Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

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Thursday, May 10, 2007


Parse This!

I dare you.

This is's Jon Heyman explaining where Cardinals' owner Bill DeWitt, Jr. went wrong in the last off-season.

Jocketty brought in Kip Wells (1-6, 6.59) for $4 million for 2007, Adam Kennedy (no home runs, .239 batting average) for $10 million over three years and brought back a recovering Mark Mulder (who could be ready for the second half) for $13 million over two years, when even the notoriously cheap team across the state that hasn't won a thing in decades spent $55 million on Gil Meche (wisely, it turns out).

Meche has been great, and it's nice that the Royals have an "ace." But it's probably premature to say that the Cardinals should have spent that money for him, or that it's already "worth it." The other moves are pretty standard, and haven't worked out super well, but remember -- last year was a terrible free agent class. Whom should they have signed? Carlos Lee? For $100M+?

But here's where it gets crazy...

The Cardinals offered postseason hero Jeff Suppan $18 million over three years, and it's no surprise that Suppan more than doubled that bid, going to the division rival Brewers for $42 million, where he's 5-2 with a 2.63 ERA.

Jeff Suppan is a mediocre pitcher who strikes out 5 guys per nine innings. His 2007 OPS against is 60 points lower than his career average. His DERA is 1.5 runs below his career average. He is soaring high above his 90th percentile PECOTA projection. I would bet -- no, sorry, I will guarantee -- that he comes back down to earth by the end of the year, if not before the All-Star break. If he doesn't, it will be one of the flukiest things in baseball this year.

Now, he's better than some of the scrubs the Cardinals are throwing out there these days, but 4/$42m is a lot to pay for 32 year-old Jeff Suppan after last year. (The BrewCrew also gave him a 2-year no-trade clause and a further 2-year limited no-trade clause.)

But now, let's get really nuts.

The Cardinals offered Jeff Weaver $10 million over two years to stay, and La Russa called Weaver to tell him they needed him, that they'd be in trouble without him. Weaver said he'd love to stay, and that he'd even stay for no raise, for the same $8.325 million he made last year. But when the Cardinals said no, he got his money in Seattle instead. Duncan brought out the best in Weaver, certainly better than the 15.35 ERA he is now toting as a Seattle Mariner, and that was another loss.

Wow. I truly am baffled by this.

The Cardinals offered Jeff Weaver $5m a year for two years. Weaver said "No thankee -- but I will sign for $8.325m a year. The Cardinals said, "No thankee. Enjoy Seattle." Now Jeff Weaver is 0-5 with an ERA over 14. He has given up 50 hits in 22 IP. And the Cardinals made a mistake, somehow? This was a "loss?"

How do you sit down to write an article about the Cardinals' off-season mistakes, and look at Jeff Weaver's 14.00 ERA and $8.325m contract with Seattle, and say to yourself, "Not only am I going to include these facts in my article, I am going to somehow make it seem like facts that support my thesis that the Cardinals should have signed him."

What kind of writer writes that? What kind of editor allows it to pass? What kind of world are we living in, friends? A scary one. A terrifying one, where insane loony crazies like Jon Heyman are allowed to roam free in the hallways of our nation's leading sports magazines and write whatever they want with no repercussions.

Well I, for one, have had enough. That's why I am announcing my candidacy for President of America.

But first, here's one more weird thing from this article:

Jocketty did try to sign Randy Wolf and Jason Schmidt. But Wolf only wanted to pitch in Los Angeles and Schmidt wanted to stay somewhere on the West Coast.

Well, now, there you go. They did have a plan, and it was a good one. Schmidt is good. Wolf is younger than Suppan, for example, and strikes out 2.5 more guys per nine IP than Suppan. He was a much better bet. It isn't Jocketty's fault he wanted to pitch in L.A. I guess it might be DeWitt's fault for not upping the $$$ available to pry guys like that away from the West Coast, but on the other hand, maybe no amount would have gotten it done.

Hear me now, American citizens: When I am President of the U. States of A., the very first thing I will do is fire Jon Heyman. That is a guarantee! Then I will take a brief nap and meet with my advisers. Then probably a light dinner and maybe turn in early. I have to pace myself.

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posted by Anonymous  # 11:40 PM
Thanks to reader David for the tip.
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