Friday, November 28, 2003

SoSh post of the day 

This was posted on Sons of Sam Horn by some poster named JohnWHenry:

It was, in fact, the real Curt because he was just telling me about all of the e-mails, about the passion of our fans, about posting on the Sons of Sam Horn.

So congratulations, SOSH, on helping to bring Curt Schilling to Boston!


Yes, its the real John Henry, and I'll have more on this trade later.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Slow news day 

What started as a slow news week in baseball might have gotten much more exciting today.

Lee Sinins in his ATM reports that he heard from Peter Gammons through WFAN's Mike Francesa that Curt Schilling of the Arizona Diamondbacks (as opposed to the other Curt Schillings) would be traded to the Red Sox for Casey Fossum and some low level prospects, and then Fossum would be flipped to the Brewers for Richie Sexson.

There are some negatives. Schilling is a 37 year old power pitcher who makes a good amount of money next year. Personally, I find Schilling to be a pretty deplorable character, who spews nothing but know-it-all'edness and self interest to who ever holds a tape recorder near him. It's funny that the line between clubhouse leader and clubhouse lawyer is usually determined by the way you treat the media and how many wins you have.

However, the Sox need something to bolster their pitching staff. Wakefield is streaky because of the knuckler. Lowe needs a good defense behind him. Pedro is fragile. Arroyo is unproven. They don't know what to do with Kim. Schilling provides some bullpen relief since Pedro gets tired, and the others have the propensity to mix good with bad outings. Shilling coming back to Boston also make the pitching staff much more formative, as for playoffs you can write Pedro, Schilling, Lowe, Wakefield. I'll take my chances with those four.

I want to reiterate now that this deal is not done yet, but its close. I'll have a better breakdown when/if the deal gets finalized. For the record, if the deal goes through as stated, it will be a hell of a deal for Theo.

Friday, November 21, 2003


As some of my friends know, I have an unhealthy love affair with Mark Bellhorn.

Simply put, we share some things in common. We were both born in Boston. Both on August 23rd. We both walk a ton. Um...thats about it. Our batting stances are similar also.

I've watched him since he was in the A's system. I saw him sent to the Cubs for Adam Morrissey. I was pumped when he broke through in 2002 as a switch hitting, 27 HR hitting, .374 OB% getting second baseman. I was pissed when Dusty Baker said he needed to change his approach. I was more pissed when he was traded, at Dusty's request, to Colorado. I was most pissed when he was buried behind Chris Stynes by Clint Hurdle.

I figured this was the year. This was the season that the Red Sox might finally get Bellhorn. No way will a team tender a contract to a guy that they kept at the end of the bench all year last year.

And then I got this from Lee Sinins ATM Report:

8) The Rockies re-signed INF Mark Bellhorn to a 1 year, $490,000 contract and added OFs Tony Miller, Jorge Piedra and Cory Sullivan and Ps Scott Dohmann, Justin Hampson and Justin Huisman to the 40 man roster.


Thursday, November 20, 2003

Red Sox 40-man roster 

Today was the lock down day for the Rule V draft next month. The Sox are carrying 35 men going into next month. Today, the Sox picked up Edwin Almonte and Phil Seibel, ex of the Mets, and Tim Hamulack, who was with the Mariniers organization last year. The Sox also purchaced the contracts of Andy Dominique and Kevin "Greek God of Walks" Youkilis from Pawtucket, and Jerome Gamble from Portland. Caser Crespo was outrighted to Pawtucket.

The current 40-man roster:
Edwin Almonte
Bronson Arroyo
Jamie Brown
Jorge de la Rosa
Alan Embree
Casey Fossum
Jerome Gamble
Tim Hamulack
Brian Hebson
Byung-hyun Kim
Derek Lowe
Brandon Lyon
Anastacio Martinez
Pedro Martinez
Ramiro Mendoza
Scott Sauerbeck
Phil Seibel
Jason Shiell
Mike Timlin
Tim Wakefield
Scott Williamson

Andy Dominique
Doug Mirabelli
Jason Varitek

Nomar Garciaparra
Damian Jackson
Lou Merloni
Kevin Millar
Bill Mueller
David Ortiz
Kevin Youkilis

Johnny Damon
Gabe Kapler
Trot Nixon
Manny Ramirez

Fun fun stat stats...Clutch Number 

What is clutch?

No one has really been able to determine what clutch is. For one, it's subjective, something I'm not the biggest fan of. The other is that it's not really consistant. No player has really shown an ability to "raise his game".

Example is Derek Jeter. His supporters say Jeter raises his game in the playoffs. As I've posted here, Jeter's numbers are almost exactly the same in the playoffs as the regular season.

Does it exist? Of course. Nixon homering in ALDS game 3 was clutch. Does that make Nixon a clutch hitter? I don't know, but that hit sure was clutch.

In an attempt to objectify the ability to hit in the clutch this season, I took a Bill James definition of what clutch hitting situations are. They are hits with runners in scoring poisition, and home runs with men on base. Homering with a man on base drives in the more runs then any other hit with a man on base. If a hitter gets a hit with a runner in scoring position, he did his job to drive in a run. It shouldn't matter if Juan Pierre or Doug Mirabelli is on second.

Those ideas need to be applied to the player's norms. Manny hit 14 homers with men on base this year, and Varitek hit 10. Who helped the team more? Manny did, but Varitek made the most of his oppertunities, since he hit four less home runs situationally, but he did it while having 12 less dingers overall, and in 110 at bats fewer. Varitek was more "clutch" in this situation.

The idea is strictly Jamesian, but its the best I've found so far.

The formula is: C=(Hrisp-(abrisp/BA))+(HRmob-(abmob*HR)/AB)
C is Clutch number
Hrisp is Hits with runners in scoring position
abrisp is At bats with runners in scoring position
BA is batting average (h/ab)
HRmob is Home runs with men on base
abmob is at bats with men on base
HR is home runs (all situations)
AB is at bats (all situations)

The application is: Manny Ramirez
Hrisp - 51
ABrisp - 151
BA - .325
HR mob - 14
ABmob - 268
HR - 37
AB - 569

His batting average is the his assumed level of hitting. With men in scoring position he is assumed to be able to hit at that level. There for, Manny is expected to have 49.095 hits with RISP. He had 51. Therefore in the first step of anaylsis, his RISP C=1.905.

Manny, based on his AB with men on base, and his overall home run and at bat totals should be 17.427. He only hit 14 home runs with men on base, which makes his MOB C= -3.427.

Finally, you add the two numbers and you get the total clutch number, which for 2003 was -1.522. In "clutch" situations that were defined, Manny underperformed his overall norms.

For the American League, here are the top 15:
M Sweeney     kcr      12.561

R Winn sea 11.865
C Lee chw 10.263
M Anderson tam 9.415
C Monroe det 9.052
E Martinez sea 7.841
S Hatteberg oak 7.813
B Molina ana 7.719
C Beltran kcr 7.459
T Long oak 7.195
D Relaford kcr 7.192
C Delgado tor 6.993
H Matsui nyy 6.589
M Cameron sea 6.511
G Anderson ana 6.417

Some of the names you would expect, professional hitters like Mike Sweeney, Edgar Martinez, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado. Godzilla-san seems to have actually lived up to some Yankee hype as a clutch god. Carlos Lee, Scott Hatteberg, and Garrett Anderson are nice hitters, a step below the top four. The last seven include a utility man pressed into every day duty(Relaford), a Philadelphia-banished Devil Ray (M. Anderson), two Safeco corpses (Winn and Cameron, who both hit appreachably better on the road), a glove-first catcher (Molina), someone named Craig Monroe, and of course, the Terrence Long Experience.

What about 2002?

These same 15 fellows notched the following numbers:
M Sweeney     kcr       9.225

R Winn tam 3.659
C Lee chw -0.329
M Anderson phi -6.319
C Monroe det -0.520
E Martinez sea 10.765
S Hatteberg oak -4.006
B Molina ana -1.633
C Beltran kcr 8.275
T Long oak 5.051
D Relaford sea -1.024
C Delgado tor 2.327
H Matsui nyy 0.000
M Cameron sea -3.725
G Anderson ana 2.712

Beltran was the only one who was pretty close to their 2003 number. Funny, eh? Godzilla-san of course gets a zero because of the inability to find Japanese League splits. For two years, the Terrence Long Experiment has overperformed his real life norm. Maybe he isn't as bad as I thought....never mind, hes truely terrible.

Finally, because I am a cynical bastard who revels in other people's inaffectiveness, here are the AL's worst 15:
R Mondesi   nyy  -12.197 

D Ortiz bos - 9.525
B Fordyce bal - 8.603
A Sorinao nyy - 8.056
M Mora bal - 8.052
K Witt det - 7.989
T Nixon bos - 7.567
T Greene tex - 7.020
R Baldelli tam - 6.832
L Rivas min - 6.208
S Stewart min - 5.756
A Escobar cle - 5.737
D Mirabelli bos - 5.687
S Wooten ana - 5.563
H Blalock tex - 5.520

As soon as I figure out how to format things without making my blog disappear, I'll have a link for the AL and NL numbers on the side.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Long Quick Hits 11/18 

One thing I love about blogging is that I get a forum to sputter out my rants about baseball and other things. The main thing I hate is writing out something great and having it disappear in the realm of cyberspace because I hit a button I wasn't supposed to. Really, it frustrates the hell out of me because, as anyone who has written anything knows, if you lose something, it's going to be much better then what you write in its stead. C'est la vie.

All that aside, there were six things that happened in the last 48 hours, which is the most that happened in baseball since Josh Beckett toed the rubber for Game Six. I'm not counting the waking up at 4 am in a cold sweat yelling "Timlin in the eighth, Williamson in the ninth". That happens every night.

ARod named AL MVP

Those following years were seasons that someone could have voted for Alex Rodriguez as the AL MVP with a clear conscience. Alas, it wasn't to be for the boyish shortstop, as Juan Gonzalez mystified writers with RBI, Jason Giambi had just as solid a year as Rodriguez, Ichiro was a phenom, and Miguel Tejada got hot just when his team went on a 20 game tear. By the way, in case anyone noticed, despite the "East-coast bias" in the media, the last time an MVP wasn't from Oakland, Seattle, or Texas, was 1995's Mo Vaughn, who deserved the award just about as much as Gonzalez did in 1996. I thought that Carlos Delgado or Manny Ramirez would have been better choices then ARod, but he's been screwed out of the award by players having worse years three times, and maybe four, so I can swallow the Rodriguez award.

Jayson Stark has a pretty misinformed column on value on ESPN entitled "Why A-Rod turned out so 'valuable'. Rob Neyer has a rebuttal called Greatest of the Generation. The ARod stuff is in the middle.

Finally, I love David Ortiz. I like Shannon Stewart. I love Super Troupers. I like Van Wilder. The former are viable MVP candidates as much as the latter are Oscar candidates. Ortiz got some support because he "had some big hits" and "carried the team at times". He was the fourth best hitter on the team after Manny Ramirez, Trot Nixon, and Bill Mueller, and contributed nothing with the glove. An offense that scores 961 doesn't need much carrying, and despite having some "big hits" Ortiz under performed in clutch situations this season, putting up a -9.525 Clutch Number (quick explanation: Clutch number is the total comparing expected hits with runners in scoring position, and expected home runs with men on base with the actual totals. If a player meets his expectation, the Clutch Number will be 0. Ortiz was expected hit better then he did in those situations.)

Stewart came over just as the Twins started winning, so it was decided that Stewart was the reason. Never mind that Johan Santana was inserted into the starting rotation at that time, replacing the horror that was Joe Mays, and Brad Radke stopped doing his Joe Mays impression. Stewart was the fifth best hitter on the Twins by the end of the year, behind Doug Mientkiewicz, Cory Koskie, Matt LeCroy, and AJ Pierzynski. Actually, Stewart's numbers in Minnesota were worse then the man he replaced, Bobby Kielty. As statistically insignificant as it is, Kielty posted a 5.790 runs created/27 outs, Stewart was at 5.632. Those aren't the MVP candidates on their own teams, never mind in the American League.

Barry Bonds wins his sixth National League MVP
Yawn. Third straight, sixth overall. Bonds probably deserved a few more too. So people who either don't know any better, or just hate the perceived attitude of Barry Bonds cry for a Pujols award, that Barry somehow didn't deserve it. If you are this person, or know this person, I'm sorry, but Barry Bonds had the best year of any player in baseball, and this stretch of dominance that he is having, at his age, is unchartered, save for Honus Wagner. People don't talk about the Dutchman much anymore though....

Some people say that Pujols deserved better. Bonds was the MVP, but Albert Pujols should have gotten more votes. Why? You are the MVP or you aren't. Margin of victory can be surprising (see NL Cy Young, 2003), but its just foolish to agree with an award selection, but say that the margin of victory wasn't to your liking. It's like bitching that you got everything you wanted for Non-Denominational Gift-giving Holiday, but in the wrong color.

Pat Hentgen goes home
Hentgen, who will be 36 for next season, signed a one-year, $2.2 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, which is where he made his bones in the 90s. I saw Hentgen pitch on the winning end of the goofiest pitching duel in 2003, as he bested the Red Sox and John Burkett, 2-1. Hentgen saved his Baltimore Orioles 25.947 runs in 22 starts and 6 relief appearances. That total would have pushed Hentgen to the Blue Jays #3 starter last year, behind Cy Halladay, and Free Agent Kelvim Escobar. This signing precluded a busy day for Riccardi, who also added Ted Lilly to his team. Speaking off...

Ted Lilly traded to the Blue Jays for Bobby Kielty and a Player to be named later
Lilly and Kielty take a ride on the Sabermetric Talent Pipeline between the Bay and the Great White North. Lilly goes from Oakland, where he was the #4-5 starter to become the #2 man for the Jays Bleu. Lilly saved just as many runs as Hentgen last year, but where as Hentgen is 36, Lilly is 28. One can only assume that Riccardi really needs Lilly to duplicate some success he had in Oakland, lest this turns into another Cory Lidle situation. If this was a fantasy league, methinks the other owners would be bitching about the Toronto-Oakland shuttle.

Fast Lilly fact: Toronto will be his fifth organization, after being drafted by Los Angeles, traded to Montreal, traded to the Yankees, and then traded to Oakland.

Bobby Kielty gives Beane an outfielder who is solid with the glove, and can take a walk. Kielty is a switch hitter, who inexplicably can not hit righties. His LHB line of .216/.328/.328 is pretty scary since the world is made of northpaws. ‘Tis no matter, because Kielty can be the meat in a Dye/Long sandwich provided the following doesn't happen...

Fast Kielty fact: If Kielty wears #22 (his usual #24 is taken by Dye, and I hope that Eric Byrnes would give it up) I will be purchasing his jersey. Kielty is one of my favorite non-Sox, and I was a wearer of the double deuce when I played sports.

Peter Gammons puts down his mushroom tea, and reports that Mark Kotsay is heading from San Diego to Oakland for Ramon Hernandez, and the Terrence Long Experience
Gammons reports that this deal will be announced tomorrow, but the link is dead on ESPN.com. If the trade goes though, Kevin Towers got a good catcher and a black hole of both offense and defense, and Billy Beane got a shiny centerfielder who can take a walk.

Hernandez is one of those "Player's All-Stars" who becomes an All Star based on things that managers and players can notice that the normal everyday fan can't, or don't. That's right folks, my head isn't always in the stat books, because I truly believe some players are better then their numbers. Actually, what I like most about it is that the media grabs that ball and runs with it, hyping a player to the point where a team is idiotic for trading the player for anything less then Barry Bonds and the exhumed corpse of Babe Ruth.

Ramon Hernandez is a nifty little catcher because he's 27, he can hit, and he can field. Kevin Towers, Padres GM, has said he wants a smart young catcher, to help transform his young, wacky pitching staff into So. Cal's version of the Big Three. However, the cost of doing business with Beane, unless your initials are J.P., is taking his problems off his hands. The Terrence Long Experience is that cost. Long took himself out of favor by not being able to hit at all, and bitching about playing time, and calling Ken Macha everything he could think of. I'm going to go out on a limb right now and say that if this trade goes through, the A's made themselves one of those deals that will be panned, but will end up working for them. Kotsay plays a very good center, and can hit a little bit. His acquisition would make the 11.15 outfield of Dye/Byrnes/Long into Dye/Kotsay/Kielty, which isn't bad. Toss in a Byrnes as a 4th and a McMillion to hit and pray balls aren't hit to him, and Beane did himself well today. To put on my Gammons hat: Yes, Adam Melheuse can hit and catch. He is a wonderful human being.

Go to Baseball News Blog
Seriously, go there. Not only will you get yourself all the news you can, in handy, eatable blog form, but they link me way more often then l'il ole me should be linked. The site, Baseball News Blog, is really worth a check out. Go there, and stay up in the world of baseball. In case my point is too subtle, go there, and the gods will smile upon you. It's a good thing.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Days of MVPs 

In the next two days, MLB will reveal who won the popularity/hype contests that are the Most Valuable Player awards.

The following awards have already been announced: Jack McKeon/Tony Pena Managers, Dontrelle Willis/Angel Berroa Rookies, and Eric Gagne/Roy Halladay Cy Young.

Silver Sluggers and Gold Gloves were also announced, but I'll be dammed if I can find it on the Internet any where. Not on MLB.com, and not on the "Worldwide Leader in Sports" ESPN.com. Oh well, no time to really dig now.

Anyway, here is how I've done so far:
Rookie of the Year
AL: Jody Gerut
NL: Brandon Webb

0-2 so far. Berroa is defendable in the American League, as he played shortstop and I doubt some writers even know who Jody Gerut was. What�s funny is now I look back, and I would have made my ballot differently. Gerut still would have won, but I probably would have put Teixeira second and flipped a coin on Berroa and Hideki Mastui.

I might have blown the AL voting, but the writers really dropped the ball on the NL side. I can think of no defensible argument that Dontrelle Willis was the best rookie pitcher in the National League, never mind the best rookie. I suppose someone could make the case for Podsednik, but not Willis. Completely unfathomable.

Manager of the Year
AL: Jerry Manuel
NL: Jack McKeon

I think I was drunk when I picked Manuel. Very very drunk. Originally, I picked Felipe Alou in the NL, because I just plum forgot McKeon. I reserved the right to change my mind and picked Trader Jack about a week later. By the way, I think it is Federal law to call McKeon "Trader Jack" at least once in all articles about him, or the 2003 Florida Marlins.

Cy Young
AL: Tim Hudson
NL: Mark Prior

Both contests were tough for me to pick. The top four in the AL, and the top three in the NL were all more then worthy champions in the Denton Young award. Halladay won it on the strength of 260 very good innings, compared to Loazia's out of nowhere season, Hudson's 240 excellent innings and Pedro Martinez's 186.2 unspeakable innings. The only thing that really surprised me in the voting was that Loazia finished 2nd, and Hudson garnered almost no support.

In the NL, the top three were so compacted that you really couldn't mess this one up. The only thing I can really complain about was that two writers thought that Russ Ortiz was the 2nd best pitcher in the NL, and three thought he was the third best. He was about the 15th best. Kevin Brown and Brandon Webb should be able to sue for malpractice.

All and all, I've done a shitty job as prognosticator, going 1-6, hitting on the McKeon gimme. Of course, the writers have done a pretty shitty job as well. Votes like the National League Rookie of the Year cheapens awards, and people making statements through withholding votes makes them at best inaccurate (Looking at you 2003 AL ROY, and 1999 AL MVP). Its become much ado about nothing.

The best player in the American League this year was Carlos Delgado, and in the National League, it was Barry Bonds. I expect neither will win though, while players like Shannon Stewart, and Preston Wilson garner support. All part of the hype machine.

Monday, November 10, 2003

The Red Sox...Filling the holes 

This is the forth part in my building of the best Red Sox team I can. Here is what we have as of now, with the Timlin signing:
c - Jason Varitek $6.7 m
1b - Kevin Millar $3.3 m
2b -
3b - Bill Mueller $2.1 m
ss - Nomar Garciaparra $11.5 m
lf - Manny Ramirez $20.5 m
cf - Johnny Damon $8.0 m
rf - Trot Nixon $6.0 m*
dh - David Ortiz $4.0 m*
bench - Lou Merloni $0.7 m*
bench - Kelly Shoppach $0.3^
bench -
bench -

sp - Pedro Martinez $17.5 m
sp - Tim Wakefield $4.35 m
sp - Derek Lowe $5.0 m
sp - Byung-hyun Kim $2.75 m*
sp - Bronson Arroyo $0.3 m^
rp - Ramiro Mendoza $3.6 m
rp - Alan Embree $2.75 m
rp - Scott Williamson $3.0 m*
rp - Jorge de la Rosa $0.3 m^
rp - Mike Timlin $2.5 m
rp -

25th man (bench/rp) - Caser Crespo $0.4

Payroll - $106.55 m
Buyouts - $0.7 m (Howry and Suppan)
2004 Expenditures - $106.25 m
Expected payroll - $118 m (my estimate)
Expendable monies - $11.75 m
Total Roster space - 4
* - Arbitration eligible
^ - Player on roster but not arb. eligible yet

Of those six roster spots that are left, the holes we need filled are: Starting 2b, right handed hitting outfielder for Nixon, backup 1b, and reliever that can eat innings if need be, with the right handed setup man job going to Timlin, and the 25th man job going to the cheap and speedy Caser Crespo.

Starting 2b
Job description - Good fielder, good hitting a bonus.
Free agents: Roberto Alomar, Luis Castillo, Mark Grudzielanek, Todd Walker
Likely non-tenders: Mark Bellhorn, Adam Kennedy

Mark Grudzielanek is Lou Merloni with more pop and less walks, so he is out. Alomar and Castillo will both probably carry high price tags in the early going. Todd Walker is a good option to come back, especially since he said he would, but can Derek Lowe's psyche really handle seeing him go after the ball like Derek Jeter (one step then flop as ball bounces under the glove)? Adam Kennedy's extra base hits keep declining, and Mark Bellhorn was horrible in 2002.
Jeff's take: I think the best option is Bellhorn. He's from Boston, and he probably won't be negotiating from a position of strength. He's an excellent on base guy, and when he gets regular playing time, he hits for power. He was buried by Dusty, and then buried farther by Clint Hurdle. He will come cheaper then the other guys, and the idea is to find some value. Pencil in Bellhorn for $600,000.

Nixon's platoon partner
Job description: Ability to hit left handed pitching. Play a spacious right field without embarrassing yourself.
Free agents: Jose Guillen, David McCarty, Reggie Sanders, Shane Spencer, Rondell White

The only reason McCarty is listed there is because he showed a desire to pitch next season, like Brooks Kieschnick. Guillen had a breakout year, and might not want to be platooned. Sanders, Spencer, and White all have questions about ability/injury/attitude/defense/something else.
Jeff's Take: I'm going to go with Sanders. Not only is he good enough against the northpaws to play incase Damon/Nixon/Ramirez/Ortiz goes down for a few weeks, but he actually still has some quickness. And he treats lefties worse then Hitler. Giving him a 50% raise will probably bring him to Boston. Sanders would make $1.5 million

Back up 1b
Job description: Left handed hitting 1b to spell Millar at 1b, so he doesn't get burned out. Good with the glove.
Free agents: Tony Clark, Robert Fick, Matt Franco, Travis Lee, Scott Spiezio

I still think Clark might break out of his slump from 2002. He's a slow starter. Fick is a semi-insane hothead that would have gotten himself killed if Wood or Prior was on the mound from the club he gave Karros. Matt Franco doesn't play much in the field. Travis Lee is still trying to live up to his potential. Scott Spiezio might have been the MVP of the World Series in 2002, but didn't play well last year.
Jeff's Take: None of the guys here really inspires much confidence. I wouldn't touch Clark with a 10' pole. I absolutely hate Robert Fick. He's the type of guy I can see colliding with Nixon going for a fly in right field and then come up swinging. Travis Lee is good with the glove, but in reality, he'll want to be paid as a full timer despite not being much with the bat. Ditto on Spiezio. Matt Franco is intreguing to me, simply because he's never really gotten a chance to play, with 2002 being his career high with at bats with 205. Franco might be the best bet, due to his cheapness, since I don't think he'll command more then $900,000.

Reliever that will eat innings if need be
Job description: Relief pitcher who can be lights out, but also pitch 2-3 innings if asked
Free agents: Too many to list

Jeff’s take: Here is where I bust my wad. The moves I have described earlier leave $8.7 million to play with. Right here is where you take that amount, and you give it to Keith Foulke for 3 years. This allows you to turn games into 7 inning affairs, and if you are feeling saucy, trading Scott Williamson for some breathing room/more players to plug holes (such as Matt Franco. He doesn’t inspire the most confidence.) Keith Foulke would be the one guy available that you spend for. If you are confident in Williamson for the long haul, which I am, then you could probably sign LaTroy Hawkins for $5 million. I’m going to go with Foulke though.

Now that I’ve finished with my breakdown, I’m going to say thanks to my readers for reading since I started this site in August. I took a week off to get some school work done. I’ll be semi-regular (3-4 times a week), until the hot stove season really heats up. I’ll write something else this weekend about the awards, and how I did on picking them (not good), and I’m going to start writing reviews of the many baseball books I’ve read over the summer, and giving out my grades for the Red Sox season. Thanks again for reading.

Friday, November 07, 2003

The Red Sox...What we have so far 

This is the third part in my building of the Red Sox. Here is the 25 man roster, with salaries. I have used actual dollar amounts where necessary. For the arbitration cases, I took the salary I expect them to make:

c - Jason Varitek $6.7 m
1b - Kevin Millar $3.3 m
2b -
3b - Bill Mueller $2.1 m
ss - Nomar Garciaparra $11.5 m
lf - Manny Ramirez $20.5 m
cf - Johnny Damon $8.0 m
rf - Trot Nixon $6.0 m*
dh - David Ortiz $4.0 m*
bench - Lou Merloni $0.7 m*
bench - Kelly Shoppach $0.3^
bench -
bench -

sp - Pedro Martinez $17.5 m
sp - Tim Wakefield $4.35 m
sp - Derek Lowe $5.0 m
sp - Byung-hyun Kim $2.75 m*
sp - Bronson Arroyo $0.3 m^
rp - Ramiro Mendoza $3.6 m
rp - Alan Embree $2.75 m
rp - Scott Williamson $3.0 m*
rp - Jorge de la Rosa $0.3 m^
rp -
rp -

25th man (bench/rp) -

Payroll - $102.65 m
Buyouts - $0.7 m (Howry and Suppan)
2004 Expenditures - $103.35 m
Expected payroll - $115 m (my estimate)
Expendable monies - $11.65 m
Total Roster space - 6
* - Arbitration eligible
^ - Player on roster but not arb. eligible yet

Todd Walker filed for free agency and was named a Type-A free agent
Mike Timlin filed for free agency and was named a Type-A free agent
John Burkett filed for free agency and was named a Type-B free agent
Walker and Timlin are expected to be offered arbitration, Burkett is not. Walker and Timlin have both expressed interest in coming back to 2004.

If both are offered arbitration, and are signed by another club, then the Red Sox receive the teams first round pick (if they pick from 16-30), or second round pick (if they pick from 1-15), and a sandwich round pick between rounds 1 and 2. If the signing team signs more then one type A free agent, then pick the receiving team gets is based on the rank of the player in his position, according to Elias' rankings. The Elias rankings were collectively bargained, and have been in use since 1984. Whew.

So far, no team has expressed an interest in Timlin publicly, but the Indians, Mets, Dodgers, and Yankees have all said that they would look at Walker. The Red Sox have expressed interest in resigning both.

I'll have more either over the weekend or on Monday about the future Sox.

As of today, it looks like Lee Mazzilli will be the new manager of the Baltimore Orioles.

Mazzilli is known for being the first base coach of the Yankees, as well as the "annoying guy that Fox mics, even though the only things he says are 'Hell of a job' and 'He was safe!'"

Also, the Seattle Times reports that the new Mariners GM might be Bill Bavasi, the old GM of the Angels.

Bavasi is currently the farm director of the LA Dodgers, and his father is the famous ex-Dodgers GM Buzzie Bavasi. He looks like he is going to be a scouting and development type GM, much like Pat Gillick was. For more in-depth discussion go to the David Cameron/Derek Zumsteg/Jason Michael Barker blog U.S.S. Mariner.

Finally, has any one noticed the complete lack of Orioles blogs out there? Does anyone know of any? The only teams I haven't found at least one good blog from is the Pirates, Rockies, and O's. Personally, I think that's pretty insane, considering the fact that the Orioles have a pretty strong fan base.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Organizational Meeting: Red Sox 

I was given the oppertunity to write part of the Red Sox Organizational meeting for Bryan Smith's blog, Wait 'til Next Year, with Ben Jacobs.

Smith asked us both the same quesitons, and we gave our answers. Jacobs, who writes the fantasitc Universal Baseball Blog, gives the long thought out answers. I give the short, somewhat crazy answers (big shock to those who read regularly).

If you want to read it, hit the link above. Here is an exerpt from the OM:

5. Todd Walker was the hero of this postseason, bailing out the team on numerous occasions. But, he really is a very platoonable player, susceptible to good left-handed pitching. Do you re-sign Walker, or save the money for pitching? Would you go with Bill Mueller at second and Youkilis at third? Who plays second?

BJ- Walker is a pretty good hitter for a second baseman, but he’s also an average fielder at best. Also, as you said, he’s really only a good hitter against righties, so it’s probably not a good idea to give him the $3.5-4 million he’ll probably want. Especially since there is a cheaper -- and probably better -- version of him that will probably be available this off-season.

It sounds like the Angels are going to non-tender Adam Kennedy, who is a better defensive player than Walker and who hits righties about as well as Walker does. Kennedy made $2.27 million in 2003 and I’d guess that he’d be willing to sign for about that for 2004.

Whether you re-sign Walker or sign Kennedy, you need to go out and find that person a platoon partner. Lou Merloni’s a fan favorite, but he’s never been all that good against lefties and this year he stunk against them while pounding righties. The best solution would be Placido Polanco, who has had an OPS of at least .880 against lefties three of the last four years (it was .790 in 2001). However, I don’t know exactly what his situation is with Philadelphia, so he may not be available. Mark Grudzielanek would be another option, although he’s been more inconsistent against lefties and he would have to take on heck of a pay cut over what he made in 2003.

You mentioned Kevin Youkilis, and he presents another intriguing possible option. The Red Sox could use the switch-hitting Bill Mueller at third and the left-handed hitting Adam Kennedy at second against righties and use the right-handed hitting Youkilis at third and Mueller at second against lefties. This would allow Boston to ease Youkilis into the majors, which would be a good thing because he’s probably not ready to be there full-time yet. The nice thing about Youkilis is that even if he’s not hitting, he probably won’t be a complete drain on the offense because he takes a lot of walks.

There is one other thing I’d like to mention about Youkilis. He got a lot of press this season because he was mentioned in Moneyball and he had a .487 OBP at Portland and he got on base something like 70 games in a row at one point. If all that has caused his value to climb to the point where teams are itching to trade for him, then I’d trade him. I think he’ll be a fine major leaguer, but it’s not a sure thing and this could very well be the high-water mark for his value. If you can get real talent in return for him right now, I think it would be a good idea.

JK- Walker did the Red Sox a huge favor from a business stand point. He played well enough to be a type A free agent, and he did his best bashing in October, so it is fresh in other GM’s minds. It’s a no-brainer to offer Walker arbitration. If he accepts, good, we have a steady player at second, if he doesn’t then we get two draft picks. If Walker doesn’t resign, then my kind of pet project is Mark Bellhorn. Not only does he fit the organizational profile (high OB%, high slug) he plays a decent second base, he’s a switch hitter, he’s gonna be cheap because he was jerked around by Dusty Baker and buried by Clint Hurdle. Youkilis needs some seasoning at AAA before coming up to the big club. Mueller at second and Youk at third should be last resort.


Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Dernell Stenson dead at 25 

Dernell Stenson, former Red Sox prospect and current Cincinnati Reds outfielder, was found shot to death near Chandler, Ariz.

Here is the ESPN story: Reds outfield shot and dragged to death.

I read it and felt sick to my stomach. Quite the horrific way to die. I honestly don't know... Please think about Dernell and his family tonight.

The Red Sox...Manager search (or Who Will We Hate Next?) 

The Red Sox manager search has finally kicked off with Glenn Hoffman receiving the first interview. Hoffman was interviewed Monday, by Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino for seven hours. Maybe it's just me, but once you break the four hour mark, and interview ceases to be, and it becomes more of an inquisition. I digress.

A few weeks ago, I had the residents of Dewey's house submit names that they most wanted to see be the skipper of the Red Sox. Here were the top 10 names:
Bud Black
Bruce Bochy
Larry Dierker
Carlton Fisk
Whitey Herzog
Glenn Hoffman
Davy Johnson
Jerry Remy
Joe Torre
Bobby Valentine

Dierker was the overwhelming choice by my readers, totaling two more votes then Bobby V.

What's interesting is that the only person still in the running is Hoffman, with everyone else never being a serious candidate, or taking another job (Valentine), or declining to be near his family (Black).

However, there is one other official candidate, and a slew of others. Here, I will talk about the three men most likely to get the job.

Glenn Hoffman - Dodgers 3rd base coach
Hoffman managed the Dodgers in 1998 to a 47-41 record after Bill Russell was fired. Russell led the team to 36-38. Hoffman comes from a baseball pedigree that includes being drafted by the Red Sox, and being a no-hit, good-field shortstop for the Sox, Dodgers, and Angels. His brother is Padres reliever Trevor Hoffman. Hoffman was interviewed Monday by Epstein and Lucchino as I stated, for seven hours. Hoffman seems to be all right with using statistical analysis along with scouting information, something the previous manager didn't do. Hoffman is also extremely laid back, which may or may not be a good thing, since Grady was too.

Terry Francona - Athletics bench coach
Francona also has the "baseball name", as his father played in the big leagues. Francona was a no-hit, no-field first baseman who stayed in the big leagues for 10 seasons. He must have had "veteran leadership" in spades, which is good for a manager, I suppose. He is another one that seems to be loved by everybody. Francona was interviewed by the White Sox, who hired Ozzie Guillen, and by the Orioles, who seem like they are hiring Lee Mazzilli. Francona's managerial experience is pretty ugly, compiling a 285-363 for some Philly teams that weren't exactly wealths of talent. However, he is probably most responsible for Rico Brogna's career, since he was essentially the same player as Francona.

Joe Maddon - Angels bench coach
Maddon is a dark horse in this game. He has served as an interim manager twice. He served the backend of a horrible 1996 Angels team, that started with Marcel Lachemann, then went to John McNamara. Maddon managed the death spasms of that team to a 8-14 record. He had a more fulfilling experience cleaning up after Terry Collins was booted in 1999. On a team that was 51-82 when Maddon was tabbed, finished a more respectable 70-92 (that means Maddon went 19-10). Maddon comes with the endorsement of Mike Scioscia, and he is campaigning for the job. Maddon's claim to fame so far is that he prepares the hybrid scouting/statistical reports for the Angels, and he said that if they "had computers 50 years ago, Branch Rickey would have made them popular." In 2000, when the Angels hired Scioscia, they directed him to keep Maddon on staff, because of his strategic and communication skills.

My take
Of these three guys, I think that Maddon is the best fit. Not only does he seem to genuinely want to come here, but he's saying all the right things to me so far. I wouldn't touch Francona with a 30 foot pole, and Hoffman doesn't blow me away, although I wouldn't be upset if he was hired. Angels' General Manager Bill Stoneham has said that he will not refuse permission to speak to coaches up for managerial jobs, and because this amounts to a promotion, the Angels can't demand compensation. So, although I reserve the right to change my mind, the Official Man that We Will Hate Next will be Joe Maddon .

One final aside...Fox canceled Skin. I think that Skin had potential to be a great show, but they busted their wad on the first episode. I found the kids annoying and the only other character that was even likable was the pornographer. The DA was wooden and unbelievable. Jerry Bruckheimer blew it by making the show too hokie, and Fox doomed it by hyping it so much that people were sick of it before the first episode aired. All and all, a pretty painful run, and a well deserved death. Now if we can only get Olinda off of Joe Millionaire...

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Some news! 

Yesterday there was actually something going on in baseball, save paper transactions like filing for free agency. Ozzie Guillen was hired as the manager of the Chicago White Sox and Billy Wagner was traded to Philadelphia.

From all accounts, Guillen, who was Florida's third base coach, is one of the nicest guy in baseball. That, combined with the fact he's got White Sox in his blood, and he's not Jerry Manuel, make him the perfect choice for the Pale Hose. According to the press conference yesterday, Kenny Williams feels that Guillen can keep the clubhouse happy, which is no small feat in Chicago. Guillen can probably go one of two ways. He can either be Tony Pena or Grady Little from here in.

As for the Phillies, they gave up very little to get one of the best relievers in baseball. According to the runs saved metric that I fancy, Wagner was better then every other reliever in the National League last year, and was second in baseball after Damaso Marte. Actually, adding Wagner and taking away Mesa from the Phillies in 2003 would have, theoretically, given them 4 more wins, which might have changed the outcome of the wild card race.

The Phillies gave up Brandon Duckworth, and minor leaguers Taylor Buchholz and Ezequiel Astacio. Duckworth has been an enigma since his solid 2001 breakthrough. He has good rates, and bad ERAs, mostly because of the "giving up home runs" problem. On the plus side, Houston doesn't have a home run park. Groan.

Buchholz is seen as a future number 2-3 starter in the majors. He's 22, and went 9-11 3.55 with 33 walks, and 114 strikeouts (7.08 k/9) for AA Reading. Astacio is something of a non-prospect. He's 24 and hasn't pitched above high A yet.

The real gain for the Astros is the $8 million that they don't have to pay Wagner. Word around the camp fire is that they will try to bring Andy Pettitte home to Texas. Pettitte has said that he will only leave the Yankees to go closer to home. Look for Pettitte to go to stay in New York though. Unless he is taking geography lessons from Roger Clemens, in which case he will be going up to Toronto.

Monday, November 03, 2003

The Red Sox...The Arbtration cases 

Right now, the Boston Red Sox have twelve players that are eligible for arbitration. For those of you who don't know what that entails, here is a quick primer:

Once a player is on the 40 man roster, he gets a contract sent to him by his club. This is very rarely negotiated to a level that matches production (very rarely does the player make more then $450,000, although in the cases of Alfonso Soriano and Albert Pujols, the number is much higher.) Once they get to either the three year mark, or the top 17% of the two year players in service time (Super Twos), then they are eligible for arbitration to determine their contracts for the next year. After six years of service time, then a player is a free agent once his contract is up.

The club as four recourses. They can either:

  1. Non-tender a player, making him a free agent

  2. Trade him to another team

  3. Sign him to a contract

  4. Offer him salary arbitration

If a player is non-tendered, then he is free to negotiate with other clubs. He can still sign with his team within a window, but once that window is closed, he cannot resign until May 1st. Prime example from 2002 is Brian Daubach. He was non-tendered, but he negotiated with the Red Sox until the December deadline. He then signed with the White Sox.

If a player is traded, then the process starts anew. A few seasons ago, Pokey Reese was traded from the Reds to the Rockies, then traded to the Red Sox (for Scott Hatteberg), and was non-tendered by the Sox. He signed with the Pirates. Hatteberg was non-tendered by the Rockies, and signed with the A's, where he became a pitch watchin' pickin' machine! (As much as I liked Moneyball, the idea that Scott Hatteberg was a big chunk of the reason why the A's won 103 games in 2002 is pretty out there. Good job, Michael Lewis!)

The team can also sign the player to a contract extension, through his arbitration years. This is usually done to lock up players who become stars in their first few years. Nomar Garciaparra, Tim Hudson, and Derek Jeter were all locked up through their arbitration years.

If no agreement can be reached, then the team and the player can go to salary arbitration. The club and the player each submit to a panel of arbitrators their salary demands. The panel hears the arguments, and essentially picks either the player's number or the team's. After the arbitrator's decision, they player and team are bound to that contract for the upcoming season. Usually, the owners win about two-thirds of the salary arbitration hearings.

What the Red Sox have
Here is who the Red Sox have as arbitration eligible:
Adrian Brown
Jeremy Giambi
Damian Jackson
Gabe Kapler
Byung-Hyun Kim
Lou Merloni
Doug Mirabelli
Trot Nixon
David Ortiz
Ryan Rupe
Scott Sauerbeck
Scott Williamson

Expect Brown, Giambi, Jackson, Kapler, and Rupe to be non-tendered, with Kapler and Jackson most likely to be signed after the fact.

Look for Sauerbeck, Kim, and Mirabelli to get the most discussion.

Scott Sauerbeck
Sauerbeck is one of the league's toughest guys to get a hit off of if you bat from the left side of the plate. However, he turns righties into Barry Bonds. There has been some word that Sauerbeck's shoulder has been hurting since mid-way through the year, when he was still with Pittsburgh.
My take: I think he will be non-tendered and then signed for a one-year contract. Sauerbeck says he wants to stay, and he did get lefties out. I thought Grady Little's use of him was criminal, and I would like to see what he can do with a sane manager.

Byung-hyun Kim
BH Kim is "Favorite Whipping Boy #2" after what’s-his-name in left field. The ineffectiveness after being abused by Grady, the flipping off the boo-birds (Rightfully so in my opinion. The children are fine.), and whatever else some people want to blame on this 24-year old kid. Remember, he didn't give up the hit to Durazo, Embree did.
My take: The Red Sox quickly and quietly sign him to a 2yr/$6 million deal with the intention of making him a starter.

Doug Mirabelli
Doug Mirabelli is the president of the Backup Catcher's Union, I think. He's 33 next year, has a good arm, caught Wakefield as well as could be expected, and, to paraphrase Debbie Clemens, he treats lefties worse then Hitler. Generally guys like Mirabelli stick around until they are 35-38 or so, become coaches, and eventually rise up to the rank of minor league manager or bullpen coach. The only thing keeping resigning him is a young lad by the name of Kelly Shoppach, who is the main reason why Jason Varitek might not be a Red Sox in 2005.
My take: I think Mirabelli is gone. Shoppach is this team's catcher of the future, and if it comes down to playing Shoppach in 2005 or paying the 33-year old Varitek, they are going to pick the kid. Might as well get his feet wet in 2004.

That leaves Merloni, Nixon, Ortiz, and Williamson most likely to be Red Sox next year (which one of these is not like the other?)

Lou Merloni
Lou Merloni seems to be around the Red Sox every year, either trading him away or making a mockery of his career. Nomar's buddy came way of Framingham, MA, and Providence College, before PC's team met the Title IX axe. He's played for the Red Sox, Japan, and the Padres, but he always seems to find his way home. He is a good backup infielder, as he can play every position, some of them well. It's my contention that the Governor still lives in his parent's basement in Framingham. Just a hunch. As for his play, he's surprisingly patient at the bat, which helps make up for his complete lack of power. His Isolated Discipline (OBP-BA) is .090, which is pretty good.
My take: Lou will go to arbitration, get between $600,000 and $750,000 to play the same Lou role.

Trot Nixon
Trot Nixon is one of the best hitters in baseball against northpaws, and once in a while, he'll surprise you against a lefty (he homered of Gabe White in the ALCS, no small feet for a lefty). He still doesn't hit them enough to merit playing full time though. His defense is good enough, playing in the toughest outfield in the majors. If Nixon ever played for another team, I think you might find flags at half mast in New England. Nixon's hustle (both real and fake), and his dirty uniform are loved as being "what baseball is all about." As much as I hate his act, and the media-fellating that go on around Nixon, he was one of the most valuable Red Sox this year.
My take: Of all the Arb guys, he's the one you have to lock up for a while. If Nixon can stay healthy, and cut down on the "diving six inches too short of a flyball and laying there while the ball bounces into the corner for an inside the park homerun," he's the most valuable non-HOF Red Sox. Look for something in the neighborhood of 4 years/$25 million to take him to the point where David Murphy is ready, and Nixon starts becoming a liability.

David Ortiz
The Red Sox got 1995's Mo Vaughn back in the affable, clubhouse and stretch drive hero David Ortiz. My mom likens him to George Scott without the glove, substituting taters for tall jacks. Ortiz is 28 next year, and he hit a ton this year. That is enough to get a raise. The fact that his skills (mashing righties, taking pitches, hitting ungodly tall homeruns) were lost on the Twins, as they kept around all-glove and walks, no power Doug Meinteiwiczklhdifogoirhcz for a year past when he was completely useful.
My take: Guys with Ortiz's skills and girth don't generally age well. However, he is one of the few major league baseball players who might actually have the power to make a happy clubhouse. From beating Baltimore and drinking their beer, to hugging to uncomfortable levels, David Ortiz works in Boston. I would offer him a 3 year/$14 million deal before the MVP votes come out. I don't think he will win MVP, but a top 5 or 10 finish might drive that $14 million to $20 million+, and if that is the case then you go to the panel and cut your losses in 2004.

Scott Williamson
Scott Williamson fought mediocrity in Cincinnati, ineffectiveness in Boston, almost losing a wife and child, and shoulder tendonitis to become a shut-down, lights out closer during the playoffs. Scotty the Right should be handed the "closer" role in April, and forgotten about until the City Hall Plaza parade. That's right, Williamson and Champagne. Actually, Williamson's ability to be used in more then one "role", be it closer, multiple inning relief ace, or set up man is much of his value. When he's on, he's lights out. When he's off, he's still pretty hard to hit. Expect a lot of "sliders swung at and missed for strike 3" calls from Don Orsillo in the ninth inning this year.
My take: Williamson is a stud reliever. As fickle as relievers are, guys like him tend to be good for a while. Try and get him for 3yrs/$10 million. If not, going to the table isn't the worst thing that can happen, not withstanding the risk of him turning into Eric Gagne for a season and pricing himself out of Boston's future.