Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Don't Get Ruben Amaro Jr.

The Philadelphia Phillies signed Cliff Lee to a reported five year $120 million contract with a potential sixth season. Lee is an awesome pitcher and is comparable to Phillies ace Roy Halladay.

Amaro took over the general manager position with the Phillies after the 2008 World Series. Since then, he has made the following moves:

-He signed Raul Ibanez to a three year $30 million contract

-He signed Jamie Moyer to a two year $13 million contract

-He traded for and then signed Joe Blanton to a three year $24 million contract

-He signed Ryan Howard to a five year $125 million contract extension years before free agency

-He traded for Cliff Lee in 2009, who was amazing in the post season and then traded him after the season

-He traded for and signed Roy Halladay to a guaranteed three year $60 million contract

-He signed Placido Polanco to a three year contract

-He traded for Roy Oswalt

-And he signed Cliff Lee again

The contracts, except Halladay but including Lee, are ridiculous. He gave too many years and too many dollars for players who were a bit long in the tooth. I don't get how he can just sign players to these ridiculous contracts that will take them into their late 30s (or in Moyer's case late 40s), but for the very short term, the Phillies have one amazing team that are deserving World Series contenders in 2011 and 2012 for sure.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Don't Get Jack Z

Since I compared Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Z, and San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean in February, Sabean and the Giants won a World Series while Z and the Mariners lost 101 games. Figures, right?

Sabean is definitely not a genius and he has made some horrible signings, but for all the criticism, he deserves praise for assembling a team and coaching staff that won a World Series. That said, this post is more about Z.

In my post, I concluded with this:

Z brings in the same type of players that Sabean brings in. Z pays them much less than Sabean. Z does not throw all of his dice at said players. Instead, he creates depth and competition. Z is brilliant, Sabean is not.

Maybe Z isn't brilliant. He traded Brandon Morrow. He was erratic as indicated by his walk rate, but he could strike batters out. He's not Nolan Ryan, but he could be a Jonathan Sanchez and is certainly a good mid rotation starting pitcher.

He signed Ken Griffey Jr. Junior's farewell tour was last season. He was serviceable last season, and it was a fitting way to leave the game. While Junior may have wanted to play, his 2009 year wasn't good enough to warrant another farewell year. Predictably, Junior retired before the all-star break.

He signed Mike Sweeney. Junior's slightly younger clone did okay in his brief time with the Mariners, but it was still a wasted roster spot.

And it is being reported, that he just signed Miguel Olivo to a two year contract. It's hard finding catchers with a .283 career on base percentage...

Z is a general manager who is capable of stealing a Cliff Lee from a horrible general manager in Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. But he certainly is not an elite general manager. In my conclusion, I missed the point in the first sentence:

"Z brings in the same type of players that Sabean brings in."

Maybe he pays them less, but he is still filling his roster with bad players. Perhaps like Sabean, he might get a strong rotation (already has the ace) and luck into a few signings and grab a World Series trophy, but he is no genius that I thought he was after his first season with the Mariners.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Derek Jeter's Free Agency

The latest story in the Derek Jeter free agency story is his agent calling the Yankees offer of 3 years and $45 million baffling. His points:

"Derek's significance to the team is much more than just stats. And yet, the Yankees' negotiating strategy remains baffling."

His production last season was poor. Beyond the stats, he is an old shortstop. If the negotiation strategy is so baffling, maybe his agent should go to other teams to see what they would offer. The reason he doesn't: the Yankees are willing to overpay to keep him because of his significance to the team. His significance, however, isn't going to make or break the World Series projections.

"They continue to argue their points in the press and refuse to acknowledge Derek's total contribution to their franchise," Close added, according to the report.

His total contribution was in his last contract of 10 years and $189 million. Also, offering him $15 million a year for three years is one year and $25 million too much. He is coming off a 90 OPS+ season. He is also 36 years old, so it is more likely to remain at that level or go down rather than revert to his 125 OPS+ production the year before.

From Hal Steinbrenner:

"Look, this is a business negotiation,'' Hal Steinbrenner said of the talks last week. "None of us wants to make it personal, because it's not personal. ... My family's got a lot of respect for Derek and I believe it is a mutual thing. It's been a good history. We're gonna do our best to keep it by the book."

Voice of reason. The Yankees foolishly overpaid for Alex Rodriguez when nobody else would've come close. They gave outlandish contracts. Those days are over (maybe). I am interested to see how this plays out. The agent is there to get the most years and most dollars for his player. But I don't see any team offering Jeter a fourth year. And right now, Jeter and his agent look bad.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Guide to Blind Dating: In Braille!

I was sitting at a table by the coffee shop at the outdoor mall with my roommate Jake.

“You know that girl I met at the party a couple nights ago?” I asked pulling out a post-it note with a phone number. “I tried calling her this morning, and it directed me to the rejection hot line.”

“Ouch,” Jake said.

“Right?” I said sipping on my lukewarm coffee. “I guess it’s just easier than saying, ‘Sorry dude, I’m really just not interested.”

“Let me see that,” he said.

I gave him the post-it note. He looked at it for a second and then put it in his pocket.

“What are you going to do with that?” I asked.

“You never know when it can come in handy,” he said.

A beautiful brunette was walking her dog and passed Jake and me. She was wearing all black and complimented the look with very opaque sunglasses.

“She is cute,” I said.

“Go up to her,” Jake said.

“Nah, I can’t. She doesn’t look like she wants to be bothered,” I said. “Plus she is walking her dog. Dogs don’t really like me.”

A grade-school-aged boy with full camouflage face paint was running around pretend shooting pretend people.

“You should throw this tennis ball at this kid,” I said pulling a tennis ball out from my backpack.

“Where did you get that tennis ball?” Jake asked.

“What? I like tennis balls.”

“I don’t want to throw it. You throw it.”

I threw the tennis ball aiming for his chest, but it him smack against his nose. The kid looked at us and ran away.

“Well, that didn’t work out,” I said.

“We should probably leave,” Jake said.

Later that day, Jake and I were sitting in the living room at our apartment. On the couch next to me was our cat, Fredo. Fredo is a very large cat with paws that resemble human hands in front and human feet in the back.

“Did you break up with Samantha yet?” I asked.

“I can’t. It’s hard. I don’t know what to say,” Jake said.

“Just start insulting her.”

“I tried. She thinks I’m playing hard to get. She seems to like me more when I insult.”


“No because I don’t want to give her the wrong idea.”

“She is really ugly.”

“I know,” Jake said. “I’ll probably end up marrying her.”

The telephone rings. Jake picks up and starts talking. A few minutes later, Jake pulls out his wallet and gives his credit card number over the phone.

“What was that?” I asked.

“I just bought the Total Gym,” Jake said.

“You don’t even work out.”

“I know, but it’s kind of code in the telemarketing community to buy products from each other.”

“You never sell products at your job.”

Jake checked his phone for text messages.

“Samantha texted me,” Jake said. “She said she has someone perfect for you.”

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“We were talking about how you never go on dates, and I guess she found someone for you.”

“I go on dates!”

“Yeah, but they never work out.” Jake responded to the text message. A few minutes later, he checks his phone for a reply. “Samantha said her friend will call you later.”

“You gave her my number?”

“Yeah, just talk to her. Samantha has cute friends.”

“Alright, I can go for that,” I said. I stuck my hand out and gave a high five to Fredo.

Later that night I was playing solitaire and my cell phone rang.

“Hey, it’s Ryan,” I said.

“Hi, I’m looking to speak to Ryan,” a girl said. “Oh, I’m sorry, you said your name. It’s Denise.”

“Hey Denise. I’m not sure who you are.”

“I’m friends with Samantha. She said she is dating your friend and I guess is trying to play matchmaker.”

“Oh, right. Okay. Yeah, that’s cool.”


“Well, how are you?”

“This is kind of awkward, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, do you want meet at a coffee shop tomorrow night? Maybe if we meet it’ll be better?” I asked. “There’s this great place by the outdoor mall.”

“Sure, that sounds good.”

“Okay, does seven work?”




“Okay bye.”

I went to the living room where Jake was playing solitaire.

“Your girlfriend’s friend Denise just called me,” I said.

“Oh yeah?” he asked. “How was it?”

“Dude, it was really awkward. I didn’t even know what to talk about. We agreed to meet up tomorrow night,” I said. “I’m just scared because I don’t even know what she looks like.”

“What’s your breaking point? Kids? Pimples?”

“I love kids,” I said. “Not sure about pimples, but I could deal with that.”

“You should be okay,” he said. “But if it doesn’t work out, we should have a plan.”

“Like what?”

“I’ll give you a call at the beginning of your date,” he said. “Like an exit call. If you know it’s not going to work out, you can just make up some random excuse with me on the phone and leave.”

“Okay, that could work.”

“So Samantha and I are going to hang out at the beach tomorrow afternoon.”

“Are you going to break up with her?”

“I can’t,” Jake said. “I’m going to bring Fredo with me so I have at least something friendly.”

The next day Jake and Fredo met up with Samantha at the beach.

“Hey there,” Jake said.

“What is that?” Samantha asked pointing at Fredo.

“It’s my cat Fredo,” Jake said. “I thought I’d take him for a walk and get him out of the house.”

“Yeah, but he has like hands and feet.”

“It’s a little unusual.”

“Jake, I can’t be seen with this cat.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying get rid of this cat or it’s over.”

“I’m not getting rid of Fredo.”

“Well, then it’s over.”


“Yeah, you’re not even sad.”


“Whatever.” Samantha left while Jake high fived Fredo.

A cute blond came up to Jake and Fredo. “That’s a really cute cat,” she said.

“I think you’re a cute cat,” Jake said. A few moments later, “Okay, that was bad.”

“Yeah that was,” she said laughing.

“I’m Jake.”

“I’m Melissa.”

“I know it’s kind of bold, but I would like to hang out sometime. Can I get your number?” Jake sneezed all over Melissa. “Oh gosh, I’m sorry. That was bad.”

“It’s okay, but strike two, buddy,” she said wiping her face with a napkin.

“I actually don’t have a phone,” she said. “But my roommate does. So why don’t you give me your number?”

Jake reached into his pocket and pulled out a post-it note. “Here you go,” he said handing her the post-it note. He quickly realized that he just gave her the rejection hot line number. “Actually, wait, let me give you this number instead.” Jake and Melissa traded post-it notes. Jake noticed a tennis ball coming right at him from the corner of his eye. In his defense, he ducked behind Melissa. The tennis ball hit her smack against her nose. “Oh, umm, so you’ll call me tomorrow?”

Later that night I met up with Denise at the coffee shop. As I walked in, I saw a brunette wearing all black and opaque sunglasses. By her side was a dog. I approached her, “Denise?”

“Yeah,” she said. “Is this Ryan?”

“Yeah,” I said. “Wow, you look amazing.”

“Thanks,” she said. “I got us coffee. I hope you like mocha.”

“Yeah, definitely.” My phone rang. It was Jake calling about the exit plan. I picked up.

“Hey man, it’s all good,” I hung up the phone.

“What was that about?” Denise asked.

“Oh, it’s nothing,” I said. “So I got a new haircut. What do you think?”

“I can’t see it.”

“Well, take off your sunglasses, silly.”

“I’m blind.”

“Ohhhhh,” I said. “Well, that’s cool. I’m glad you aren’t able to see what I look like then.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because I have a ton of acne,” I said. A few moments later, “Totally joking by the way.”

The boy with war paint walked into the coffee shop.

“Oh my gosh,” I said. “Don’t look. Well, it’s not like you can see. But this kid with war paint just walked in. I totally beaned him with a tennis ball yesterday. We need to leave.”

“That’s my son, you jerk,” she said.

The boy came up to the table. “Mom, why are you hanging out with this guy?”

I ran away.

The next afternoon, Jake and I were sitting on the couch in our living room.

“You ran?” Jake asked.

“Yeah, what else was I supposed to do,” I said. “I had to get out, but her dog bit me.” I showed Jake my arm that had a deep bite mark.

“I thought seeing-eye dogs were friendly.”

“Yeah, but dogs hate me.”

“Samantha broke up with me yesterday,” Jake said.

“Really? What did you do?” I asked.

“Nothing. She didn’t want to be seen with Fredo,” he said. “After she left, this cute blond came up to me. We started talking, and I gave her my phone number.”

“I don’t know how you do it, man.”

“It went okay, but I don’t think she will call,” he said. “I kind of hid behind her and let a tennis ball hit her in the face. And then I kind of ran away.”

“It looks like you have a voice mail. Your phone is blinking. Maybe it’s her?”

Jake played the voice mail, all automated, “The person leaving this message has no interest in dating you. Please try again.”

Monday, November 1, 2010

San Francisco Giants win the world series

Tim Lincecum pitches eight innings and strikes out ten, and Edgar Renteria hits a key three run home run off Cliff Lee in the San Francisco Giants world series victory over the Texas Rangers.

Going into the World Series, I wrote that the Giants would beat the Rangers in the World Series. Just a quick look at ESPN writers' picks, and you will see that 9 of the 10 writers thought the Rangers would win. In a rough analysis, the Rangers have better hitters and equal pitching. It makes sense that the Rangers would win. The Giants have home field advantage (not a big thing but something) and a much better head coach. Bruce Bochy is not in the elite two of managers (Joe Maddon and Terry Francona), but he is in that group of 12 or so average managers--meaning he is in the top 14. Ron Washington is in the pretty bad manager group. This is an edge because until this game, Washington had not used his best relief pitcher, Neftali Feliz, in a non-save situation. He also put Vladimir Guererro in the outfield, used Darren Oliver too much and kept Derek Holland in a game in which he couldn't throw a strike and walked three batters--opening up a huge inning.

The Giants staff was awesome, but the Rangers staff, save Lee, was underrated and equally as awesome. It was clear to me that the Rangers would win the game started by Colby Lewis and the Giants would win the game started by Madison Bumgarner. The Matt Cain and C.J. Wilson match-up favored Cain, but not by much. The Lincecum and Cliff Lee match-up favored Lee but realizing that Lincecum can out-Lee Lee if you will. I figured the Giants would win in six if Lincecum was epic in one of the two games against Lee--and he was in game five. In game one, Lincecum was average and Lee did not pitch well. It didn't help that the relief pitchers in that game were equally brutal. I thought that if it went to a game seven, the Rangers would have the edge as far as fielded players, but Bochy would put in Lincecum, Bumgarner, whoever if Sanchez showed any signs of not being effective. And when it comes to a close game, it's hard to trust Washington's instincts.

The Giants won the World Series because of their pitching and Bruce Bochy managing pretty brilliantly. Brilliance is a bit of hyperbole, but it's hard to question most of his decisions. He deserves the compliments even if it doesn't extend to next year.

I've questioned Brian Sabean's game plan. Believe me, he is not a great general manager. Keep in mind that Aaron Rowand, Barry Zito and Mark DeRosa are under contract during this World Series, and Zito and DeRosa are not on the postseason roster. Rowand is a bench player.

I didn't like the Aubrey Huff or Edgar Renteria signings, but they have played a huge role in the Giants quest for a World Series title. They along with Buster Posey, Juan Uribe, Cody Ross, Freddy Sanchez, Pat Burrell, the Giants pitching and Bruce Bochy won the World Series.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Madison Bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner pitched eight shut out innings to move the San Francisco Giants one game closer to a World Series title. In the 4-0 victory over the Texas Rangers, Bumgarner just needed the two run home run from Aubrey Huff in the third inning.

In 121 major league innings, Bumgarner has a 3.31 so/bb ratio. Today, he struck out six and walked two. He was sharp from start to finish. Brian Wilson finished the game with two strikeouts in the ninth inning.

This game was mostly free of questionable managerial moves. Rangers manager Ron Washington didn't have an opportunity to blow this game. Sure, using Darren Oliver in a two run game was questionable, but the Rangers didn't score a single run.

Going into the World Series, I wrote about how close the starting pitching was between the Giants and the Rangers. Looking at the specific matchups, the Rangers had a clear edge with Colby Lewis over Jonathan Sanchez. Sanchez has the stuff to throw a dominating gem, but he also can walk a bunch of batters and get into early trouble. The Rangers also had the advantage with Cliff Lee over Tim Lincecum. Lincecum is an ace and he is capable of out pitching Lee on any given day so that advantage is very small. The Giants have a small edge with Matt Cain over C.J. Wilson, however, it isn't a large enough gap to make a huge difference. All of the games have gone as they should.

Including this game.

Bumgarner has a huge advantage over Tommy Hunter. It's not even close. Hunter doesn't strike out a lot of batters (career 5.1 so/9) and gives up a lot of home runs (career 1.4 hr/9). While he doesn't walk a lot of hitters (career 2.5 bb/9), his control isn't that great to offset the home runs and lack of strike outs.

It would have been fun to see Bumgarner pitch a complete game shut out, it wasn't the worst thing in the world to remove him after eight. That's all they needed from him tonight. And if this reaches a game seven, they will probably need him to replicate his dominance.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Just Watch John Wall

I rarely write about basketball because it's hard to analyze. The available stats aren't that helpful. What I can gather is that: assists are overrated, rebounds are crucial, field goal percentage is the OBP of basketball and defense, like in baseball, is hard to measure without any doubt. Also, per 48 minute rate stats are more important than regular rate stats, point differential shows dominance and blocked shots are only good if it leads to a turnover.

I am a bigger basketball fan than baseball fan. Make no doubt about it. I watch YouTube mix tapes, high school slam dunk contest (remember David Lee beating James "Flight" White in 2001?), Slamball, DVR all-star weekend watch almost every NCAA tournament game and even watch women's college baskeball. Sorry, I don't watch the WNBA.

I'm only writing this because I want my picks on record (in no order).


It was hard to come up with an eighth team, believe me.


The Celtics play great defense and Rajon Rondo is a legitimate top tier point guard. The Heat have King Wade, Sidekick James, Third Wheel Bosh, Mike Miller and a bunch of stuff. Despite the Game 1 beat down from the Celtics over the Heat, I have the Heat in the finals. They'll play better together as the season goes on. The more I think about it though, James should've went to the Bulls. As good as Wade is, playing with super rebounder/defender Joakim Noah and superstud point guard Derrick Rose and their supporting cast gives him the best chance to not only win this year but for future years. But hey, Miami is an awesome city, amirite?

In the West, it's two teams: the Lakers and the Thunder. It's hard to bet against Kobe Bryant...unless he's playing a team with Kevin Durant. The key to this series is the huge advantage the Thunder have in the point guard spot. Russell Westbrook has an insane advantage over Derek Fisher. I will pick the Thunder over the Lakers.

In the Finals, I have the Thunder over the Heat. The Thunder's "big three" (and by the way, most teams have a "big three") have played well together and longer together than Miami's trio. I respect LeBron's game, Wade's game, but neither are on Durant's level.

And here is a mix tape featuring superstud John Wall:

Neftali Feliz is available to pitch the ninth

As I write the game two recap, the San Francisco Giants have a 9-0 lead over the Texas Rangers. Guillermo Mota is pitching with no men on, one out. If the Rangers score ten runs, Neftali Feliz is available for the save.

There are two outs now. Seems unlikely.

Why is that important? Because in the bottom of the eight, the score was 2-0, bases loaded, two outs. Feliz was not in the game. Derek Holland and the other relief pitchers managed to walk in runs, give up hits to guys named Aaron. Suddenly a close game was a blow out.

It was bad enough that Rangers manager Ron Washington went to Darren Oliver after C.J. Wilson left the game with a blister on his pitching hand (Fox gave an awkward close-up). Oliver, who wasn't horrible (and wasn't good), allowed the one runner Wilson left on base to score to make it a 2-0 game.

Mota just walked a batter. Jeff Francoeur is up. Mota vs. Francouer is Bizarro World Series pitching match-up, right? Strike one.

Unless Cliff Lee is pitching his A+ game (most of the time) or Wilson and Colby Lewis are pitching their A- game (sometimes), Washington has been exposed as a horrible in-game manager.

Francouer popped out. Game over. Here's your box score, which includes Matt Cain's effective start--per usual.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cliff Lee Loses Game 1 of the World Series

Did we ever think Cliff Lee would be on the mound when the team loses a game?

The hype machine created a story using Lee's success as the tie-in and ranked him eighth all time. I'm not here to kill Lee because he is an amazing pitcher. Just look at that 10.28 so/bb ratio this season.

In my World Series post, I mentioned this:

"You have to like the Rangers any time Cliff Lee and Colby Lewis take the mound. They figure to pitch in four games, and that is all the Rangers need to win the World Series. That said, Lee had 4 wins to 6 losses for the Rangers this year, and Lewis had 12 wins and 13 losses. But wait, wins and losses are a meaningless statistic and don't show how dominant Lee was with a 10.28 so/bb (second all time!) and Lewis with a 3.02 so/bb (comparable to Lincecum). Exactly, but the point in this case is that teams can win against those pitchers on the mound. It's unfair to assign those outstanding pitchers with team wins and losses, but there are so many variables in a game--starting and relief pitching, hitting, defense, speed and coaching."

The variables are the key to this game. In the fifth inning, balls dropped in for hits. Suddenly, the Giants were up 5 to 2 with two runners on and two outs. With a high pitch count and not getting outs, Rangers manager Ron Washington elected to take Lee out and replace him with Darren O'Day. The next batter, Juan Uribe, hit a three run home run to put the Giants up six. Variables: high pitch count for Lee, relief pitching.

In the eighth inning, Vladimir Guerrero was still playing right field. His horrible fielding contributed to a three run inning to put the game out of reach. Variables: defense, coaching.

All of this contributed to the Giants 11-7 win over the Rangers. While Cliff Lee wasn't great, he was only one piece of the Rangers loss. Starting and relief pitching, hitting, defense, speed and coaching: that's how the Rangers can lose games with Lee on the mound.

The minor subplot of the game: Giants manager Bruce Bochy used seven pitchers and three in the ninth inning to protect, at the time, a seven-run lead. Fortunately for Bochy, Washington's choice of playing Guerrero in right field for a full game overshadowed his odd bullpen usage.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Colby Lewis is a Legit Number Two Pitcher

Rob Neyer wrote about the advantages the Texas Rangers have over the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. He picked the Rangers in six games. He highlights the one area where the Giants seem to have an advantage over the Rangers, starting pitching, and disputes the big discrepancy. He says that the Rangers are at least equal to the Giants.

"The Rangers can certainly match the Giants' starters. Cliff Lee is just as good as Tim Lincecum and C.J. Wilson is just as good as Matt Cain, and Colby Lewis is just as good as Jonathan Sanchez.

Actually, Lewis is better than Sanchez."

Lee and Lincecum are true aces. The numbers support Lee this season, but both pitchers are capable of throwing a dominating game. In game five of the ALDS, Lee pitched a complete game, giving up one run, striking out 11, issuing zero walks and giving up no home runs. In game one of the NLDS, Lincecum pitched a complete game shut out, striking out 14 and walking one batter. We know what these former Cy Young winners are capable of doing on any given game.

It's the other pitchers I am interested in comparing.

C.J. Wilson: 129 ERA+, 4.1 bb/9, 7.5 so/9, 1.83 so/bb, 0.4 hr/9, 4.6 bWAR, 204.0 innings pitched

Colby Lewis: 116 ERA+, 2.9 bb/9, 8.8 so/9, 3.02 so/bb, 0.9 hr/9, 3.6 bWAR, 201.0 innings pitched

Matt Cain: 130 ERA+, 2.5 bb/9, 7.1 so/9, 2.90 so/bb, 0.9 hr/9, 3.9 bWAR, 223.1 innings pitched

Jonathan Sanchez: 133 ERA+, 4.5 bb/9, 9.5 so/9, 2.14 so/bb, 1.0 hr/9, 3.4 bWAR, 193.1 innings pitched

After looking at the numbers, they are all pretty similar so he was correct in his comparisons. It is also important to note that ERA+ is league adjusted and not adjusted for all of major league baseball. He was absolutely correct in saying that Lewis is better than Sanchez. Sanchez, while good, is not legit number two pitcher good. Lewis has much better control as indicated by fewer walks per nine innings. The difference in strikeouts per nine innings can be adjusted to the league differential. For instance, Lewis doesn't have the luxury of facing a pitcher a couple times through. It's pretty crazy considering Lewis wasn't pitching in the states last year.

The World Series Post

Before the playoffs started, I picked the Braves over the Rangers in the World Series. This was based on zero analysis. I wrote down the names of each playoff team and picked the teams based on match-ups. The point of that exercise was to show that World Series winners, more often than not, are random.

Ideally, some sort of Rays, Yankees and Phillies World Series combination was where the money was at, but in small game samplings, heroes can come from anywhere. That's where someone like Cody Ross can go from average major leaguer with some pop to NLCS MVP.

The Giants have great starting pitching in Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Jonathan Sanchez. The Rangers have super duper ace Cliff Lee, the severely underrated Colby Lewis and probable AL MVP and ALCS MVP Josh Hamilton.

You have to like the Rangers any time Cliff Lee and Colby Lewis take the mound. They figure to pitch in four games, and that is all the Rangers need to win the World Series. That said, Lee had 4 wins to 6 losses for the Rangers this year, and Lewis had 12 wins and 13 losses. But wait, wins and losses are a meaningless statistic and don't show how dominant Lee was with a 10.28 so/bb (second all time!) and Lewis with a 3.02 so/bb (comparable to Lincecum). Exactly, but the point in this case is that teams can win against those pitchers on the mound. It's unfair to assign those outstanding pitchers with team wins and losses, but there are so many variables in a game--starting and relief pitching, hitting, defense, speed and coaching.

My World Series prediction won't come from analysis or picking teams out of a hat but rather feeling after watching these games in which managers affect outcomes more so than not. Analysis is useful in predicting a full season and forecasting next season. It is still useful in predicting series winners, but it's such a small sampling that both teams have an equal shot of winning it all.

I like the San Francisco Giants to win the World Series. Both teams have a lot of talent, but I have a feeling Rangers manager Ron Washington will use Darren Oliver a little too much.

Tom Glavine IS a Hall of Famer

Earlier I questioned if Tom Glavine deserves to make it into the hall of fame.

Based upon his win total alone, he WILL make it into the hall of fame. There is no question about that. But as we know, wins are a meaningless number when determining if a pitcher is good or not.

In the end of my first post, I said that it is certainly debatable while remaining slightly in the undeserving side of the fence even after baseball writer Dave Cameron responded to my tweet question, "an easy yes."

I decided to tweet this question to another one of my favorite baseball writer's Jonah Keri after he was discussing Andy Pettitte:

"I can understand the reasons to not vote Pettitte. But what about Glavine? Not great so/bb rate, less FG WAR than K. Brown."

Keri replied:

"Sean Smith has Glavine with slightly higher WAR. I'd vote both Glavine and Brown in anyway."


"I just checked out B-R's WAR, and Glavine is ahead of Brown (and Pettitte). I guess the so/bb rate left me underwhelmed."


"Lots of great old-time pitchers had crappy K/BB rates too. Think of Glavine as a throwback. Pitched to his strengths."

There are two WARs: baseball reference and fangraphs. Both are great metrics. Glavine ranks 29th in bWAR. He is ahead of Juan Marichal, Bob Feller and Jim Palmer.

As for that underwhelming 1.74 so/bb rate, Keri was right. Some of the great pitchers of the past had poor so/bb rate. Palmer posted a 1.60 so/bb rate for his career, and Feller ended his career with a 1.46 so/bb rate. In addition, Glavine threw 4413.1 innings in his career and had 14 seasons pitching 200 or more innings. Glavine's hall of fame worth is in his innings pitched, longevity and pitching effectively in all of those innings (career 118 ERA+ and 3.95 FIP).

Tom Glavine--a throw back pitcher--and a hall of famer.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tim Lincecum and his gem

One day after Roy Halladay threw a no hitter, San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum throws a better game in a tighter spot. In the Giants 1-0 win over the Atlanta Braves, Lincecum was one bad pitch away of losing the lead.

I couldn't hear the TBS announcers. I can imagine that they discussed pitch counts and "the next game." Am I wrong? Well, as we know from former Chicago Cubs manager Lou Pinella pulling game one starter Carlos Zambrano early to save him for the non existent game four? Lincecum gave the Giants the best chance to win this close game. Given that the Giants employ three other studs in Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner (meaning Lincecum won't be needed until the possible non existent game five), the decision was easy. In the end, he struck out 14, walked one.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

D-back Dan Haren vs. Angel Dan Haren

Was Dan Haren better as an Angel or as a Diamondback this year?

I raised this question after reading the comments from a Rob Neyer story about Roy Halladay's gem.

ressehilsborne said:

"I'm so tired of hearing about how pitching to the NL is so much easier. It's total ####, first of all your pitching to major league hitters in either sense it's not going to be easy in either league. But time and time again i hear the same story.

So you think the DH adds a lot more depth and strength to the AL? Then do me a favor and explain to me what went wrong with Dan Haren this year? Why is it he was able to dominate as an Angel and do awful as a Diamondback. Better yet, lets look at the entire career of Barry Zito. Dominated the AL, yet he cant even put up a winning season as a Giant.

Put the AL, NL #### to rest already and find some new material. Halladay pitching the way he did tonight would have cut any team in half, including his own."

I won't dabble in the AL vs. NL debate, but it was interesting to see how Haren fared as an Angel as opposed to his time this year with the Diamondbacks. If you recall, Haren had a "rough" going as a Diamondback. I put rough in quotes because his traditional numbers were pedestrian, but his rate stats were exceptional.

In 141 innings with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Haren had a 7-8 record and a 4.60 ERA. In 94 innings with the Los Angeles, California Angels of Anaheim, Haren had a 5-4 record and a 2.87 ERA. That being said, Haren in two of three categories had better rate stats. He posted 1.9 bb/9 and a 9.0 so/9 with the Diamondbacks, and 2.4 bb/9 and 7.4 so/9 with the Angels. The difference is that he gave up 1.5 hr/9 with the Diamondbacks as opposed to 0.8 hr/9 with the Angels. If we take a deeper look, we will see that he had a 3.88 FIP with the Diamondbacks and a 3.45 FIP with the Angels. His WAR with the Diamondbacks was 2.5 and his WAR with the Angels was 2.0. Now WAR is a counting stat, but it is safe to say that Haren was only a little bit better as an Angel than as a Diamondback this season. This is due to the fact that he had a higher home run rate with the Diamondbacks. The one thing we need to keep in mind in this analysis is the 47 inning difference. There's your answer, ressehilsborne.

Welcome to Doctober

Roy Halladay pitches a no hitter in his playoff debut. In beating the Cincinnati Reds, Halladay becomes the second pitcher to throw a no hitter in playoff history. This happens to be the second no hitter he has thrown this season--the first being a perfect game.

Great players do great things whether it be in the regular season or the playoffs. The thing about the playoffs is that it magnifies hot streaks or slumps. It is still shocking that Halladay pitched a no hitter, but it is not shocking that he struck out eight, walked one and gave up no home runs. His so/bb ratio for the season is 7.3, and his hr/9 is at .9. He threw nine complete games and four shut outs.

Halladay's gem was just as good as his last start of the season in which the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Washington Nationals 8-0. In that game, he threw a complete game shut out, giving up two hits, striking out six, walking none and of course giving up no home runs. The only difference is two balls fell for hits. In his brilliant playoff debut, he pitched ridiculously well and got a little lucky that not one ball dropped in for a hit. Striking out batters, not giving up free passes and limiting the long ball...well...that's what makes him amazing.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Baseball Playoff Predictions

Since the baseball playoffs are so random, I decided to draw names from a hat to make my predictions. If I were to do some real analysis, I'd say Rays over Phillies and write 1,000 words. But even with analysis, anything can happen. Yeah yeah. Cliche. But it rings true with baseball. That's how we end up with the St. Louis Cardinals winning the World Series with David Eckstein as the World Series MVP and Jeff Suppan as the NLCS MVP a few years ago.

Rangers vs. Rays


Yankees vs. Twins


Phillies vs. Reds


Braves vs. Giants


Yankees vs. Rangers


Braves vs. Phillies


Rangers vs. Braves


Your 2010 World Series champion, Atlanta Braves. Bobby Cox retires a winner. I picked the Yankees to beat the Braves early in the season. Random drawing picks the Braves over the Rangers. My logic picks the Rays over Phillies. So you know it's going to be Twins over the Reds.

The Brennan Boesch All-Stars Revisited

A few weeks before the All-Star break, I wrote about major league baseball players having unlikely breakout first halves. You can read it here. The purpose of this post was to see some of these guys come back to earth after an awesome first few months of the season. I will first restate the stats as of June 27, 2010 and then will compile their end of the season stats.

Brennan Boesch

.337/.389/.611 162 OPS+

.256/.320/.416 99 OPS+

Boesch essentially went from Albert Pujols numbers to a tick below average hitter.

Paul Konerko

.302/.396/.583 157 OPS+

.312/.393/.583 158 OPS+

Konerko had a very consistent season, and there's even talks about him for MVP. Those talks have softened a bit as the Chicago White Sox fell out of contention. Really, he's not even the best offensive first baseman in the American League. Still. There's nothing bad about those numbers.

Vernon Wells

.281/.336/.562 141 OPS+

.273/.331/.515 127 OPS+

Wells got off to a great start. He showed the skills that awarded him an insanely high contract. I called shenanigans. While he cooled off a bit, he had a fine season. His on base skills are average, but when he connects on a ball, he certainly drives it.

Alex Rios

.311/.369/.541 139 OPS+

.284/.334/.457 109 OPS+

The paragraph that describes Wells can be copy/pasted here. Minus the part where I wrote, "but when he connects on a ball, he certainly drives it."

Corey Hart

.272/.339/.576 144 OPS+

.283/.340/.525 132 OPS+

Hart made the All-Star team and was rewarded with a contract extension. He had a nice year, but I would be shocked if his production continues on to next season and beyond.

Josh Willingham

.277/.408/.498 144 OPS+

.268/.389/.459 129 OPS+

Did you know that Willingham's career OPS+ is 121? Did you also know that he is 31 years old? Nevertheless, he had a very good offensive season. The .408 on base percentage stuck out for me when I made this initial list, but a .389 on base percentage is very good.

Aubrey Huff

.298/.389/.520 138 OPS+

.290/.385/.506 138 OPS+

Huff remained consistent throughout the season, however, if you look at his career, there is nothing consistent about him. I wouldn't be shocked to see an OPS+ under 100 next season. That is, after San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean rewards him with a 3 year $40 million contract this off season.

Kelly Johnson

.264/.366/.494 121 OPS+

.284/.370/.496 128 OPS+

Johnson improved as the season went on. A second baseman with a good on base percentage and some power is a great commodity. He is truly an underrated player this season. It is hard to judge if he will continue this good performance or drop in production since there isn't a ton of games under his belt.

Max Scherzer is a Solid Two

In that big three way trade last off season, the Detroit Tigers came away with the best player--so far. Curtis Granderson made the most headlines, Edwin Jackson pitched an eight walk no hitter, but Max Scherzer is a true top of the rotation pitcher.

After heading to the minors, it didn't look like Scherzer was going to be better than another pitcher involved in the deal, Ian Kennedy. The two pitchers faced off, and I wrote about it. In the game recap, I wrote this:

"Going into this game, it looks like Kennedy has had a better year than Scherzer--especially if you use ERA as the basis of your argument. Scherzer has a 6.14 ERA and Kennedy has a 3.57 ERA."

And after doing some deeper analysis, I concluded with this:

"Both pitchers have very similar rate stats. If Scherzer can lower his home run rate to somewhere closer to his career of 1.1/9, his ERA will drop and if Kennedy can do the same, he will be able to sustain his ERA."

Now the season is over and here is how they ended up.


191 innings, 111 ERA+, 1.2 hr/9, 3.2 bb/9, 7.8 so/9, 2.40 so/bb, 2.5 fangraph's war


195.2 innings, 120 ERA+, .9 hr/9, 3.2 bb/9, 8.5 so/9, 2.63 so/bb, 3.7 fangraph's war

Both pitchers had nice seasons. Early on, it looked like Scherzer was going to flame out, but it is clear that Scherzer is turning into a stud.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Is Tom Glavine a future Hall of Famer?

Tom Glavine will be in the Hall of Fame when he is eligible. The 305 wins alone will get him into the Hall of Fame. The question is: will voters look at other (real) statistics?

Wins are a dumb stat. We all know this. The team wins and loses games. One pitcher does not determine the outcome of a game alone unless that pitcher hits a home run and strikes out every batter he faces.

Felix Hernandez gave up one run in a complete game loss today against the Toronto Blue Jays. Meanwhile, Rodrigo Lopez gave up four runs in five innings in a winning effort against the Colorado Rockies yesterday. Did Lopez have the better game? Of course not.

Glavine's career rate stats are not Hall of Fame impressive: .7 hr/9, 3.1 bb/9, 5.3 so/9 and 1.74 so/bb. In his 1991 Cy Young year (his best season), he had the following rate stats: .6 hr/9, 2.5 bb/9, 7.0 so/9 and 2.78 so/bb. He had a 5.7 WAR that season, which is impressive.

I tweeted the question to Fangraphs baseball writer Dave Cameron:

"Do you think Tom Glavine is a hall of famer? After looking at his career rate stats and other advanced metrics, maybe not?"

He replied back to me:

"An easy yes."

Looking beyond his rate stats: His career WAR is 68.6 with a career FIP is 3.95. His FIP ranks 38 out of 40 pitchers with 4,000 innings pitched (or 118 out of 131 pitchers with 3,000 innings pitched. I'm still having a hard time building a Hall of Fame case from these numbers.

But then I took a look at his WAR rankings. This list does not include seasons prior to 1980, but Glavine ranks 9th. He is just above Andy Pettitte but behind Kevin Brown.

I completely respect Cameron's opinion, and he is my favorite baseball writer. I do have to disagree because I think his case is, at least, debatable.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Quick Glance at the MLB Standings

From my season prediction's post I had ranked the following teams as playoff teams:

"The American League playoff spots: New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox. The National League playoff spots: Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks."

Right now, the Yankees, Rangers and Braves are playoff teams. The White Sox and Twins are tied for the division. The Cardinals and Phillies are closing in on the division and are battling the San Francisco Giants for the Wild Card. The Red Sox are six games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the Wild Card, and they have been killed by injuries. The only bad prediction would be the Diamondbacks.

I also mentioned this:

"I feel that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Seattle Mariners will be disappointments in the American League as well as the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles and the San Francisco Giants will disappoint in the National League."

The Angels and Mariners are disappointments as they are third and fourth in their division. The Dodgers are fourth in their division. The Giants are battling the San Diego Padres for the division and currently lead the Wild Card race.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Mustached GM Adds Former ROY Runner-Up

The Los Angeles Dodgers traded two minor leaguers to the Kansas City Royals for 2005 all-star Scott Podsednik.

The Dodgers gave up triple A catcher Lucas May and A-ball pitcher Elisaul Pimentel. The Dodgers will also pay Podsednik's remaining salary this year. In 73 triple A games, May has a triple slash stats line of .300/.356/.500. He turns 26 years old this year, however.

When I first heard about this trade on the radio, my first thoughts were, and I am channeling my inner Ned Colletti by the way, former All-Star (one time), rookie of the year runner up, former stolen base leader and owner of a shiny World Series ring.

Here's Colletti's take:

"He has been a World Series champion with the Chicago White Sox [in 2005]," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "He brings speed, he is a good hitter, he can play left field or center field if necessary, and he can drive in runs. With Reed Johnson and Manny being out and not knowing exactly when they'll be back and not knowing if they will have additional issues the rest of the season, this is a safeguard against them having any trouble staying on the field."

World Series champion is meaningless. Certainly the pitching, Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye had a much larger role. Podsednik played well for the Chicago White Sox during their World Series run, but in said World Series, he got on base 28.6% of the time--I know only 22 plate appearances but still meaningless to include that as the reason to trade for him.

He does steal a lot of bases, but he also gets caught stealing a lot too--leading the league in that category two times and the leader this season. For his career, he has stolen a base at a 75% rate. This year, he is at 71.4% and last year he was at 69.7%. He is 34 years old, so it isn't unreasonable to note that his speed has diminished somewhat.

Podsednik isn't a useless player, but it is a mildly useless trade. He fills in nicely as a bench player and an okay pinch runner. It's not as bad as giving up Carlos Santana for Casey Blake, but it's just a ho-hum typical Colletti move--trading away young players for old veterans who once upon a time played in a World Series or an All-Star game.

One more thing. The article ends with this pearl:

"Podsednik is expected to arrive in time for Thursday's game against the San Diego Padres, and the Dodgers will announce a corresponding move at that time. The club probably will do one of three things: (1) Option outfielder Xavier Paul to Albuquerque, (2) designate veteran outfielder Garret Anderson for assignment or (3) send a reliever to the minors, thus reducing the pitching staff from the 13 the Dodgers have carried for the past week to the more conventional 12."

If you had to rank those, wouldn't you rank them (1) designate veteran outfielder Garret Anderson for assignment, (2) designate veteran outfielder Garret Anderson for assignment and (3) designate veteran outfielder Garret Anderson for assignment?

While Anderson used to be an All-Star, he does own a .182/.206/.277 31 OPS+ stat line. While it is ridiculous that the Dodgers carry 13 relief pitchers, keep in mind Joe Torre goes through relief pitchers recklessly. Chad Billingsley pitched the Dodgers first complete game on July 21st since the 2008 season.

What did the Dodgers do? They designated pitcher Jack Taschner for assignment. Sure, that's not a bad idea, but somehow, someway Garret Anderson is on the roster.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Garret Anderson

Somehow Garret Anderson has played played 62 games and have 132 plate appearances. He is used primarily as a spot starter and pinch hitter. His line this year:

.183/.198/.286 with a 32 OPS+

Not only is he not a good pinch hitter, but he's not even a pinch walker. Let's see if he is still on the Los Angeles Dodgers roster at the end of the season!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Business Card for Biznass

I went to a party with my friend Melissa. When we arrived at the party, it was pretty much dead. We got there at 10, so we were expecting people to show up within an hour. This gave us time to catch-up.

“I still keep getting messages from Amanda,” I said.

“And you guys stopped dating three months ago?” she asked.

“Yeah, and she broke up with me. Apparently, she wants to get back with me.”

“And you don’t want that?”

“No way. Not after the way it ended. Plus, she has too much drama. It’s just annoying. Also, her laughs. She needs an inhaler when she laughs. I can’t be funny.”

“You’re not funny.”

“Well, sometimes I say something that is funny…” I said. “Oh, hey, before I forget, I got a new phone number.”

“What’s the number?”

“I don’t know. I’ll call you.”

I called her. At this time, people started showing up. Melissa went to go talk to guys, and I decided to talk to girls.

“Hey, so we’re at a party,” I said.

“Yeah, looks like we are,” one of the girls said.

“What’s in the red cup?” I asked.

“Beer from that keg,” she said.

“You’ll never see juice in a keg. It’s always in a box. I want to do a keg stand to minute maid. Wouldn’t that be fun?”

At this point, we just kind of looked at each other and parted ways. I never have productive things to say. Conversation wise, I’m best suited to find a girl who watches VH1.

I met back up with Melissa.

"I completely bombed," I said.

"Bad jokes?" she asked.

"I gotta start writing jokes beforehand. I can't make anything up on the fly.”

"Do you think that would make a difference?"

"Probably not. How about yourself? I saw you talking to a guy over there.”

"Yeah, Brad. He's okay. He gave me his business card and told me to call him for a date.”

"Are you going to call him?"

"No, he should make the first move. It's tacky.”

"Let me see the card.”

Melissa hands me the card.

"Okay, while you're looking at that, I'm going to talk to my friend," she said.

The card was plain white with the phone number in black. Under the number, it read “call me, baby.” I stuck the business card in my pocket and went for a walk around the party.

While I was walking, I overheard two girls talking about The Surreal Life. That caught my attention, so I decided to join in.

“Hey, sorry I couldn’t resist, but I love that show,” I said.

“I can’t believe C.C. botched that Go Fish game,” she said.

“No kidding. I’m Ryan, by the way.”

“”Hi, I’m Ariel.”

“Who do you think is the most famous? I think it's Vanilla Ice.”

“It has to be Ron Jeremy. I mean, Sublime referenced him in a song,” she said. “But I really have to get going. I have work in the morning.”

“Well, I’d love to hang out with you. Perhaps we could watch The White Rapper Show together some time.”

She gave me her number, so I called her so she could have mine.

“So you don’t have a business card?” she asked as she showed me a card Brad gave her.

“So that guy gave you a business card?” I asked.

“Yeah, what a tool.”

“I know. He gave my friend a business card. I guess he’s hoping someone will call or text him.”

We gave each other a hug, and Ariel left. I met back up with Melissa. I told her all about Ariel, and she told me about a cool guy named David. Our night was going well. That was until I saw Amanda walking in. She saw me and walked toward me. Fortunately, Melissa was next to me. That is until she decided to go talk to David some more. I was alone.

“Hey Ryan, I’ve been thinking about you. What’s up?” Amanda asked.

“Oh, nothing much. Just drinking fruit juice,” I said.

“That’s funny. I tried calling you yesterday, but it said that the number was no longer in service. Did you get a new phone?”

“Yeah, it’s the new chocolate. It’s pretty cool.”

“What’s your new phone number? We should hang out soon.”

“Ummm,” I hesitated.

I reached into my pocked, pulled out Brad’s business card, and I gave it to her.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Brennan Boesch All-Stars

With the All-Star game weeks away, I thought I would compile a list of deserving players who should make the All Star team but may or may not be All-Star worthy. Think of this list in terms of say Chris Coghlan robbing Andrew McCutchen in the Rookie of the Year last year. Sure Coghlan had a nice season and maybe deserved the award, but we knew that it was mildly flukey. Right?

Anyway, this isn't Rookie of the Year debate. I just wanted to post some numbers as of June 27, 2010 and then revisit this at the end of the season. For this post, I am focusing on hitters.

Brennan Boesch: .337/.389/.611 162 OPS+

Paul Konerko: .302/.396/.583 157 OPS+ At 34, he is having a career year, and the last two seasons indicated a downward trend.

Vernon Wells: .281/.336/.562 141 OPS+

Alex Rios: .311/.369//.541 139 OPS+

Corey Hart: .272/.339/.576 144 OPS+ and leads the national league with 18 home runs

Josh Willingham: .277/.408/.498 144 OPS+

Aubrey Huff:
.298/.389/.520 138 OPS+

Kelly Johnson: .264/.366/.494 121 OPS+

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Max Scherzer Shuts Down the D-Backs

Former Arizona Diamondback Max Scherzer threw a rare gem in a victory over his former team.

Scherzer pitched 7 strong innings striking out eight and only giving up two walks. The Detroit Tigers defeated the Diamondbacks 3-1 on Sunday. Diamondback starting pitcher Ian Kennedy, who like Scherzer, was featured in last off season's three team blockbuster trade, pitched a strong 6 2/3 innings issuing zero walks and striking out five batters. His downfall? He gave up two home runs to Carlos Guillen and Brennan Boesch.

Going into this game, it looks like Kennedy has had a better year than Scherzer--especially if you use ERA as the basis of your argument. Scherzer has a 6.14 ERA and Kennedy has a 3.57 ERA.

Looking at Scherzer's stats, through 66 innings, his bb/9 are consistent with his career averaged at 3.4/9 (not that great), but his hr/9 has sky rocketed to 1.6/9 and his k/9 have dipped slightly at 8.0/9. The dip in strike outs could be due to the fact that he is facing a designated hitter instead of a pitcher or pinch hitter.

Kennedy has been a nice surprise for the Diamondbacks. He was the most intriguing player in the trade because he had GREAT minor league numbers, but has been injured for much of the past two seasons. In 88.1 innings, he has 7.8 k/9, 3.2 bb/9 and 1.5 hr/9.

Both pitchers have very similar rate stats. If Scherzer can lower his home run rate to somewhere closer to his career of 1.1/9, his ERA will drop and if Kennedy can do the same, he will be able to sustain his ERA.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ken Griffey Junior's Retirement

Ken Griffey Junior's retirement is similar to Michael Jackson's death.

I heard about Griffey's retirement at work, likewise, I heard about Jackson's death at work. After hearing about Griffey's retirement and Jackson's death, I immediately thought about how great they once were and how irrelevant they became later on in life.

Think about this: Griffey owned baseball in the 90s while Jackson owned music in the 80s. Look at the following stats.

Ken Griffey Jr. OPS+ throughout the 90s:

1990 135
1991 155
1992 149
1993 171
1994 170
1995 122
1996 153
1997 165
1998 150
1999 139

Then not much.

Michael Jackson number one hits

1972 Ben
1979 Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
1980 Rock With You
1983 Billie Jean
1983 Beat It
1987 I Just Can't Stop Loving You
1987 Bad
1988 The Way You Make Me Feel
1988 Man In The Mirror
1988 Dirty Diana
1991 Black Or White
1995 You Are Not Alone

Then not much.

Griffey's irrelevance came mostly from injuries and then ineffectiveness due to age. Jackson's irrelevance came mostly from accusations, bizarre behavior, plastic surgery and not putting out much music. Griffey had an effective, healthy and all-star worthy 2007 season. His slash stats that year were .277/.372/.496 (119 OPS+). Jackson had a nice hit with You Rock My World in 2001, which reached to number 10. For the last 10 seasons, Griffey wasn't in the baseball spotlight--save for a couple all-star appearance, worthy or not. The talk was Albert Pujols, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and other big names. Strange because Griffey was THE biggest name in the 90s. For the last 14 years, Jackson wasn't in the music spotlight--save for a few appearances at music shows and the 30th Anniversary Special. Usher, Eminem, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Beyonce and other musicians were featured at clubs. Jackson was THE biggest name in the 80s.

The talk about Griffey was the injuries. Was it shocking to see Griffey come up limping on the base paths or hurt himself while tracking down a fly ball? The talk about Jackson was the plastic surgery. Was it shocking to see Jackson with a new nose or facial bone structure for that matter?

Griffey also depicted cool. Who didn't want to wear the backwards hat after seeing him rock the style in batting practice? Jackson depicted cool. I know I wanted to wear the one glove while attempting to do the moon walk on the playground.

I thought about the two after Griffey announced his retirement, I thought about how he was my favorite player at one time and how I haven't thought about him much since his first season with the Cincinnati Reds in 2000. It's not that I stopped liking him, but he wasn't around for me to enjoy. I recalled how much I loved him after watching some YouTube clips and sifting through my baseball cards. After Jackson's death, I started listening to some of his songs again on YouTube. I always had Man in the Mirror on my iTunes, but I forgot how much I loved Black or White, Will You Be There and Beat It.

I also started thinking about the two when I read the comments section from the Rob Neyer article. Neyer had a rational perspective on Griffey's career, and it contained a lot of praise. However, fan boys didn't see his point and didn't recognize the praise and attacked based on some of the negative comments. If you scour message boards (yes, guilty pleasure), you will see people attack any negative, fair or not, comment about Jackson.

For Griffey, the fan boy response is something like, "He saved baseball in Seattle, and he played like a kid and was a great 5-tool player."

For Jackson, the fan boy response is something like, "He was a misunderstood beautiful man who cared about his fans and did a lot of charity work. He was a great musician and a poet."

It's amazing how a retirement and a death can make people recall all the good that someone did and forget the not-so-good. I will conclude with my thoughts on each subject.

Ken Griffey Jr. was one of my favorite baseball players growing up: the others being Frank Thomas, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire and Kevin Appier. He and Bonds were the two best players of the 90s and absolutely owned their skills. Griffey could hit, run and field. That being said, after a nice, what I thought to be, farewell season in 2009, he came back for one more year. I don't blame him for taking the money. I blame Jack Z for offering the contract. Regardless, he accepted the contract, and this season was disastrous. He took a nap, couldn't hit and was ultimately benched. None of this will affect my childhood memories of him, but as an adult, it is a part of his profile.

Michael Jackson was one of my favorite musicians growing up: the others being MC Hammer, The Cars, B52s and Tom Petty. He and Prince were the two singers who owned it in the 80s. Jackson could sing, dance and write. That being said, he was extremely weird. His skin tone, plastic surgery and hanging his youngest son from a hotel balcony made me wonder what's in his mind. Of course I have failed to mention the big elephant in the room: the sexual allegations with kids. We'll never know the truth, and I won't even pontificate my thoughts on the situation. None of this will affect my childhood memories of him, but as an adult, it is a part of his profile.

I think really, at this point, all I can do is enjoy their skills. And for that, I'm going to find my old Walk Man and put in my Will You Be There cassette and pop in my Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey Jr. for the N64 and rock out. Don't worry, the N64 is already hooked up to my TV. Always.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ken Griffey Jr. Retires, Fan Boys Go Crazy Over Non Bias

Ken Griffey Jr. retires, Rob Neyer writes a balanced perspective fan boys display reading comprehension fail.

After Neyer discusses Griffey's bad performance this year and below average performance last year, he gives a nice ovation:

"He was a great player. No question about that. But for many years, he wasn't quite the player people thought he was, or was supposed to be. In retrospect, did Griffey really deserve his spot on the All-Century Team? Did he really deserve to win 10 Gold Glove Awards? Did he really save baseball in Seattle? Tomorrow, it will be said that Griffey was the best player of his era who didn't use steroids. Was he really, though?

Actually, he might have been. Only three of Griffey's contemporaries are credited with more Wins Above Replacement: Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Jeff Bagwell ... and Bagwell's just slightly ahead of Griffey, well within the margins of measurement error.

Griffey's reign as baseball's greatest player didn't last long, and he didn't hit 800 home runs. But he played in the same outfield with his father, he symbolized baseball in Seattle for a decade, and even while struggling with a long list of injuries during the second half of his career, he built a brilliant career that will land him in Cooperstown the moment he's eligible.

Maybe he wasn't as good as he could have been. But he was better than almost everyone else."

It's not a gushfest at all, but Neyer keeps things in perspective and ultimately concludes that he was better than almost everyone else. A couple things to keep in mind regarding Griffey. No way did he deserve to play this year. I don't blame him for taking the money, but for as much praise as I have given Jack Z, he really screwed up signing Griffey after last season.

Since signing with the Cincinnati Reds before the 2000 season, Griffey has put together two really good seasons, two above average seasons, four injury-filled seasons and one average seasons, one bad season and one horrible 33 game final hurrah.

In the 90s, he was great every year. He was a true all-around player and a lock to be in the MVP hunt. Overall, he is a sure hall of famer and one of the true greats. It's sad to see him go out like this, but for whatever reason, Jack Z thought it was best to bring him back. And now we're left with the awkward, can't say good bye now, mid season retirement. Instead of thinking about the surprising, yet merited, retirement today, I will find a VHS player and play some mid 90s all-star game that I have recorded on VHS tape.

Enough about my take on Griffey, let's check out the reader backlash in regards to Neyer's column. Keep in mind, Neyer said that Griffey didn't live up to his potential, but he was still better than almost everyone during his generation. Truth, right?

Well, comprehension fail here we go.

folsom band writes:

"In retrospect, did Griffey really deserve his spot on the All-Century Team?" Hell, yes. "Did he really deserve to win 10 Gold Glove Awards?" WTF? Yes. "Tomorrow, it will be said that Griffey was the best player of his era who didn't use steroids. Was he really, though?" Now, you've gone too far - of course, yeah."

If he would have read the next sentence, Neyer says that he might have been the best.

MittEaters writes:

"Neyer is a tool who has always hinted at an anti-Griffey bias. Junior probably blew right by the dork in the dressing room one time and he's always held a grudge."

I'm not sure how many locker rooms Neyer has been in, but where is the anti-Griffey bias?

reed_jones writes:

"Neyer you have lost a reader with this terrible piece. Take a look at the numbers but I guess for you ignorance is bliss."

Let's take a look at those numbers.

2009: .214/.324/.411 slash stats. He was not horrible, but he was not good enough to play every day. And since he turned 40 last year, his projected numbers would not improve.

He comes back and puts up this in 108 plate appearances in 2010: .184/.250/.204. Sure he could have improved on them, but he wasn't going to go on a hitting tear and be the all-star he once was in his prime. The numbers suggested retirement.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Chipper Jones Still Effective

Chipper Jones is off to a disappointing start for the Atlanta Braves this season, but he can still contribute winning baseball.

Going into today's game, he has a .243 batting average, two home runs and a .756 OPS. His OPS+ is 106 so by definition he is an above average hitter. The catch: his on base percentage is .399.

The problem, as outlined in today's box score, is that he is batting third while Jason Heyward is batting second. Batting order is usually designed for the first inning because in the first inning we know who will bat first, second and third. In later innings, it becomes jumbled. Heyward gets on base AND hits for power. His slash stats are .299/.419/.592. I think it's time manager Bobby Cox flips Jones and Heyward in the batting order so Heyward can drive Jones in.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ivan Rodriguez: True Yankee

ESPN ran a story on its Web site several years ago about a True Yankee. I think the concept is ridiculous because it is synonymous with winning and having a big hit. Despite posting two MVP seasons, Alex Rodriguez wasn't even in the discussion of True Yankee until last season when he had another great, albeit in an injury plagued, season, a dominating post season and a World Series ring. Yet a monster 27-game season followed up with a decent enough post season and a World Series ring put Shane Spencer into True Yankee status after his 1998 season.

With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to kind of pick at this notion of True Yankee. I introduce Ivan Rodriguez: True Yankee.

Ivan Rodriguez is a Hall of Fame quality catcher who had a great run with the Texas Rangers from 1991 till 2002. He won an MVP in 1999 and made All-Star appearances from 1992 till 2001. He signed with the Florida Marlins in 2003 and helped them win a World Series over the New York Yankees. He then latched on to the Detroit Tigers in 2004 and put up his last great season posting a .334/.383/.510 line.

Rodriguez briefly played for the New York Yankees in the 2008 season. He played 33 games (101 plate appearances) and posted a .219/.257/.323 slash stats line with 2 home runs and a 51 OPS+. Yes, we're talking only 33 games, but he hadn't posted an OPS+ above 100 since 2004. He was so bad that Jose Molina got a majority of the starts. Coincidentally, Molina in 100 games (297 plate appearances) posted a 51 OPS+. It's always nice when you can get that kind of consistent play among your catchers.

Rodriguez then signed with the Houston Astros and was later traded back to the Texas Rangers in the 2009 season. Combined, he posted a .249/.280/.384 line and a 73 OPS+. He's retired, right? Nope. The Washington Nationals signed him to a two year $6 million contract last off season. If the previous five seasons of average to horrendous play weren't any indicators, the Nationals figured that he could get things figured out as he turns 39 this season and 40 next season. So far, in 31 games and 119 plate appearances, he has posted a respectable .333/.356/.441 line and a 112 OPS+. He should retire now. Ivan Rodriguez: A True National.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dan Haren to the Bullpen

With the score tied 4-4 after the Arizona Diamondbacks rallied back in the bottom of the eighth, Bob Howry and Chad Qualls gave up five runs in the top of the ninth as the Diamondbacks fall to the St. Louis Cardinals 9-5.

Howry, Qualls, Aaron Heilman and Juan Gutierrez have been miserable to start the year. All have an ERA above 6.43. As of this point, I do not have a strong opinion on Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch, but I am glad that Lou Piniella is not the coach of the Diamondbacks. If he was, would we be talking about Dan Haren, who like Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano is off to a slow start, going to the bullpen?

The Sean Berry and Bill Spiers Platoon

Before the Houston Astros were wasting money on Brandon Lyon, they were a forward thinking team. General manager Gerry Hunsicker and head coach Larry Dierker employed a platoon of Sean Berry and Bill Spiers during the 1998 season.

The right-handed Sean Berry started 76 games and posted a .320/.390/.511 line in those games. Against right-handed pitchers in 222 plate appearances, he had a nice .276/.365/.458 line, but in 120 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers, he posted an outstanding .383/.429/.598 line. The left-handed Bill Spiers started 89 games and posted a .291/.373/.422 line in those games. Against right-handed pitchers in 396 plate appearances, he had a solid .287/.370/.415 line. In contrast, he had 41 plate appearances (which was 41 plate appearances too many) against left-handed pitchers and put up a measly .143/.220/.200 line.

Combined as third basemen, they put up a .303/.380/.461 in 708 plate appearances line with 43 doubles, 5 triples and 15 home runs. They were also both 32 years old. For comparison Cal Ripken Jr. posted a .257/.329/.420 line in 718 plate appearances with 26 doubles, 3 triples and 24 home runs during his age 32 season.

What does this all mean? Sean Berry and Bill Spiers are not name-recognition baseball players. By themselves, they were okay hitters but nothing too spectacular. Spiers was atrocious against left handers while Berry was decent against right handers. Combined they put up all-star caliber numbers. The teams that can't field a great player without a platoon split at every position have to be creative with their rosters to get great season-long production.

For those keeping tabs, last year general manager Ed Wade employed Geoff Blum and Jeff Keppinger as their primary third basemen. The switch-hitting Blum posted a .252/.316/.368 line in 386 plate appearances over 100 games as a third baseman. The right-handed Keppinger posted a .243/.319/.374 line in 244 plate appearances over 65 games as a third baseman.

Combined as third basemen, they put up a .249/.317/.370 line in 630 plate appearances with 21 doubles, one triple and 15 home runs.

Carlos Zambrano Will Pitch in the Eight Inning

It's about time that Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano will pitch in the eighth inning. Unfortunately for Cubs fans, we're talking about as a relief pitcher as the Cubs announced his move to the bullpen today.

In 2006, Barry Zito signed a $126 million, seven-year deal with the San Francisco Giants. This contract, rightly so, was outrageous as he was not an elite starting pitcher. While he has struggled at times, he has still given the Giants some good to great games and an okay performance overall.

In the summer of 2007, Zambrano signed a $91.5 million, five-year contract extension (with optional sixth season) with the Cubs. This contract probably should have received the same treatment as the Zito contract. Zambrano has struggled sometimes, save for one game and hasn't topped 200 innings pitched since 2007.

Zito and Zambrano are strangely similar besides the fact that their last names begin with Z. Zito's career pitcher slash stats are .9 hr/9, 3.7 bb/9, 6.7 so/9 and 1.82 so/bb. Zambrano's career slash stats are .7 hr/9, 4.1 bb/9, 7.7 so/9 and 1.91 so/bb. In the two seasons prior to signing his big contract, Zito had a 4.37 FIP in 2005 and a 4.94 FIP in 2006. In the two seasons prior to signing his big contract extension, Zambrano had a 3.62 FIP in 2005 and a 4.15 FIP in 2006. He signed the contract extension in the middle of posting a 4.55 FIP in 2007. Clearly, both pitchers were treading downward and didn't have the stuff to warrant the high contract. Somehow Giants GM Brian Sabean and Cubs GM Jim Hendry are still employed despite these outrageous signings among other horrible signings.

A couple of quotes to take away from the article:

"I told him we really needed him in the bullpen," [Lou] Piniella told reporters in New York before facing the Mets, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "We felt he could do a really nice job for us there."

And then later:

The Cubs' bullpen ERA entering action Wednesday was 6.15 with a 1-6 record. The bullpen has blown 4-of-7 save opportunities this season.

"I'm confident this will help our situation out," Piniella said, according to the Tribune. "This makes all the sense in the world. This is a significant move, not a panic move."

I realize that Zambrano has struggled, but we're talking about a $91.5 million relief pitcher. He's still one of the top five starting pitchers on the team. Also, I'm not sure a guy who has a career 4.4 walks per 9 innings would make for a good relief pitcher.

The other problem is that we are talking about four starts. Sure, they were bad starts, but the only number that jumps out in these four starts that is different than in the past is the 1.9 home runs allowed per 9 innings. His walks per 9 innings are slightly up, but his strikeouts per 9 innings are really up. Those numbers should balance out to something similar to last year's numbers and his home run rate should also go down.

Relief pitchers are a dime a dozen--unless they are Mariano Rivera and a couple others. They struggle, they dominate and ultimately they are replaceable. They shouldn't be making $91.5 million. As long as Zambrano, who never deserved that contract to begin with, is one of the five best starting pitchers, the Cubs should throw him out there like the Giants did with Zito. And if he's not, look to trade him or just swallow some pride and try to buy out his contract.

Finally, here are a couple of links and tweets regarding the situation:

I read this Jack Moore story after writing my post and reading Rob Neyer's blog. Moore emphasizes the same points about Zambrano and brings in the Carlos Silva angle. Interesting enough Silva pitched 6 innings of 2 hit, 1 run, 2 walk and 4 strikeout baseball tonight against the New York Mets. Personally I would think Tom Gorzelanny would be the odd man out. But really, any start now Carlos Silva should turn back into Livan Hernandez.

Jonah Keri tweeted: "The Cubs are paying Lou Piniella $3.75 million/yr to decide that Carlos Silva deserves a starting job over Carlos Zambrano. That's special."

Dave Cameron tweeted: "Cubs moving Carlos Zambrano to bullpen, leaving Carlos Silva in rotation. #CarlosFail"

Keith Law tweeted: "Uh ... got nothin'. RT @sitrick2: @keithlaw Please, if possible, explain the logic of moving Zambrano to the bullpen."

And the best one. williamnyy23 tweeted: "@keithlaw It's obvious. The Cubs keep blowing leads, so Lou thinks it would be easier if the team never had any to begin with."

My First Kiss

I haven't written a creative story since the spring of 2008 when I was still at ASU. I've been wanting to write a story about a first kiss because I thought it could be funny. When I was searching through my computer, I still have a folder saved for my old Web site that I had with about 20 other writes from back in 2007. I browsed through some of the stories, and well, I already wrote about this topic. Below is the story. A couple things to note: the original version was kinda skeleton-y, so I added some content. This has not been through any editing, so we're looking at rough draft material. But the message and humor is there. When someone kidnaps me and takes me to Flagstaff and I enroll in NAU's creative writing Master's program, I'll use this as part of a bigger piece that I will want to write chronicling awkward experiences.

Before I post the story, I should say that this is one of the rare completely creative stories that has no influence on me or anyone I know. My real first kiss resembled mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (I played the role of drowning swimmer) with the girl's dad catching us. I strangely miss those days. Anyway, on to the story!

I was totally unprepared for the voicemail greeting when I called that girl so I just hung up. Fortunately, she had caller ID, and she called me back. We had a good conversation, and we planned for a date that night to meet up at an outdoor mall.

Everything was moving so fast for me. I just got through the telephone call, and now I have to go on a date. Couldn’t I get a week to take a breath? I knew I needed some advice on dates, so I went over to my friend’s house for some consultation.

We sat at the kitchen table and went over everything. We discussed compliments, holding hands and the kiss. I wasn’t sure about the kiss. Obviously this being my first date meant that this would be my first kiss.

“How do I kiss?” I asked, slightly embarrassed by the unusual question.

“You look her in the eyes, you keep your mouth open a little, and you aim for her upper or lower lip,” he said.

“That’s it?” I asked.

“Yeah, and use your hands to make sure her face is positioned at the right angle,” he said.

“I have to use my hands?”

“Yeah, and you can also use your hands to maybe tug her hair or something.”

“Wow, I didn’t even know girls liked that.”

“Some girls do but don’t forget to use your tongue.”

“This is way too much for me to handle.”

“Then just go for a small open mouth kiss on her lips.”

“I think I can handle that.”

“And hey, if the date is going bad, excuse yourself and give me a call and I will call you back to save you.”

I left my friend’s house feeling really confident. I met my date at the mall. We decided to get some dinner first at this Italian restaurant--Fazoli’s.

“These breadsticks are amazing, right?” I asked.

“Yeah, I mean, they are buttery or something,” she said.

God this was awkward. I was thinking really hard for conversation topics, but she was no help. Hmm, legoes.

“You know, I always wanted to make a giant lego fort. Not to like live in, but to have in the backyard. Just kind of chill,” I said.

“Would you have a bed or kitchen?” she asked.

“No, but I think I would have a desk. It could be my area where I would do a lot of writing: journal writing and maybe greeting card writing.”

“People still write greeting cards?” she asked.

“Oh, of course. Who doesn’t like getting something in a carnation colored envelope? Man, so you gotta check this out. I wrote a birthday card to a female friend in felt-tip pen last week. The ink ran so much that the wrong message was written.”

“That’s funny. I need to go use the bathroom”

Why do people say that’s funny when they don’t laugh? Anyway, I used this opportunity to call my friend for some last minute advice.

“Hey, I think the date is going well,” I said.

“Great! Now take her to that fireplace area and give her a kiss,” he said.

“I think I might tug her hair.”

“Umm, okay.”

I hung up the phone, and she returned a couple minutes later. I took her on a walk to the fireplace area. I was thinking about all the advice my friend gave me. Suddenly, we were standing in front of the fireplace looking at each other.

I looked into her eyes, and all my worries went away. I felt confident, like I’ve been there before. I leaned in. This was going to be magical. I parted my lips a little. This was going to be my first kiss! And her cell phone rang.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

R. Ortiz is in the game

I had a new game: it was called figure out which R. Ortiz is pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles. How it was played was I would go on my blackberry and check out the Dodgers box scores. When checking out the box scores, the blackberry wouldn't have their full name (both pitchers were labeled R. Ortiz), thus giving the suspense. Since Joe Torre seemingly loves using the same relief pitchers every game, there would be at least one R. Ortiz (maybe both) pitching. I had to guess which R. Ortiz played. It was fun. Sadly, that game is now over. The Dodgers designated Russ Ortiz for assignment.

The Mustached GM never fails to amaze me. He signed Russ Ortiz and Ramon Ortiz. What does The Mustached GM* like about these guys?

Russ Ortiz got the game ball during a World Series (despite the Giants losing the game in the end). He also won 21 games in a year and playing in an All-Star game. And he turns 36 years old this season.

Ramon Ortiz has a less impressive resume. He did actually win a World Series ring. In fact, Ramon's Angels played Russ's Giants in 2002. He won 15 and 16 games in back to back years in 2002 and 2003. He turns 37 years old this season.

Anyone who actually went to baseball-reference would predict that these were horrible signings. Russ Ortiz has a career 1.39 so/bb line, and he hasn't been adequate since his overrated 2003 season, in which he finished 4th in Cy Young balloting despite 4.3 bb/9 and meh 6/3 so/9 lines. Ramon Ortiz hadn't pitched since the 2007 season. He has a career 1.82 so/bb line, and he hasn't been adequate since 2002--his only okay season. Even in that year, he served up a league high 40 home runs to average 1.7 hr/9.

Of course it's not surprising that these two pitchers have struggled so far. Take a glance at Russ Ortiz's box score and Ramon Ortiz's box score. I was hoping that this game would last until at least the All-Star break, but even the Dodgers figured out that Russ Ortiz was horrible. When will they figure out that Ramon Ortiz is horrible?

*The Mustached GM also signed Garret Anderson

What does The Mustached GM like about Garret Anderson?

Anderson was a three time All-Star, won a home run derby, won a World Series with Ramon Ortiz in 2002 and he turns 38 years old this season.

Of course he is a guy who has never been a great on base guy. On top of that, he has little power these days. He hasn't been a good hitter since 2003. Any guess how this one will turn out?

Analyzing the Milton Bradley and Carlos Silva Trade

When the Seattle Mariners traded never-used overpaid starting pitcher Carlos Silva to the Chicago Cubs for troubled, kinda underachieving but talented Milton Bradley, I thought Jack Z stole a solid hitter away from the Cubs.

I never had the opportunity to fully analyze the trade, but I did mention that as a positive move for Jack Z in my Jack Z vs. Brian Sabean piece. I didn't believe that Bradley would be playing left field a majority of the time with the Mariners as I thought he would be primarily a designated hitter with Ken Griffey Jr. playing the role of "face of the franchise" on the bench.

Due to injuries and ineffectiveness, Silva managed to pitch 183 2/3 innings in his two seasons with the Mariners. It's unfair to completely evaluate his 2009 season since he only pitched 30 1/3 innings, but 2008 was pretty bad. He struck out 4.1 batters per 9 innings, walked 1.9 batters per 9 innings and gave up 1.2 home runs per 9 innings. As a result, it shouldn't shock anyone that his ERA+ was 66 with a WHIP of 1.598. Perhaps his ERA of 6.69 was a little bloated due to bad fielding (remember they didn't put emphasis in fielding until 2009) as indicated by his FIP of 4.69, but let's face it, the guy wasn't worth more than $20 million he received in his two years with the Mariners.

The fact that they traded him at all, let alone, for a productive player was an amazing feat. They traded him for Milton Bradley, who was one year removed of leading the American League in OBP, OPS and OPS+. In 2009 Bradley was disappointing, relatively speaking, with the Cubs. With the Cubs, he had .257/.378/.397 slash stats. His power was down, but he was getting on base. Silva, in comparison, couldn't keep guys off base.

It was a steal for the Mariners.

In two starts and 13 innings pitched, Silva has a 0.69 ERA, 0 walks and 5.5 strikeouts per 9 innings.

In 11 games and 43 plate appearances, Bradley has .139/.279/.333 slash stats.

In two weeks, it's been a steal for the Cubs.

I'm posting this now because it looks bad. But ah, the power of small sample sizes. Keep in mind, that Silva pitched against the Houston Astros and Cincinnati Reds in his two starts. While Silva, who went from the American League to the National League, won't be as bad as he was in 2008 (even his FIP indicates he wasn't as bad), this will still end up being a trade in favor of the Mariners. Whether I'm right or wrong, I will write up another story at the end of the season. At this point, to be continued...