"I would have signed for less," said Hunter, who had five-year offers, ranging from $70 million to $75 million, from the White Sox, Rangers and Royals, and the day before the Angels offer dined with Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks.
What if the Angels offered less than those other teams?
"I still would have taken it!" Hunter said.
Congratulations, Angels! You have already overpaid by at least $20m. And the contract hasn't even started yet.
I'm currently watching a Discovery Channel documentary about Australian marine biologists who are trying to capture, and raise in captivity, the Architeuthis, or Giant Squid. After many years of unsuccessful attempts, they finally found and transferred to their ship eight larvae, and there was much rejoicing and popping of champagne and stuff. But by the time they got back to their lab, all of the larvae were dead. The lead biologist, Steve O'Shea, gave a final speech about how he's not going to give up. I got kind of teary-eyed. Then that Beyonce ad for DirecTV came on where she sings "Lemme Lemme Lemme Up-Grade Ya," and I ripped my TV off the wall and threw it away.
So I will use my newfound TV-less time to talk about this article by FoxSports.com's Jeff Gordon, which is several days old, and was sent to us by nearly one million of our readers. It's a list of the 10 best free agent signings in MLB history.
I think you all know what's coming.
10. David Eckstein, Cardinals
When he signed his three-year, $10.25 million free-agent deal after the 2004 season, some experts ripped the Cardinals for giving him too much money and too many years.
Now why would they do a silly thing like that?
After all, Eckstein was really a second baseman playing shortstop. He didn't possess great fielding range and his arm strength was famously poor. He was a decent hitter, but he had no power and little speed on the basepaths.
These things are all still true.
But Eckstein was the perfect fit in St. Louis, where he moved into the lead-off spot. He earned two trips to the All-Star Game and became the MVP of the 2006 World Series, on the strength of his three doubles in Game 4 against Detroit.
EqAs in his years in St. Louis: .268, .250, .275. Number of games missed in the last two years due to injuries (or whatever): 84. SB in St. Louis: 28-for-43. Amount of mediocrity exhibited: significant.
In many ways, he is the anti-A-Rod —a low-budget, low-glamour signing that produced maximum results.
In many ways, he is the anti-A-Rod: he can't play baseball very well.
If David Eckstein is the 10th best free agent signing in major league baseball history, I am Australian marine biologist Steve O'Shea, and I have found and successfully transferred into captivity eight larvae of the elusive giant squid Architeuthis.
Saw this over at Keith Law's blog. It's a link to an article by Twins' beat writer Bob Sansevere. He proposes the following trade:
Red Sox Get:
Johan Santana Joe Nathan Carlos Silva
Jacoby Ellsbury Dustin Pedroia Jonathan Papelbon Jon Lester Clay Buchholz
I have identified 2.6 billion problems with this trade. Here are two:
1. Carlos Silva is a free agent. 2. It's fucking insane.
He concludes the article by writing this:
What's Twins general manager Bill Smith waiting for? He should have this deal done by now.
Does Theo Epstein have anything to say about it? Because trading something like 23 cost-controlled years of five excellent young players for one year of Santana, one year of 33 year-old Joe Nathan, and no years of the impossible-to-obtain-through-trade Carlos Silva -- who, again, is a free agent -- might be the worst deal of all-time, in any sport, including Larry Andersen for Jeff Bagwell.
Thanksgiving kind of prevented us from commenting too much on the Torii Hunter signing. I will do so now.
I think Torii Hunter is an excellent baseball player. Wonderful fielder. Super fun to watch. Remember that HR he robbed from Bonds in the ASG? Amazing. Fantastic. Great player.
He's 32, people. 32. His body has taken a pounding from years of playing CF on cement. And thanks to the irreversible one-way-itude of Father Time's relentless arrow, he is not getting any younger. His career OBP of .327 is what the Welsh would call: "terrible." (If they followed baseball.) Before he blew through his 90th percentile PECOTA prediction this year, they had him as an 11-HR, 2.0 WARP player in 2011, at age 35. And this Angels contract will pay him $18m when he's 35. And 36.
It's a really iffy deal. It just is. The Angels have a lot of places they could have upgraded offensively, and they chose to do it very expensively at a position where they already have a very expensive (and kind of bad) player. Torii is better than Gary Matthews, to be sure, but not way better, and -- just to reiterate -- due to the fact that the temporal dimension moves in one direction only, and the corresponding fact that baseball is not played in a tank of cold cæsium with light-amplification lasers, he is not getting any younger.
Granted, Hunter doesn't bring monster power to Anaheim. But with him in the line-up, other teams won't be able to dink their way around Vladimir Guerrero, who has been the straw that stirs the drink. If they try, they'll have to deal with Hunter, an RBI machine who hit 31 homers two years ago and 28 last year.
I wouldn't exactly call him an "RBI Machine." He's had more than 100 twice. He's slugged over .500 twice. He averages 93 RBI per 162 games. Now, granted, he had a bunch of low OBP-guys hitting in front of him, but still.
Of course, there's much more to Hunter than his bat. Here's a guy who fits right in with the Angels' philosophy: slash at opposing teams with swift-boat speed.
Swift-boat? Is this some weird anti-Kerry message left over from 2004?
Hunter will pilfer plenty of bases.
Last year he stole 18 of them! (Out of 27 tries.) The year before, though, he pilfered...twelve. Out of eighteen. In 2003, when he was a young swift-boating buck of 27, he stole...six. And was caught seven times. His career high is 23. What does "plenty" mean to you?
He'll hit line drives, and he'll scramble from first to third and rarely get caught.
So this is how he'll "fit in" with the Angels' philosophy. I say: he'll fit in most obviously with his .327 career OBP. The Angels don't get on base, traditionally, (though they were 3rd in the AL last year), and neither does Hunter. The ironic thing here, to me, is that they now have a glut of outfielders, and I've read rumors of them trading Reggie Willits. The one guy (besides Vlad) who really works counts or gets on base. (And don't tell me about Chone and his .393 OBP. Fluke. He didn't walk more than he usually does, and he had a .400 BABIP. Bet you anything he's back down to a ~.350 OBP next year.)
This part is fun:
Close your eyes and imagine this guy in your outfield. There is a reason Hunter is a seven-time Gold Glove winner. Picture Boston in town. Those Red Sox fans and their incessant "Let's go, Red Sox" are making you nuts. Suddenly, Manny Ramirez drives a ball deep into center field.
There it goes, another Manny home run.
Wait, what's that?
It's Torii Hunter flying high above the center-field wall, arm stretched, glove wide.
Home run stolen.
"Let's go, Red Sox"? Put a sock in it.
There is about a .008% chance this will happen.
Also, Gary Matthews Jr., the man Torii Hunter is replacing, is most famous for the most spectacular CF-based HR-robbing anyone has ever seen. A HR-robbing that essentially got him $50m from these same Angels.
Then there's Hunter the person. In Minneapolis, fans are in mourning. They know they've just lost a guy who has gone flat out for them for nearly a decade -- on the field and in the community.
I buy this. He seems like a wonderful man. Who has a .327 career OBP.
Hunter is known as a mensch. And he's a spark plug. The Angels are a good group of guys who seem to get along, but their clubhouse feels a little calm. They need some crackle, someone to lighten the moment and generate some spirit to repeat their 2002 World Series run.
Hunter's personality is going to help.
Mensch, sparkplug, clubhouse, crackle, spirit, personality. This is one of my favorite paragraphs ever. And by the way, you know what they actually need to repeat their World Series win? Offense. Home runs. Baserunners. Torii Hunter will add some of these things in decent amounts. Miguel Cabrera, e.g., would add more of them for a longer time.
Don't be surprised if the Angels aren't finished with their off-season upgrades. One or two outfielders might be packaged in a trade for yet another hot bat.
Arte Moreno, be careful. Don't be tempted by Miguel Tejada. I don't like his downward trend.
I hear you, Kurt. Look at this guy's stats. I mean, he's 32, he doesn't walk much, he plays a high-stress position which makes him prone to break down...yikes. Stay away. Stick to Torii Hunter.
And please be leery of the Marlins' cherubic Miguel Cabrera. The guy has a sweet swing, but he's in danger of eating himself off the ball field and onto a fat farm. If you insist on signing him, put more weight incentives in his contract than a breakfast buffet has sausages.
You know, one story got written about how the guy is heavier than he used to be, and now everyone just says "Stay away -- he's fat!"
.320/.401/.565 .326 EqA Consecutive seasons of above-150 OPS+: 3 Age in human years: 24
He can be as fat as he wants if he's going to do that for my team. The man is 24. He's not a great defensive 3B, but...he's 24. Twenty-four years young. Here is his baseball-reference.com "Most Similar By Age" breakdown:
Yeah. Stay away from that guy. Get the 32 year-old astroturf-riddled CF with the .327 OBP. And pay him $90m until he's 37. And enjoy your team's excellent performance next year, when you win like one more game than you did this year. (Or ten fewer, depending on your pitching.)
One more thing, Arte. Please don't forget that getting Hunter was only half smart. The other half was who you didn't get.
Alex Rodriguez, for example.
Amen, brother. Who the hell wants to lock up the best or second-best hitter in all of baseball? That would be insane. How would ARod protect Vlad in the line-up, what with all his post-season choking and therapy-going? Fuck that. Take Torii Hunter and his .327 OBP, and his 28 HR in a career/walk-year, and protect your line-up that way. You don't need ARod and his like 54 HR and .994 EqA and 108 walk-off HR and 3.456 SLG and runaway-wins in MVP voting. You need a moderately good hitter who never ever walks, and who missed more games in 2005 than ARod has this entire millennium, and whose career high in HR is a decent All-Star-Break total for ARod, and whose 37 year-old hitting totals are going to make you long for the days of this guy. Only Hunter's speed will be gone, too.
ARod? A-no-thanks, if you get my drift. I want to win baseball games, not "win baseball games."
As I wrote toward the end of last season, A-Rod is a marvelous player, but bringing him to Anaheim would have been a mistake. He would have hit home runs, but he also would have upset the dynamic of a carefully constructed team with his gigantic salary and ego.
No. No he would not have. He would have hit 50 HR and driven in 140 and had a .340 EqA and he and Vlad would have terrorized the AL West.
Besides, when has he ever won a championship?
Can you fucking believe this?
Other players cited in Kurt Streeter's article about how awesome Torii Hunter is who have never won a championship:
1. Torii Hunter
My suggestion back then was to go after Torii Hunter instead. I'm glad you did.
Good. So when he goes .271/.309/.418 with 11 HR in 2011, we'll know whom to blame.
Thank you to the many of you who pointed out that the phrase "...more weight incentives in his contract than a breakfast buffet has sausages" qualifies this post for the coveted "food metaphors" label.
Thanks also to Sean, who highlights how long it has been since I took physics:
...as a former physics major in college, the phrase "light amplification laser" struck me as a bit redundant, as laser is an acronym for "light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation". So I kind of have to be a douchebag and point that out. My apologies.
Another Sean (what gives?) points out that dimensions do not "move," but rather humans perceive them in certain ways. So, the motionless temporal dimension is experienced/perceived uni-dimensionally by Torii Hunter. There.
Woody Paige wrote an article about the Broncos' humiliating loss to Chicago on Sunday. It's mostly fine. But here's how it starts:
The Broncos committed the seven deadly sins of football:
1. Carelessness — 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
2. Stupidity — 75-yard punt return for touchdown.
I don't understand why allowing an 88-yard kickoff return for a TD is "carelessness," while allowing a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown is "stupidity." Why not the other way around? And as long as you're cleverly using the "7 Deadly Sins" rhetorical conceit, why not just make "Kicking to Devin Hester" = "Pride"?
3. Sloth — blocked punt recovered at their 18.
I'm sorry. But how is having a punt blocked evidence of "sloth?" That's nonsense. Did you guys see the Pats-Eagles game? When Gostkowski missed that 32-yard field goal...man, that was some lust.
4. Ineptitude — failure to score touchdowns on two possessions inside the 5-yard line.
5. Folly — interception at their own 18.
6. Clumsiness — a fumble that ended up at their 14.
You could match up any of these three "sins" with any of their three examples -- or any of the first three, really -- and no one would notice.
7. Horrendous judgment — prevent defense at the end of regulation and in overtime.
I agree, Woody. That was an example of horrendous judgment. Nice work with your metaphors.
(Because "gluttony" is one of the 7 deadly sins, I am going to tag this with "food metaphors." Deal with it.)
Thanksgiving? More Like Nothanksgiving (I'm Talking About Bill Conlin)!
Hey, Bill Conlin just wrote an article about Jimmy Rollins winning the MVP. Guess what? Squanto could have written a better article. That's right. I said it. Squanto. (I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, can't I read just one sabermetrically-inclined meta-commentary "comedy" blog without running into a Squanto joke? The answer: no, you cannot. Squanto.) Bill Conlin | Rollins' winning numbers
I'm guessing Conlin didn't write this headline. Numbers can't win, dummy! Teams win. Players win. Guts win. The only numbers that matter are the numbers that measure the size of your heart (and guess what: these numbers don't exist because heart can't be measured!!!)
TO APPRECIATE the sheer scope of Jimmy Rollins epic run to yesterday's MVP award, you almost have to forget he plays a position where defense has always been the No. 1 priority.
Keep this in mind while you read this article: Jimmy Rollins did not -- emphatically did not deserve to win the MVP award, because he was indisputably not close to being the most valuable of players. He was, humorously, something like 9th or 10th, or hell, if we're being friendly, maybe in the top 5. Maybe.
And while the American League has had two freaks of nature who have put up engine room numbers at shortstop - Cal Ripken and the pre-third base Alex Rodriguez - the National League hasn't seen anything quite like the season the Flying Fireplug regaled us with last season since Ernie Banks. Not from a shortstop.
Yes, perfectly valid, except for the fact that Rollins was offensively outplayed by a shortstop in his own league this very year. 2007. The year we're talking about.
Shitty Assplug plays for the Florida Marlins. So yeah, instead of saying "the National League hasn't seen a season quite like this one since 1842!" a better thing to say would be "a season like this hasn't been seen since a season happening at this exact same time, only totally better in almost every way!"
No middle infielder has ever stocked a trophy case in one season with a record 716 at-bats, 212 hits, 139 runs scored, 38 doubles, 20 triples, 30 home runs, 41 stolen bases, 380 total bases and a big man's slugging percentage of .531.
Shitty Assplug, Redux: 212 hits, 125 runs scored, 48 doubles, 6 triples, 29 home runs, 51 stolen bases, 359 total bases, and a shitty man's slugging percentage of .562. Fewer at bats, and 68 fewer outs.
Jimmy Rollins made more outs than any MVP in the history of the National League.
I defy anyone to show me the trophy you get for having a slugging percentage of .531. In my imagination, it's shaped like the numbers 531, made of osmium, and totally invisible, because it doesn't exist EVEN IN MY IMAGINATION.
Rollins became just the fourth player in big league history to have 20 or more doubles, triples, homers and stolen bases in a single season, joining the 1911 Cubs' Wildfire Schulte, some guy named Willie Mays and 2007 Tigers centerfield dervish Curtis Granderson.
Another guy who played this year. And this quadruple-20 shit is so meaningless it's embarrassing. How many baseball writers do you think allowed that to influence their vote? All of them? I say all of them.
Do you know only one man in history has accrued 16 doubles, 83 runs, 6 walks, 42 hit by pitches, and 134 caught stealings? That man is Alan Alda (2004 Diamondbacks).
Jimmy Rollins is what you get when you cross a ballet dancer with a bulldog.
The other thing you get when you cross these things is a horrifying pornographic film. Then boom, Rollins pops out.
Despite his defensive contribution being backhanded by Red Sox front office stat man Bill James - baseball's most influential cybergeek - the league's managers and coaches awarded him a Gold Glove.
Apparently, James decided that a Range Factor based on successful chances (putouts plus assists) times nine innings, divided by number of defensive innings played is more important than the result - for example, a friggin' out. Despite his No. 3 fielding percentage of .985 (behind Troy Tulowitzki's .987 and Omar Vizquel's .986) Rollins rated No. 15 in the James Range Factor. Fortunately, the baseball men who vote for the Gold Gloves depend on what they see, not laptop science. Jose Reyes, a nimble windshield wiper, ranked No. 25 in RF.
And "laptop science" goes directly into the Label bin. Thank you, Bill Conlin.
The diminishing criticisms revolved around an on-base percentage that just didn't equate to the demands of a table-setter.
How were we to know that what Rollins had in mind was not only setting the table, but consuming the meal and then clearing it with a dish-scattering flurry of offense?
Food metaphors. Gold mine. Loving it. Hey, Bill, also, great point you're making here that totally undermines your article. Jimmy Rollins was fucking 47th in the NL in OBP. 47th. Shane Victorino out-OBP-ed this flying fireplug. Rollins was 7th in the league out of 14 qualified shortstops. Lower than Jack Wilson.
Now Conlin gets really crazy and starts comparing Jimmy to Ernie Banks.
Banks was superb in 1958-59, leading the league in homers and RBI, but Rollins scored more runs this year, had more hits, more steals, doubles and triples. Banks had 32 errors in '58, just 12 in '59 but his range was starting to erode by then.
Since you're really close-minded to new ideas, I'm going to be super ageist and assume you're very, very old -- that you reek of embalming fluid and Centrum Silver, that you give out buckwheat pennies at Halloween -- so I'll speak up: YOU CAN'T COMPARE COUNTING STATS ACROSS ERAS AND BALLPARKS.
The league OPS in 1958 (adjusted for Banks' home ballpark) was .752. This year it was .794 (adjusted for Rollins' home park). If you insist on getting really dumb, the batting average in 1958 was .267, compared to .279 this year. I feel dirty just writing that, but maybe, just maybe, it will help Bill understand what he's doing wrong. PEOPLE SCORED MORE RUNS THIS YEAR.
Banks OPS+ 156 Rollins OPS+ 118
This is stupid.
I was concerned that Rockies hitting dynamo Matt Holliday, the close runner-up, might steal the election with the hanging chad of his heroic batwork in the Rockies dramatic comeback playoff victory over the Diamondbacks. I could envision BBWAA ball writers ready to e-mail the results of a season extended to 163 games, needing just to fill in lines 1 and 2.
And just when you think Bill Conlin is done -- just when you think he can't top the inanity, uninformeditude, and just plain willful ignorance he's exhibited in the first 95% of the article, he slams you with the hanging chad reference. Well played, Conlin. You may not be knowledgeable about baseball, but you're a hell of a comedy writer. You've just made a believer out of me.
Me: the mild-mannered Pension Fund Monitor for Fremulon Insurance, based in Partridge, KS, who copies dumb articles about baseball and adds snarky comments.
You: the kind of article that was written a thousand times after David Eckstein won the World Series MVP Award, which contained lots of references to how scrappy and gritty he is, ignoring fully his not-very-good-at-baseball-ness.
Where have you been, baby? I've missed you. But all is forgiven, now that Eck is a free agent, and these articles are beginning to reëmerge. Come back to me. I promise, I'll be gentle. I'll only reprint the key words, justlikeIusedto. What do you say?
Thinking -- and acting -- outside the box provide some of the fire the team lacked last season shortstop for two World Series champion teams in the last six seasons Willie Randolph, an admirer of Eckstein's spunk, MVP of the Cardinals' 2006 World Series champion team overcome a modest arm to play regularly or almost regularly Because of injuries Despite the games missed Eckstein is widely recognized as one of baseball's foremost gamers. source of the grit and resolve their team lacked last season Eckstein would provide some of the fire Paul Lo Duca provided in his two seasons Eckstein is thought to be seeking a four-year contract worth $36 million his defense deteriorated last season Eckstein played fewer innings, 943 2/3, in 2007 than in any other season and committed a career-high 20 errors a master of the contentious at-bat
For the record, in re: being a "master of the contentious at bat," Eckstein's 3.64 pitches per plate appearance would have ranked him #123 among MLB players in that category last year. I say "would have," because he was injured so much he didn't have enough AB to qualify. In 2006, his 3.75 was good for 95th.
Also, for the record, if I were Willie Randolph, I would not like to be referred to, in print, as an "admirer of Eckstein's spunk."
The article also has this:
Playing for an offensively-challenged team -- the Cardinals scored 725 runs, the sixth fewest in the National League -- Eckstein scored 51 runs and drove in 38.
Which is delightful, in that it does not allow for the fact that the Cards were offensively challenged in part because of Eckstein's presence.
Phil Rogers Tinkers With Stats; 4 Dead, Logic Wounded
This is going to be annoying to break down. But I can't ignore an article that says that ERA is three times as important as any other stat for a pitcher.
Forget "poor" Josh Beckett. If anyone got overlooked in American League Cy Young voting, it was the Los Angeles Angels' John Lackey, not the Boston Red Sox's Beckett.
Who has been whining about "poor" Josh Beckett? What are those quotes for? I am the biggest Red Sox fan in the world, and I have absolutely no problem with C.C. Sabathia winning the Cy Young award. It was the right choice.
Sabthia: 241 innings with a 1.141 WHIP, a 209/37 K/BB ratio and a 143 ERA+. Beckett: 200.2 innings with an identical 1.141 WHIP, a 194/40 K/BB ratio, and a 145 ERA+.
An additional 40 innings with the same, excellent WHIP and a better K/BB ratio = better year. That's pretty uncontroversial.
Lackey: 224 innings with a higher 1.210 WHIP, a 179/52 K/BB ratio and a 151 ERA+.
So, better adjusted ERA than Sabathia, but fewer innings, and a significantly worse K/BB ratio (and thus higher WHIP).
This article should now pretty much be over.
Sure, if you factor in the regular season and the postseason, Beckett was the best pitcher in the majors in 2007—a combined 24-7 with a 3.00 earned-run average. It's no accident his team won the World Series.
Again, no argument from me that Beckett should not have won -- nor from any other rational human who understands that post-season stats do not count toward this voting. Sabathia > Beckett in 2007.
But the Cy Young Award, like the other awards the Baseball Writers Association of America hands out, is about getting your team into the playoffs, not carrying them once they're there. They are regular-season awards, and as such, Beckett should not have been better than third in the tight, four-pitcher race involving C.C. Sabathia (the winner by a nose), Fausto Carmona, Lackey and Beckett.
Well, now, hang on there, Sparky.
Carmona: 215 innings, a pretty pedestrian 137/61 K/BB ratio, a 1.209 WHIP (thanks to that crazy sinker thing he throws) and a 151 ERA+.
I'd say that the 60 or so more Ks and fewer walks puts Beckett's year ahead of Carmona's. Carmona's is almost identical to Lackey's, really. In fact, they're all super close. I'm not sure there's a great argument to be made that Lackey or Carmona had a better year than Beckett, except that they did throw more innings...but not many more, and Beckett allowed fewer baserunners per inning...it's probably the closest 4-man race in a long time. I'd say C.C. is the clear winner, Beckett is second, and Lackey and Carmona tie for third.
This was a fascinating vote, in large part because only one victory separated the four of them (Beckett had 20, the other three 19).
The victory total is the absolute worst possible way to compare or contrast their levels of success.
I have no problem with Sabathia winning, but Lackey would have gotten my vote if I had been voting. He led the AL with a 3.01 ERA. Carmona was second at 3.06, followed by Sabathia in fifth at 3.21 and Beckett in sixth at 3.27. No stat better tells the story for pitchers than ERA.
No stat better tells the story for pitchers than ERA.
This is not a story. This is simply a coarse measure of runs scored, which can be affected by relief pitchers. How many of these runs were inherited by relievers who had bad days? How many other runs were saved by relief pitchers who had good games? The story of ERA (not even park adjusted, for goodness sake?) is a fairy tale with a morally ambiguous ending. It's a Golden Book in a dentist's office with 6 pages ripped out by a hyperactive kid. It's a Richard Bachman novel. It's a terrible story.
WHIP, on the other hand, for example, measures an individual pitcher's effectiveness per inning. That's better, for a lot of reasons which should be self-evident.***
For the sake of argument, I put together a simple formula to compare the top four Cy Young vote-getters.It ranks them among each other in victories, losses, ERA, innings and strikeouts. Because I think ERA is the most important, I've given it twice the weight. That formula gives Sabathia a slight edge over Lackey and a significant edge over Beckett and Carmona, who would be tied for third.
I have created a similar formula for judging the viability of the Democratic Presidential candidates. It ranks them among each other in health care plans, economic proposals, interest in aliens, and foreign policy. Because I think interest in aliens is the most important, I have given it twice the weight. That formula gives Dennis Kucinich a slight edge over Clinton, and a significant edge over Edwards and Obama.
If you weighed ERA three times as heavily as the other four stats, you would have a tie between Sabathia and Lackey, with Beckett dropping to a clear fourth.
If you weighed interest in aliens three times as heavily as the other stats, you would have a tie with Kucinich and Alf.
Sabathia's edge over the other guys comes down to leading the league innings and strikeouts.
Innings and strikeouts? What kind of stupid ways are those to measure the effectiveness of a pitcher, whose job is to throw as many innings as possible, and whose best possible outcome in any one at bat is a strikeout? Talk to me when you start weighing Skewed Angle of Cap Brim three times as heavily as strikeouts. Then you get Sabathia in a cake walk. Or Number of Shark Teeth on Necklace 3x as highly as Ks, which gives the award -- for the ninth year in a row -- to Turk Wendell.
That achievement may have contributed to the Indians not going to the World Series, as Sabathia and Carmona clearly wore down during the championship series against Boston.
Sorry -- real quick -- thought we weren't supposed to take anything that happened in the postseason into account, here, birdbrain. Remember when you wrote this -- "the Cy Young Award, like the other awards the Baseball Writers Association of America hands out, is about getting your team into the playoffs, not carrying them once they're there" -- like eleven seconds ago?
Beckett looked the freshest of the Cy Young contenders in October—no wonder; he barely threw 200 innings during the regular season, the lowest total.
Quick recap of the insinuations of the last two sentences: Sabathia threw the most innings in the regular seaosn? He does not deserve the Cy Young Award more than John Lackey, because throwing that many innings led to him being worn down in the post-season. Also, Josh Beckett does not deserve the Cy Young Award because he threw the fewest innings in the regular season, leading him to be fresh in the post-season.
For those of you who are interested, there are several infielders available through free agency right now. Two of them are David Eckstein, an adorable 11 inch-tall translucent man who cannot play baseball very well, and Alex Rodriguez, who is better at hitting baseballs than every other person in the entire world.
Let's go to the journalistic/public opinion round-up. First, we have an ESPN.com poll, the final question of which is:
9. Which player would you rather have?
69.6% Alex Rodriguez 30.4% David Eckstein
Now, I suppose it is possible that some of the 150,000+ people who have voted in this poll were taking into consideration things like salary, or the current 3Bman on their favorite team, or something. But the question is, straight-up, who would you rather have?
And 30% say Eckstein. Thirty percent. Thir. Ty. Per. Ce. N. T.
That means that more than 45,000 people sat at their computers, and thought it over, and they said, you know, I don't want the guy who is 32 and had a .354 EqA+ last year with 54 HR. I want the 32 year-old who only played in 117 games last year (and 123 the year before) and hit 3 HR and had a .275 EqA+, and who needs a relay man to get the ball from short to first.
Who are you people? What is wrong with your brains?
Speaking of people whose brains are wrong, ESPN's Buster Olney has some things to say about Eckstein: 3. David Eckstein, SS
Injuries have limited the shortstop to 240 games over his last two seasons, and he doesn't have the body or playing style of someone who will last.
But nobody can argue this: When Eckstein plays, he produces.
I can argue that. I can easily argue that. You want me to argue that? I will argue that.
The man's career OPS+ is 89. That is below average for baseball players. His career high OPS+ is 101. That is one percent better than the average baseball player. He has never had more than 26 doubles in a season. He has never had a slugging percentage in the .400s. He is a terrible hitter.
His batting average in each of his last three seasons is .294, .292 and .309, and he made a couple of All-Star teams.
Oh my God. If Buster Olney were a GM, he would stock his teams with Ecksteins and Juan Pierres and Christian Guzmans and they would go 20-142.
He has been a shortstop and the Cardinals need a shortstop, and Eckstein may end up returning to St. Louis. But Eckstein could also be, for a big-market contending club, a very interesting buy as a super utility player, because he can play second base, and perhaps even third base, along with some shortstop.
David Eckstein playing third base would be amazing. I would love to see that. If Jacoby Ellsbury hit a ball down the line to David Eckstein and Eck had to backhand it and throw from foul territory, by the time the ball landed in the first baseman's glove Ellsbury would be sitting on the bench after his inside-the-park little-league HR and Kevin Youkilis would be at the plate with a count of 2-0.
You could move him around, give him days off when he had a nagging injury, and always inject energy into your team -- like a sixth man in basketball.
This is a reason to sign him?
GM: So, tell me why we should sign your client.
Eckstein's Agent: Tons of reasons. First of all, he's a winner. Second, he can inject energy into your team. Third, when we gets injured -- and he will definitely get injured -- you can give him days off!
GM: (has long since left room)
Pay him well on a two-year deal and promise him 400 plate appearances, and he could help you get to October.
Pay him well on a two-year deal, and he will certainly collect his paychecks while not helping your team at all. And if your team makes it to October despite his mediocre/bad play, he will totally help you win in October, with his career .278/.333/.335 line in the postseason.
Finally, here is the voice of reason, in the form of Keith Law:
Quite possibly the most overrated player in baseball because people say "gritty" and "scrappy" and "smart" when they really just mean "short." Eckstein has had a nice run in the National League as a slap-and-run guy who does all of the little things and not many of the big things: He's got a short swing and isn't strong, so he hits for very little power, and he's never drawn many walks or worked the count. He's still an above-average runner, but not a burner and not worth much on the base paths; the speed is most valuable in helping him bunt for hits or leg out some ground balls. He's a bad defensive shortstop, and given his age he's likely to get worse, so it makes much more sense for someone to sign him as a second baseman.
Ahhhhhh. Soothing. Although how he is at #15 I will never know.
Maybe Nick Cafardo has some inside information on exactly who the 11 free agents named in the Mitchell Report are. But I would be mildly surprised if he did. That's why it's hard to justify saying things like this:
The agents who represent these players know who they are. Teams may have to guess. Signing a player who could subsequently be suspended is a tough sell to your fans. It will be interesting to see which free agents stay on the market a little longer than usual, or at least until the Mitchell report comes out late this year.
But there are no such worries for Lowell.
He used the home ballpark to his advantage last season, hitting .373 with 14 homers and 73 RBIs at Fenway, as opposed to .276 with 7 homers and 47 RBIs away. But that was a 180 from 2006, when he hit .260 with 9 homers and 42 RBIs at Fenway and .310 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs on the road.
No such worries? Because he's a solid dude? Because he doesn't have a size 94 hat? Because he didn't Brady Anderson the ball for one season?
I often have to remind myself that good Christian soldier Paul Byrd took HGH and guys like Matt Lawton and Alex Sanchez took steroids. Basically, literally everyone in the game is a possible user, no matter what their body shape, position, or ostensible character. No one likes this. But the people who have been found guilty so far represent such a random assortment of guys, it's hard to exonerate anyone before we've seen the proof.
Look, no one can predict the future. It's the future, dammit, and it's always running away from us. And believe me, I recognize that it's the lowest form of Internet I-told-you-so-ism to copy and paste someone's opinion from a year ago and crow about how ridiculous it looks now. But fuck it, sometimes it's fun to take the low road, especially when that someone's opinion is so emphatically confident. So let's have some fun with it. Wrote one semi-prominent Boston fan/writer, seemingly eons ago:
I could spend the next 3,000 words ranting and raving about the unacceptable performance of the Henry/Theo regime since they won the World Series -- the catastrophic Renteria/Clement signings; lowballing Pedro/Damon, then half-heartedly renewing talks at the last second; overvaluing Beckett (a genuine disappointment) and Crisp (a colossal disappointment); undervaluing their own prospects (Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez) in the Beckett trade; freezing at this year's trading deadline; dealing Arroyo without knowing about the health of Wells and Foulke; allowing 40-year-old Mike Timlin to pitch in the WBC (he's a walking corpse now); letting Roberts and Cabrera go; handing Beckett that unconscionable $30 million extension (I yelped out loud when I saw the headline); and we haven't even mentioned last winter's soap opera with Theo yet -- but I don't want to ruin my chances of getting a key to the office next season. So let's just say that everyone did a swell job and I fully support every moronic decision that was made. Now where's my key?
The date on this is about 15 months ago. Whoops! Maybe next year the front office will have turned into morons again, though. We'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, here's something from me for intrepid Internetters to copy and paste into their blogs 15 months from now:
If Journeyman doesn't sweep the Emmys next year, I will eat my hat.
Matt points us to this NFL second-half prediction article by ESPN's Jeffri Chadiha. If you total up his final records for each NFL team, you will find that he has predicted that the NFL will go 262-250, against itself.
I think that's unlikely.
This has happened before, over at ESPN. How hard is it, I have to ask, to go game by game for each team and actually make predictions, and then total up what you have predicted? You can't just wildly guess what each team's record will be without figuring out whether it's actually possible.
Or, I guess, you can, and they do. Because they just don't work that hard.
Dan points us to this Q and A with new Pirates GM Neal Huntington. This made my brain explode.
The Pirates upper management has widely ignored OBP (on base percentage) in the past. How important will OBP be in player evaluation under your leadership? -- Eric S., Pennsboro, W.Va
We are going to utilize several objective measures of player performance to evaluate and develop players. We'll rely on the more traditional objective evaluations: OPS (on base percentage plus slugging percentage) , WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched), Runs Created, ERC (Component ERA), GB/FB (ground ball to fly ball ratio), K/9 (strikeouts per nine innings), K/BB (strikeouts to walks ratio), BB%, etc., but we'll also look to rely on some of the more recent variations: VORP (value over replacement player), Relative Performance, EqAve (equivalent average), EqOBP (equivalent on base percentage), EqSLG (equivalent slugging percentage), BIP% (balls put into play percentage), wOBA (weighted on base average), Range Factor, PMR (probabilistic model of range) and Zone Rating.
As a statistically-minded baseball fan, allow me to say: holy fucking shit.
Thanks to John, and others, for reminders like these:
Shula's remarks are pretty ballsy, coming from a coach who had one of the weakest schedules in NFL history. I think he has little to stand on when the Dolphins' opponents had a collective .396 opponents record (which doesn't include the losses to the Dolphins). And lets not forget they faced only 2 teams in the regular season that had winning records, plus those stellar playoff wins by 6 points, 4 points, and 7 points.
The precious images cannot be blotted out by the curious programming of Major League Baseball.
I am already confused. You?
There is a hot stove ablaze with logs crackling, spewing pungent odors.
Ewww. What is this? Are you writing a horror movie screenplay? Because the WGA is on strike.
A group of craggy faced oldsters in heavy plaid sit around the room, chatting out their opinions about rumors and speculation.
Oh -- I get it. You're describing your ideal birthday party.
It used to be this way when baseball turned on America with the competitive enchantment of the World Series.
Here's where we try to figure out how old Jerry Green is:
A seven-game set decided by a home run by a light-hitting Bill Mazoroski in the bottom of the ninth.
Okay, 1960. Say you were, I don't know, 20? when this happened. That makes you 67.
Or a hung-over Grover Cleveland Alexander wobbling in from the bullpen, eyes rimmed with redness from his night on the town, and striking out Tony Lazzari with the bases full of Yankees.
Grover Cleveland?! Tony Lazzeri? This event took place on October 10, 1926. If you were even 10 when this happened, you, Jerry Green, are 91 years old. (So old you forgot how to spell "Lazzari [sic]."
Or a Brooks Robinson, sliding to his right, and stabbing the shot down the line -- backhanded.
An event that only happened in the World Series. (?)
The enchantment of Babe Ruth
You are 104.
and Sandy Koufax, of Kirk Gibson and Willie Stargell; of Willie Mays racing back full speed to snare the drive over his shoulder in the center-field depths of the ancient Polo Grounds. Of Don Larsen's perfect game.
So far the most recent event cited is from 1988. And that event is: The Enchantment Of Kirk Gibson. (???)
The enchantment of Kirby Puckett and Joe Carter hitting their critical home runs; of Jack Morris telling manager after nine innings of scoreless pitching, "No, I'm not coming out. It's my game." The enchantment of Mickey Lolich winning three games for the Tigers.
Seems like, back then, baseball's World Series used to be absolutely fucking stuffed with enchantment.
Back then, long ago and not so very long ago, Baseball's World Series used to be stuffed with enchantment.
Every October. Every year.
Really? You've mentioned events from about ten years since 1926. Pretty sure there were some boring sweeps mixed in there, too.
And it was followed by something we called the Hot Stove League. It was the offseason, with all its remembrances of the recent World Series enhanced by the sport's juicy tidbits.
It has been a while now since I heard, or read, the phrase Hot Stove League. I guess it is passé, so 20th Century, only for old-fashioned dreamers.
It's been a while since you heard or read the phrase "Hot Stove League?" Here is the google result for a search of the term "hot stove league." There are more than one million hits. Many of them from the 21st century. Here, too, is a link to Peter Gammons' annual concert/charity "Hot Stove, Cool Music." You might not be familiar with Mr. Gammons, because he is a non-sesquicentennialian sports writer. You should read his stuff -- it's very enchanting.
And it has been a while known since Major League Baseball has delivered to America an enchanting World Series.
I don't know. 2004 was pretty goddamn enchanting. 2002 was, I'd say, sirenic, and 2001 was downright winsome. We've also recently had World Series that were glamorous (1997), entrancing (1996, 1988) and ravishing/beguiling (1992). The Reds-A's of 1990 was bewitching, methinks! And who can forget how intriguing, charming, befrothing, and just straight-up trebimmulating was the '05 Series? And on a more important note, why do you keep using the word "enchanting," you nerd?
It is very sad when the Hot Stove League delivers more enchantment than the World Series.But that is how it has been in this week that just was:
"Already a busy offseason"
The Tigers filling their vacuum for a prize shortstop in the Hot Stove League's first major trade, the coup in acquiring Edgar Renteria.
Enchantment Index (using standard 75-point Lathingham-Norbley Scoring System:
Sox Sweep Series: 42.8 Tigers Trade for Renteria: 55.9 (!!!!!!!!)
The Yankees hiring Joe Girardi as their manager and the New York rumor quacks had Don Mattingly all set as the successor to Joe Torre.
Yankees Hire Girardi/NY Rumor Quacks Miss on Donnie Baseball: 21.3
Geoff Jenkins is going to play for Detroit. No, he's not.
Jenkins Not Going to Tigers: 0.0
(Incredibly unenchanting. Also, "Geoff Jenkins not signing with the Tigers" is being used as an example of how much more exciting/enchanting the Hot Stove season is than the World Series. I don't care if you're a Yankee fan and Matt Holliday is your cousin and you are a Rockies groundskeeper -- the World Series was about a billion fucking times more enchanting than "Geoff Jenkins not signing with the Tigers.")
The Dodgers signing Torre as their manager in their own coup as the rumor quacks actually got one correct. For a change.
You are a thousand years old. You are a thousand year-old monk who lives on Easter Island and worships giant stone things.
And Curt Schilling, the mouth that seldom stops, using his blog to list 13 ballclubs for which he might be willing to pitch.
Neither enchanting nor unenchanting. Just, like, a "thing."
And Barry Bonds proclaiming that he would reject election to the Baseball Hall of Fame -- if he ever happens to be elected.
This didn't happen. He said he'd reject it if the record/ball had an asterisk.
And the Tigers crushed by another vacuum in the quaint shoulder injury to Joel Zumaya.
You don't use adjectives well. Or nouns, or language.
And of course, the daily speculation and rumors about the next destination for man-child Alex Rodriguez, celebrated free agent. The Marlins? The Angels? The Red Sox? The Dodgers? Back to the Yankees despite the Yankees strong statements of good riddance.
Not to rain on your parade, Andy Rooney's grandpa, but most humans in the world find the exploits of ARod and his agent: the opposite of enchanting.
And the Tigers slipping in the announcement at the end of the heavy baseball news week that most ticket prices would be raised for 2008.
Am I nuts? These things are more enchanting than the World Series? That's the argument, right? I'm not nuts.
Now he contrasts all of these things with:
"Another October rout"
Meanwhile, there is the rumor and speculation that the 2007 World Series actually ended last Sunday night. Ah yes, the night after a baseball game actually finished in 4 hours, 19 minutes of little action adorned by repeated television commercials.
"There is only one October. There is only one World Series." Over and over on the TV screen.
The idea of 2200 year-old Jerry Green trying to download and process what Dane Cook is... Fantastic.
Plus the droning about obscure records by Joe Buck and the mysterious explanations of Tim McCarver.
I take it all back. Jerry Green is a genius!
Wild-card Bud Selig and his cohorts from the Fox TV network sure gave American another World Series extravaganza! That makes it four straight now for Bud and Fox.
Yes. It is Bud Selig's fault that the World Series was 4-0. Well done.
In 2004, the American League wild-card Red Sox sweep the Cardinals in four games. Series over!
It is absolutely inconceivable to me that a 1.2 million year-old man, whose life goal seems to be searching for "enchantment" in playoff baseball, would not place the 2004 Red Sox WS victory in that column. Regardless of how many games it lasted.
In 2005, the White Sox sweep the National League wild-card Astros in four games. Series over!
So, whether they sweep or are swept, the Wild Card is the problem, somehow. 'Splain that.
In 2006, the Cardinals actually lose a game to the American League wild-card Tigers and win in five games. Series over!
Not even Eckstein can enchant Jerry Green?!
In 2007, the Red Sox sweep the National League wild-card Rockies in four games. Series over!
Wild-card Bud Selig keeps telling us how compelling Major League Baseball has become to the American psyche. His ego swells because the sport is popular again. He boasts that the game has rebounded from its work stoppage of the 1990s and the cancelled World Series. The World Series that he cancelled.
You spelled "canceled" wrong. Twice. (EDIT: I don't care if it's a common British spelling. America -- love it or leave it. Am I right?!) Also, Selig didn't cancelllll it. The players' union cancellllllled it when they went on strike. Or the owners cancellllllllllllled it, if you prefer, by not giving them a deal.
It is true. Baseball is thriving again.
Color you unenchanted, I guess.
But what does it tell wild-card Bud when a week of the old-fashioned Hot Stove League upstages the World Series? For four consecutive Octobers?
This is such a weird thing to do -- to pit the World Series against the Hot Stove league, as if they are comparable things. What a waste of time. The only bigger waste of time would be to dissect and analyze it for a blog you don't even get paid for.
To me, it seems that Bud Selig and Major League Baseball exist, their minds boggled, their eyes fogged, in a Land of Enchantment.
Are you J.R.R. Tolkien?
Jerry Green is a retired Detroit News sports writer.
I love how Green stops at 2004 when bemoaning what the wild card has done to the World Series, because he wouldn't want to mention 2003, when the wild card Marlins stunned the Yankees in a thrilling series that was capped by one of the greatest pitching performances in World Series history. He certainly doesn't want to bring up 2002, when two wild cards faced each other in an exciting 7-game series that saw the Angels rally from a 5-0 deficit late in game 6 in order to stay alive to win game 7 (while in a losing cause, Barry Bonds may have had the greatest World Series offensive performance ever).
It's been a while since I live-blogged one of Steve Phillips's patented "here's what they need to do" type segments on BBTN or SC. This one just blew my skirt up. I'm going to go ahead and type it out in full...
Now that the Los Angeles Dodgers have Joe Torre in place, it's time for them to address their roster for the 2008 season. Here's what they need to do to be a playoff and World Series-contending team.
They need power. There's two positions they're going to go to. First: third base. They need to be in the market for Miguel Cabrera. There's rumors that the Florida Marlins are willing to trade him. They have to check it out and see if a deal can be made. They also have to talk to Scott Boras and see if there's a deal to be made for Alex Rodriguez. They have to land one of those two guys to add power to a line-up that was ranked fifteenth in home runs in the National League.
Next, they have to go to centerfield -- Juan Pierre has to move. To improve the defense and offense, Pierre has to go to left field, and look for the Dodgers to make a play for Andruw Jones or Torii Hunter, and even if they have to settle for Mike Cameron or Aaron Rowand, they will upgrade defensively and add power to the line-up.
And finally, now that they've added some pieces through the free agent market, it allows them to put together some young pitchers with some young position players, and go to the Minnesota Twins and knock their socks off, and bring Johan Santana to the West Coast.
If they make those deals, they're going to the World Series.
See? Super easy. Just give ARod $350m. Let's just start there, at that no-brainer -- give the guy $35m/yr for ten years, and lock him up. Or, if you don't want to do that, trade every good young cost-controlled player you have to the Marlins for an awesome player who is under your control for two more years, but who made $7.4 in arbitration last year and guess what? He isn't going to make less this year, or next, nor is he going to sign a long-term deal for anything less than like $22+m/yr for eight years. Hell, maybe $25m/10 years. $40m/fifteen years, plus a $200 McDonald's per diem? Some huge deal.
So, just, like, do that, you know, and then there's an easy second thing to do, which is: move your terrible overpaid CF to LF, and sign either the 32 year-old Hunter or 30 year-old Jones, either of whom you can have for around $80-120m for some number of years, and both of whom are probably over the hill defensively and maybe also offensively, and both of whom you'll be paying like $18m a year when they're 36 or 37 and they'll just be miserable, out there, in Dodger Stadium.
And so that's great, you did those two things, and your payroll shouldn't be that bad. $108m last year, with about $14m coming off the books in dead money...depending on whether you pick up Kent's $9m option***...but you also have to re-sign Saito...let's call it $100m (wild conservative guess). So, $25m for Cabrera and say $18 for Torii/Andruw gets you to $143. Not terrible. Then you just put together all of the great young cost-controlled players that you somehow magically still have after the Cabrera deal -- and you have probably traded Kemp, Loney, Billingsley, and some minor leaguers for him -- and you trade for Santana, somehow, (maybe Scott Proctor straight-up? Would Minnesota do that?) and you give him his $13.25, so we're at maybe $156m+, and you have no young cost-controlled players at all, like fucking none, at all, anywhere, at any level, anywhere, and if you are lucky enough to re-sign Santana and not quickly lose him to free agency and somehow give him the contract he will demand ($210m over 8 years?) you have a $170-$180m payroll that has:
1B Nomar 2B Kent SS Furcal 3B Cabrera LF Pierre CF Hunter/Jones RF ??? C Martin
P Santana P Penny P Loaiza P Schmidt P Lowe
With, again, fucking no one waiting in the wings when Nomar, Kent, Furcal, Penny, Schmidt, and probably someone else all go down with injuries on like April 9. Maybe Torre can work some magic?
Anyway, this plan seems good to me. Thanks, Steve. Enjoy the World Series, L.A.!
Have you ever noticed how often Joe uses the word "but" in his chats? A lot.
Get out your [sic]s, fire up the WTF?! machine and say your 2007 goodbyes, people.
Joe Morgan: We normally, it's not always the best team that wins the World Series, but the team that's playing the best at that time. But that clearly was not the case this year. Not only is Boston the best team, but it was also playing the best.
Ken Tremendous: WTF?
Mike (Boston): Hey Joe, which Red Sox team do you think was better 2004 or 2007?
Joe Morgan: Well, I think the '07 is better. When you go down each player, trying to pitch to them, this team is far more difficult to pitch to. Each and every player is a different type of hitter. That makes it more difficult for the pitcher to pitch to them. They all contribute something to the team. I think this team is much better.
2004 Red Sox: 98 wins, .832 team OPS (which I believe was an all-time record; or maybe it was just a record SLG)
2007 Red Sox: 96 wins, .806 team OPS
The 2007 team may have been better, but it wasn't because they were a better hitting team. Researching this took me 25 seconds.
Brad(NM): Good morning Joe. Do you believe the Yankees hired the right man for the job? Do you think they showed a lack of loyalty to Mattingly?
Joe Morgan: I don't know whether Girardi is the right guy or not, because I don't know much about him as a manager. I definitely thought Don Mattingly was going to get the job. I don't know if it was a lack of loyalty, because in their mind, Girardi was a Yankee too.
KT: Don't know, don't know, don't know. Well done. I like that "in their mind" Girardi was a Yankee. Not "in light of the fact that he played for the Yankees" Girardi is a Yankee.
Bill (Chicago): Who would you have given the MVP to? Mike Lowell was obviously deserving, but so was Papelbon, Ellsbury, Beckett, Pedroia etc.
Joe Morgan: Well, I voted for Mike Lowell. I had a vote. But I also said on my broadcast that they had several players who were MVPs. But I thought Lowell stood out more because he had more clutch hits. His hits had more meaning than the others' on a consistent basis. I thought Pedroia would have won if he had a better Game 4, but he didn't.
KT: Joe and "Consistent" -- Consistently Wonderful. (Three "but"s in this answer, too.) I think I would've given it to Lowell too, then Papelbon, then Ellsbury. Fun Fact: the Red Sox' team OPS for the World Series was .936!
Jim (NYC): Do you feel it will be tough for the Rockies to concetrate
KT: Thank you, Jim.
next year after the run they had? They weren't exactly consistent
this season...running hot and cold.
Joe Morgan: Well, if you're asking if I think they'll win the division next year, I say no. Your assessment is right on the mark. No one even noticed them going into the last month of the season. Then all of a sudden they got hot. They were under .500. But they got hot and won the wild card. But I do think they were hurt by the layoff. But even without the layoff, they were not nearly as good a team as Boston.
I'm no 2nd grade-level expository writing instructor, but I think that the last three sentences are poorly composed. But can you figure out what I mean? But I bet you can, but if you look hard. But what if you can't? But I bet you can.
Bill (PA): John Farrell is interviewing with the Pirates this week. How do you think he will fare as a manager? Is he the right man for the Bucos?
Joe Morgan: It's the same way I answered about Girardi. I do not know enough about him to say if he'll be a good manager or not. I really can't give an honest opinion there, because I don't know him well enough.
KT: Why should you? It's not like he's a high-profile assistant coach on the World Series champion. Nor is it like you're an A-team baseball analyst on the #1 baseball network, who just covered the World Series, which just featured the team he coaches for. Nothing to see here. Move along, people. Just keep walking. Move! I said move! Move dammit! (sprays tear gas on people gawking at Joe's ignorance of the sport he covers) See? Now look what I had to do. I didn't want to do that, but you refused to be reasonable. Now clean yourselves up.
Cc (Atlanta): Renteria to the Tigers... ever heard of the young guys the Braves got back? It's an obvious salary dump but his replcement, Yunel Escobar, is a rising star.
Joe Morgan: I'm a big fan of Renteria. He's one of the most underrated clutch hitters in the game. I'm a big fan of his. The Braves want to play Escobar. They think he can be a good shortstop. They can save money. That's what they're doing. But I'm a big Renteria fan. I think he'll help the Tigers. He'll make them a stronger lineup. I like the move for the Tigers.
KT: Apparently, Joe stepped out of the room for a moment, and retarded Raymond Carver took over the chat. Here is a poem I wrote using that previous paragraph's worth of sentences.
I'm a big fan of Renteria. I think he'll help the Tigers. I'm a big fan of his. I like the move for the Tigers. But I'm a big Renteria fan. He's one of the most underrated clutch hitters in the game. He'll make them a stronger lineup. I'm a big fan of his.
The Braves want to play Escobar. They think he can be a good shortstop. They can save money. That's what they're doing.
(I reused one sentence to make the stanzas even.)
Jimmy (Springer nm): Will the Yankees be in contention next year with Girardi or will it be a couple of years
Joe Morgan: Well, the problem in baseball is, even if you say you're going to rebuild and be back in a couple of years, there's no guarantee that they will be back.
Yes there is. It is called: unlimited resources. There is no "rebuilding." They are losing ARod and maybe Pettitte/Posada, but chances are they re-sign Rivera, and for all we know they're working on a deal for Santana and cannot extend him with the money they're saving elsewhere. They are in contention right now.
If they lose, Rivera, Posada, Pettitte, they won't be in the playoffs next year. They do have some young pitchers that they need to develop, but at the same time your veterans are getting older.
Players aging over time: a problem unique to the Yankees, apparently.
brett (philly): what can the phillies do to make the next step and be a true contender?
Joe Morgan: I think the Phillies are a true contender already. [...] The Reds, under Dusty Baker, are in a similar situation in that the ballpark plays so small, it's hard to have a good pitching staff. The Reds are going to have to outscore opponents.
Having to outscore opponents to win: a problem unique to the Reds, apparently.
Jeff (Iowa): What do you think of the Reds hiring Dusty Baker?
Joe Morgan: Well, Dusty is a proven winner.
"On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me." He brings that status with him - just like Torre takes with him to the Dodgers, if he goes there. But I do think it's difficult to win in a ballpark that plays so small, unless you have the most talented players in the game. I think Dusty's a great manager
"On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."
and he will do a good job there. The Reds will be a better team than last year.
Well, they were 72-90, and their ExWL was 74-88. It's entirely possible they'll be better next year without anything changing at all. However. If you're telling me that the Reds will be better because Dusty Baker is their manager, then I disrespectfully disagree.
Glenn clarifies the Red Sox' Team OPS record-setting, which I vaguely remembered but was too lazy to look up:
It appears it was the 2003 Red Sox who set the all-time team slugging record (.491), along with an .851 team OPS - both numbers outpacing the champs' totals from a year later. The '04 team's pitching does appear to have been markedly better (116 ERA+ and 1.29 WHIP, compared to 104/1.36 the year prior), and the '07 team's better still (123/1.27).
Reader Laremy directs us to this YouTubed bit of wisdom from Emmitt Smith, on Donald Driver:
"After watching that piece on Donald Driver and where he started and where he's at right now, it doesn't matter who's on -- who's covering me, because I'm going to make the play for not only the Packers but also for my family. He leads the… Packers right now with 36 receptions, four hundred and twelve yards in receiving yards, and he has not been in the end zone the last three games. So tonight he's looking to get back to paydirt so he can right-size this ship right now."
National write-in campaign for Emmitt Smith having a regular column on ESPN.com begins now.