Saturday, December 29, 2012

More Downside to Rangers Fandom

As if the Rangers offseason hasn't been painful enough. This video comes across my Twitter Feed. Of course, it is a video from 2006, but any chance to twist the proverbial knife a little deeper, is reason enough for me to show it off.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Adam Greenberg Gets One More Actual Chance

He can't believe it either
Once upon a time. I was a baseball player. I had baseball playing friends, baseball playing good times and baseball playing habits. I had a dream, just like every other 10 year old out there, to play in the big leagues one day. I was going to be a star. Then this crazy thing called reality happened. Luckily for me, it wasn't a heat seeking baseball hell bent on crushing the back of my skull that forced me to rethink my life's path. In Adam Greenberg's case, that was exactly the case. Unfortunate as it was, that's life.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holy Baseball Trades Batman

"I got traded to a winner. REJOICE!"

Earlier this week, the Royals and Rays pulled off an "out of nowhere trade" swapping James  Shields and Wil  Myers (among others). Not to be outdone, another mediocre at best AL Central team went and made their own blockbuster trade. And oh, did they ever trade. Word leaked onto twitter via the usual sources (Rosenthal, Heyman, Olney) that the Indians, Reds and Diamondbacks had completed a nine player trade sending personal secretaries into a maddening frenzy. Moving parts, moving trucks, moving animals. At least it's fun for us. Suckers.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Resolving The Royals Rays Trade

Now that the dust has settled and knee-jerk Twitter comments basically reducing Dayton Moore to a sad clown of a GM have subsided (somewhat), the blockbuster deal doesn't look so terribly lopsided in the Rays favor. It's not like Moore completely scorched the Royals farm and salted the earth. Besides, if the Royals win the World Series after making this trade, giant fireballs will destroy the planet leaving all of these article pointless anyway.

About That Deal: Royals GM Dayton Moore finally got the ace of his Hot Stove pitching triumvirate adding James Shields to Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie. And, oh, how will they rule the AL Central with the same power of Gaius Julius Caesar, Marcus Licinius Crassus, and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. Along with two reasonably controlled seasons of Shields, the Royals are receiving starter/reliever/starter/? Wade Davis and a PTBNL or some sweet Tampa cash.

The Rays get a package of prospects led by minor league player of the year Wil Myers. Myers is a 22-year-old outfielder who hit 37 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A in 2012 and strikes out a bit/a lot. RHP Jake Odorizzi, LHP Mike Montgomery and 3B Patrick Leonard also leave the Royals farm for Tampa Bay's.

Win Now Without Money: The Royals at least have an allowance but not enough to shop at major department stores. While they can afford starting pitchers like Santana, Guthrie, Bruce Chen and sometimes Gil Meche, the Royals just don't ever have elite guys like Zack Greinke. From 2007-2012, Shields is 13th in MLB with a 23.4 fWAR. And a respectable 3.80 ERA. The Royals will pay him around $22 million for two years before Shields hits free agency. He gives them a front line pitcher to go with a young and currently inexpensive core of position players. The Royals will give Davis another rotation look after he excelled in the pen.

The Rays, taking a page from my book, have no money. But they're crafty. Thanks to good drafts and smart trades, the Rays can replace (to an extent) Shields in the rotation with Chris Archer, Alex Cobb or even Odorizzi. While Davis was great in his bullpen role, the Rays have a history of procuring prolific pen pieces. Adding Myers, at first glace, looks like another steal. Myers will likely start the year in right field for the Rays and make preseason Rookie of the Year lists. In classic Rays style, Myers will be dirt cheap for a few years and under control for six. Same with Odorizzi and Montgomery who isn't quite the prospect he used to be.

Then There's The Uncertainty: Dave Cameron nails it. But in summary, yeah, there's uncertainty. As Royals-side trade supporters point out, prospects can fail. This is news to me and I will ask Brandon Wood if it's true the next time he bags my groceries at what I assume is his winter job. Wil Myers could be a bust. His name is spelled incorrectly after all. Or he could be an All Star, next season.

The same Royals defenders (okay, it's mainly Jeff Passan) claim Kansas City is getting a "known quantity" in Shields. Roy Halladay, Dan Haren, Tim Lincecum, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester are all ahead of Shields on that fWAR from 2007-2012 leader board. Uncertainty is a dish best served cold. Wait, that's not it. Cameron's point, that I borrowed, is uncertainty doesn't only exist at the prospect level.

Concerns: Shields has a career 3.33 home ERA and 4.54 road ERA. Jeff Francoeur will continue to get playing time in the Royals outfield.

Myers' strikeout percentage jumped to 20.9% as he did to Double-A in 2011. It jumped again to 27.6% in Double-A in 2012 before "coming down" to 22.3% in Triple-A.

Conclusion: N/A

Sunday, December 9, 2012

RA Dickey is an Oxymoron

We expect baseball players to do things like, have a training day with the New York City Fire Department or, Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness for human trafficking in India. What we don't expect from baseball players is to find out that they are avid readers of C.S. Lewis or that they own a copy of Life of Pi. These findings destroy stereotypes. Ball players are jocks. Period. They gather around in a circle, jump up and down, put there hands in the middle and yell "WIN!" They don't get together in a corner and engulf themselves in books with titles like The Weight of Glory. It's not natural. 

But then R.A. Dickey had to go on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hall of Fame Case: Royce Clayton

Who's getting into the Hall of Fame this year? With how stacked the ballot is, it should've been a slam dunk. But syringes, cocktails and creams have changed that. Some players like Barry  Bonds and Roger  Clemens will still most likely be enshrined one day. Others like Mike  Piazza, who might've had to wait a couple years, will probably be first ballot entries. And Jack  Morris is happier than a pig in shit because his borderline case looks really good with 'roiders on the ballot.

These players don't need my help. Or yours. There are others.

Royce Spencer Clayton is one of those others.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A-Rod Has Another Bum Hip

Alex Rodriguez's hips are aching again which either means it's about to rain or we get six more weeks of winter. The 37-year-old shell of a superstar isn't gracefully sauntering into the sunset of his Hall of Fame career. It's more like an awkward and painful limp to the finish. A gimp gait to retirement, if you will. Now comes the news that A-Rod will have surgery on his good, left hip that will likely sideline him for half of the 2013 season. He already had the right hip repaired several years ago. I'm not board certified but it appears the weight of his wallet has destroyed the joints in both his right and left, lower middle. But let's go to the block quotes for a second opinion...

A-Rod will undergo surgery on his left hip to repair a labral tear, the same procedure he had on his right hip in March 2009, according to sources familiar with his case. The surgery will take place in January and will be performed by Dr. Bryan Kelly from the Hospital for Special Surgery rather than Dr. Marc Philippon, who performed the first procedure in Vail, Colo. in 2009.

A-Rod isn’t expected to play until June or July, costing him three to four months of the 2013 season. Rodriguez turns 38 in July.
Right. *taps clipboard* Basically what I said. If Rodriguez was a German shepherd, they'd probably just put him down at this point.

Rodriguez hit 18 home runs and .272/.353/.430 for a 2.0 bWAR, the worst of his career in a full(ish) season. Hey, Derek Jeter only had a 2.1 bWAR so..there's..$46,000,000 of the Yankees 2012 payroll. Rodriguez will make $29 million for his half of 2013 and $119 million if he makes it through 2017. Maybe A-Rod will remember to lift his blocks of gold with his knees next time.

This news leaves the Yankees with a hole at third base. Not that ole no hips was exactly zipping around the hot corner. Too bad Wilson Betemit signed that two-year deal with the Orioles last season, said nobody. The free agent third base market is weak which should spark the Chase Headley trade rumors in 3, 2, 1...

Also disappointing? The Post's "Hip, Hip, Oh No!" headline. I hold you to higher (lower?) pun standards than that.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Trout Jersey Sells Big on eBay, MTD is Beside Himself

Poor MJ. Mike Trout's offseason for him has been the equivalent to that one Christmas where his parents promised him a new ride and surprised him with a one month bus pass. Next stop, the bar.

First, Trout got snubbed in the Gold Glove Award voting (Adam Jones? Really?). Luckily, the BBWAA got something right and unanimously voted Trout as the Rookie of the Year. Then they undid all that good in the MVP vote. Furniture, mirrors, stoneware, nothing was safe. Many hours of therapy, along with the viewing of this video, had Mr. Lloyd almost back to normal. Almost.

Atlanta Braves Burn Money, Sign B.J. Upton

Give a General Manager a blank check, and he'll most likely waste it on a player with hype. The Atlanta Braves and B.J. Upton agreed to a five year $75.25 million contract (pending a physical), skewing the market and all but assuring that Michael Bourn will probably now get the $100 million contract that he is seeking. At the same exact moment, Tinker Bell died. Well played Mr. Wren, well played.
(AP) Paid, homey.

It's not Upton's fault. He wasn't going to go into the negotiation and say "I don't know Frank, $75.25 million? you realize that I hit .246 last year right?" B.J. is getting paid and most bloggers will be ecstatic because now we can break out the "overpriced fellatio" jokes that we have been dying to use. So maybe a small amount of thanks is in order on our part. That feeling quickly disappears when the idea of signing an outfielder at some point in the future crosses our minds and we think, "Damnit, Upton got $75.25 mil. What the hell is it going to take next year to sign Carlos Gomez?" 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Are The Royals in Win-Now Mode?

The Kansas City Royals have been an exercise in futility for the past two decades. In fact, the only thing separating them from being in the exact same category as the Pittsburgh Pirates is their 83 win season in 2003. And that season was in the middle of a stretch from 2002-2006 where the lost 100 or more games in four of those five seasons. The last four seasons however have seen the Monarchs Royals increase their win total from 65 in 2009 to 72 this past season. Progress people, progress.

Apparently, this means the time to strike is now. After they pulled off a "blockbuster" trade with the Los Angeles Angels picking up Ervin Santana as well as signing Jeremy Guthrie to a three year $25MM deal (That's one way to skew the market), rumors abound that the Royals are willing to part with uber-prospect Wil Myers in search of a frontline starting pitcher at the big league level. Baaaaaad call Mr. Moore, bad call. I guess Dayton thinks that 21 year olds who turn AAA into their own personal batting practice grow on trees.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Chone Figgins Wasn't THE Worst Player In MLB

Looking back at 2009, you have to wonder just what happened to Chone Figgins. In Figgins contract and career year, he hit .298/.395/.393 with 42 stolen bases, led the AL in walks and played world class defense at third base. Figgins posted a 7.5 rWAR (Baseball-Reference wins above replacement) that trailed only Joe Mauer (7.6), Chase Utley (8.0), Ben Zobrist (8.3) and Albert Pujols (9.4). But then the clock struck midnight on his Angels career and he signed a multi-year deal with the Mariners. Not only did Figgins turn into a pumpkin but the neighborhood kids came by and kicked in his face.

The Mariners signed Figgins for four-years, $36 million and moved him from third (where he had just finished in the ranks of Evan Longoria and Adrian Beltre in UZR) to second. Side note: In the 2001, Baseball Prospectus raised the question concerning Figgins, "How many guys move off of shortstop and do even worse at second base?" From there, the Mariners moved Figgins back to third base in 2011 to left field, center field, third base and the bench in 2012 to the unemployment line in 2013. The M's will pay Figgins his remaining $8 million to not play with them. Not even on MLB the Show for PS3.

Figgins was bad in 2011-2012. Really bad. Like .188/.241/.243 in 2011 and .181/.262/.271 in 2012 bad. Seatlle hasn't seen a career end that poorly since Kurt Cobain. But was Figgins the worst player in baseball over the 2011 and 2012 seasons? Not quite.

Rk Player WAR/pos From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS Tm
1 Chone Figgins -2.4 2011 2012 33-34 147 507 .185 .249 .253 .502 SEA
2 Wilson Valdez -2.5 2011 2012 33-34 176 508 .231 .270 .293 .564 PHI-CIN
3 Tsuyoshi Nishioka -2.5 2011 2012 26-27 71 254 .215 .267 .236 .503 MIN
4 Greg Dobbs -2.6 2011 2012 32-33 254 781 .279 .312 .388 .700 FLA-MIA
5 Joe Mather -2.6 2011 2012 28-29 139 326 .210 .260 .320 .580 ATL-CHC
6 Chris Coghlan -2.7 2011 2012 26-27 104 403 .207 .274 .320 .595 FLA-MIA
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/21/2012.

According to Baseball-Reference WAR, the worst position player the last two seasons was your 2009 NL Rookie of the Year, Chris Coghlan. You'll always have that fourth place finish in '09, Andrew McCutchen. Considering recent events, it's almost fitting for the Marlins have two players on this list.

I suppose a case could be made for any of those guys to be considered the worst because when you're talking about tenths of a win, it's just a tossup. Figgins definitely was hanging out on the wrong tier of the baseball hierarchy when it came to performance but he was in a different class when it came to cash. Figgins pocketed $19 million between 2011 and 2012. Coghlan, Joe Mather, Greg Dobbs, Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Wilson Valdez combined to make $11.46 million over those two years with Nishioka's $6 million preventing Figgins from lapping the group.

Final tally: Mariners paid Figgins $36 million over four years. Figgins produced negative $4.5 million (according to Fangraphs) over four years. Of course, that number is inflated by Figgins not playing for the Mariners in 2013.

Bryan LaHair DFA'd in Attempt to Resurrect Mr. Baseball

In the span of a week, the Cubs went from being smart to peculiar. Which isn't all that surprising. After all, this is the Cubs we are talking about. Last week the cubs swooped in with I'm tentatively calling the signing of the offseason when they inked Scott Baker to a one-year deal. Yesterday they DFA'd 2012 All Star, and killer of my fantasy team, Bryan LaHair. According to the Chicago Tribune, the move is a precursor to sending him to Japan. The green stuff is wasabi, you've been warned.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

AL Awards Roundup

You know that moment when you feel like you've been kicked in the stomach? Nothing actually touches you, but all the air just escapes your body. Yeah, the MVP voting in the AL felt just like that. At least most of the voting went as it should in the Junior Circuit, well almost most.

NL Awards Roundup

The BBWAA finished up it's major award announcements this week, culminating with the MVP awards being handed out on Thursday. I'll rant about the American League later, for now, the National League.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Colorado Rockies by way of the 1988 Oakland A's

It became official recently that Walt Weiss is going to be the new manager of the Colorado Rockies. The 1988 Rookie of the Year and former Rockie himself is bringing his one year of high school varsity managing experience to the big time. Good for Walter. Good for baseball. Good for Tony Larussa. Wait, what? According to reports in the New York Times, Larussa will be one of Walt's go to resources This upcoming season, because playing favorites is fun:

"I just listened to Mike Eruzione, from the 1980 Olympic hockey team, talk about respecting the team, respecting the game and trusting each other," La Russa said. "Well, that's exactly where it starts, and when you find a teammate who really buys into that, that's when you put him in that tied-for-first category."

Do you believe in teacher's pets? YES!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cubs do Something Smart, Sign Scott Baker

A couple of weeks ago, the Chicago Cubs seemingly had a new starting pitcher in Dan Haren while simultaneously dumping the fantastically wild Carlos Marmol at the same time. Angels fans were all kinds of sad face, while Cubbies fans rejoiced. Then something weird happened. The Cubs pulled out. The Cubs. Pulled. Out. Maybe it was something in Danny boys medical record that scared them. Maybe they enjoy the "excitement" whenever Marmol is on the mound. For whatever reason, the trade died, leaving this blogger to believe that Theo Epstein was quite possibly losing his mind.

*Fast forward to yesterday*

Marlins Trade Jose Reyes, et al To Toronto

One way or another, the Marlins sure do like the attention of the Hot Stove league. Last year, on a new tax-funded-stadium high, the Marlins bid on every big ticket free agent like their revenue sharing cash was about to expire. The Marlins will try a different, more Marlin-y approach to the off season this time around.

After a less-than, shall we say, winning start to the new-look Fish, the Marlins traded Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez during the season. Monday, the Marlins inventoried the team and traded away everything else that wasn't nailed down except for poor Giancarlo Stanton. He just got to know Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle, the two big names signed last winter. Almost an ace Josh Johnson, John Buck and Emelio Bonafacio plus $4 million are off to Toronto.

Miami gets back 2012 Toronto top five prospects Jake Marisnick and Justin Nicolino, Single-A righty Anthony DeSclafani, noted homophobic-slur-eye-black-wearer Yunel Escobar, Henderson Alvarez and Jeff Mathis for some reason. The deal might work out okay for the Marlins in the long run IF the prospects advance. But try telling that to the fans who had playoff hopes a season ago and just witnessed the payroll drop from $101MM in 2012 to $20MM-ish in 2013. Or try telling that to your remaining Star/notable Major Leaguer/guy with a team hat, the hitter formally known as Mike Stanton.

Woof. That did not go well. The Marlins should tell him about all of the top draft picks they're going to get before they trade him. That should calm him down. It can't be easy to play for a franchise that spent aggressive to win and abruptly gave up after one season. It would be hard to blame Stanton if he went malcontent, Hanley Ramirez-style all over the Marlins asses.

I'm surprised the Marlins haven't tried to trade the new stadium to Oakland or Billy the Marlin to Captain D's.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Melky Cabrera Drawing Interest. Really.

Looks like Melky Cabrera still might get a fat paycheck even though he got popped for elevated testosterone levels suggesting PED use. It is being reported that at least five teams have expressed interest in the outfielder. Why? I'm not sure. He still has an incredible arm, but if these teams are going after the Melkman for his bat, chances are they are going to be sorely disappointed.

Melky's career slash line is .284/.338/.414, and that's with his .346/.390/.516 line from 2012. If you take out his inflated production from this past season (as it is almost certainly an outlier thanks to the drugs) his line comes down to .275/.327/.398. Zoinks. That's a .722 OPS. For comparison, Juan Uribe's career OPS is .715. And I highly doubt Uribe is high on any teams wishlist.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Dodgers Spend $25.7MM to Talk

It looks like money does grow on trees somewhere near Chavez Ravine. As if the Dodgers hadn't spent enough money over the last six months through trades, personnel additions and signing Cuban defectors to send Fort Knox into financial ruin, they felt it was necessary to pony up $25.7MM......just to talk. I guess the front office didn't get the memo that Verizon has plans starting at $30 a month.

Of course, it's not like they are blowing it on just anything. The amount is the posting fee for Korean pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, giving the team 30 days to negotiate a contract with the 25 year old pitcher. To be fair to Ryu, he has been an absolute monster in the KBO. In 2006 he won the ROY and the MVP (the only member of the KBO to do so), has one Wins Title, two ERA Titles and five Strikeout Titles. He also led South Korea to the Gold Medal in the 2008 olympics and then in 2009 led South Korea to the championship game in the WBC.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Twins Seek Free Agents, Free Agents Seek Anywhere Else

The Star Tribune posted a list, that was originally broadcasted by KFTP's Darren Wolfson, listing pitchers that are on the Minnesota Twins free agent wish list this winter. And I, your humble author, am going to safely assume that these pitchers put the Twins somewhere between the Royals and Astros on their list of hopeful destinations. Other than the five indoor water parks, the Mall of America and the "too happy for their own good" Canadian outcasts, I don't see many reasons why a player would sign with a team that can't get itself out of the AL Central's basement.

If you chose to not click the link, the list is as follows: Anibal Sanchez, Ryan Dempster, Brandon McCarthy, Brett Myers and Brandon Webb.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Jason Bay Paid to go Away

A painful tenure in New York ended for jason Bay on Wednesday as the New York Mets and Bay came to an agreement to expire his contract with one year and $16MM remaining on the deal. Bay, who has been a model of consistency in New York who has been a total and complete flop during this contract, is now an unrestricted free agent. Somewhere, Tony Reagins wishes he could sign him.

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Is Getting Sued

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr has been named in a lawsuit. Armed with just a street law degree, I found it interesting that Phillies fans could file a class action lawsuit against Amaro just because of the Ryan Howard extension and the Jonathan Papelbon contract. As it turns out, the lawsuit has little to do with Amaro's incompetence with a checkbook.

Former batting practice pitcher and potential blog favorite, Ali Modami, worked for the Phillies from 2007-2011 before Philadelphia let Modami go to shake things up in the hitting program. *more curveballs!* Modami is suing Amaro, and seeking $100,000, for the telling of lies which might have cost Modami a job with the Dodgers or Nationals. While I try to figure out if that's libel or slander, here are the details...
The suit states that Modami initially got positive responses from the Nationals and Dodgers when he contacted them for a job in late 2011.

But both teams eventually rejected Modami, the suit claims, because Amaro told both teams' general managers that he was no longer with the Phillies because he was stealing and selling memorabilia, the suit alleges.

"Moreover, Amaro claimed that plaintiff Modami was writing negative things about the team on the Internet," according to the suit.
I bought all of this Chase Utley game used memorabilia fair and square on ebay, you guys, from seller phllysbpptchr07.

I suppose Modami will get his day in court to dispute the claims of him thieving the clubhouse. I'm more curious to see what negative things Modami was writing about the Phillies online. My money is on Facebook updates like "struck out ryan Howard in bp. their stupid if rupen amaro thinks hes worth that cash" and "i have the phanatics costume in my trunk, hit me up if u want to by it."

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Interview With a GM, Kind Of

A couple of weeks ago, news hit the interwebs (as well as some papers, as if anyone actually reads those things anymore) about Bobby Valentine calling out David Ortiz for quitting on the team down the stretch because of pain in his heel. One of Bobby's supporters coming into September was Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington.

A couple of weeks ago (yes I am a procrastinator, why do you ask?) I asked our special guest if he would be willing to chat with me about the Red Sox 2012, Bobby vs. Oritz and clam chowder. Since I bring a pleasant mix of......something, he happily agreed and gave me insight that only a GM's brain could supply. GM Cherington, you are now on the clock.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Final Four For Rockies Manager Job

The Colorado Rockies have narrowed their search for a new manager down to four finalists. The position became available when Jim Tracy resigned on October 7, 2012. Tracy took over the job in 2009, leading the Rockies to the playoffs and winning NL Manager of the Year. Tracy, perhaps tactically impaired, followed up his Rockie debut with a wild card collapse in 2010 losing 13 of his final 14, a 73-89 2011 record, an oddly timed lifetime-ish contract extension and then a franchise worst 64-98 record in 2012. I'm sure Tracy was disappointed to hear about his resignation.

With the Tracy era in the rear view, the Rockies are set to choose their next skipper. Here's a brief look at the candidates.

Tom Runnells, Rockies bench coach

Experience: manager of the Montreal Expos for part of 1991 and 1992, various minor league managing

Why I'd hire him: For spring training 1992, Runnells showed up dressed in marine fatigues so he's clearly a bit of a crazy person. He has professional experience and eight major league career hits.

Why I'd pass on him: He has the lingering stench of Tracy on him. His wife is the lead news anchor for the CBS affiliate in Toldeo, Ohio. CBS airs Two and a Half Men.

Matt Williams, Diamondbacks third base coach

Experience: manager of the Salt River Rafters of the AFL, first and third base coach

Why I'd hire him: He is a five time All Star and World Series champion with a connection for large quantities of HGH. Williams is a hard worker and is actively paying his dues to be a major league manager. He's listed on a famous document with some of baseball's best players.

Why I'd pass on him: He is a partial owner of the division rival Diamondbacks. He's listed on a famous document with some of baseball's best players.

Jason Giambi, free agent

Experience: N/A

Why I'd hire him: He has 429 career home runs, 47.6 rWAR, five All Star appearances and an MVP. His brother is Jeremy Giambi. He's listed on a famous document with some of baseball's best players. He actually had 113 plate appearances for the Rockies in 2012 so he knows where everything is already.

Why I'd pass on him: After years of playing simulation games, I have way more experience managing than Giambi. He'd face awkward moments with current players/former teammates after having to tell Michael Cuddyer he isn't very good and Todd Helton he's old. He's listed on a famous document with some of baseball's best players.

Walt Weiss, retired short stop

Experience: one year managing Regis Jesuit High School varsity

Why I'd hire him: His name is Walter William Weiss and alliteration is fun. He is a World Series champion and won AL Rookie of the Year in 1988.

Why I'd pass on him: The 1988 rookie class was extremely weak and my Walt Weiss rookie card never appreciated in value. Also, maybe something about lack of pro experience.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rafael Soriano Doesn't Like Easy Money

Why you hatin'?
According to this John Heyman report (Does anyone else find it odd that Heyman always breaks news about Boras clients?), Rafael Soriano is expected to decline his $14 million player option for 2013. Which makes no sense to this humble blogger writing this from the basement of his parents house (at least that's what newspaper writers would like for you to believe).

Scott Boras is renowned for being able to squeeze every last cent from teams pursuing one of his clients. But, it's not as if Raf-Sor is getting any younger. at 33 years old, he probably expects Boras to spin a one year deal into a four year pact with some dopey GM who believes the save stat is as useful as the RBI stat. It's not like he has a Tony Reagins to pray on this offseason.

Monday, October 29, 2012

San Francisco Sweeps In Series Supremacy

That was quick. The Giants didn't even seem to break a sweat except for some brief extra inning action in game four and anytime Pablo Sandoval was forced to do light jogging. Speaking of Kung Fu Panda, Sandoval took home the MVP and new Corvette after his three homer game one and .500/.529/1.125 series slasher.

Of course the Giants won the World Series. They only faced elimination in three straight games against the Reds. They obviously knew 36-year-old Marco Scutoro just needed a change of scenery from COORS FIELD to become a great hitter. The Giants managed to lull the Tigers pitching into a false sense of security by including Gregor Blanco and Brandon Crawford in their line-ups. And that Barry Zito versus Justin Verlander duel did end up being pretty mismatched just not in the way everybody expected. So congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for proving baseball is a crazy game. An incredible, hard to predict, crazy game.

I mean, I predicted the Giants would win the World Series before the playoffs so don't pull a hamstring rushing to pat me on the back. But the Giants weren't even a popular pick when they got into the World Series according to the research I did by going to Just five of the 28 ESPN baseball type people had the Giants defeating the Tigers. If my math is correct, that makes me smrter than Keith Law.

The Tigers extra rest and ability to line up their dominant pitching rotation didn't prove to be an advantage. Prince Fielder hit a .071/.133/.071 line so poor Brandon Wood snickered at it. On the bright side, Drew Smyly and Gerald Laird let Angel Pagan steal second base in game two and now we all get free tacos at Taco Bell on 10/30 between 2 pm to 6 pm. Baseball, American as free tacos. Is what my grandpa always says.

It was an impressive run by the Giants but they were kind of jerks by ending the season so abruptly. We'll miss you, baseball.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Retail Chain Makes a Boo Boo, Astros Still Borderline Irrelevant

Academy Sports, who has a partnership with the Houston Astros, had a bit of a whoopsie moment when they accidentally put out 'Stros shirts bearing the new logo that the team will be using in 2013. The new gear wasn't supposed to be unveiled until November 2nd. Whoops.

New/Old Logo

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Obey Our New Panda Overlords

Baseball has apparently been taken over, "conquered" if you will, by a master race of giant space pandas. And I, for one, welcome our new panda overlords. Frankly, I've been asking for it with all the fat jokes/Thai Cashew Chicken Breast references. I don't know what Justin Verlander did though.

Pablo Sandoval hit home runs in each of his first three at bats against the Tigers in game one of the World Series. Sandoval connected with an 0-2 offering from Verlander in the first to give the Giants an early lead. Sandoval struck again in the third inning with his second home run off Verlander, this time a 2-0 count. If toppling the mighty Verlander wasn't enough, Sandoval hit a 1-1 pitch off Al Alburquerque for his home run hat trick in the fifth.

Sandoval joined Albert Pujols, Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth (twice, of course) as the members of the three home run in a single World Series game club. They should work on the renaming that club for the sake of fitting it on the back of a sweet jean jacket. Only four other players have homered three times in one non-WS playoff game including the night Adam Kennedy went berserker on the Twins.

The Tigers will send out Doug Fister next to slow down the Kung Fu Panda. I suggest dividing his attention with picnic baskets and forest fires.

[img and unrelated panda story at Yahoo!]

How To Be Comeback Player of the Year

AL Comeback Player of the year. Joe Nathan? Nope. Kendrys Morales? Negative. Fernando Rodney won the MLB's voting and Adam Dunn took home the Sporting News' hardware. Of which, neither player actually had to "comeback" from, well, anything.

Let's start with Fernando Rodney who also won the Fireman of the Year award. Rodney was as lights out as you could possibly be this year. posting a 0.77 ERA and converting 48 of 48 save opportunities. This season was a far cry from the previous two seasons he spent in Anaheim, the last of which he was relegated to mop up duty. However, that is where it should end. Reliever of the Year. All he had to come back from after the last two years was just being bad at baseball, but he did have an amazing year, so I'll buy it.

Adam Dunn on the other hand, has absolutely no business winning the Sporting News' Comeback Player of the Year award. Dunn was terrible in his first season with the White Sox last year posting a .159/.292/.277 slash line. Somewhere, Mario Mendoza is laughing at you Adam. Adam Dunn's 2012 line, .204/.333/.468 with 41 HR and 96 RBI's. Damn you RBI's. Shiny counting stats win again. Apparently the voters failed to notice that the Big Donkey led the league in strikeouts with 222 (which is also his career high). For contrast, Kendrys Morlaes' slash line was .273/.320/.467. Oh yeah, and Morales had to come back from a career threatening leg injury, not that that matters or anything. 

At least the National League voters got it right with Buster Posey taking home both the MLB and Sporting News awards. After getting nuked at the plate last year, some didn't think he could come back as a catcher. Not only did he come back as a catcher, but he is also right in the thick of the MVP race in the NL. Well done Buster, well done. It's just too bad the two different players won in the AL who did not embody the idea of overcoming adversity to actually come back. 

My prediction for next year; Justin Smoak in the AL, because Jacoby Ellsbury set the "Coming back while still arbitration eligible" precedent. Xavier Nady in the NL, because someone has to actually deserve it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Happy Birthday Mike Hllywa

Newest Off Base Percentage staff writer Mike Hllywa turns an appropriate looking age today and we'd like to take a moment to celebrate. Sure, that's why there's vodka in our orange juice this morning. I discovered the young Hllywa on Twitter and developed him into the fine writer before you today. Is how I'm going to tell it if he makes it big time before begging him for a job.

Hllywa is a devoted Angels fan and husband. For now. I've seen how much time he spends on Twitter. Sorry, Mrs. Hllywa. You can read Mike's Angels thoughts over at Halo Hangout and, of course, the quality nonsense here. Follow him on Twitter @mike_hllywa to help us convince Tom advanced metrics aren't hocus pocus or some other phrase from yesteryear.

I tried to get Mike's mancrushes Nick Morande and Kaleb Cowart to pillow fight for his birthday but only managed to score more restraining orders. So, your Fudgie the Whale is in the mail.

Mike shares his birthday with Robinson Cano, Ichiro and Jimmie Foxx. Also, the underrated Bob Odenkirk (Mr. Show, Saul Goodman), Jeff Goldblum and Christopher Lloyd. Points are deducted for Carlos Mencia. Overall, a pretty good birthday, um, day. I share my birthday with Vince DiMaggio and Swoosie Kurtz.

Anyway, happy birthday, bud.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Andrew McCutchen Likes Weird TV

It seems like, on top of being a really good baseball player, Andrew McCutchen is also a fan of both Carrie Underwood and redneck TV show Honey Boo Boo.

  MLB Star Andrew McCutchen -- I LOOOOOVE Honey Boo Boo!!!
  - Watch More
  Celebrity Videos

I guess when you put up a 7.0 bWAR season and are willing to sign a below market value contract to stay with the Pittsburgh Pirates, things like this can be forgiven. Carrie Underwood, OK, I'll buy it, but Honey Boo Boo? Da Fuck Cutch?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jack Morris, Pitch Counts and, Warm Fuzzies?

What. A. Mustache.
Jack Morris; World Series champion, Hall of Fame hopeful, fantastic mustache cultivator. Jack Morris is all of these things and many more. And now, thanks to the sound bites in the Detroit Free Press, we can add pitch count hater to that list as well.

Prior to throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before the start of game three, the media caught up with Morris and asked him the usual; "How does it feel being here in Detroit for the playoffs" kind of questions. Then, someone asked him about pitch counts:
"I believe that pitch count is overrated,"
Well, that was insightful.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Watching a Relievers Life Flash Before His Eyes

I guess the three run lead that Jose Valverde gave up against the A's in Game Four of the ALDS just wasn't good enough for him. Either that, or, Jim Leyland has given up on cigarettes giving him a heart attack. Of course, you would think that a four run lead is safe wouldn't you? Of course you would. Even with his struggles this year, Valverde is still a "proven closer," and, he is Leyland's guy. So the old man did what he did all year, he brought in Papa Grande to close out the ninth.

And for that, baseball fans who don't have emotional interest in this game thank you Mr. Leyland.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

First Round Over, Tums Sales Skyrocket

So, that was fun. four series, all went five games. We had one team comeback from a 2-0 deficit to win the series, on the road. One near comeback from 2-0 with them losing game five at home(First time in LDS history). Four games in one series got decided by two runs or less, with two extra inning games to boot. And one series feature a game five come from behind win which was capped off by a four run ninth, just because, why not. Here are some of the best tweets from tonight as the Cardinals took the lead from the Nationals:

There are other sports?

It's that point where every Nationals fan jumped.

Friday, October 12, 2012

2012 BBA Award Ballot

It's time once again for the BBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance) award balloting. The baseball award season is great because arguing about stuff is fun. The awards themselves aren't as important as we make them appear with the never ending coverage. Sure, a few MVPs will look good on your Hall of Fame resume or a CY Young will get you that bonus to restock the jet ski fleet at your other beach house.

But the voting matters more now than ever due to the Twitter era. The awards have become about the newfangled stat nerds (or sabermetric friendly crowd) and the old school baseball, "hey kids, RBI are cool" gang getting together for a 140 character or less battle to the death. Or something like that.

In order to show how serious I take the BBA ballot, I will not vote Mike Trout for every award even if he deserves it.

AL Stan Musial (top player)
1. Mike Trout
In the past 20 years, only Mike Trout (10.7 rWAR in 2012) and Barry Bonds (11.6 in 2001 and 2002) have had a 10.5 or higher Baseball-Reference Wins Above Replacement. Trout also broke records left and right for being too good too young.
2. Miguel Cabrera
The Triple Crown will probably win Miggy the MVP. You win this round, RBI.
3. Robinson Cano
4.Adrian Beltre
I wonder if people will notice him when he gets into the Hall of Fame.
5. Justin Verlander
6. Joe Mauer
Led baseball in OBP.
7. Edwin Encarnancion
8. David Price
9. Josh Hamilton
10. Austin Jackson

NL Stan Musial
1. Buster Posey
2. Ryan Braun
Had a better 7.9 fWAR in 2012 than his 7.6 fWAR in 2011.
3. Andrew McCuthcen
The Pirates blew his chance to win but McCutchen is a monster.
4. Chase Headley
He's a Padre.
5. Yadier Molina
I have no problem with Molina finishing higher. The youngest Molina is clearly the best Molina and Christmas is now a little awkward.
6. David Wright
The Mets are four games away from being mathematically eliminated in 2013.
7. R.A. Dickey
Too many Mets.
8. Aramis Ramirez
9. Clayton Kershaw
10. Matt Holliday

AL Walter Johnson (top pitcher)
1. Justin Verlander
2. David Price
3. Jered Weaver
4. Felix Hernandez
5. Chris Sale

Or Yu Darvish.

NL Walter Johnson
1. R.A. Dickey
The most fascinating pitcher in baseball. Brought sexy back to the knuckleball.
2. Clayton Kershaw
3. Gio Gonzalez
4. Cliff Lee

He's so good and went 6-9. Pitcher wins are silly.
5. Johnny Cueto

AL Willie Mays (top rookie)
1. Mike Trout
The BBA should change the name of this award. This should be..what's more than unanimous?
2. Yu Darvish
3. Yoenis Cespedes

NL Willie Mays
1. Bryce Harper
Harper and Trout have ruined us for all future rookies. Both were better than advertised.
2. Wade Miley
3. Norichika Aoki

AL Goose Gossage (top reliever)
1. Fernando Rodney
Dogs and cats living together...mass hysteria.
2. Greg Holland
3. Darren O'Day

NL Goose Gossage
1. Craig Kimbrel
2. Aroldis Chapman
3.Kenley Jansen

AL Connie Mack (top manager)
I still don't really understand how to measure this one. It's easier to pick out a manger who is bad at his job than find one who is especially good at his.
1. Buck Showalter
2. Bob Melvin
3. Joe Maddon

NL Connie Mack
1. Davey Johnson
Jim Riggleman was so close!
2. Dusty Baker
3. Some other NL manager
3. Don Mattingly?

More to come on the end of season hardware after I'm wrong about everything. Everything except Mike Trout.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

That's Right Baby

Angel Pagan is excited. And damnit, he should be. Bruce Bochy gave the ball to Barry Zito yesterday, and He did his best to throw the game away (Although Bruce can now claim that the Giants have won Zito's last 12 starts when he calls upon him for the next elimination game). In the fourth inning after Jose Mijares struck out Joey Votto, Bochy brought in The Freak. Lincecum came in and promptly struck out Ryan Ludwick to end the fourth, then would pitch four more innings, striking out six and allowing only one run. Looks like someone felt like they had a point to make.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Joakim Soria To Be Mexicuted By Royals

The Royals are on the verge of giving Joakim Soria a giant $750,000 consolation check for not picking up his $8 million club option. Soria, once a star closer, had a 1.78 ERA, 2.53 FIP, 9.73 K/9 and 43 saves in 2010 (aka the good times). The past two seasons haven't gone quite so well leading up to a potential split between the 28-year-old reliever and the 90 loss MLB team. The Royals have interest in bringing Soria back after he becomes a free agent but for pesos on the dollar instead of what Alex Rodriguez refers to as "loose change."

I've managed to narrow down the reasons why the Royals are declining Soria's option to three.

1. After seeing Soria's ERA balloon to 4.03 in 2012, Dayton Moore realized the volatile nature of relievers and decided $8 million is way too much to spend on one bullpen member. This gives Moore more credit than I feel comfortable putting on him.

2. Soria underwent his second Tommy John surgery since 2003 just over six months ago. That should put him on track for the start of 2013 and this isn't his first rodeo...
“I know what to expect because this is my second time,” he cautioned. “I know what’s coming for me. There will be some days when I don’t feel that good, and there will be days that are awesome.”

Soria paused and broke into a wide smile before adding: “Right now, at this point, I feel awesome.”
Awesome indeed. I'd have some cadaver ligaments sewn onto me for a free $750,000.

3. No more mojo. The most likely reason is Soria tried to fix something that wasn't broken. Before the 2011 season, Soria dumped the nickname "The Mexicutioner." While his reasoning for the nickname change was sound, the Taco Bell themed nicknames I suggested ("Cruchwrap" and "Diet Pepsi" were among my favorites) did not quite strike the same fear in his opponents. Which I can only assume led to the bloated 2011 ERA and FIP, overcompensation and eventual Tommy John surgery.

If Soria can be had for a nice discount, he could be a good low risk, high reward piece for the back of most bullpens. Of course I'd have the team doctor poke around on him before handing out a contract. He might be put together by rubber bands like a GI Joe action figure.

Giants turn to Barry Zito to Save Season

Down two games to one in the NLDS against the Reds, the Giants are turning to their most trusted pitcher, Barry Zito? OK, so maybe not their most trusted pitcher, but when you are 11-0 in any pitchers last 11 starts, superstition tends to get the best of you. What is surprising is that the Giants are leaving their formerly Ace baker, I mean pitcher, Tim Lincecum in the bullpen. Not that Timmy has been any good this year. Or has he?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bryce Harper Loves the Media

Here's a phrase that I'll bet you never thought you'd read: "If Bryce Harper makes it to the big leagues this year, he is going to fly under the radar." OK, maybe not completely under the radar, but with Mike Trout doing things that rookies were not allowed to do before this season, young Harper simply disappeared from the headlines for a few months. Now that the postseason is here, and the Nationals have defied conventional thinking by steamrolling there way in, Bryce is back to being the media darling he was expected to be.

After the Nationals got slammed last night by the Cardinals, the media caught up with Artist Formerly Known as the Chose One to ask him about the game and remaining three to be played at Nationals Park. Take it away young man.

First off, nice outfit. Digging the bow tie. And it was very modest of you to ask the reporters if you looked good before the round of questioning began. The basic questions are there and Bryce responds with Crash Davis like efficiency, but then, a curveball. To Bryce's credit, he knocked it out of the park with his "Maybe you should be the hitting coach line." It's hard to blame the reporter for asking the question. How do you not ask a 19 year old if he is over anxious when he is playing on the biggest stage during his rookie year? It has to be asked.

Of course, Harper has a history with clown questions, and although this one was not as memorable as the "Do you have a favorite beer even though you're not of legal drinking age" question, it does rank up there, if only for the response.

Bryce Harper - 2
Media - 0

By the way, sweet Faux Hawk dude.