Thursday, July 31, 2008

Player A: 393 AB, 72 R, 111 H, 23 2B, 2 3B, 22 HR, 64 RBI, 7 SB, 59 BB, 86 K, .282/.375/.519
Player B: 365 AB, 66 R, 109 H, 22 2B, 1 3B, 20 HR, 68 RBI, 1 SB, 52 BB, 86 K, .299/.398/.529

All the talk-radio talk is completely off base. Jason Bay and Manny Ramirez have been virtually identical at the plate so far this year. Bay is much better defensively. He's a better baserunner. And he's less likely to sit out a game against the Yankees with a "knee injury."

Did I mention that Bay is under contract for $7.5 million next year?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Good news from the NYT Dining Section regarding CitiField:

"Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group will open a Blue Smoke barbecue restaurant; a Shake Shack stand; Pop Fries, serving Belgian-style hand-cut fries; and a taqueria.
[the Mets] are negotiating with other well-known New York restaurateurs to open elsewhere in the stadium."

I know there may be long lines and high prices, but at least there will be more than one decent food option at the stadium. Speaking of which, I'll be pissed if the Wilpons don't bring the Mama's stand over to the new park.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

There's a poll on MetsBlog asking whether the Mets should sign Barry Bonds. People are against it, about 2-1. Without rehashing the entire argument, I'll just post the following statistics:

Barry Bonds OPS in 2007: 1.045
Combined Mets LF OPS in 2008: .625

Just to put it into perspective, if Bonds played 2/3 of the time (which is what he did in 2007), the above difference would be worth about 6 wins over the course of a season (Bonds's defense might knock it down to 5 wins).

Monday, July 07, 2008

C.C., Bedard, Colon

The Sabathia trade seems like a clear example of a trade that helps both teams. Despite preseason expectations, the Indians are clearly out of the race; they no longer need Sabathia. The Brewers are in a tight race (they're currently tied for the Wild Card). Sabathia makes them the clear favorite to win the Wild Card and helps their chances in the postseason. Matt LaPorta is a great offensive prospect who could be a star in Cleveland, but was probably a poor fit on a team that already has a young star at first base; a young star who is defensively challenged in left field; and a very good right fielder who might be stretched defensively in center.

Next up on the trading block: Erik Bedard? The Mariners are out of the race and don't seem to pleased with Bedard, but they have a problem: it'll be embarrassing when they don't get nearly as much in return as they gave up to get him five months ago. The Mariners never should've traded Adam Jones (and Sherrill, etc.) for Bedard; their team simply wasn't good enough to compete this year.

The Bedard situation sort of reminds me of another portly Cleveland pitcher: Bartolo Colon. On June 27, 2002, the Expos traded Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee, and Brandon Phillips for Colon. The following January, they traded Colon and only received Orlando Hernandez, Rocky Biddle, and Jeff Liefer in return. Omar Minaya's excuse for dumping so much talent in the first place is that he thought the Expos wouldn't be in existence for long, so there was no need to hold onto the prospects. That always sounded a little dubious to me - there was clearly at least a chance that the Expos would be sold and moved to another city and that a strong farm system should've (at least in theory) resulted in a higher price for the franchise.
Another flaw in Omar's theory is that the Expos didn't really have a good shot at making the playoffs with or without Colon. They were 6.5 games behind the Braves in the East and they were 5 games behind the Diamondbacks in the Wild Card race. The Expos were also 2 games behind the Giants and tied with the Reds. The Expos had given up more runs than they had scored, so their 41-36 record was probably somewhat of a fluke. Not surprisingly, they went 42-43 the rest of the way, finishing 19 games behind the Braves and 12.5 behind the Giants for the Wild Card. Colon pitched as well as could have been expected, but the team just wasn't playoff material.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

During one of the Subway Series games last weekend, one of the announcers (possibly David Cone) theorized that the reason the AL has been so dominant in interleague games is the DH. For the last couple years, a lot of baseball "experts" have spend a lot of time trying to explain why the AL has been winning such a large percentage of the interleague games. For some reason, they rarely discuss the obvious explanation: AL teams have higher payrolls.

Last season, the average payroll for a National League team was $73.6 million; the average for an AL team was $92.8 million. So, AL teams are spending 25% more on payroll and writers are struggling to explain why the AL is better? Here's a rough calculation - it's generally estimated that free agent players should cost about $2 million per win they add to your team. I think salary inflation may have pushed that to something more like $2.5 million. So, depending on how you want to calculate it, the average AL team last year should have been about 7.5-9.5 wins better than the average NL team. Using the 7.5 number, you'd expect AL teams to have a .546 winning percentage in interleague games. They're actual winning percentage last year was .544. Bingo!

OK, this year, the AL winning percentage was .594 and it was a little higher in 2006. So, the difference in payroll doesn't explain everything. But, it gets us a long way to explaining the difference. The rest of the explanation may be random fluctuation, better personnel decisions made by AL teams, some structural advantage (which I'm skeptical of), or some combination of all 3. But, the payroll difference is large and I think anyone who's honestly trying to figure out why the AL has the advantage needs to start there.