A Hot Stove Extravaganza!

There have been quite a few transactions lately.  And since I
haven’t posted much since August, I feel the need to get some of these
thoughts off my chest.  Unclog my brain, if you will.  This is of
course the reason that I began this blog in the first place, to try and
have some intelligent discussion, with, well, intelligent baseball
fans.  Fans that delve outside of their teams current market.  Not that
these particular fans need to experience utter and pure
enjoyment from watching two teams play that aren’t their “own.”  But
that they at least care a little about other games, other stories that
exist outside of the local newspapers that they peruse while drinking
their morning cup of Joe.

Well, eventually,  I found some of those fans…

Onto the transactions…

  • Coco Crisp:  Am I the only one not perplexed by the inking of Coco
    Crisp?  I know, I know.  Beane already has a surplus of outfielders on
    the cheap.  But Crisp just two seasons ago–2007–was the most valuable
    defender, according to metrics, in all of baseball.  Oakland of course
    plays in a spacious ballpark, and $5.5 million isn’t that much.  A few
    weeks ago, Dave Cameron was on record saying that an average player
    costs about $9 million on the free agent market.  Well, add in that
    Crisp is close to average if healthy, and that the A’s spend less on
    free agents, and simply do not have the ability to spend much in the
    first place, then the price seems about right.  Crisp should track down
    plenty of balls in center and have roughly a league-average OBP. 
    Again, Beane had guys to play the outfield.  But he must have a reason
    for this, right?  Maybe his genius status is wearing of a little.  As
    regular reader, Peter mentioned, he hasn’t developed a good hitter in
    years.  But some of his lack of success is what small market teams must
    experience.  They can’t cover up mistakes by shipping them off (See: 
    Julio Lugo).  They cannot just solve their needs through free agency,
    (See: Big Market teams, any of them)  :)   This seems like a move to
    shore up the defense, rather than just to shore up nothing, as some
    writers seem to think.
  • Chone Figgins:  Figgins will probably be overpaid the last few
    seasons of this contract.  But the moves that the Mariners have made
    recently have put them into contender status.  Aside from the Morrow
    trade of course.  Figgins represents a solid defender with a good eye,
    and the ability to reach base and make things happen.  Sure, his SB
    percentage sucks, but that may be due to the fact that he has been
    playing under Scoscia for his entire career.  The Mariners should be
    more conservative when allowing Figgins to take off.  And if nothing
    else, the value of an out should be beat into his brain a little more
    with a team that takes on more of a statistical approach, seemingly.
  • Curtis Granderson to the Yankees:  I basically seceded the
    division to the Yankees when this deal happened, until the Red Sox made
    a splash.  Granderson represents an instant upgrade defensively, and
    offensively to what their current options were.  When healthy, he may
    be a top five center fielder in baseball.  Some say he may have peaked
    early, but even if that were true, he should still be an above average
    player.  Yankees fans will hate the strike outs, and the difficulties
    against southpaws, but the success defensively and against
    right-handers should more than make up for those deficiencies.  The
    Yankees had to give up talent to get talent though, and the farm took a
    little bit of a hit in acquiring C-Grand.
  • John Lackey:  Lackey instantly gave the Red Sox the best rotation
    in baseball…on paper.  I was an advocate for this signing all
    offseason.  And I got my wish.  Let’s hope I am right.  Lackey gives
    the Red Sox three potential aces.  And I don’t mean like in 2007 when
    Schilling was old with declining velocity, and Daisuke was somewhat of
    an unknown.  All three of the Red Sox current trio have been an ace at
    one time or another, and all three I would consider to be aces. 
    Lackey’s health is an issue.  But the Red Sox looked into that, I am
    sure, and know far more than I ever will about the situation.  The
    Yankees still have the best team, but the Red Sox might have the best
    1-2-3 punch.  Although it is much more debatable because of this…
  • Yankees trade for Vazquez:  Before this trade the Red Sox were a
    bat away from being as good as anyone in baseball.  But the Yankees
    leaped forward again, and now, on paper, are the best team heading into
    2010 (with the exception of the Red Sox acquring a Miguel Cabrera type
    without giving up Buchholz).  I don’t even know that Vazquez will be an
    ace with a return to the AL.  He had a great year, and had some success
    with the White Sox before shifting to the NL.  But I would pencil him
    in a number two this year rather than an “ace.”  And that is why this
    trade was so brilliant.  They gave up little known, and a little
    unknown to acquire a guy that should exceed 200 innings and be above
    average.  Even if for some reason they don’t trust him come playoff
    time, as they have seen him fail before.  They can simply allow him to
    be the fourth starter, meaning they may let him make only 1 or 2 starts
    (or zero if they feel the need).  Cashman may not be the best GM in
    baseball, and I don’t give him much credit for throwing money at
    players before this past year.  But he has ensured that the Yankees
    have the most talent in baseball with some pretty nifty trades. 
    Although one can still argue that they were “salary dumps.”  But to
    give him credit they weren’t as obvious as the Bobby Abreu salary dump
    of 2006.  Cashman had to take on money, but the money is very
    reasonable, and both players are far from “declining.”  Abreu after all
    was making nearly $20 million.  Point is, since the older Steinbrenner
    left, Cashman seems to have more control and more of a plan, even if
    his plan happens to contain the easiest path, he seems to be making the
    right choices.
  • Cliff Lee:  The heist.  Lee was obtained for what is now known to
    be two future relievers.  Maybe the youngens end up more than they are
    being passed around as, but Cliff Lee is a bonafide ace.  The Phillies
    should have simply kept him and had the best 1-2-3 in the game
    (assuming Hamels bounces back into ace-form).
  • Mike Cameron:  Cameron is a good defender, but is old.  I would
    have felt much more comfortable on a one-year deal.  But I guess he
    could simply be a really good 4th outfielder in 2011, if the Red Sox
    choose.  Cameron strikes out a ton.  And since the statisticians
    basically dismiss the strike out as another out, it probably won’t
    matter much.  But A)  It isn’t fun to watch a guy strike out, from a
    fans perspective.  And B)  At age 37 with an already low average, will
    it sink even lower?  Sure, he can take a walk, but those walks might
    result in a league-average OBP.  I don’t hate the signing, but I don’t like it either.  Kind of how I feel about the inking of Marco Scutaro.
  • Nick Johnson:  Gee, another guy who works the count and annoys
    opposing pitchers and their fans.  His power may be completely gone. 
    But now they have another pesky eye watching ball four go by, giving
    them much flexibility and numerous options.  I would have liked the Red
    Sox to have signed him, just in case Ortiz is terrible.  And of course
    Johnson could have played first, allowing Victor to stay behind the
    dish, and Youk shifting to third, in turn having Lowell and Ortiz being
    the most expensive DH platoon in the history of baseball  :)  Johnson
    makes the Yankees a little bit better, and a they are already the
    best.  Booh!  :)  But he isn’t exactly the model of consistency, as
    consistency generally requires a player to be healthy enough to play
    regularly.

5 Comments

If you read this post and wish to comment, I actually have another site which I prefer the discussion to take place: http://www.statisticianmagician.com/?p=566

“I basically succeeded the division to the Yankees when..”
did you mean ‘seceded’? because that would make more sense.. just wondering

Haha, yes, that is what I meant. :)

^ great article! nice analysis (i didn’t want to seem like i came here just to nitpick your grammar/diction/spelling)

Thanks.

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