Monday, February 28, 2011

Mike Trout Is Changing His Phone Number

Future Hall of Famer and current Angels prospect Mike Trout caught his first dose of pranking on Monday. While some of the details are being kept under wraps, it appears that Trout broke an unwritten rule during the morning meetings and was punished accordingly.
After the top of the first inning of Monday’s game between the Angels and A’s, Trout’s phone number was splashed all over the scoreboard at Tempe Diablo Stadium with an invitation.

“Fans call Angels’ Mike Trout directly with your baseball questions,” said the message which was repeated several times throughout the game.
Unfortunately, I don't know any of the 2,822 attendees so I wasn't privy to Trout's digits. And I had some hard hitting questions for him like "Why are you so awesome?" and "Do they still make panzarottis in New Jersey?"

Trout apparently crossed a "no speaking unless spoken to" rule during a bout of Mike Scioscia team building exercises. It seems the offended party was staff ace Jered Weaver...
“Weave got him good,” Angels outfielder Peter Bourjos said, Trout admonishing from across the room not to give away too much — “Outfielders stick together,” Trout pleaded.
The 19-year-old Trout probably won't crack the big league roster unless he gets a cup of coffee in September. So the real rookie hazing won't get super ridiculous until next March.

Side note: Baseball Prospectus 2011 Almanac has Mickey Mantle listed as one of Trout's comparables. So, he's got that going for him.

The Sky Is Falling: Chase Utley

I think it has become fairly well documented across the Interwebs that I am a bit of a Chase Utley supporter, even though I think some of the language in the restraining order paints an unfair picture of me. So imagine the immediate dismay that washed over me when I heard the Phillies' second baseman was already experiencing tendinitis in his knee. Utley, the consummate professional, believes this is just a minor blip...
Utley said yesterday that surgery has not even been discussed as an option. In fact, Utley said, he has played through worse pain during his career. If the Phillies were in the middle of the regular season instead of at the beginning of the Grapefruit League slate, he said he would be in the lineup.

"I hope it's just a minor blip," Utley said. "I think we have the right people checking it out. I think the work ethic is going to be there in terms of trying to improve it. So in that aspect I think it's all good."
Utley was derailed from another potential 7 WAR season in 2010 when thumb surgery wiped out his July and half of August. With any luck, rest and rehab will take care of this bout with tendinitis and Utley will have a healthy 2011. I'm not sure I'm emotionally stable enough to survive an injury plagued season or, god forbid, the beginning of the steep second baseman decline. Luckily, Dave Cameron doesn't seem to think Utley will fall to the same fate as Roberto Alomar or Ryne Sandberg.

PECOTA projects a healthy Utley to be the best second baseman in baseball for 2011 and worth over a full win more than Robinson Cano (4.7-3.4). But 40 points of OBP and a run's worth of defense will do that. Even with a clean bill of health, my championing of an Utley MVP seems almost futile now.

As much as it pains me to say, it might be time to turn my lack-of-MVP-consideration fascination to Ryan Zimmerman.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Basking In Carl Everett's Insanity

With Jose Guillen potentially retiring and Carlos Zambrano allegedly cured, I'm legitimately worried about the state of crazy in baseball. Instead of fretting over the state of future lunatics in MLB though, I decided to reminisce about the greatest of them all.

*E! True Hollywood Story Voice*
Carl Everett lettered in football, baseball and track as a high schooler in Tampa. In 1990, the Yankees would make Everett the 10th pick overall in the amateur draft but he would later be claimed by the Marlins in the 1992 expansion draft. He would debut for the Marlins in 1993 but, little did people know, he was hiding a dark secret. Everett never learned how to ride a bike. Wait, that's not it. He's batshit crazy. That was the secret.

Everett had a decent 14-year career hitting 202 home runs and a .271/.341/.462 line. He played for eight major league teams in 14 seasons because he was better known for screaming profanities at the media and manhole covers than he was for his hitting. Let's go to the highlights...

Dinosaurs
"God created the sun, the stars, the heavens and the earth, and then made Adam and Eve," Everett said last Friday, before the Red Sox lost two of three in Atlanta. "The Bible never says anything about dinosaurs. You can't say there were dinosaurs when you never saw them. Someone actually saw Adam and Eve. No one ever saw a Tyrannosaurus rex."
This led to the nicknames "Jurassic Carl", "Truthasauras" and "C-Rex." He also doubted the legitimacy of both The Flintstones and The Jetsons. He was particularly disgruntled with the latter proclaiming,"I ain't never seen no toaster that could talk and vacuum."[citation needed]

What about dinosaur bones?
"Made by man," he says.
I'd pay one full year of tuition to sit in a lecture hall and take notes while Everett teaches this great dinosaur conspiracy. I'm dying to know who started it, why and how it was funded.

Man on the Moon
After first rejecting the notion, he concedes, "Yeah, that could have happened. It's possible. That is something you could prove. You can't prove dinosaurs ever existed. I feel it's far-fetched."
He also has some pretty strong opinions on the whole "Grassy Knoll" thing. Mainly that JFK never existed.

Derek Jeter
"Not a star."
Even in 2000 this wasn't true. But yes, I was hoping for something prescient about Jeter's defense so I could pretend like Everett was some kind of oracle and we would, in fact, find out dinosaurs were just a Christian ruse.

Homosexuals
"Gays being gay is wrong. Two women can't produce a baby, two men can't produce a baby, so it's not how it's supposed to be. ... I don't believe in gay marriages. I don't believe in being gay."
In turn, he doesn't believe in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont or Washington D.C. either.

Jose Canseco
Jose Canseco is a "bitter, ignorant individual."
Well, even a blind squirrel...

We're hoping Carl Everett's insanity will live on in the form of @madcarleverett while the real Everett plays independent league baseball and has lively debates with pine cones.

Carlos Zambrano Is Cured Of Crazy?

Say it ain't so, Big Z. The days of Carlos Zambrano blowing up at teammates, pucnhing inanimate objects and cursing at clouds may be behind us. At least, according to Zambrano anyway...
Zambrano said Tuesday he completed three months of anger management counseling last October, and that it's no longer an issue with him.

"It's all done," he said with a grin. "I'm cured."

*snip*

And did the counseling work?

"Yes, it did," he said. "That was an experience that I can talk (about) through the years. Maybe in the future I can be a pitching coach and speak to the young kids about what I went through, what happened in my career, things that I experienced."
While this is sad news for bloggers obsessed with lunatics *high fives Canseco poster*, it's easier said than done. After his suspension, anger management and bullpen demotion, Zambrano returned to the Cubs' rotation and pitched 70.1 innings of 1.41 ERA baseball. So sure, he's feeling pretty good about himself right now.

Give it time. As a professional skeptic, I'm not willing to believe he's cured until he pitches a two-inning, eight earned game or gets some bubble gum that doesn't chew right. I'll admit that his reaction to getting his six year opening day starter streak snapped is a positive sign for his mental health. But the crazy usually doesn't lie dormant for long, does it Milton Bradley?

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm working on a Bad News Bears style screenplay featuring Zambrano as a pitching coach. The working title is You Call That a Fastball, No Wonder Your Dad Left.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Soria Looks To Replace Mexicutioner Nickname

Royals closer extraordinaire Joakim Soria made a request (on Twitter, where else?) for a nickname change from the awesome "Mexicutioner" to something more positive. While I doubt people are confusing Soria with some drug kingpin's genocidal assassin, his reasoning for the nickname change is rather noble...
Statistics also show a sharp escalation in the murders. Mexican authorities estimate the death count last year topped 15,000.

“It is sad when you see your country like that,” Soria said, “and that nickname is a negative to the kids in Mexico. There’s too much violence. It’s really bad.

“I know I can’t really do anything about it, but the mind-set needs to change. People follow me in Mexico.”
Soria believes that when people in Mexico see the nickname on TV that "it's a bad thing." Okay, fine. I just don't think nicknames are that persuasive. When Mark McGwire was crushing homers, I didn't go out and add 50 pounds by eating McDonald's. Soria doesn't even really seem to want a nickname anyway...
Soria has no preference for a new nickname; he is only lukewarm, in fact, to the idea of one.

“I never compare myself to Mariano (Rivera) and Trevor Hoffman,” he said, “but they don’t have a nickname. The only name that matters for Mariano is Mariano. He doesn’t need a nickname.

“I don’t compare to him, but I want to follow him in the way he has a great career.”
Well, Mo does, in fact, have one of the greatest nicknames in the history of baseball. Unless we stopped referring to him as "The Hammer of God" and I never got the memo.

All right, let's see what we can do about a new nickname.

"The Meximelt"
"Chalupa Supreme"
"Volcano Burrito"
"Baja Gordita"
"Crunchwrap"
"Caramel Apple Empanada"
"Diet Pepsi"

*This post was sponsored by Taco Bell. I'm finding new ways to sell out everyday*

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hunter Pence Wins $6.9M In Arbitration

Hunter Pence just about doubled his 2010 salary after winning his arbitration case against the Astros. Pence is basically the NL version of Nick Markakis with more power and less OBP. But Markakis got the "face of the franchise" contract from the Orioles while the Astros seem content taking Pence to arbitration. Even if Pence's patience at the plate is a little disconcerting, he is the one constant that the Astros can count on during their current state of futility.

Pence, who will turn 28 this season, didn't seemed fazed by going to the hearing.

Rightfully so, I guess, since he won even though Paul Swydan from Fangraphs doubted his chances. Bill James has Pence pegged for 26 home runs and a .285/.339/.484 line which would put him around a 3.5 WAR player for 2011. That production is worth more than the $6.9 million Houston will be paying him.

The question is what will the Astros do with Pence. They can take him to arbitration again in 2012 and 2013 when they still won't be very competitive. Would signing him to a five year deal and hoping other pieces fall into place be the best bet? Or would it be better to keep going to arbitration and maybe trading him off at some point be the better route?

At this point, I'm guessing the Astros choose whichever option doesn't pan out in their best interest.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Brandon Wood Turns To Yankees For Help

Brandon Wood was finally given the keys to third base by the Angels in 2010 and he crashed that thing into an elementary school. I think a case could be made that Wood's 2010 season was a more tragic event than the Chilean miners getting trapped. They at least got ice cream. Wood posted a .146/.174/.208 line in 243 plate appearances and had more than a few at bats that brought tears to my eyes.

Wood was awful in every aspect of hitting. He walked at a 2.5% clip and struck out over 30% of the time. So Wood turned to Yankees hitting instructor Kevin Long for some help...
"He's an Arizona guy who gave me some encouragement last year, who I got to know through small talk, and I wanted to hear his philosophy on hitting," Wood said of Long. "Hitting is like golf. How many ways can you do it and be successful? There’s a lot of different ways; you have to find the one that works for you."

Wood, in camp for the Angels' first full-squad workout Saturday but slowed by a minor back injury, incorporated some of Long's suggestions into his winter batting-practice sessions and said he has a much better feel for his swing.
As an Angels fan, I don't care if Wood turned to the Yankees, Jobu, Yoda or the Batting Stance Guy for help as long as it produces even a modicum of success in 2011. I don't have high hopes though. It's sad to think that a 2011 breakout performance for a major leaguer would be hoping he improves to a .280 OBP.

Friday, February 18, 2011

MLB 2K11 Official Trailer

This post is rather self explanatory. MLB 2K11 released its official trailer and the game looks pretty damn good. Of course, the most frequently played video games by the Off Base crew include Sega Genesis hockey, RBI Baseball and Wii bowling. So the graphics alone kinda freak us out. See for yourself...



My favorite highlight is Chris Coghlan making an error in the outfield. Unfortunately for the Marlins, the guys at 2K Sports seem to be pretty prescient. I hope that's the case anyway because I'm pretty sure I saw Vernon Wells crush a homer for the Angels in that clip.

They'll also be running another $1,000,000 Perfect Game competition. If you're just now hearing about that from Off Base and win, you owe us 12.5% of your winnings. Check the fine print, my attorney got his degree from one of the finest online universities in Eastern Europe.

A-Rod To Buy Fancy-Pants Penthouse

It appears Alex Rodriquez is moving to the Upper West Side. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that A-Rod is set to buy a five bedroom condo in the Rushmore Building that overlooks the Hudson River for around $6 million. This kind of real estate investment will likely set A-Rod back a full month's worth of paychecks.

So what does $6 million buy somebody on Riverside Blvd. and W. 64th St.? After some exhaustive (seven and a half minutes) research, this is the best I could come up with. The floorplan is from the 37th floor instead of A-Rod's 35th floor condo but I can't imagine there is a difference.
That's just about 3,600 sq. ft. The black and white floorplan might not convey the fancy-pantsness of the condo so in anti-slideshow fashion, here's a virtual tour. Suck on that Bleacher Report.

Ah, the living room. This is where A-Rod and Cameron Diaz will entertain celebrities and diplomats with swanky cocktail parties. I fear my invitations will once again be lost in the mail. Even though I'd be the perfect guest to debate the awesomeness of being a centaur with Alex or how hot Cameron used to be in The Mask.

This would be where the magic happens. Let's move along quickly before someone imagines something nauseating.


A-Rod's new foyer. This will surely be fitted with some rather revealing and disturbing life size statues of Rodriguez.


This bathroom is from a different floorplan but probably won't be that much different than his. I couldn't find out whether or not it comes with an attendant to hand out cologne and breath mints.

The Rushmore also has a bunch of classy amenities that Alex won't be caught dead in. This concludes my Cribs tour of A-Rod's new digs. Sorry i couldn't get a peek into the fridge. But I'm guessing it contains a bunch of healthy stuff I've never heard of. Mine is filled with rum and pizza rolls.

Time To Discuss Gary Sheffield And The HOF

Gary Sheffield officially hung them up on Thursday after a 22 season career. My initial reaction, after a cursory glance at his stats, was that he is Hall of Fame worthy.
See? I guess now would be a good time to show my work even though I might not agree with my original thesis anymore. The stats are there. The 509 home runs are good for 24th all time. His .292/.393/.514 line is solid. While he never won an MVP, he did have three top five finishes and six top 10s. According to Baseball-Reference, similar batters to him include Mel Ott, Reggie Jackson and Mickey Mantle.

But then, against the advice of my therapist, I went digging through some Wins Above Replacement data. Sheffield finished with a 65.8 WAR which is right in that 60-70 HOF bubble. Larry Walker finished with a 72.2 WAR and received 20.3% of the 2011 Hall of Fame voting. So we might not want to start betting on which hat Sheff will be enshrined in just yet.

Sheffield won't even have the highest WAR of first time eligible outfielders in five years. Jim Edmonds also just retired after not being healthy enough to try one last run with the Cardinals. I already wrote about Edmonds' HOF candidacy and I was leaning toward imaginary voting yes. So I guess I'm leaning yes on Sheffield too. His case just isn't as slam dunk as I initially thought. I mean, look at the WAR Graph people.


Of course, if Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell aren't in by then, the whole system is broken anyway.

My first draft of this post was longer and nerdier. But I accidentally erased that one and lost interest in writing it again. Deal with it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Miggy Cabrera Has A Drinking Problem, Man

Miguel Cabrera drank his way into the news again after getting arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of driving under the influence. The news is especially disconcerting considering Cabrera admitted to having a drinking problem just last season and had been undergoing counseling. It didn't seem to take though as Cabrera was taken into custody in spectacular fashion...
According to police report, a deputy spotted a car Cabrera was driving, smoking on the side of Okeechobee Road in Ft. Pierce, about 100 miles southeast of spring training in Lakeland. Cabrera had an odor of alcohol coming from his breath and his eyes were bloodshot and watery and his speech heavily slurred, according to the report.

In an arrest affidavit, deputies said Cabrera repeated “Do you know who I am, you don’t know anything about my problems.” Cabrera then picked up a bottle of James Buchanan’s Scotch whiskey and started drinking, according to the report.
That was followed by some resisting arrest and several police kicks to the thigh. Jeez man, pulling the "do you know who I am?" line and swigging scotch out of a bottle seems like it's straight out of a Will Farrell movie. And what exactly are his problems (aside from booze)? Is it still too cold to go swimming in that pool of cash? That's why you should always build your cash pool indoors.

Athletes getting DUIs is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I understand the desire to go out and have some (blindingly too many) drinks. But damn, these guys are making a good living and can afford to call an effing cab. I'm even willing to go get hammered with you and be your personal cab caller. You just have to pay for my drinks (I assume it's bottle service anyway) and let me live in your guest house.

I'm not making light of Cabrera's drinking problem because it does sound serious. At just 27-years-old, Cabrera already has 247 home runs, a .313/.388/.552 line and 37.3 WAR. He's on the path to derail a Hall of Fame career. Admittedly, I'm a big fan of the hooch. But it only hurts my performance if I write a dick joke that doesn't make any sense the next morning. I hope Cabrera gets the help he needs for his own sake, the Tigers sake and potentially the sake of my fantasy baseball team.

His mug shot is a better picture than every one I've ever had on a drivers license.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Rays Fan Fest Preview

The Tampa Bay Rays' Fan Fest is this Saturday and is free to the public. With a $40 donation, you get the opportunity to collect autographs from the players in attendance. Everything else is pretty much a la carte. In true Off Base fashion, I'll preview the scheduled events for the Fan Fest while adding my suggestions for improvement.

RAYS CHARITY YARD SALE

What it is - Fans will have the opportunity to purchase unique game-used and autographed memorabilia dating back to the inaugural season.

What it should be - An actual yard sale of junk Rays personnel are trying to unload. Evan Longoria's futon that he wasn't able to get the foot stench out of. Jeremy Hellickson's socks that produced the aforementioned foot stench. B.J Upton's collection of Justin Upton rookie cards that he drew funny facial hair on. Joe Maddon's 1950s style eye-glasses that are no longer up to date with his prescription.

MADDON’S FEAST

What it is - Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon will serve up his traditional “Thanksmas” meal. A limited number of fans will have the opportunity to chat with Maddon over a plate of his homemade spaghetti, meatballs, sausage and pierogies. $30 in advance, $40 at the door.

What it should be - If spaghetti, meatballs and sausage are Maddon's thing, I want him slaving over them like he's in a Top Chef elimination challenge. I want to watch him run around Whole Foods trying to buy everything he needs on the Jumbo Tron and then watch him panic cook in the on-field kitchen trying to make enough for everybody. I'd also like Tom Colicchio to critique his salt usage.

FIELD TURF FOR SALE

What it is - For $25 fans can purchase one-by-one foot squares of Tropicana Field’s playing surface that was removed earlier this month. Also on sale at the same price are one-by-one foot squares of the carpet from the Rays clubhouse still soaked with champagne from the Rays 2010 postseason clinching celebration.

What it should be - Boy, that mildew infested carpet sure is tempting. But they'd probably raise more money by selling $25 bags of pot. The Joe Maddon glaucoma special, if you will.

CHAT WITH KEN ROSENTHAL FROM FOX SPORTS

What it is - Ken Rosenthal will take any and all baseball questions from fans from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.

What it should be - Midget juggling. The first person to successfully juggle Rosenthal, Tony Cox and Verne Troyer wins season tickets.

READING WITH THE RAYS

What it is - The event will also include a designated area for “Reading with the Rays,” the club’s summer reading program that will feature Rays players reading selected stories to children throughout the day.

What it should be - Christopher Walken reading Goodnight Moon, Three Little Pigs and, of course, Lady Gaga's Poker Face.

Would you be more or less inclined to attend the event if my suggestions are approved?

[h/t to Marc Tompkin who has all the deets concerning the Rays]

V-Mart Rides In Style


Victor Martinez was the lucky recipient of a large 4-year, $50 million contract from the Tigers this offseason and it looks like he treated himself to a nice automobile. But Martinez didn't exactly give back to the Detroit economy by buying a Ford Mustang. Instead, he reached out to Zee Germans and laid out somewhere in the neighborhood of a quarter mil for a Rolls-Royce Ghost.

All of a sudden my 1999 Honda CRV doesn't seem that impressive. It is blue. Does that do anything for you, ladies? The 32-year-old "catcher" was coming off of a 20 home run, .302/.351/.493 season with the Red Sox before signing with Detroit where he will "catch" and DH.

You might be wondering why I wrote this post. I'll let you inside of my award winning (by my mom) journalism thought process. Sometimes I'll write an entire post based around one sentence or quote. In this case, Tom Gage of the Detroit Press did all of the heavy lifting for me...
Just for fun, let's ask the next Tiger who walks past it his opinion of it.

"Awesome," said pitcher Robbie Weinhardt, "My signing bonus ($15,000) probably pays for nothing on that car. Maybe the air freshener."
And this, dear readers, is why I'm making nickels hand over fist.

Get Metsmerized

The Big Lead posted this earlier today, but it needs to be a part of the Offbase family of videos that make you want to strangle an old lady.

Pay particular attention to: Darryl Strawberry in the No. 2 hole, and of course Rafael Santana at the 2:08 mark.





Santana's performance rivals the work of Luis Zendejas in the Philadelphia Eagles' rap video "Buddy's Watching You". Zendejas comes in at the 1:02 mark.

That brings us to the first-ever Offbase poll. Vote on the right side of the site: who put on a worse rapping performance, Santana or Zendejas?

Editors Meeting

Derwood lives near the other four places you don't want to visit in Georgia and MTD "lives" in "New Orleans", so occasionally they have to communicate through text message. Here's their recent conversation.


[Began February 14, 11:21 p.m.]

MTD - Jose Canseco's baseball reference page costs $135 to sponsor. But for $135, he'd probably come play wiffle ball with us.

Derwood - For $135? He'd leave us a few hangers out over the plate, then buy us Steak N Shake afterwards and pave the driveway.

MTD - I'm going to try to track down his representation. Where'd you say that mailbox he and Ozzie talk to is located?

Derwood - Take a right at Ozzie Canseco's pet raccoon.

MTD - Gotcha. Just before the well they think the Goonies live in?

Derwood - Just before the well they think Oddibe McDowell lives in.

MTD - McDowell? OK. Well, I hear Ozzie is really cleaning up on his mesh shirt line after Jose wore it on his last book tour.

Derwood - I don't want to see Ozzie Guillen in mesh anything.

MTD - I thought we were making fun of Ozzie Canseco. It works either way.

Derwood - For some reason I had a terrible vision of Ozzie Guillen in a mesh shirt. But if I was forced to choose to see someone in mesh, Ozzie Canseco or Ozzie Guillen, I'm going Canseco.

MTD - We need to change the subject. We shouldn't have to see any of those people in anything, let alone mesh.

Derwood - Change the subject? OK. So, Cano is better than Utley, right?

MTD - Let's go back to Ozzies wearing mesh...

Derwood - This needs to be the last time we talk about men in mesh...I know it's technically still Valentine's Day, so you and Utley's relationship is a sore subject, especially since he doesn't know about it.

MTD - My relationship with him is only between us, several attorneys and a Pennsylvania judge.

Derwood - First, put the ocean sounds cd on and put a cool rag on your forehead. And if you're going to lob pebbles at Utley's bedroom window, just make sure you have both pant legs on this time.

MTD - That was indeed a poor decision on my part. Next time, I plan on just bringing a boom box and a sweet mix tape.

Derwood - Anything with Bryan Adams should get that restraining order reduced to 150 feet.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Putting a Stamp On Camp

A few times a week Offbase will recap the day in Spring Training. We'll call it Putting a Stamp on Camp until we think of a better name.

Let's start with a flashback from our buddy Jose Canseco, unofficially the Offbase mascot. We can't get enough of this guy.




The Yankees had some controversy on their first day of camp! Unbelievable, I know. Why must people keep bothering this quiet, little franchise? Can't everyone just let them go down to Tampa and train in peace? Anyway, C.C. Sabathia hinted Monday there was a chance he could opt out of the final four years of his contract and test free agency after the 2011 season, even though he had said previously he wasn't going to do that. If Sabathia opts out, it's the right thing to do because he could get a new and longer deal on the open market after the '11 season, and he'll still be younger than Cliff Lee, who was the prize of this past winter's free agency class. I also think the big lefty would end up staying with and extending his contract with the Yankees because he likes playing in NY. So, Anthony in Poughkeepsie and Vinny in Jersey should put the whale sounds CD on and have a canoli.

Meanwhile, in Jupiter, Albert Pujols set a new deadline-Wednesday-for the Cardinals to sign him to a new contract or he's playing the 2011 season and then testing free agency in the winter. Here's Cards manager Tony LaRussa talking about Pujols and distractions and engine coolant.


Elsewhere...

* John Lackey dropped more than 10 pounds in the off-season, but this is still his face:



First jab at a Redsox in 2011. Baseball is back! Tomorrow: what's so great about Jacoby Ellsbury anyway?

* Maury Brown explained on Twitter that Toronto was postponing arbitration talks with outfielder Jose Bautista "to allow further negotiation between the player and the club." Before the Jays go crazy, remember: Bautista's 2010 season was excellent (166 OPS+, 5.3 WAR, .617 SLUG, 54 HR), but it's the first even pretty good season of his seven-year career. Career highs prior to 2010:

OPS+ - 99
WAR - 2.0
SLUG - .420
HR - 16

There were thousands of Bautista-Brady Anderson comparisons last year, but Anderson had two more really good seasons after he hit 50 home runs in 1996 (which bested his career high in long balls by 29). I say we leave poor Brady Anderson out of this and start making some Dan Pasqua comparisons.

Weaver Isn't Bummed About Making $7.365M

The Angels poor off-season continued into Spring Training with the news that Kendry Morales still isn't running at 100% and is questionable to start the season. And too a lesser extent, it appears that Maicer Izturis and his .321 on base percentage from 2010 will be leading off. But there is some good news for my Angels fan brethren. Jered Weaver wasn't fazed by losing his arbitration case...
"It was interesting – kind of fun in a way," said Weaver who attended the four-hour hearing in Arizona Wednesday, listening as both sides made their cases. The arbitrator sided with the Angels and their $7.365 million offer. (Weaver had sought $8.8 million.)

"It wasn't like sitting in math class where I wasn't paying attention. It was interesting. It's one of those things I wish I didn't have to do. But the game has become very business-oriented and the biggest thing I learned is that business is business."

*snip*

"I would love to play with the Angels for a long time and I think they know that," Weaver said. "But that (contract talks) is not something I want hanging over head during the season."
Of course, what is Weaver supposed to say there? And I'm sure he wouldn't mind spending more of his career in Orange County but the problem isn't necessarily with Weaver. Arte Moreno and the Angels have declared war against Weaver's agent, the diabolical Scott Boras.

The Angels have one more bout of arbitration left next year if they can't get a long term deal completed with Weaver. And with all of his metrics headed in the right direction, Boras could demand a Felix Hernandez-esque extension or probably make more by taking him to free agency.

I remember when the only headaches I got from being an Angels fan were due to those damn thunder sticks.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tournament of Champions Series Preview 2

(4) Cleveland Indians vs. (5) Rockford Peaches

On paper, this should be an extremely competitive series. Each team has a monster power hitter, a flashy center fielder, a staff ace and a colorful manager. This series may come down to the Peaches Dottie Hinson who should go down as the greatest female player in baseball history.

For the Indians
Thanks to a recommitment to Jobu, Pedro Cerrano spotted enough curveballs to become a Three True Outcome player. He hit 40 bombs with a .264/.386/.554 line this season while playing some highly questionable defense in the outfield. Willie "Mays" Hayes was spectacular in center and swiped 68 bases despite only having a .341 OBP. Jake Taylor is still manning his spot behind the dish after having a successful and experimental surgery to replace all the ligaments in his knees with those of an ostrich.

Rick Vaughn made the transition from the bullpen back to being a starter with no problem after several sessions with Dr. Drew for some off the field transgressions. Eddie Harris rejuvenated his career after having adamantium attached to the bones in his hand. Closing in on 60-years-old, Harris scoffs at Jamie Moyer's career.

For the Peaches
Second basewoman Marla Hooch hit 33 home runs with a .292/.380/.535 line. She also had a banner year away from the ball park too when she and her partner adopted their first Asian baby. In center, "All the Way" Mae Mordabito set single season records in both putouts and puts outs.

Kit Keller rejoined the Peaches after patching things up with her sister Dottie Hinson. After resolving her inferiority complex, Keller put up a year for the ages going 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts.

Hinson turned her passion back to baseball after she discovered her husband was actually a polygamist who had several other wives on their farm compound. Fully devoted to the game, Hinson put together a 10.2 WAR from behind the plate and established herself as an all time great.

Key to the Series
The teams are pretty evenly matched. Hinson is the best player in the series but the Indians have much more depth. This could very well come down to the managerial styles of Jimmy Dugan and Lou Brown. Dugan floats between uninterested and passionate depending on which way the booze flows while many experts say Brown is still a great tactician but manages like a ghost of his former self.

Canseco writes new book, but who is going to read it to him?

I stole that joke from Pops Derwood.

Yes, Offbase readers, Jose Canseco is at it again. After his first two books "Juiced" and "Vindicated" talked about steroids and singing armadillos (speculation, I haven't read either book), Canseco is set to release his third book, titled "The Truth Hurts". But that's no fun. So here's a list of titles he should've used*:


1. "Punching Danny Bonaduche Hurts"
2. "To Be An Oriole: How I Plan On Leading The American League in Home Runs In 2025"
3. "Me And Ozzie's Conversations With The Mailbox"
4. "The Day I Wore This Shirt"



5. "Bat Speed: My Day At Dave & Busters"
6. "F.P. Santangelo's Gonna Get Hurt"
7. "Of Softball Home Run Derbys & Men"


* Source: CSWPUJCGHHHN (the committee to send a wheelbarrow to pick up Jose Canseco and get him the help he needs)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The One Where I Hang Out At The Baseball Show


My friends Clint from Diamond Hoggers and Mike from The Golden Sombrero were kind enough to let me come hang out at The Baseball Show podcast this morning. I warned them that I could derail just about any topic they wanted to discuss and I'm pretty sure I backed that up. Here's the description from Diamond Hoggers...
Topics for discussion include but are not limited to the following:

*MTD’s baseball blog Off Base Percentage
*His following the Anaheim Angels
*Edinson Volquez electing a short term contract with the Cincinnati Reds
*The Albert Pujols contract extension
*Will Angels ‘prospect’ Brandon Wood ever pan out?
*We talk about Bo Jackson
*Rob Neyer’s move from the SweetSpot Network to SB Nation
*Who are the most frequently read baseball bloggers?
*The sponsoring of a Baseball-Reference Page
*We give some discussion time to Eric Chavez, Francisco Rodriguez, Nick Markakis, Johnny Cueto, and many more players
And they let me ramble on and on about plenty of other nonsense. The two hours flew by and I'm pretty sure those guys are never going to talk to me again. I'm just kidding, I hope. I think I'm addicted to podcasting now. You can jam my appearance into your ear hole right here...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cashman Doesn't Believe Sabathia Is 30 Pounds Less Fat

Rumors circulating about CC Sabathia's 30-pound loss might have been exaggerated according to Yankee GM Brian Cashman. It seems like Cashman has been in the headlines for much of the off-season, most notable by being critical and overruled on the Rafael Soriano signing. I'm starting to like Cashman more and more, here's his latest on CC...
"I don't believe it,'' Cashman said. "I saw him (last week) at the B.A.T. dinner and he didn't look like he lost 30 pounds to me. Maybe half that amount. We haven't weighed him so I don't now where that number comes from.''

*snip*

"He obviously has worked very hard to rehab his knee and he's lost some weight, but he's still around 300 pounds,'' Cashman said."Clearly, he's a tremendous athlete and he can handle it , but it has to be managed so it doesn't become a problem. I just think 30 pounds would have been a lot more noticeable.''
Personally, I think the whole "losing 30 pounds" story was just a misunderstanding. It's much more likely the real story was that Sabathia lost 30-pounds of buffalo wings. You know, like behind the couch or under a fat roll. That just seems more plausible.

But I commend Cashman for his honesty as well as his fascination with collecting players who were good in 2005. His recent actions are reminiscent of Lane Kiffin's when he was trying to get fired from Oakland. What's the baseball equivalent of calling for a 76-yard field goal attempt?

Tournament of Champions Series Preview 1

(3) The Sandlot vs. (6) Chico's Bail Bonds Bears

The buzz for this series centers around the classic Benny Rodriquez-Kelly Leak match up and which superstar, by series end, will make the claim as the Josh Gibson of their time. Rodriquez, who had a long career with the Los Angeles Dodgers and finished with a 1.000% stolen base percentage in 11 major league seasons, will be hard to pitch around with the emergence of Ham Porter as a bonafide power threat in the No. 5 hole. After that, the Sandlot lineup gets a little thin as No. 6 hitter Ya Ya Mclendon is still recovering from his brush with the beast and rookie No. 7 hitter Scotty Smalls has a .210/.308/.375 slash line since the start of 2011.

In the other dugout, the Bears' Leak has established himself as not only a power threat at the plate, but the center fielder has taken to handling all fly balls in the outfield. Its caused some tension in the clubhouse, most notably by right fielder Ahmad Abdul Rahim.

"I know he's a future hall-of-famer and he's our clean up hitter, but damn! Can a brother get a fly ball?!" said Rahim. "It's bad enough I was the only one who got hit in the crotch, now whitey's taking my putouts?!"

Despite the outfield situation, Rahim has been excellent in the lead off spot since learning how to drag bunt-.440 OBP since January 15-and the middle of the Bears' order (Leak and catcher Mike Engelberg) are the toughest 1-2 punch in the North Valley League.

Trying to shut down the Bears' lineup will be former minor leaguer Kenny Denunez. Despite his age-Denunez turns 42 on April 6-the right-hander is still imposing and has developed a new pitch similar to his "heater" called "the heater's sister, 'Heather'". If Denunez can keep the pesky top of the Bears' order-namely lead off hitter Tanner Boyle (.390 OBP) and No. 2 hitter Toby Whitewood-off the bases, Leak and Co. may not have many chances to drive in runs.

The Sandlot lineup, which showed its potential in last week's lopsided win over neighborhood rival Tigers, will have to deal with righty Amanda Whurlitzer. The 5-2 former map salesman is in the prime of her career and until the Vaseline ball is outlawed, should be a Buttermaker candidate each year.

While the Sandlot has already played a true road game in the win over the Tigers, the Bears have never ventured away from North Valley Field and will be tested right away with games one and two at the Sandlot.



* All statistics provided by Ogilvie

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rangers Avoid Further Arbitration With Hamilton

The Rangers played nice with Josh Hamilton today by signing him to a 2-year deal worth $24 million. Heading toward arbitration, Hamilton had filed for $12MM and the Rangers had offered $8.7MM which would have been a nice raise from the $3.25MM he made in 2010.

Instead of going to a tough arbitration hearing, the Rangers played it smart and gave Hamilton the 2-year, $24 million deal that buys out his final two years of arbitration but doesn't delay his free agency. Hamilton won the AL MVP with 32 home runs and a .359/.411/.633 line while missing the last month of the 2010 season. According to Fangraphs, that season was worth $32.2 million.

By avoiding the arbitration hearing, the Rangers don't have to bring up Hamilton's past injuries or demons and Hamilton doesn't have to compare himself to Mickey Mantle for his 2010 season. There really aren't many comps for him. So it seems like a win-win situation. The Rangers also trade off minimizing the risk of Hamilton getting hurt for the insane salary he could command in two seasons.

It looks like a nice peaceful settlement that I'm sure Hamilton will think pleasantly of when free agency rolls around. Whereas, I'm pretty sure after the Angels beat Jered Weaver in arbitration, they left a flaming bag of dog poo on Scott Boras' porch as an encore.

Offbase Tournament of Champions Set

The editors at Offbase have always wondered what would happen if some of the great movie and television baseball/softball teams faced off against one another. Could 56-year old Eddie Harris, about to reach his pitch limit of 175, strike out Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez in the bottom of the ninth? How would the greatest female baseball player of all time, Dottie Hinson, do against male competition? And could Kelly Leak hit one in to the cornfield?

Soon we'll know.

Introducing the first Off Base Percentage Tournament of Champions, featuring, by seed:

1 - The 1919 Whitesox (Field of Dreams)
2 - Springfield Nuclear Power Plant (The Simpsons)
3 - Sandlot Gang (The Sandlot)
4 - Cleveland Indians (Major League)
5 - Rockford Peaches (A League of Their Own)
6 - Chico's Bail Bonds Bears (Bad News Bears)
7 - Durham Bulls (Bull Durham)
8 - Chatham Athletics (Summer Catch)



Stay with Offbase over the next couple weeks for game previews, recaps and analysis from the greatest imaginary baseball tournament ever created.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The 35 Year Old And Over Team

If I've learned anything from blogging, it's that people love lists. So I'm going to run out some lineups that fall in line with the arbitrary parameters that I have set. Yesterday we looked at the 25-year-old and younger team. Today's lineup consists of players who are 35-years-old or older by April 1st, 2011. The 2011 forecasts are courtesy of Bill James. Now, allow me to present to you the 2011 New York Yankees.

Catcher - Jorge Posada 8/17/1971
2010: 18 HR, .248/.357/.454, .357 wOBA, 2.4 WAR
2011: 16 HR, .260/.363/.454, .375 wOBA

Posada only started 78 games behind the dish in 2010 and will see considerably less time there in 2011 with the signing of Russell Martin and prospect Jesus Montero's already ready bat for the bigs. But my other choices were Rod Barajas and Bengie Molina. And I'd rather play one of those catch screens over Molina both for defense and offense. And base running.

First Base - Paul Konerko 3/5/1976
2010: 39 HR, .312/.393/.548, .425 wOBA, 4.2 WAR
2011: 32 HR, .273/.361/.496, .372 wOBA

Konerko turns 35 just before this season starts and turned in the second best season (per WAR) of his career in 2010. Konerko parlayed that season into a fresh 3-year, $37.5 million contract with the White Sox. I don't have a joke about the White Sox captain so I suggest you follow @OneyGullien for a good laugh.

Had Konerko not barely qualified, Derek Lee would have made the list since we share a birthday. Also born on September 6th, porn star Raven Riley.

Second Base - Adam Kennedy 1/10/1976
2010: 3 HR, .249/.327/.327, .303 wOBA, 1.0 WAR
2011: 4 HR, .264/.334/.354, .307 wOBA

Bill James might be a little generous with his projection here considering Kennedy only signed a minor league contract with the Mariners this off-season. I'll give Kennedy the nod here unless Joe Morgan is looking to fill his newly acquired free time. Kennedy ended up as the everyday second bagger in Washington after the Nats traded Christian Guzman to Texas before the deadline. He would flail away to that .303 wOBA which only Brandon Wood was in awe of.

Others receiving votes include Omar Vizquel (from The Golden Sombrero) and Tony Lazzeri (from our own Derwood). Lazzeri hit .273/.361/.417 in 1935 and I'm starting to think Derwood didn't understand the question.

Short Stop - Derek Jeter 6/26/1974
2009: 18 HR, .334/.406/.465, .390 wOBA, 7.1 WAR
2010: 10 HR, .270/.340/.370, .320 wOBA, 2.5 WAR
2011: 13 HR, .295/.365/.410, .344 wOBA

Jeter followed the second best season of his career in 2009 with his worst season in 2010. That earned him a new 3-year deal worth $51 million. Jeter will make roughly around $33 million more than Evan Longoria will make over the 6-year deal he signed in 2008. That seems just.

If you think I come off as a little bitter towards Jeter for no apparent reason, I present Exhibit A, B and C. I hate that guy.

Third Base - Alex Rodriguez 7/27/1975
2010: 30 HR, .270/.341/.506, .363 wOBA, 3.9 WAR
2011: 35 HR, .284/.381/.530, .393 wOBA

I assume you've heard of A-Rod by now. He's a pretty good baseball player when he's not yelling at cameramen for filming him eating popcorn at the Super Bowl.

The over 35-year-old third base club is pretty impressive with Chipper Jones and Scott Rolen rounding out this particular Hall of Fame bunch.

Right Field - Ichiro 10/22/1973
2010: 6 HR, 42 SB, .315/.359/.394, .338 wOBA, 4.8 WAR
2011: 7 HR, 30 SB, .316/.361/.391, .339 wOBA

Ichiro isn't showing any signs of slowing down as a 37-year-old and, compared to the other outfielders on this list, can still field his position.

Center Field - Torii Hunter 7/18/1973
2010: 23 HR, .281/.354/.464, .350 wOBA, 3.5 WAR
2011: 23 HR, .272/.340/.457, .346 wOBA

Hunter started 97 games in center in 2010 before being jettisoned to right field for Peter Bourjos' plus glove. Hunter could still man center if push came to shove but the Angels crapped on common sense by trading for Vernon Wells who would probably get the first shot at center if Bourjos' bat doesn't play.

Left Field - Manny Ramirez 5/30/1972
2010: 9 HR, .298/.409/.460, .382 wOBA, 1.6 WAR
2011: 23 HR, .290/.401/.503, .393 wOBA

Manny only played 46 games in left for the Dodgers in 2010 and will spend most of his time as the designated hitter for the Rays in 2011. But I'd rather deal with his drunken-hobo wandering in the outfield to get his bat in the lineup compared to whatever it is that Bobby Abreu does nowadays.

DH - Jim Thome 8/27/1970
2010: 25 HR, .283/.412/.627, .437 wOBA, 3.6 WAR
2011: 17 HR, .245/.384/.498, .384 wOBA

Every time I look up Thome's career stats, I'm stunned. This guy seems to have hit the quietest 589 home runs, .278 AVG, .404 OBP, .559 SLG, .407 wOBA and 73.5 WAR in baseball history.

My boy Vladimir Guerrero is the other option here but despite his resurgent 2010, he's still crippled from the waist down from playing on the painted concrete in Montreal.

Staff Ace - Chris Carpenter 4/27/1975
2010: 3.22 ERA, 3.69 FIP, 3.84 xFIP, 3.7 WAR
2011: 3.06 ERA, 3.27 FIP

Carpenter missed most of 2002 and then almost all (if not all) of 2003, 2007 and 2008. But when he is pitching, he's been fantastic. Carpenter would have been my pick here even if Andy Pettitte didn't retire. But I was really tempted to put Pettitte here and Scott Brosius at third and Chuck Knoblauch at second.

Closer - Mariano Rivera 11/29/1969
2010: 1.80 ERA, 2.81 FIP, 3.65 xFIP, 1.7 WAR
2011: 1.89 ERA, 2.52 FIP

At this point, I'm convinced that Mo Rivera will outlive us all and still be closing for the Yankees in the 2132 Galactic World Series. Strangely enough, Barry Bonds and Ted Williams' frozen head are also on that Yankee team.

Pirates Can't Do Anything Right



It's only February 9, 2011, but the Pittsburgh Pirates seem to already be looking ahead to 2012. Ross Ohlendorf, who Baseball Reference compares favorably to Buster Narum and Marion Fricano, received a $1.56 million raise when he won his arbitration case earlier today. Now, pitcher wins are probably the last measuring stick of a pitcher's worth, but Ohlendorf still went 1-11 in 2010 when he made $439,000. He also had a 2.0 WAR and was limited to just 21 starts with back and shoulder injuries.

"Give that man a raise!"

- Arbitrator

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The 25 Year Old And Under Team

If I've learned anything from blogging, it's that people love lists. And get used to being poor. So I'm going to run out some lineups that fall in line with the arbitrary parameters that I have set. Today's lineup consists of players who are 25-years-old or younger by April 1st, 2011. The 2011 stats are Bill James' forecasts since Baseball Prospectus' pay wall is impossible to navigate around without any cash.

Catcher - Buster Posey 3/27/1987
2010: 18 HR, .305/.357/.505, .368 wOBA, 3.9 WAR
2011: 21 HR, .308/.370/.506, .380 wOBA

When the Giants finally shipped off Bengie Molina's 7 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale, Posey took over the catching duties in San Fran and never looked back. He was the NL ROY and finished 11th in MVP voting while becoming a blog favorite here.

Carlos Santana and Matt Wieters both turn 25 this year and have bright futures, even if Wieters is fantasy kryptonite for me. But Posey is already a star and would be the face of the franchise if it wasn't for that dirty hippy.

First Base - Ike Davis 3/22/1987
2010: 19 HR, .264/.351/.440, .345 wOBA, 3.4 WAR
2011: 23 HR, .283/.374/.488, .377 wOBA

First base was a little tough considering Brandon Belt will probably replace Davis on next year's team. Davis gets the nod here because I wanted to give Mets fans a reason to step back from that ledge for a minute before the season starts. They'll probably be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs in April.

Second Base - Gordon Beckham 9/16/1986
2009: 14 HR, .270/.347/.460, .351 wOBA, 2.2 WAR
2010: 9 HR, .252/.317/.378, .305 wOBA, 0.9 WAR
2011: 15 HR, .273/.343/.436, .338 wOBA

Which Beckham will show up in 2011? The only thing I can guarantee is that it won't be Tim. I still believe in Gordon but that was a disaster of a sophomore campaign. I also considered Sean Rodriguez but I'm still pretty bummed that he was the PTBNL in the Scott Kazmir deal.

Dustin Ackley and Jean Segura aren't that far away from bumping Beckham from his starting gig on this team though.

Short Stop - Starlin Castro 3/24/1990
2010: 3 HR, .300/.347/.408, .325 wOBA, 2.0 WAR
2011: 4 HR, .310/.359/.428, .343 wOBA

Considering Castro won't turn 21 until March, it looks like he has all of the goods to be a perennial All Star. That's the good news for Cubs fans. The bad news is they couldn't move Alfonso Soriano's chubby contract to the Angels. Yet.

Third Base - Evan Longoria 10/7/1985
2010: 22 HR, .294/.372/.507, .376 wOBA, 6.9 WAR
2011: 31 HR, .295/.379/.537, .397 wOBA

Not only is Longoria still just 25, he might already be the best player at his position in baseball. He's my way too early pick for AL MVP. Plus, he's signed to the most team friendly contract in the recent history of MLB. Add all of that together and you can see why stat super nerd Dave Cameron named Longoria the most (trade) valuable player in all the land.

Right Field - Jason Heyward 8/9/1989
2010: 18 HR, .277/.393/.456, .376 wOBA, 5.0 WAR
2011: 22 HR, .295/.411/.493, .395 wOBA

Heyward arrived with a massive cloud of hype surrounding him and didn't disappoint. Heyward finished in the top ten in OBP while playing the majority of the season as a 20-year-old rookie. The force is strong with this one. And to get on my good side, he even recorded a Platinum Sombrero on June 5th.

Remember Justin Upton? Yeah, me neither.

Center Field - Andrew McCutchen 10/10/1986
2010: 16 HR, 33 SB, .286/.365/.449, .363 wOBA, 3.3 WAR
2011: 16 HR, 33 SB, .287/.364/.445, .359 wOBA

Center field was a little tricky for me because I really like Colby Rasmus. But Tony LaRussa will find a way to play the corpse of Jim Edmonds or Jon Jay or a traffic cone in center instead of giving Rasmus the full time gig. McCutchen is also a lot of fun to watch which isn't something routinely said about the Pirates.

Left Field - Carlos Gonzalez 10/17/1985
2010: 34 HR, 26 SB, .336/.376/.598, .416 wOBA, 6.0 WAR
2011: 28 HR, 22 SB, .308/.357/.545, .390 wOBA

I slid CarGo into left because he did start 51 games there and posted his best UZR there compared to the other outfield spots. Sure his home-road splits hurt my feelings but he still had an amazing season in 2010 and crashed Albert Pujols' and Joey Votto's little Triple Crown race.

DH - Billy Butler 4/18/1986
2010: 15 HR, .318/.388/.469, .372 wOBA, 3.4 WAR
2011: 18 HR, .307/.377/.476, .373 wOBA

Butler is one of those players who seems like he should be much better than he is. He doesn't really have a position so his lack of power is disconcerting for a DH or even a first baseman. Unless you're the Angels. But he hits the gaps (6th in doubles in 2010) and has a solid OBP.

Staff Ace - Felix Hernandez 4/8/1986
2010: 2.27 ERA, 3.04 FIP, 3.26 xFIP, 6.2 WAR
2011: 3.31 ERA, 3.30 FIP

King Felix won his first Cy Young in his 6th year in the bigs as a 24-year-old. If he was on a different MLB team (not talking about you, Pittsburgh), we might be looking at the next/last pitcher who could get to 300 wins. At least voters are now looking past pitcher wins so Felix should be able to score a few more trophies. By trophies, I mean Cy Youngs just in case anybody confused the Mariners as a playoff team for the foreseeable future.

Closer - Neftali Feliz 5/2/1988
2010: 2.73 ERA, .2.96 FIP, 3.68 xFIP, 1.7 WAR
2011: 2.66 ERA, .2.97 FIP

I'm still in the "make Feliz a starter" camp but the Rangers don't reply to my emails and it seems like they're going to leave him in the closer role. He is fantastic there but they just lose too much value keeping him in the pen if he can start.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Greatest Yankees 3B Ever To Play In 1998 World Series To Coach USA Baseball



I like to take every opportunity to mention Scott Brosius, not because I'm Vinny in Jersey and I think he should've been the Yankees' third baseman instead of Alex Rodriguez, or that he helped evoke some kind of fat-drunkman-ghost's-magical-powers in the 2001 WS, but because I appreciate his effort during the 1998 WS and I think he's a good guy.

Well, the good guy just got a big break. The former WS MVP was named the new head coach of the USA Baseball 18-under National Team, which will compete in the COPABE Pan American Baseball Championships in September. Brosius, who is in his fourth season coaching his alma mater Linfield College (Oregon), and is 100-38 with two conference and regional titles, will coach a team picked from the Tournament of the Stars competition at the USA Baseball national training complex, June 22-26.

One of Brosius' assistant coaches will be Brian McRae, son of former Royals manager, Hal. That gives us a great opportunity to show this video from Hal's managerial days.



This post may have just been an excuse to show that video.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Jim Edmonds Delays His Hall Of Fame Argument

Thanks to Twitter and Fangraphs, one of the most popular things for baseball fans to is argue over a player's Hall of Fame candidacy years and years before said player appears on a ballot. After some careful research, I've concluded everyone is always wrong about everything. No matter how much time is spent on analysis, there is going to be some yahoo who still thinks pitcher wins and RBI determine the greatness of a player. We might as well just open the Hall of Debate.

For Jim Edmonds though, it looks like his five year countdown to gracing a ballot won't start for another year. Edmonds recently inked a minor league deal with the Cardinals that included an invitation to Spring Training...
Where Edmonds fits into the Cardinals' roster is unclear.

The team Will Carry several bench/outfielders into spring training, including Allen Craig and Jon Jay. Craig, a righthanded hitter, will also get playing time at third base. Jay, a lefthanded batter, can play all three outfield positions. Jay not only is the incumbent for the role that Edmonds could ostensibly take, Jay also has Edmonds' signature No. 15.
The 40-year-old missed all of the 2009 season and spent time with the Brewers and Reds in 2010. In 272 plate appearances, Edmonds hit 11 home runs and a .276/.342/.504 line. His 2.8 WAR was over a win more than Jay and Craig combined. I always liked Edmonds and was sad to see him leave Anaheim. But Adam Kennedy was a beast in that 2002 run to the championship.

It's never too early, right? If Edmonds were to retire today, would his resume pass the Hall of Fame eyeball test?

Jim Edmonds
393 HR, .284 AVG, .376 OBP, .537 SLG, .383 wOBA, 68.1 WAR

He has a case. But if Tim Raines can't get in, I wouldn't start writing a speech just yet. Baseball-Reference lists Ellis Burks, Duke Snider and Andruw Jones as Edmonds' closest comps. And of course, here is their cumulative WAR Grid by age.


Snider is in the Hall. Burks debuted and fell off of the ballot in 2010. Edmonds and Jones will have some pretty interesting cases. Jones was really, really good before mysteriously and completely falling apart. I did see him a little too often at the Pink Pony in Atlanta now that I think about it.

I'd have to think long and hard about giving Edmonds my imaginary vote but right now I'm leaning Hall of Famer. Plus, who knows what metrics we'll be using in five or six years or if we'll be enslaved by robots by then.

Time for Some Links

In between viewing tapes from the 1998 ALCS and the time in 1991 when he singled off one of the kids who had already grown facial hair (shaky camera work by Aunt Jo), Derwood will provide some links from around the baseball blogosphere. We call it Links From Around The Baseball Blogosphere.


The American Folklore Baseball League is a simulated league that includes the Bad News Bears and the Springfield Isotopes. How is Kelly Leak only hitting .279 for Chico's Bail Bonds? (AFBL)

Bruce Markusen at Hardball Times has a great piece on the new voice of black baseball, suggesting Mudcat Grant to take over for Buck O'Neil, who died in 2006. (Replacing Buck's Voice)

Funnybaseballcards.com presents the third round of its Nerdy Glasses and Mustaches collection. Three horrible Yankees included; just had another bad flashback. (Funny Baseball Cards)

The Caribbean World Series is underway. (Caribbean WS)

River Avenue Blues does fine work on the Yankees and here they take a peak at three starting pitching options for NY with Spring Training right around the corner. (Pitching proposals)

On the other coast, the guys at Duck Snorts do a great job blogging the Padres. Here they look at the 13 players who collected one hit in a San Diego uniform. This is the definitive John Roskos piece. (One-hit Wonders)

Andy Hangin' 'Em Up



After an off-season of speculation on whether he had pitched his last game in a big league uniform, Andy Pettitte will officially announce his retirement later today. Pettitte broke in in 1995 and was a big part of the Yankees dynasty in the late-1990s. I sat in the right field bleachers at old Fulton County Stadium and watched Pettitte shut out the Braves in game five of the 1996 World Series. One of my two greatest live moments as a Yankees fan. He went to Houston from 2004-2006, or what I like to call The Three Years I Spent Mumbling In The Attic, and finally returned to the Yankees before the 2007 season.

Since we're not discussing his time with the Astros-I'm down to just one patio chair and I need it for possum surveillance-his best season as a Yankee was 2007 when the lefty had a 7.6 WAR, 2.88 ERA and helped lead NY to the playoffs. One of his best years was in 2010 (1.27 WHIP, 3.28 ERA), which turned out to be his last.

I know the Pettitte-for-HOF discussions have already started, and despite my love for No. 46, I think he may fall a little short. A 50.2 career WAR is really good, but I don't think it's hall worthy. Still, as a Yankees fan I remember a lot of HOF Pettitte moments in the post-season. To name a few: 1998 division series; '98 World Series clincher in San Diego; '03 division series with NY down 1-0. He was fantastic in the 2003 World Series, which was canceled right before it ended; no winner declared. Pettitte won all three clinching games in the 2009 World Series run, and he was excellent in the final two post-season starts of his career (four ER in 14 innings against the Twins and Rangers last fall).

And I'm not sure if you heard, but the Yankees rotation has a bunch of question marks heading into the 2011 season. Mainly

1. Sergio Mitre?

Pettitte going one more season would've calmed Anthony in Poughkeepsie's nerves a little bit, yet for Pettitte's sake it's probably a good time to call it a career. 38-years old, 16 seasons, over 3,000 innings, and that left elbow seemed ready to explode. The wear and tear takes its toll on a player. I should know: I played one season on the JV team at age 15 and retired before the next season's try outs when Coach Smith pretended to speak Spanish and sprayed me with a house.

Pettitte will go down as the second-greatest left-hander in Yankees history, behind Whitey Ford and just ahead of Ron Guidry. Not bad for a 22nd-round draft pick.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

More Mustache Silhouette T-Shirts Please

This could be the greatest line of MLB T-shirts I've ever seen. I'm more of a beard guy than a mustache guy but I can't deny the awesomeness of these shirts. The shirts feature the silhouettes of famous mustachioed players from the 1970s, 80s and 90s. You can find the 13 shirt collection under Nike's Cooperstown Heritage line for $20 a pop. If there was a Vlad Guerrero Angels version, I would have already been out $20.

Instead, this is the order that I plan on purchasing my private collection.

1. Michael Jack Schmidt



















I lived in Marlton, New Jersey for six years growing up. Philadelphia was basically the next town over. We took a field trip to the Vet when I was a youngster and I'm pretty sure running on that turf ruined my little league career. My knees were never the same.

2. Roland Glen Fingers



















This probably would have been cooler as an Oakland shirt but the old school Brewers logo and colors were pretty sweet. Plus that is the only facial hair I've never sported out of this collection. I'm not proud of any part of that last sentence.

3. Oswaldo José Guillén Barrios



















Provided that is Ozzie Gullien. I can't be completely sure since Nike didn't label any of these and it gets a little tricky in some places. Maybe my boy Mike at The Golden Sombrero can give me an educated guess.

3A. Johan Alexander Santana Araque



















Um, that's is Johan, right? Dave Brown was guessing Kirby Puckett but that has to be Johan. Definitely Johan. Probably. It's Johan. Maybe. (UPDATE: Nike says it's Kirby)

3B. Jeffrey Robert Bagwell and Kenneth Gene Caminiti combo



















Hey Jeff and Ken, if this is modeled after you, please raise your hand. Bagwell it is. Too soon? Lighten up, people. (UPDATE: It's Jeff)

Derwood's Birthday Present, Don Mattingly



















If that's not Mattingly, I'm going to get an earful tomorrow. If it is Mattingly, I'm not sure I can afford the $20 for the shirt anyway. It turns out the financial foundation of this site is tied up in some ponzi scheme litigation. (UPDATE: It's Don)

[hat tips to Big League Stew and Chitwood & Hobbs]