July 2009

Jarrod Washburn a Tiger.

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  • Detroit acquires Washburn: So Jarrod Washburn is now a Tiger
    But is he worth it?  I know he developed a new pitch, or so I heard. 
    But his BABIP sits at .249, and his LOB percentage is at 79.5.  Neither
    of those are probably going to continue.  But he has defied the mean on
    those two all season long.  But in any case, he moves from a good
    defensive unit backing him up, to another good defensive unit.  So his
    ERA will still have that help, although almost has to go up
    eventually–I would think anyway.  The Mariners definitely made the
    right move, as they moved a free agent to be, to get younger, and
    potentially better in the future.  Luke French doesn’t look like a
    special pitcher, but looks like he will be capable–although I have
    never scouted him  :)  But based on the numbers, they seem like he can
    be decent enough.  But the other prospect is yet to be named, and that
    is kind of big in analyzing this trade…
  • Mark Kotsay leading off?: Why in the world was Mark Kotsay
    batting leadoff for the White Sox last night?  What logic does this
    present?  A leadoff man’s main job is to get on base and see some
    pitches.  Oh, and flash at least enough pop to warrant giving him the
    most at bats.  Kotsay does none of the three.  This season he’s seeing
    3.13 pitches per plate appearance, which is not good, not when one
    wants a player to take pitches.  Kotsay is reaching base 26 percent of
    the time, albeit a small sampling.  But he just isn’t a baseball player
    that should be starting.  And if he has to start, then he should be
    batting at the bottom of the order.  They could have had Beckham bat
    leadoff for the evening and moved everyone else up or something.  I
    don’t know, but Mark Kotsay is far from a leadoff hitter.
  • Tex was close to being in Boston: Remember?:  The Red Sox
    didn’t know that Mike Lowell was going to continue to experience health
    problems.  They didn’t know that they might need a bat because of
    that.  They didn’t know that Lowell would have a decline in range
    because of those aforementioned problems.  But had they signed Teixeira
    the problem would have been solved.  Granted, it would have cost A LOT
    of money, many years, and a few draft picks.  But is that better than
    possibly surrendering a huge lot for Adrian Gonzalez?  Gonzalez is
    younger, and cheaper.  I get that.  But if they do make the trade,
    which still seems like an unlikely event to me, then they better lock
    him up on an extension.  Maybe add three years to the two he is already
    under control, of of course Gonzo wants to do that.  Then, after the
    five years, Adrian can walk, because I doubt the Sox would lock him up
    after that, unless it were for a year or two.  Point is, what is more
    valuable?  Money or prospects?  But in any case, Lars Anderson would be
    blocked, so moving him would a necessity almost.  Of course, they could
    always have him DH, but that would hinder his development.  But I guess
    one has to do what is best for the organization.

How good is Adrian Gonzalez?

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In 62 games, Adrian Gonzalez has a line of .254/.331/.442 against
American League teams.  Now, that could be due to pitching Gonzalez has
rarely faced, or it could be due to the fact that the AL is simply
stronger than the NL, and has been in the years that Gonzalez has been
a player in the National League.  I eliminated the games in which
Gonzalez was with the Rangers because it was so long ago, and he was so
young, that it really isn’t fair to hold it against him.

Gonzalez also struggles with the breaking stuff, at least to a small
extent.  And a move to the AL would only force Adrian to see more
sliders and curves coming his way.  His “wSL/c” is -1.16, and his
“wCB/C” is -0.83.  Both sub-par, but neither should be looked into too much
as even Albert Pujols struggles a tad with the curve ball.  But a
healthy dose of these two pitches will be seen more in the AL, if that
is in fact, a fact (that fastballs are thrown more often in the NL).

I mention this because Gonzalez has been rumored as a possible
acquisition for the Red Sox.  And I am a bit wary as to how a
transition from the weaker NL West to the superior AL East will effect
Gonzalez’s production.

Getting him out of Petco will no doubt allow people to see what kind
of player he is.  Because Petco supresses every hitters power.  And I
mean every hitter.  His career line at home is an unimpressive
(for a 1B) .260/.350/.443.  But on the road, now that is a different
story.  Gonzo away from home has hit .293/.362/.552.  That my friends,
is impressive.   Seeing how a player will generally find comfort at
home, it shows just how much of an impact Petco has on a hitters
numbers.  Gonzalez on the road is simply a superstar, while at home, he
is average.

Fenway would be kind to him, very kind.  50 percent of his fly balls
to the outfield have been hit to left and center field.  Something that
would most likely give him great numbers, assuming the quality of
opponent does not get in the way that much (AL vs. NL).

As for his defense, it may be slightly overrated if the metrics are
accurate.  I have heard “best defensive 1B” in the game, and things of
that nature.  But none of the metrics seem to suggest that.  His +/-
the last three seasons is not ranked in the top ten.  And his UZR is
okay, but nothing great.  So anyone that believes in these metrics, as
I do to some extent, may see a guy that is a capable defender, but far
from great.

Again, I say all this because Gonzalez may be on the move.  And if
so, he will probably have to deal with more breaking stuff.  But how
will he adjust?  Will the additional men on base in a real big league
lineup increase his performance?  Will he use the wall as much as we
think he can?

There is little doubt that Gonzo would perform well in the AL East.  I am just unsure how well…

A great, tainted memory.

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I had tears in my eyes.

Tears.  From a game, a sport.  No, they weren’t gushing down.  But they were there.  They were definitely
there.  David Ortiz had just hit a bomb to win Game 4, and there was
hope.  Hope that a comeback may happen, that one may occur.  It was the
greatest baseball memory of my life.

Still is…

But then this.  It comes out that David Ortiz used a performance
enhancing drug.  Which PED you ask?   Well, apparently even he is
unsure.

But come on, Ortiz used, and most likely cheated.  It stinks, but it’s simply reality.  And reality can suck sometimes.

But that comeback, that aforementioned comebackIt happened
The feelings were real, and they can not be taken away.  Sitting in my
recliner, by myself, watching a team on the brink of elimination.  The
improbable had already happened.  The best closer the game has ever
seen, Mariano Rivera, had already blown the save.  Something in itself,
that was remarkable.

Skip forward to the 12th…

Ortiz steps to the plate, one on, nobody out.  The pitch…It is gone!  Outta here!  Game Over!  A game 5 will
be played.  Those tears start to form, they try to run.  I won’t let
them.  But this was the greatest moment that I had experienced in a
long time.  A long time.  And it was only game 4.  Game 4!

But it is all tainted now.  I know, I know, everyone used.  Players
from every team used.  I get that, I really do.  But I can’t ignore
addressing what happened, and whether or not it would have happened had
a certain substance not been involved in the equation.

We all know what took place next, for it is history.  The Red Sox
took the next three games, in the most dramatic fashion of any sporting
event I can recall.  Knocking off the juggernaut Yankees, tearing down
a wall which was almost completely up just a few days earlier.

But now I have to question it all.  I can say that so and so used,
and so and so cheated, and so and so was cheating while facing Ortiz
and/or Manny.  But I cannot honestly say to myself that it would have
happened without steroids.  I can’t sit here and lie to myself
that it doesn’t matter.  And this is coming from a guy (me) that just
isn’t surprised.  Not surprised really at all.  I always defended the
guy, and even pointed out reasons to defend him as a clean player.

Like, the fact that his best years came right when he turned 27. 
That his prime was a possibility as to why he broke out.  That Ron
Jackson found a flaw in his swing.  That he was batting in front of
Manny.  Etc, etc, etc.

Maybe all of those variables played a part in Ortiz all of a sudden
“learning how to hit.”  Maybe they didn’t.  But everything feels
strange now.  Everything does in fact feel “tainted.”  I have to
question, seriously question the most important thing to ever happen to
me in the sporting world.  And by most important, I mean that nothing
even comes close.

David Ortiz was is and was that fun loving character that was the
largest reason that the Red Sox won that World Series.  He is like a
giant teddy bear.  A great big smile that lights up the camera, even
before the light actually turns on that camera.

But David Ortiz, apparently, cheated.  He used a substance that
seemingly aided his performance, seemingly aided in a World Series
title.

At least I have found solace in one aspect of all of this.  That a
team consists of over 25 players.  That a team does not win because of
one man alone.  And I know that some on that 2004 Red Sox team were
clean.  I know that they are winners regardless of this…

…But I also know that they won, in part, because of this.  Or so we believe…

Hypothetical lineup.

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. Dustin Pedroia
  3. Victor Martinez
  4. Kevin Youkilis
  5. David Ortiz
  6. Jason Bay
  7. JD Drew
  8. Adam Laroche/Mike Lowell
  9. Jed Lowrie

That would look good though, huh?

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Seattle, welcome a great defensive SS.

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  • Seattle and Pittsburgh make a deal: Read a bunch of
    different takes on this.  And a few have the Mariners winning, because
    they ridded of a prospect (Jeff Clement) that really couldn’t catch,
    and was on the outs with the organization it seems.  The Mariners also
    surrendered some arms in the low Minors.  Arms that none of the
    analysts seem to know much about.  The Pirates already have a catcher,
    so what they are doing with Clement I’m a little curious.  Someone
    suggested that maybe they will move Clement for another piece.  So
    basically the Mariners win now, the Pirates could win later.  One
    aspect of the deal that everyone agrees on is that Jack Wilson is
    expensive.  $8 million for a great fielding shortstop, who cannot hit,
    is still kind of expensive.  I tend to let these deals play out before
    passing judgement.  But it definitely doesn’t seem bad for
    either side.  Although I admit, I know nothing about the young arms the
    Pirates acquired (other than that they were probably expendable based
    on quality).   And Ian Snell of course could use a change of scenery.
  • ARod since his rest: .300/.418/.600.  I love bringing this up for some reason…Even though I obviously root for this guy to fail.
  • Cliff Lee a Phillie: This makes the Phillies better now,
    obviously.  But that is the thing about prospects, they may or may not
    swing this deal in the Indians favor.  But for now, the Phillies are
    even better, and the team to beat in the NL, it seems.  Although those
    Dodgers are still pretty good…
  • Victor Martinez a solution?: I wrote a post about this at Fire Brand
    And my basic premise was that Martinez may not be much different than
    Laroche down the stretch, if Laroche is in fact a second half player. 
    And if of course Martinez mostly plays 1B.  V-Mart has really calmed
    down with the stick, and if he plays first, the numbers don’t exactly
    jump at you.  If he catches–mainly–then the numbers do jump at you. 
    But how will that effect the pitching staff adjusting to a new
    catcher?  It may matter, but it may not.  It is a touchy subject, those
    catchers.  I do like the guy though, but surrendering quality for him,
    well, it may just be better to try out Laroche…
  • As for Halladay: I could definitely talk myself into Roy. 
    Definitely.  Especially for a year + the last few months of the
    season.  But the cost will be hefty.  Is it worth it?  Would it be
    worth Buchholz, Bowden and Westmoreland?  Maybe.  Buchholz doesn’t seem
    to be very confident on the mound, in my opinion.  But maybe that
    confidence will be gained.  Bowden is the one player I really don’t
    mind trading right now to make this team better.  But Bowden alone will
    not be enough for anything of significance.  And Westmoreland is far
    away, but has a lot of talent.

Arroyo to the Yankees???

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This post basically sums up my initial feelings on the possible acquisition.

“Wait a sec…a team is actually interested in Bronson Arroyo? Really? The Bronson Arroyo
of the 5.49 FIP? Arroyo hasn’t been very good since 2006, which also
happened to be the season he was sent through the meat grinder. For
some reason he was allowed to pitch 240 innings for the non-contending
Reds that year, and former GM Wayne Krivsky signed him to a 2-year $25
million extension. He has since been your run of the mill league
average innings-eater, but has really hit the wall this season. His
strikeouts are down, his walks are up and he’s allowing 1.6 homers per
nine.”

I don’t have the slighest clue why the Yankees would want Bronson
Arroyo.  Okay, well there is one reason, they could definitely use one
more starter.  And since their team is stacked, it definitely doesn’t
have to be a great starter, simply an okay arm to slot into the
rotation.

And I also do not know the full details of a possible trade.  What
would be given up?  How much would the Yankees have to pay of that
salary?  Even though it is the highest payroll in baseball, it still
wouldn’t be wise to shell out that kind of money for Arroyo.  Not for
the expected performance, that is for sure.

If however, the Reds absorbed roughly half of Arroyo’s salary, and
the Yankees only had to give up a few Minor Leaguers that probably
won’t amount to anything, then fine.

But even then, I am not sure Arroyo will be able to get the job done
making the move back to the AL East, as he is clearly not the same
pitcher he once was.    And if you haven’t watched baseball in the AL
East lately, then simply know that it is awesome quality.  Three
near-great teams and another that is probably better than average.

But anyway, Arroyo probably isn’t that effectve anymore, but for $5 or $6 million he might be worth the gamble.

Although he might not be…

JP Ricciardi thinking of selling off?

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  • July 28: I wonder if JP Ricciardi’s self imposed deadline of
    July 28th is designed to give him time to do other things.  Maybe he
    wants to know whether or not he should keep players such as Scott Rolen
    and/or Lyle Overbay.  Because moving Halladay would most likely allow
    JP to feel more comfortable moving the other two as well.  That would
    free up loads of money, giving him some room financially, serious room
    if I may add.  And they would acquire a plethora of young talent in
    doing so.  Well, not much for Overbay and Rolen I would assume, but
    something, and of course getting rid of contracts that they would feel
    more comfortable not having.  But I know that keeping Halladay means it
    is more logical to keep everyone and make some kind of run in 2010 with
    what Ricciardi has.  And that means the additions of Dustin McGowan and
    Shaun Marcum, when they return next season.
  • WARP: ‘WARP’ is a bit of a mystery to me.  I am still torn
    as to whether or not I should rely on that, rather than ‘WAR.’  I think
    I am more comfortable using WAR, but WARP can be used for historical
    pusposes.  WAR cannot.  So I tend to use it for that purpose.  For
    example:  I can check Wade Boggs’ career WARP, but cannot check his
    career WAR.  So this matters to someone who likes to throw in players
    of the past, and/or research players of the past.
  • Abreu: Bobby Abreu is having a near-great year.  A 2.7 WAR. 
    121 OPS+.  Twenty stolen bases (caught five times).  To put it all in
    perspective, his WAR last season with the Yankees was 1.2–for the
    entire season.  So we can see that Abreu is either having fun with the
    AL West, or simply had a down year in 2008.  Anyway, as he has regained
    power, his line has been upped to .310/.405/.442.  His BB% is back up
    to 14 percent, as it had declined each of the past two seasons.  And
    he’s swung a tad less than last season.  For $5 million?  That is an
    absolute bargain of a player.
  • Ricky Nolasco unlucky?: When does a 3.44 FIP = a 5.42 ERA? 
    In a world where balls in play fall in 35 percent of the time.  Nolasco
    has suffered from a .353 BABIP this season.  And his LOB% is 60
    percent.  If luck exists, then this is it.  Because Ricky has had
    everything possible go against him this season.  Now, I cannot say that
    BABIP and LOB% make up a pitchers performance, but I definitely believe
    that these type of numbers are showing everyone that he is a lot better
    than his ERA indicates, even this season.

Aaron Harang a 3rd or 4th starter?

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Keith Law, a while back, called Aaron Harang a 3rd or 4th starter, if I recall.

And Law is starting to show why he gets paid money to do what he does.

In three consecutive seasons, Harang posted good FIP’s of 3.67,
3.68, and 3.71.  But the past two seasons, his FIP has climbed to 4.79,
and currently 4.04.

Not great by any means.  Although that 4.79 is an aberration, the
4.04 may be about his talent level though.  So Law looks more right
because of that.

Harang strikes out enough guys, and walks few, but gives up an
abnormal amount of home runs.  Abnormal even for a hitters park such as
Cincy.

Hitters have been making contact slightly more often, but Harang’s
problem really seems to be caught up in allowing the long ball.

The one thing that Harang has on his side is a very high BABIP the
last two seasons, but the LOB% is reasonable. And although the ball has
been falling in the wrong places, he still seems to be a number 3
starter, rather than a number2

I guess Law was right, because currently, Aaron Harang looks to be a
mid-rotation kind of guy, rather than the number two that he looked to
be not too long ago.

But maybe the past two seasons are simply produced by bad luck.

One thing we do know is that Aaron is better than that 6-17 record he posted last season.

Billy Beane not, not a genius.

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I know this topic might be wearing thin.  And that I may have
exhausted it.  But I really feel the need to stick up for Billy Beane
lately.

Look, he isn’t perfect.  And he may not be the best GM in baseball. 
But I feel there is justification for almost every move that he made
this season–even though those moves are being lambasted throughout
around the interweb.

Orlando Cabrera was a decent signing.  They needed a healthy
shortstop, they got one.  Little did they know that Cabrera would
forget to play defense.  His bat we could see was going to be a
below-average stick.  But the glove…who could have seen him faltering
on defense?

Jason Giambi has fallen off a cliff.  Who could have seen that
coming?  I know he had an overrated season last year, but it was still
solid.  And I know he was older, but the move wasn’t a bad move, was it?

And according to Keith Law, the A’s just received a better package
from the Cardinals than what they gave up to get Holliday in the first
place.  So this move may be a credit to Beane as well.

I am not sticking up for Beane simply because I enjoyed Moneyball,
or simply because I believe in the numbers.  I just believe that most
of what he did this off-season was far from indefensible.

As for Nelson Cruz and players that went on to have success
elsewhere?  That is a topic for another day.  But Beane is still as
good as they come.  Give him Cashman’s job and see how he fares? 
Really, do it.

Actually, don’t..

Tex seeing fewer fastballs than just about ever.

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A while ago I asked a question,
and received an answer.  The answer was, that Mark Teixeria had not
seen more fastballs since Alex Rodriguez had returned to the lineup, up
until that point.  Granted, maybe the fastballs were more “hittable,”
but they were not more prevalent.  And now, I took another peak…

And Tex has seen fewer fastballs than any other time in his career,
except for once.  He is getting the heat only 57 percent of the time,
which is below what he has seen in past seasons.

This isn’t because ARod is struggling either, because he isn’t. 
He’s been tearing the cover off the ball for a while now.  This is
because he simply isn’t seeing them more often.

Last season, Tex saw fastballs 60 percent of the time.  However,
much of that time was spent in the National League–notoriously known
for fastballs sailing in more often.

Just interested in this sort of thing I guess…

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