Saturday, November 27, 2010

Derek Jeter and His Contract Demands

I've been astonished now for the last few weeks on how the sports media has turned on New York Yankees Captain Derek Jeter. I could see the point of view that the media put forth in his winning his 5th Gold glove for a Shortstop. Where my astonishment lies is how he is being portrayed as a greedy and egotistical person in his contract demands.

It was reported yesterday that Jeter was looking for a contract in the range of 5-years and 25 million-per-year. Whether that is true or not I cannot say. If it is true then Jeter's demands are unrealistic. On the other hand, I believe the Yankees' offer of 3-years and 15 million-per-year is disrespectful. Now I know many of you who are reading this will say: How is making 15 million-per-year a slight. Allow me to elaborate.

In this past contract, Jeter averaged 18.9 million-per-year. Looking at that number, the offer made to Jeter is almost 4 million less. When most of us leave a job for a newer one it is often based on salary and the prospects of making a higher salary. This is especially so when we feel that we cab do our jobs at the level that is expected of us. Then why should it be different than Derek Jeter.

Sure he had an off year by Derek Jeter standards. But isn't anyone allowed an off year? Would you rather have Jeter who you know is a model of consistency or a player who only performs at the highest level during his contract or walk year. His accomplishments, actions, class and grace have spoken for themselves year in and year out. Let's judge Jeter's decline on next year and the year after not just on last year.

I believe a suitable offer for the player that means so much to not only the New York Yankees but the city of New York and the fanbase of the team should be in the range of 3 to 4 years at 20 million-per-year. The team will make their money back as Jeter chases and eclipses the 3000-hit mark and further cements himself as a first ballot Hall of Famer. All this "nickel and dime" business is doing is turning a simple negotiation into a bitter conflict that can have long lasting effects between Jeter and the team. 

For the good of all parties, get this done already. If the Boss was still alive, this post would be non-existent as Jeter would be signed, sealed and delivered.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

The 2011 manager of the New York Mets is...

It has been reported throughout the Internet that the New York Mets have decided on a new manager for the 2011 season. The man hired for the job is Terry Collins, former manager of the Houston Astros and Anaheim Angels. 

In terms of a baseball person, Collins is a disciplinarian who I think will be good for the team. I think he will whip the team into shape and I believe that what he can't work with will be shipped out by GM Sandy Alderson. 

In terms of his track record, in six major league seasons, Collins has a career 444-434 record good for a .506 winning percentage. His record while with the Astros from 1994-1996 was 224-197, while his record while with the Angels was 220-237. His teams were the models of consistency with the teams finishing in second place five out of six seasons. So the man has shown to be a solid manager.

My question is: Why hire Collins now? We're talking about a man who hasn't managed a team in the majors since 1999. His departure in 1999 came about due to a clubhouse revolt by his players which led to current Angels manager Mike Scioscia taking over the reins of the team. Collins also managed the Orix Buffaloes of the Nippon Professional League in 2007 and part of 2008. 

Personal resume aside, I feel as if the team dropped the ball to reinvigorate the Mets' fanbase, especially the hardcore Mets' fans. The team could have made a splash by hiring a fan favorite such as former Mets' second baseman Wally Backman or former manager Bobby Valentine. Instead of stealing the backpage from the Yankees, the Mets left their fans wondering where the feelings of hope and change from last week went.

In management's defense, they interviewed numerous candidates and (if I'm not mistaken) those candidates who were not hired will have positions within the organization. Maybe Collins can bring a new and fresh perspective to the Mets. He has a two-year dealt try and get it done. We'll have to watch and see if it happens.


For Further Reading
- Click Here for David Waldstein's article in November 22, 2010 New York Times Mets Choose the Intense Collins as their Manager

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Felix Hernández 2010 AL Cy Young Winner

The news came down from the proverbial mountain of the Baseball Writers Association of America and after a big proud pat on the back of many of the Baseball writers, it was announced that Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernández with a 13-12 record is the 2010 American League Cy Young Award Winner. This is the lowest amount of wins a Cy Young starter has won the award with since the strike shortened season of 1981 when Fernando Valenzuela won the award with a 13-7 record.
Hernández is the second Seattle Mariners pitcher to win the award with Randy Johnson being the first in 1995. Though it was believed that the vote would be close between Hernández and New York Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia, this proved not to be so.

Hernández led the voting with 21 of 28 first-place votes for a total of 167 points (21-2-3-1-1). David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays who had a 19-6 record came in second with 4 first-place votes for a total of 111 points (4-15-7-1-0). C.C. Sabathia, with 21-7 record finished with 102 points (3-10-12-2-1). Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox with a 19-9 record finished with 33 points (0-0-1-9-12). Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim with a 13-12 record finished the top five with 24 points (0-1-2-6-2).

The reason that I keep listing the records for the runner-ups is that a big issue was made for wins not being the paramount reason for Cy Young consideration. I keep reading about situations like 2005 when Bartolo Colón won the award with a 21-8 record and a 3.48 ERA over Johan Santana 16-7 record with a 2.87 ERA and the 1993 Cy Young race when Jack McDowell won the award with a 22-10 record and a 3.37 ERA over Kevin Appier who had a 18-8 record and a 2.56 ERA. I'm not going to go into those two races aside from just showing them as an illustration of years where wins and losses played a big part in the Cy Young race.

I personally feel that by writers and analysts saying that "wins don't count" are an insult to those pitchers who did win games. Price, Sabathia and Lester all won 19 or more games and let's be truthful, none of those players had any "gimmies". It wasn't as if those guys had wins come easy. Sure they had the potent offenses of the Rays, Yankees and Red Sox (respectively) but at least with Sabathia, I saw him grind out wins, often at times when he or the team didn't have it. Maybe if the writers said that Hernández won the award exclusively based on his performance then I'm OK with that. But for them to say that "wins don't count then I have issue with it. The wins count for Hall of Fame consideration, right? Then why not now. In past posts, I have stated where I stand in terms of this year's race and if you are so inclined, you can check them out here: October 6, 2010 and September 8, 2010.

So, just don't you nice people out there think I'm a sour Yankees fan I do believe that Hernández deserved and earned the Cy Young award here are some impressive stats that were posted by ESPN's Jayson Stark on his Twitter feed earlier today:

Here's a Cy Young stat to consider: Felix had 0.54 ERA in 4 starts vs #Yankees & #RedSox. Price had 3.61 vs them in 7 starts.

And another one:

Another Felix stat: Had a 2.26 ERA in 22 starts vs teams w winning records. Price 2.67 in 21 starts. CC had 3.32 ERA vs winning teams

Trust me, I saw those two games against the Yankees this season. He was flat out dominant.

Another small issue that I have with this year's vote is whether or not will be see a continuing trend in dismissing wins in the Cy Young voting. As seen with the voting for the 2009 Cy Young vote both winners had the then lowest amounts for starters to win the award: Tim Lincecum with 15 and Zack Greinke with 16. Will we see a starter win the Cy Young with less than 13 wins? Who knows, maybe next year will be the year.


For Further Reading
- Click Here for the official BBWAA webpage listing the results of the 2010 AL Cy Young Award
- Click Here for the list of past Cy Young Award winners since 1956

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Florida Marlins Play the Trade Game

A few days ago I posted that the Oakland Athletics were making waves this offseason on the West Coast. Well folks, the waves are not exclusive to the Oakland. Over here on the East Coast, the Florida Marlins have been making their own waves though the reaction to the waves have been anything less than positive. The Marlins have made three trades with the biggest being the trade of second baseman Dan Uggla to the division rival Atlanta Braves. Before I go into that trade, allow me to shed light on the other two trades that went down earlier this week.

- Andrew Miller to Boston
When the Florida Marlins traded starter Dontrelle Willis, first baseman Miguel Cabrera to the Detroit Tigers for Dallas Trahern (minors), Burke Badenhop, Eulogio de la Cruz, Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller and Mike Rabelo in 2008, shockwaves were felt throughout the majors. If I'm not mistaken, Andrew Miller was deemed to be the jewel of Tigers' prospects that were shipped to South Beach.

According to the Andrew Miller page on the official North Carolina athletics page Miller in 2006 was chosen as Baseball America National Player of the Year and won the Roger Clemens Award winner as nation's top collegiate pitcher. Miller was also a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and Brooks Wallace Award. In addition, Miller was chosen to the Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America, NCBWA and first-team All-America. While at North Carolina, Miller set North Carolina's single-season (133) and career strikeout records (325).

His production at North Carolina led to his being picked by the Detroit Tigers with the sixth overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft (ahead of current major-leaguers Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum among others). His massive potential led to a call up in August of 2006 just months after being drafted. In two seasons with the Tigers, potential remained just that as Miller compiled a 5-6 record with a 5.69 ERA in 21 games. Miller struck out 62 and walked 49 while giving up 81 hits for a WHIP of 1.749.

After the trade to Florida, Miller's troubles continued. From 2008-2010 Miller accumulated a 10-20 record with an ERA of 5.89 in 58 games. Miller struck out 176 while walking 125 and giving up 256 hits for a WHIP of 1.732. After running out of Minor League options, Miller was dealt to the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Dustin Richardson.

In Richardson, the Marlins get a 26-year old left-hander who two seasons with Boston accrued a 0-0 record with an ERA of 3.31 in 29 games. Richardson struck out 12 while walking 14 and giving up 18 hits for a WHIP of 2.020. Meanwhile, Miller will join the Red Sox and his North Carolina teammate Daniel Bard. Maybe this change of scenery will prove more successful to Andrew Miller.

- Cameron Maybin to San Diego

Another piece to that big 2009 trade was outfielder Cameron Maybin who after a breakout season of sorts was traded by the Marlins to the San Diego Padres for relievers Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica. Since I wasn't very familiar with these players, I decided to look to my twitter log for some insight.

According to the Twitter feed of Mickey Koke from the Friarhood blogpage dated November 13, I got the following information on the players involved in the trade:

The #Padres lost two solid arms in Webb (the centerpiece of the deal) and Edward Mujica. Having said that, the #Padres did not give up their top arms in Bell, Adams, Gregerson and Freri. Very solid deal for a 5-tool Of with loads of potential that is still ONLY going to be 24 in April.

Ben Badler of Baseball America also states the following about Maybin on his Twitter feed:

Does Maybin's swing have holes? Sure. Worth taking a chance on a 23-y.o. CF w/ a .325/.401/.477 AAA line in 486 PAs last 2 yrs? Absolutely

From what I can tell both teams benefited from this exchange. The Padres get a 5-tool, 24-year old outfielder who has tremendous potential while the Marlins get two relievers who help to shore up their bullpen. Webb was 3-1 with a 2.90 ERA in 54 games. He struck out 44 while walking 19 and giving up 64 hits for a WHIP of 1.407. Mujica went 2-1 with a 3.62 ERA in 59 games. He struck out 72 while walking only 6. Mujica gave up 59 hits for an impressive WHIP of 0.933. In the short term I think the Marlins have the edge with this trade. We'll have to see how Maybin plays this season with the Padres.

- Dan Uggla to Atlanta

In the big trade to rock the baseball world today was the trade of second baseman Dan Uggla to the division rival Atlanta Braves for infielder Omar Infante and pitcher Mike Dunn. It was reported that the Marlins were trying to sign Uggla to a 4-year 48-million dollar extension which Uggla rejected. It is believed that Uggla was looking for a deal in the 5-year 71-million dollar range.

From what I've read, the general consensus believes that the Marlins basically gave away Uggla and to a division rival no less. Uggla has been an offensive force for the Marlins from the second base position who in 5 major league season is hitting an average of .263 with 32 Homeruns and 97 RBI. Uggla is good for about 161 hits a season (35 2B/3 3B/32 HRs) and an OPS of .837 (.347 OBP/.488 SLG). Uggla is also a consistent player having played an average of 155 games per season. Economically, the deal might benefit the Marlins more.

Had they not traded Uggla now, they might have ended up trading him during the season with risking losing him after next season if they didn't deal him. According to J.C. Bradbury of

I estimate Uggla’s play to be worth $11 million in 2011, while collecting a salary of $9-$10 million in his final year of arbitration. I estimate Infante to be worth $5.5 million with his salary contractually set at $2.5 million. Dunn is expected to be worth $800,000 with an estimated salary of just over the league minimum of $400,000. The values reveal that the Braves become a better team, but they will be paying for it. Infante will be in the last year of his contract, while Dunn still has five years of service time left...Infante will immediately fill Uggla’s hole in the lineup, and while I don’t expect him to repeat his 2010, he’ll do a fine job on a reasonable contract. Dunn’s performance projection has wide variance; he could become a regular reliever or never make a big-league roster again. He’s a junk bond that the Marlins are willing to gamble on. When the Marlins open their new stadium in 2012, they’ll have salary room to add a player or two and be on the fringe of contention as they seem to be every year.

Alden Gonzalez in his blogpost You can't really blame the Marlins this time from Gonzo and "The Show" also believes that the Marlins did the right thing in trading Uggla. This opinion goes against the general consensus who believe that the Marlins are once again selling off their best players. Time will tell on that one.

On the Atlanta Braves side, the deal shores up a big hole the Braves had with second base. Watching Brooks Conrad make error after error in the NLDS against the Giants proves that the Braves needed help and Uggla will be a defensive improvement. Uggla also helps bolster the Braves lineup and moves into the lineup with such hitters as Heyward, McCann and a (hopefully) healthy Chipper Jones. Hopefully the Braves can resign Uggla to a deal or risk losing him to free agency after the 2011 season.

Already the financial freedom for the Marlins has translated to results for the Marlins with the signing of catcher John Buck to a 3-year 18-million dollar contract. Maybe the Marlins will still be in the hunt for a few more players this offseason. Still it is hard to think that the Florida Marlins couldn't have gotten "more" from other suitors for Uggla throughout the league.


For Further Reading
- Click Here for Alden Gonzalez's article from on the Andrew Miller/Dustin Richardson trade
- Click Here for Corey Brock and Joe Frisaro's article from on the Cameron Maybin trade to the San Diego Padres
- Click Here for Mark Bowman's article from on the Dan Uggla trade to the Atlanta Braves
- Click Here to read J.C. Bradbury's article Breaking Down Uggla for Infante and Dunn from
- Click Here to read Alden Gonzalez's article You can't really blame the Marlins this time from his blogpage Gonzo and "The Show"
-Click Here for Joe Frisaro and Alden Gonzalez's article from on the signing of John Buck by the Florida Marlins
- Click Here to access The

Roy Halladay the 2010 NL Cy Young Winner

It was announced a few minutes ago that Roy Halladay had unanimously won the 2010 National League Cy Young Award with 224 points. Halladay is now the fifth player in the history of the major leagues to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues. Halladay (who won the AL Cy Young Award in 2003 while with the Toronto Blue Jays) now joins Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens in that exclusive club. According to the BBWAA website:

Halladay was the 13th unanimous choice in NL voting as he received all 32 first-place votes from two writers in each league city to score a perfect 224 points, based on a tabulation system that rewards seven points for first place, four for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth. The BBWAA expanded the Cy Young Award ballot from three to five pitchers this year.

The other finalists for the Cy Young Award were Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals who finished in second-place with 122 points (0-28-3-0-1). Ubaldo Jimenez of the Colorado Rockies came in third with 90 points (0-4-19-8-1). Tim Hudson of the Atlanta Braves came in fourth with 39 points (0-0-3-13-4). Josh Johnson came in fifth with 34 points (0-0-5-5-9).

Though I predicted that Halladay would win the NL Cy Young Award with my post of October 6, 2010, I thought that Adam Wainwright would have gotten at the very least one first place vote. Both Halladay and Wainwright were evenly matched in wins (Halladay was 21-10/Wainwright was 20-10), ERA (Halladay 2.44/Wainwright 2.42) and strikeouts (Halladay 219/Wainwright 213). Both pitchers were workhorses for their staffs but Halladay had the advantage in innings pitched and complete games. Halladay had 250 Innings pitches and 9 complete games to Wainwright's 230 Innings pitched and 5 complete games. Not to mention that little perfect gem Halladay threw against the Florida Marlins on May 29, 2010.

Halladay became the fourth Philadelphia Phillies pitcher to win the award. Steve Carlton won four Cy Young Awards (1972, 1977, 1980, 1982) with John Denny (1983) and Steve Bedrosian (1987) round out the quartet.

The AL Cy Young voting will be very contentious with those who believe that Felix Hernandez and C.C. Sabathia will be at the head of the pack in terms of votes. That award will be announced on November 18th. Coming up next is the AL and NL Managers of the Year Award.


For Further Reading:
- Click Here for the 2010 NL Cy Young Award vote list from the website
- Click Here for the list of AL and NL Cy Young Award winners as of 1956 from

Monday, November 15, 2010

2010 AL and NL Rookies of the Year

The results of the 2010 Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year awards are in and have been released to the masses. Congratulations to Neftali Feliz and Buster Posey for winning the American and National League Rookie of the Year award (respectively). According to the BBWAA website, the ballots were cast by two writers in each league city and the points were based on the 5-3-1 tabulation system. Voting was conducted before the start of the postseason. Both awards had very exciting young players in the running and the voting results has cause quite a bit of controversy. Let's start with the A.L.

Neftali Feliz of the American League Champion Texas Rangers received 20 of 28 first-place votes for a total of 122 points (20-7-1). Detroit Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson finished second with 98 points (8-19-1) and Danny Valencia of the Minnesota Twins came in third with 12 points (0-1-9). ***AUTHORS NOTE, The numbers in the parenthesis are the votes given for first-second-third places by the baseball writers.

Some feel that giving a closer who played in less than half of his team's games the award over an everyday player is wrong. One such view is seen with John Parent with his blogpost Austin Jackson Robbed of AL Rookie Vote on the Motor City Bengals website. Here is some of what he has to say:

Feliz had a fine season for the Rangers, to be sure. Never before has a rookie saved 40 games in a season, which Feliz did in 2010. I would have to assume the writer put a ton of stock into that useless statistic. I also am left to assume that they wanted to vote for a player who was in a pennant race.

All Jackson did in 2010 was lead American League rookies in hits, runs, doubles, triples, stolen bases, extra-base hits, and total bases. He batted .293/.345/.400 for the season. Though he hadn’t appeared in the majors before Opening Day, Jackson played in 151 games, logging over 1250 innings in centerfield, and did so while playing exceptional defense. He is the highest finishing Tiger position player since Lou Whitaker won the award in 1978.

While I agree with most of what Parent says about Jackson's worthiness, I don't agree with his discounting a save as a useless statistic. As we saw in the World Series, Texas manager Ron Washington's hesitation to use his closer to try and shut down the San Francisco Giants cost him a game and maybe the series. Feliz was one of the main reasons why the Rangers won the A.L. West and it can be argued that he was the second-best pitcher on the staff (behind Cliff Lee). I believe the biggest chink in Austin Jackson's armor was his league leading 170 strikeouts with a very low 47 walks. I think that if Jackson was a bit more selective at the plate, thereby lowering his strikeouts, he'd have been a slam-dunk for the Rookie of the Year. It also seems to me that the Rangers would not have won the division without Feliz while the Tigers wouldn't have been any worse without Jackson. Both players have the potential to be perennial All-Stars for years to come.

The National League Rookie of the Year was a bit more heated in terms of differing voices. Catcher Buster Posey if the World Champion San Francisco Giants is the 2010 Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year for the National League. Posey received 20 first-place votes out of a total of 32 votes for a total of 129 points (20-9-2). Outfielder Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves received nine first-place votes for a total of 107 points (9-20-2). Pitcher Jaime Garcia of the St. Louis Cardinals came in third with 24 points. 29 of the 32 potential first place votes were earned by Posey and Heyward. Here lies the controversy. Many people in cyberland feel how was it that both Posey and Heyward were unable to get the other three votes. In addition, two voters completely left Posey and Heyward off of their ballots. I'll touch on who got the other first-place votes then I'll go into who didn't vote for the favorites.

The other first-place votes went to third-place finisher Garcia who had one vote and Florida Marlins third baseman Gaby Sanchez who received two first-place votes. I believe that both players were deserving of their first-place votes since they were integral players on their respective teams. 

The next issue is a bit trickier. I'll start with Posey being left off first. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reported on his Twitter feed that the only voter to omit Buster Posey was Yasushi Kikuchi of the Kyodo News, LA-Anaheim Chapter. Kikuchi's vote breakdown was as so: 1. Sanchez, 2. Heyward, 3. Garcia. According to the Twitter feed of Henry Schulman who is a beat writer for the San Francisco Chronicle states: 

Yasushi Kikuchi, the LA-based writer to left Posey off his ballot, said the May 29 promotion was the reason why.....“Obviously it was a tough decision,” Kikuchi said. “To me, Rookie of the Year is the best rookie player throughout the whole season.

This scenario plays out similar to last year's A.L. MVP voting where winner Joe Mauer failed to garner a unanimous award by getting 31 of 32 first-place votes. The other vote went to Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera. The vote was placed by Kyodo News' Keizo Konishi, who covers the Seattle Mariners. Konishi said that he voted for Cabrera since he played a full season, as well as logging time for the Venezuelan team in the World Baseball Classic and Joe Mauer missed the first five weeks of the season (Mauer was on the disabled list causing him to miss the beginning of the season). Konishi and Kikuchi place the value of aiding the team for a full season and I have no problem with that point of view. In Posey's defense, it was the team that held him in the minors until late May and played up to all the hype once he did arrive in the majors. I also had that point of view when comparing Posey and Heyward since Heyward played since Opening Day. But after comparing their offensive statistics, both players had similar numbers with Posey achieving his in a third less at-bats (223 to be precise) while playing the hardest and most demanding position in the game. 

In terms of Heyward being left off the ballot, the scenario gets a little trickier. The only voter to omit Jason Heyward was Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He had Posey first, and Pittsburgh Pirates Neil Walker and Jose Tabata in second and third places (respectively). While at first Kovacevic's voting smells of hometown favoritism, he makes his defense on his Twitter feed. Here is some of what he said:

No one else cast a vote for Walker, an easy-to-make case for a top-three ROY performer. That, to me, underscores importance of local views.

Local writers will see/appreciate things a player can do that others might not. That counts, for a player's good facets and bad.

Felt firmly that my first-hand view of Walker/Tabata merited their ROY votes. I also respect right of anyone to disagree/vote differently.

I think this highlights a very important issue. In my opinion I believe that the national media tends to get hung up on the favorites and fails to look at other candidates. In the case of Kovacevic, I respect his choices and reasoning for voting for Walker and Tabata. He is able to see these players play on the field rather than through 30-second highlights or on a spreadsheet. The question is how can teams that play in smaller and largely ignored markets have the national media spotlight shine on their players alongside the favorites. Are they allowed to do a grassroots campaign to draw attention to their players? Can the teams contact the writers with information about the players? To be honest I don't know but it sounds like a good way to get these players out there. I'll look into it and update it accordingly. 

For a little trivia tidbit: Posey winning the NL Rookie of the Year ended a 36-year drought for the San Francisco Giants in the ROY awards. The last being pitcher John "The Count" Montefusco who won the award in 1975. Other Giants to win the award were a couple of guys named Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda and Gary Matthews. On the AL Rookie of the Year side, Neftali Feliz's winning of the award ended the longest drought of a team not winning a ROY. Rangers Mike Hargrove was the last Texas Rangers player to win the AL Rookie of the Year doing so in 1974.

Up next, NL Cy Young. 


For Further Reading
- Click Here for the official voting results for the 2010 AL and NL Rookie of the Year awards from
- Click Here for the list of all AL and NL Rookie of the Year Award winners since 1947
- Click Here for John Parent's defense of Austin Jackson for ROY from
- Click Here for Pittsburgh Blogger Richard Humes analysis of Dejan Kovacevic's votes for Neil Walker and Jose Tabata from This Is Getting Old Blogpage
- Click Here for Tyler Kepner's blogpost Belatedly, Voter Explains Why He Chose Cabrera Over Mauer for M.V.P. from the dated March 3, 2010 for Kezio Konishi's reasons for voting for Miguel Cabrera for MVP over Joe Mauer

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Oakland A's Are Making Waves

Of all the teams that baseball fans expected to make noise this winter, the Oakland A's would have barely registered as a blip on the radar. But here we are on November 14th and the A's have made a handful of moves to in an attempt to improve their team.

On November 8th I posted A's Win Bidding for Iwakuma. Why Bid?, which briefly described how the A's won the bidding for Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma. The potential starting lineup for the Oakland A's is as follows: Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, Dallas Braden, Brett Anderson and Hishashi Iwakuma. Everyone but Iwakuma is under 27 years of age with Iwakuma being 29 years old. The A's rotation has the potential to be as impressive as the early 2000's trio of Hudson, Zito and Mulder. Time will tell for the Oakland quintet. The A's did not only work on their pitching.

In a pair of moves, the A's claimed Edwin Encarnacion off of waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. This move seems to add some punch to the A's lineup. In 96 games, Encarnacion batted .244 hit 21 homers and drove in 51 RBI. Encarnacion hit 5 more homers than Oakland's homerun leader 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff and hit more than 2B Mark Ellis, 1B Daric Barton and SS Cliff Pennington combined. The A's also traded pitchers Vin Mazzaro and Justin Marks to the Kansas City Royals for OF David DeJesus. In 91 games for the Royals, DeJesus batted .318 with 5 homeruns and 37 RBI.

The A's did not pick up the option for expensive and injury prone Eric Chavez and have chosen not to resign free agents Ben Sheets and Justin Duchscherer. Rumors also have the A's potentially making an offer to free agent 3B Adrian Beltran so the A's might not be done making moves this offseason.

In stadium news, the A's are looking at various options for a new ballpark. One is a stadium in San Jose that the San Francisco Giants are blocking since the Giants say that San Jose is part of their fan base. Jesse McKinley of the New York Times describes the issues at play in his article Gloves Come Off in Bay Area Baseball Battle dated December 30, 2009. Another option has the Oakland Planning Commission meeting on December 1, 2010 to consider a proposal for a new 39,000-seat stadium located near Jack London Square near the Oakland side of San Francisco Bay. This proposal is being reviewed along with three other areas for a new stadium to keep the A's in Oakland.

In all, A's management is trying to improve on the 81-81 record the team posted this past season and try to pose a serious challenge to the American League Champion Texas Rangers in the American League Western Division.


For Further Reading:
- Click Here for the statistics on the 2010 Oakland Athletics from
- Click Here for MLB Trade Rumors post on the potential 2011 Oakland Athletics rotation
- Click Here for Carolyn Jones article from the San Francisco Chronicle titled Oakland proposed three sites for A's stadium dated November 11, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Old School Stats vs. New School Stats

For those of you who have read my blog in the past you know that I am somewhat middle of the road when it comes to Baseball statistics. Where I look at a player and how he performs on the field and what he means to his team, I also try to stay on top of the new forms of statistical analysis to measure a player's worth. I am finding that in the last few years the new forms of statistical analysis have grown to more influential levels within the baseball writing and blogging fraternity to the point that it seems that the game is being observed through the lens of statistics rather that through the lens of the action on the field. My question is can there be a balance between old school stats and new school stats rather than one being more valuable than another.

I recently read Marc Carig's blogpost today titled Derek Jeter, Gold Gloves and the problem of getting advanced stats into the paper. Carig is the New York Yankees beat writer for the New Jersey Star-Ledger and says that he often finds that he has to alter his baseball writing to reflect the demographic and the medium that he is writing for. I'll let you read his article to get the full effect of what he means. The one part of the post that really got to me was a book that he mentioned that he had read which opened his eyes on the application of newer statistical metrics for baseball analysis. The book is called Baseball Between the Numbers: Why Everything You Know About the Game Is Wrong and is written by The Baseball Prospectus Team of Experts. A. R. Sanderson of the University of Chicago provides the following review of the book:

Led by baseball historian/statistician Bill James and his disciples, and fueled by Michael Lewis's Moneyball (CH, Apr'04, 41-4733), the world of quantitative analysis of sports--on-field strategies, personnel decisions, longitudinal and contemporary comparisons of players--has mushroomed in recent years, especially in baseball. Newspaper sports columns, articles in serious academic journals, and popular books now feed sports-data junkies far better than the sports-talk radio programs do. The present title, a compilation of almost 30 stand-alone chapters, is the latest, and one of the best, of these products for the sports enthusiast. It is sure to stimulate conversations in the stands, create arguments around water coolers, and perhaps settle a few bar bets. Is Barry Bonds better than Babe Ruth? How best to juggle pitchers--starters and relievers--and how much pitching is actually necessary? How does one really measure ERA, determine Gold Glove recipients, factor in the effect of Coors Field (in mile-high Denver) or steroids on performance statistics? How valuable are some owners and managers? What are the economics behind player salaries and ticket prices, payroll caps, the value of a new ball park to a city? These are but a few of the controversial questions that Click et al. tackle in this book, which is a home run for baseball enthusiasts and sabermetrician wannabes. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers, all levels. -- A. R. Sanderson, University of Chicago

I'm thankful for Carig for his mentioning this book in his post since I have jokingly told Pete and Justin that I need to pickup "Baseball Metrics for Dummies" to make heads or tails on the multitude of metrics that are out there. Maybe after reading this book I'll be able to see the game from a different point of view. Hopefully I can merge both POV's into a version that will further aid me in my analysis of the game. I'll let you know how I feel about it after I get my hands on the book.


For Further Reading:
- Click Here for Marc Carig's blogpage
- Click Here for Marc Carig's New Jersey Star-Ledger page on the webpage
- Click Here for the Baseball Prospectus webpage

Thursday, November 11, 2010

2010 American and National League Silver Slugger

Next for the year-end awards is the 2010 Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award. This is the 30th anniversary of the award being established to honor the best hitter per position. Winners of the award were determined by voting conducted among Major League managers and coaches, who were asked to name the players at each position in the National and American Leagues who put up the best seasons at the plate. Voters were forbidden from voting for players from their own clubs.

Without further ado here is the list of the 2010 American and National League Silver Slugger Award winners (parenthesis denotes times won):

American League
Joe Mauer C (4)
Miguel Cabrera 1B (3)
Robinson Canó 2B (2)
Alexei Ramírez SS (1)
Adrian Beltré 3B (2)
Carl Crawford OF (1)
Josh Hamilton OF (2)
Miguel Bautista OF (1)
Vladimir Guerrero DH (8)

National League
Brian McCann C (4)
Albert Pujols 1B (6)
Dan Uggla 2B (1)
Troy Tulowitzki SS (1)
Ryan Zimmerman 3B (1)
Ryan Braun OF (3)
Matt Holliday OF (4)
Carlos Gonzalez OF (1)
Yovani Gallardo P (1)

Interesting Info:
Guerrero won his 8th award as a DH for the American League Texas Rangers and is his first since coming over to the American League. His 7 prior awards were won while in Montreal.


For Further Reading:
- Click Here for the Official Louisville Slugger webpage for more information on the award

2010 American and National League Gold Glove Winners

The awards season is upon us in Major League Baseball and first is the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards. This year marks the 53rd anniversary of the award being given to the best defensive players at each position. Voting for the Gold Glove Awards is done by managers and coaches from all 30 teams who submitted their votes by the end of the regular season. Votes are cast for the best defensive player at each position in each league, except in the outfield, where the top three defensive players are selected regardless of position. Managers and coaches can only vote for players in their own league and can't vote for their own players.

Without going into the controversy of Derek Jeter winning his 5th Gold Glove, here is the list of the 2010 American and National League Gold Glove Award winners (parenthesis denotes times won):

American League
Mark Teixiera 1B (4)
Robinson Cáno 2B (1)
Evan Longoria 3B (2) 
Derek Jeter SS (5)
Joe Mauer C (3)
Carl Crawford OF (1)
Franklin Gutiérrez OF (1)
Ichiro Suzuki OF (10)
Mark Buherle P (2)

National League
Yadier Molina C (3)
Albert Pujols 1B (2)
Brandon Phillips 2B (2)
Scott Rolen 3B (8)
Troy Tulowitzki SS (1)
Carlos Gonzalez OF (1)
Shane Victorino OF (3)
Michael Bourne OF (2)
Bronson Arroyo P (1)

Interesting Info
Scott Rolen has won the award with 3  different teams (Philadelphia, St. Louis, Cincinnati). Ichiro has won the award in every year he's been in the majors (10). I guess I'll mention Jeter after all, with his winning the award at the age of 36, he becomes the oldest Shortstop to win a Gold Glove since Luis Aparicio did it in 1970. For those of you who haven't a clue of the Jeter Gold Glove controversy, just do an online search for Jeter, Gold Glove and Metrics and see what comes up. I think you'll find what I mean in no time.


For Further Reading:
- Click Here for the Official Rawlings Gold Glove webpage for more information on the award

Monday, November 8, 2010

A's Win Bidding for Iwakuma. Why Bid?

It was announced today by agent Don Nomura on Twitter that the Oakland Athletics won the bidding for the opportunity to sign Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma of the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Nippon Professional Baseball League (NPB). Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle puts the bid within the $17 million dollar range (according to her sources). The A's now have thirty days in which they have to negotiate a contract with Iwakuma and pay the posting fee or if they don't negotiate a deal, they don't have to pay the posting fee to the Golden Eagles. For those of you who don't know why the A's (or any other Major League Team for that matter) would have to bid for the services of a player in the NPB, the contractual issues with Hideo Nomo, Hideki Irabu and Alfonso Soriano in the Nineties led to the development of the "Posting System". The roots go a bit further into history and point to the year 1964. (Photo courtesy of

There was a player exchange between the San Francisco Giants and the Nankai Hawks in the form of 19-year old pitcher Masanoru Murakami. The Giants were impressed with Murakami's showing while with the minor league Fresno Giants that they decided to sign him to a major league contract making Murakami the first Japanese ballplayer in the major leagues. After the 1964 season Murakami signed a one year deal with the Giants. Upon his return to Japan during the offseason, the Hawks convinced him to stay in Japan and Murakami signed a contract with the Hawks for the 1965 season. This left Murakami contractually obligated to pitch for two teams at the same time and the Giants had paid the fee of $10,000 dollars to the Hawks to retain Murakami for the 1965 season. After some back and forth bickering between the heads of both leagues, a resolution was found. Murakami would be allowed to return to the San Francisco Giants for the 1965 season and then return to play in Japan for the Nankai Hawks for the 1966 season. Murakami would finish his career in Japan.

Since there were tense moments in the dealings between the leagues due to the Murakami situation, the leagues adopted the U.S.-Japan Player Contract Agreement which was also known as the Working Agreement in 1966. The agreement called for both sides to respect each other's contracts, rules and agreements between the teams and their players. In essence this prohibited the raiding of players by both leagues. This agreement stood in place until the year of 1994 with the retirement of Hideo Nomo from the NPB and his signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers of MLB.

Robert Whiting of the Japan Times has an amazing four-part series on the Hideo Nomo's legacy both here in the U.S. and Japan. I'll leave it to you to read them since Whiting covers all the bases when it comes to Nomo and the factors that caused him to leave the NPB to play in MLB. What I will say is that in conjunction with Japanese-American agent Don Nomura, a loophole in the NPB player contract was exploited allowing for Nomo to become a free agent. Nomo retired from the Kintetsu Buffaloes following the 1994 season. If he chose to return to play in Japan, then the Buffaloes would still own his rights. This didn't mean that Nomo couldn't take his services to other baseball leagues including MLB. (Photo courtesy of

Two other players represented by Don Nomura tested the Working Agreement and led to it being changed. In 1997 the Chiba Lotte Marines and the San Diego Padres worked out a trade for pitcher Hideki Irabu. Irabu refused to play for the Padres and insisted that the only team he wanted to play for was the New York Yankees. The Padres eventually traded Irabu to the Yankees (and we all know how that trade worked out). The second player was Alfonso Soriano of the Hiroshima Carp. Soriano wanted out of his contract with the Carp after the 1997 season and hired Nomura to get him released from his agreement with the team. Soriano would end up signing with the New York Yankees after MLB commissioner Bud Selig deemed him to be a free-agent leaving the Carp with no type of compensation.

In 1998 the system was changed by both MLB commissioner Bud Selig and NPB commissioner Hiromori Kawashima. Rob Smaal in his article Unraveling the mysteries of the posting system on the Asahi Shimbun english website describes the Posting system as follows:

Under the system, a player contracted to an NPB team, who wishes to move to the major leagues prior to reaching free agency, can request that his Japanese club post him. If--and that's a big "if"--his NPB club agrees, the MLB Commissioner's Office is informed and a "silent auction" is held.

Any major-league club wishing to attain the posted player's exclusive negotiating rights then submits a sealed bid through the MLB Commissioner's Office. Once the secret bids have been opened, the player's NPB team is then told the top bid amount, but not which MLB club made the highest offer.

If the NPB team agrees to the posting fee, the MLB club that made the winning bid is revealed and that club then has 30 days to work out a deal with the player, which is separate from the posting fee.

If the two sides can reach a deal, then the NPB club is paid the entire posting fee, which have so far ranged anywhere from $300,000 (25 million yen) up to the staggering $51.1 million the Boston Red Sox paid the Seibu Lions in 2006 for the negotiating rights to right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka.

If the NPB club is not satisfied with the bid amount, or if no deal can be worked out between the player and the bid-winning MLB team, or if no MLB teams bid on the player, then his NPB club retains his rights.

Is the system fool-proof? Absolutely not. What it ensures that the NPB is allowed to retain their best talent for a number of years before players turn their sights towards MLB. It allows for the teams to recoup part of their investment in players after the players leave for the majors. If the posting system wasn't in place, then most of Japan's best players would be "cherry-picked" by MLB teams leaving the NPB a shell of what it is now. As we've seen in the examples of Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui that the Japanese players can play and succeed in the majors.

Going back to Hisashi Iwakuma, Iwakuma in a 10-year career with the Kintestu Buffaloes and the Rakuten Golden Eagles is 101-62 with a 3.32 ERA in 1422 innings pitches and 46 complete games and 5 shutouts. He has struck out 1085 batters while walking 323 and allowing 1408 hits. Iwakuma's best season came in 2008 when he was 21-4 with a 1.87 ERA in 201.2 innings pitched with 5 complete games and 2 shutouts. He struck 0ut 159 batters while walking only 36 and giving up 161 hits. We'll see if the A's can hammer out a deal with Iwakuma's representatives within the next 30-days. If they can, the A's are lined up to have a very impressive starting rotation for the upcoming 2011 season.


For Further Reading:
- Click Here for Rob Smaal's article titled Unraveling the Mysteries of the Posting System from the Asahi Shimbun english webpage dated 09/30/2010
- Click Here for Rob Smaal's article titled Work in Progress from the Asahi Shimbun english webpage dated 10/02/2010
- Click Here for Hisashi Iwakuma's statistics page from the NPB english website
- Click Here for Masanori Murakami's statistics page from the website
- Click Here for Hideo Nomo's statistics page from the website
- Click Here for the Hideki Irabu statistics page from the website
- Click Here for the Alfonso Soriano statistics page from the website
- Click Here to access Robert Whiting's articles from the Japan Times website
- Click Here to access Patrick Newman's thoughts of Hisashi Iwakuma from dated 10/18/2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

George "Sparky" Anderson 1934-2010

Sparky Who? Yes folks, that's what the headlines read in Cincinnati when George Anderson, otherwise known as Sparky was hired to manage the Cincinnati Reds for the 1970 season. Could you blame the Cincinnati press for saying that? Anderson played for only season with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1959 after being drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1953. In his only major league season, Anderson batted .218 with 0 HRs and 34 RBI. He had 9 doubles, 3 triples and 6 stolen bases while playing in 152 games at second base. His only major league coaching experience came in the form of the assistant coach to Preston Gomez of the expansion San Diego Padres in 1969. So like I said, can you blame them for saying "Sparky Who?". Well, Sparky proved to them who he was as a manager.

From 1970-1978, Anderson led a team like no other. Made up of three Hall of Famers (Bench, Morgan, Perez), a (hopefully) future Hall of Famer (Pete Rose), solid position players (Concepcion, Dressen, Foster, Griffey Sr., Geronimo) and pitchers (Gullett, Billingham, Grimley, Borbon, Norman) this team truly lived up to their moniker of the Big Red Machine. During those nine seasons, the team went 863-586 for a winning percentage of .596 for an average of 95.9 wins a season. Their most impressive season was 1975 when the won 108 games (to 54 losses) and winning the Championship in arguably the most exciting World Series going seven games against the Boston Red Sox. In total, Anderson's Reds won five National League West titles (1970, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1976), four National League Pennants (1970, 1972, 1975, 1976) and were repeat World Series Champions in 1975 and 1976 (Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees) while losing to the Baltimore Orioles (1970) and the Oakland A's (1972) in the World Series. What I find surprising during Anderson's tenure as the Reds' manager was that he never won the Manager of the Year Award (Until 1982, there was only one award given shared by both leagues. Since 1983, an award was given to an American and National League manager). After two straight second-place seasons (1977-1978), Anderson was fired as manager of the Cincinnati Reds when he refused to replace part of his coaching staff.

He would return to the majors mid-way during the 1979 season as the manager of the Detroit Tigers. From 1979-1995, Anderson's Tigers went 1331-1248 for a winning percentage of .516. Their best season was the magical season of 1984 when the Tigers galloped to a 35-5 record and didn't look back winning 104 games (to 58 losses) and winning the World Series against the San Diego Padres in five games. Not only did Anderson win his first American League Manager of the Year Award, he also gained the honor of being the first manager to win a World Series in both leagues (in 2006, Tony LaRussa joined him as his 1989 Oakland A's and the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals both won World Titles). Anderson would also win the American League Manager of the Year Award in 1987. In total, Anderson's Tigers won two American League East Titles (1984, 1987), one American League Pennant (1984) and one World Series Title (1984). Anderson was dismissed from his duties as manager during the 1995 season. It was at this point that Anderson retired from baseball.

Anderson was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000 along side his Cincinnati Reds player Tony Perez and Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox catching legend Carlton Fisk. With a 2194-1834 record Sparky is sixth on the All-Time wins list behind such managerial legends as Connie Mack, John McGraw, Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre. Anderson would pass away due to complications from dementia on November 4th.

I'll always remember watching Sparky Anderson on TV when those dirty looking Tigers players (and I mean that with the most utmost respect because those Tigers teams were gritty and tough) played the Yankees on WPIX 11 amid the backdrop of old Tiger Stadium and thinking how old was he. LOL. He may have looked old was was definitely a young man in heart and soul. Rest in peace Sparky. Keep taking those pitchers out of the game from behind the pearly gates.


For Further Reading:
- Click Here for Sparky Anderson's Obituary from the New York Times, November 4, 2010
- Click Here for John Erardi's article Sparky Anderson, Reds Great Dies from dated November 4, 2010
- Click Here for an article from the Detroit Free Press describing how Sparky Anderson will be remembered on
- Click Here for the Sports Illustrated article on Sparky Anderson's passing from
- Click Here to read Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda's dedication to his friend Sparky Anderson from his blog Tommy's World
- Click Here to view Sparky Anderson's statistics as a player from
- Click Here to view Sparky Anderson's Manager statistics from

Monday, November 1, 2010

Are Yankees Fans As Bad As Greenberg Says?

While I think that Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg is entitled to his opinion, I think he used a wide brush to generalize the behavior of ALL Yankees fans when comparing them to the Rangers fans during the ALCS. At the same, I won't say that he was entirely wrong. This what he said:

“I think our fans have been great,” Texas Rangers’ CEO Chuck Greenberg said on the “Ben and Skin Show” on 103.3 KESN. “I think particularly in Game 3 of the World Series they just blew away anything I’ve seen in any venue during the postseason. I thought Yankee fans, frankly, were awful. They were either violent or apathetic, neither of which is good. So I thought Yankee fans were by far the worst of any I’ve seen in the postseason. I thought they were an embarrassment.”

Those of who know me know that I am a lifelong Yankees fan and that I like to refer to a segment of Yankees fans as "Asshole Yankees fans". Those are the ones who fiercely heckle opposing players, fans, bystanders anyone who disagrees with their point of view. These are the fans that act boorish and that's without the aid of alcohol. Introduce that accelerant and things get worse. Trust me. I've worked in bars since 1995, its not only seen at the stadium. Plus each team has these fans. It's not a New York City exclusive.

In terms of apathy, all you needed to see was how the Stadium started to clear out during the 8th and 9th evenings before the game was even over. This is a team that as we saw in Game 1 can just bout an opposing team with runs. Sure, we know now that the Yanks feel flat on their faces but for those fans who chose to bail instead of waiting for the last out if the game are the ones I would agree with Greenberg as being the apathetic ones. I've seen those enough times at my visits to Old and New Yankee Stadiums. The people who have primo seats and pass their time on the phone with God knows who instead of watching the game. These "fans" know the names of players in passing and can maybe give you one important baseball fact aside from the ball being round. Am I being harsh? I've seen it with my two eyes and have had it sit right next to me. Give credit to the Rangers' fans who stood and cheered their team on until the final out as their team won in Game 3 and lost in Game 4. Maybe they did so since they haven't been spoiled with a team that makes they playoffs year in and year out. May they don't have unrealistic expectations that their team HAS to win the World Series every year (though we know that is an impossibility) or else the season was a failure. Remind you of a certain segment of a New York City's baseball team? BTW, I'm not referring to the team that plays in Queens.

Do I think Greenberg was right in his assessment? Partially yes and partially no. Like I said earlier, I think he used a wide brush as he generalized that all Yankees fans are Violent and Apathetic. The same way that sone fans treated Cliff Lee's wife rudely during the playoff. Every bunch if apples has their rotten ones, just don't describe and discard the whole bunch as being rotten. Just discard the bad ones.