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Tag: "baseball"

Manager Trifecta

[ 70 ] December 9, 2013 |

While I have no problem with Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, and Tony LaRussa getting elected to the Hall of Fame, evidently the standard for being a great manager is working for a high-revenue team over a very long time. What I’d like to see is some attempt to measure managers through a win/dollar statistic adjusted for baseball inflation over time. Maybe this exists in some form, I don’t know. Because it seems to me that being moderately successful for a long period of time with low budgets is equally as valuable as working for owners constantly willing to fork over $100 million plus budgets. This doesn’t even take into account the marginal effect managers seem to actually have on teams, not to mention the blaming of and cycling through of managers when you have incredibly incompetent GMs and ownership.

One person who comes to mind here is Tom Kelly, who won 2 titles with the Twins despite being hamstrung by significantly lower budgets and greater limitations than most teams. Yes, his career record is under .500. Bobby Cox would have a similar record with those teams.

….A related point. Roy Halladay is retiring today. David Cameron makes the case for him in the Hall. I completely agree.

…..Also, in case it isn’t clear, I actually would vote for any of the three managers for the Hall of Fame. I think they are all clear calls. But I also think Tom Kelly is basically just as deserving for what he did with no resources. And as someone mentioned in comments, Joe Maddon may have a very interesting case in 20 years.

Mariners, I Want a Divorce

[ 53 ] December 2, 2013 |

The Mariners sign 36 year-old “scrappy” veteran Willie Bloomquist, possessor of both a pedigree with the M’s, and a local connection, to a two-year contract at between $2.5 and $3 million per.

What, Bret Boone wasn’t available?

To quote Dave Cameron over at USS Mariner:

Judge for yourself if the Mariners have actually learned anything from their past mistakes. Judge for yourself if this organization has any idea how to actually build a baseball team.

This is a good reason for promotion and relegation in baseball. Let them get relegated, because at this point it’s the only way they might learn something.

The Worst Person in the World

[ 43 ] November 7, 2013 |

Jeffery Loria.

Who may also be the worst sports owner of all time, a category that includes racist slum lord/owner of the most embarrassingly bad team in the NBA for 20 years Donald Sterling and William Clay Ford who wouldn’t fire Matt Millen for years because he was a good Christian.

I Guess We Know Where the Giants Got the Money to Pay a Fading Tim Lincecum $35 Million

[ 26 ] October 24, 2013 |

What a surprise that billionaire sports owners would steal from their poorest employees:

Two Major League Baseball clubs–the San Francisco Giants and Miami Marlins—are under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor for possible federal wage law violations. The investigations come amid wider concern about questionable pay practices throughout professional baseball, according to interviews and records obtained by FairWarning under the Freedom of Information Act.

Labor Department spokesman Jason Surbey confirmed the investigations of the Marlins and Giants, but would not give details. However, emails reviewed by FairWarning show that possible improper use of unpaid interns is a focus of the Giants probe. It is the Labor Department’s second recent investigation of the Giants over pay practices involving lower level employees.

An attorney for the Giants said the team would not comment on the current investigation. A Marlins spokesman said the club does not believe “that any of the Marlins’ current labor practices are improper….We can confirm that the Marlins have been and will continue to cooperate fully with the Department of Labor.” Major League Baseball officials could not be reached.

Officials with the department’s Wage and Hour Division announced in August that the Giants had resolved the prior case by agreeing to pay $544,715 in back wages and damages to 74 employees. Many were clubhouse workers the agency said were paid at a daily rate of $55, but who sometimes worked so many hours that they got less than minimum wage and no overtime. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

Grady Little Is Alive And Managing In Kansas City

[ 91 ] September 16, 2013 |

Maybe it’s me, but if a manager’s previous employer was compelled to fire him in mid-September while his team was holding a playoff spot, he’s probably not someone you want managing your team during a pennant race.  If the argument for hiring him is that he’s good with young players, again, if you’re so determined to win right now that you’re willing to trade an exceptional OF prospect, you really need to hire a real manager.

It’s also sort of poignant that Carlos Pena was a major part of Yost’s Waterloo.  Saints be praised, I assume we’re going to have a moratorium on “Billy Beane is a complete fraud because he couldn’t find the magic elixir that would ensure that the better team wins 3 rather than 2 games of a 5-game series” articles for a bit.

Ketchup

[ 530 ] September 14, 2013 |

Here’s the thing about ketchup. It’s disgusting and those who love it should reexamine their priorities and the meaning of their lives. So I am righteously outraged that the Detroit Tigers fired this hot dog vendor who expressed his disdain to fans who wanted ketchup on their dogs, proving to the world that they did not deserve the suffrage.

And I’m not saying the mustard is the only acceptable condiment on a hot dog. At the ballpark maybe, but in real life, obviously sauerkraut is also a superior condiment. And in Mexico you can get all kinds of crazy awesome stuff on hot dogs. But ketchup, I mean really, doesn’t its existence make one question Darwin’s theory of evolution?

Note–I am talking about mass produced tomato ketchup here. Ketchup produced with other fruits or homemade stuff that is actually good, that’s different.

One also must wonder about the crossover between people who put ketchup on hot dogs and those who call vodka cocktails “martinis.”

UPDATE: Am I the only one who thinks kimchi on hot dogs could be really good?

The Impaler

[ 41 ] September 14, 2013 |

Jonah Keri on the wondrous career of the great Vladimir Guerrero, a player no one could reasonably not love to watch.

Saturday Night

[ 28 ] August 17, 2013 |

For this Saturday night, we need to have as much fun as Bobby Grich did when pouring beer on Richard Nixon’s head after the California Angels won the 1979 AL West title.

Ackley

[ 7 ] August 16, 2013 |

This is pretty close to the most devastating critique I’ve ever read of a baseball player.

Unskewed!

[ 78 ] August 8, 2013 |

Breitbart evidently now has a sports page, where its writers provide the same acumen for terrible analysis that they do on the political side. Because you see advanced statistics and math is for liberals. Instead, conservatives need numbers that reinforce their already existing beliefs against reality. Like all that matters in understanding pitchers is if the pitcher’s team racks up a win:

In this article, columnist John Pudner introduces a new, proprietary metric, called Value Add Baseball. The idea behind it is to evaluate starting pitchers based not on how well they pitch, but how well they pitch in specific game situations. If a starting pitcher’s team scores six runs, he can give up five runs and still maintain a lead; by contrast, if a starting pitcher’s team scores only two runs, then he can give up three runs but still fall behind. The point of Value Add Baseball is to adjust for this: To make it clear that the pitcher who allows five runs when his team has scored six has done better than the pitcher who has allowed three runs when his team has scored two.

Sound crazy? It should! “The starting pitcher is the one player who has responsibility each game for getting his team the win,” Pudner writes. But, actually, it is not the pitcher’s job to get his team the win. It is the team’s job to get the team the win. Baseball is a team sport! The starting pitcher contributes to the win—typically, I agree, more than any other individual player does—by helping, along with his defense and catcher, limit the other team’s runs. But this metric holds the pitcher completely responsible. And it subscribes to the myth of “pitching to the score,” which is just plain wrong.

Consider: It is generally agreed that the best baseball game ever pitched came on May 29, 1959, when the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Harvey Haddix was perfect through 12 innings before he gave up a run to the Milwaukee Braves in the bottom of the 13th. (Hank Aaron was on base at the time.) Because the Pirates themselves had scored no runs through 13, Haddix “lost” the game. If I understand Value Add Baseball correctly, his “rating” for that game is worse than that of a starting pitcher who gave up five runs through seven innings while his own team scored nine. That is, plainly, ludicrous.

Look, Harvey Haddix sucked that day, OK. And the greatest pitcher of all time is obviously Jack Morris, he of the 5-run win. Felix Hernandez winning the Cy Young in 2010 was the greatest travesty of all time except for the Kenyan Usurper’s two presidential wins and of course that evil George H.W. Bush stealing the 1988 Republican nomination from godly Pat Robertson. And how dare those liberal sportsnerds create a statistic called WAR, taking away from what war is supposed to do, kill brown people.

Terrible Contracts (for the Owner)!

[ 105 ] July 29, 2013 |

Bill Barnwell lists some bad NFL contracts, but of course his definition of “bad contract” is one in which the team loses value, not one in which the player is dramatically underpaid relative to his contribution. Given labor agreements that substantially restrict rookie and early year player compensation, a list of underpaid players is naturally going to be headed by guys like Mike Trout.  Excluding those, what would a list of long-term contracts (NFL, NBA, or MLB) that were very “bad” from the perspective of the player look like?

The Worst Right-Handed Hitting Team of All Time

[ 122 ] July 26, 2013 |

The Yankees’ acquisition of Alfonso Soriano is another sign that the team’s ownership really has had trouble adjusting to the new reality that you have to develop from within in order to compete. Half-heartedly trying to get below the luxury tax, the Yankees decided to pass on resigning players like Nick Swisher in the offseason, instead choosing to rely on a bunch of ancient and oft-injured players. That’s gone as well as expected, meaning that the Yankees arguably have the worst right-handed hitting team of all time, according to Ben Lindbergh at Baseball Prospectus (sub required to read the whole thing):

As a team, the Yankees have hit .221/.283/.311 from the right side of the plate. That’s 30 points of OPS worse than the Marlins, who rank 29th in that category (and who play in a pitcher’s park and don’t have a DH). The Yankees haven’t hit a right-handed homer in over a month (Jayson Nix, June 25th), and they went three weeks without one before that (Mark Teixeira, June 4th). It’s like the whole team has turned into Pete Kozma.

This is historic offensive futility, and the fact that the Yankees had the highest payroll in baseball before trading for Soriano adds insult to impotence. The Yankees’ .594 OPS from the right side is the 17th-lowest ever (or since 1916, which is as far back as Baseball-Reference goes when searching for that split). None of the entries on the list below them is from the last 30 seasons; most are from low-offense eras and pitcher’s parks. In fact, considering the context, the 2013 Yankees have a real claim to the title of worst right-handed-hitting team of all time.

Let’s just say that again. The Yankees do not have a right-handed home run since June 25. Today is July 26. Among the teams worse than the Yankees in that list referred to above are the mighty 81 Blue Jays and the legendary 02 and 03 Tigers. Actually every team since 1950 is better than the Yankees at right-handed hitting.

Acquiring Soriano in itself is probably fine if you need an ancient slugger having a surprisingly good season but who is a major liability on the basepaths and in the field. That doesn’t help the Yankees much; the reality is that there isn’t anything out there short of the Marlins trading Giancarlo Stanton for a bag of balls that is going to help them much. They need to be sellers, not buyers. It’s amazing that the Yankees’ record is as good as it is since they have vastly outperformed what their statistics suggest their record should be. In other words, the Yankees are by far the luckiest team in baseball this year and that’s unlikely to continue in the last 2 months. But they are the Yankees and they only buy.

Given that the Yankees are utterly bereft of decent hitting prospects in the upper echelons of the system and the increased age and long-term contracts of their players, it’s likely the Yankees will be a lot worse next year.

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