Monday, January 31, 2005

Sox Add New Pitcher

Boston Red Sox: Japanese pitcher Denny Tomori has agreed to a minor league contract with the World Series champion Red Sox.

The 37-year-old Tomori was 0-1 last season for Yokohama in Japan's Central League and is 18-28 with 30 saves in 13 seasons in Japanese professional baseball.


Not great numbers. A little on the old side. I wonder what the Sox see in him?

Jason Giambi

So it'll be interesting to see how this whole thing pans out, with his first exposure to fans coming up in just over a month(!!!!). There's a really excellent article by Tyler Kepner telling the whole story. It's real reporting, unlike what you normally get from the NY (and Boston) sports sections -- most New York papers used to adore Giambi, and now rip him to shreds. Over the last few months Kepner, who I guess is now their main Yankee beat writer, has consistently pointed out that all this hatred towards Giambi is a result of his crappy year, and that no one seems to care that Sheffield also took steroids. Pretty refreshing that someone just comes out and says that.

Of course this also means that Kepner will be writing for SI or ESPN in a couple years, and we'll be getting another Buster Olney -- a really good writer on the national stage who likes New York teams WAAAYYYYYY too much.

Anyway, turning back to Giambi, every once and a while I feel a little bad for the guy -- his life sucks. Then I remember all he did and I realize I shouldn't feel one ounce of pity. Here's what one former fan had to say. (Still, he's no Bonds. At least he told the truth to the grand jury.)

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Dare I ask

Just reading up on the Sammy trade. NY Daily News reporter hinted (barely hinted, but enough to make the suggestion) at steroid use on behalf of slugging Sammy.

Anyone on the Sox? Of course I want to say no way. And based on the alleged 5-7% reported from 2003 that would mean one per team, but I do think that was probably low considering players knew the testing was coming.

Okay, so maybe Kapler, but he is gone.

So that leaves in my suspicious list, in order of potential likelihood (based of course on pure speculation):

Ortiz
Varitek
Nixon
Millar
Bellhorn
Millar
Manny (probably not smart enough to figure out how to?)

I'm not suggesting all of these guys have, but we must at least consider the possibility.

Thank goodness

El Guapo is safe. Quite a story.

"Honey, I'm home."
"Where the hell were you, we were worried sick!!!"
"oh, I was at a beach party for 10 days."

Classic.

AL vs. NL this offseason

So the major free agent signings are over (though Pedro Astacio's still available). How did the leagues do relative to each other? I seem to remember in last year's offseason there was a mini-exodus of the top hitters from the NL to the AL, with the pitching not changing much -- Schilling and Clemens sort of cancelled each other out. And it sure seemed, to me at least, that the AL was the far better league -- the Feared Cardinals got swept, and probably would've lost to the Yankees or the Angels as well, from what we saw. So what happened this year? Beltran and Clemens stayed put in their leagues, but many of the other major FA's switched leagues (plus there were a number of cross-league trades):

From the NL to the AL: Big Unit, Beltre, Sexson, Sosa, Finley, Wells, Clement, Pavano, Wright
From the AL to the NL: Pedro, Lowe, Glaus, Delgado, Lieber, Offerman

(there are others, Womack/Lima/Loaiza/Milwood/Pierzinski/Renteria/etc, but whatever.)

On balance, I say the AL continued to get a bit better. Hitters probably, pitchers maybe. What's interesting is ALL those pitchers named left or joined the Red Sox or Yankees.

On the topic of comparing leagues, two more points:

1) AL didn't pummel the NL in interleague...won the season by just 2 games. And that's all thanks to none other than the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who posted an obscene 15-3 record. Which is really, really weird. (It's worth mentioning that interleague games happened while St. Louis was never losing, and the soon-to-be-World Champion Red Sox were in their prolonged slump, which may have played a role in the closeness of the IL games.)

2) Seems all three major sports feel dominated by one league: baseball and the AL, football and the AFC, and basketball and the West. There are exceptions of course: the Eagles, last year's Pistons, etc., but I don't remember all the sports ever feeling this imbalanced.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

My goodness.

I don't think even Matt's anti-Yankee rants aren't quite as good as this one.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Talk about creating a story where none really exists

This story about Delgado would have you believe South Floridians are beating down the door to greet Delgado. We know people down there don't care about that team and the owners want to move them to Vegas. What a joke.

Now Delgado is an upgrade for the team and I do think he will help (maybe not for four years but that's a different story). Now lets keep this in perspective.

They say they sold $150,000 worth of season tickets... five times their daily norm. So what does that break down to.

At an average ticket price of $40 (the best seats are likely to be the ones selling as season tickets, not the outfield $8 tickets) and 81 games per season, the average single seat costs $3,240. So that means they sold about 46 single season tickets. Now lets say the average purchase is 3 tickets (some buy 2, some buy 4), now you are talking about 15 sales of season tickets, versus their average of 3. So somehow 12 people buy season tickets to the Marlins and that is a headline. Its probably Delgado's agent and some friends and family who live in the area.

And to do a little more math. At an incremental $120,000 per day in season ticket sales, the Marlins will break even on Delgado's contract in about 100 days or right around May 15th (assuming the ticket office is closed on sunday's) or the time of the year when either AJ Burnett, Josh Beckett, or Dontrelle Willis are about to make their first trip to the DL.

Okay so this is our roster. Matt please provide the lineup, with options.

Catchers

Varitek
Miralbelli

Infielders

Millar
Bellhorn
Renteria
Meuller
Youkilis
Ramon Vazquez

DH

Some guy named Pappi

OF
Manny
Damon
Nixon
Payton
Hydzu/Stern

McCarty is on a minor league deal, so who knows if he will be brought up. They could send Youkilis back down for a spell, but I don't see that happening. Today's globe said Youk will see some time at 1B.


Starting Pitchers
Schilling
Wells
Clement
Wakefield
Miller
Arroyo

Relief
Timlin
Embree
Mantei
Halama
Foulke

That is 11 pitchers. If Schilling and maybe Miller not ready to start the season, I guess Halama gets some starts and maybe Abe Alvarez. Other guys to stay in pen if there are injuries to others - DiNardo, Malaska and, of course, BHK (although we'd love to move him).

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Mient to the Mets?

Wow...looks like this might get done. What does this mean for the Sox?

The deal would involve the Red Sox sending Mient to the Mets for cash and a minor league player (name not available). The Mets made their move after talks stalled with Delgado.

I know Millar has meant a lot to the Sox, but I would have preferred Mient over there at first. Granted his bat hasn't been great over the past year or so, but inconsistent playing time has something to do with that. I think Mient has a great swing for Fenway, and he would bail out Youk (giving the kid confidence) when Youk has to fill in for Mueller or Bellhorn. That is a huge plus. Mient, Bellhorn, Renteria, Mueller is a very good infield...Millar, Bellhorn, Renteria, Mueller is an average to good infield.

The other thought on this is that the Sox rotation will be (when healthy) Schilling, Wells, Miller, Clement, Arroyo/Wakefield. Mostly fly-ball types. Maybe clearing out Mient will give a few more innings to Ortiz at first while DHing Manny from time to time. Putting the focus on better defense in the outfield with Damon, Payton, and Nixon.

But, who knows? Maybe Millar is on the way out as well. This would, of course, open the door for the Sox to make the move for Delgado. They would then bring McCarty up from AAA for the defensive replacement role.

In the meantime, (and by this I mean "in reality") the Sox know what they have with Millar. He was the safer bet. He won't kill you at first and putting in a glove in the late innings to replace him worked well last year. He will also, for the most part, help you with some power in the lineup and patience at the plate.

Maybe, after all, saying goodbye to Doug is the safer move.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Cheat sheet

So, ESPN's Fantasy Experts, who are every bit as sexy as they sound, have announced their picks for the 2005 season.

I have no point to this post, except to call your attention to the guy named Cockcroft.

Cockcroft!

Milton Bradley

Did anyone see him last night on BDSSP. Talk about uncomfortable. He came out looking a little bit timid, but was trying to play it cool. Like "hey I'm happy to be here hanging out, etc." (still looked forced and not very relaxed) But then Tom Arnold and John Salley started giving him a hard time about his on field antics and Milton just got the deer in headlights look.

Arnold was funny trying to laugh it off, saying he should have thrown money at the fans instead of a water bottle and no one would have complained. Then they started "comparing" him to Artest and others that have bad boy images. You could just see Milton thinking "Man, I thought they were going to have me on and it would be all fun and games (No pun intended). Lots of joking and laughing."

I really thought he might actually lose it on the set. Finally they asked him how he had been lately and if he was in anger management classes. And Milton said, "Yeah all that stuff is long behind me." Salley say, "Long behind, huh? What you mean like a month ago with the cop." DefCon Five. And then about the anger management class he basically said "man I don't really need those. I'm about results. Not just sitting around talking about stuff."

It was classic. Needless to say, I don't think Milton will be back.

Lindsay Lohan Naked or the Olsen Twins Naked

Which would you rather see?
Jesse can you put a little vote here box that will tally the result?
Actually just trying to increase our page hits. With Lindsay Lohan naked pictures and Olsen Twins naked picture, and the word box we may get a lot of hits.
Google. Olsen twins naked. Lindsay Lohan naked.

Monday, January 24, 2005

With apologies to Matt...

...I'd like to turn to football for a moment. (Sorry about your Steelers, man. Like in 2002, I'd have been happy to root for them in the Superbowl.)

In tomorrow's New York Times, McNabb is quoted as saying "I think the scheme Bill Belichick tries to present to you is obviously a blitz scheme where they may show the blitz and then bluff."

This strikes me as a very stupid thing to say. The last thing you want to do as a QB about to face the Patriots is tell Bill Belichick what you're expecting. Under Belichick, the Patriots are 14-0 against QB's they've faced earlier in the season (and preseason). Giving away your thought processes is a mistake. If in two weeks McNabb's still expecting them to "show the blitz and then bluff", it's going to be a looonnnngggg game for him.

Red Sox Blogs Unite!

While we don't have the documentation yet (I am sure Dave has in his emails because he keeps everything) - how classic is it that I read this piece on Anna Benson from another Red Sox blog!

My answer to this Red Sox blogger. You are not alone my friend. We too at the GYS network find it very funny that she used the word "racked".

PS - I bet Pedro is a little pissed he won't get a shot.

Breaking News

Unfortunately forMatt it will be another long thankless season of separation. And with the baby on the way, the chances of a road trip are not looking good.

On a brighter note, he did bounce back a bit last year. Could it be possible that without the burden of playing in Fenway Park, Ben could recapture the energy and spirit that won him the Rookie of the Year award just 6 years ago. He is still only 28.

Did you know: A September call-up by the A's in 1997, Grieve hit three doubles and drove in five runs in his major league debut against San Francisco.

Hell that equaled the output of nearly his entire 2003 season.

Oh wait... that's why we didn't sign DLowe

Check out this short bit about cost/average performance for the top 5 and bottom 5 pitchers in MLB last year.

On a related note the NESN DVD pointed out DLowe is the only pitcher to ever win three series in playoff history. That's interesting, but there have only be 3 rounds for 5 or so years, right? Dave, do you know of any pitchers that have won the series in both in the ALCS and WS?




A-Rod= Upper Echelon?

In an article posted to major news outlets today, A-Rod and Schilling fired shots at each other. Nothing new there.

A-Rod claims that the Yankees beat up on Schilling "a few times" this past year, and that Schilling was "crying" on the bench. I checked the stats. Schilling didn't lose to the Yankees during the regular season. He got beat up in Game 1 of the ALCS when his tendon was wriggling all throughout his ankle, and then stymied the Yankees in Game 6 by stapling the tendon in place.

So, when exactly was he crying? Trying to find that...

Even more so, A-Rod referred to himself as "upper-echelon". While his past stats and skills have made him on of the best in the league, I believe that upper-echelon is reserved for leaders. NEVER in his career has A-Rod been a leader. Let's do a quick review...

Seattle? Hmmmm....nope not there. They wanted him back. The fans loved him. They offered him lots of money. All the private rooms and planes an average man could want. But he chose Texas for the money.

Texas, you say? Not there, either. Sorry, partner...In fact, Texas did all they could to unload him to get out from under his contract which paralyzed the team.

In both cases, upon departure, both teams dramatically improved.

Schilling comes to Boston. He wins 20+ games, shows guts and blood pitching his heart out in Game 6, and leads his team to a World Series championship.

The Yankees had to go out and hire another hired gun in Randy Johnson this off-season partly because A-Rod couldn't deliver. His stats in the key games 4, 5, 6, and 7 were terrible to say the least.

His slap defines him. He is now just slapping out again.

So the questions remains "Is he upper-echelon?" Depends on the definition. But, he's not in my book.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Marginal payroll per Marginal win

I was inspired by the 25+" of snow to break out the Baseball Prospectus. I guess when you're really far into winter it's only natural to think of summer.

Anyway, I was interested in learning more about the Mets. Clearly, with their recent moves they are making a big push for the WS this year. That being said, BP04 did a nice review of the margin payroll per margin wins from '86 to '03. Basically, if you haven't read the piece, they compare the teams marginal payroll, Team X's payroll at start of season minus league minimum time 28. Basically, take a 28 player team of John Does and whatever payroll is over that is your marginal payroll. Then they take your winning percentage minus .300 and multiple by 162. Basically, they assume a team of John Does will have a winning percentage of .300 and multiplying by 162 evens out shortened seasons and whatever. The idea being if you have a lot of wins for little money you're efficient. If you have a lot of wins and pay a lot of money you are the Yankees. If you have few wins for a little money you didn't spend enough and if you have a few wins for a lot of money you "paid a lot for that muffler" - not the Midas touch.

Anyway, here are a couple observations:

1. Mets 2003 MP/MW $6.1 MM! The highest in the league and the second highest absolute value. Detroit's MP/MV of -$7.3 MM is more insult to injury

2. Red Sox 2003 MP/MV $2.0 MM puts them at 16th best in the league, right dab in the middle. The best being Oaklands MP/MV $883,140. In addition, many of the teams ahead of the Red Sox in MP/MV obviously didn't make the post season so there is something to be said about compromising on $ for wins. (More evidence that a combined money-ball/yankee-ball strategy is effective).

3. The Mets are $2.0 MM higher than any other team. That being said, they did have a terrible year spoiled by a lot of injuries, if I remember correctly. Regardless, they are adding a ton of payroll this year so they have put even more pressure on the club to win. If Pedro is really capable of winning at the rate he has for the past couple of years and Beltran adding a little offense (but not much) are the Mets really putting themselves in a better position?

This post really doesn't have a point, other than the fact that I marvel at the willingness of the Mets to spend and spend and spend for no return. If their recent moves don't work out do you think is spells a change of the gaurd in the Mets' front-office? Do you think they will become a "standard" of what not to do for teams to come?

I love this stuff

Some brilliant writer on one of the baseball sites:

"and until Hendry nabs a bona fide closer, his Cubs are good enough to win the NL Central but not good enough to reach the World Series..."

I guess I see what he is trying to say. But isn't any team that makes it to the playoffs theoretically good enough to make it to the WS. All you have to do is get hot for 7 games once you are in.

Faith Rewarded....

I finally watch the NESN DVD. It's actually quite good. I thought the coverage of the season leading up to the playoffs was well done, especially capturing the .500 streach and then the turning point. The A-fraud/Varitek moment was especially well done!

Of course the emphasis on the ALCS is awesome and worth watching again. I can't believe how loose these guys are before big games. I know that is their "secret" but still - i'ts uncanny. To that point, Millar comes out of this as a total unsung hero. He contributed during the playoffs, most notably with that key walk in game 3 of the ALCS, but I think he's the glue. I fear that there may be a "Latin" thing and an "idiot" (a.k.a Redneck) thing going on and Millar helps bring both sides together. Cabrerra did a lot to bridge the gap too, but now that he's gone I worry about losing Millar.

That being said, nothing really matters because the Red Sox are World Series Champions!!!

J

PS - I was in Ithaca the other day and this accountant for some MD I was talking to, asked after learning if I am from Boston if I were a Red Sox fan. Upon learning the answer he said something to the effect, "it won't happen again". My response, "it doesn't need to.... I've wait all my life to watch them win it once". I could tell it kind of pissed him off. It's great! Yankee fans can't even enjoy the fact that their Evil Empire, I mean franchise has way more world series wins because no one gives a shit.

Am I the only one...

...who read Chris Snow's piece on Epstein's assistants and thought, "Fuck! That could've been me!"

Friday, January 21, 2005

Here we go

It appers A-Fraud just doesn't know when to shut up. The same could be said for Schilling, but Schilling can talk - he is a world champion and has played in the World Series. The article says that A-Rod is still searching for his first World Series ring - how about just getting there for starters. Like Schilling has done 3 times.

Interesting - "While Rodriguez hit .270 in the first half, he batted .307 after the All-Star break. Playing in New York was far different than in Seattle, where he began, or in Texas."

He started to hit when they moved him to the 2 hole (less pressure) and lest we not forget he may have played better but the Yankees nearly blew a 10 game lead. He played better, but the team played worse - story of his career.

Last thing to chuckle about. On the Unit:

"He's going to pitch well. He's going to enjoy the run support and the good defense behind him," Rodriguez said.

The good defense? Yeah, have him ask Mariano about how good Bernie is in CF.



Good story

I like this story


Last line - a call placed to her number was not immediately returned. I wonder how that conversation would have gone. I presume the writer was looking for a comment on the story. But maybe he was looking for some action on a Friday night. He doesn't say. You never know.

Shocking

Now we know where Jeremy has been.

File this under Greedy

So now clemens can mail it in, go on the DL with a pulled hammy.

And he can talk about how he was the highest paid player ever. Thank God Pedro is not still with the Sox or else he would be whining about the lack of respect, etc.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

A's-Mets trade

So there's this potential trade of Cameron for Byrnes and Dorfdarb. I can see why the Mets would want to get rid of their old center fielder and pick up bullpen help, but what's in it for the A's? I don't get it. Surely Beane knows the "Once a Met, always a Met" rule is more powerful than any statistic.

In other news, Los Angeles doesn't want the Angels. And the Marlins were called terrorists. All in all, a great day for recent flukey World Series winners.

You know, we haven't heard from Kevin or Matt lately?

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&ncid=757&e=1&u=/nm/20050120/od_nm/odd_sexshop_dc

ESPN's Hot Stove Heaters

All right, so we were just told that Derek Jeter is the "best baserunner", yet Torii Hunter is the "most exciting baserunner", whatever that means (I don't know, I'd say Manny is far more exciting on the basepaths.) I guess I should've figured this out long ago, but it turns out they're writing a "Best..." article for every conceivable category. Rather than grouse about the results as they slowly trickle out over the course of the next month (I said "trickle out"), we should stay ahead of the pack and make our predictions. Of course, there are two predictions to make in each category: who should win, and who ESPN will say. So, without further adieu:

Already picked:
Jan. 12: Best bunter ... Juan Pierre
Jan. 13: Most patient hitter ... Barry Bonds
Jan. 17: Best hit-and-run guy ... Mark Loretta
Jan. 18: Best two-strike hitters ... Bonds and Ichiro
Jan. 19: Best baserunner ... Derek Jeter
Jan. 20: Most exciting baserunner ... Torii Hunter
Any complaints on these? (Other than Jeter of course?)

Coming up ...
Jan. 21: Best basestealer...Dave Roberts!
Jan. 24: Best at breaking up a double play
Jan. 25: Best control pitcher
Jan. 26: Most durable pitcher...The Big Unit or the Rocket, naturally. Must be the nicknames.
Jan. 27: Best slide-step move
Jan. 28: Best pickoff move...Andy Pettitte of course (but aren't those all balks?)
Jan. 31: Best pitcher at moving hitters off the plate
Feb. 1: Best-hitting pitcher...Mike Hampton
Feb. 2: Best outfield arm...Guerrero, Mondesi, Nixon
Feb. 3: Most accurate outfield arm
Feb. 4: Best outfielder at playing the wall
Feb. 7: Best infield arm...Does I-Rod count? There should be a separate category for catchers.
Feb. 8: Best double-play combination...Dumb category -- so few SS-2B pairs stay together for more than 1 season these days. Alomar and Vizquel still get my vote.
Feb. 9: Best cutoff man
Feb. 10: Best first baseman around the bag...Mientikiewzcyxz?
Feb. 11: Best catcher at blocking the plate...Tek
Feb. 14: Best catcher at calling a game...Will be Lo Duca, should be Tek
Feb. 15: Best on-field manager...Bobby Cox?
Feb. 16: Best third-base coach...Dave Sveum. No question.
Feb. 17: Best prankster/clubhouse clown...Ortiz will and should win this.
Feb. 18: Best leader...Brace yourself for a Derek Jeter suck-fest. He probably should win though.

That's a lot of blanks. Any predictions?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Speaking of Dave Roberts...

Here's a question: before the Most Important Steal in Baseball History, was Millar's walk the Most Important Walk in Baseball History?

I think we need a Bill James to work for us. At the very least, how much would it cost for full access to baseball stats?

Is there a better way to measure baserunning?

Than having some suck up former Yankee beat writer proclaim Derek Jeter the best baserunner in the game.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=kurkjian_tim&id=1969362

There must be an equation that Bill James has (could) developed that would account for times on base (H+BB+ROE-HR)/runs scored (less HR) /SB (I hear the point that you don't have to be a great base stealer to be a great base runner, but it should count for something) productivity of hitters that follow you (probably OPS factoring out HR).

Remember when all the writers wanted annoint A-Fraud to the running hall of fame after he "stole" 3B against the Twins. Ugh.

Two words. Dave Roberts.

Matt Missed the Message

Published on behalf of Grieve:

Less than a month until pitchers and catchers report...I can't wait...

That leads me again to this conclusion....

We are in the Delgado hunt. We have signed McCarty to a minor league deal (remember this guy was going to retire and has now agreed to a minor league deal?)...I can't see with the whole "ball" thing, that the Sox keep Mient. That seems to be the way this front office does business. They alienate players on the way out...boooo (although Pedro alienated himself)...Millar and Kim could be dealt...

Then Delgado is signed and McCarty is brought up...

Just my guess...I just can't see resigning a guy who was going to retire if we were keeping Millar and/or Mient...I mean, for Theo to get this guy to agree to a minor league deal, he must have begged him to stay...

oh yeah.

(We now have a counter. Now we get to measure how many times we visit this page in a day. Apparently we have to pay for the counter if we exceed 9000 hits a day, so there's some incentive to actually work.)

So anyway, the Hot Stove seems to have, for the most part, cooled down. Some big-name free agents, lots of medium-name free agents who got treated like they were big-name free agents...and most of them have signed. Really just two really big names out there, both who insist on looking stupid: Clemens (who wants more money than anyone not named A-Rod has gotten) and Delgado (who has "narrowed his list" down, to only the teams that have any interest in him).

For the most part I'm impressed how the Sox came out of this. Probably going back to 2002 or so, we've been reading Gammons discussing this offseason in apocalyptic terms for the Red Sox (damn 2005 seemed so far away then). The list kept changing of course, but we read about how the Sox could lose Nomar, Nixon, Varitek, Pedro, Lowe, and Ortiz (and a bunch of others, like Cabrera, bullpen pitchers, etc. who came and went). The overtones (to me at least) of this constant reminder was that "the Red Sox need to win before 2005 because the team will be broken up". Well, obviously they did -- you know, them being World Champions and all -- but the 2005 season is almost upon us, and I feel the team is still together.

Which is weird: Nomar and Pedro, long thought of as the "heart" of the team the last 5+ years, are gone, and yet the team still feels like the Red Sox. Never would have guessed that would be the case.

The GYS network is in business.

I'll start, with an interesting topic I came up with all by myself.

What a suprise - clemens asks for $22 Million. While Houston offers a
reasonable $13.5MM.

Wouldn't it be interesting to see him lose (which he probably would - the
Unit is arguably as good, if not better who just happened to be on a
losing team and just signed a $16MM/year extension) and then walk away and
say he is retiring. Why has there not been more outrage that for the
second year in a row he is being incredibly selfish and not forthcoming,
etc.