Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Detroit gave Jason Johnson 2 yr/7 mil? Morons.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Interleague play may not be "interesting" this year, but I'll take as many games against that whack group of AL Central teams as I can get.

Friday, December 26, 2003

If you see a freshly painted green wall, looking at it, you can tell it is green from your past experience and common sense. You don't need a fancy formula telling you it is green. My problem with UZR is it has many components are arbitrary. What is the worst offender is a lot of it's components are based on assumptions what a player should or should not have done according to these people. ZR's are new to me, and I'm still not totally sure how it works, but to my understanding (correct me if I'm wrong) ZR's are relying on people/fans to record where these balls landed. I would think this is pretty faulty base of research methodolgy. While it may be a noble endeavor and worthwhile hobby on his part, but to rely upon it as gospel is not right in my opinion. What happens when balls land in gray areas? Does it account for situations like if Nomar in the field is facing Giambi (notorious pull hitter) is set up by Grady Little in zone 6M or even 4M (A Bodreaux shift)? Last year that was potentially 74 times. So what if Giambi pokes it opposite field through to where Nomar would have been except Nomar is not, but the third baseman is? Or even if he pokes it down the left field line and where no one is? Does the fielder get screwed on that because his manager told him to go play somewhere else? And what about other situations where the fielder is shaded over more, pulled back or up? Is he still responsible for defending that entire area? Getting back to the MGL's UZR/SLWTS system, there are "solid" components such as PA, GIDP, GDP, BAT then you have the problematic components that are arbitrary and assumptions categories such as UZR, BR, MR, SLWTS and SLWTS/162, and POADJ. Who is anyone to say that a person should have taken an extra base, etc...? I thought nothing was supposed to be assumed in baseball? For example, just because a ball is hit towards the right fielder doesn't mean he theoretically has to catch it. Or if the ball is hit directly to the short stop with a man on first that he will automatically turn the DP. He should be able to turn it if he is professional, but you can't assume he will. If you're going up that slippery slope, you can also say they should be turning triple plays or launching homers at will, or beating the Tigers every time they step onto the diamond.

My analysis made a lot of sense. I took the real game data down about what actually happened and plotted it into real situations where an error, a DP or a CS might have affected his team in a real game. Instead of hypothetically attacking Jeter's ability by saying he "should have caught that ball assigned to him in that zone", I was attacking Jeter's ability when he screwed up and would have cost his team runs or (made an error, grounded into a DP, or got caught stealing) and measured it against what happened in that game, and if it caused the Yankees to lose their game. Based on my analysis, his screws up cost the Yankees NOTHING last year. How does that compare to other shortstops? I don't have time to plot down every single MLB SS, but somehow I don't think the same (zero cost) can be said for others, thereby not marking Jeter as the worst SS out there. MGL is arguing about a hypothetical and theoretical world where a baseball player is good or bad based on what they "should" be doing instead of what they are "actually" doing. The Yankees did have a poor defense (MLB leading?), but the end result is, they made won their division, made it to the post season, and made it to the world series (however not winning it). A successful season no? I'm curious how Soriano, Matsui, Bernie, Posada and Giambi rates in terms of MGL's system? What would it say if all five ranked at the bottom of their respective positions yet make the post season year after year? Jeter, Soriano, Matsui and Bernie have negatives, with the first two having very high negative numbers, while Posada and Giambi are positive.

Saro's comments reminds me of the older days of baseball before modern day scouting. They used to send scouts into the sticks based on newspaper clippings, local hearsay and whatnot. So the scout would go down and see these kids play and after seeing the kid hit or pitch and try to sign him. They didn't go there with a stats, instead they went down with their instincts and experience and signed people. I'm sure more people than most didn't pan out, but that was the only way or alternative to signing people. Leading into this: Why didn't anyone make a serious run at Vlad? Is he not statistically the best FA out there? The Yanks have deep pockets, yet they choose to go after the older, surlier and slightly cheaper Sheff? Why is that, that doesn't fit Steinbrenners new MO? Meanwhile the Orioles are spending money on FA's like Christmas, while the A's are losing their players and replacing them with ?. (They do have one of the more intriguing pitching rotations.) What is going to happen next season.

I've never seen Mantle or Mays play, but we have only what their contemporaries said about them and what stats they have accumlated. Throwing up projections, SABR stats and hypothetics can be a part of the argument. When it does come to voting for something like HOF, MVP etc... NOTHING matters except what the voters voted for. If all the sportswriter voters think Derek Jeter the MVP over ARod, Barry Bonds, Pedro or Ty Wiggington for 2004 despite having the worst year out of all of them, then that is the way it is going to be, Jeter, MVP 2004. MLB baseball is a MLB possession and when you're in their house, you follow their rules. You don't have to like it, but you do have to accept it. They have set up rules, standards and guidelines, and for the most part, you have to play by them.
If anyone thought interleague play was still 'interesting,' get a load of the schedule: the Mets play the Tigers, Indians, White Sox and Royals. What's the point of playing games that could either be removed from the schedule entirely or played against other teams in the same league?
Dicky Gonzalez gave up one run and struck out 10 in a complete-game victory for Carolina of the Puerto Rican League yesterday. Gonzalez is 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA, 47 H and 64/6 K/BB in 61 innings this winter.

--what did we trade him for again? a bag of balls?

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

wow, has anyone seen the new blue jays hats and jerseys??? they are a disgrace to the game.

check this out....their new hats are....BLACK!!!!!!!!!!!

but they're the BLUE jays!!!!!!!
Winston, it's late, I just got home, and I skimmed your argument. It doesn't make any sense. The entire point of UZR is that errors aren't the only way you can hurt your team. There are lots and lots of balls that an average shortstop would field, but get by Jeter, so those are all costing his team, too.
And relating to Saro's comments about stats, and generally, the complaint that people have with "stat-heads": for baseball's entire history, people have been evaluating players based on stats. Have any of us seen Babe Ruth play? No, but based on his stats we know that he's good. For decades, writers have been judging players by their stats and children have been collecting baseball cards and memorizing stats on the back of them. Why is player X really great? Because he hit 30 HR, or had a .300 batting average, or got 100 RBI, or stole 50 bases, or had the best fielding % in the league.
What people don't like is that some people, instead of blindly buying into the stats that were promulgated by the media and MLB, have actually dedicated a tremendous amount of time and energy in an attempt to better understand this game that we all love, and have discovered and developed better stats that do a better job of evaluating players. We've always used stats to argue about who deserves to be MVP, who should be in the Hall of Fame, who was better - Mantle or Mays. Now, we have stats that answer these questions much more accurately. Can they do it definitively? No, but they come a lot closer.
The nice thing about the old stats is that they really didn't answer any questions.
"Player X is better than Player Y, he hit 20 more HR. "
"Oh yeah, Y had a much higher batting average. That's much more important."
There's no way to settle that argument, everyone can think they're right, but nothing is settled.
But, by using a stat like EQA, we can easily evaluate who is the better overall offensive player. Sure, there may be a situation where we'd rather have the homerun hitter up or a situation where we'd rather have the batting average guy up, but over the course of a season, we can evaluate who is better using one scale.
I think people fear things they don't understand. They like being able to argue whatever they want, and the more advanced stats don't let them do it. Stats can be used to argue anything, but the beauty of stats like EQA is that they provide a consistent way to evaluate players.

Oh, and as far as the Yankees, while they may not employ Billy Beane or Bill James, I think it's fairly clear that they have focused largely on the "Billy Beane model", by acquiring guys who get a lot of homers and walks, and pitchers with high K/BB ratios. I think the Yankees are one of the clear examples of the model working.
What rubs you the wrong way? That everything you loved about baseball has been bastardized into stats? That's the way it is in an industry like baseball where teams like the A's must use these to avoid becoming Tigers, Reds, Pirates, etc because those teams try to spend like the Yankees and get screwed, and teams like the Red Sox (who have some financial flexibility) try to go over the hump.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003


Maybe Jeter was a total fuck up in 2000, 2001 and 2002, and maybe 2003 was a fluke. So maybe he did deserve to be ranked according to the UZR system last or second to last (Maybe I'm not understanding his complicated formula). But I just (or at least I think) pulled out hard data and after analyzing it, came to the conclusion that Jeter cost his team NO runs (or a minimal) especially when juxtaposed against Yankee team stats. Now ARod on a losing team with horrible team stats would probably come out looking not so rosy, and Tejada with Oakland's terrible hitting should come out looking like a donkey (not even getting into DET, MIL or BAL's SS's).

So in what way does my study/stat/analysis (done in 3 hours) hold water compared to the UZR, Bill James, or anyone? Can I go on ESPN and tout Jeter as a great SS and not a skid mark in my drawers? Did I just discover the equivalent of the world is round and not flat?

For every dreamer dreaming of round circumnavigatable earth, there will one will be the crazier that think the world is octaganol, the reactionary hard liners who think the world is still flat. For those creative minds that introduced a heliocentric universe as opposed to a geocentric universe, there was probably those that thought the universe revolved around another object. The point is, the truth, or more useful stat/theory/etc... will be accepted. A lot of these baseball stats didn't exist in the older days. Eventually the game and the statistics associated with it evolved and devolved. I'm pretty sure certain facets of the game have disappeared or changed. The way we view things now might be different or more accepted in the future. And that acceptance comes through the authority of organizations such as MLB, the NFL, the Supreme Court, the school yard bully, etc... Ergo my attitude towards Sabrmaticians. Some of them will come up with remarkable earth shattering stats or analysises, but by the same token, more will come up with (in my opinion) crackpot and arbitrary stats that are more self serving (The search for fame?) or so complicated it comes out skewed in one way or another. Validation and authority are the key to arguements. For example, not anyone can just start adding books to the Bible. Even the Apochrpha (sp?) which is hundreds of years old is not accepted by the church, hence not acceptable as a Biblical book. If my approach to all this seems extreme or different from the "My dad can beat up your dad!" approach, I apologize, and I'll stop beating a dead horse over "Jeter blows"

So what is the alternative to pure stat analysis for running your team? Instincts, your gut, a sixth sense. Qualities that can't be measured. I don't know what everyone loves bashing Joe Torre. He is very unorthodox in his approach to coaching (I don't think he pours over stats creating his lineup) He goes with his gut and his coaches gut, and as a result, The Yankees have been insanely successful during his tenure. Now what about the argument that his teams are loaded with talent and he just happened to be at the right place at the right time? Well someone has to make decisions none the less, and he goes about it a certain way. Maybe Torre has no fucking clue what is going on, but his winning whether justified or not validates his approach, which is the anthesis of Boston and their SABR approach. Boston was extremely successful last season, but not ultimately like Torre has been, and until that days comes... Boston in my opinion got extremely lucky last season. Not taking away from the great job managment did and continue to do, a lot those guys performed above their career averages. It will be interesting to see how they do next season. If their SABRmetrics prevail over Torre's "gut" (and fat one it is), it will be like communism defeating capitalism or vice versa.

Sparky Anderson was a bitter old wiseass, the comment was said in jest. Bill James does write an entertaining book, but there is something about him that rubs me the wrong way.

Anyway, if you've read all this crap up to this point, I thank you. And a happy holiday season to all! (hopefully your Mets get something good from Santa)
PART I Analytical Analysis

I. Okay, let's look at Jeter's errors in the 2003 season: 14 errors commited in the following days:
Breaking it down by: date, end result, inning, outs, score at the top of the inning, and Jeter's action

1) 5/15- NYY beats ANA 10-4. 5th inning 1 out NYY are winning 10-2, Jeter makes a throwing error and 1 run scores
2) 5/30- NYY beats DET 6-0. 4th inning 0 out NYY winning 5-0, Jeter makes throwing error, but no runs score
3) 6/1- NYY beats DET 10-9. 5th inning 2 out NYY winning 7-4, Juan Rivera makes an error with 1 out, Roger Clemens throws a wild pitch with 2 out, Jeter makes an error, eventually scoring two, Soriano makes an error, but no runners score. The Yanks get out of the inning winning 7-6. Note there are three errors and 1 wild pitch.
4) 6/11- NYY loses to HOU 8-0. 7th inning 1 out NYY losing 4-0, Jeter makes throwing error and 1 run scores.
5) 6/14- NYY beats STL 13-4. 9th inning 0 outs NYY winning 13-2, Jeter makes throwing error and 2 runs score
6) 6/24- NYY beats TB 10-9. 4th inning 2 outs NYY winning 4-1, Jeter makes throwing error and 1 run scores
7) 6/30- NYY beats BAL 6-5. 3rd inning 2 out tied 1-1, Jeter makes an error and 1 run scores, giving BAL the lead
8) 7/11- NYY beats TOR 8-5. 1st inning 0 outs tied 1-1, Jeter makes an error but no runs score
9) 7/12- NYY loses to TOR 10-3. 3rd inning 2 out NYY losing 1-0, Jeter makes a throwing error but no runs score
10) 8/2- NYY beats OAK 10-7. 7th inning 1 out NYY winning 10-5, Jeter makes a throwing error and one eventually scores
11) 8/13 NYY loses to KC 11-0. 1st inning 0 outs NYY losing 2-0, Jeter makes a throwing error but no runs score
12) 8/24 NYY beat BAL 7-0. 1st inning 1 out no score, Jeter makes a throwing error but no runs score
13) 9/7 NYY beats BOS 3-1. 8th inning 1 out NYY winning 2-0, Jeter makes a throwing error and 1 run scores
14) 9/12 NYY beats TB 10-4. 3rd inning 2 out tied 1-1, Jeter makes a throwing error but no runs score

Summary: Jeters errors cost 10 runs total, but possibly only 8 can be attributed to him (see the game on 6/1, where there was an error and wild pitch before Jeter makes his error). 6 (or 8) runs score during garbage time when the Yankees are winning 1 run while the Yanks are already losing. And only 1 of his error results in the other team taking the lead, (but the Yanks win that game anyway). So although his "terrible" defense commited 14 errors in 119 games, his "terrible" defense has caused the Yanks to lose ZERO games. (Just to compare, ARod committed 8 errors in 161 games, (outstanding!) Nomar committed 20 in 156, Tejada 21 in 162, and Vizquel 7 in 64). The Yanks gave up 716 runs total (655 earned) dividing that by the 163 games they played, that averages 4.3 (4 earned) runs per game. Meanwhile, they scored 877 runs, dividing that by 163 games played, that averages 5.38 runs scored per game. So if they are scoring 5.38 while giving up 4.3, averagewise, they are scoring one more run than they are giving up. And there is no calculation or stat that would even state Jeter gives up 1 run per game. Even based on the above situational analysis, he's not costing his team ANYTHING to a huge extent. Now I don't know how this compares to the other SS's but I'm sure at least one if not more than one is costing their teams runs in the above type situations.

II. Okay lets look at GIDP/GDP, another way in which Jeter might "hurt" his team
1) 5/22 NYY loses to TOR 8-3. 5th inning 0 outs, NYY losing 7-2, 6-4-3.
2) 6/9 NYY loses to CHC 8-7. 7th inning 0 outs, NYY losing 6-3, 6-4-3
3) 6/23 NYY loses to TB 4-2. 7th inning 0 outs, NYY losing 4-2, 6-4-3
4) 7/31 NYY beats ANA 2-1. 5th inning 1 out, game tied 1-1, 6-3, rally killed (However, Jeter drives in the 1st run)
5) 8/2 NYY beats OAK 10-7. 9th inning 0 outs, NYY winning 10-6, 5-4-3
6) 8/5 NYY beats TEX 6-2. 7th inning 0 outs, NYY winning 6-1, 1-6-3
7) 8/19 NYY beats KC 6-3. 1st inning 1 out no score, 5-4-3 rally killed
8) 8/19 NYY beats KC 6-3. 7th inning 1 out NYY winning 6-3, 5-3 (Soriano forced out at 3rd)
9) 9/11 NYY beats DET 5-2. 7th inning 1 out NYY winning 4-2, 4-6-3
10) 9/22 NYY loses to CHW 6-3. 1st inning NYY winning 1-0, 6-3

Summary: Looking at those stats, Jeter has GIDPed during 4 losing games, including 2 where they were losing by 3 runs or less (but one of those the Yanks were winning at the time). He killed two rallies with the scored tied. And GIDPed 4 times in winnning situation. ARod GIDPEd 16 times, Nomar 10, Tejada 6. Potentially causing the Yanks not to win in 5 out of 163 games because he has grounded into double plays can't be that bad of a statistic either. Unagain I don't know how that compares to the other shortstops, but ARod's 16 GIDP's if measured by the same method as we just analyzed Jeter's, it can't be very good prospectively.

III. Okay, looking at Caught Stealing. 5 CS's in 2003. 4 in wins and 1 in a loss. So he might have potentially cost his team 1 win (He got caught on a strike him out throw him out while the Yanks were losing 1-0 and Soriano on 3rd)

Can anyone think of any more ways a player can hurt his team?
Ravi, the picture of Miller park in the article you linked to is amazing. I felt compelled to save it, even though I will never look at it again.

Ryan, another thing to love about High Heat Baseball: I don't know of any other baseball video game that calculates and keeps track of Runs Created AND Equivalent Average. For the record, Burnitz led the majors with 257.7 RC and and EQA of .440 (he also had 77 HR and 204 RBI, but that's a tale for another time).
Runs created =
[(H + BB + HBP - CS - GIDP) times (Total bases + .26[BB - IBB + HBP] + .52[SH + SF + SB])] divided by (AB + BB + HBP + SH+ SF)

ESPN has already saved you the trouble of calculating them.

Arguably more useful, although generally similar results is Baseball Prospectus' stat, Equivalent Runs, or EQR. Not sure how to calculate, it's very complicated.
And RARP derives from EQR. I like RARP the best as a starting point for MVP debates. It calculates how many Equivalent Runs more than a replacement-level player at your position you've produced.
Another reason to hate Bud Selig...NYTimes article
Is runs created Runs + RBI - HR? or am I thinking of something else?

Monday, December 22, 2003

Whew! You guys! We're OK! Strickland and Feliciano are on board for '04!

Baseball like it oughta be.
The following is a lengthy discussion/argument that Bryan and I had on April 29 about RBI. I believe that Bryan has somewhat changed his views since, which I'm sure had very little to do with this discussion.

Tue, 29 Apr 2003 08:42:32:
>> why would peter gammons suggest that the sox are dying to trade jillenbrand
>> to the cubs when the guy has 8 million rbi? other than the fact that he's a
>> dopey no-information-having buffoon?

Ryan, 12:03:

> Because RBI are a pretty meaningless stat, and we're only a month into the
> season, so the stats don't mean that much anyway. Mueller is at least as
> good a player as Hillenbrand, so they don't really need him. The Cubs are
> apparently unhappy with Bellhorn, so maybe they will finally be willing to
> give up Juan Cruz.


Mueller cannot hit like Hillenbrand, never has. Remember also Hillenbrand is
still developing, Mueller's pretty much set. Gammons is doing the Gammons
thing, which is spouting all sorts of rumors that will not happen. Having
watched probably a third of the Sox games this year, I can say Hillenbrand's
RBI are not meaningless; he has been a clutch hitter. Granted they could be
meaningless, but in this case they're not. And in most cases, they're not.
Whether I'm going to start some sort of holy war in which I won't
participate I don't know, but why everyone thinks after 100 years there are
better simple baseball stats than average, homers, and RBI is beyond me. If
the key word there is simple, so be it.

Ryan, 12:26:

> I don't want to get into a lengthy Hillenbrand-Mueller debate. I will say
> that Hillenbrand is probably a slightly better hitter, but it's very close.
> Mueller is supposed to be a better fielder. I think they're fairly
> comparable.
> I will however say that RBI are indeed a pretty worthless stat. I guess it's
> "simple", but what does that really mean? (Wouldn't it be simpler to have
> one stat to tell how good a player is instead of 3?)
> RBIs largely reflect the opportunities a player has. If there are frequently
> players in scoring position when you come up, you'll get a lot of RBI.
> Hillenbrand may have a few clutch hits this year, but anyone who has ever
> done a study on it has found that "clutch" hitters don't exist. It's just a
> matter of luck. Players aren't able to consistently hit much better or worse
> with runners in scoring position.

Bryan, 12:36:
"matter of luck. Players aren't able to consistently hit much better or worse
with runners in scoring position."

I'm not so sure there is anyone who plays baseball who would corroborate
this. Sticking with the Red Sox because that's what I do best, if you're
talking about manufacturing runs, here are two innings from Sunday's game
that stick out: early in the game, Bill Mueller gets a hustle double. Nomar
then flies out to right, easily advancing him. Against a drawn-in infield,
Manny gets a soft-hit ground ball through the left side, scoring the run.
That's two situational hits, with only one RBI to show for it. In the 10th
inning, there's one out and a man on third after Hillenbrand gets a double
and the pinch runner is bunted over. Jason Varitek strikes out swinging.
Now, it's one case, but Manny Ramirez and Nomar Garciaparra are considered
two of the best players in baseball, and Varitek's not. Will different
things happen under the same circumstances? Of course they will. But will
this happen again? Probably. And that's why you can't call RBIs meaningless,
because better hitters do the right thing more often when it counts, which
is precisely what makes them better hitters.

Ryan, 1:47 :
> One, I think people who play baseball aren't always the best people to make
> these judgments. Sometimes it helps to be able to look at something from
> some distance. Obivously, a player has to believe that he can turn it up a
> notch in a pressure situation. It doesn't mean he can.
> And those good things that good players do show up in other stats. Manny
> Ramirez and Nomar have great OPSs, too.
> Sure, in general, a guy who gets 120 RBI is better than a guy who gets 60.
> But I think it's much better to use stats that better reflect a players
> overall skills like OPS than to use RBI.

Bryan, 1:57:
Well, I can say that I wasn't intentionally contrasting it to OPS, but I
guess that's the natural comparison. I personally feel like you're right,
big RBI numbers show up in other categories like OPS, but I think the
breakdown is pretty much the same. That is, there are high guys like Barry
Bonds and Sammy Sosa, and low guys like Rey Ordonez and Doug Mirabelli in
both categories, but most people are in between. Though it's an admittedly
tenuous argument, I'd also say that OPS is affected by team performance in
the sense that if your team sucks, it's harder to hit/walk and therefore
your OPS numbers are skewed, as RBIs clearly are. But I don't think OPS says
everything, because baseball is too multi-faceted, and that's why I like the
old three better than just one. And let me clarify something: I don't mean
there are necessarily clutch hitters, but if batters averages' don't
"increase" in clutch situations, they're still higher than each other's, and
Manny Ramirez' is still better than Jason Varitek's. Over the course of a
long season that translates to RBIs in these small ball situations, while
Ramirez' homers take care of the rest.

Ryan, 5:09:
"I don't mean there are necessarily clutch hitters, but if batters averages' don't "increase" in clutch situations, they're still higher than each other's, and Manny Ramirez' is still better than Jason Varitek's. Over the course of a long season that translates to RBIs in these small ball situations, while Ramirez' homers take care of the rest."

If you're willing to accept that there aren't clutch hitters and that RBIs just reflect that people get more hits and homeruns, then why not cut "the big 3" stats down to 2, batting average and HRs.

And if you do that, you'd have to recognize that there are somethings that aren't recognized (like walks, doubles, and triples). So, if you wanted to add those things, you'd get something like OPS.

If your critcism of OPS is that "baseball is too multi-faceted", I will agree that it doesn't take every possible element of the game into account. I don't think we will ever come up with a stat that will evaluate everyone with 100% accuracy. But I think it's much better than the "big 3" because as I said, it essentially takes into account batting average and homeruns, as well as other important facets of the game.

Bryan, 5:27:
Well, that's if they don't increase in clutch situations. Though I've read
plenty about the myth of the clutch hitter, good hitters' averages are often
higher with runners in scoring position, which would mean they do increase
in clutch situations, whether it's because the pitcher gets nervous, he
knows a fastball is coming, etc. So I'm not really willing to accept there
aren't clutch hitters, and one example I'll cite is Gary Sheffield, who has
something like four home runs in 1-0 games over the past two years. It's
pretty absurd, and it's not like I'm the world's biggest Gary Sheffield fan.
It usually comes down to being able to hit the fastball. And why not just
average and homers? Well, Mike Piazza has three home runs and four RBIs this
year, which means he's not hitting with runners on. And OPS can't tell you
that, and the combination of the three can. My argument is since you can't
come up with something that is 100% accurate, and since there is no real
complement to OPS that makes it easy to break down a player, the big three
stats are the easiest way to find out what you typically want to know about
a player, whereas OPS is just a general gauge, and therefore is not likely
to supplant the big three. Here's one situation where I think OPS could be
useful, but I would still stick with RBIs: playoffs, late innings, let's say
Varitek or a pinch hitter. Varitek's got low average and homer numbers and a
decent OPS, David Ortiz, on the bench has a higher OPS but is a part-time
player. Now, instinct would be to go with the guy with the higher OPS. But
what if Varitek has a slew of RBIs? That would tell me he's hitting well
with runners in scoring position, basically hitting the fastball. The irony
of the whole thing is, I think OPS' natural complement is RBIs, because on
base plus slugging basically takes care of the first two of the big three,
but not the third. However, everyone's going to want to know how many homers
some guy's hit - and that's why I don't see OPS taking off in the capacity
in which it could.

Ryan, 5:46:
I have a very simple solution for what to use to complement OPS:

OPS with runners in scoring position.

I think it reflects clutch performance much better than RBI because like I've said RBI are very much based on the situations you get. When Jeff Kent won the MVP, a big part of that was that he had 125 RBI to Bonds' 106, even though Bonds had a better OPS with runners in scoring position (it was fairly close). Obviously, a big reason that Kent had all those RBI was because Bonds was batting in front of him and always on base.

Also, I'm not arguing that we should never mention RBI or HR ever again. My problem is when people throw out lines like "we should trade for him, he hit 88 RBI last year" or "he sucks, he's hitting .250". That's all well and good, but without knowing the rest of his numbers, that doesn't tell me much. A player might be very good and still only hit .250 (Adam Dunn). A player might hit 88 RBI and not be (Raul Mondesi last year).
If you tell me a player has a .900 OPS, I feel fully confident saying he is a very good offensive player.

Bryan, 6:07:
> OPS with runners in scoring position.
With a man on second, a walk would net you a 1.000 OPS. But you didn't
score. I mean, I watched the Angels and I know the value of getting on base,
but that's an instance where an RBI is more important than getting on base
(however marginally, but the 1.000 OPS makes whoever look like a

I thought of Mondesi while thinking of how RBIs alone are flawed. But on the
opposite tack, Ichiro's OPS two years ago was .838, not exactly
earth-shattering, but he was one of the best five players in the league
(and, of course, the MVP). Look at it the other way, too: if a player has a
.900 OPS, those stats are represented, for the most part, in the three
others, unless they have a ton of walks. Walks are a natural sticking point,
but here's the thing: only good hitters usually walk a lot, and an example
is that OPS shows Bonds' ridiculous value from two years ago, when he hit 73
homers but wasn't among the league leaders in RBI. However, I would argue
that the 73 homers from two years ago and the .370 average from last year
illustrate as effectively as OPS how good he was, and RBI is a measure of
what they allowed him to do. Basically, I see the three stats as average =
consistency, homers = power, and RBI = clutch, and I think it's dangerous to
label any one of these "meaningless." I have more to say but I'll say it

Ryan, 7:48:
As for OPS with runners in scoring position, I'm sort of inclined to agree with you on the walks. THat can be easily solved by looking at Avg. or Slg. with runners in scoring position. My basic argument is that using RBI to measure clutch hitting is inferior to actually looking at what a player did in clutch situations.

Also, since most people who have studied the matter agree that there is not thing as "clutch" hitting, I don't think it's important to measure at all when predicting future performance.

Bryan, 4/30, 5:06 pm:
I forgot this was waiting for me. If you're going to defer to average with
runners in scoring position, then what's the case for OPS? That some guy
walks a lot? Great, but what happens when he gets to second? The next guy is
up, and you don't look at his OPS, you look at his average. I don't think -
and this is where we disagree - you can evaluate players completely
independently of their teams, because it's always related. While I like OPS
as a rate, as I've said before, the one stat it doesn't account for is
cumulative clutch hitting. Note that I've made a distinction between clutch
hitting and cumulative clutch hitting. "People" who have dismissed the myth
of the clutch hitter can talk all they want, but that doesn't account for
players having high averages with runners in scoring position, nor does it
account for the fact that hitting at any point is clutch. That is, OPS is
good for measuring the ability to get somewhere on the basepaths, while the
big three stats measure how often someone is able achieve the best possible
result while at the plate, i.e., a hit, home run, or "clutch" hit. And if
there are no "clutch" hitters, why would anyone's OPS with RISP be any
higher than their normal OPS? Because the situations are different. When the
situations are different the variables change, be it for the cleanup hitter
who gets a lot of chances or the eighth hitter who doesn't. But my argument
is that person is batting fourth for a reason, the reason being to drive in
runs. And that's why RBIs are important, especially for comparing across

OPS is a valuable gauge stat. And there is a compelling case for it to
replace average and homers, even though it never will in the public eye. But
OPS with RISP is no RBIs, and I would argue has little value at all.

Ryan, 5:18:
You still haven't addressed my biggest problem with RBI, that they are too influenced by how often you're lucky enough to come up with runners in scoring position.

Bryan, 5:26:
Argument: it's not luck. You're hitting fourth for a reason, that is, your
manager wants you to drive in runs. If you do it, you stay there, you get
more RBIs. If you don't, you get dropped, your RBIs go down. That's a very
simplistic answer, but it's also very simplistic to say someone is "lucky"
to get a chance to hit with RISP when you can easily bat 500 times a year.
The current baseball economy skews all stats, not just RBI, so I'm not quite
ready to throw them out.

Ryan, 5:56:
That's bullshit. Maybe the manager is just an idiot for batting you fourth. Regardless, your high RBI total still is reflecting the fact that you bat fourth (presumably because you're a power hitter which is reflected in your HR), not that you are inherently a more clutch hitter than the guy hitting first. And if you bat fourth on a team with 3 guys in front of you with OBPs over .400, you're going to get a lot more RBI opportunities than if you're batting fourth on a team that has 3 guys with OBPs around .300 in front of you.
I don't think any study has shown that other stats, like OPS, avg., and HRs, are affected much, by who is batting behind you, so I don't think it matters much who else is in your lineup for those stats, but it matters tremendously for RBI.

My other main argument against RBI which I'm probably not going to convince you of, is that clutch hitting doesn't exist. Yes, I know, you can isolate a few players and say they have higher averages with RISP, but you can also isolate a few players who hit much better on Wednesdays, that's just random fluctuations. If I flip enough coins 10 times each, one of them will get heads 8 or 9 times. That doesn't mean it's a clutch coin. There hasn't been any study that has shown that "clutch hitting" is a consistent ability.

Bryan, 6:17
Sure, but OPS and average are rates. You can determine them after one at-bat
or after 500. It's not cumulative. It's not something you get. Whether it's
fair or not to someone on the Tigers that Raul Mondesi had 88 RBI last year
is irrelevant. No matter how you slice it, that's a lot of RBI. Though a
walk sometimes ends up being as good as a hit, it never starts that way,
because on a hit there's a possibility for an error, possibility to stretch
it, whatever. That's why hits are relevant. Homers are relevant because you
eliminate all other probabilities. And RBIs are relevant because they are
the goal of every at-bat. If you're upset that some players get shortchanged
because they play for bad teams, I would argue strongly that affects every
stat and has for as long as baseball or any sport has existed. You take the
top 10 RBI guys every year and they will be great players. Same thing for
OPS. If it was meaningless, as in literally had no meaning, that wouldn't be
the case.

And you won't convince me that a clutch hitter doesn't exist, and the
Wednesdays argument is ludicrous. Within the context of a game, there are
variables that change the circumstances. And most players' averages' go up
with RISP, some by a lot, and that's because the hitter has an advantage
when the pitcher needs to make certain pitches in certain situations and the
hitter knows what those pitches are.

Ryan, 6:52:
I think I'm finally willing to give up on this debate because I don't think either one of us is goint to convince the other of anything, but I have 2 final points in response to that email.

1. If you want a cumulative stat, you can use something like Runs Created.

2. The problem with RBI isn't just that players on bad teams have low #s, its also that certain lineup spots have low #s. When Ichiro won the MVP, a big part of the reason was that he hit well in the clutch that year, hitting around .450. But he only had 69 RBI. If RBI were a good measure of "clutch" hitting, then how could one of the most clutch hitters in the league have such a low total?

Bryan, 10:26
My only answers to these questions:

1) We never got into runs created, but to me, it sounds similar enough to
RBI and complicated enough that RBI still be more useful.

2) I'd say his batting average speaks for itself.
I wasn't claiming that Jeter was the worst SS overall, just defensively. Obviously, he's a very good offensive shortstop.

But to limit any statistical discussion to MLB stats makes no sense whatsoever when there are much better stats out there. Who cares what MLB has decided to recognize? At one point, everyone thought the world was flat. I'm sure there was a long period after discovering it was round when most people still thought it was flat. It doesn't make them right. Just because most baseball fans are still ignorant and look at the old school stats, doesn't mean it's right. Judging a player's worth based on Avg, RBI, and fielding % is almost as ignorant as believing that the world is flat.
If you're doing something scientific, you go to the stat that has been scientifically proven to be better, and people have done many many studies to test what stats are highly correlated to helping your offense score runs, which is obviously the goal for an offense.

And, yes, Jeter ranks well at those, too.

And to dismiss Bill James based on what the Red Sox did last year is ridiculous because they had a very good year. The cheap additions of Millar, Ortiz, Mueller, and Walker had a lot to do with their success. Obviously, we don't know who came up with those ideas, but the front office clearly takes sabermetrics into account on all their moves. In fact, at this point, I'd be shocked if there's any team that doesn't at least look at OPS.

And Sparky Anderson's quote doesn't pass muster either. Bill James is not a "little fat guy." I believe he's 6'3". Sparky Anderson is 5'9".

Sunday, December 21, 2003

I'm Ryan's friend Winston

I'm not a Jeter fan either, but to say that he is below average or the worst SS is beyond ridiculous! You cannot be saying that with a straight face. Not even a Red Sox fan can say that (yes, even those Red Sox fans whose only argument to why Jeter sucks is because he takes it up the ass can say what you said with a straight face.) You're saying guys like Rich Aurilia, Christian Guzman, Ramon Santiago or Jose Valentine are better than Derek Jeter?!?! Let's look at career offense based on ARod, Nomar, Jeter, Tejada, Vizquel, and for fun 5 SS HOFer's from different eras, Honus Wagner, Ozzie Smith, Ernie Banks, Lou Boudreau and Luis Aparicio, and for even more fun we'll throw in Cal Ripken who played a little third (not sure about Banks
1) AB's: (only active players) Vizquel (5141) ARod (4989) JETER (4870) Nomar (3812) and Tejada (3584)
2) Games: (only active players) Vizquel (1330), ARod (1275), Jeter (1212), Tejada (936), Nomar (928)
3) OBP: Wagner (391), JETER (389), ARod (382), Boudreau (380), Nomar (370), Vizquel (352), Ripken (340), Smith (339), Banks (333), Tejada (331), Aparicio (313)
4) Slugging: ARod (581), Nomar (555), Banks (500), Wagner (466), JETER (462), Tejada (460), Ripken (447), Boudreau (415), Vizquel (378), Aparicio (343), Smith (328)
5) AVG: Wagner (327), Nomar (323), JETER (317), ARod (308), , Boudreau (295), Vizquel (282), Ripken (276), Banks (274), Tejada (270), Aparicio (262), Smith (262)
6) OPS: ARod (963), Nomar (925), Wagner (857), JETER (851), Banks (833), Boudreau (795), Tejada (791), Ripken (787), Vizquel (730), Smith (667)
7) RBI's: Wagner (1732), Ripken (1695), Banks (1636), ARod (990), Smith (793), Aparicio (791), Boudreau (789), Nomar (669), Jeter (615), Tejada (604), Vizquel (525)
8) fielding %: Banks (994), Vizquel (983), Smith (978), ARod (977), Ripken (977), Boudreau (973), JETER (973), Aparicio (972), Tejada (970), Nomar (969), Wagner (940)

Only MLB stats are accepted. Like I said before, I'm sure SABRmaticians work hard and put a lot of thought into their projects, but their stats are not official and not recognized. i.e. if you're trying to define psychotic behavior to the court do you: 1) get your DSM-IIIR, IV, V or another scientifically sanctioned volume 2) look in the dictionary, 3) ask 10 people on the street randomly, etc...? Answer: You go to the official sanctioned source. Same with any science research, historical research or anything you want to argue. If you're going to argue with baseball stats, you use the stats from the powers that be. SABRmaticians and Bill James' formulas don't count! They may be good indicators for things like what AA RF will hit the most homeruns on a 79 degree, rainy Tuesday with 2 outs and 15 people in the stands wearing a cowboy hats in the year 2005, but that is all they are good for in an argument. For example, even up to recently, OPS was not a recognized stat, some people (like myself) still don't acknowledge it, but some do (like Ryan). I feel even stats like OBP are flawed for leaving out reach on errors, but hey that is the official stat, and that is the way it is going to be. There aren't too many fielding stats, but that is what level baseball stats are up to. There are some stats like range factor or Defensive Efficiency Ratings, but I'll look those up another night (they aren't cumulative) if you want.

Offensively, Jeter may not be at the top in everything, but he's not at the bottom either. In fact, he unequivocally kicks Ozzie, Luis and Cal's asses in most offensive categories. And without looking, I'm pretty sure he kicks Aurilia, Orlando Cabrerra, and pretty much most of today's other SS's asses. Jeter's resume of awards and honors is also impressive, capped off by FOUR world series rings. (Four more ARod, Nomar, Tejada, and Vizquel put together). So here is a small part of the voluminous evidence showing Jeter is NOT the worst SS in history. I can accept you saying Jeter is the 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, or even 9th best SS, but there is absolutely no way in hell he is the worst, even compared to todays SS's. The only thing you've shown to the contrary is a UZR stat.
If you're interested, I used MLB.com, and Total Baseball (6th ed, an older going up to 1998) which is the OFFICIAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL.

Like Sparky Anderson said "[Bill James is] a little fat guy with a beard who knows nothing about nothing." While not entirely true, Bill James took his theories and ideas to Boston last season, and am not sure how his SABRmatics fared, but his biggest and most ambitious project of closer by rotation failed. If you don't think it did, the signing of Folke sure ended that theory. He does writes an entertaining book though.
Jeter Fielding Update.
Over on Baseball Primer, they did a ranking of all players by position for their UZR for the last 4 seasons with the more recent years weighted more strongly.

Jeter ranks last amongst shortstops at 31 runs below average per 162 games. That's a lot. Bernie apparently cost the team even more, 32 runs.

By the way, Jay Payton ranks well (in LF & CF), but I've always thought of him as having a bad arm, which would be a problem in RF. Maybe I'm wrong.

Here are the #s.

Yo, for real, the Mets are SET, Super Joe Mac is back on board for two years (solid) and Raul Gonzalez is tearing up the winter league.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

The Mets nontendered Strickland, so I guess we have a tandem of Franco and Weathers to close games (ewww!)
Do you really think Payton would come back to a team that traded him? Can he even play RF anyway, I thought he was a CF. Seems like Mondesi might be the best bet, regardless of his past problems. I think the Mets need to abandon their outfield search for a bit and focus on some pitching. The rotation seems awfully thin, and we know there isn't any young talent coming up anytime soon.

I noticed Carlos Lee just signed a contract with the White Sox. Was he a FA, or was that an extension? If he was a FA, I would have loved to have signed him. And the deal was rather reasonable too, 2 yr/15 mil. And I can't believe Millwood accepted arbitration! What's that about?

Ryan, you're right, Tejada is definitely overpaid. And I guess another reason everyone loves Jeter (I don't) is because of his maturity and leadership abilities. And while I question that, since I think no one can really lead a Steinbrenner-owned team other than Georgie himself, people also respect him.

Bonds is a god, but what if he's a juiced-up god? That would tarnish baseball nicely.

When is Strickland supposed to be back? Before he got hurt, I thought he would have been the ideal closer when Boo-nitez left.

Who is Hairy Nuts? Notice I said who is, not who has, so I expect an answer from only 1 person.

Do I get royalties every time someone says the new Mets slogan now?
Jay Payton is available for RF.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Couple of comments on recent moves.

The Dodgers re-signed free agent P Wilson Alvarez to a 1 year, $1.5 million contract.

Maybe he was reluctant to go elsewhere, but the Mets should have at least investigated. I would have gladly given Alvarez $2 million. He did have a 2.37 ERA last year.

The A's signed free agent P Arthur Rhodes
to a 3 year contract for about $9.2 million.

Again, I think this would have a good move for the Mets. Rhodes did drop off somewhat last year, so I can understand being nervous about giving him a 3 year deal, but $3 mill a year is a bargain. Rhodes could be a dominant closer. As tough a loss as Foulke is for the A's, Rhodes is half the price and in 2001 and 2002 was about as dominant.

The Yankees traded P Chris Hammond and $1.2 million to the A's for minor leaguers INF J.T. Stotts and P Edwardo Sierra.

Another good move for the A's. I don't understand why the Yanks were so anxious to dump Hammond for White. They're still paying half of Hammond's salary, so I don't see why they didn't at least bring him to camp and let them battle it out.
Fielding percentage is a virtually worthless stat. It's good at measuring what it measures, how often someone makes an error. But I think anyone who has every watched much baseball would realize that there is much, much more to defense than just not making errors, primarily range.
UZR is not a perfect stat, but I think it's fairly reliable. Every other fielding stat (Win Shares, Range Factor, Zone Rating, etc.) comes to a similar conclusion about Jeter's defense. Plus, I think it is generally accepted that while he has a good arm and goes back on popups well, he has lousy range.
I don't think based on UZR we can definitevely say that Jeter is the worst SS in baseball. But, based on all the available evidence, I think it is valid to conclude that Jeter is somewhere between below average and the worst SS. Where in that range he falls is up for debate, but I don't see any basis for a conclusion outside of that range.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

I was arguing that Jeter was an exceptional shortstop for three reasons, the first two were implied by offense and defense (which you addressed) and the third was his marketability, an angle which NO sports writer or SABRmatician (sp?) even bothers to look at. The fact that we're sitting here arguing about him (not Nomar, Tejada, Renteria, Pujols, Helton, etc...), and the fact that people love to bash the guy shows how much he's in the spot light. His numbers, accolades, victories, and accomplishments on and off the field must warrant "exceptional" status, no?

The problem I have with that UZR ranking is that although it takes a lot of good specific categories, it doesn't take into account other ancillary factors such as garbage time runs, and since he is using such specific categories in the UZR, why not temperature, weather. I find some problems with his methodology. There is no real pure "error" category (maybe I'm not reading his UZR article correctly, but I don't like the fact that they're using a component in their error formula based on the entire MLB's SS's performance), and not to nitpick, but the batted ball speed component is also based on "stringers" a.k.a. humans and their judgments. I would honestly believe there is a huge difference between garbage time cost runs as opposed to crunch time costly runs (boy, I'd bet Alex Gonzalez and his .984 fielding % would love that run he cost back). Jeter may give up runs, but the Yanks' (the Red Sox too) lineup is forgiving enough in the sense that they score a lot of runs, and their pitching and defense doesn't give up enough runs to lose. Errors made costing runs on teams like the Dodgers, or the Tigers are amplified to a level of hurting the team because their pitching and defense may give up a lot of runs, or their offense can't generate any runs. Jeter playing with Knoblauch and Soriano as his IF partners has appeared in the post season EVERY season he has started in the majors. So his defense can't be that large of liabilty to the rest of his team. This past year (and the last too) were pretty terrible for the Yanks defensively, but they still found a win. Jeter might be a cog in the Yankee machine, but he has to be one of the bigger ones no matter what anybody says.

My point here is that although Mr. Lichtman and other SABRmaticians certainly put a lot of hard work and thought into their work, there will always be fallacy or bias (I'm talking about factors not Yankee bias) on their part. There will never be an all encompassing stat that ends all discussions about who the best player is, if there was, we wouldn't be having these conversations. Same with studies, one study will say drinking one glass of wine is good for you, another study will say drinking one glass of wine is not good for you.

I guess for the record, if you look at fielding percentage (an MLB recognized stat) career wise between Nomar, ARod, Jeter, Vizquel, and Tejada, they rank: Vizquel (.983), ARod (.977), Jeter (.973), Tejada (.970), and Nomar (.969) according to MLB.com (Yahoo has slightly different numbers, but the order remains the same). This stat doesn't encompass "everything" either, but I would argue at least it is an official stat.

I have problems with Bill James, but that is for another day.

Bonds is God, too bad no one is ready to recognize it.
Bonds is already in the top 10 all time for winshares (including pitchers), and is the only modern era player (besides Rickey) to be mentioned in the same breath as the Ruths, Musials, Cobbs. etc.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Just a quick post to support Saro. OPS+ is probably the best hitting stat that I can easily get leaders for.
The top 10 list for OPS+ seasons since 1900 is made up of only 3 people: Ruth (5 seasons), Bonds (3 seasons), and Williams (2 seasons). Bonds has the top 2.

Over the last 14 years, Bonds has led the league in OPS+ 8 times, finished 2nd three times, and 3rd twice. The only year he didn't finish in the top 3 was 1999, when he only played 102 games.

Oh, and he has 658 HRs and 500 SBs.
At least Nomar is straight.
Barry Bonds will go down as one of the top 3 hitters EVER (with Ted Williams and Babe Ruth), as the numbers he has posted are insane (I'll let Ryan or Tim Kurkjian on ESPN post the numbers).
Damit, I'm trying to study for a final, but I can't let that Jeter comment go.

First off, Jeter takes it up the ass. It's true, it's true.

Secondly, Jeter is by no means an exceptional SS, unless you mean exceptionally bad. He's arguably the worst defensive SS in baseball. As I mentioned in an earlier post:

According to Ultimate Zone Rating, Jeter cost his team more runs defensively from 2000-2002 than anyone in baseball other than Aramis Ramirez.

If anyone would like to see the UZR rankings, you can get them here. I'm inclined to believe it's the best defensive stat available (although there are no public 2003 #s yet).

Or, if you really want to know about Derek Jeter's defense, you can read Mike Emeigh's 8 part Analysis. It should be noted that this analysis covers the years 1999-2000, and most people seem to agree that Jeter's defense has gotten worse since then.

P.S. Barry Bonds is god.
The NFL also has pretty good parity. Although the drawback is your favorite player will probably be cut at the end of the season or traded for draft picks. Who would have thought the Bengals would be in the playoff hunt in December?

Would I be going out on a limb if I said the Lakers were going to destroy the competition? Shaq, Kobe, Malone, Payton...

Jeter makes a lot of money for being the second-fifth shortstop out there, but he's a perfect fit for the Yanks at his salary. Although Jeter may not put up offensive numbers like ARod, et al, he is an exceptional SS. And where his value goes through the roof is his marketability. He has yet to rape an 18 year old, try to go through an air port metal detector with tin foil wrapped weed or even bad mouth his boss after personal attacks. He has however spearheaded Nike and Gatorade campaigns, which are probably two of the hottest sports endorsements out there, is a NY tabloid favorite (What hottie is he banging this week?), hosted a pretty funny SNL, and most importantly talks to the media in a mature and professional manner. He puts a lot of people (especially women) in the seats, and is a perfect spokesman for the Yankee product. Now if he was in KC, Detroit, etc... he would probably be just another shortstop. Nomar is a very private person, that's cool, but that will hinder him with the media who can make or break you. I haven't heard much about anyone sticking up for Nomar up in Boston. And judging from Millar's comments on sports center yesterday, he doesn't have too much internal support either. ARod has charisma and marketability, so it will be interesting to see what happens if he does make it to Boston. Will he be rolling around in those Nike, Gatorade campaigns, or will he be crack and be roasted by the worst media market in the country?

Bonds is another funny animal. If he breaks the HR record, not many people will care. Even after those monster MVP seasons, no one gives a shit, and he certainly gets no love or respect. Maybe he brought it upon himself

Looks like the ARod talks hit a snag with the union. But that would be some lineup if they got Magglio too. Teams are starting to look like fantasy squads now. How about them A's? Hudson, Zito, Mulder, Redman and Harden!?!? Are they going to be this years Dodgers (excellent pitching but no hitting)?
yeah, i didn't mean winning nba championships, i meant hope for the playoffs. i would add the hawks and wiz to the list, but not the magic, cuz they have mcgrady. see, in hoops, even teams that you know won't win it all at least have one dazzling player who you need to tune in and see, a franchise player any other team in the league would want. pretty much only the wiz, knicks and hawks fit the category of not offering that to their fans.

whereas in baseball, there are certain teams where i just don't understand how people can continue to watch and root for when their rosters don't have any franchise players and you KNOW they can't/won't make a move to compete.

in baskets, any team, any team, can make that move. the nugs were bad, unwatchale, boom they get carmelo, boom they clear salary cap space to sign free agents. free agents sign with almost every team in the NBA except the jazz. whereas in baseball, you know half the teams in the league enter the winter with absolutely no hope of getting a franchise player, or above-average players.
If anyone wants info on Questec,
here you go. It's the first thing I've read that clearly describes how the process works. And if you've read my stickball bio, you know I love Questec.
Ryan, I think what Aram meant by 'hope' was watchable, which the Knicks and Heat are not. But I'd add Orlando, Atlanta and Washington to this list.
I admittedly don't follow basketball, but based on when I did, I find it hard to believe there are only 2 teams that don't have a chance at winning the championship. Basketball is the sport with the least parity by far.

# of different teams that have won the last 20 World Series: 14
# of different teams that have won the last 20 NBA Championships: 6
This a swerve: Insted of going to LA or Anaheim, Nomar could go straight to Chicago for Magglio Ordonez.
boooooooo on auction.

and i agree, i'm not sure how this makes the bosox better, unless manny is that much of a clubhouse cancer, since they would lose both manny and nomar.

teams whose fans have no hope for AT ALL this season.

white sox
pirates (debatable)
padres (cept for their new park)

that's a lot of teams. in hoops before this season you could only say that about the knicks and heat.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

I'm sure everyone is aware of this, but the Red Sox intend to get a slugging LF after the ARod trade (they may just pass the pitching they get from the Dodgers for Nomar to another team for a LF-Magglio Ordonez is a possibility).
That lineup would be sick.
"at least if you have that money spread out over a couple of good players (like the Red Sox, the Yanks)"

Just for the record, Derek Jeter makes more money per year than Barry Bonds. And Giambi is very close. And you can make an argument that Bonds is more valuable than both of them put together. It is very hard for me to believe that the Giants could've spent $18 million in a better way the last couple of years.

"maybe that is why so many of us love the auction

I'm with you on that, but everyone else on this blog hates the auction.
A player is going to be worth what ever someone is willing to pay him. Hell, I wish the Yanks or some team would break a 300 million payroll, let the small market teams get keep crying and hopefully be driven out of the league. You don't go to a poker game and start crying when someone keeps raising, either call, raise yourself or get the hell out.
Hitting hasn't been Texas' problem. Their pitching has been at the bottom of the league the last couple of year, and seemingly dead last last year and in 2001. On a tangent, Colorado has tried to get around their pitching problem by outhitting the opposition, but that hasn't worked out so well since their opposition is doing the same to them, and doing it better.

Part of my point was, what happens when your $25 million dollar star gets injured for the whole season? Would the Giants be the same team without Bonds if he was out for a substantial portion of the season, or the Rangers the same (snicker) team without ARod? My point was, at least if you have that money spread out over a couple of good players (like the Red Sox, the Yanks), you can bear the brunt of a season ending injury or a FA departure. Plus in losing Manny and Nomar, there is no way ARod by himself can replace both their numbers combined (How is he going to replace 383 hits, 75 HRs, 209 RBI's, and 213 runs by himself?). He can't save them by himself, this isn't basketball where one man (a la Iverson, Kobe or some other dominating 2 guard) can win you games by themselves. Three players at $25 million ($75 total) only fill three positions. What about the other 6 hitters/fielders, bench, and pitching staff? Are you going to fill up your roster with 1 million or two million dollar players? You're going to have a really hard time fielding a good team. Picture your fantasy baseball auction. It runs a nice parallel I think (maybe that is why so many of us love the auction.)

Texas has gotten rid of or are in the process of getting rid of some of those chumps. But what is going to happen in three years when some of their "stars" like Teixiera, Blalock, Mench reach that point in their career where they start getting arbitration or free agency?

It's insulting to any baseball fan to have to watch teams like the Brewers, Detroit, Tampa Bay, etc... play. If I wanted to watch AAA or AA level baseball I'd go to those games. For them to try to pass off their teams as major league teams is terrible. And even more infuriating is watching them bad mouth the teams that are doing things in a progressive manner (in my humble opinion at any rate), but I guess that angry tirade belongs to another day.

I guess if you've been reading this rambling crap I've been posting, I'm just trying to say: Baseball is like that ex-girlfriend you hate, but can't stop screwing.
And the Cards also signed Greg Vaughn to a minor league contract, so he's out of the running for RF.
D'oh! Guillen signed with the Angels and Sanders signed with the Cardinals. That leaves Jordan as the favorite for RF. At least the Mets will have an all-black outfield.
The Mets and Mariners are still discussing a Cirillo-Cedeno deal, with the Mariners paying the difference in salary. The Mets do not need this chump, as he ranks along the lines of great chumps like Brian Griese.
Ravi, I pretty much agree with most of your points, but I think that's what the current "market correction" is all about. Part of it is the bad economy, but the other part is that teams are finally realizing that paying mediocre veterans (i.e. Todd Zeile) a lot of money is foolish. The stars are getting a little less money than a couple of years ago, but the real difference is in the middle class of baseball.

If you look at those #s on USAToday, payrolls rose an average of 15% a year from 1996 to 2001. They only rose 3% and 5% the last two, and I wouldn't be shocked if they actually drop slightly in 2004.

So, yes, salaries will always rise over time, but they're rising much more slowly, and I think that will continue to be the case for the next couple of seasons.

And I never get bored with baseball.
don't worry, ravi. we'll be bored with the baseball season before you know it.
I'm getting real annoyed with all this moaning about salaries and "market correction." Salaries will always rise. Period.
I'm going to have more to say on this later, once I get all the data together, but here's a link on payrolls and median salaries: http://asp.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/salaries/default.aspx. Have fun with this, and see the hysterics of Selig and his cronies when it comes to payrolls. Of much interest is the option on this that allows you to check median salaries.

I think the problem is that although the top players may be paid what they are worth, bad research and good marketing by agents leads MEDIOCRE players to be ridiculously overpaid--as evidenced by the list below on what Hicks has paid. Neyer put together an article a few days ago on A-Rod being UNDERPAID, or something to that extent, and what I want to know is that what extent does giving a marginally better than average player a giant contract influence the value of the true superstars.

And Peter Angelos has always been an asshole. Or a model lawyer. The archetype of owner hypocrisy was in 1995 when Jerry Reisendorf gave that $55 million contract to Albert Belle after being the most vocal of all owners w/r/t skyrocketing player salaries.

Anyway, I have to get back to work now. How many days left to the baseball season?
I'm tired of all this crap about how the Rangers can't compete because they're paying ARod too much. The Rangers' payroll last year was $106 million. Subtract ARod's money and they still have a bigger budger than the Astros, White Sox, Twins, Marlins, Blue Jays, As, and Expos. Somehow, those teams managed to compete. Imagine how good any of them would have been if you added ARod to the team. In fact you could 2 ARod contracts to the As and they'd still be under the Rangers budget.

ARod has been worth every penny the Rangers have paid him. The problem for the Rangers last year wasn't his $25 million, it was:
$13 - Park
$13 - JuanGon
$9+ - Everett
$7 - Rusty Greer
$3+ - Jay Powell
$2.5 - Ismael Valdes
$2.5 - Van Poppel

That's $50 million. Imagine if they had 3 ARod's.
The Tejada deal is typical of how two faced owners like Peter Angelous and Tom Hicks are. On paper and to anyone that will listen they bash the big spenders, but then they turn around and start doing the same quietly. It will be interesting to see if they get Vlad and how much they will give him. It seems like Vlad's initial demands weren't being met by anyone, not even the Yanks, who are in need of a RF (we don't have Sheff yet).
Tom Hicks destroyed the players market a couple of years ago with ARod's deal, maybe he was basically playing chicken, and it backfired on him horribly. Now his team is being strangled by having a quarter of their payroll tied up in one player. ARod can put together a monster season, it will not save the Rangers. Then again, he has been playing better offensively than ever in his career, and without a supporting cast around him, they are in last. And it doesn't look to be changing any time soon either. Then Hicks has the nerve to say he needs to cut his payroll! The other guys on the club must love that... Ironically I can still remember the days where the Rangers were competitive in the AL, and that was without ARod.
It's baffling to see the Sox toying with the idea of taking on ARod's contract in addition to part of Manny's (as a lot of the rumors that are swirling around are suggesting). I'm not sure about the exact payroll numbers, but the Sox's payroll has to be up there, and in addition to adding payroll, hurting two of your best hitters feelings, and not leaving much room for manuvering with your free agents next year, it's going to be a disaster after next season. Maybe like Stonewall Jackson, they are throwing all their chips into that final charge, but it's not going to be pretty if they don't win it all this coming season. I hope Schilling enjoys his future with Boston, he sure is talking a good game now, but if or when they start losing...
Whatever may happen next season with the Yankees, even if all their FA pickups turn sour, they will still have a contending team for a couple of seasons.

Monday, December 15, 2003

I'll add one to the chart below:

Huff 27 162 .309 (18th in AL)

According to the News and Post, there's some small chance that Aubrey Huff is available, possibly for a package including Heilman. That would be very nice. Huff is young, a very good hitter, probably still reasonably priced (first year of arbitration). He's not a good fielder, but he's been moved around a lot, so maybe he'll improve if he's stuck in RF for good.
Juan Gon is a little tempting, but I'm scared by all his injuries. You really can only expect him to play half the year. Here's the age, games played last year, and EQA (.260 is average) last year for some candidates:

JuanGon 34 82 .291
Sanders 36 130 .298 (higher than past years)
Jordan 37 66 .284
Guillen 28 136 .304 (fluke)
Mondesi 33 143 .280

Long 28 140 .237
Cedeno 29 148 .249

Just to provide an example of what these guys are worth, Sanders was worth about 3 wins more than Cedeno offensively last year.
But as bad as Cedeno has been, his EQA has been better than Long each of the last 3 years.

In conclusion, Guillen seems very unpredictable and most of the rest of the guys are risky because of their age and injury history. I think Sanders would be my first choice if we could get him to agree to a one-year deal, otherwise, maybe Mondesi. If Juan Gon was willing to do a one-year deal (which might be in his best interest anyway), it would obviously be tempting to try to catch lightning in a bottle.
It's pretty sad if you think about Juan Gonzalez. A 2 time MVP is now being mentioned in the same breath as Reggie Sanders, Raul Mondesi and Jose Guillen.
According to CBS sportsline (which is better than ESPN.com), the latest on the Manny-ARod deal is that the Sox will trade Williamson for a starter and trade that starter with Manny for ARod. The Dodgers seem to be Nomar's most likely destination, and St. Louis is trying all it can to muster enough money for Maddux.
The AL West is by far the most competitive division. Anaheim (Colon, Escobar, possibly Nomar), Oakland (Billy Beane will pull something out of his ass-he might already have Pittsburgh paying for half of Kendall's contract) and Seattle (tightasses, but they still contend) all field very good teams.
Of course, if the Blue Jays were in the AL central, they'd dominate.
I want to go on record and say that the Os are giving too much money to Tejada ($72/6). He's getting $5million more per year than Matsui and 3 extra years to boot. I would agree that Tejada will be better than Matsui, but I don't think by that much. Admittedly, it's hard to predict what Matsui will do, so let's compare Tejada to other shortstops. Tejada's EQA last year (which was a fairly typical year for him) was .280. Here's where he ranks:
ARod .326
Renteria .309
Jeter .299
Nomar .296
Furcal .281
Tejada .280
Cintron .280
Cabrera .276
C.Guillen .274
Reyes .274 (admittedly limited # of ABs)
(more info here)

Not all that overwhelming. Granted, Tejada has a more consistent track record than a lot of those guys and he deserves credit for playing 162 games the last couple years. I'd still probably rank him the #3 SS in baseball (behind ARod and Nomar). And when you compare his contract to ARod's and Jeter's, it looks small. But, the economics of baseball have changed tremendously in the last couple years. I think $12 million is the top of the range for Tejada. If this was a 3 year deal, it wouldn't be that bad. But a lot can happen in 6 years. The best the O's can hope for is Tejada will still be the same player in 6 years, but there's always a significant chance for decline or injury, particularly considering the speculation over his real age.

And regarding the A's, their new SS Bobby Crosby had a .273 Major League Equivalent (MLE) EQA last year, which means that he should be somewhat close to Tejada this year.

All that said, if the O's sign Vlad and IRod, it'll be pretty bad ass. Their offense will rock, but they don't have much pitching.
How much does it suck to be the Blue Jays? They had a very solid year, lot of good young hitters, and they've made some good additions to their rotation (Batista, Lilly). If they were in any other division in baseball, they could have some hope of making the playoffs this year, and feel even better about their chances in the future. Instead, they're stuck in a division with the 2 best teams in baseball and now another team that seems determined to sign every big free agent hitter.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

what's going to happen to the A's?

anybody seen the padres new uniforms? not bad, although their hats are lame dodgers rip-offs.
I think Brad has hit on the new Mets slogan:

"Mets baseball: you won't be disgusted by it!"

I agree that they should get another pitcher. Over the course of the season, someone will inevitably get hurt. Signing a 5th starter and having Heilman in AAA ready to fill in when that happens seems like the way to go.
That being said, I think Duq should be able to muster up the "energy" to sign a RF for, say, $2mill.
wait, can we trust it when beane says 'he'll be great for the mets' i mean, this guy hates the mets, maybe he just hated steve phillips.

the mets haven't released their schedule yet, it will probably still be snowing then.

theo epstein is a g, that trade is nuts. it seems like all three teams in that situation would end up ok.

if they're not chasing vlad then they should not spend energy on RF, cuz pitching is needed bad, there's no way glavine and leiter are getting through the season healthy the entire way, and seo is a huge question mark, he could easily have a 5 era or his arm could fall off.
Tigers offered the same deal to Rondell and Sanders, and since Rondell signed, they withdrew the offer to Reggie. I'd offer him a one year deal with an option, but I'd still go after Jose Cruz first. Regardless of Cameron striking out alot, I think this will work out very well, and their lineup is actually coming around. I'm not saying they're the Red Sox or anything, but I'm not disgusted by it. Also, that 3-way trade I mentioned a couple days ago was in the paper, and it's crazy. Philly would get Nomar and Trot, Texas would get Manny and Rollins, and Boston would get A-Rod AND Abreu. Are you kidding me? Boston getting A-Rod is one thing, but getting him and A-boo-boo is ridiculous.
Bob Klapisch had a good article about Cameron. excerpts:

Beane produced statistical evidence that no one in baseball saves more runs than Cameron.

Beane: "in terms of value and how much he impacts a defense, is the best player out there."

"I could show you how many runs Mike saves a year, and what he means to a team," Beane had said. "He'd be great for the Mets. That's why I don't want them to get him. With that ballpark, and that [fly-ball] pitching staff, Mike would be perfect."
When's the home opener?
Just to reiterate, I am very happy about Cameron. According to UZR (ultimate zone rating), he's worth 30 runs over an average defensive CF. That's huge, and even bigger for the Mets because of all the flyballs the pitching staff gives up.
I also just learned that Wigginton had a -24 UZR last year. Pretty bad. I guess we're sticking with Wiggs for the next 2 years until David Wright is ready, but it might have made sense to sign Ventura (he got $1.5 from the Dodgers).
The Tigers have supposedly offered Sanders $6/2. There's now way I'd give him a 2 year deal at his age. The Tigers are going crazy in their attempt to reach mediocrity: Vina, Rondell, offer to Tejada.
According to the Post: "White Sox are viewed as the front-runners for righty Sidney Ponson with a three-year, $18 million offer." That's way too high. maaaan.
Assuming no Vlad, I'm sticking with my offseason plan of Cruz, Alvarez or Lidle, and Arthur Rhodes if he's reasonably priced. But I'm fine with Weathers as closer (raise his trade value, trade midseason if we're out of the race) and I wouldn't be outraged by Heilman as 5th starter. Maybe Rick Peterson can work his magic on him.
I still think it was a mistake not getting Batista.
By the way, my estimate is that the Mets would currently go into the season with a payroll around $80 mill, so I don't see why Vlad at around $15 would be implausible.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Consdering there are differrent payroll numbers (is it $80 or $100 million?) that I hear, Vlad is out of the question. I want Reggie so we have an all-black outfield. And I guess we have to live with Heilman for a fifth starter (maybe he can lower the ERA to 6.00).
Mets got Cameron!
Assuming we can't get Vlad, I think Cruz is the best option for RF. You can make an argument for Sanders, Guillen, or Mondesi, but Cruz is probably the safest bet. He's an OK hitter and a good fielder. If we end up starting Long, I'll be pissed. He's just as bad as Cedeno.
PLEASE, PLEASE, let clemens sign his fat ass with the ass-tros, so that we can plunk him in his fat ass when he comes to shea and swings his bat.

oh wait, we already tried plunking him. remember shawn testes?

for real, the sooner they sign sheffield the happier i'll be, as perverse as that sounds. but they can't get vlad, i don't understand why there aren't more teams in the hunt for him? are the sox and yanks the only teams spending money? don't the dodgers desperately need offense? and what kind of sham scam is MLB running? why weren't the expos allowed to even make an attempt to keep the greatest offensive player that franchise has ever had? either dissolve the franchise or get them a real owner, otherwise, having an MLB farm club playing in the majors that gives players away players to the other teams is an insult to the game. but before they go they should give us livian.

if i were foulke there would be no way in hell i would sign with the bosox. is any amount of money worth the pressure of having to save a world series game for the red sox??????
Is Jose Cruz Jr. a free agent? What about him in RF? I'm not sure whether I'm happy or not about Foulke going to the Sox, since now the A's can keep their offer on the table to Cameron. All I ask is that the Yanks don't get Vlad.

Friday, December 12, 2003

I heard some wild 3-way scenario involving Boston, Philly, and Texas. I forget how it would go exactly, but Texas trades A-Rod, Boston trades Nomar, Manny, and Trot, and Philly trades Abreu and Jimmy Rollins. Anyone else hear this one?

I don't think it would hurt the Mets to at least inquire about Ponson, especially with Batista off the market. He's probably overvalued, but it wouldn't hurt to ask. And it seems more likely that the Mets are gonna get Terrence Long for Cedeno rather than sign Cameron. I'm not sure if I like that better or not, if only cuz they'd be getting rid of Cedeno (thank God!).
Francesa is an idiot. But I may have to listen to the FAN today just to hear his outrage. Here's a quote:
"Why don't you just end it George. Blow up the whole franchise. Trade Mariano away. I can't take it."

And by the way, the great core of Yankees homegrown players that won all those championships is only 5 people: Jeter, Bernie, Pettitte, Rivera, and Posada.
As a friend of mine wrote today, before the Brown trade:

Yankees rotation before Brown trade: Mussina, Vazquez, Wells, Contreras, Lieber

Yankees rotation after Brown trade and Brown season-ending injury: Mussina, Vazquez, Wells, Contreras, Lieber

Yankees rotation after Wells' arm falls off and Contreras sucks again: Mussina, Vazquez, Lieber, Millwood, Mulholland
"there's definitely a mystique to the dope homegrown core of the yanks, jeter, rivera etc. but the yanks rotation looks much better now. "

I have no brother.

What mystique? Plenty of teams have good minor leaguers but cannot afford to keep them **coughEXPOScough**. Only the Yankees could afford to give lavish contracts to Williams, Jeter, Rivera and Posada whereas other teams like the A's just find new prospects to replace the ones who leave.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Son of a bitch! The Blue Jays signed Batista for $15/3.
Hmmmm, not sure what the Mets do now. I'd still like to somehow swing a deal for Livan Hernandez, but I don't think the Expos need to slash any more payroll. As far as free agents, the best options are probably either Wilson Alvarez or Cory Lidle.
Alvarez was fantastic in his limited exposure last year (170 ERA+ in 95 IP). Surprisingly, he's also been very consistent over his career (when he's been healthy) and has a career ERA+ of 114.
Lidle had a miserable year and could probably be had for cheap. Being reunited with peterson might help. In 2 years with Oakland, he had a 119 & 121.
Ponson, Hitchcock, Suppan, Burkett, Tomko, Valdes - Ponson will be overpaid and none of the rest are too appealing.
Maybe someone better will be non-tendered or available in a trade.

And I still haven't finished studying CrimPro!
Let me hear your war cry scumbag! aaaaaaarrrrr!
yeah, i thought the dodgers were looking for offense. apparently they want to flip weaver to the cards for j.d. drew. weaver won't be that bad, pitchers park, he'll bring his era all the way down to 4.20 maybe.

on paper, the yanks rotation is damn dope. brown, javy and moose is sick, bro, sick. maybe they'll add maddux too so some other guy can go to the bronx and collect his 300th win as a 'yankee' just like that old yankee clemens.

you should have herd francesa today. out of CONTROL. by 1:20 his voice was hoarse from screaming so much. he kept making the point that he doesnt care about brown, the yanks dynasty is based on chemistry and good guys, not malcontents like brown. he's got a point. he also questioned why general steinbrenner sweated sheff so much when their number one priority should have been to resign pettitte.

there's definitely a mystique to the dope homegrown core of the yanks, jeter, rivera etc. but the yanks rotation looks much better now.

when did this become the yankees blog? damn yankees
D'oh! So much for the Yanks rotation being screwed. Reports are that Yankees acquired Kevin Brown for Weaver, 2 prospects, and $3million. Those better be some pretty damn good prospects (do the Yankees have any?). Sounds like a steal for the Yanks. Damn Dodgers! Brown was one of the best pitchers in the league last year. Hopefully, he'll get hurt, but if he's healthy:
According to ESPN, Astros signed Pettitte. 3 years, $32-34. Nice! Who do the Yanks get now?

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

If we're talking about '05 and '06, then we don't need to sign somebody now, we can wait till next year. Signing pitchers to long term deals is riskier than hitters. The Mets probably aren't going to contend this year, so we shouldn't take on any contracts that we'll end up regretting when we're trying to win in '05 and '06.
This is, incidentally, very similar to the argument I made last year about why the Mets shouldn't sign Glavine.
And if we're going to shell out for a big money free agent, then I'd rather spend a few extra mill on Vlad, who would help the team a lot more than Millwood.

And next year there will probably be better pitchers available. Pedro? Wood? Morris?
And Kazmir will be ready!
shockingly, the mets plan to reduce the price of upper deck seats and have fewer gold games next season.
well, after overpaying for hitting, maybe we should overpay for pitching. i dunno, i just will never feel secure about the future of this franchise if our four pitchers are trash-el, glavine, leiter, and seo. especially since we are talking about the mets contending for a playoff spot in 05 and 06.

jeter is the second worst defensive ss in baseball????? haha, are we allowed to say the f-word on here?

look at nomar, man's man, married himself a hot soccer player. jeter can't wait for a-rod to get to boston so his butt buddy will be closer.
I'm not saying the idea is silly, I'm saying just mentioning it is silly. If the Yankees were prepared to move Jeter, they'd go after A-Rod, not Kaz Matsui, don't you think?
I don't think moving Jeter is silly, it's just difficult because he's Jeter. He's one of the best of his generation at his position, one of the best players on his team, one of its most popular players, and a team leader. You know who else is all of those things? Mike Piazza. And he's switching positions. If Jeter cares as much about winning as he says he does, he should be willing to switch. And if Yankee management cares about winning, they should have at least talked to him about it.
The Yankees' biggest problem is defense, and Jeter is arguably the worst defensive SS in baseball. According to Ultimate Zone Rating, Jeter cost his team more runs defensively from 2000-2002 than anyone in baseball other than Aramis Ramirez. Admittedly, I don't know how he'd be at third, but his lack of range shouldn't be as much of a problem and he has a strong arm.

On to a team I care about, I don't like Millwood for the Mets. He's going to cost at least $11 mill a year. ERA the last 4 years:
Not worth the money.
Come on, Ryan. There is no way Jeter would ever move to 3B. That's silly.
on another note, you know how all these qb's have stepped in around the nfl and have done perfectly fine. anthony wright, tim hasslebeck, tim rattay, gus ferrotte, etc. etc. well, why do i have the feeling that jesse palmer will step in and do absolutely nothing this sunday? at least we are in line for a decent draft pick. so i am left to cheer AGAINST the gints and the knicks the rest of the season just so they can get good draft positioning. gawd.
why are the mets wasting one second fishing for a closer? i find ryan's idea for weathers far more appealing. we should be concentrating on shoring up our creaky rotation. trash-el only seems to do well when the team is out of it. batista would be a fine addition, i think another starter is needed here as well. i'd much rather spend the money on millwood than on a closer, even if millwood isn't hot shakes. i'm not sure what hot shakes means.
It sounds pretty possible that the Mets will get Batista. Solid move. I'm not saying he's better, but he did have a better ERA this year than Colon, Millwood, or Pettitte. And he'll be much cheaper. I'm not so sold on the Urbina idea. There aren't a lot of guys left, but I think Arthur Rhodes would be a bit cheaper and probably just as good. Or just give David Weathers the job.
As a final final note on Matsui, I really think the wrong NY team got him. He would've been a great addition for the Yankees, who could've moved Jeter to 3B and non-tendered Boone.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

This is dope. For those of you who don't know, the best Red Sox propaganda site is www.bostondirtdogs.com. Sounds like they're none too happy with Nomar. Garciaparra.
Are they going after pitching? I wouldn't mind Batista if they can get him cheap. And how about a closer? Hey Johnny Be Good, take your Geritol and warm up baby! And would it hurt the Mets to at least make an offer to Vlad, seeing as how no one else is going to?
who is this "aram," bro? sounds like some sort of islam name to me, bro.

at this point i can't hold out much hope for winning. .500 would be nice, if we are gonna lose i'd rather lose with style. rumour has it he might dye his hair orange-and-blue
Aram, I couldn't care less about "juice" and "excitement". All I care about is winning. And fannies will be put in the seats when the team wins.

I don't buy that Cameron - A's report. I find it hard to believe that they're throwing around that kind of money (24/4), plus they already of Mark Kotsay in CF. Anyway, I have no problem giving Cameron $6mill a season.
Even though Matsui's numbers will certainly suffer due to the transition to MLB and Shea, he should still put up good enough numbers to be a top offensive NL shortstop. Anything in the .285 20 HR 80 RBI range would be a pretty good compliment to his defense.
While i think super-turbo-happy-cool-jazzy-Kazzy's offensive numbers will most certainly suffer in the pitcher's park that is our beloved Shea, i have to say i love this signing. First of all, he's being paid less than we paid Rey-Rey. Second, he will put fannies in seats and add some much-needed juice and excitement to our moribound club.

Peep Rob Neyer's take on how Kaz' numbers will suffer based on a comparison to Ichiro and Godzilla's.

The A's have reportedly offered an extra year and extra $$$$ to cameron. boo-hease, either we're stuck with Mo-Ti or getting Reggie Sanders.
My final take on Little Matsui (for now):

I think the media is getting way too excited. This is a solid acquisition, but it's not the kind of move that will dramatically alter the team. We can all expect strong defense and probably slightly above average offense.

I think it's an OK move. He's probably being paid a little too much, we might have been better off picking up a cheaper alternative (Aurilia, Walker) or just keeping a much cheaper alternative (Marco Scutaro). But, it can't be classified as a big mistake, because none of those options are quite as good, neither Mets 2B prospect seems like a sure thing for the next few years, and having solid defense up the middle will help a pitching staff that doesn't get a lot of Ks.

That being said, a bigger help to those pitchers would be signing Mike Cameron. 3 of the 4 Mets starters are flyball pitchers, so it's more critical to have strong defense in CF than 2B. If the Mets sign Cameron, I'll probably be fairly happy with the offseason. If signing Matui means we don't get Cameron, then it's a bad move.