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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Very Interesting 


According to this story, New York Mets General Manager Omar Minaya has offered Pedro Martinez a better deal than the one currently on the table from the Red Sox. I will be very interested to see how the Sox brass reacts to this. I feel strongly that Pedro is the priority of the off-season and this latest twist will show just how far Theo and company are willing to go to retain his services.

As they say, stay tuned.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Catching Up 


Color me tickled over the re-signing of Doug Mirabelli. He’s more than qualified to handle full time catching duties and is right now probably the best backup in all of baseball. He simultaneously constitutes a suitable backup option while providing leverage in the Jason Varitek negotiations. The Red Sox have already gone far enough with their latest four-year offer to Varitek and if holding their ground means starting Mirabelli, they ought to be prepared to grin and bear such a scenario. From here, I would turn my attention to the only remaining attractive free agent catcher not named Jason Varitek. That would be Greg Zaun, who hit right-handers to the tune of a .268/.380/.409 line with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2004 and could make up one half of a potent platoon. The hang-up here is that J.P. Ricciardi is going to offer Zaun arbitration and so any deal the Red Sox would be able to swing for him would entail the forfeiture of a 1st round draft pick. The Sox could make up for this by receiving a pick in exchange for one of their own free agents that walk. If Zaun accepts arbitration from the Jays, the Sox must then hope for Varitek or go with Sandy Martinez, who will only make $400,000.00 or so in 2005. I just don’t see another free agent option out there any more attractive on a per dollar basis than Martinez.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

So Long, Gabe 


Gabe Kapler signed a one year deal worth 2 million dollars with the Yomiuri Giants yesterday. Obviously, this means he will not be back with Boston in 2005.

While some would have you believe that Gabe Kapler was more instrumental to Boston's 2004 success than Pedro Martinez, I am not quite so high on him. Still, he seemed to be one of the team's more popular players and he was always very accepting of his role. Kapler excelled as Trot Nixon's platoon partner and his superior glove and speed also made him a valuable item off the bench. Over the past two seasons, Kapler has essentially proven himself useless against righthanded pitching while actually quite capable against southpaws.

2003
Overall: .271/.336/.391
Vs. RHP: .233/.301/.353 (146 PA's)
Vs. LHP: .326/.386/.446

2004
Overall: .272/.311/.390
Vs. RHP: .238/.294/.305 (175 PA's)
Vs. LHP: .317/.333/.500 (130 PA's)

In his notebook this morning, Bob Hohler wrote, "Kapler, 29, believes he could play professionally for as many as eight to 10 more years but considers it essential to prove himself again as an every-day player, Cohen (his agent) said." I can't blame him. Kapler is 29 and quite possibly the most fit player in all of baseball. He very well could play for a good long while if his skills hold up. If he can play everyday and improve against righthanders, he may very well net himself another long-term deal here in the States. Gabe's stint in Japan may be the difference between Kapler retiring from baseball set for life and retiring needing to coach in the Independent League somewhere on the merits of his positive clubhouse influence - not that there's anything wrong with that. But Kapler is sensible to take a sober view at where he is at in his career. A one year contract for more money than he would have received in the U.S. with regular at bats against lesser competition sounds like the perfect opportunity to resuscitate a career that otherwise was destined for one-year deals and 200 at-bats each season.

Gabe provided some memorable moments and his good looks will leave a lasting mark on, at the very least, the many lovely female inhabitants of Red Sox Nation. I know Johanna could care less that he couldn't hit Mike Mussina or Tim Hudson to save his life. My lasting memory of Kapler will be his first two games in a Sox uniform in which he went 7 for 9 with 2 doubles, a triple and 2 home runs. After a start like that, he pretty much clinched permanent, undying support.

I have to admit, the overwhelming support for Kapler rankled me at times. I remember a game I went to in July where the Fenway crowd booed Mark Bellhorn and cheered Kapler. Still, he was a true professional, adored by fans and peers alike. I think everyone would like to see him succeed in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Outside the Box 


This morning in his notebook, the Boston Herald’s Jeff Horrigan mentions that the Red Sox have initiated interest in veteran infielder Placido Polanco. He seems to think that Boston would sign him as a super-utility sort and insurance for an injury to Bill Mueller or Mark Bellhorn. I commend him for getting the story but I think his analysis is a bit shortsighted. While Polanco hasn’t played shortstop since 2002, he has played there 121 times in his big league career. Given that he is a dazzling defensive player both at second base and the hot corner, I see no reason to believe that Polanco couldn’t provide adequate glove work at short. If I know anything about this front office, Polanco is being considered for the full-time, everyday shortstop gig. The reason that adequate glove work at shortstop would be sufficient is that Polanco is a good hitter, one who has performed above the National League average for second basemen, third basemen and especially shortstops for the past three seasons. Consider…

2002 National League Averages
2B: .271/.330/.394
3B: .261/.325/.412
SS: .260/.313/.378
Placido Polanco: .288/.330/.403

2003 National League Averages
2B: .279/.340/.412
3B: .256/.323/.418
SS: .261/.313/.383
PP: .289/.352/.447

2004 National League Averages
2B: .279/.337/.421
3B: .277/.338/.458
SS: .267/.314/.393
PP: .298/.345/.441

Polanco may cost a bit more than what some hope to spend – he did make close to $4MM this year – but in a market where 37 year old Omar Vizquel is handed a three-year deal at $4MM per and the god-awful Cristian Guzman gets to make $4MM per season over four years, you could do a lot worse than a well above-average 29 year old that will only command two years at the most. This story represents yet another data point that the rift between the GM’s that understand the talent landscape and those that don’t is becoming wider by the second. Theo’s ability to think outside the box and identify undervalued but solid Major Leaguers has netted Boston players like Bill Mueller, Mark Bellhorn and even David Ortiz over the last couple of off-seasons. It’s interesting just how opposite Theo and, say, Jim Bowden’s mindsets are. They are so opposite in fact that there almost seems to be a cutting symmetry to it all. Just as Theo would never, in a million years, consider handing out $17MM to Cristian Guzman, I bet Jim Bowden, never in a million years, would have even considered that Placido Polanco could handle shortstop duties.

People like to talk about the payroll discrepancies and how they provide an inherent advantage to the larger market clubs. Of course there is some truth to this but if smaller market GM’s would conduct their affairs with the implementation of mere rudimentary logic, that gap would narrow considerably. Part of the reason the Red Sox are so good is that because so many of the teams that could actually afford Bellhorn, Mueller and Ortiz conscientiously passed on them, the Red Sox have been able to sign such types cheaply and afford Curt Schilling, Keith Foulke and others. Finding value is an imperative skill for GM’s of all teams, regardless of payroll size. The ones that do this best will have the best teams.


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Slow Times 


So it looks like not much is going to hapen until the Arbitration Deadline on December 7th. So I don't have much to say at the moment other than I sure hope Vladimir Guerrero wins the MVP Award today. He deserves it. And you can bet I will be watching the ballot tallies closely. Tejada, Mora, Manny, Ortiz, Ichiro and Sheff all ought to find themselves getting some up-ballot votes.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Links 


- Each November, Roger Angell contributes a feature length baseball season wrap-up in the New Yorker that is an absolute must read for any baseball fan with an appreciation for artful writing. This year's is especially rewarding given how the season ended but I must admit I think the piece falls a bit short with respect to content. Still, it's a tidy number and Angell the wordsmith is true to form with some deft verbiage so I suggest you give it a whirl.

- Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts has a neat piece on the state of the baseball blogosphere.

- Barry Bonds only received 24 of 32 first place NL MVP votes. He even got one third place vote. I can't begin to tell you how much of a sham I think awards voting is. Barry Bonds set all time records for on-base percentage and OPS, and also notched 2004's highest slugging percentage. There is only so much one can belabor a point but people wonder why the blogosphere has gained popularity. Well your answer is right in that ballot tally. The mainstream media is so far behind the eight ball that I don't think it is a even a bit hyperbolic to say that to read solely mainstream media baseball coverage is to harm your understanding of baseball.

Rant over.

- Joe Sheehan's back from a brief hiatus.

- Rich Lederer has a bit on Bill James' 1985 Baseball Abstract, perhaps the meatiest of the individual Abstracts. It is in this one that he asserts the predictive value of Minor League statistics and lists his Hall-of-Fame criteria questions. Rich does a nice job summarizing.

Quick Thought on Pedro 


I saw something this weekend that quoted a baseball insider as saying that the Red Sox offer to Pedro blew the market out of the water. Often, statheads and SABR types will reference three-year splits or analyze other mechanisms than simply one's stats from the previous season alone in order to determine a reasonable projection for the coming year. Major League GM's do not agree with this thinking, apparently. There seems to be a consensus that thinks, because Pedro had a pedestrian-for-Pedro 3.90 ERA in 2004, that he has entered into a phase wherein he is on his way to ineffectiveness. The very real flip-side to this is that 2004 may have been an outlier, down year and that he could be right back to hall-of-fame form come next April. But hey, if signing Pedro is a breeze because the rest of MLB has no interest in a guy that has a 2.84 ERA and has averaged over 200 innings since 2002, that's fine with me.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Gammo 


According to ESPN Radio, Peter Gammons is reporting that this guy could be the next Red Sox catcher in exchange for Minky and Youks. I'd be fine with it and I know he is one of Jeff's favorites, for what that's worth.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Music to My Ears...Or Eyes...Or Something 


This article over at ESPN.com made me feel really good and I think it raises a salient point that I haven't heard mentioned all that much. Playing here is cool. Winning here kicks more ass than anything I could ever imagine. Ask Mo Vaughn about Anaheim. Or Bruce Hurst, around whom the article centers, how San Diego compared to Boston. At the risk of sounding provincial, I hope that Pedro and Jason realize what a unique experience winning for the Red Sox is.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Point by Point With Scott Boras 


Be thankful you root for a team whose front office won't take this scumbag's bait.

I am going to take a look at Scott Boras' quotes from Bob Hohler's article in today's Boston Globe.

"Being a Red Sox all his life, he obviously thinks he's deserving of what every other team in the division does for their organizational players..."

Like the Yankees? Ask Andy Pettitte how that worked out for him. Like the Orioles or D-Rays? Now there are a couple of exemplary franchises. And isn't Toronto about to let the greatest Blue Jay of all time walk? What the hell is an "organizational player" anyway?

"And with the evidence of his leadership, we obviously expect him to be compensated with the premium catchers in the game."

Look. I am sure Jason is a super guy and all, but there is only so much monetary value a prudent ballclub ought to place on being a good guy. Still, Boras' larger point here, that Varitek should be paid with the best catchers in the game, is not off-base. He should. Just not for the next five years.

"We looked at what John Henry did for Charles Johnson with five years and a no-trade clause..."

Um, yeah Scott, and how did that one work out?

"I can't fathom why, if they move to a city, that would make any difference about how they conducted business..."

Then please. Allow me to help you fathom. BECAUSE IT HASN'T WORKED OUT IN THE PAST!!! THEY LEARNED FOR CRISSAKES!!!

Hohler writes, "Boras said he also found it hard to believe that the Sox owners would allow 'their competitors to draw talent away from their city because there's not a team that has talked with us that has in any way had any hesitancy about a no-trade clause.'"

Is that a threat? I am sorry but who does this guy think he is? I can just see Henry, Lucchino and Theo, sitting around the World Series trophy, laughing their asses off at this clown trying to bully them into offering their 33 year old catcher 5 years and a no-trade.

"I don't think you're going to find a more conditioned athlete in the major leagues..."

I don't know. Reggie Sanders looks pretty jacked to me. What about Gabe Kapler? The fact that he is fit is not a differentiator. Sorry.

"Much like a Carlton Fisk or a Bob Boone, there are only a few catchers who play well in their early 30s, and when they do, the data says they go on to play well in their early 40s. I think Jason Varitek is going to be around quite some time."

Jason Varitek has 4 seasons with an OPS+ over 100. Carlton Fisk had 9 when he was at Tek's stage of his career. Hate to give Varitek the Lloyd Bentsen treatment but Jason, I knew Carlton Fisk, Carlton Fisk was a friend of mine. You, Jason, are no Carlton Fisk.

Although Tek's abilities are a bit more in line with Bob Boone's, Scott may have wanted to steer clear of this data point. There is a distinct difference between playing and playing well and just because California and Kansas City decided to prop Bob up behind the plate 125 times a year or so well into his late 30's and early 40's, does not mean it was advisable. Consider Boone's OPS+ numbers from age 33 on:

33: 61

34: 78
35: 77
36: 41 (Holy Shit! I don't know what's more remarkable, that he batted .202/.242/.262, or the fact that the Angels ran him out there for 486 plate appearances.)
37: 72
38: 63
39: 66
40: 110
41: 92
42: 72

So yeah, maybe Boone wasn't such a good guy to bring up.

"I think our game is very healthy and I think fans should expect their teams to aggressively pursue the top players."

Scott, there is middle ground between aggressively pursuing and offering $50MM over five years sans no-trade.

"We wanted to put that to rest because he really wants to be placed among his peers. It's certainly our opinion that with the kind of year he had and the kind of year he had the year before that he has put himself in a place that few catchers have reached offensively and defensively. You're not going to find a guy on a club that I can think of in recent memory who had the kind of influence he had on a major league pitching staff, particularly on veteran pitchers."

Again, no argument here. But why that means a prudent team would offer him the contract you are seeking, Scott, is entirely beyond me. He's 33!!!

Scott Boras is smart and I imagine his rhetoric may sway some teams. But trust me, the Sox will set a fair-and-then-some market value for Varitek, regardless of what Boras has to say.

Be thankful for this.


On an entirely unrelated note, Brian Gunn of Redbird Nation is hangin' em up. He was one of the blogosphere's most thoughtful and thorough scribes. Check out his final post and the comments section as well to get a sense for not only his warm and articulate style, but also just how popular he was.




Tuesday, November 09, 2004

National League Cy Young Award 


National League Rank

VORP
Randy Johnson: 1st
Roger Clemens: 5th

Support Neutral Value Added
Johnson: 4th (tie)
Clemens: 1st (tie)

Innings Pitched
Johnson: 2nd
Clemens: 8th

ERA
Johnson: 2nd
Clemens: 5th

Strikeouts
Johnson: 1st
Clemens: 5th

Strikeouts/9 innings
Johnson: 2nd
Clemens: 7th

WHIP
Johnson: 1st
Clemens: 8th

Cy Young Voting
Johnson: 2nd
Clemens: 1st

Whatever.


Whither Shortstop - The Conclusion 


If Theo Epstein has established one pattern in his two years as Red Sox General Manager, it is that he targets two types of players: the truly elite and the truly undervalued. Obviously, hindsight will manifest some deviation from these two camps but I think by and large it is safe to say that identifying and pursuing these players is the philosophical focus of Epstein’s Major League roster compilation.

There isn’t one shortstop available that fits either of these criteria. The “cream of the crop” all have major question marks. Garciaparra is not coming back, the 2004 Renteria was just OK and Orlando Cabrera has had just one season of making significant offensive contributions. There is also most likely not a value play in the bunch.

Looking back over Part 2, I was awfully generous in categorizing those fellas as “acceptable”. Most of them straight suck. Still, I do think there are three scenarios that could make some sense. I will list them in order of desirability.

1) Sign Jose Valentin

His .287 on-base in 2004 is doubtless a concern but a gander at his career numbers reveals that he is probably due for something of a boost in 2005. One potential pitfall would be Valentin’s utter ineptitude against lefthanders. He is a switch hitter the same way that Deion Sanders is a two-sport athlete and Britney Spears a musician-actress.

Jose Valentin Three-Year Splits

As LHB: .246/.317/.502
AS RHB: .137/.194/.216

This creates problems. For starters, the lineup immediately becomes a little two susceptible to left-handed pitching. Ortiz and Nixon have well-documented troubles against southpaws and Valentin would only worsen what is already a valid roster construction concern. Also, this move would necessitate the acquisition of another shortstop and preferably a right-handed hitting one. Cristian Guzman might fit. He posted a .780 OPS against left-handed pitching in 2004 and would compliment Valentin nicely not only as a platoon partner but also as a late-inning defensive replacement. The problem then becomes money. The two players combined to make over $8MM in 2004 and probably would not be too crazy about taking a pay cut. If Theo could ever hammer out a situation wherein the two make a combined $6MM, the Red Sox immediately become all set at shortstop for 2005.

2) Sign Deivi Cruz

I was all over this guy the other day when I posted Part 2 of the Whither Shortstop series. He had an impressive season in the unfriendly confines of SBC Park this year and I thought his 2004 productivity was certainly a harbinger for things to come. Then I looked at his career totals and his .269/.293/.389 line appeared a little ominous for me.

But hey, in a shit market, sometimes you have to settle on shit and hope for the best. Cruz did have a productive 2004 and just may have established a new performance trend. Signing Deivi Cruz with an insurance policy of sorts could be a viable solution. If they spend only $3MM or so on shortstop, that’s another $3 to $5 million to be allotted to upgrades elsewhere. And hey, if a Deivi Cruz from Jose Valentin downgrade is smaller than, say, a Lenny Dinardo to Steve Kline upgrade, then you did all right for yourself.

Edit: Cruz re-signed with San Francisco.

3) Sign Barry Larkin


I am pretty sure I do not advocate this in any way whatsoever but provided he comes along with an insurance policy, Larkin certainly does intrigue. I don’t think he moves well enough to play an acceptable short but who knows? If he comes cheap enough and commits in the off-season to trying to recapture some range, you may have a good one-year stopgap to hold the fort until the youngsters come along. I realize this is a prime example of wish casting but I am doing so unapologetically. Larkin is a shoe-in hall-of-famer and I would love to watch the guy wrap up his career here. If he does end up here and is Plan A at shortstop, the smart money says Theo has an equally viable Plan B.


Monday, November 08, 2004

Whither Shortstop Part 3 - The Cream of the Crop 


Orlando Cabrera - .264/.306/.383 - .241

There are a number of equal and opposite forces tugging on the direction of the Cabrera debate. On the one hand, Cabrera showed some great promise in the playoffs. On the other hand, he had a poor season overall. On the one hand, Cabrera appeared to play great defense for the Red Sox. On the other hand, his advanced defensive numbers show that he is merely average with the glove. On the one hand, Cabrera had a great offensive season in 2003 but on the other, his 2002-2004 OPS number is just .725.

Cabrera turned down a 4-year, $30MM deal from Montreal earlier this season and with his current status as World Champ, you can bet he will be looking for even more. On two levels, it just doesn’t make any sense for the Sox to sign him. First, there is the matter of Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia both very much on pace to be in Boston by 2006. Second, I don’t think Cabrera is worth the money he is undoubtedly going to get on the open market. When there is a good chance you can be getting Cabrera-type production for $320,000.00 in 2006, you don’t commit $35MM to Cabrera in 2004.

Edgar Renteria - .287/.327/.401 - .255

So much of what applies to Cabrera also applies to Renteria. Renteria had something of a down year in 2004 after posting a .330/.392/.480 line and 75.3 VORP in 2003. I imagine simply because of his raw ability and athleticism, teams will be willing to bet that a replication of his 2003 would not be out of the question.

Again, it just doesn’t make any sense to throw big money at him because of the particulars of Boston’s situation.

Nomar Garciaparra - .308/.365/.477 - .285

The best of the bunch when healthy, Garciaparra claims he is willing to take a one-year deal. Still, I just can’t see it happening.

I will come up with an actual recommendation of sorts later tonight.




Friday, November 05, 2004

Whither Shortstop Part 2 - The Acceptables 


Here is the list the Sox will have to sift through if they determine they are not handing out a long-term deal to one of the three premiere shortstop free agents on the market. Each of these guys would be acceptable. Some barely so, some would even be desireable.

Cristian Guzman - .274/.309/.384 - .243

Guzman is an excellent fielder who is a below average hitter, even by his position’s modest standards. American League shortstops hit .275/.325/.422 this year and Guzman checked in safely below that line. I think Guzman’s glove makes up for this however and it probably is not an overstatement to characterize Guzman’s overall ability as, well, average. A potential roadblock could be that, because Guzman has played for the three-time defending AL Central Champion Minnesota Twins, his name could carry a bit more cache than his performance would justify. Theo et al will not overpay for Guzman.

Chris Gomez - .282/.337/.346 - .243

Don’t laugh. I don’t really have much to stand on here but I just kind of always liked the guy. He never seems overmatched – I think we all remember his grand slam at Sky Dome back in the spring the night Tito Gradied Schilling. He probably is not a capable enough fielder to justify his mediocre bat but still, he only made $750,000 last year and if you can allocate the money you save on Gomez for a significant upgrade elsewhere, he could be an adequate solution.

Barry Larkin - .295/.371/.444 - .274

I think he would be a nice addition but can no longer field well enough to play shortstop everyday. Maybe he could be the honorary Ellis Burks acquisition of the off-season – the loveable veteran that’s just happy to be winning. I have given some thought to what Larkin’s role might be if Theo were to sign him. I am not sure he could be much more than a viable right-handed option off the bench at this point and even in that role, his usefulness would be marginalized by his reverse splits. Larkin hits righties better than he does southpaws. I suppose he moves around well enough to play the other infield positions though and he’s one heck of an athlete so he could potentially learn the outfield. He would have his uses but he is not the answer at shortstop.

Royce Clayton - .279/.338/.397 - .243

Would have to come on the real, real cheap as he is barely above being altogether useless. On the surface, he appears to be a very good option but when you un-Coors his numbers, you are basically left with the guy that just totally sucked for the four seasons prior. Some might say, “hey, he was a pretty good ballplayer in 1999” but then of course so was Troy O’Leary. Nonetheless, he is a veteran, seems to know what he is doing out there and he can field it a little bit. He would be okay on the super-cheap. That’s as hearty an endorsement as Royce is getting from me.

Craig Counsell - .211/.330/.315 - .236

Given the World Series chops and grinder reputation this is another guy the Big Dog would fawn over but is really pretty limited. He made over $3MM last year to boot and if he can fetch anything resembling that figure this contract around, he is not to be even looked at. In fact, if Craig Counsell gets over $1MM for 2004, I am wasting my time right at this very moment just by including him in this installment of “Whither Shortstop”. Alas if he can come on the cheap, you could do worse.

Deivi Cruz - .292/.322/.431 - .254

Now we’re talkin’. Cruz is an average fielder but quite good with the stick. If you extrapolate his 2004 VORP figure over 720 Plate appearances, you are talking about a guy hanging around in Cesar Izturis and Khalil Greene’s neighborhood. A .753 OPS for a shortstop patrolling SBC Park is nothing to sneeze at. I am hopeful that other teams fail to recognize just what a .753 OPS for a shortstop in SBC Park means and that the Sox could snatch him up at 2 years, $3MM or so.

Jose Valentin - .216/.287/.473 - .255

I like this guy, always have. He’s got a good approach at the plate and a considerable amount of pop in his bat. Further, he can field. The .287 OBP is of concern but less so when you look at his previous on-base totals. He has a career .321 on-base and I suspect in Fenway’s cozy confines, he would hoist his on-base back to around his career levels. The pitfall will be Valentin’s asking price. He made $5MM last year and those 30 home runs will probably look better than they should to some GM.

Miguel Cairo - .292/.346/.417 - .276

Cairo may have earned himself a multi-year deal to start somewhere in 2005 but if not, I would have no problem with the Sox trying their hand with Cairo at shortstop. He fielded second base very well this season and I have little doubt he could handle shortstop just fine. What needs to be determined is why Cairo hit so well this year. He is just a career .273/.322/.370 hitter but he has also never been handed as regular a job as he held down this year. Maybe he benefited from the regular AB’s. If he were signed with a major insurance policy like one of the aforementioned on this list, he may make some sense.


Thursday, November 04, 2004

Whither Shortstop Part 1 - When Pigs Fly 


This is the group of shortstops that will be penciled in the Sox lineup on Opening Day '05 when, you guessed it, pigs fly.

2004 stats are listed in BA/OB/SLG - EQA format...

Pokey Reese - .221/.271/.303 - .204

We have all witnessed just how much of a drain he can be. I have said it before and I will say it again. He looks like an actor playing a Major League Baseball player when he swings the bat. More specifically, he reminds me of Wesley Snipes playing Willie Mays Hayes. Either way, he cannot be Boston’s everyday shortstop.

Ramon Martinez - .246/.313/.346 - .232

Just not an everyday player. Although he is a Dusty Baker favorite - no check that – because he is a Dusty Baker favorite, he is an unacceptable solution to our problem.

Neifi Perez - .255/.296/.336 - .220

While he can be a nifty gloveman, Neifi can lay legitimate claim to “worst hitter in the history of Major League Baseball”, minimum 2,000 at bats division.

Rich Aurilia - .246/.314/.353 - .244

Can’t field, can’t hit, can’t carry Bonds’ bags around anymore. He’s got a goatee so that’s cool and I am sure Dirt Dog would take to him but it’s just not happening with Rich these days.

Alex Gonzalez - .225/.263/.368 - .237

Just an absolute out-machine.

Rey Sanchez - .246/.281/.337 - .220

Was always a nice fielder and I think he was largely responsible for Derek Lowe’s 2002 but he’s an automatic out at this point.

Desi Relaford - .221/.296/.305 - .215

What a country. Desi made $900,000 last year.

Jose Vizcaino - .274/.311/.374 - .234

Not unless Tito is fired and Jimy is hired.


Tough Opening Night 


The Celtics lost a bizarre game last night to the Philadelphia 76ers as both teams traded furious spurts throughout the contest. The Sixers surged last. The game itself was a fun one to attend but undoubtedly the highlight was seeing a number of the Red Sox come out on the parquet floor before the Celtics' starting lineups were introduced. Man is it great to be a Boston sports fan these days. Derek Lowe received the loudest ovation of the attending players and that very well may have been the highlight of his day had Wednesday not been "Derek Lowe Day" in the City of Presidents, Quincy, Massachusetts.

Derek Lowe Day, imagine that. Clutch is everything, no?

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Whither Shortstop? 


Since I have nothing to say about the NL Gold Gloves, I figured I would list out the free agent shortstops for you all to kick around. I will have some analysis and perhaps even a formal recommendation in the coming days but for now, here is the list.

Orlando Cabrera
Pokey Reese
Cristian Guzman
Chris Gomez
Nomar Garciaparra
Ramon Martinez
Neifi Perez
Barry Larkin (nominally a shortstop, I guess)
Royce Clayton
Craig Counsell
Edgar Renteria
Rich Aurilia
Alex Gonzalez
Deivi Cruz

Jose Valentin
Rey Sanchez
Desi Relaford
Jose Vizcaino
Miguel Cairo (what the hell, right?)

That's the list. Toss some thoughts around in the comments if you'd like and I will do some brainstorming myself. Sure there's a lot of crap on that list but I also think there are a few league-average guys that could potentially come on the cheap. With Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia both looking poised to contribute in Boston by 2006, a league-average shortstop for $1MM or less may be just what the doctor ordered.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Awards Season 


I think I will spend the next few weeks taking a look at the various awards and whatever jumps out at me regarding the topic.

Well whatever minute amount of relevance the Gold Glove Award was still clinging to has now dissipated altogether. New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and Seattle Mariners' second baseman Bret Boone are the best middle infield combination in the American League, according to baseball's managers and coaches. They both won Gold Gloves today. I am not sure they could have picked a worse combination. In his best defensive season of his career, Derek Jeter ranked 8th out of 11 qualified American League shortstops in Range Factor and 6th in Zone Rating. Boone ranked last among qualified second basemen in both categories. There is simply no basis for awarding either player a Gold Glove.

What an opportune time for me to link over to Rich Lederer's Rich's Weekend Baseball Beat, where, in his latest installment of Abstracts of the Abstracts (a must-read series for anyone behind on his James), Lederer takes a look at Bill James' 1984 Baseball Abstract in which James wrote perhaps his finest essay ever. Famously, James quipped...
But perspective can be gained only when details are lost. A sense of the size of everything and the relationships between everything—this can never be put together from details. For the most essential fact of a forest is this: The forest itself is immensely larger than anything inside of it. That is why, of course, you can’t see the forest for the trees; each detail, in proportion to its size and your proximity to it, obscures a thousand or a million other details.

How does this apply to the 2004 American League Gold Glove Awards? Well I am sure managers and coaches alike think Bret Boone is quite a gamer and there is no doubt that Derek Jeter seems like the consumate professional and these matters doubtless seep into an insider's thinking. The informed outsider, however, can plainly see the Bret Boone and Derek Jeter do not make nearly as many plays as, say, Bobby Crosby and Orlando Hudson.

While we all would have loved to play Major League ball, be happy you realize you can't see the "forest for the trees".


Monday, November 01, 2004

Bronx Banter Roundtable 


Thought some of you might be interested to see that my man Alex Belth invited me to participate alongside some distinguished company in a discussion regarding both the Sox and the Yanks over at Bronx Banter.

Sox Talk

Yanks Talk

The Offseason 


So that was fun, no?

Today I'm sitting at my computer after having called in sick to work (the flu got me). I'm bored and fevery...I figured what better time to spend some time with my neglected mistress, The House That Dewey Built.

This year was really a long strange trip. Between my self actually becoming gainfully employed, and two teams I root for clinching their sport's championships this year, I really am at a loss.

One thing I have done is crunched some of those tasty numbers that annoy the purists so. I'll be ready to toss those up on the side of the site after the move. Interesting tidbits? There was no American League hitter in the top 10 MLB hitters in 2004, and Keith Foulke was the 3rd best reliever in baseball. Curt Schilling was the 4th best starter, and the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th best hitters in baseball were the now-dispatched St. Louis Cardinals Heart of the Order.

Now about the move....now that the World Series is over and my seasonal insanity has ebbed, I'm looking into painless ways to move Dewey's House from the hateful Blogsphere. More on that in the upcoming weeks. This is also why I haven't been writing much...I don't want to lose it in a move.

Good news is, Sully is coming with me on the move, and my goal is to create the best, most organized sidebar in the blog world. The bad news is we might lose everything in terms of archives and comments. Que Sera.

Soon...we're going metrosexual.