Sunday, October 03, 2004

Jeff Kent Revisited

If you read my blog in the "early days" (which you almost certainly didn't), you'll recall that one of my first entries was about how an A's trade for Jeff Kent would be misguided. Turns out that that was certainly correct for the Astros, but the way the A's season has turned out begs the question from their standpoint. Here's a chart of how they've performed since September 1st along with a projected total for the A's if they'd used McLemore to supplement Kent:


McLemore 48 9 12 20 7.368421

Scutaro 50 2 11 16 4

Total 98 11 23 36 11.36842

Kent 75 10 19 45 15.35294

McLemore 24 3 6 9 3

Total 99 13 25 54 18.35294

RS RA Pyth% PythW
PythL ActW ActL
No Kent 120 169 0.335 10.06 19.94437 12 18
Yes Kent 126.98 169 0.361 10.83 19.17443

I was going to park adjust those figures, but there's not been much difference between Minute Maid and the NAC this season (1.007 versus 1.024). Factor in that Kent has more or less equalled Scutaro and McLemore this season defensively (fewer douple plays and a slightly lower range factor but a substantially better zone rating), and reasonable to argue that the A's turned down six or seven runs, which probably would have been enough to keep the A's in it until today. Of course, the A's did manage to overperform their Pythagorean record in September, so who knows.

In hindsight, the move might have been best since the A's would likely generate more than $1.8m from making the playoffs. But realistically, I think my analysis was right at the time: the A's can't afford to spend that much money on just one win, especially since, at the time, that one win seemed irrelevant because the A's were clearly the better team. What I didn't count on was that Mark Redman would be second in ERA among Oakland starters in that period with a 5.29 ERA, with only Barry Zito being passable (passable, not good) at 4.23. The thing about baseball is that you can do the right thing at every turn and still lose, which is one of those things that makes baseball so fun, sad, and poignant sometimes.

Song of the Day: "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart," Wilco

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