Luck And The 2002 Angels

February 2nd, 2006

During my routing reading of 6-4-2, I came across an interesting comment. Part of Rob’s post was discussing the luckiest teams ever, and a commenter asked if the Angels were lucky. They were actually unlucky in the regular season, finishing below their Pythagorean record. Now, I’ve never thought that the Angels were lucky in the regular season (it’s amazing what finishing sixth in on base percentage can do for you), I just thought that they were lucky in the post season, where everyone on the Angels seemed to hit about .370. Of course, things are rarely as we simply remember them, and maybe I was just remembering things incorrectly.

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Mathematics may be fun and easy for some, but others may find it unpleasant. Now, there is an interesting way to love math even more. Browsing on the high pr directory list, we can find different kinds of data related to math which will make us think twice. It will turn our boredom into excitement and our fun to euphoria. Plus, it will make us become more creative because math encourages us to be vigilant and reasonable. Besides, it is just like other subjects that we need to go through again and again. And in every mathematical problem, there will always be solution. Such solution may be complex, but there may be methods available which can be used to finally solve the problem. And because some other people think that math involves only numbers, this is the way to change the perception of the many.

Since I simply couldn’t find the 2002 Angels team post season statistics, I had to figure them out myself. In this chart are the post season hitting statistics of every member of the 2002 Angels who got at least 10 at bats in the post season. Also included are the player’s regular season numbers, and the difference between their post season and regular season OPS.

 Playoffs Season Player AB H 2B 3B HR BB HBP AVG OBP SLG AVG OBP SLG Diff Bengie Molina 50 13 4 1 0 4 1 .260 .327 .380 .245 .274 .322 .111 Scott Spiezio 55 18 4 1 3 10 0 .327 .431 .600 .285 .371 .436 .224 Adam Kennedy 47 16 3 0 4 1 1 .340 .367 .660 .312 .345 .449 .233 Troy Glaus 61 21 3 1 7 7 1 .344 .420 .770 .250 .352 .453 .386 David Eckstein 68 20 0 0 0 3 2 .294 .342 .294 .293 .363 .388 -.114 Garrett Anderson 70 21 4 0 2 2 0 .300 .319 .443 .306 .322 .539 -.099 Darin Erstad 71 25 5 0 2 1 0 .352 .361 .507 .283 .313 .389 .166 Tim Salmon 59 17 2 0 4 8 1 .288 .382 .525 .286 .380 .503 .025 Brad Fullmer 34 10 3 0 1 3 0 .294 .351 .471 .289 .357 .501 -.036 Benji Gil 12 8 0 0 0 0 0 .667 .667 .667 .285 .307 .431 .595 Shawn Wooten 19 9 0 0 1 0 0 .474 .474 .632 .292 .331 .442 .332

By taking the average of the differences, weighted by the number of at bats, the average Angel exceeded his regular season OPS by .116. When you consider that you should be facing tougher pitching in the post season, there are two conclusions that you can reach:

1. Thunder sticks are really effective.
2. The Angels got kind of lucky.

As much as I love thunder sticks, I’m going to have to go with number two. Not that I’m really against this, because if they hadn’t been lucky, the phrase “World Champion San Fransisco Giants” wouldn’t be an oxymoron.

In Other News:

Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke tells us about his experiences with Jim Tracy at Piratefest.

“Every single question that was directed to him was met with a long, rambling answer that involved him talking about how great he was. By the time he finished, not one answer resembled the original question in any way, shape, or form. The man is a complete moron and I would be terrified to even cross the street with him, let alone have him manage my baseball team.”

(Thanks, Marty)

Dollar For Dollar

February 2nd, 2006

I fully planned on finishing up my article on Mike Piazza, but suddenly the 500 foot walk to the library seemed like far too much of a hassle, and I decided to instead sit on my butt and play MVP Baseball instead. I feel no shame. Hopefully I can get it done by tomorrow.

With the release of the 2006 PECOTA projections, and the wheelings and dealings of the offseason, I was curious as to who the best player on the Dodgers was on a dollar for dollar basis. Since PECOTA projects VORP, I could do this fairly easily.
This table contains the Dodgers that are likely to make an impact at a proffessional level, sorted by the worst values to the best. Note that using a projection system to project a non rate stat is a very dodgy buisness (can you really predict how many at bats Aybar will get?) and consequentally, this table is pretty much only for spotting larger trends, and possibly entertainment value.

 Player Salary VORP Dollar/VORP Cesar Izturis \$3,100,000 5.2 \$596,154 Ricky Ledee \$1,500,000 2.9 \$517,241 Odalis Perez \$9,500,000 18.8 \$505,319 Kenny Lofton \$3,850,000 8 \$481,250 Danys Baez \$4,000,000 8.4 \$476,190 Derek Lowe \$9,000,000 21.2 \$424,528 Nomar Garciaparra \$6,000,000 14.4 \$416,667 Eric Gagne \$10,000,000 25.1 \$398,406 Brett Tomko \$3,600,000 11.6 \$310,345 Jeff Kent \$9,000,000 33.6 \$267,857 J.D. Drew \$11,000,000 41.2 \$266,990 Rafael Furcal \$9,000,000 33.8 \$266,272 Jose Cruz Jr. \$2,910,000 13.5 \$215,556 Bill Mueller \$4,250,000 20.1 \$211,443 Brad Penny \$5,500,000 27.8 \$197,842 Yhency Brazoban \$340,000 1.8 \$188,889 Kelly Wunsch \$550,000 3.7 \$148,649 Hong-Chih Kuo \$320,000 2.2 \$145,455 Lance Carter \$550,000 4 \$137,500 Olmedo Saenz \$1,000,000 8.3 \$120,482 D.J. Houlton \$335,000 3.8 \$88,158 Tim Hamulack \$320,000 3.7 \$86,486 Jonathan Broxton \$320,000 5.3 \$60,377 Franquelis Osaria \$325,000 5.7 \$57,018 Jason Repko \$340,000 6.2 \$54,839 Hee Seop Choi \$725,000 17.6 \$41,193 Wily Aybar \$325,000 10.2 \$31,863 Oscar Robles \$330,000 10.5 \$31,429 Dioner Navarro \$325,000 10.4 \$31,250 Jae Seo \$340,000 14.3 \$23,776 Jayson Werth \$360,000 17 \$21,176 Sandy Alomar Jr. \$650,000 -3.7 -\$175,676

Looking at this, a couple of large trends emerge:

1. If you can use a player who is getting near the league minimum while still being productive, do it. This doesn’t mean starting Choi over Pujols (\$161,948), but if the choice is between Choi and, say, Nomar Garciaparra, Choi is probably the better option. This assumes that you don’t have infinite money. If you do, just get the best players possible, damn the cost.

2. Giving money to bench players is a really bad idea. Ledee, for example, doesn’t project horribly in PECOTA (.259/.336/.445), but these numbers are still below average for a corner outfielder (which explains why he’s on the bench), and he doesn’t play enough to accumulate enough VORP to be worth it. The two top players on this list: Izturis and Ledee are bench players who will be making decent amounts of money. Again, if you have infinite money, this kind of depth is worth it, otherwise, the money is better spent on players who will play everyday.

3. It is fairly interesting that the Dodgers three big money players: Kent, Drew, and Furcal, all project to about the same cost. This probably won’t hold true once Furcal jumps to 13 and effectivelly 17 million over the next two seasons, but I thought it was a nice coincidence.

4. Sandy Alomar Jr. is terrible.

I wasn’t surpised to see Brad Penny as the Dodgers best free agent value, but seeing Bill Mueller at number two was something I didn’t expect, until I saw that Mueller projected to a .445 slug, which he has barely obtained in his last two seasons (.446, .430) in a park that plays to his strengths. PECOTA still apparently has some bugs to work out.

Again, with the shakiness of any kind of projection system, these results should be taken with a grain of salt, but this does give a good starting point for discussing the bad and the good of Colletti’s first offseason.

Nothing Exciting

February 1st, 2006

A couple of articles that caught my eye.

Athletics Nation is donatinga> several sets of season tickets to charity. If you want to get in on this, donations are closing at six tonight.

Sean McAdam writes a puff piecea> on Nomar Garciaparra.

More fan reactiona> to the Coco Crisp trade.

Fire Mark Shapiro

January 31st, 2006

In a scenario that should be very familiar to Dodger fans, Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro is facing a lot of heat for a trade that clearly made the team better. While the main Cleveland newspaper, the Cleveland Plains Dealer, has no equivalent of Bill Plaschke or T.J. Simers, the lack of highly populated towns in the area means that columnists from several surrounding cities have their takes. Despite several sources calling the trade “unpopular”, however, a search on Google News turns up almost entirely positive response towards the trade. The two negative responses I could turn up were:

John Kerr of the Zanesville Times Recordera>

“When Sizemore and Crisp batted 1-2, Cleveland’s offense was on par with the best offenses in baseball last season. The Indians, who finished fourth of 30 teams in runs scored last season, will be hard pressed to finish that high this season.

The Indians have essentially replaced good guy Crisp in the lineup with Phillies’ fifth outfielder Jason Michaels, who was reportedly ordered to 60 days of community service after getting into a fight with a police officer in Philadelphia. While Michaels, 30, is a solid hitter he provides a second starting outfielder with below average speed.”

Mark Bechtel, Sports Illustrated

“If Crisp is worth an extra win or two for the Sox (who knows who’ll play center if they don’t get Crisp) and downgrading to Michaels costs the Indians a win or two, that’s a pretty significant swing.”

Other than that, there are severala> sourcesa> that Google news turns up recognizing this trade as a very good thing. If the media seems so positive, how can this trade be so unpopular? Why, the fans of course. In this mailbaga> column on MLB.com, we get the fan perspective. From the column:

“I received about 50 e-mails about the trade, with none in favor of it. If you’re looking for an update, the tally jumped to, probably, 400 or 450, with maybe 25-30 fans in favor of the deal.”

While the papers have been quite, I guess the midwestern version of Vic the Brick his lamenting the fact that Crisp would have hit .370 with 45 home runs, then develving into his “Shapiro is tearing apart the heart and soul of the team rant.” Yes, the Indians were prime for a playoff run, and Crisp certainly played a large part in their success last year, but Jason Michaels is almost as good, and the Indians certainly are better off in the future. In a display of backbone that DePo never seemed to be willing to show in public, Shapiro defends his move, and explains some of the flawsa> (“Last year, he was very bad against left-handed pitching. Very bad.”) that Crisp has. Public relations genius that he is, Shapiro rebounded from this statement by also tellnga> the fans what they want to hear:

“‘’Character is very important to us, so to say we did an extensive background check on Jason would be an understatement,'’ Shapiro said. ‘’What we found is that he’s a great teammate, he plays hard, and is great in the clubhouse. We read the police report and talked to everyone involved. Our conclusion is we feel it was a mistake on Jason’s part, but it’s an isolated incident.'’

This is a perfect example of why you can’t listen to the fans when building a baseball team: they haven’t a clue what’s best for the team. Despite the fact Shapiro has made the team better, they want to retain the chemistry of a team that hasn’t made the post season and, quite frankly, choked miserably in 2005. For the Indians sake, I certainly hope that their owner is able to tune out the public better than the McCourts were able to to, lest Shapiro get run out of town.

In other news:

The Dodgers invitea> Ramon Martinez and Kurt Ainsworth to Spring Training. While Martinez is basically a strictly inferior version of Oscar Robles (career .269/.329/.383 line) Ainsworth actually showed the potential to be a league average pitcher before he got hurt. This might actually pan out well for the Dodgers.

The Red Sox signa> the “good” Alex Gonzalez.  I think Steve put it best in the Dodger Thoughts comments (#50a>): “Alex Gonzalez is one of the few players in baseball who I can look at and say ‘You have Alex Cora. Why in the world would you want to pay Alex Gonzalez?’”

The Darkest Day: Part Two

January 30th, 2006

On May 14th, 1998, Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile were sent to the Florida Marlins in exchange for Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, Charles Johnson, Jim Eisenrich, and Manuel Barrios. As expected, the trade would end up having repercussions on the Dodgers that would last to this day, but not in the ways that could have been expected at first.

First off, if the trade was simply the two primary members, Piazzaa> and Sheffielda>, the Dodgers would have ended up ahead in the end, especially if you assume that Sheffield would have just played out his contract for the Dodgers.

 Piazza Sheffield WARP1 Salary \$/WARP WARP1 Salary \$/WARP 1998 7.4 \$8,000,000 \$1,081,081.08 6.4 \$14,936,667 \$2,333,854.22 1999 7.9 \$7,171,428 \$907,775.70 7.6 \$9,956,667 \$1,310,087.76 2000 7.6 \$12,071,429 \$1,588,345.92 9.1 \$9,916,667 \$1,089,743.63 2001 7.3 \$13,571,429 \$1,859,099.86 8.3 \$9,916,667 \$1,194,779.16 2002 4.1 \$10,571,429 \$2,578,397.32 7.1 \$9,916,667 \$1,396,713.66 2003 2.5 \$15,571,429 \$6,228,571.60 10.4 \$11,416,667 \$1,097,756.44 2004 2.8 \$16,071,429 \$5,739,796.07 2005 3 \$16,071,429 \$5,357,143.00 Total 42.6 \$99,100,002 \$2,326,291.13 48.9 \$66,060,002.00 \$1,350,920.29

As this table shows, after 1999, Sheffield was simply a far better player in terms of dollar to win ratio. A major cause of this is the rigors of catching. After 1999, Piazza only had more than 500 at bats once in a season, while Sheffield had less than 500 at bats only once. This is at least true until 2002, when Piazza’s already shoddy defense collapsed (11 FRAR in 2001 versus -7 in 2002), killing his WARP despite the fact he was still very productive offensively for his position (.280/.359/.544). The next year, his offensive numbers tumbled, and he wasn’t incredibly productive again. Sheffield, on the other hand, still is incredibly consistent. If the story ended between these two players, while the Dodgers did trade a beloved player for a criminal, the team would have performed better in the end.

I don’t think anyone could have expected that the person that would truly effect the trade was Todd Zeile, but history has shown us that he had a far greater effect on the future of the Dodgers. Outside of Sheffield, the players that the Dodgers received were absolutely terrible. Bonilla hit .237/.315/.360 (.3 WARP1), Johnson put up a .217/.279/.358 (2.5 WARP thanks to his defense), Eisenrich went .197/.266 /.244 (-.2), but at least the Dodgers would have to face the noted Dodger killer, and Barrios pitched one inning in the majors for the rest of his career. Zeile, meanwhile, hovered around average to above average for the next four years, bouncing from team to team and putting up WARPs in the 4-6 range. At the time, I think I was one of the few that was truly sad to see Zeile go. He had the noted character trait of doing really well whenever I attended a game (to be repeated later with players like Matt Luke, Jayson Werth, and Jason Phillips), thus I felt an immediate attachment to him.

When the season came to a close, the Dodgers had some issues. With Bonilla clearly at the end of his rope, the Dodgers did the thing that all major league teams do when shackled with worthless veterans with large contracts: they traded him to the Mets. While getting anything for Bonilla had to be seen as a victory, it left the Dodgers with the option of Dave Hansen or Tripp Cromer to play third base. These clearly weren’t viable options, and with new G.M. Kevin Malone blowing the offseason budget by giving Kevin Brown a seven year, 105 million dollar contract (more than what Piazza was refused), help was not forthcoming from the free agent market. The Dodgers were left with one real option, the 20 year old phenom Adrian Beltre.

Beltre had broken in with the club the previous year, filling in for Bonilla for most of July. He certainly didn’t impress, putting up a .215/.278/.369 line in 195 at bats. Despite this, the Dodgers had no options, and assuming that Beltre was the future, the Dodgers left Spring Training with Beltre as their third baseman, and he lived up to expectations, with a .275/.352/.428 line. Leaving with huge hopes for his next year, and he didn’t disappoint again, improving to .290/.360/.475. From here though, Beltre’s star started to fade, putting up three terrible years in a row, prompting the Dodgers to acquire players such as Tyler Houston and Robin Ventura to fill what was now a hole. Then, Beltre broke out in 2004, putting up MVP esque numbers before leaving to Seattle.

Why do I bring all of this up? Because if Zeile had not left, it would not have been necessary to start Beltre’s service time when he was 19. Had the Dodgers simply held onto Zeile until Beltre was 21 or 22, the current look of the Dodgers would be much different. First of all, Beltre would have definitely been around in 2005, and possibly in 2006 and 2007, his prime age 26-28 years. Whether or not this is a good thing is certainly a judgment call given Beltre’s performance last year, but it is safe to say he have been better than Mike Edwards. If Beltre even gets close to his 2004 numbers within the next two seasons, the effect of losing Todd Zeile will certainly be felt.

Retaining Beltre is certainly the big effect of the Piazza trade,but what else would have happened? The next biggest effect is that we likely never know who Paul LoDuca is. Without the failures of Charles Johnson and Todd Hundley, LoDuca would never get a chance to be the primary catcher, and in turn he would like get put on the same pedestal as Carlos Hernandez, Tom Prince, and Chad Krueter. We’d never hear about his heart and soul and what have you. The Dodgers would likely end up worse off in the early part of his career when LoDuca was more than a player whose entire value was in his batting average (not that the Dodgers made the post season in those years anyway. From there other things can be inferred like Karros retiring as a Dodger (since we wouldn’t need Todd Hundley), and the Dodgers being slightly worse off today (since we wouldn’t have Penny or Choi). Of course, this part is starting to reach a little, so I’ll stop this train of thought.

With the eventual fallout (admittedly from an unexpected source) the Dodgers simply got what they deserved for their carelessness. The 1993 Dodgers had the greatest rookie class in history, featuring arguably the best pitcher of all time in Pedro Martinez, and the best offensive catcher of all time, and neither made it out of their arbitration years with the Dodgers. It was simply a sign of the terrible times that would linger with the Dodgers for the next ten years.

Next: Media reaction to the trade (likely on Wednesday)

The Darkest Day: Part One

January 29th, 2006

With the announcement that Mike Piazza is signing a>with the Padres, I feel like now would be a good time to go back and relive one of the more traumatizing events of my childhood, the Piazza trade.

Piazza started his career in unassuming fashion in 1992. After it was apparent that the only catcher I had ever known up to that point, Mike Scioscia, was at the end of the line, the Dodgers called up Piazza as the rosters expanded and he made his major league debut on September 1st, 1992. Up until this point, Piazza’s career certainly wasn’t that notable. Despite his .600 batting averagea> in his senior year of high school, Piazza was the last player taken in the 1988 draft as a favor to Tommy Lasorda, or so the legend goes. In his first two years in the minors, Piazza certainly wasn’t anything notablea>, putting up .762 and .695 OPSes in his first two seasons at A ball. Piazza suddenly became a factor in 1991, however, hitting 29 home runs in Bakersfield, and earning him a promotion to AA. Piazza would take only 114 at bats in San Antonio, hitting .377 with an 1.101 OPS. Piazza then played in AAA until September, compiling a .970 OPS. This was the last time that Piazza would ever see the minor leagues.

Despite performing poorly in his initial callup (.603 OPS in 69 at bats), the Dodgers broke camp in 1993 with Piazza instilled as their starting catcher, and he performed better than anyone could have expected, with his .318/.370/.561 line nearly matching his park inflated numbers from Albuquerque. Piazza was the unanimous rookie of the year, beating out the likes of Greg McMichael, Jeff Conine, Kirk Rueter, and some guy named Pedro Martinez, and finished 9th in MVP voting. Piazza would further dominate in the next four years, leading the Dodgers to two playoff appearances and putting up his finest numbers in 1997, where he lead baseball in VORP, but fell short of the MVP thanks to Larry Walker’s 1.172 OPS. This followed the 1996 MVP vote, which was swept by (later discovered to be steroid aided) Ken Caminiti, despite the fact Piazza put up only an OPS that was only .038 lower at a much more offensively starved position. I’m sure if the vote happened today I wouldn’t be nearly as upset at the outcome, but I definitely had a great sense of injusitice in 1996.

Five strong years however, had the unfortunate side effect of requiring a large payday. In 1997, Piazza signed a two year, 15 million dollar contract that would expire at the end of his arbitration eligible years. Piazza wanted a big payday, and asked the new Fox ownership for a new contract at the beginning of the season: seven years, 100 million dollars (this is from memory, it could be slightly different) making Piazza the highest paid player ever, and the first to receive a triple digit contract. Management balked at this, and ended negotations. At this point in my life, this was just a footnote. I didn’t have a care in the world about the economics of baseball, I just naturally assumed that Piazza would be a Dodger forever. I never had the pain of seeing a productive player removed from the Dodgers before for anything other than retirement. Sadly, this was the beginning of the end of Piazza’s career in Los Angeles.

Shortly after a game against the Phillies on May 14th, 1998 with Piazza off to a relatively slow .282/.329/.497 start, Piazza and Todd Zeile were traded to the Marlins for Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, Jim Eisenrich, Charles Johnson, and a player to be named later (Manuel Barrios). This was certainly depressing news. While I would later get used to seeing my favorite players come and go, this was the first time. Piazza, who I assumed would be with the Dodgers forever, was gone, traded for Gary Sheffield of all people. Even at this point in my life, I knew that Gary Sheffield was bad news. I was well aware of him “letting a few go by him” when he was on Milwaukee, and since I cared far more about things like effort back then, even Sheffield’s immense upside wasn’t enough to get me on board.

Coincidentally, I had tickets to the May 16th game, the first time the new look Dodgers would take the field against the Montreal Expos. The new players were greeted with open arms, with Sheffield, Bonilla, and Johnson each receiving huge cheers. Naturally, I was not to happy about this, I don’t recall if I actually booed Sheffield that day, but I certainly didn’t cheer for him. His antics might have been all the rage back in Florida, but that wouldn’t fly here in L.A.

With Sheffield and Bonilla hitting 3-4, the Dodgers clobbereda> a young Javier Vazquez 9-4. Sheffield, who effectively ended Thomas Howard’s career as an every day player, went 2-4 with a walk, Charles Johnson with 1 for 3 with a walk and an RBI, and Bobby Bonilla, in what was likely his finest performance as a Dodger, went 2 for 4 with a home run. With these performances, it already seemed like the memory of Mike Piazza was fading from Los Angeles. Eight days later on May 22nd, Piazza was traded from the Marlins to the Mets for Preston Wilson and two other players of no consequence. At the end of the season, while New York didn’t quite meet up with Piazza’s contract demands, he signed a seven year deal worth 85 million dollars, ending any hope I had that Piazza would ever play in a Dodger uniform again. While I have since watched some of my favorite players come and go, I doubt anything could possibly have the impact of Piazza leaving.

Next: How the trade has effected the Dodgers throughout the years.

Contradiction

January 28th, 2006

From Fire Joe Morgana>

In Phil Roger’s latest column at ESPN, he runs down the best and worst free agent signings of the offseason. While I don’t agree with his conclusions, it’s interesting that he shouldn’t agree with his own choices.

At the beginning of his column, he mentions a bunch of reasons why you shouldn’t give out massive contracts that paralyze your team, a thesis I completely agree with. Sadly, when it comes time to mention his top signings, he picks the players who signed massive, hamstringing contracts: Paul Konerko, Kevin Millwood, and Johnny Damon. If only he learned the lessons taught by Phil Rogers 10 seconds ago, he could have avoided these mistakes.

Shooting Myself In The Foot

January 28th, 2006

As an engineer, it is my solemn duty to have the most updated version of anything the second it comes out. Consequently, when I saw the announcement that Wordpress 2.0 was out, I asked myself “what the hell am I doing using this inferior 1.5? 2.0 is where it’s at.” After some reatively painless installation, I come back and discover that all my plugins, such as my comment counter, and more importantly, my word counter, no longer worked. “No matter,” I thought, “I’ll just get the latest and greatest.” Of course, the latest and greatest doesn’t exist. Now to find a new word counter. That should be easy enough, right? Amazingly, yes.

Unfortunately, this new word counter didn’t do what I wanted, and consequently, I had to learn some php in order to fix it. (I learned from my expirences in Visual Basic to not take something as simple as a return statement for granted.) A couple of minor tweaks, and it’s up and running. Then I noticed my word count dropped by 30,000. Crap, this one actually works.

My master plan was foiled. I knew that the old word counter counted up the data within the table tags in the HTML, thus filling me with 30,000 words worth of stuff like “table alignment”. So, instead of being right on schedule, I’m now 7,000 words behind. Also, the sidebar is now completely in italics, which I’m sure I’ll figure out the cause of in the next century. The moral of this story is upgrading is bad, if you continue walking around hitting things with rocks, you’ll be much happier. (Yeah, 2.0 does some good stuff too, but that’s no fun to talk about.)

Shapirowned

January 27th, 2006

Giving further competition to Billy Beane for the title of “best G.M. in baseball”, the Mark Shapiro and the Cleveland Indians traded average middle reliever #124, a.k.a. Arthur Rhodes for super stud/30 year old wonder kid/personal man crush Jason Michaels. As has been said many a time, middle relievers are fungible and aren’t worth signing to large contracts, so that applies double about trading for a middle reliver with a large contract.

What can I say that I haven’t already said about Jason Michaels? He has a career .380 OBP (.399 last year), and he plays studly defense in center. He certainly deserved a full time job at some point in his career, but the Marlon Byrd expirement in Philly took too long and just ended in tears.

Just as I write this, the second part of the trade has been completeda>. Coco Crisp, David Riske, and Josh Bard have been sent to Boston for Andy Marte, Kelly Shoppach, Guillermo Mota and a player to be named later, and cash. This trade alone might be enough to crown Shapiro as the new king of GMs. If you assume that Crisp and Michaels are about equivelant (Michaels has 55 points on Crisp in OBP, and is .050 worse in slug, but Crisp is four years younger) the net result of the trade for the Indians is this:

Indians lose:
A middle reliever
A backup catcher

Indians gain:
One of the top prospects in baseball
A 25 year old catchera> who can mash and plays good defense.
A player to be named later
Cash

At least the Red Sox didn’t piss away thier talent for nothing like the Phillies did. Marte and Shoppach really had no future with the team considering the glut of corner outfielders the Red Sox have, and Crisp certainly fills their need for a good centerfielder, which should make Boston competitive with the Yankees again.

This trade helps the Indians immensenly in the future at the cost of pretty much nothing. While Shoppach likely has nowhere to go on this team, he could easily be swung for something the Indians need (like a first baseman). A picture is worth 1,000 words, and these two sum up my feelings nicely.

He’s so dreamy.

(By the way, Dodger news will be back real soon, just got sidetracked by several of these stories.)

What’s A Mattter Barry? Part Five

January 26th, 2006

Barry Bonds is in talks with ESPN to star in his own reality showa>. I have nothing to say that could enhance this annoucement.

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