Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Just a random Ian Desmond thought

Rany J of Rany on the Royals is breaking down the Greinke trade and he wrote this about recently traded Alcidbes Escobar:

"I think he’ll hit around .270 or so. If he hits .270/.320/.360, with good speed and above-average defense, he has a chance to be the best shortstop the Royals have had in a generation. That’s not damning with faint praise – that’s damning with no praise, given what a scar that position has been for pretty much the history of the franchise. But I think he can be the starting shortstop for a playoff-caliber team."

That description looked familiar . . . and lo and behold Ian Desmond's Age 24 season in 2010: 269/308/392 17 steals. -12 OBA +32 SLG. You can argue about the defense but we know he isn't a stiff out there.

I know I suffer from the I know better what I see syndrome and just assumed Desmond as a trade chip was as a throw in variety. Not so. Not so at all. Escobar was a key component of trade and his top side is close to what Desmond IS. Escobar is entering his age 24 season in 2011 BTW so its not like he has a big age advantage.

So I guess what I'm saying is: Don't short sell Desmond.

One unrelated Nats item: Picking up Matt Stairs and Rick Ankiel is to me a step in the right direction. Not in terms of THE PLAN but in terms of roster construction. Rizzo learned from last year that it is an absolute necessity in the National League to have bench players with power. They will get at-bats and in meaningful late-inning situations. Oh how many times did we see Willie Harris or Alberto Gonzalez trudge to the plate in key situations and the best they could do was prolong the game rather than strike a knockout blow. Not going to affect the win total too much I know but still a good sign.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Two steps forward, one step back

Why I didn't cast a Hall of Fame vote for Bert Blyleven, again - Jon Heyman - SI.com

This pile of crap floated by me today the same day as an interview with Ken Tremendous late of Firejoemorga.com did.

The interview was more of a victory lap for those fans of baseball who realize there may be new and different ways of examining and understanding the game. Which was the point of FJM.

All seemed well then this.

Some of Blyleven's supporters will say that wins don't define a pitcher and aren't always a fair measure of a pitcher's worth, as they are dependent in large part on a pitcher's run support or lack thereof. I did promote Felix Hernandez for the Cy Young, but I still see winning as the ultimate goal in each game, and Blyleven didn't win all that many more games than he lost.

I was certain that Greinke's 2009 win and King Felix's this year would have finally driven a stake through this canard. He even admits wins don't tell anything too useful then goes on to say the exact opposite. Wins don't matter unless a trained eye like mine discern their importance.

He goes on to compare Blyleven with Jack Morris who in his eyes IS a Hall of Famer. Those item which separate the two: Morris was the "dominant" pitcher for several years and he pitched 10 innings in a Game 7. OK. So Blyleven's claim over Morris is just that he struck out way more, pitched way more innings, has a far lower career ERA, had more shutouts and had as good a post season record as Morris did. So Blyleven is demonstrably better at such a mundane thing as getting batters out but his grittiness and dominance just weren't there.

I'm tempted to conclude that Heyman is simply trying to stir up an internet storm. He must know his absurd arguments are laughable on their face and just wants to tweak the "basement dwellars." Kudos to you Mr. Heyman -- you've succeeded. I just wish you could be more honest about it rather than drop this nonsensical drivel onto the internet.

Hey, I'm grew up in Michigan. I loved watching Morris pitch. I'll bet I've seen more Jack Morris starts than Heyman has and Morris isn't an HoFer. At least he isn't if the benchmark is Blyleven.

What excised me about the article was the rampant use of subjective criteria to support his case. MVP voting? All-star game appearances? Cy Young votes? These are criteria? I guess they are for writers who oh I don't know VOTE for such things. So you can be really really good at baseball things like getting batters out but if you aren't adjudged well enough by writers, it really doesn't matter.

He only received MVP votes twice, finishing 26th in 1973 and 13th in 1989.

You do realize these seasons are SIXTEEN YEARS APART!!!!!!! Give me the list of players who got MVP votes in any 16 year span you care to name.

You have to go down to 18 (from Blyleven's perch at #5) to find a pitcher on the career strikeout list who isn't in or going in to the Hall. Mickey Lolich is close to 900 K's behind. (An aside, why not Lolich? His game 7 performance in '68 is just as good if not better than Morris' and he bakes a hell of a donut)

Did you forget to mention Jon that Blyleven is 9th all-time in shutouts? Ninth.

I grant there are borderline cases who are very good but not Hallworthy. Don Mattingly is one of those . . . . whoops. Heyman says he gets in. Really? You do realize you can put Donnie Baseball's entire career into that span of MVP votes for Blyleven don't you and have years left over?

I'd really like to know what the hell Bert Blyleven did to the writers during or after his career to engender such resentment? There is literally no other explanation. It was said Jim Rice had to wait till the end because he had a bad relationship with the media. But he got in eventually even though his case is far weaker. Moral of the story: don't screw with the ink stained wretches.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Joe Blanton

Another Case Where ERA Deceives | FanGraphs Baseball

I am too late. Oh well. Dave Cameron throws the numbers out there that make sense.

Call the Phillies and tell them you'll take on ALL of Blanton's salary. Do it quickly.

Even before I read this, the first thought that crossed my mind when the Lee signing was announced was: the Phillies need to move some bad contracts.

This is EXACTLY the situation the Nationals should be exploiting. They have the financial wherewithal to take on salary at the major league level. If you take on all of his salary, the prospect cost would be minimal. Maybe the Phils don't want to trade him in the division. OK. But at least ask and don't even bother asking without offering to pay all of his salary upfront. No need or sense in being stingy.

Oh and if they fail on Blanton. Rumblings yesterday about the Yanks going after Carlos Zambrano. If the Yanks are going after him, it can only mean one thing: salary dump. And the Nats should be there when it comes to a salary dump situation.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Jayson Werth Signing Reactions

Jayson Werth Signing Reactions: MLB Rumors - MLBTradeRumors.com

Well its official. We have another Snyder on our hands.

Champs of the offseason.

Your Washington Nationals: The holy grail for every slightly above average aging ballplayer for the next decade.

I just have one question: Has ANY contract ever given to any player in any sport because you HAD to overpay ever worked out? At least worked out for the team not the player.

As for the "At least everyone knows we're serious players now" argument to defend this "deal" (or more accurately this surrender): yes, they know you are serious . . . seriously dumb. If they had given this contract to Albert Pujols, OK. Joey Votto I would get it. But the 13th largest contract ever, the 3rd largest deal to an OF in history?

To me, this puts all the Plan talk exactly where the more cynical critics had already placed it: in the garbage can.

Clearly, they have no confidence in their ability to build from within, no confidence in their ability to spot undervalued assets, no confidence in their ability to make marginal players better. Instead, they are going to flash the checkbook and hope no once notices.

Its hard to feel bad for someone who just got eight figures deposited in their bank account, but there is a twinge of sadness in me for Jayson. He seems like a decent guy not a prima donna type. Now, he'll forever be judged by the fact he totally failed to live up to this massive deal. That will be his legacy. In one fell swoop, he's gone from underappreciated to overhyped.

He'll be grinding out his typical season, the kind of seasons for which he's recieved lavish praise and all of a sudden, it won't be enough. He'll wonder why he's getting all this flak, he's just doing what he's always done. Then, he'll start pressing, trying to do too much and he'll go into a slump. Pressure mounts and the slump grows worse. Soon, he becomes the symbol for all that has gone wrong with another Nats season. If he's lucky, the team will at least have his back, if not they'll throw him under the bus as the reason they stink and the reason they can't spend to fix the problem.

So I guess I'm saying, Welcome to Hell Jayson. You're down here with us now but at least you can afford a bitchin a/c unit.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I want to believe

The Inexplicable Non-Tender | FanGraphs Baseball

I really do. It seems so logical, burdened with the worst GM in baseball (Omar) and then Captain Leatherpants, the Nats finally had a GM who knew baseball and knew what he was doing.

Today, I'm shaken a little and it isn't because of:

Adam Dunn --- I can understand why they wouldn't give him the fourth year. Look at Todd Helton's 30s or the current FA and possible replacement Lance Berkman. There's a pretty good chance years three or four of that deal could look real bad.

So, you've saved the cash. Now, let me see what you are going to do with it.

A one or two year deal for Carlos Pena or Adam LaRoche would tell me they expect Marrero or Norris to be the 1B of the future. Let's hope that pans out. It's a risk but a reasonable one.

Remember folks, without SS, 2011 was going to be another lean year in Natstown anyway. So the first year of a Dunn deal would have been a waste. And years three and four wold potentially be blocking younger players from developing at the MLB level.

So i can accept this decision.

I can't accept Joel Peralta.

This is stupid on a hundred levels. Dave Cameron gives you the numbers, both saber and dollars.

Look at what the going rate for relievers is. A cost controlled Peralta would at least have been a valuable trade chip, perhaps a throw in to a bigger deal to sweeten the pot or save a prize prospect.

Stick him the closer role out of ST and if he performs, another Matt Capps deal becomes possible.

Now, not at all. You use the one commodity you have in abundance (major league appearances) and create value from nothing. Then instead of cashing in, you fold. Why?

Saw somewhere else in Natmosphere the w/l record for the team the last six years. The point was: look at how they have regressed from 81 wins the first year to back to back 59 win seasons and a mere 69 last season.

Allow me to retort: The disastrous drafts of 2000-2003 left this franchise with no cheap controllable talent. A high schooler taken in 2000 is 28 this year. IOW, in his baseball prime.

Ian Desmond was a high school pick way back in 2004 I think. And he just made an impact at the ML level last year. It takes time to grow and nurture a farm system. The farm was left unattended by MLB when they ran the franchise and we're paying the price.

Now, you could argue they could have overcome this by opening the checkbook and filling the gaps with overpaid mediocrities. I'll just say they would have had to make a lot of moves come out exactly right to build a contender here over any of the last six years. And the Nats weren't exactly being run by Branch Rickey.

Whether they have fixed the drafting problem will be told quite a few years down the road.

Second: those twin 59 win seasons? They equal Strasburg and Harper.

The baseball world is salivating over Justin Upton and rightfully so. How did the D-backs get him? A 53 win season. The Nats picked two pretty good years to suck worse than other teams in baseball and now there is the promise of cheap controllable talent way outperforming their salaries in the 2013-2015 window.

Throwing away Peralta means one less asset to use to collect talent for that window. And if this team won't spend internationally, they need all the assets they can get.