Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Another Around the Game in Eighty Sentences, Half-Length Version
- Nice insight on the Expos move over at Neil DaMuse' Field of Schemes weblog. DaMuse writes:
ESPN's Jayson Stark cites "baseball sources" as saying that MLB has offered to Angelos: 1) a guaranteed annual team income, with MLB making up the difference; and 2) a guaranteed minimum team sale price, with MLB again making up any shortfall. If true, this is pretty extraordinary, and would be the biggest incentive to gut a team's payroll since Carl Pohlad decided he'd rather cash revenue-sharing checks than field a baseball team. I'll be watching this one closely.While I suspect that Major League Baseball will, of course, screw this up greatly, this could, perhaps, be an opportunity. Why not guarantee an amount of revenue per win for the Orioles? I don't have the data on how much the Orioles have made each of the past few years, but couldn't MLB assure the Orioles a revenue level consistent with the revenue per win of the past five years and work the scale out in a way that provides an incentive to keep the payroll in the $75-85 million range? This would probably succeed in keeping the Orioles competitive since teams with a high payroll locked up for future years are unlikely to sell for much, so Angelos can take risks on long-term contracts even as he's considering selling the team because of the guaranteed sale price from MLB. I know that this actually happening might be about as likely as Baltimore's NFL franchise changing their name from the Ravens to the Flamingos to honor Baltimore's other literary icon, but oh that it could be the case.
- Poor Honus. The Twins' Santanic Southpaw couldn't get his 21st win because the Romeron Legion couldn't hold the 3-1 lead he'd left after five against Ruth's tenants. You and I know he should win the Cy Young award, and though I think he will, all a pitcher can do is put his candidacy in a position to win the Cy; pitchers need BBWA support for the win to show up on the stat sheets.
- Remember what I wrote about Buck Showalter's teams drawing walks yesterday? Well, at the time I restrained myself from noting the Youkilian faculties or lack thereof associated with Dusty Baker's current team. The Cubs rank 25th in baseball at drawing walks, ahead of only Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Arizona, Anaheim, and Pittsburgh. Anaheim has a bit of an excuse in that they sign and re-sign swing first, think later types like Vlad Guerrerro, Garrett Anderson, and Darin Erstad. Those other teams have the excuse of not having, you know, talent. The Cubs are 28th in baseball in IsoD (OBP - BA), ahead of only Anaheim and Arizona. I know the Cubs are built on pitching, but I didn't think their talent should be walking this infrequently. As it turns out, this one might not be too Dusty-related, but I won't rule out the possibility. Derrek Lee's not drawing as many walks as one would expect, but nothing else looked out of the ordinary for the players on this squad. So I guess this is a Jim Hendry thing. A team that's countng on Corey Patterson and Aramis Ramirez to get on base would, I imagine, have issues with consistency. Patterson's 3 for 18 with one walk line in the Cubs four losses against the Reds and Mets certainly didn't help. I know it's not fair to pick on teams who hand the most plate appearances to a guy with a .325 OBP, but I can't help myself. What part of .272/.325/.462 says leadoff hitter? Sure, he has 32 steals, but aren't those things more useful in the 5 or 6 spot where your chances of getting two hits before the inning ends are lower? Especially since those 9 times caught stealing mean your leadoff guy is gonna cost some runs when Ramirez, Lee, and Sosa homer. Of course, that's the trouble with the Cubs roster: almost everyone can serve the entree (they're fourth in all of baseball in SLG) but they don't have anyone who can arrange the silverware and napkins (they're 23rd in OBP). Is it time for Corey Patterson to be traded? Whereas Dusty typically wastes young players' talent because of his veterans first attitude, this is one younger player he's overplaying (or at least misusing). If Hendry could find a team with an OBPish centerfielder that has OBPish middle infielders and arrange a trade, that would be pretty optimal. Problem there is it turns out there just aren't many OBPish centerfielders in baseball right now. I'm gonna throw out Juan Pierre's name and hope no one laughs, but he's the type who's so overrated he's underrated if you get my drift. He's actually been the better offensive player this past season, though his defense gives Patterson a 6.0 to 5.8 WARP lead. Given that Pierre is making more per season and is signed through 2006, it doesn't seem like a terrible idea to me to see if something valuable could be extracted from Larry Beinfest for him to go from Patterson to Pierre. On the other hand, of course, Beinfest probably overvalues Pierre's stolen bases and batting average, so that won't work. You know what? Forget all that stuff and just sign Mark Bellhorn and hit him leadoff. What's that? Dusty won't go for that? Rats.
- Milton Bradley's out for the Rockies and Giants series. I don't see how this is even a third as bad as what Francisco did to merit 15 games, but c'est la MLB. I was going to make some comment about this threatening Jason Grabowski's attempt to attain some pinch-hitting record because he'll probably start a few games the rest of the week. Turns out, though, he's not close enough to any of those records. Lenny Harris holds the record for pinch hit at bats with 83 in 2001, with 89 plate appearances so far as I can extrapolate from his splits for 2002, 2003, and 2001-2003 at ESPN.com. (Side note: Wouldn't it be great if STATS inc. simply started its own website and housed all the old splits data since 1992 to complement retrosheet? They could have ads and such and I wouldn't care; I just want the data.) Grabowski has only 63 at bats and 74 plate appearances as a pinch hitter. His 12 hits don't approach John Vander Wal's 28 in 1995 and his 11 walks don't approach Matt Franco's 20 in 1999. He's contributed 51 outs as a pinch hitter, but Harris had 62 in 2001 and there's a decent shot someone else has had more. Harris also had a lower on-base percentage while pinch-hitting that year, .303 to Grabowski's .311.
Song of the Day: "Tears at the Birthday Party," Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach