tautology."
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