July 2007

Coherent Thoughts of the Sporadic Mind.

     I am relaxing at Panera before I have to work at 5, absorbing their free internet connection with my internal wireless card.  My internet/cable connection was out, AGAIN yesterday and I called the local provider to come and check on it.  Apparently, however, my apartment complex has discontinued its reliance on this particular cable company.  Thanks for telling me this!  Now what do I do?  I have to reorder the MLB "Extra Innings" package.  I have to pick up the modem from the front office in the morning.  Inconvenience is sometimes avoidable.  Couldn’t someone have given me a heads up so I wouldn’t have any lapse in service?  I have to work the next two nights, so luckily I would not have been able to watch the Red Sox anyway.  But the internet is something that I don’t want to sacrifice.  So anyway, Panera is cool, and I enjoy the food, but I would rather have not paid for food and had to haul my computer up here.  And it is a desktop too, so I had to carry the speakers up, the monitor, etc.  Okay, that would be ridiculous, it is a laptop.  That is why I paid the extra $300 for less performance than the average desktop.  So I could have the convenience of the portable technology they have nowadays.  On to baseball.

     Why, oh why, do the Red Sox want to part ways with Kason Gabbard?  I want to get Eric Gagne.  That would give us three pitchers who are capable of closing on any given night.  A luxury that [no] team will have.  But Gabbard is very good insurance if a starter is injured in any way.  Lester is coming off chemotherapy, and no one knows how he will respond down the stretch.  Schilling is coming off the DL and may have a setback, who knows?  And Beckett has been pretty healthy missing only a few starts this season, but has had blister problems in the past.  Unless they are going to use Buchholz in an emergency than I don’t know how much i like this trade.  Gabbard down the road will probably be a back of the rotation pitcher.  He may be better, and this is just a guess.  But this year he may be needed in Boston.  And to obtain a closer who won’t be closing, who will be our third best option…at closer, may not be the best choice.  Arms in the bullpen are a commodity come playoff time, but we already have as a good of a bullpen as there is right now.  It isn’t like we desperately need another arm.  I know Okajima is a set up man, but he can close as well.  I would rather have Jermaine Dye.  Both would be nice, of course, but I like the idea of having Dye in case Ortiz cannot be the Ortiz of old for the rest of the year, which looks likely. 

     I finished Jayson Stark’s "Most Overrated/Underrated" book last night.  It is a decent read if you want to formulate some arguments with a book.  You usually win as the book doesnt have a rebuttal, just an opening argument.  So heated as I was, I tore the book to pieces and set it on fire, in my head of course. 

     I am staying at Panera by the way, until the deadline ends.  So at least a half hour more.  This is sort of a live "Deadline" blog.  And a "Passing Time" blog, until work comes along.  It is also storming outside making me feel less worthless hovering over my computer for hours.  I tend to do that on a daily basis. 

   

     The Braves received an impact player today, possibly two.  Not that I necessarily think that Teixera will get them a ring.  Pitching was more of a concern for them.  But he helps, I just think that they should have traded Salty for another inexpensive prospect who they could have locked up long term at a reasonable price.  A catcher who can hit like Saltamacchia can and will bring a lot in return.  If they are going to force him to switch to first base though, it then becomes a different story.  Dotel is [ok] but is nothing special.  I actually commend the Royals getting rid of him, more so than I commend the Braves for acquiring him. 

     I almost wonder if Selig forces the deals to come out right at the deadline’s end.  To ensure that fans of the game stay glued in front of "MLB.com" for the extra few hours. 

     And so I beleive I have lost a reader because of a controversial blog that I posted recently.  I can’t make everyone happy.  It was a theory and not anything definite.  Other bloggers can take shots at people and as long as they are shots at rival teams then it is ok.  But when I post a [THEORY] it is unacceptable, I guess. 

And Gagne is in a Red Sox uniform.

    

Batting Average Defining Quality for Hall?

     I thought that baseball fans were evolving and accepting the realization that "On Base Percentage" is more important than "Batting Average."  And if the fans understood this, then the "Hall of Fame" voters surely would also. 

     Buster Olney was on baseball tonight sometime recently talking about whether or not 500 home runs is an automatic entry anymore.  He doesn’t think it should be automatic induction anymore, as it seemed to be this way before.  I agree.  But when Jim Thome came up as the candidate,  he wasn’t quite sure that Thome had accomplished enough to get in yet.  I am not certain if this was Olney’s view, or his view of what the "Hall" voters think in their entirety.  But Olney’s main argument was that Thome’s BA was .282 and that may not be good enough.  Thome may have to tack on 50 or a 100 more homers to make it in according to what Olney thinks.  Now regardless of it is Olney or the rest of the voters who think the .282 average should matter, it is ludicrous. 

     Judge Jim Thome by his .410 OBP, which falls in at 35th all time.  Or judge him by his "Adjusted OPS,"  which is tied for the 34th best figure of all time.  Just do not allow that .282 batting average to overshadow what he has actually done in his career. 

     And do not be fooled by his current "DH" status.  He has played 339 games as a DH, but 1101 as a 1B, and has actually played more at 3B (492), then he has at the dreaded DH position in the Hall voters’ eyes. 

     I have not decided whether I think he deserves the votes to get in.  But that .282 average should have little to do with it, comparatively speaking.  It shouldn’t be irrelevant, but how many statistics should be looked at before "Batting Average?"  That is my point. 

Coherent Observations of the Sporadic Mind.

     Run DIfferentials are what "experts" like Rob Neyer base their baseball lives around.  That and knowing how to make Bill James the perfect cup of coffee.  The reason these "Differentials" are so beloved?  It is quite simple.  In a futuristic glance, they are the most predicting stat of a teams future success.  The Cleveland Indians last year had an impressive run differential, but finished six games below .500 in fourth place.  This could be due to their "faulty" bullpen last year.  But many predictions of the Indians doing well were based on them scoring many more runs than they gave up last season.  Or it could be that some liked them because of their talent, which was a logical argument also.  But anyway here are the top "Run Differentials" in the MLB.

Red Sox -  +124

Yankees-   +115

Tigers-      +101

Indians-     +57

Cubs-        +48

Brewers-   +44

Angels-      +44

Padres-     +43

Dodgers-   +40

Phillies-    +34

     Is their any coincidence that the top four teams are in the American League?  It is clearly the superior league in my opinion.  Now the Padres look like the scariest NL team to me right now.  They have two great pitchers and that goes a long way in the postseason.  They also have that death trap of a ballpark for hitters.  The Mets may be dangerous if they can make a move for a pitcher and/or Pedro comes back with a vengeance.  Speaking of Pedro…Matsuzaka reminds me a lot of the 04′ Pedro.  Pedro’s velocity was down at this time in his career and teams could hit him fairly hard at times.  His ERA was 3.90 by seasons end.  I am not saying that the two pitchers are the same in their style (although their mannerisms remind me a little of each other).  I just feel like Dice-K could be that type of pitcher for his career.  An ERA around 4.00 and some good performances, but a handful of shaky ones each year to go along with them.  And some slight embarassment against lineups as demeaning as the Yankees can be.  And currently he gives me that same feeling that Pedro gave me.  I was unsure of what to expect each night from Pedro during the 04′ season.  Is he going to pitch seven innings and give up only one earned?  Or is he going to give up four or five runs in six innings?  And I know that Pedro is the greatest pitcher ever in my opinion, but this version of Pedro was not nearly as frightening as that superhero we saw pre-2004. 

     This also reminds me of time I saw Pedro, and the time I almost saw Pedro.  The only time I saw Pedro live was when he pitched in Tampa in, I think, 01.’   He left the game with an injury kind of early in the game, and I believe they shut him down for the season after that.  I am mistaken, I just went and checked the box score.  He pitched that game then one more, missed a month, and made three more starts the rest of the season, missing almost the entire final month of the season also.  So that was when I saw Pedro.  He gave up one earned run in five innings.  I felt like he did worse than that, but my memory fails me once again.  Anyway, Manny hit a game winning double in the top of the ninth and the Sox won.

     Now the time that I almost saw Pedro pitch.  My Dad and I went to one of the games at Fenway when the Yankees came to town during the 2003 season.  Pedro was scheduled to pitch…but he was hurt!  They scratched him from his start and instead had Bruce Chen go to the mound.  Yeah!  That "yeah" was meant to be as sarcastic sounding as I could possibly make it.  But nonetheless, I was able to see the Red Sox beat the Yankees.  And that is always fun for a Red Sox fan.  I know my blog isn’t to trash the Yankees or sound ignorant.  But come on, I enjoy beating the Yankees more so than any other team.  And I know the Yankees fans feel the same way about beating the Red Sox.  And that was the only Red Sox/Yankees game that I have been to, that I can remember at least.  And there is nothing like it. 

I Just Don’t Know.

     I am not going to come out and blatantly accuse anyone of doing anything.  As we are all aware, as fans, performance enhancers have been very much a part of baseball in recent years.  Whether it is steroids, or amphetamines, that is beside the point.  They both aid in success and recovery.  They both are illegal in both the real world, and the baseball world.  And there should be little surprise that some players may be still be using, even with the new drug testing program in place.  But there are a few particular seasons that I would like to take a closer look at.  Again, I am not trying to anger anyone nor do I have any "real" evidence.  These monthly splits just baffle me a little.  And they are all good players or have been in the past at least, that is no coincidence, as I tend to research good players more frequently for personal reasons.  Here they are by monthly OPS. 

          Player A                         Player B                         Player C

April    1.350                                   .768                                 1.297

May       .837                                   .552                                  .783

June    1.179                                   .962                                 1.281

July       .811                                   .613                                  .923

   

     I have absolutely no real idea as to why this is.  But it raises my eyebrows a little bit.  I tried to find evidence that the entire league was doing better in April and June but it was fairly consistent throughout each month.  This could be due to two things:  If PED’s were being used in the months of April and June then pitchers would be on them too.  Making everything go back "on a level playing field again."  And the second thing, is that with testing nowadays, there may be only a dozen or so players that have found a way to beat the system…or care to.  And with so few players using, their performance would not effect the league’s total numbers all that much.  Now maybe I am wrong all together, but I feel like players should not be this inconsistent from one month to the next.  It is mind boggling. 

Coherent Ramblings.

     Mark Teixera comes at too high of a price from what I am hearing from the "Experts."  Do not get me wrong, I would love to have a middle of the order that consists of: Ortiz, Ramirez, Teixera, but not at the cost of sacrificing the future.  The Rangers are rumored to be asking for Buccholz AND Ellsbury.  That is too,  much.  And if we make this trade happen, then the Yankees will be sitting there saying, "Haven’t they learned anything from us."  The Yankees are not going to part ways with Joba Chamberlin or Philip Hughes, and they shouldn’t.  They understand now, after several years, that without the proper pitching, the postseason will end in failure.  They also understand that a Hughes, Chamberlin, Wang, front end of the rotation looks delightfully good…and delightfully cheap.  And so doesn’t a Lester, Beckett, Buccholz, Matsuzaka arrangement.  Buccholz should be untouchable unless something almost unrealistic comes along.  And if the Red Sox believe that Coco Crisp will be the Coco that they traded for, then I am fine with them trading Ellsbury to get something in return that can favor us come postseason time.  Just not "Clay."

     This Indians/Red Sox series was as entertaining as any series I have watched this season.  The first game was emotional for all fans, not only the ones who reside in Beantown.  Lester came out and pitched pretty well.  He had some balls hit hard off of him, but gave up only two earned, and settled in nicely the last few innings.  Westbrook settled in too, but he gave up five runs quickly and it was too much to overcome.

     The next two games were what baseball fans dream of.  Back-to-back 1-0 games.  The first was Sabathia vs. Dice-K.  Sabathia showed once again that he was the ace of the Cleveland staff, and that he is a bonafide ace in general.  Matsuzaka had a few balls that were hit to the warning track, but he didn’t give up any runs.  It felt more like Dice-K should have given up 2 or 3 runs, but the balls were hit in the right spots, and was impressive nonetheless. 

     Game 3 of the series was the best from an objective standpoint.  But even as a fan of the losing team it was a great game.  Beckett was absolutely dominating, making only one mistake (that was hit anyway), and giving up one run in eight innings.  Carmona was slightly better, giving up zero earned and not giving up a hit until the fifth inning.  Granted, the Red Sox have never faced the revived mentality that Carmona has now stumbled upon.  But he was simply unhittable.  Who knows what will happen next time around the league with this guy.  But he has great looking stuff, and he is only 23 years of age.  He could turn out like Ramon Ortiz (statistically), but I think he will be closer to the production of an ace.  Although, I do not think he will be an "ace," more of a number two, but he could move up to that number one slot in the average rotation eventually.  But I am going a lot by this one start, which is unhealthy.  His WHIP isn’t great but is good, and he has had sufficient run support to help him obtain his thirteen wins.  But this is at least a sign of what could come down the road. 

     Anyway, game four was okay.  I didn’t want to see Gabbard fall apart like that for obvious reasons.  I still have faith in him, but he had a meltdown and could not control his pitches.  He simply fell apart.  He pitched well for four innings then quickly crumbled like he was made of a castle made of sand…all crumble to the sea…eventually.  Luckily, the Sox bats came through every time the Indians made it interesting, giving them a 14-9 victory.  It was very different from the rest of the series, but I enjoyed the end result of course.

     Eric Byrnes hit a walk off and still leads the NL in "Win Shares" this season. 

     How do you replace my choice for NL MVP?  You do not.  Utley is irreplaceable.  The Phillies have to hope for some hot hitting by Nunez and co. to step it up.  Seems unlikely however.  The Phillies may be finished.  Unless they pull a miracle at the trade deadline. 

     I like to give credit where credit is due.  And when ESPN had the panel the other night covering Bonds and PED’s, it was much better than simply covering the story in an uninteresting manner.  I cannot stand the coverage of Vick, the NBA referee, and of course Bonds.  And every single day they cover it religiously.  But this was different, and of course made it bearable.  I do recall Bob Ley saying to Ellis Burks, after Burks commented on how his home run total went up when he arrived in Colorado.  Ley said, "But the altidute had something to do with that."  Burks goes, "a little bit," holding his fingers up with a small separation in space.  Ley was being honest, but it felt like an insult to Burks.  I also didn’t like Burks saying that every player has a "career year."  It is true, but saying that Bonds’ "career year was when he was 35, is a little ridiculous.  I don’t know what happened for sure, but that argument didn’t seem valid.  The career year argument actually hurts Bonds’ cause. 

     And putting Dusty Baker in a position like that wasn’t all that fair.  Baker was the manager and did not choose his players, right?  He wanted to win, and may actually have had no real evidence if Bonds cheated.  So was he supposed to call him out during his tenure in San Fran?  Was everything that Baker went through there, a fabrication of some sort?  I am not saying Bonds definitely used.  I would lean towards it, but I am not sure.  But now everyone that was affiliated with that team and was clean, has to look back and question all of it.  Bonds was by the far the most important part of their run.  And the clean ones should not suffer because they had to play with a guy they didnt necessarily choose to play with, if in fact he "used."  Enjoy your 2002 success "clean" Giants players, it probably was not your fault.  Same goes for the 89′ A’s.  This is even more certain and more of a "fairy tale."  Canseco came out, and that put in question the ring they received.  Without Canseco’s production from 88′-90′ they would not have been nearly as dominant.  It makes my case less convincing because the year they did win the World Series, Canseco played only 65 games.  But he played well in the 89′ postseason, which obviously helped.  But really I hate addressing this subject most of the time anyway.

     Baseball is BIGGER than Bud Selig or Barry Bonds or Jose Canseco.

    

Greatest Single Season Pitching Performances.

     As a follow up to my last blog, I want to discuss the greatest single season performances by a pitcher, relative to the league/time period.  As I have stated many times, I believe that what Pedro did in 99′ or what Maddux did in 95,’ is more impressive than what Christy Matthewson may have done in 1905.  But when I compare single season pitching performances, I put a lot of stock in "Adjusted ERA," so I know that it takes into account the performance of the rest of the league, etc.  But I truly believe that it is harder to excel in todays game.  The population has increased significantly, there are more countries producing great ball players, and ball players in general.  The stadiums are smaller, generally speaking.  So if it was harder for Babe Ruth to hit home runs in the early 1900′s than it was also easier for Cy Young to keep the ball in the ballpark, right?  Not to mention that the game back then revolved a lot less around the home run anyway.  But on to the best single seasons ever by a pitcher we go (No particular order).

Greg Maddux, 1995-  This season falls in at fifth, tied with Walter Johnson, in "ERA+."  Maddux went 19-2 with a 1.63 ERA and a WHIP of 0.811.  His 94′ campaign was even a little better but the season was never finished due to idiocy. 

Bob Gibson, 1968-  22-9 with a 1.12 ERA.  A WHIP of 0.853.  The lowest WHIP he had by a rather large amount, when compared to his other seasons.  He also only gave up five earned runs in 27 innings in the World Series that year.  But after all, he was Bob Gibson.

Sandy Koufax, 1966?-  He had a few years that could be on here, as do some other pitchers.  1966 was his best regular season.  But in 65′ he gave up only 1 earned run in the World Series over the span of 24 innings.  And he is the most overrated left hander of all time, right Jayson Stark?  It is up in the air, because if we include Barry Sanders or Jim Brown in the discussion of greatest running backs of all time, then we have to include guys like Pedro and Koufax, right?  But I understand where Stark came from in his argument, but Koufax was simply dominating, as I watched him numerous times back in 1965…when I was -16 years old. 

Roger Clemens, 1997-  According to "Adjusted ERA" this was his best season.  He struck out 292 batters and finished up the season with an ERA of 2.05.  Attribute it to Dan Duquette, or the "whispers" that we hear.  But this was an incredible resurgence by arguably the greatest pitcher of all time. 

Walter Johnson, 1913-  I cannot assume that everyone who played in this era wasn’t a quality player.  Assumptions can get people in trouble, see "whispers" above.  All Walt Jocketty, I mean all Walter Johnson did was win 36 games and give up only 44 earned runs in 346 innings.  But come on, obviously 36 wins is not going to happen in this day and age. 

Dwight Gooden, 1985-  A 24-4 record.  An ERA of 1.53.  This was definitely an aberration from the rest of his career, but he was still very good for this portion of his career.  It was more a sign of what could have been had he focused on baseball, unfortunately he did not solely do this. 

Pedro Martinez, 1999-  My all time favorite single season performance.  This included with the year 2000 were in my mind the most dominant years ever, by any pitcher.  Steroid ERA.  Played in a division with arguably the best dynasty ever.  This season the Red Sox made the playoffs, unlike the following season.  9th best season according to "ERA+."  2000 comes in at 2nd.  Which in my opinion, makes Pedro’s 1999 and 2000 seasons the most impressive seasons of all time.   Tim Keefe’s season in 1880 is the only one that falls in ahead of Pedro’s according to my omnipotent "Adjusted ERA" stat.  I doubt very much so, that Keefe was a better pitcher in 1880 than Pedro was in 1999. 

Ron Guidry, 1978-  This falls in at 29th all time in "ERA+."  But more importantly he was the leader of a team that came back from a 14 game deficit.  Everyone speaks of Bucky Dent.  But what Dent did, was have a miserable regular season followed up by an incredible home run at maybe the most perfect time ever.  His contributions were miniscule when compared to Guidry’s.  People need to recognize this more, as I am doing now.  Same thing with Aaron Boone.   

     Well there are the greatest seasons of all time, but not all of them.  It would take too long to list every single one of them.  But feel free to leave suggestions.  That is what I am doing here, trying to promote a discussion on the one thing I am truly passionate about right now.  But the one thing you will not persuade me to do is admit that there was anyone better than Pedro at his peak, so don’t even try.    

Twenty Greatest Pitchers of All Time?

     Here is a list that I have compiled of the twenty greatest pitchers of all time, in no particular order…yet.  I may do something else with this list, but for now I am just trying to get the [correct] twenty that should be considered.  Open to suggestions, of course.  Give me some names if you think I have overlooked any.  And remember, I believe players of today are better than the players in 1900.  So even though it is just a theory, it is a theory I agree with, for the most part.  And I also believe that a great starter is more valuable than a great reliever, in most cases.  So it will be strictly starters on this list.   And single season greatness does not translate into this list either.  It is not a list of the 20 best seasons.  A pitcher like Denny Mcclain is not going to crack the top 10 simply because he won 31 games and had an ERA of 1.96 in a single season.  And some current players will not be considered because they have not played enough to qualify.  For Example:  Johan Santana may end up being on this list, but if his career ended today than it would not be enough.  And remember, I am not going to spend countless hours researching every players statisitics, so I may forget someone.

Greg Maddux

Pedro Martinez

Nolan Ryan

Roger Clemens

Tom Seaver

Randy Johnson

Bob Gibson

Sandy Koufax

Jim Palmer

Steve Carlton

Walter Johnson

Warren Spahn

Bob Feller

     Okay, so I didn’t make it to twenty.  I had too many roadblocks and it began to get very hard to choose between certain pitchers.  So give me some suggestions.  I may actually eliminate three pitchers and make this a top ten list. 

The Stark Truth?

     Today before work, I made a stop at "Borders" bookstore which is right across the street from where Chilis is.  I had some time to blow before work and desperately needed to get my mind off of things.  So I turned to baseball…yet again.  I grabbed an organic chocolate milk from the cafe in the store along with Jayson Stark’s, "The Stark Truth:  The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History."  I was really enjoying flipping through the pages and trying not to spill chocolate milk on it.  You know, so I didn’t have to buy it.  I mean not that I would mind buying it, just that who wants a book with a chocolate stain on it?  Once the milk was gone, I bought a coffee, my second of the day. 

     So anyway, I loved that Nolan Ryan was the "Most Overrated RH Pitcher" of all time according to Stark.  It really helps get my point across.  Look, the point is, is that Nolan Ryan was a great pitcher, but he is not the best ever.  He wouldn’t even fall in my top 5, and may not even be in the top 10.  But if he fell short of the top 10, he would be right on the outside.  I try and explain this to the "baseball fans" at work, but they seem to think that when I say "overrated," that I am calling him a bad pitcher or something.  I am not, it is just that he is not the greatest of all time simply because he has the most strikeouts of all time.  There is more to pitching than that strikeouts.  Although, they are a very effective way of retiring a batter, obviously. 

     So I agreed with a lot of the book.  JD Drew was the second most overrated RF of all time, Abreu was fifth.  Yaz was in there as being overrated.  Jeter was the second most underrated SS.  Although, I do not know how the leader of the most recognized franchise could be underrated.  He gets an incredible amount of respect and recognition.  And his defense is actually overrated.  But it is Stark’s opinion.  I mean I am fully aware of Jeter’s greatness and I feel that many others are too, whether they can admit it or not. 

     Dwight Evans was one of the most underrated RF of all time in the book.  And my Dad swears that he was superior to Jim RIce.  He watched basically every game each of them played, and he says Evans was superior in most ways to Rice.  I mean Evans is one of the five best RF’s of all time defensively, and his OBP was .18 higher over the course of a longer career.  Rice led in "OPS+" by only 1 point.  And their actual OPS was .14 points apart.  And I am not saying that Evans should be there.  Just saying that there is always support for Rice getting in, but not many seem to mention Evans.

     But overall, what I saw in the book was pretty interesting.  Don’t know that I will ever buy it, but I haven’t ruled out the possibility. 

    

Coherent Thoughts.

     Don’t look now but Chris Young’s current season has moved up to 19th all time in single season "Adjusted ERA."  He falls right below 05′ Clemens, 97′ Pedro, and 31′ Lefty Grove.  He is clearly separating himself from Jake Peavy right now.  As Buster Olney pointed out, he has won 5 straight decisions.  The last time he has given up more than three earned runs in a start was April 26th against the Diamondbacks. 

     Another case of timely hitting just not being there for the Red Sox last night.  They scored two runs off of Javier Vazquez.  Now I understand that he is pitching well lately.  But the Red Sox had eleven hits.  They could, and should have managed more than two runs.  The problem with the eleven hits is that they were all singles.  Not one extra base hit in the game.  Manny crushed one into the triangle that was caught.  But outside of that, there was not much power.  Some hard hit balls that resulted in line drive outs, and base hits. 

     As for Dice-K.  Well he looked very good between innings 1 and 6.  In the first he gave up a run, then coasted on poorly hit balls and strikeouts, only to fall apart in the sixth inning.  He ended up walking six batters.  Ridiculous!  I still believe he is good, but he cannot put up Zambrano like figures in the bases on balls catergory. 

     Beckett vs. Contreras tonight.  This better be a win.  Beckett is our "true" stopper.  He is our ace this season.  If they lose this game, then make a trade to shake up the clubhouse. 

     Am I worried?  More so than I was.  But I believe this team is good, I really do.  And I believe the clutch hitting will come around again.  But the offense is struggling so much as of now, very frustrating stuff. 

     The Tigers have the potential to create a dynasty if they make the right moves.  They have so much pitching talent, and if they do not trade them away and sign a few free agent bats within the next couple offseasons, the AL could be in for a tough time.

Coherent Ramblings.

     Make no mistake about my last post for all you Bonds lovers.  Bonds was better than Griffey in my opinion, even before the suspicion arose.  I was just making the point that if I were a GM at the time, I would have chosen the player without the obvious character issues.  But that being said, if I thought that Bonds was better than Griffey before he was accused of stealing syringes from the local pharmacy, then I probably still may have regarded him as the greatest player of all time, or at least given him the title, "There is no greater player."  But no one knows how it all would have played out, and no one knows how it really played out.  So Bonds [is] the greatest player of all time in my opinion, however, I would have been much more skeptical about appointing him to this stature, had his pre-98′ pace been followed. 

     I have finally begun to read "Moneyball."  Finished about 130 pages or so since Sunday.  I very much enjoy the book so far.  There are some inaccuracies about the book, I have heard, and hope to pick them up.  But I believe that no matter how it plays out, it will be a worthwhile read.  There is one instance that I do not like so far, and it is when Beane wanted to choose a certain pitcher over Scott Kazmir.  I cannot remember who it was off the top of my head, as there are many players names involved.  I understand how a GM would want to choose a college player over a high school player.  The stats translate better into analysis, and the player is more "Major League ready" in many cases.  I just didn’t feel that not choosing Kazmir was a great example, because as we all know now, Kazmir is a heck of a pitcher now.  And maybe that is why the book loses some of its credibility with time, as "The Prince of New York" stated.  I do like, very much so, Beane’s approach.  As he tends to view a player based on the amount of patience he has (BB totals).  Understanding that this seems to translate to the upper levels very nicely.  No one knows for sure how a hitter will fare against major league pitching, but they do know that if he has the ability to take a walk, then, and I quote, "he can stay out of prolonged slumping."  That was from Neyer, a while back.  And I am sure that Neyer probably took it from Bill James or some other genius that he seems to feed off of.  Although, do not get me wrong, I like Rob Neyer’s coverage.  It is just that he becomes obsessed with certain topics, as do I, and many other bloggers/writers.  But anyway, I will let the book play out before I make any real judgements. 

This was a question during Keith Law’s chat yesterday:

"Allen, houston: the astros will NOT trade oswalt, but what about lidge for ellsbury and lester?"

     I was shocked when I saw this.  Why would Law even answer this question?  I wouldn’t even feel all that comfortable getting Lidge for free, let alone giving up two of the Sox top prospects.  Lidge was very good in the past.  And Pujols homer off of him in the 05′ NLCS to keep the Cardinals alive, may have been the most surprising home run I have ever seen.  Even if it was Pujols who hit it.  Lidge was automatic that year, and was getting rave reviews by all people who spoke of baseball.  And I was watching that game, believe Pujols had two strikes, and he just crushed the ball off of Lidge to force a game six, I think it went six.  But Lidge has never been the same, and his "stuff" apparently will not translate all that well into the AL anyway.   

     Speaking of never being the same, how about them Red Sox.  Look, KC is better this year than they were last year, but they are still one of the worst teams in baseball.  Losing one game in the series would have been understandable, but losing the series is downright unacceptable.  I am a Red Sox fan, but if there were another team whom I would want to find success in the AL, then I would want it to be the Royals.  As I have spoken about many times before, I am "pro-salary cap."  I want the game to be fair to all.  But it isn’t, and if the Royals rose above this, then it would be all that much sweeter for those fans in Kansas City who still care.  But Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Mark Teahan, and Gil Meche give that city some hope, if nothing else. 

     I was viewing the game at work again as part of the "Extra Innings" free trial, and Drew came up in the ninth.  And I said aloud to a coworker, "This will be Drew’s defining moment as a Red Sox player."  It wasn’t necessarily a comment based on any real substance, but a comment based on [my] own hope.  Anyway, he bounced a weak ground ball to second base.  So much for that I guess.  And I guess even worse was that fact that someone actually did there job and reached base (Ortiz), only for Manny to end the game on a routine pop-up.  Even if Ortiz is hurt, he is still finding ways to reach base.  He reached in two of his five trips to the plate, which is something, right?  I mean that means his OBP would be .400 for the evening.  Could be a lot worse than that.  And he reached base in the clutch last night to top it off. 

     And just to accentuate my disappointment, losing a game against a team with a very low payroll and a lot less talent does not feel good.  But on a night that they throw out Odalis Perez, it makes it that much worse. 

     Today Neyer wrote:  http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=neyer_rob

     He is explaining that Manny is pathetic on defense.  And he is one of the worst outfielders in the game, but happens to have a gift in the "Green Monster" sitting behind him.  He gets the ball in quickly, and plays the wall well.  But any leftfielder who becomes accustomed to having that wall, should adjust to it, and begin to play it well.  And he has not been playing it well of late, letting routine balls land behind him because he plays so shallow.  So really the one thing he does well, and could probably do well in any park, is get the ball in quickly.  But most fielders can do at least one thing well, right? 

     In Neyer’s blog is also a link to the new "Ultimate Zone Ratings."  Once again, Adam Everett falls in the top ten of all players.  And Jeter falls into the bottom ten.  Of course so do, Manny, Drew, and Lowell.  So even though the Red Sox have moved up to fourth in fielding percentage, they still have room for improvement.  But there is always room for improvement.

     Matsuzaka better be the stopper.  This is what a good rotation does, right?  Keeps a team out of prolonged losing streaks.

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