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Friday, March 12, 2004

DID AL REYES ON SEPTEMBER 25, 1999 CHANGE EVERYTHING?

The reports indicated that the Red Sox and Nomar have had varying opinions on his “market value” during these changing economic times in baseball. It should no longer be much of an issue with the acquisition of A-Hole and the signing of Tejada. Baseball “market value” is based primarily on historical performance for a number of reasons. With that in mind, Nomar’s “market value” is above Tejada’s roughly $12 million salary and A-Hole’s salary paid by the MFY at $16 million. Both Nomar and the Sox appear to not have issue with the length of the proposal (three years), so a contract around $42 million should be considered “market value.” The issues are will Nomar’s future performance mirror his historical production and are better alternatives available.

Beside that fact that Nomar was an all-world hitter prior to his wrist injury, the only good comparables (shortstops in the modern era), in terms of getting a gauge for future performance is HOF, Ernie Banks. One player is too small of a sample size to draw any type of conclusions about Nomar’s future performance (I will mention that Banks did not put up an OPS+ greater than 120 after the age of 30) so a hard look at his past performance in relation to a larger sample is the best way to measure Nomar’s future value.

A hitter’s value is mostly measured by his ability to contribute to putting runs on the scoreboard by getting on-base/scoring runs and hitting for power/driving in runs. A player’s OBP and SLG are the mainstream statistics that measure the aforementioned skills. Any keen observer of the Red Sox is acutely aware of the fact that Nomar rarely EARNS a walk. The pitcher usually walks Nomar. He is up there to swing the bat and most times he makes contact. Fortunately, Nomar hits for a high average leading to an above average on-base percentage. Another way to put it is that a lot of Nomar’s OBP is tied up in his ability to hit for average and for most players that is a risky strategy.

The table below is in Baseball Prospectus 2004 Book in the Baltimore Orioles chapter.

Correlation for batters, per PA, consecutive seasons >200 at-bats, all players 1969-2003

K - .837
SB - .829
BB - .751
HR - .750
1B - .585
O - .583 (batting an out)
H - .450
3B - .412
2B - .384

K, SB, BB, and HR have a high correlation in consecutive seasons; thus a player’s performance in these areas from one year to the next should be similar. Three of the four (K, BB, HR) are battles between the pitcher and hitter only. The outcome is not dependent upon the eight other defensive players on the field. Luck plays a bigger role in the other outcomes. Hence, “Events that come primarily from a player’s own skill will be very highly correlated for the same player from one season to the next; events that are mostly luck will have low correlations” (Huckabay, et al). Since Nomar relies on hits (.450) as his primary weapon to getting on-base, Nomar’s OBP will likely vary from year to year and this has held true throughout his career. Half of Nomar’s value as a hitter is highly variable.

The other half, his ability to hit for power and drive in runs, is also variable. Nomar’s SLG has become less influence by home runs from 1998 as the table below illustrates (year – SLG - XBH/PA; 2B+3B/PA; HR/PA):

98 – 584 - .1227/.0690/.0537
99 – 603 - .1227/.0773/.0454
00 – 599 - .1252/.0902/.0351
02 – 528 - .1227/.0880/.0346
03 – 524 - .1085/.0695/.0389

Other than in 2003, Nomar’s HR/PA has dropped each full season while XBH/PA has stayed steady. The declining homerun rate is not a positive trend.

The more concerning development is the overall drop in slugging percentage post-wrist injury caused by, the previously discussed, drop in HR/PA and XBH/PA. Intuitively one would think that a decrease in G/F ratio would increase SLG, but the opposite is true of Nomar. Nomar had a G/F ratio greater than 1.16 from 1998-2000 or his 584+SLG years, when he hit the majority of his balls on the ground. In 2002 and 2003, Nomar’s G/F ratio dropped to .71 and .73, respectfully, but his SLG dropped as well. It seems that Nomar hit a high percentage of his fly balls with authority increasing the likelihood for XBH from 98-00 and even though Nomar hit more fly balls in 02-03, the majority was of the weaker variety resulting in outs or singles rather than XBH. A professional scout(s) after a five season at-bats review would be the best resource to comment on the above statement and be able to recognize any differences in pre and post-injury. Since both the numbers and the conclusion of the above analysis can not both be positive, the most optimist outlook is that it would be difficult to forecast Nomar’s future ability to hit for power increasing the risk of a long-term deal.

The possible 2004 winter free agent alternatives in the infield (less first baseman) are Eric Chavez, Edgar Renteria, Orlando Cabrera and Jose Vidro. (Of course, we could discuss the tons of scenarios to offset the possible loss of Nomar’s production but that would go on forever.) Chavez would be a less risky investment for numerous reasons with similar upside of Nomar, although it is unlikely that he is leaving Oakland. Chavez has hired former Red Sox post season killer, Dave Stewart as his agent and the talk is of signing a “fair” deal for both parties soon. Negotiations are ongoing; the deal will get done. Cabrera would not come close to filling the shoes of Nomar. A O.C. signing would have to be in conjunction with the inking of Vidro. Prior to last season, Vidro’s OBP was tied to his AVG like Nomar, but not to that extreme. Vidro also has not shown nearly the same amount of power as Nomar throughout his career. The same can be said of Renteria. Other than Chavez (an unlikely free agent), there is no upcoming infield free agent alternative that can fulfill Nomar’s past production making the decision an even more difficult one.

The Sox should not sign Nomar to a long-term deal this spring. There is too much risk involved. A reasonable and conservative projection for Nomar in 2005 and beyond is 285/330/480. Vidro, Renteria and Cabrera could put up that line and their upcoming salaries may not top $10 million. Paying $14 million for those numbers at shortstop is not cost effective. Thus, the Sox should wait to sign Nomar. Waiting on Nomar does run the risk of further alienating him, but only the Cubs and Anaheim have the resources to match the Sox and an opening at shortstop. The Sox can certainly top any offer made by another club. Hopefully, Nomar can regain his power of the past in 2004 and the Sox ink Nomar a week after the parade.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

There was a strong indication yesterday that the Sox are making serious bids to re-sign Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra, and Jason Varitek before the end of spring training, according to one industry source with knowledge of the talks. The team has made offers to all three players, with the offer to Garciaparra believed to be for three years plus an option.

I am working hard on getting my Nomar analysis completed. It is going very well. I hope to have it done by next week at the latest. Hopefully, Pedro's will be done prior to Opening Day and I am against a long-term deal for V-Tek.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Just in case you missed this Jim Caple article about Red Sox Nation on Page 2.

REELING IN THE EVIL EMPIRE?

Later this month, three people have the power to significantly reduce the possibility of the MFY topping the $200 million dollar payroll figure. Louis Bechtle, Stanley Sporkin and Richard Aurelio may have more say about the MFY 2005 player salary budget than anyone directly affiliated with MLB. The three make up the arbitration panel that will decide the fate of the Yankees’ YES Network on Cablevision, which has 2.9 million subscribers in the NYC metro area and owned by former Red Sox bidder and Boy George hater, Charlie Dolan.

As Doug Pappas states on his blog,

The big issue is whether YES will air on the expanded basic cable tier, which will force all Cablevision subscribers to pay for it, or as a premium channel which most Cablevision subscribers won't buy. The arbitrators will also determine the price Cablevision must pay for YES, and the length of the contract between YES and Cablevision.

Moreover, if Cablevision wins and is able to move YES to a premium tier, clauses in YES's contracts with other New York-area cable systems will allow these operators to do the same. YES currently collects an average of $2.12 per month for every cable subscriber with expanded basic. If relegated to a premium tier then even at a higher price per customer, its revenues would be likely to fall by 50% or more.


It is estimated that the MFY are operating very close to break even in 2004 with a payroll of $185 million. If the ruling is in the MFY favor resulting in YES airing on the expanded basic cable tier like NESN, than it should increase the MFY revenue from cable operators and player’s payroll. If the panel sides with Cablevision, it will at least make Boy George think twice about adding players because he and his partners will likely be operating at a loss. An experience the MFY organization has probably not dealt with in sometime.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

HISTORIANS SHOULD WATCH THEIR WORDS

If Barry Bonds and others used steroids to achieve record breaking levels, than asterisks will and should be next to their names in the books. But each name should have an asterisk because:

• Babe Ruth never played against any people of color.
• Ted Williams missed a few seasons in his prime to fight for our country.
• Bonds uses, arguably, a better/harder type of wood bat. He’ll get two stars next to his name.
• Steve Carlton pitched on a higher mound than Pedro Martinez.
• Curt Schilling extensively use of video allows him to better prepare for the opposition than Tom Seaver.
• Willie Mays never saw a split finger fastball from Roger Clemens.

And let’s not forget park factors. I can go on and on. My point is that the use of steroids should be viewed as just another factor in any analysis comparing players of different eras. The real issue is that “baseball” has deemed steroid use as an unfair advantage and thus, it improperly gave certain players and teams an advantage over others.

FANS DO MATTER

Scott Williamson tells Jeff Horrigan that we, fans, played a part in his decision to drop his demand for a trade.

…Williamson was caught off guard by the passion and intense interest that New Englanders have for the Sox. Living just a few blocks from Fenway Park, he likened his walk to work to a stroll down the red carpet.

``It was awesome,'' the right-hander said. ``My wife and my parents and her parents were just amazed by it. There are all of these people lining the street and cops on horses and they form this long line that you have to walk through to get into the park. It's such a great feeling.''

``To play in Fenway Park in front of a sold-out crowd all the time is amazing, but I can't even explain what it was like in the playoffs,'' Williamson said. ``When the fans were standing and I struck out a guy, it sounded like an airplane was flying right over my head.''



Tuesday, March 02, 2004

COMING TO THE SOX

The following is great stuff from Paul Hagen and the Philadelphia Daily News from the mouth of Curt Schilling.

"That was a huge part of the attraction," he said. "I assessed the potential teams, all the pros and cons. And the Red Sox had one thing that no other team could offer. Instead of looking at it as a negative, I looked at it as a positive. The chance to step up and help this team (win) the World Series for the first time in 86 years.

"I've established myself by being at my best when it's on the line. People say I like the attention. It's not that. It's that I like to succeed when it's do or die. I went after it harder this winter than I've ever gone after it before, because it's the first time I've been in a win-or-else situation. We're not allowed to lose. And I love that."

"If we lose, it's really going to suck. Because these fans have welcomed me with open arms," he said. "I know as soon as I don't do as well as they expect they're going to be all over me. But that's all right, too.

"It's different here. It truly is. There are whole generations of fans, from children to their grandparents. It's like another element, another set of eyes watching you all the time."

Monday, March 01, 2004

EVERY GAME COUNTS

The old media has totally focused on Sox-MFY and the internet media has flirted with the notion that Toronto could take one of the two top spot if all of the stars are aligned, but the club that could stand in the Sox way to a playoff berth is Baltimore. Yes, the O's and here is why.

Last season, the Sox only won one more game than they lost against Baltimore - 10 up and 9 down. The O's played the Sox tough; the run differential was only six runs in the Sox favor. The series was even. On the other hand, the MFY went 13-6-1 with a plus 42 runs (I do not understand the tie. Two ties last season! I was always thought there was "no crying in baseball" and tie games.)

According to Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA system, the three aforementioned members of the AL B-East have significantly improved their run differential over last season: the Sox + 108, MFY +105 and O's +93. The Sox are much improved but so are the O’s. It is not going to get any easier for the Sox when they take on the boys from Camden Yard (maybe my favorite park). The season series could make or break their shot at the playoffs if the MFY continue to dominate the Birds.


Saturday, February 28, 2004

Because the history of catchers' careers is so consistent, so clear, that even the most ignorant of baseball executives can't ignore what will probably happen to Rodriguez within the next two or three seasons.

Statistically, the three most similar players to Rodriguez through age 31 were Ted Simmons, Yogi Berra, and Gary Carter. Throw Johnny Bench and Bill Dickey into the mix, and the forecast is inescapable: great-hitting catchers generally don't remain great hitters once they're into their middle 30s.


Rob Neyer concludes that the nine greatest hitting catchers' performance dropped a cumulative 31% when comparing their numbers at age 28-31 and 32-35. Obviously, Rob Neyer is analyzing Pudge Rodriguez’s deal with the Tigers but it should be applied to Jason Varitek’s contract situation as well. V-Tek.com does not have the same track record as Pudge or his comparables in Neyer’s piece but the outcome is the same. Here is a list of Tek’s comparables with significant playing time and their AVG OPS+ from age 30-32 each year follows in brackets, then from 33-35:

Aaron Robinson – 135 (141/147/118) – 100 (95/119/87)
Sandy Alomar – 87 (74/127/59) – 86 (111/82/65)
Darrin Fletcher – 104 (115/91/107) – 76 (116/60/52)
Mike Macfarlane – 101 (107/86/111) – 77 (85/79/66)
Don Slaught – 114 (94/132/116) – 116 (146/112/90)
Roy Campanella – 117 (121/155/75) – 108 (153/89/81)

By just comparing the three year averages, two players did not decline, three dropped more than 25% and one, Roy Campanella, slipped at little. Campanella was included in Neyer’s article or the aforementioned 31%, so I’ll discontinue analyzing of the HOFer’s career. The three that dropped significantly are further of evidence of Neyer’s theory. The two others, Sandy Alomar and Don Slaught, need further discussion.

Slaught was never a full-time catcher. He was a backup with a good stick. Slaught’s lack of at-bats in both subsets eliminates him as a good comparable to Tek. As for Alomar, his age 33-35 seasons were cut short due to multi-injuries playing in only 207 games over the three years; not enough data. (Some of the comparables listed above did have fewer at-bats in the age 33-35 set. The lack of at-bats was, mostly, caused by their lack of production at the plate which is further proof of a big decline in performance for catcher as they age. Thus, the general small sample size issue should be ignored in this analysis.)

Jason Varitek can certainly buck the trend by putting up 100+ OPS+ seasons at age 33-35, but the Vegas odds are against him. Many media members report that Tek has tremendous value in the clubhouse and with the pitching staff. I do not doubt that, but it can’t be easily measured like homeruns and translated into dollars. Assuming Tek's intangibles do not diminish, it is still a big risk to sign him to a fair market extension - Javy Lopez's deal at $22.5 million and three years is likely the mark - with the history of catchers in their mid-30's.

Another year of data on Varitek will only assist in evaluating his future and more importantly, the potential of Kelly Shopach. Currently, it is too risky to investment $20+ million in a player hoping that he will be the outlier among his peers.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

UNPLEASANT, THEN PLEASANT SURPRISE

After hitting the gym and grabbing a bite to eat at Ken’s Pizza, (BTW, Ken’s has two plasma sets and the dish network. It will be my new hangout if MLB Extra Innings is ordered.) I walked home and checked the mail. And to my surprise, the latest Sports Illustrated was in my box. I am not a big fan of SI or any paper periodicals for that matter. If I can read the article without having to wait for the mail, flip through pages and ads to get to the story, then all the better. I find paper periodicals annoying. But I had the mag in-hand, so in-between commercial breaks of West Wing, I flipped through my free SI and to my amazement Moneyball author Michael Lewis wrote an epilogue in response to all of the criticism his book has received from the old school baseball community. It is brilliant like Moneyball. I highly recommend reading both of Lewis’ work on baseball.

The links below have excerpts of Lewis’ article and commentary. The article is not on the net yet.
Bronx Banter
Dodger Thoughts
Futility Infielder

Lewis’ comments and opinion of Ringolsby and Morgan are tough but seem to be accurate. Early last summer, Ringolsby and I had an email exchange regarding the A's draft philosophy. I opted not to post Ringolsby’s reply on El Guapo’s Ghost. He did not understand the central theme of my note and his prose and grammar were less than professional. It was not worthy of being on my blog.

Have a good weekend. I hope for post on V-Tek.com over the weekend and update site links. The next couple of weeks are going to be very busy so do not anticipate many posts. I will have an opinion posted on Nomar and Pedro's contract situation prior to Opening Day along with other news of interest.

MY FANTASY LINEUP

1. Dirty Damon - sees nearly an average of four pitches per plate appearance
2. Space Cadet - without a doubt the best hitter on the club and should be in a position make the biggest impact by maximizing his possible plate appearances
3. Nomah - second best hitter
4. Mo Light - third most productive at the plate
5. Want to be Texan from L.A. - see below
6. Trot the Tank - a better hitter than Millar but need a RHB to eliminate the effectiveness of the LOOGY in the late innings
7. V-Tek - projects as a better hitter than Ferris
8. Ferris B-Mueller
9. Pokey no-Power or Liberty Bell-horn

Over the past three seasons, the Red Sox number two hitters have had roughly an average of 20 more plate appearances than the number three guys. Even though Manny is a far superior hitter over the current consensus number two hitter, Mueller, it would only save the Sox about one out in the twenty PAs. It is not worth giving the talk shows and main stream media hacks additional ammo. If I were making out the lineup card, I would drop everyone down a spot after Damon and place Mueller in the two hole.

Mueller is also being considered for the leadoff spot after his fantastic 2003 season. Many folks point to Mueller 398 OBP in 2003 and his 383 OBP average over the last three season as justification for the leadoff spot. OBP is important, but not the first consideration for a leadoff hitter. It is the number of pitches seen per plate appearance, then OBP, then above average speed and power. As Damon stated in the Globe.

"We beat up on pitchers, and that's my job in the leadoff spot," he said. "I know I could hit for a higher average, but how the rest of the team would adjust, I don't know."

Damon sees more pitches than Mueller which tilts the scale over to the centerfielder. Damon also has an above average OBP, good wheels and doubles power. Mueller would be a good leadoff hitter; he just is not the best option for the Sox.

It is likely that the lineup will be different versus southpaw starters with at least one of the RHB (Burks and Kapler) in for Ortiz and/or Nixon. But do not be concerned, the Sox, at most, should only see 45 AL LHP in the first inning. Plus, a healthy Burks can rake!

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

SLAP HITS AND QUICK LINKS

• Ian Brown of MLB.com reported on Fox New England Sports Tonight that Pedro has mentioned to David Ortiz that he has thrown in the high 90s this winter. It is on!

• Who’s afraid of Big Bad Bud? The Big Bad Bud…The Big Bad Bud…the Wisconsin tax payers. Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO explores the Brewers sketchy financial situation. One Wisconsin Government Official in the segment says, "Be prepared Bud is on the way." DC, Portland, Northern Virginia and other cities interested in the Expos should take his words to heart. Doug Pappas, how many more days in Big Bad Bud’s tenure as Commissioner?

Caple on Henry the Hypocrite.

• The MFY can not be confident in Giambi's health with Tony the former Tiger Clark and Travis Ordinary Lee signed to guaranteed contracts. Good times. Good times.

• The Sox have only knuckleballer Charlie Zink in BP's top 50 prospects with Youkilis and Shoppach listed as honorable mentions. The MFY do have a prospect to deal in July by the name of Dioner Navarro.

Jayson Starks covers the arrival of Nomar and Pedro and no one seems to be interested in the upcoming season. The talk is about 2005 and 2003. It is 2004, right? How about some media attention about the best Red Sox team in the past twenty years?

• I agree with Greg Dickerson and Papa Jack that "Somebody's Got to Pay" should be the team’s new motto.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

WARNING NON-BASEBALL RELATED POST!

Robert Kuttner has a great editorial on Howard Dean and his campaign. It is the first national accurate look at the Dr. Dean. I would also credit Dean, in part, with the record breaking primary turnout. If this occurs in November, the Democrats will make a bid for taking control of the House as well as the White House. Highlights of Kuttner’s article include:

He got into the race early -- and bravely -- when President Bush, waving the bloody shirt of 9/11, was deemed unbeatable…In a sense, he made it safe for the rest of the Democratic field to be a lot tougher on Bush and his rogue foreign policy.
• Despite the faltering of Dean's candidacy, every other candidate is now imitating the e-fund-raising that Dean pioneered, which still has the potential of allowing small money to level the playing field against big money.
• For starters, one always had the sense of an odd marriage -- the right movement yoked to the wrong guy. This was a progressive, grass-roots army in love with a rather tightly wound centrist candidate. As the governor of Vermont, after all, Dean had been a fiscal conservative to a fault. And despite his rebirth as a populist in the campaign, neither his policies nor his temperament suggested a man of the people.


El Guapo’s Ghost is not a Dean supporter even though I am a Vermont Democrat. I never voted for Dean. The Iraq War was Dean’s first real liberal position. Dean is a President Bill Clinton/DLC/conservative Democrat. Although I have voted for Senator John Kerry in his battle with Bill Weld back in my Mass-hole days, I am supporting Senator John Edwards because he can WIN.

Kerry has ridden a wave of primary wins on “electability” because he has the experience to confront President Bush on national security issues. But I would contend that is not the biggest issue for independents and swing voters in the battle ground states around the Great Lakes. As Clinton said, “It’s the economy stupid.” Making national security the focus of the Democrats campaign will be a mistake. The President’s foreign policy is the major issue dividing the country. It will not win independent votes in the swing states.

Like Clinton, Edwards can feel your economic pain. He can change an independents heart and mind and win their vote. Kerry can not. The Democrats need to focus on the economy and leveling the playing field for all Americans to win in November and Senator John Edwards is the best person to deliver that message.

Monday, February 23, 2004

LOWE STAY OR GO NOW

Derek Lowe is a durable extreme ground ball pitcher. At age 30, Lowe should be able to continue to throw 200 innings without much trouble. He has logged fewer innings than other starters, although some say pitching 100+ relief innings is worst than 200+ as a starter, and has never had any arm problems (knock on wood). With Pokey Reese's gold glove and better command, Lowe could be a Cy Young candidate in 2004. If so, Lowe would command Colon type money or $10+ million per season. He deserves the big money and is likely to go after it. It is Lowe's only opportunity to cash in and his agent is the hard liner and wildly successful, Scott Boras. A hometown discount is not going to happen nor should it. DLowe will have no difficulty inking a deal worth around $50 million over four years with Texas, L.A., Baltimore, and the Mets all with money to spend and a need at the top of the rotation.

The Sox should not sign DLowe now because it will limit their flexibility for middle infielders beyond 2004. Lowe is a $10 million pitcher with a better defensive infield, most notably at second base. Thus, the Sox would have to sign good glove men at short stop and second to get the proper return on their Lowe investment. With instability beyond 2004 in the middle of the infield, waiting on Lowe is the proper move. Plus, the Sox have cheaper internal rotation alternatives with Bronson Arroyo and possibly Scott Williamson for 2005. Both have the potential to be productive starters at a fraction of the cost. Theo should wait on DLowe and probably should not be brought back after 2004. Lowe is right; it is HIS "last run".


Friday, February 20, 2004

KEEPING HIS HEAD ON STRAIGHT

``It's not a panic situation for the player and it's not a panic situation for the club,'' Epstein said. ``It's not always easy to reach an agreement on a contract, and if the sides are reasonable, it certainly can be done after the year. You have better information about the market, better information about the player's performance and you have better information about the makeup of the club and the roster.''

In Theo, we Trust. I'll be back on the who the Sox should lock up among the free agents soon. The big boys are remaining - Lowe, V-Tek, Pedro and Nomar.

LINEUPS

The Sox are expected to take a close look during spring training at whether to alter their regular lineup. The possibilities could range from flip-flopping Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez in the third and fourth slots to experimenting with replacements for Johnny Damon as the leadoff hitter. Damon had one of the lowest on-base percentages (.345) last year among Sox regulars. By contrast, Bill Mueller ranked among the team's leaders with a .398 on-base percentage.

Batting order does not mean that much in terms of run production. This topic gets a lot of play in the press but unless an insane lineup goes down on the card, it should not have an impact in the standings. With that in mind, I have three rules for Managers regarding batting order:

1. Communicate with your players and find out where they, honestly, are most comfortable.
2. Other than the leadoff position*, have your best hitters bat first. The more at-bats going to your best hitters - the better.
3. If the hitters are essentially equal, flip-flop RHB and LHB for better late inning match ups.

Next week, I'll post my Red Sox lineup card. It may not affect the standings but it sure is fun.

*Hitting leadoff is the only exception because it is advantageous for the first hitter to see as many pitches as possible for his teammates to get a feel for the stuff the starter has on that particular day.

ADMIN

Over the past week or so, I have added some additional links and more will be coming shortly. If you have linked EGG and do not see your site, please email me and I'll add it.

Please feel free to add comments in the space provided. It is easier for me to respond to feed back in the comments section on the site instead of email and it is likely to be faster.

As you have probably noticed, a list server has been added. If you would like an email notifying you of updates so you do not have to continue to check back, just enter your email address in the space provided to the right.


Thursday, February 19, 2004

NOT SERIOUS BUT QUESTIONS NONETHELESS

Gordon Edes beat me to the punch on this topic so I just want to add one more.

*Can ground ballers (2003 G/F AL average was 1.05), Brown (2.75)and Leiber (1.48) be as productive as in the past with the horrible MFY infield behind them if they stay healthy?

This would not be an issue if the MFY had their usual depth in the rotation. They also do not have the prospects to make an impact deal mid-season; it would have to be a salary dump or a multiple team deal.

"EVERYONE GETS A COUGH ON DAYS LIKE THIS..."

and calls in sick to take in a Cubs day game in the sunny bleachers and this season they get to watch the surgeon, Greg Maddux. As for us, Sox fans, the Cubs signing of Maddux ends the possibility of the HOF pitching the bottom of the first in the Bronx. The MFY will still have three question marks in the rotation. It also should significantly decrease the probability that Ray Durham would be coming back East. The financial flexibility of moving Durham’s contract would not allow them to field at better team now that Maddux is off the market. The Giants are in full win-now mode. This development leaves four possible candidates to man second in Japan next month – Roberts or Hairston from Baltimore and Spivey or Counsell from the Sh%t Beer Capital of the World.

It is unlikely that the O’s would ship either second baseman to their hated rival up I-95. The P.R. alone would be a nightmare. Second, the MFY do not have anything (lower level pitching prospects (LLPP) and cash) that the O’s need. Baltimore should have many suitors and better matches for Roberts or Hairston, most notably, L.A., Cleveland, the other sox, and the Twins. If Roberts is available, he could play shortstop for the hitting challenged, Adam Everett in Houston too. No need to fear, Hairston or Roberts are going anywhere near - the epicenter of evil.

As for the financially or just plain foolish Brewers, Spivey or Counsell are likely targets of Cash-man and company. One of the aforementioned LLPP should be all that it takes to get Counsell. Two LLPP and cash could score Spivey. Neither one would tip the scales significantly over to the dark side.

Jose Vidro continues to be batted around as a possible candidate. It would have to be a mid-season three-way deal for Vidro to end up in the Bronx. Bernie and lots of cash to an N.L. contender with offensive issues (LA, NYM, FL) and their prospects heading north to Montreal is the only way Vidro plays in the MFY infield in 2004.


I'll leave the Henry/Boy George commentary up to the semi-pro and
pro.

Monday, February 16, 2004

ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING

I can’t get the play out of my mind that the Texas shortstop makes in the field at Fenway last season going into the hole taking away a sure base hit then flipping the ball directly from his glove to second. It was brilliant and yet completed so nonchalantly to end the inning. As NESN was heading to a pay for Damian Jackson, I said to my buddy, “Texas doesn’t serve to watch him play everyday.” And now Texans do not have that luxury.

A lot has occurred since that game last spring. It has taken me about 48 hours to get over this A-Hole thing. I was still hoping that each person in N.E. minus CT, of course, would come up with $2 a piece totaling $20 mil to make up the difference between Henry and Hicks. I now have some clarity but no thoughts of grandeur.

I know that I will loose a month off my life this summer watching the 30 or so times Nomar opens up his hips too early on a slider resulting in a weak pop fly to right.

I know that each time Manny doesn’t run out a grounder or looks confused in left will add to my underdeveloped ulcer.

I know that I will loose sleep over the possibility that Henry, Theo and Lovely Larry will again have not the funds or guts to pull off the big one next winter.

But, who the hell cares. This is the best Sox team I can ever recall.

Baseball Prospectus' forecasting system has the Sox in a virtual tie with the MFY. The A-Hole deal allowed the MFY to match the Sox. Pre-A-Hole and less Boone the Sox were up by 29 runs. Without any other transactions, the AL BEast is going to come down to luck/one-run games and the head-to-head match ups.

The presumed Wilson and Cairo second base tandem are out machines so it is no use taking a deeper look at them. Since Boone played in the NL most of his career he does have enough PAs (15+) vs. Sox pitchers.

A-Hole
Wake - 281/324/375
Pedro - 133/235/267
Mend - 364/348/500
Foulk - 150/227/300
Lowe - 077/368/077

Soriano
Pedro - 129/156/194
Lowe - 267/290/433
Wake - 316/333/684

If Mendoza pitches to A-Hole in nearly any situation, Tito should be canned. It appears that Pedro and Lowe have not had difficultly putting away either infielder. Historically, A-Hole can't touch Foulke. The only real difference between the hitters is against Wake. Soriano has pounded the knuckler and A-Hole has underperformed. The Sox get a more favorable match up when Wake takes the mound against the MFY - very small edge to the Sox.

The concern is who is next on the MFY shopping list. The talk is now of Maddux and I doubt Boy George allows his team to come up from Tampa with no names at second. Ray Durham and Junior Spivey are likely targets. Maddux or Durham would tip the scales a little too much for this to be a tie; thus increasing the importance of the season series. But both would not make the MFY a lock. The 2004 Boston Red Sox are that good. The 18 or so games against the MFY are going to be huge, likely deciding the AL BEast, and a ton of fun too. It's on! Well, almost.


Sunday, February 15, 2004

WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO DESERVE THIS?


Monday, January 26, 2004

IS IT THE FOOD OR...

this new A-Rod rumor I read while eating lunch? I am sick to my stomach just thinking about A-Rod to the MF Yankees. Soriano to Texas for A-Rod makes sense. Hart and Hicks would jump at the chance to save close to $20 million his year. It would move Kerry Wood from the wish list to the 2004 winter shopping list. Boone would likely move to second and Jeter to third with A-Rod at SS. The PR spin would be: Jeter displays true leadership as the MFY Captain moves to third for the good of the team.


// posted by El Guapo's Ghost @ 11:50 AM


I can not rationally speak about the impact this has on the Red Sox, myself or the rest of the Nation.

But Ray Durham is next for the MFY. The Giants need extra cash to sign Maddux shipping Durham's salary back East solves that issue. Maddux will sign with the Giants for around $13-15 millIon over two seasons.

Thank you - Red Sox!

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