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Thursday, December 30, 2010

BBA Recommends Alomar, Blyleven For Hall Of Fame



BBA RECOMMENDS ALOMAR, BLYLEVEN FOR HALL OF FAME

Second baseman Roberto Alomar and starting pitcher Bert Blyleven were named today as the recommended 2011 Hall of Fame class by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

Alomar, who is on the ballot for his second year, and Blyleven, looking at his fourteenth time, both finished just shy of the BBA's recommendation in 2010 at just a fraction under the 75% threshold. As was the case last year, both Alomar and Blyleven received the same amount of votes from the BBA membership in 2010, but this time it was enough to push them into the recommended status.

Both players received 117 votes out of the 154 ballots cast, resulting in a 75.97% approval rate. Again echoing the vote taken at the end of 2009, shortstop Barry Larkin was the third man in the balloting, missing selection by being named on just 70.78% of the ballots.

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance's vote has no impact on the official vote taken by the Baseball Writers of America and the members of the Hall of Fame. However, the BBA has been often a predictor of awards granted by the writers, matching their selection in fourteen of the sixteen major awards in the last two postseasons combined.

The final voting results are as follows:

Roberto Alomar, 75.97%
Bert Blyleven, 75.97%
Barry Larkin, 70.78%
Jeff Bagwell, 62.34%
Edgar Martinez, 59.09%
Tim Raines, 54.55%
Mark McGwire, 44.16%
Lee Smith, 38.96%
Alan Trammell, 35.71%
Don Mattingly, 33.12%
Larry Walker, 31.17%
Fred McGriff, 27.27%
Jack Morris, 25.97%
Rafael Palmerio, 20.78%
Dale Murphy, 16.23%
Dave Parker, 12.34%
Harold Baines, 10.39%
Kevin Brown, 9.09%
John Franco, 7.14%
Tino Martinez, 5.19%
John Olerud, 5.19%
Al Leiter, 4.55%
Bret Boone, 3.90%
Juan Gonzalez, 3.90%
Marquis Grissom, 2.60%
Benito Santiago, 1.30%
Bobby Higginson, 0.65%
Charles Johnson, 0.65%
Kirk Rueter, 0.65%
Carlos Baerga, 0.00%
Raul Mondesi, 0.00%
BJ Surhoff, 0.00%

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was established in the fall of 2009 for the purpose of fostering collaboration and communication among bloggers from across baseball. The BBA has quickly grown to its current membership of 256 blogs, including some of the most prominent blogs on the internet, spanning all major league teams and various other general aspects of the game.

More information about the BBA can be found at their website, www.baseballbloggersalliance.com, or by contacting the founder and administrator of the organization, Daniel Shoptaw, at founder@baseballbloggersalliance.com.

WAR Graphs: Larry Walker v Jim Rice

Dave Cameron reminded us again yesterday that we need to spend even more time hanging out at Fangraphs. Like I needed another excuse, Fangraphs is already dominating most of my daily Internet time. I barely even have time to Facebook stalk my ex-girlfriends anymore. But Dave is right, we don't utilize WAR Graphs enough at this site and it's quite the fun tool to have around during the Hall of Fame season. I'll have my ballot posted soon but let's take a look at a simple one right now.

I should note that I am with all of those wonderful number crunching nerds who don't believe Rice deserves to have a plaque in the Hall. But he is in and a lazy measuring stick for Hall worthiness of outfielders. Here is what he looks like against Larry Walker...



I realize that WAR isn't THE perfect stat but for HOF purposes it paints a pretty nice picture for Hall of Fame purposes. Does Jim Rice deserve to be enshrined? No, but that's adorable that you even asked. However, what's done is done and if Rice eventually got in, so should Larry Walker. Still don't know what WAR is? Here, I'm not doing all of the work for you.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Epic Moments In Announcing: Bert Blyleven

Hey kids, Christmas may be in our rearview but I'm still on vacation this week. I'll be around if anything big happens like the Angels signing another 35-year-old reliever or the Yankees buying Cuba. Otherwise, my posts over the next week will be lazy, filled with videos or hastily written in response to a drunken argument I just had at a bar.

Last week I posted a video showing off Bert Blyleven's acting chops and I'll continue my Blyleven video Hall of Fame campaign with this classic clip of him doing color commentary. That color was blue and the language is NSFW. So enjoy this epic moment in announcing while you try to figure out why his 90.1 WAR DOESN'T deserve to be in the Hall of Fame...



1. Pulls of the name "Bert" - check
2. Rocks an awesome beard - check
3. Over 90 career WAR - check
4. Nickname "The Frying Dutchman" is also a Simpsons restaurant - check
5. Threw a no-hitter - check
6. Doesn't mind dropping the f bomb on air - check
7. Circle me, Bert - check
8. Played for the Angels - check

Yep, the only way I could like Blyleven anymore was if he drank during telecasts and sexually harassed production assistants Mad Men style.

If one video wasn't enough for you, some wise person turned to xtranormal to recreate that magical moment in Twins broadcast history...



If I've somehow missed your favorite Bert Blyleven video, please make me even lazier and send me a link to it. Extra credit if there's profanity included.

Rangers Take a Chance on Webb

After missing out on Cliff Lee and declining to answer Jose Canseco's phone calls, the Texas Rangers agreed to a one-year contract with 2006 NL Cy Young winner Brandon Webb. The deal is full of incentives for the former Diamondbacks right-hander, who was Cy runner-up to Jake Peavy in 2007 and Tim Lincecum in 2008, then pitched opening day for Arizona in 2009, but never again.

If Webb stays healthy and earns a spot in an already-solid Texas rotation, it could prevent the defending AL champions from moving closer Neftali Perez or set up man Alexi Ogando out of a strong bullpen. Of course, if Webb doesn't stay healthy not only will his Penguin Clause not kick in, the Rangers may have to ask Canseco to reprise his role as Terrible Pitcher at the 2006 GBL All-Star Game.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas From Off Base

I'll be spending my day tomorrow driving from New Orleans to Atlanta. And while that might sound like more fun than hanging out with your crazy sister-in-law Suse, let me remind you that I won't be able to drink while driving. Legally. So I'd like to take this time to wish all of our Santa-cult followers a Merry Xmas. If I wasn't so busy doing everything at the very last minute, I could have made an Off Base Christmas list or an Angels list. *hint, Adrian Beltre and NOT Scott Podsednik* But I don't have the time, so enjoy this glorious video of Alison Brie singing the sexiest version of "Santa Baby" followed by collection of dogs wearing Christmas hats...



On to dogs in hats!!















Dave Niehaus Celebrated In Rap Form

Legendary Mariners' announcer Dave Niehaus passed away last month at age 75. And finally, there is a tribute worthy of his greatness. That's right, Seattle native, white rapper Macklemore spit out some phat lyrics yo. That's what the kids are saying now, right? Macklemore actually does a pretty good job with the song. He's no Cracker Jack but, come on, the Jack just owns the baseball rap scene.



Niehaus coined the famous phrases "My, oh my!" and "Get out the rye bread and mustard, Grandma, it is grand salami time!" The latter of which is rivaled only by Derwood's RBI Baseball call of "Dip the pickle in the cream cheese and stick it in the toaster, that's a stand up single!"

Steve Balboni Fan Club Formed



Offbasepercentage would like to announce the forming of the first of many fan clubs: The Steve Balboni Fan Club.

$4 membership includes:

* A Balboni Ground Outs in 1987 lithograph
* Balboni Bologna™ - one piece of specially-marked bologna from the former designated hitter/first baseman's failed home business
* A personal birthday voice mail message from Balboni himself, or Balboni impersonator/former high school classmate Danny Mitchell
* A copy of Balboni's auto-biography Don't Look Back, A Curve Ball May Be Breaking Away From You




Email mtd or derwoodmorris @offbasepercentage.com to join

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bert Blyleven's Acting Chops

It's Hall of Fame season and this should finally be the year that Bert Blyleven and his 90.1 WAR get elected. But for those still unconverted, looking at you Jon Heyman, may I present Bert Blyleven's acting skills for your consideration.



If the acting doesn't win you over, look at that magnificent beard. If that's not HOF worthy, I don't know what is.

Desperate For Pitching Yankees Sign Leonel Vinas

The Yankees missed out on their free agent prize target in Cliff Lee and then missed out on trading for Zack Greinke. As much as I'd like to see them give Carl Pavano another $40 million, I can't imagine them doing that no matter how many emails I send to Brian Cashman. But it's not like the Yankees to leave free agency with just their own elderly overpaid short stop and still eerily dominant closer. So the Yanks announced the signing of prospect Leonel Vinas.

If you aren't familiar with Leonel Vinas, then you were clearly not one of the dozens of people watching Vinas outduel Mariano Rivera Jr. to win the "Boss' Cup" for "Hank's Yanks." And if you didn't understand a word of that sentence, you probably live outside of New York. It turns out Hank Steinbrenner is involved with a youth team comprised of kids from different socioeconomic backgrounds which also serves as a scouting system for the Yankees. From MLB.com...
A 2009 graduate of Freeport High School in Freeport, N.Y., who moved to Long Island from the Dominican Republic at age 11, Vinas said playing under the Yankees' umbrella had only been a distant dream.

*snip*

He was 12-0 with a 1.12 ERA in 84 innings pitched for "Hank's Yanks," recording 168 strikeouts, including two no-hitters -- a four-inning no-hitter vs. Adelphi University and five no-hit innings vs. Suffolk Community College.

"They told me, 'You've got a chance to be a Yankee,'" Vinas said. "When they first told me that, I didn't believe it. I didn't think it was true. As the season went on, it got bigger and bigger, and here we are now. My dreams are coming true."
Alright, even as a cynic, I have to admit that's a pretty cool story. Hey, that's the nicest thing I've ever written about the Yankees. Don't get used to it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bartolo Colon Attempting Comeback By Not Being Fat

I've made fun of Bartolo Colon over the years because I find fat athletes hilarious and he wasn't a very good pitcher. Colon threw 62.1 innings in 2009 for the White Sox and hasn't thrown over 100 innings since 2005. But it was a joy to watch that round Dominican try to find the strike zone or Weeble Wobble his way over to cover first base. Well those glory days might be all behind us now friends. The news coming out of Cleveland is that Colon is planning on pitching again but 40 pounds slimmer.

I know. I, too, am disappointed at the lost opportunity for any future fat Bartolo Colon jokes. Unless, of course, he falls off the Ho Hos wagon. *fingers crossed* Let's take a look at a few of the items Colon had to remove from his normal diet to lose the weight with an assist from our friends at This Is Why You're Fat...

Burrito Unicorn















He didn't actually give these up choice; he ate them out of extinction. Now you will only be able to tell your children stories about the mystical and glorious Burrito Unicorn.


Doughnut Pizza













Move over Wheaties, there's a new breakfast of champions in town. Nothing gets you out of the gate and ready for a productive day like a sixer of PBR and a donut the size of a pizza. Ready, set, nap.

Philly Taco














Okay, that one actually looks awesome. That is a Philly cheesesteak wrapped in a slice of pizza. Somebody should give the inventor some kind of award. Like a bronzed cholesterol.

Pop Tart Sushi













This is the only type of sushi Colon used to eat. It's crushed up pop tarts rolled in fruit roll ups. His favorite was the Dynamite S'mores Roll.

The 50 Pound Burger















Bart was a big fan of any meal that required a chainsaw as part of the table setting.

Get Your Offbase T-Shirts In Time For Christmas



Only 4 shopping days left until Santa's birthday, so it's time for you to pick up everyone's favorite holiday item: Offbase t-shirts, featuring editors MTD and Derwood Morris.

It's the perfect holiday gift for the hobo in your life, and for a limited time it comes with an Andy Hawkins autographed napkin.


$10 + cost of delivery by-hippo
email mtd@offbasepercentage.com or derwoodmorris@offbasepercentage.com to order

Monday, December 20, 2010

When Finger Met Ball: Safe At First

I figured now was as good a time as any to talk about the time the skin fell off one of my fingers during a baseball game.

It was 1995 and I was playing on a summer baseball team, weighing 97 pounds and continuing my assault on the Most Hits That Travel The Least Distance record, set in the early-1900s by Emmit Mayberry. You see, I couldn't hit, so I bunted. ALL THE TIME. If I wasn't drag bunting for a hit, I was not in the lineup or on vacation at Monticello with my father, who pretended he was Thomas Jefferson during the late-1980s. On this particular summer afternoon, my team, the Huntsville Torpedos (fictional team) was playing the Glib City Marauders (fictional team) and I was leading off the third inning.

NOTE: I was also currently an employee at the local Wendy's, my first job. I didn't like working at the Wendy's because one of the employees, who shall remain nameless because his name tag said "Deke", though he claimed his real name was "Derek" but he couldn't find any R's, and he used to find pieces of meat in various places (the floor, underneath the microwave) and put them in the chili, and the place smelled like Dave Lapoint in 1989.

Back to the game. I lay a bunt down the third-base line and beat the throw to first. Only one problem: the skin on my left middle finger stayed at home plate. I had bunted my skin off, which in the grand scheme of things, meant I got an infield single (we were down 11-1 at the time). Everybody said "you need to go to the hospital", "stop crying, you're 15-years old", and "I found the skin, will you autograph it? Make it out to 'Darren'" The best part about the injury was, I had a great excuse for quitting at Wendy's after only three shifts. I even scotch-taped a napkin to my finger for effect. So the moral of this story is: if you're making $4/hour at a fast food restaurant where a guy picks things off his shirt and puts them in the chili, just bunt your finger skin off and two weeks later you can be a bus boy at an Italian restaurant, dropping plates and making the hostess, "Amanda" feel uncomfortable, and the owner, Joe (4-11, 117 pounds), can threaten your life with a salad fork.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Yuni Betancourt And Pitcher Traded To Brewers

I'm still trying to process the move that Kansas City made late last night. I mean, surely this is the year Yuniesky Betancourt breaks the 25 walks barrier. But the Royals decided to build a package around him and sent him to Milwaukee for fellow short stop Alcides Escobar and three Brewers' prospects. Congratulations are in order to blogger Jim Breen of Bernie's Crew for breaking the story yesterday. I broke a news story once and, damn, it felt good. But enough about me, let's get to the trade.

What in means for the Royals
The Royals upgrade their short stop position by trading for an actual short stop. Escobar is great in the field but is still a work in progress at the dish. As brain cramping as it is to imagine, Escobar couldn't even out on base percentage Yuni last season tying him with a walk refusing .288 OBP. Escobar just turned 24 so Royals fans can be at least a little optimistic about some room for growth and can take comfort in the fact they'll no longer be running out a traffic cone in the field.

The Royals also get the Brewers number one prospect in RHP Jake Odorizzi. Odorizzi was the Brewers top prospect for roughly a week after Milwaukee sent Brett Lawrie to Toronto. Toolsy center fielder Lorenzo Cain is the only other confirmed prospect in the package. Early reports had RHP Jeremy Jeffress in the deal but he's now apparently been replaced with the famous PTBNL. That could potentially be good news for the Royals since Jeffress projects as a reliever and already has a 100 game suspension under his belt.

What it means for the Brewers
The Brewers continue to gut their farm system in an effort to go all in for Prince Fielder's last season in Milwaukee before he packs up all the cheese he can and files for free agency. The Brewers are getting $2 million which is what it would cost to buy out Yuni's contract just in case they find an elderly lady in the stands with better range at short stop.

The Brewers will also acquire Zack Greinke pending a physical. Grink? Am I saying it right?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Best. Video. Ever.

This xtranormal video conversation between Cliff Lee and Jayson Werth is so brilliant I wish I had written it. Language NSFW.



My favorite line: "Joe Blanton got traded to Dunkin Donuts for a large coffee and a Boston cream donut."

I've watched that seven times so far today.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Jose Canseco: 2010 Royals DH?

Jose Canseco has taken to Twitter, rather than the canary who lives in his hair, to publicly declare himself a free agent. Canseco, who last played baseball in 2001, is 46 and last year fought Danny Bonaduce in an MMA fight, said he could be the designated hitter for any MLB team and lead the league in home runs.



One of Canseco's Twitter messages: I am and will always be just simply a baseball player, my tomb stone will just say. Baseball deserves its own post, and perhaps, it's own blog.

Like an early Christmas present, Canseco made this home movie of himself hitting at a Dave & Busters (speculation). Canseco claims the pitching machine is throwing 94 M.P.H.



Couple things about the video:

1. He made that up about the speed of the pitches.
2. His second swing was a foul out to an imaginary catcher that only Canseco sees. His name is Randy.

It may be time for someone to go to the couch Canseco is living under, put him in the van and give him the big, orange pill with the dolphin on it. If no one wanted to give Barry Bonds a job, at age 43 coming off a 1.045-OPS season in 2008, why would someone give Canseco a job, at age 46, coming off a video where he hit .275 at a Malibu Grand Prix Entertainment Center?

Impressive Autographed Baseball Collection Being Auctioned

We enjoy a feel good story every once in a while. Maybe it's not the usual Typhoid fever induced nonsense you're used to but we're people too. Perhaps, we've been described as "unstable" on more than one occasion. Okay, more than once yesterday. Anyway, 83-year-old baseball fanatic Jane Bell has spent the better part of the last 30 years building an impressive collection of autographed baseballs.

Bell has been a Tigers season ticket holder since 1984 so I assume she took up the autograph hunting as a means to distract her from the pain of being a Tigers fan. But Bell took to the collecting much like my grandpa took to The Price Is Right, with a furious passion. From the Detroit News...
Bell, 83, wasn't just any autograph seeker. She often barnstormed the country to get the job done, and got addicted to the chase and sense of accomplishment generated from the 137 baseballs she had signed by players, managers and announcers since the early 1980s.

*snip*

"People don't understand the hard work that's involved," said Bell, "and the crap you have to deal with."
Bell will auction off 136 of the 137 balls keeping a personalized one from Jack Morris. The proceeds will go to St. Jude Children's Hospital. I'm not exaggerating the impressiveness of the collection either. Here's what you could bid on if you happen to be in Novi (I think that's where Avatar took place) tomorrow night:

Roberto Alomar, Sandy Alomar Jr., Sparky Anderson, Louis Aparicio, Steve Avery.

Jeff Bagwell, Harold Baines, Ernie Banks, Buddy Bell, Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Bert Blyleven, Wade Boggs, Ray Boone, Bobby Boone, Lou Boudreau, George Brett, Brett Butler.

Miguel Cabrera, Jose Canseco, Rod Carew, Paul Carey, Joe Carter, Gary Carter, Orlando Cepeda, Will Clark, Roger Clemens, Bobby Cox.

Chili Davis, Eric Davis, Andre Dawson, Bucky Dent, Joe DiMaggio, Bobby Doerr.
Dennis Eckersley, Jim Eisenreich, Dwight Evans, Darrell Evans.

Bob Feller, Rick Ferrell, Cecil Fielder, Rollie Fingers, Carlton Fisk, Curt Flood, Whitey Ford, Travis Fryman.

Joe Garagiola, Cito Gaston, Charlie Gehringer, Bob Gibson, Kirk Gibson, Tom Glavine, Juan Gonzalez, Doc Gooden, Ken Griffey Jr., Ken Griffey Sr., Tony Gwynn.
Ernie Harwell, Rickey Henderson, John Hiller, Jim "Catfish" Hunter.

Reggie Jackson, Ferguson Jenkins, Derek Jeter.

Al Kaline, George Kell, Chuck Knoblauch.

Barry Larkin, Tommy Lasorda, Jim Leyland, Bob Lemon, Mickey Lolich.
Mickey Mantle, Juan Marichal, Dennis Martinez, Don Mattingly, Willie McCovey, Johnny Mize, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Eddie Murray, Stan Musial.

Hal Newhouser, Phil Niekro, Joe Niekro.

Jim Palmer, Dave Parker, Lance Parrish, Carlos Pena, Troy Percival, Tony Perez, Gaylord Perry, Tony Phillips, Boog Powell, Kirby Puckett.

Tim Raines, Cal Ripken Jr., Phil Rizzuto, Robin Roberts, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Pudge Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez, Pete Rose, Nolan Ryan.

Tom Seaver, Enos Slaughter, Ozzie Smith, John Smoltz, Duke Snider, Sammy Sosa, Willie Stargell, Dave Stewart, Darryl Strawberry, Rick Sutcliffe, Don Sutton.

Frank Tanana, Mickey Tettleton, Frank Thomas, Joe Torre, Alan Trammell.
Mo Vaughn, Fay Vincent, Frank Viola.

Lou Whitaker, Hoyt Wilhelm, Bernie Williams, Ted Williams, Matt Williams, Billy Williams, Maury Wills, Dave Winfield, Early Wynn.

Carl Yastrzemski, Robin Yount.

If that Chili Davis ball is from his Angels days, I'd be willing to go as high as $2 and the rest of this grape soda.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cliff Lee's All Time Competition From Ages 32-36

It didn't escape me in my posting absence that Cliff Lee spurned the Rangers and Yankees to re-join the Phillies on a 5-year, $120 million deal. But by now, you've all heard every opinion possible about the matter. Jeez, Craig Calcaterra's crew at Hardball Talk wrote 16 posts about him in 18 hours. Instead of figuring out Texas' and New York's contingency plans or why the Angels are sitting on their hands, I wanted to take a look at what the Phillies hope they're getting over the next five years in a pitcher who will start his contract as a 32-year-old.

My research might not stand up to some of those who practice the Sabr science for a profession but I think it's a good once over for someone losing roughly $1.49 every month on this site. Also, Fangraphs WAR doesn't go past 1980 in the history annals so I'm using the similarly awesome stats from Baseball-Reference. Obviously, I didn't include pitchers from the deadball era because none of them lived to be 32.[citation needed]

1. Bob Gibson
Years: 1968-1972 WAR: 43.9 ERA: 2.35 ERA+: 150
The HOF Cardinal pitcher had an unbelievable five year stretch after he turned 32. His top WAR seasons were in 1968 (11.9), 1969 (11.0), 1970 (8.7) and 1972 (7.6). Nobody can be expecting Cliff Lee to touch these numbers but it could be possible Lee is hitting his peak on the typical wrong side of 30.

2. Randy Johnson
Years: 1997-2001 WAR: 37.4 ERA: 2.64 ERA+: 174
Technically, I'm cheating here. Johnson's first season that he started as a 32-year-old was 1996 but he only tossed 61.1 innings. If I swap out Johnson's 2002 season for his 1996 season, he ends up with a 30.2 WAR which would still be tied for second place. While I have no reason to expect Lee to be healthy for his 32-year-old season or even his 37-year-old season, it's always nice to appreciate how good The Big Unit was after he turned 30 or 32 or 37 or 42. His 91.8 career WAR should be a first class ticket to the Hall of Fame even if Bert Blyleven is still flying standby with his 90.1 WAR.

3. Roger Clemens
Years: 1995-1999 WAR: 30.2 ERA: 3.27 ERA+: 145
Clemens rollercoasted his single seasons WARs over a 24-year career accumulating an insane 128.4 of them. It's hard to predict how his alleged performance enhancing or sleeping with under aged country music stars will affect his Hall of Fame candidacy but the numbers should put him in by a landslide. These are all probably topics for another post but the Phils would be thrilled with that kind of performance over Lee's contract even if some indiscretions involving Taylor Swift popped up years from now.

4. Warren Spahn
Years: 1953-1957 WAR: 30.1 ERA: 2.79 ERA+: 132
I included the "liveball" wins leader because, well, he's the liveball wins leader. His 101 complete games is the closest to rivaling Gibson's 122 over the 32-36 year-old age bracket but Spahn posted a 1.80 K/BB ratio over that period and Cliff Lee might be able to top it with his eyes closed.

5. Kevin Brown
Years: 1997-2001 WAR: 30.0 ERA: 2.66 ERA+: 155
Brown had an even better 5-year streak that began just a year earlier in 1996 and ended with his 6.5 WAR as a 35-year-old. His 64.8 WAR makes him an interesting case for the Hall of Fame even though he only finished in the top three of Cy Young voting twice (both in his 32-36 range) during his 19 seasons while never winning it. Lee has already won one but will have to duel with a teammate for any future award. Either way, the Phillies would be more than happy to boast two or three of the National League's best pitchers in the upcoming seasons.

6. Phil Niekro
Years: 1971-1975 WAR: 30.0 ERA: 2.97 ERA+: 128
I could have left the list at a reasonable five but I felt like I'd be letting Rob Neyer down if I didn't include a knuckleballer on the list. And I wish I had a better reason than that because Niekro's 2.17 K/BB was only better than Spahn's aforementioned 1.90 ratio. Am I secretly hoping Lee starts throwing a knuckleball? Perhaps. Are the Phillies? Not so much.

7. David Cone
Years: 1995-1999 WAR: 23.8 ERA: 3.32 ERA+: 139
Mmmhmm. Which brings us to...

8. Greg Maddux
Years: 1998-2002 WAR: 23.7 ERA: 2.88 ERA+: 152
Welcome to the confusing stat portion of our program. Maddux had the third best ERA+ of this bunch and second best K/BB ratio (4.16) to Johnson's (4.48) but doesn't have the shiny WAR of his colleagues. Fangraphs WAR (fWAR) has him at 31.1 which, I assume, does a better job of evaluating his "Gold Glove" defense using UZR instead of Total Zone. Take a deep breath, don't let all of that nerdiness get to your head at once. However you look at Maddux's performance from 32 to 36, the Phillies would not regret their payroll splurge. But don't be surprised if a cheesesteak will run you around $33 inside the stadium, it's player number integration pricing!

The Math
It might be presumptuous to compare Cliff Lee to some of the greatest pitchers in baseball history but there is a case to be made that Lee could be great into his mid-thirties. Baseball-Reference has Lee as about a 5.5 WAR player per year over the past three seasons. Fangraphs has him as almost a 7 WAR player per season over that time. Let's say Lee ends up being a 6 WAR player over his Philly contract. If a player on the free market is worth $6 million per point of WAR, that would make Lee worth $180 million over five years instead of the $120 Philadelphia is paying him (and that's without inflation!).

Assuming Lee stays healthy over the next five years is a big leap of faith. But he will be playing with Doc Halladay who is two years into a pace that would make him the second greatest pitcher between the ages of 32 and 36. Doc might have some staying healthy secrets he can share. Or he's just some kind of freak of nature. Either way, I'm betting Lee stays healthy enough to make this contract look like a relative steal for the Phillies. Note: I'm a big sucker for WAR and terrible at gambling, actual results may vary.

A Quick Story About Bob Feller

With the passing of Bob Feller, I'd like to share a story about the time I met the Cleveland great. It was during the 1997 All-Star game festivities and I was lucky enough, thanks to my father the mud salesman and his connections with the Mud People, to be in attendance for the game and all of the other silliness that surrounds the mid-summer classic.

On the night before the game MLB was honoring some of the greatest living Indians, and Feller was the main attraction. After searching desperately for Paul O'Neill so I could cut off a lock of his curly hair and keep it in my freezer, I wound up in the lobby of the ballroom and there was Feller.

Stumbling.

And mumbling.

And clumbering (made-up word).

17-year old Derwood: "Hi, Mr. Feller!"

Feller: "Frgwershelsky! Shahanafre, klrghghghgh."

Derwood: "Mr. Feller, would you mind signing this baseball?"

Feller:

Derwood: "Mr. Feller?"

Feller: "Brgggh.."


And then he was gone, presumably to board his spaceship. It would've ruined the whole night except I finally got someone to introduce me to Pat Tabler at the shrimp cocktail station.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Heath Bell Recovering From Typhoid Fever


I've been out of commission for several days now due some pretty severe drinking for fantasy football playoffs and then my computer started crashing harder than Lindsey Lohan after a typical Tuesday night. Aw, remember when that was topical? Luckily my my bouts with the Irish flu and my computer's sniffles weren't as serious as what Heath Bell recently went through.

Bell and his wife were in the midst of a vacation including tropical destinations such as Tavarua and Maui. I Google Earth'd Tavarua and it's in the Pacific Rim which I still thought was on the opposite side of the world from Hawaii. Damn you public schools, you've failed me yet again. Anyway, the Padres closer apparently picked up a little Typhoid fever as a souvenir in Tavarua and spent some time at the Maui hospital to get treated. From MLB.com...
Typhoid fever, if left untreated, can lead to intestinal complications, kidney failure and, in some cases, death.

"It's something I ate in Tavarua. It gets in your stomach and you usually flush it out. For whatever reason, my body didn't flush it out," Bell said on Wednesday.

*snip*

"When we got to Hawaii, I had body aches, I was like, 'Man, what do I have?' I usually don't get sick," Bell said. "The next two nights, I couldn't stop sweating. She [Nicole] finally made me go to the ER on Thursday."
Bell spent three days at the hospital in Hawaii which I imagine has coconut jello and some kind of elaborate fruit based rum concoction with an umbrella in it. Bell should be just fine thanks to good old science. If this were 426 BC, Bell's Typhoid fever would have wiped out the entire NL West along with Athenian empire.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Celebrating The Baseball Bloggers Alliance

While Off Base was just born on May 30, 2010, we could not be prouder members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. And as soon as our esteemed founder Daniel Shoptaw declared December 10th BBA Day, we decided to honor his creation the only way we knew how. Pure nonsense. So I tracked down the MLB headquarters in New York...



And then I sent some of my minions to stage a protest until Major League Baseball recognizes the BBA as the literary force it is. My demands were one press credential to a game of my choosing, a link to the BBA on the MLB.com homepage, three hot dogs and one of those Baskin Robbins sundaes in an Angels helmet...



The results were less than satisfactory. For all of our trouble, we received a stern talking to and a coupon for 35% off of a Fudgie the Whale from Carvel.

Occasionally, I'll stray from the nonsense to write some actual baseball content around here. I couldn't be more grateful to Daniel for starting the BBA to create a haven for all of us baseball nerds to get together and share our opinions on our beloved pastime. I've been blogging about sports for several years now. I started Monkeys Throwing Darts years ago and it had some relative success thanks to the ridiculousness known as the Lingerie Football League. But baseball has always been my true passion and the BBA provides a fantastic support system.

In creating the BBA, Shoptaw has not only given baseball bloggers a venue to gain a greater audience but has created a structure similar to the BBWAA. The BBA was created in April of 2009 but didn't start gaining momentum until September of that year. It now boasts over 230 member blogs ranging from team specific sites to general baseball to fantasy and history.

The BBA votes on the same major awards that the BBWAA does even though Shoptaw was politely asked told to alter the names of said awards in order to not conflict with those of the BBWAA. Surprisingly, the BBA and BBWAA have only differed in the 2009 NL ROY and the 2010 AL MOY awards in the two years of the BBA's existence. A feat that I believe reflects the continuing influence of the blogosphere on the mainstream media. But I do have a pretty high opinion of ourselves.

The BBA also has a weekly radio show on Blog Talk Radio that I somehow fell backasswards into hosting one week. I have not been asked to return even though I felt my 43 minute House of Pain remix of Take Me Out To The Ballgame was groundbreaking.

There's even an App for that. An iPhone app for the BBA was recently released and it is pretty impressive. Julian from Splashing Pumpkins did an amazing job spearheading the project and you should definitely go get the app now. Don't forget to bookmark us! It also begs the question... Where's your app, BBWAA?

I'd love to go on and on about the BBA because we are a proud member and I believe it is still just in its infancy. This is how great institutions are built. Shoptaw has put together an impressive group of intelligent, passionate baseball writers and the future is bright for the BBA. But, if you'll excuse me, I have a BBA Hall of Fame ballot to fill out and these 14 open tabs of Fangraphs aren't going to read themselves.

Want more? Here's an interview with Daniel Shoptaw about the BBA.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Red Sox Make Carl Crawford Super Rich

After tonight's Carl Crawford coup and the Adrian Gonzalez trade, I imagine Theo Epstein is smoking a Cuban cigar and drinking a 30-year-old single malt scotch while strippers peel off Red Sox uniforms except for the knee high socks. I knew I should have gone to Yale or high school. Just days after the Red Sox traded for the biggest non-free agent bat in Gonzalez, Boston signed Crawford to a seven-year, $142 million contract. Only Manny Ramirez has ever signed a more lucrative deal as an outfielder when he raked in $160 million from, um, the Red Sox.

Epstein still has to sign Gonzalez to an extension which will also easily clear the $100 million mark. It also turns out that the Red Sox were one of the mystery teams that offered Cliff Lee seven years. It must be rough for Theo to throw around all of John Henry's Monopoly money with his fancy Ivy League degree and shiny World Series rings.

Now would probably be a good time to remind you that I'm a very bitter Angels fan. With Crawford off the market to the Red Sox, the Yankees, Rangers and maybe the Angels will start spewing dollars and years at Cliff Lee like a 14-year-old after a fifth of Peppermint Schnapps. Tis the season.

It's anybody's guess but I think the Yankees will go to seven years and sign Cliff Lee. The Angels appear to be the entire market for Adrian Beltre now and could also afford to throw cash at Rafael Soriano. The Rangers, not to be left empty handed, have the pieces to make a strong push for a Zach Greinke trade.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cliff Lee Stars In "Double Mystery!"

It was somewhat of a slow news day unless you were at the Winter Meetings and got to catch some of the fun sound bytes from Joe Maddon's presser or Mike Scioscia acknowledging the existence of on base percentage. Sure we got to tweet for a couple of hours about a potential swap of the Orioles' Nolan Reimold for the Rays' Jason Bartlett until that deal completely fell apart. Leave it to SI's Jon Heyman to save the day/evening with one little hashtag on Twitter. A little after 6 p.m. Heyman tweeted a second team was offering Cliff Lee seven years...


The "double mystery" hashtag was immediately a big hit with the Twitter nation and it sparked jokes ranging from the Scooby Doo variety to anything having to do with hamburgers. Now I could join in all of the reindeer games and make jokes for the rest of the night but I'd prefer to use my time for more productive endeavors. That's right, it's time for some wild and careless speculation about Lee's secret suitors...

1. Angels
This isn't exactly me going out on a limb since the Angels have been attached to every big name free agent on the market but the Halos do not like going over five years for contracts. I'd personally love to see a Lee, Jered Weaver, Dan Haren rotation but I desperately want Carl Crawford too. This is your last chance Santa...

The mystery: Is Arte Moreno's vast fortune actually from billboards or was he the basis of the Mexican Drug Lord from seasons five and six of Weeds? Either way, I'd like to see more Mary-Louise Parker at Angels games.

2. Nationals
Okay, I promise the speculation will get more careless in a minute. The Nats were rumored to be in on the Lee sweepstakes but denied making the initial seven year bid. Perhaps they made the second one.

The mystery: After the Nats laid out seven years and $126 million to Jayson Werth, it seems far fetched that Washington could afford another deal bigger than that. Unless Obama is funding the Nationals new payroll structure under the guise of this insane health care plan where Tommy John surgery is the only thing that's completely free. (Note: Don't send emails. I know Obama is a White Sox fan and I don't care about "Obama care" because I plan on making enough money from this blog to afford my own personal third world country doctor.)

3. Nippon-Ham Fighters
I told you it was about get wild and careless. It's widely known that Cliff Lee is a big Sumo wrestling supporter and his eighth favorite food is sushi.[citation needed] Nippon could afford the fat cash thanks to their success in meat packing (hee-hee).

The mystery: What is Spam made of?

4. Mariners + Indians
In this scenario, Seattle and Cleveland join forces and each of his former teams would get Lee every other year for six years. Then they trade him before the seventh year of the contract because both teams are still lousy. The good news for Cleveland and Seattle is they'll go down in the history books for co-owning a player for a long term contract. The bad news is they are both contracted after combining to lose 319 games in 2017.

The mystery: Why do people watch Mariners and Indians games?

5. Pirates
After 18 losing seasons and never having an ace-caliber starter, the Pirates splurge and dedicate 87% of their payroll to Lee. Unfortunately, Lee also becomes the 2nd and 3rd starters as well as the first baseman and right fielder. The 20 man roster is an utter disaster.

The mystery: Does futility know no bounds?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mark Reynolds Moves Golden Sombreros To Baltimore

Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers dealt his free swinging third baseman to Baltimore for a pair of relievers to kick of the Winter Meetings. Mark Reynolds, still just 27-years-old, will provide some pop from the corner infield position as he's hit 32 and 44 home runs over the past two seasons. Unfortunately, the one thing he does better, much better, than hit home runs is striking out. Reynolds has struck out over 200 times in each of the last three seasons and is a good bet to continue that streak considering the quantity of quality power pitchers in the AL East. He could be looking at record shattering strikeout numbers in the near future. Of course, Reynolds already owns the records he'd be shattering but still...

Reynolds signed a fresh three-year, $14.5 million deal at the beginning of last season. But new GM Towers, seemed to be non too pleased with Reynolds' .198/.320/.433 line and 211 strikeouts. So Towers shipped Reynolds off to Baltimore for relievers David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio.

I have a special connection with Mark Reynolds because I document the great moments in plate futility here at Off Base. Reynolds won our first ever Golden Sombrero of the Year Award thanks to his four Golden Sombreros in 2010. He's a strikeout machine and a pure joy to cover. I'm looking forward to big swings and misses next year. The good news for Orioles fans is that I'll be covering your team more closely in 2011 and almost every post about Mark Reynolds will be accompanied by this picture of a drunk donkey wearing a sombrero.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Nationals Take 2nd Mortgage On White House To Sign Jayson Werth

On the eve of the Winter Meetings, the Washington Nationals rocked the baseball world with one of the more surprising free agent signings in the past decade or so. Super-Evil-Genius-Agent Scott Boras worked his voodoo magic on the Nats once again. Washington came out of nowhere to sign former Phillie outfielder Jayson Werth. That was surprise number one. The second surprise was they signed the soon to be 32-year-old to a SEVEN year deal. Then every other GM's jaw hit the floor when they found out the deal was worth $126 million. I believe rival execs exact words were "Whaaaaa?" followed by profanity.

In Werth's last three full seasons with the Phillies, he hit 87 home runs and averaged a .279/.376/.513 line while playing anywhere from excellent to very poor defense according to UZR. That makes him a good, not great, player on the wrong side of his career peak. Werth has been about a five win player over those three seasons which, dollar wise, would be worth between $21-23 million per year. But in giving him $18 million a year, the Nats are paying him for past performance and not what he'll do going forward. It's hard to imagine that Werth will be performing at an $18 million level when he's 37 and 38 years-old. Unless, of course, he finds some kind of magic cream that's the equivalent of the Fountain of Youth and Power. But that can't exist, right?

The Nationals aren't a great fit for the soon to be 32-year-old outfielder either. Boras sold Washington two once-in-a-lifetime prospects in back-to-back years in Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. Strasburg got off to a hot start in 2010 before his elbow had to be reattached with Tommy John surgery. I have a pair of pants older than Harper. I don't fit in them anymore and it's curious why I still own them but still... Strasburg and Harper won't join Werth until 2012 and there is no telling how effective they'll be once they do so. And Ryan Zimmerman is going to want to get paid after his contract is up in 2013. It just seems like the wrong time to make such a bold and expensive move with what the Nats are trying to build.

Nats' GM Mike Rizzo lip-synced the explanation of the signing while Boras moved him around like the good puppet he is...
“For elite players like this to come to Washington, D.C., obviously we have to extend the contract,” Rizzo said. “We understand where we’re at in our process. Someday in the very near future, we hope that we will not have to give extra money, extra years to acquire a player.”

Rizzo praised Werth’s athleticism, his base-running acumen, his ability to play center field as well as right. He raved about Werth’s offensive improvement, his increased patience at the plate. He described Werth as a late bloomer whose best days are still ahead.
Some extra money is one thing, your soul is another. The obvious fallout from this is that Carl Crawford's price tag now starts at eight years and $140 million. And Cliff Lee won't even talk to you for less than six years and $150 million. And the upper torso of Vlad Guerrero now wants two years and $20 million.

But hey, there is good news Nats fans! The always excellent Joe Sheehan reminded us on Twitter that the last time Boras got seven-years and $126 million for a good player, that team won the World Series just four years later. That player was, drumroll please....

Barry Zito

RBI Baseball - Game 6, 1986



This video has been up for a while, but we need it on Offbase.

Vin, what do you have for us?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Red Sox Get Gonzalez After Two Year Pursuit

While it seemed as inevitable as the Yankees re-signing Derek Jeter, the Red Sox finally made the deal to land their coveted slugging first baseman in Adrian Gonzalez. The Padres won a surprising 90 games in 2010 but rode out their plan to ship Gonzalez off before he became a free agent after the 2011 season. The Padres made the right move in dealing Gonzalez in the off-season to collect a greater haul of prospects and this most certainly puts the writing on the wall for the future of Heath Bell in San Diego. Although, the Padres might wait until the trade deadline approaches to move their closer because there should be more teams bidding on arms for a playoff push.

What This Means For Adrian Gonzalez
There is one and only one drawback for Gonzalez in this deal. He no longer gets to live in San Diego. The Red Sox are and always have been the ideal landing spot for the slugger. In his five years of playing half of his games in the cavernous Petco Park, he still managed to hit 161 home runs and average a .288/.374/.514 line. With Fenway's short porch in right field, Gonzalez should see a nice tick upwards in his slugging numbers. He also becomes a very rich man. The Sox will, presumably, extend him seven years for around $170 million.

What This Means For Boston
The Red Sox have coveted Gonzalez for two years after it became clear that the Padres had no shot at retaining him with free agency looming. Plugging Gonzalez in at first will move Kevin Youklis to third while urging Adrian Beltre not to let the door hit him on the ass on the way out. The Sox also had to hand over a nice package of prospects from a deep if not great system. Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo and Reymond Fuentes are three of the top six or seven prospects in Boston's system plus San Diego will receive what's behind curtain number three in a player to be named later. The move certainly sparks a fun debate about which infield is better between the Sox and the Yanks. I figure Jeter and Marco Scuturo are about a wash.

What This Means For San Diego
The Padres managed to not get all delusional after last season's surprising push for the playoffs and kept their game plan on track. It must have been tempting to take another run with Gonzalez and move him at the deadline if they fell back to earth. But they made the smart move and dealt him when they could get the most bang for their lack of bucks. In Casey Kelly, they get Boston's top pitching prospect who was already pitching at Double A as a 20-year-old. Anthony Rizzo might be the heir apparent to Gonzalez at first base. As a 21-year-old in Double A, he hit 20 home runs and a .263/.334/.481 line. Reymond Fuentes is a toolsy outfielder and the cousin of Carlos Betran. At just 19-years-old, he stole 42 bases during his A ball season. The Padres will certainly deal Heath Bell at some point during the season to continue their youth movement.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mo Spurns Angels, Red Sox To Stay A Yankee

The 41-year-old Hammer of God is returning to the Bronx for two more seasons and didn't even demand a raise. Mariano Rivera re-signed with the Yankees for two-years, $30 million which is right in line with the $15 million he made each of the past three seasons. Jon Heyman tweeted late last night that the Angels and Red Sox were offering three years and more money but Rivera decided to stay at home with the Yankees until his arm falls off. Which doesn't look like will happen any time soon. Rivera broke into the majors in 1995 and joined the ranks of great Yankees relievers like Josias Manzanillo and Mélido Turpen Gross Pérez. Unlike Manzanillo though, Rivera survived the '90s with both testicles. Too soon? Jeez, wear a cup.

Kinda painted myself into a corner there. It's hard to segue from a testicle reference. So anyway, Boston actually just offered the same two-year, $30 million contract that the Yanks did. It makes some sense since they don't trust Jonathan Papelbon and could have non-tendered him if they stole Mo away from their arch nemesis. Instead they had to tender Paps and will end up having to pay him somewhere between $11-13 million anyway.

The Angels were more of a curious case. Obviously the back-end of their bullpen is shaky at best with Fernando Rodney trying to hit the strike zone blindfolded in save situations. But I can't imagine them being serious about allocating $15 million to Rivera when they'll likely have to go over $100 million for Carl Crawford and rumoredly have their eyes on Adrian Beltre. Plus they could get Rafael Soriano for less than $15 mil per but he carries a big durability risk.

By locking up Rivera, New York ends up signing their most important and productive free agent to a reasonable deal (for a rich team) and keeps him a lifetime Yankee. I'm glad that story is behind us and didn't drag out all winter.

Obligatory Mariano Rivera Stat
Rivera has a 0.71 ERA in 139.2 post season innings. He's surrendered two post season home runs. Yikes. I'm almost willing to call that clutch. Almost.

Chase Utley And "It's Always Sunny" Together At Last

If you're a fan of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia and this blog, you probably know that Mac and I share some special feelings for Phillies' second baseman Chase Utley. While Mac actually writes love letters to Chase, I tend to simply dedicate 500 words here and there on why he deserves more MVP love than he gets. I mean, come on. The highest he's ever finished was 7th in the MVP voting even though he's been the second best player in the NL since 2006 and the best second baseman in all of baseball over that time. The poor man can't even win an effing Gold Glove.

Okay, sorry. This isn't the space for that rant. In last night's It's Always Sunny episode "The Gang Gets Stranded In The Woods," Chase Utley makes a cameo appearance along with former MVP Ryan Howard (who also received a second place MVP vote this year despite not be as valuable as Utley; anger rising). The gist of this episode is that the gang is headed to Atlantic City for an animal adoption fundraiser which will be attended by the two Phillies stars. Of course, hijinx ensues.

Here's the clip of Utley and Howard watching Dennis and Charlie get hammered...



That clip might not last long seeing as how I don't have the expressed written consent of MLB or FX. Either way, it was pretty funny even if Utley and Howard played it pretty safe. I'm still waiting for the episode that features Utley, Mac and myself getting wasted and talking about on base percentage and Ultimate Zone Rating. *fingers crossed*

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Kenny Williams Got It Dunn

Hey, I could write headlines for ESPN with that kind of gold.

Adam Dunn finally got his big boy contract today when Kenny Williams offered up 56 million White Sox bucks over four years. Dunn was looking for a fat cash contract during his free agent adventure two years ago but only managed to get a two-year, $20 million deal from the Nationals after being non-tendered by the Diamondbacks. Oddly enough, he posted a slightly worse season this year but still managed to score the monster deal. I have some theories as to why. They might be obvious and you've probably already read them elsewhere today but I'm lazy and everybody loves lists. Right?

1. Kenny Williams is a free spending lunatic.
He traded for the bloated contract of the already declining Jake Peavy. They're still on the hook for $37 million after they buy out 2013. Then Williams picked up Alex Rios' silly contract which will pay out $51 million over the next four years. And to top it off he's going to pay Juan Pierre $8.5 million next year instead of the box of movie theater nachos he's actually worth. All of that not-his cash just burns a hole in Kenny Williams' pocket.

2. Adam Dunn is a force at the plate.
Dunn has hit 38 or more home runs for seven consecutive seasons. Over those seasons, this was the first time he didn't have an OBP over .360. He slugged under .510 once over that time frame. Sure he's going to strikeout 150+ times per year but he's also going to lead the White Sox in walks every season too.

3. Dunn fills a need.
The White Sox got a pathetic .247/.332/.396 line from their DH spot in 2010 thanks to the likes of Mark Kotsay. Dunn should thrive in US Cellular Field or whatever the hell the White Sox stadium is named now. The south side park is hitter friendly and Dunn should get back to his 40 homers per year after only hitting 38 each of the past two seasons.

4. Dunn is more valuable when not wearing leather.
Defensive metrics are still far from a perfect measuring stick especially at first base. But I watched some Nationals games last year and they would have been better off sticking a glove on a traffic cone and sitting it against first base than playing Dunn there. With Dunn spending most of his time at DH instead of in the field, he won't have to hit 80 home runs to make up for his defensive craptitude.

5. The White Sox had to outbid, um, the A's.
Adam Dunn in his early prime was Billy Bean's wet dream of a player. Dunn is the definition of the three true outcome player. He's either hitting a homer, walking or striking out. He used to be undervalued too. With the Tigers signing Victor Martinez, that left the A's as, seemingly, the main competition for Dunn's services. But the A's were never going to offer a contract anywhere close to what the White Sox offered. Which brings us full circle back to theory number one.

I don't mind the deal because I'm not a White Sox fan and, even if I was, it's not my money. I do plan on watching a lot more White Sox home games though. Dunn is going to blast some homers out of that park. Obviously, I'll have to watch the games on mute because Hawk Harrelson makes me want to throw my TV out of a window.

Jeter Accepts 2-year, $11 million Contract From Yankees

Only kidding. But, I figured it was time to return to Offbase with some complete nonsense. Feels like August all over again.

No, today's topic is expanded playoffs and how stupid of an idea it is. Not Major League 3 Back to the Minors-stupid, just Teen Wolf Too-stupid.

It looks like there's a good chance a 10-team playoff field, with an extra wild card entry and an added best-of-3 series, will be recommended during this month's winter meetings, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Rick Hummel reported today. Let me be the 7,000th to say this idea smells like Steve Balboni's tube socks after a doubleheader. Here's what MLB is proposing:

1. Let's make a really long post-season even longer, with even more off days!
2. You know how a five-game Division Series is too short because it has the potential to just reward a team playing pretty well in October, rather than a really good team that played well for six months? Well, we're going to add an extra round of playoffs, and make it a best-of-3! Are you ready for Tigers-Bluejays and Astros-Padres?!


(Sea Captain's voice) I...don't know what I'm doing

I understand baseball is a business and this extra round of playoffs is about money-TV, advertising, concessions/ticket sales-and that a general manager can maybe hang on to his job another year if he can go to the owner and say "we made the playoffs." Sure, he made the playoffs with 76 wins and got swept in two (!) games in a wild card elimination series, but did you see that SECOND WILD CARD TEAM - 2012 banner out behind the left field wall?! It's blue for 'second wild card team'!

Hummel also argues that even with a 10-team field, MLB would still have the lowest number of any of the four professional sports. Twelve teams qualify in the NFL, while an absurd 16 teams qualify for the post-season in both the NBA and NHL. While the NFL model seems to be working just fine, basketball and hockey allowing more than half of the teams into the playoffs is ridiculous. Raptors-Bucks? That's what we're headed towards in baseball.

Either way, the Mets are already mathematically eliminated.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Joel Zumaya Might Be Looking For A New Career

The occasionally healthy, rocket-armed Joel Zumaya appears to be growing weary of all of his disabled list stints. The Tiger's 26-year-old reliever hasn't thrown over 40 innings since he tossed 83.1 in his rookie season in 2006. The amount of rehab Zumaya has worked through over the past couple of years rivals only that of Lindsey Lohan. And she ain't looking that great at 24-years-old. Well, Zumaya might be done with baseball if he suffers another injury...
"If I get hurt again," Zumaya told mlb.com, "I'm basically going to be done with baseball. I'm going to have to find another job. This is going to be my make-it-or-break-it year." Zumaya, who is coming off surgery for a broken bone in his right elbow, is expected to be offered a contract by the Tigers by Thursday's deadline.
Not all relief pitchers can bow out gracefully at 40-years-old and fall into an admirable career of turning vodka into urine like Kent Mercker. I'd like to help Joel out with some post baseball professions he should avoid after he sustains his next injury falling down a flight of stairs carrying deer meat. Pay close attention Joel, I'm here to help...

1. Professional Guitar Hero Player
Whilst Joel should already be aware of this one, it's worth noting. Zumaya was held out of the 2006 ALCS after his crazy 1.94 ERA, 10.48 K/9 ratio rookie season. The injury? Eric Clapton's work on Cream's Crossroads proved to be too stressful for Zumaya's right wrist. Zumaya fell victim to the one documented case of Guitar Hero-itis.

Alternative: Can you make money playing Angry Birds?

2. Two Men And A Truck Mover
Zumaya suffered another setback in 2007 when he injured his shoulder while moving some boxes out of his dad's attic. I don't remember this story but if Wikipedia says it's only lacking a citation, it's gotta be true. Also true, Scarlett Johansson is leaving Ryan Reynolds for me.[citation needed]

Alternative: Gift wrapping purchases at Macy's for the holidays. It's timely, provided his wrist can hold up with all of the bow tying.

3. Professional Beard Grower
I assume this is a real profession because I don't know what else ZZ Top is famous for. Unfortunately, Billy Mays willed his insane black beard to Brian Wilson and Zumaya can't even sport the blackest beard of an MLB reliever.

Alternative: Grow a curlier mustache than Rollie Fingers could ever imagine. Join a circus and learn to juggle.

The honorable mentions for careers to avoid: skee ball tournaments, kite flying championships, the Whack-A-Mole 5000, extreme knitting, midget juggling, giraffe wrangling, double dutch rope swinger.

Hope that helps, Joel. But if you do become an extreme knitter, I'll expect the usual 34% finders fee. It's a cutthroat industry.

Tulowitzki Gets His $100 Million

Who had the first $100 million contract of this young Hot Stove season being signed by a player who wasn't going to hit free agency for FOUR more years. Cliff Lee will sign a deal well north of the $100 million mark. Carl Crawford will probably get nine figures too and Jayson Werth might come close. But it was Troy Tulowitzki who was the first to ink a contract that will provide him the financial flexibility to buy Iceland out of bankruptcy and fill it with dogs wearing sweaters. I dare him to come up with a better use of that money.

Tulo's new deal is actually just an extension which picks up his 2014 option for $14 million. The "new money" is the $119 million he will make from 2015 through 2020 or his 30-35 year old seasons. Did the Rox jump the gun on making Tulo the new face of the franchise for the next decade? Yeah, probably. Tulo is coming off of his best season posting a 6.4 WAR despite only playing in 122 games. He also missed 61 games in his 2008 campaign. So, the Rockies are gambling that Tulo won't be gimpy every other season. Maybe he can buy one of those hyperbaric chambers with his riches.

Tulowitzki has been a blog favorite around these parts and solidified that position with his 15 homer, 40 RBI, .303/.366/.754 line September which helped him garner a 5th place finish in the NL MVP voting. I wasn't as appalled by the deal as some of the other baseball scribes but maybe I'm biased because Tulo rocks a sweet mullet. I'm no scientist, unless you count mixology, so I'll leave the heavy lifting to the math nerds amongst us. The great Tangotiger ran the metrics and figures Tulo will be worth almost the exact amount of cash he's due. So there, Jeff Passan.

Of course, the awesome fallout from this signing is when Derek Jeter holds firm for a 6-year, $2.3 billion contract. What? Minka Kelly totally deserves her own island.