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I thought the randomness Selig inserted in the game was a fairly good work-around for meaningful revenue sharing. Let the Yanks and Dodgers and Red Sox spend their $billions, half the time it won't be enough to overcome multiple short series.
I used to think the idea of minimizing randomness was noble. Then I came to the realization that meant the Yanks win the Series every other year. Now I love me some randomness.
The Lenn Sakata game. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BAL/BAL198308240.shtml
Orioles tie the Jays at 4 in the bottom of the ninth, with Joe Altobelli pinch hitting with everyone left on the bench. Because of all the substitutions outfielders Gary Roenicke and John Lowenstein end up playing second and third bases, while utility infielder Sakata goes behind the dish to catch for the first time in his professional life.
Tippy Martinez comes on to pitch after Tim Stoddard allowed a leadoff homer to Cliff Johnson and a single to Barry Bonnell. Martinez picks him off. Dave Collins walks. Martinez picks him off. Willie Upshaw singles. Martinez picks him off.
Cal Ripken leads off the bottom of the 10th with a homer to tie the game. With two out and two on Sakata, the emergency catcher with a .330 career slugging percentage, hits a three run homer to win the game.
Oriole fans now debate whether the Sakata game or the Chris Davis victory over the Red Sox mentioned a few comments ago were the most amazing regular season games in O's history.
The difference in pitcher abuse between 162 and 154 games seems pretty negligble. Even a reduction to 140 games would be the equivalent of 3.5 games a month. I think you'd have to radically shorten the schedule (maybe by half, or 2/3rds?) to make a significant impact, and if you did that teams would just use their better pitchers more often, negating the intent.
In 1999 the Orioles had seven (7!) first or supplemental first round picks. The first six of those picks netted them a total of 2.3 rWAR. The 7th was Brian Roberts. So the Orioles passed over Carl Crawford, John Lackey, Brandon Phillips, Ryan Ludwick, Justin Morneau, Hank Blalock, Cody Ross, JJ Putz, Shane Victorino, Aaron Harang, and Angel Pagan (among others) seven times just in the first round.
There's a very simple way to accomplish that: 15-man rosters.
If I recall correctly the Rockies weren't doing this with Walter Johnson, Bob Gibson, and Old Hoss Radbourne, but instead the pitching staff of the Colorado Rockies. So, chances are whatever strategy they tried would be an epic fail. Also, n=1.
You could inegrate other deadball features like a 520-ft center field fence painted predominantly white with a advertisment for Jethro's Miracle Elixir. And then put a set of bleachers on top whilst encouraging fans to wear white.
Bob Ferguson is generally thought of as the first switch hitter, and his career began in the amateur/semi-pro era of the 1860s.
So it's possible, even likely, that some of the players mentioned in this article were actually switch-hitters. Or switch-throwers, which was somewhat more common in the era before modern gloves.
Cal Ripken was a standard-issue hustler, did it enough so that nobody complained. Bill Ripken, possibly in a vain attempt to narrow the talent gap with Cal, used to dive headlong six times a game including into first base on routine grounders to second where he was out by five steps.
So despite sharing quite a bit of DNA Cal didn't hit the DL until his late 30s, and Bill was seemingly injured every six weeks.
Ok, thanks. Is it a sure thing that he starts in the Sally League instead of high A this year?
Hunter Harvey's ETA is listed as late 2016. Is that right? A top-50ish prospect is going to spend essentially full years in each of A, AA, and AAA?
Murphy has been a three-win player once in his career, was under two wins the last couple years, and has two arb seasons until free agency. Schoop is a marginal top 100 prospect, had a good winter league, who might be MLB-ready this year, will make $500k, and is under team control for six more seasons. The suggestion then is to add another prospect to Schoop.
The Orioles got more production out of a cobbled-together platoon of Brian Roberts, Ryan Flaherty and Alexi Casilla last year than the Mets got from Murphy.
If I were the O's I'd just keep Schoop and plug him in the lineup, and if I were the Mets I'd pull the trigger on Schoop+ for Murphy in a second.
Murphy for Schoop+? Last year the Orioles flailed about aimlessly at second, going back and forth with Ryan Flaherty, Brian Roberts, and Alexi Casilla... and ended up with 2.3 rWAR from the group. You expect them to give up a pretty decent prosepect and a minor league pitcher for Murphy, who may not provide as much value as their bargain bin machinations of last season while taking on payroll? As an Oriole fan I'd be bitterly disappointed by that trade.
I'd be much happier just giving the second base job to Schoop.
There is also the problem of the expansion timebomb causing standards to go up pretty dramatically. So the guys this article sees as being 50/50 shots are probably more like 25% due to the number of qualified candidates meeting old standards going through the roof.
My four year old successfully sat through most of seven innings at Oriole Park last Friday. He plays T-ball, knows where the bases are and what they're for. His favorite player is Jaaay. Jaaay. Haaarrdyyy! And he definitely knows that you boo whenever a Yankee or a Red Sock comes up to bat. I'm a lucky Dad.
Once another position on the diamond starts failing to hit at the level of pitchers, let's discuss it.
Luckily we can use our heads and make dividing lines between obviousl things like "shortstops and catchers are a little below average as hitters" and "pitchers hitting is like my grandma hitting". A solution to one specific, obvious problem doesn't have to lead to a domino effect where you take everything to its most absurd logical conclusion.
Someone needs to do a Mexican League version of this. There are tons of former MLB players still playing down there, some with outrageous numbers from wild park effects in places like Mexico City. My favorite is Willis Otanez. Briefly an Oriole and a Blue Jay in the 90s, he's been bouncing between affiliated ball, Indy ball, and Mexico for the past ~15 years, and isn't that far from 3000 professional hits.
Keep this up. Need all the evidence we can muster to get electronic ball and strike aids, so that "tricking the umpire into making incorrect calls to the tune of 25-50 runs a year" is no longer a thing.
Maybe. But if his innings are highly-leveraged, say, twice as valuable as Pettitte's, then they're the equivalent of 2440 neutral-leverage innings. If Rivera allows runs at 56% the rate Pettitte does, and pitched the equivalent of 77% as many innings, it's not implausible that Rivera is in the same value ballpark as Pettitte.
So what would you do when the metrics don't agree with your subjective observations? Veto the numbers? Have a subjective fudge factor? Invalidate all metrics that have outliers and idiosyncracies?
Nobody believes Darin Erstad was a .355 hitter, so while there's some merit in what people are trying to do with offensive metrics, when a result like that comes out someone needs to take a serious look at what they're doing.
Yes, it seems odd that Griffey would be cited for all time excellence in the outfield when BP's own metrics have him 70 runs below average. Jones, White, and Gary Pettis are all 15-20 or more WINS ahead of Griffey with the glove.
I missed it. I missed the opportunity to see a bunch of really good players and unique styles of play that I never get to see in MLB. Baseball is worse off for thinking that the only thing that counts is MLB, and that nothing that happens outside of MLB is worthwhile. Too often the powers-that-be in MLB "know" that baseball has to be played a certain way. Other countries often don't suffer from this certainty.
If games from Korea or Japan or Taiwan or the Netherlands were broadcast in the US, I'd rather watch that than a random D'backs-Padres game. I see MLB games all the time, it gives me no new insight into how baseball could be played. The WBC can be new and different and interesting and eye-opening.
On the PECOTA hates side: the Orioles' bullpen. The big five of Johnson, O'Day, Ayala, Strop, and Patton have a combined career ERA in 1300 innings of 3.13. Last year all five were between 2.40-2.65. PECOTA is projecting them to a 4.13 in 2013. Once you figure in leverage that explains about 3/4ths of the 19-win regression for the team.
I am curious why the system thinks a group of pitchers like this will decline by a full run off their career averages and more than 1.5 runs off last year in one season.
Koji is awesome. Dreamy, even. Oriole fans are still more than a little wistful when remembering his time here, quick-paced highlights on teams that had far too few of them. I'm more than a little bitter he wasn't brought back to Charm City, and now I'm reduced to rooting against him as a Red Sock.
Exhibit 1A on why we need umpire aids for ball/strike determination. Basically, this data indicates catcher manipulation of umpire weaknesses and inaccuracies is worth up to 50 runs/year.
There do exist premium cable networks that do not have to fear FCC sanctions.
This just serves to confirm the suspicion that in all award voting there is noise. There will responses that don't seem to make any objective sense when judging them against the stated criteria. No matter what you do some people will vote for the Monkey Rodeo option. They will punch their hanging chad for Lyndon LaRouche. Just because they can.
Jeff Ballard's '89 Orioles have to be in the running for some kind of team Ballard Award. They averaged 4.2 K/9, last in the AL by about 3/4ths of a K/9, and still won 87 games. Pete Harnisch was the only pitcher on the team to make 2+ starts and average more than 5.0 K/9.
You have to give at least an honorable mention to Steve Trachsel in 2007. Before he was traded by the O's to the Cubs he had a 103 ERA+ in 140 innings, despite 69 walks (4.4 per nine) and 45 (2.9 per nine) strikeouts.
Teagarden: -0.2 fWAR, +0.7 WPA. Definitely clutch in results, if not skills.
Except that the whole article up to that last throwaway line was wailing and gnashing of teeth about how tragic it is that the best teams have to lose to less-deserving lucky teams. Which I suppose is ok in a vacuum, but really is awful for fans of teams that don't pass the "right way" test.
I used to want the best teams to win, the playoffs to be minimized so that random chance was taken out and skill dominated.
But then I realized that would result in the Yanks winning the pennant 8 times out of 10, and the Red Sox or Angels winning the other 2. And that's not just wrong, it's soul-crushing.
If I had to wait for Peter Angelos to assemble a team "the right way" and overcome the Yankees and Sox and their built-in market advantages I'd probably be dead before I actually enjoyed baseball. And if baseball isn't fun, then what's the point? Why should large groups of baseball fans be eviscerated for generations on end because MLB lets idiots own their favorite team?
If someone out there doesn't enjoy the O's David-versus-Goliath season, then I thumb my nose in your general direction.
I can't be the only one who thinks the current home run review process was made that time-consuming and cumbersome only to "prove" that replay can't work in baseball. There is ZERO reason for the umps to have to retreat under the stands for five minutes to review the home run. A 5th ump in the box could make the correct call in 15 seconds.
Omar Linares didn't spend his whole career in Cuba. He played for the Chunichi Dragons for three years at the end.
But so is leading the AL wildcard race while being outscored by 50-some runs. Maybe Machado isn't much of an improvement, but it can't hurt to see if he blows past expectations.
Manny Machado just got the call, playing for the O's tonight. He should have a slightly bigger stage to make his case.
I'd like to see the analysis go a step further, and see how often 1.000 OPS players have .525 OPS months. And how dependent on age that is.
Sure, the easy answer to all of this is that Pujols is in a peer group of inner-circle HOFers, and he'll keep hitting. But n=7 (when you eyeball four others and throw them out), and for all we know #8 breaks the model.
As an Orioles fan who got to see Huff battle his demons at both third and first base on numerous occasions none of this article surprised me. It was hilarious, but not surprising.
There must be some common thread connecting Huff's positive FRAA in '10-11, Tony Batista's 99 RBI/-0.8 WAR 2003, and the fact Jeff Ballard's 2.3 WAR in '89 is 4.3 more than his career total.
Yea... Reese is the real head-scratcher. That has to be a idiosyncratic pick designed to get the comments going. Using Prospectus' own numbers you'd have to assume Reese averaged almost 5.0 WARP a year from his debut through age 30 to equal Ripken. By bb-ref's numbers Reese is 33 WAR behind Ripken, meaning you'd have to assume he would have had (by far) his three best seasons during the time his missed for the war, just to catch Ripken.
And that's not taking into account any timeline adjustment for the lesser competition Reese faced. Reese was into his mid-30s before you could consider the majors fully integrated.
I'm an Orioles fan and on Orioleshangout.com we literally had a 30+ page thread about the Dana Eveland for two nondescript minor leaguers trade. When your team almost never acquires an impact player you're constantly having Posednik vs. Pierre debates.
I'm very far removed from Dick Allen and the 1972 White Sox, but it seems at least a little odd that they'd have a day to honor a guy who only spent three years in Chicago, and was traded away for a PTBNL and cash.
I'm not sure you've really captured the effect of modern reliever usage by simply comparing the overall rate of 9th inning leads saved by era. James once said (something like)baseball innovations are consistently mocked then universally adopted within a few years. When you compare rates holding 9th inning leads between the 50s and the 90s you're largely comparing groups of teams all using the same strategy. For most of the 50s everyone used similar strategies, and for most of the 90s everyone had adopted something like the LaRussa construct. It seems likely that teams using similar strategies are going to have similar success rates.
What someone needs to look at are the transition phases, where you have something like teams using the LaRussa strategy playing teams still using early Gossage-style multi-inning strategies.
It would be very interesting and bizarre if this nearly universal and more than century-old trend toward pitcher specialization had little or no benefits. It would be almost unbelievable.
So how big of a story in Korea are the Orioles trangressions in trying to sign Seong-Min Kim? Is this really seen as a huge transgression? I know a lot of Orioles fans seem to think banning all O's scouts from Korea for the forseeable future seems a bit heavy-handed.
The Orioles have had an awful lot of these guys. Patterson, Cabrera, Ballard were mentioned. Floyd Rayford is another - 1985 he was 3.0 WAR, 0.5 for his career. Steve Stone. 1980 he won 25 games and the Cy Young, only had three years of 100+ ERA+ in his career. Larry Sheets had a .921 OPS, 2.4 WAR in 1987, but 1.0 WAR for his career. Wayne Garland went 20-7, 2.67 in 1976 and his 2nd-best year in the majors he was 13-19.
And David Newhan. 0.2 WAR for his career, but 2.2 WAR in '04, including hitting .403 in his first 34 games with the O's.
Terrible closer Kevin Gregg appeared 63 times for the terrible Orioles last year.
I've been fascinated by the 1890s Orioles since I was a kid, and the thought that I can go home tonight and download a book by Boileryard Clarke on my Kindle is amazing.
Every movie gets remade now, so it's just a matter of time before the Tim Burton version of The Natural comes out, even darker and more dispiriting than the book.
Each of the 77 substitutions used in that game had a perfectly legitimate baseball strategy reason behind it.
Is health a positive indicator or a negative one? I've seen steroids or PEDs used as an explanation both for long, productive careers and injury-riddled ones.
My favorite was always Chris Brown's strained eyelid. Claimed he slept on it wrong, and just couldn't play that day.
Also have to love Marty Cordova's overtanning incident.
And not quite so funny, but Brian Roberts has suffered concussion symptoms for a long, long time after hitting himself in the head with a bat after striking out. He may never play again, actually.
There's a difference between "disappointing" and "worst ERA in major league history for someone with at least his innings total".
So does this tool take altitude into account? Or any kind of adjustment for average distance hit that might be a reasonable proxy for altitude, humidity, wind and the like?
The Orioles' comment highlights a limitation of this method. The remark is "but the oblique strain to Brian Matusz cost the team the most at 0.3 WARP" Matusz was a 1.6 WARP player as a 2010 rookie, getting better as the year went on. His oblique injury, and general lack of fitness and health turned him into a -1.1 WARP pitcher in only 50 innings in 2011.
I think you can reasonably state that Matusz' injury cost the O's at least 2.5 wins, arguably more.
Best offensive tackle the O's have had since Cal Pickering. But at least Cal also had "baseball player" on his resume.
"that we shouldn't be removing something that's been around since the game's inception without good reason."
Has it really been around since the game's inception? I'll admit I don't really know the history of this particular thing, but it's hard to imagine Tommy Bond (who walked 8 in 497 innings in 1874) figuring a way to intentionally pass Long Levi Meyerle despite the necessity of 9+ balls, not exactly defined as today, to do it.
Although there are references to Abner Dalrymple being intentionally walked with the bases loaded in 1881...
Fixing the Orioles is actually pretty simple:
1) Find an owner willing to invest in the entire organization, not just fielding a league-average payroll stocked with middling free agents, complemented with a bare-bones development and scouting system.
2) Rebuild the player scouting, acqusition, and development system from the ground up.
3) Stockpile draft picks.
4) Hire an innovative GM.
5) Cross your fingers that this all falls into place by the time Machado, Bundy, Schoop, et al are ready to contribute in 2014 or so.
Simple, except for step one. Step one has been impossible for eons.
I wonder if it was intentional to leave out the fact that Bennett lost both of his legs after being run over by a train in 1894? Obviously Bennett was a well-regarded catcher, but had left Detroit to play for Boston years before the accident. It seems unlikely that he would have had the park in Detroit named after him, and that he'd have been allowed to throw out the first pitch for so many openers, had he just finished out his career in good health.
Promotion/relegation only works in open leagues. Almost all North American sports leagues are closed. Would take an unprecedented revolution or upheaval or gov't intervention to change that. In other words, not going to happen.
I'd love to see it, nevertheless. Anything would be better than 15 straight years of the Orioles making a tidy profit and slowly piling up franchise value, mummified in last place.
I always thought it ironic that free market America has closed leagues with owners who become quasi-monarchs over their cities' sports lives. While in socalist Europe sports are subject to cutthroat competition that sees even famous, storied clubs like Newcastle occasionally relegated to the minors.
If the Orioles aren't playing to lose, they're doing a damn fine impersonation.
Death is a pretty high standard, isn't it? I've probably been to a couple hundred games in my life and I've seen quite a few injuries from foul balls. A kid carried off by their father bleeding from his head, old women struck in the head by foul balls. Folks hit by bats. Some simple nets or something similar seems like a no-brainer.
It's not like baseball is marketing seats in these higher risk areas as some kind of extreme sports zone where 23-year-old guys can come and dodge 100 mph liners. They're being sold as $50 or $100 luxury seats for any and all. Almost no one sits there thinking they're and their friends/family/kids are "more part of the action" by risking injury or death.
Your post is obviously part of the ESPN/Elders of Zion conspiracy to keep the Rays/Jays/O's down forever.
Yes!! I tremble with fury at the malcontents who got rid of the pitcher's box, and made foul balls strikes. I weep disconsolately when I think of the idiots who couldn’t leave well enough alone on the fair-foul bunt rule. I throw things through my floor-model radio every time I hear an ump call a batter out on a 3rd strike foul bunt. And there is no appropriately vile level of hell for those troubled souls that stopped batters from calling for a high or low pitch.
If you’re going to be a traditionalist, go all in or go home. Man up, and reinstate baseball to the way God himself intended and channeled through Alexander Cartwright in the 1840s!
Thanks for the article. As an Oriole fan I love it when I have yet another opportunity to look back at the team and realize how many hopes and dreams I've had have been crushed like so many bugs on a highway. Maybe you could have a weekly piece laughing at and taunting the remaining 14 O's fans, with a different and exciting embarassing, gag-inducing moment from the last 15 years highlighted in each.
Ah, April. Only this early could fans of the same team be victims of both giddy excitement and total despair when a .500 team plays .500 ball.
Can anyone explain part f?
(f) The pitcher delivers the ball to the batter while he is not facing the batter;
How is that even possible? Why would anyone want to do this? Is this a bizarre leftover from the pitcher's box days, pre-1893? Or maybe a Max Patkin trick, throwing the ball through his legs or something? Why would that be illegal?
Also, why is there a penalty for dropping the ball? If a pitcher wants to devise some crazy feint where he drops the ball, goes and recovers it, and tricks the runner into running himself into an out, I say good on 'em.
I'm an Orioles fan, and my earliest baseball memories are losing the 1979 Series to the Pirates, when I was eight. I turned 10 during the '81 Strike. But the O's didn't have a losing record from the 1968-1995, so this was a perfect time to be a young fan. Doug DeCinces was my favorite player, and I'd write out my own fanclub newsletter and post it in my tree house. I'd keep score on graph paper in my parent's kitchen, listening to Chuck Thompson and then Jon Miller. I cried when the O's lost to the Brewers on the last day of the '82 season and Earl retired.
Yea, it was pretty great.
There's no doubt Manny was a great hitter. How much of that greatness is attributable to PEDs is probably forever unknowable.
Am I the only one who thinks the infield fly rule is unnecessary? It takes a fair degree of skill and certainly introduces some risk to take a sure out on a popup, intentionally let it drop, then retrive the ball and turn a double play.
They won 66 last year and upgraded five or six roster spots, mostly going from replacement or sub-replacement performance to 2-3 win guys. You really think they're going to be hard pressed to win four more games?
As an Oriole fan born in 1971 I have many fond memories of the Sugar Bear. I was on hand for this game: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BAL/BAL198207240.shtml, where Rayford beat the Billy Martin/Rickey Henderson A's with a 13th-inning homer.
What's amazing is the Orioles got a .625 OPS out of their first basemen and none of them made this list. 26 teams got better production out of their shortstops.
I think the title of unlikeliest starter from this line of thinking has to be Chuck McElroy. After 11 years of middling LOOGY work, and having converted to relief in AA at 21, the Orioles (God bless them) decided to make him a starter in 2000. It worked about as well as anyone could have expected - a 4.41 ERA as a starter, vice a 3.87 career in relief.
You're always going to have suspicious behavior when you incentivize losing. That's what the draft, or even a draft with a weighted lottery does, it rewards teams for being the worst.
Like the competitive balance tax - it incentivizes teams to have a lower payroll no matter what the results are on the field.
If you want all teams to always try to win all the time you have to incentivize that. European soccer leagues do this with huge cuts in revenue if you finish in the last few places in the league (i.e. relegation). Another method could be to do away with the draft altogether, although that's obviously full its own set of problems.
Or you could change the draft structure. You could devise a scheme where picks go first to the teams with the best record that didn't make the playoffs, down through worst record, then through the playoff teams.
It hasn't worked out because there aren't too many teams who've ever been in contention in a strong division two years after a 55- or 60-win season that left them with big holes at 3, 4, 5 positions and little left in the minors. The plan MacPhail outlined involved being around .500 in 2010 and moving towards contention in 2011. Now 2012 seems really optimistic. MacPhail's plan involved the young core stepping forward starting in 2010, not uniformly moving in reverse.
I think it's becoming clearer that the Orioles have been doing some obvious things right, but have a serious problem with the foundations of the organization. They have drafted better, they've paid bonuses to guys like Wieters, they've avoided silly contracts, they've brought in young talent like Jones and Bell and Pie.
But deep down there are some fundamental problems. The scouting is fatally flawed - players don't seem to adjust their approaches to the opponent, they pretty clearly recommend signing players who're done (Atkins, Lugo). The coaching and development system has long had a problem with the jump from the minors to the majors. And their international "efforts" barely exist.
I go back to a Bill James' quote that MLB teams do tons of little things to improve all the time, and that he can see from the inside that the Red Sox are clearly better in numerous ways than even 5 years ago. The O's seem to be getting better 5% a year, while the competition moves up 10%, 15%, 20% a year.
How could George Sherrill have begun his pro career with Seattle if he'd previously played for, and been paid by, several independent teams?
Sorry, just irks me when "MLB affiliated" and "professional" are used interchangeably.
I think the measure of MLB shouldn't be the Yanks and the Red Sox and how well they support giant metropolitan areas, but instead how well MLB can come up with a business model that maximizes the number of people who have local teams.
Pittsburgh can support a very good baseball team. I have little doubt that Milwaukee and Cincy can, too. As well as Portland and San Antonio and Las Vegas and Vancouver. Not under the current setup, where the big teams are allowed to have eternal access to markets five, 10, 20 times larger than others. But there could certianly be reforms that give everyone roughly equal markets, so any metro area with roughly 1M people could support a team.
I much prefer a setup where everyone has a home team to root for, rather than one where most of the people in Portland and Pittsburgh root for the Yanks and Sox, or ignore the sport altogether.
I think part of the reason this is not regularly done is that most R/LOOGYs are sub-replacement level outfielders. The platoon advantages are probably no greater than the disadvantages of a Pete Incaviglia clone stumbling about the field in the late innings of close games.
Can we see all of the lists, not just the top/bottom five? I think many of us scan through pieces like this looking for tidbits on our favorite team(s), and when there's no Dave Trembley our eyes gloss over and we start to nod off.
Do you really have any confidence that major league teams have multi-year budgets for free agents that carry over? If the O's didn't sign Tejada, do you really think their 2010-11 free agent budget would go up by $6M?
I think it's a lot more likely that the team's financial performance in 2010 will be the overwhelming factor in how much they spend.
Remember the Dann Bilardello theorem: As Pudge's offense continues to tank his defensive reputation and intangibles will shoot through the roof. Name a 37-year-old catcher with a .600 OPS who isn't universally praised as a deft handler of young pitching and a superb framer of pitches.
The lead-in to the 6pm sportscast on channel 4 in DC last night was "Nats sign future Hall of Famer." That's what this is all about - attendance, and the misguided notion that a former star can bump it by more than a few dozen a game.
As for the franchise valuation comment, isn't $20M for 28 years at 11% per year just about what the White Sox are worth? That's a good, not spectacular, return. It's about the same as what you'd get if you'd been reasonably lucky with $20M in the stock market. The owners are doing pretty well, but wouldn't you expect a bit more in a growing industry with giant government subsidies?
(Hope the numbers I crunched were right - I just googled "time value of money calculator" and plugged in values.)
One of the great coincidences of my life was the day in 1997 that I happened to be on a crazy road trip in Calgary at the same time as a rehabbing, 41-year-old Eddie Murray and the Albuquerque Dukes.
Congrats for the wonderful achievement of winning the 100m dash after starting at the 40m point.
The answer is that it's really hard. The vast majority of major league players have to devote all of their practice and training resources to one or two specific skills just to get to the majors and stay there. If they split that time 50/50 between pitching and (playing a position + hitting) they're not going to be good enough to play in the majors. That also explains why this is more common at lower levels of the sport.
The benefits of having two good specialized players outweighs the benefits of having one player trying to do two things less well. The scarcity of two-way players also means that your risk is higher - lose one two-way player and you almost certainly have to replace him with two regular players.
Parity isn't measured by how convoluted and lengthy you can make your playoffs so that it's almost impossible for any team to be good enough to be declared champion regularly.
Also, if baseball teams played once a week (like the NFL) and/or heavily depended on one or two players (like the NBA) you'd have 0-16 or 15-1 teams with some regularity. Imagine Maddux or Clemens or Randy Johnson starting every game and going 8 or 9, often playing teams with Jeremy Guthrie starting every game.
The goal of teams like the Jays, O's and Rays is to slowly, methodically, and painfully build a team with a true talent of 85 wins or so. Then when they peak, they have to hope the Yanks and Sox, with talents worth five or ten wins more, have off years while they get lucky and overshoot their pythags by 5 or 10 wins.
Seeing the Yanks clinch is like sleeping with Lindsay Lohan. I thought everyone had done it, and had long since become bored with the whole idea.
There are still fans who think that the Albert Belle signing was the worst in Baltimore history, and that it was a black mark on the franchise. Maybe even some kind of negative karma that has been punished with the current string of losing seasons.
Of course that's a little silly, but most of the city of Cal Ripken wouldn't be in any way happy about signing Milton Bradley.
That's absolutely right. Revenue sharing and the luxury tax are little halfway measures to try to throw a bone to the franchises who weren't granted eternal dominion over vast, rich metropolitan areas. The last thing the Yanks and Sox and the like want is the messy competition of capitalism intruding on their territorial rights-protected kingdoms.
I really hope the Yanks leave the place alone and get caught up in the old Fenway effect. They'll go on putting guys like Johnny Damon out there thinking they're just fine when their "fine" OPS is driven by a home split that looks like Babe Ruth in his prime. And hopefully they'll haphazardly cycle through pitchers, trying in vain to find somebody who can put up a 2.50 ERA in their little bandbox.
As an Oriole fan I'm well aware of BABIP spikes in non-MLB pitchers. Also, as an Oriole fan, I hope that they think it's a luck problem when it's really he's lost it problem.
That might keep us within 20 games of the wildcard. It's all about hope.
Two months does not make (or break) a career. I think you're letting your distaste for Roberts' contract extension color your view of his future. Ray Durham had a poor May/June of 2002, his age 30 season. Worse than Roberts this year. He bounced back that summer, then continued on being a very good second baseman for four more years.
Not sure why you think a salary cap would make MLB's small markets more competitive. It would simply shift where the large markets can spend their money. Instead of $200M payrolls in NY, the Yanks would have gold plated minor league facilities and international signing budgets larger than most teams' payrolls.
Yea, that was pretty chaotic at points. He's much better as the color guy on the O's broadcasts. Maybe having the game constantly interrupting forces him to be succinct.
And, of course, this is the 3,985th consecutive interview with Palmer where he mentions that he never allowed a grand slam.
If you despise LaRussaball, change the playing rules: enforce both a minimum bat weight, and a strike zone from the bottom of the knees to the shoulders enforced by something like a real-time version of PitchFx or Questec.
That's the key to reversing the trends of expecting less from pitchers - limiting offense. Go back to 3.5 or 3.75 runs/game and you probably won't see 300+ inning pitchers, but you might see 275.
Of course, the hitters and the fans will probably howl just as loudly about this as the pitchers and the fans do about 4-hour games with three or four homers and six pitching changes a team.
It's plausible that the AL East will force baseball to reevaluate the division structure and the unbalanced schedule. We might end up with the 4th-best team in the league being the 4th-best team in the division.
Or at least this might become an issue that people talk and write about while baseball reassures everyone that "tradition" and 24-7 Yanks/Sox saturation on ESPN is worth pretending that all the divisions are equal when they're obviously not.
I think all we know right now is that the DC-Baltimore area won't rabidly support two terrible teams.
Isn't this analysis a little bit like the Jamie Moyer supposition (every pitcher with an 84 mph fastball will eventually become a Cy Young candidate)?
If you look at the whole set of players who've allowed 20 runs in three starts I'd bet most of them ended up as something besides major league pitchers pretty quickly.
1. Matt Wieters hits .340/.425/.600 in 500 PAs
2. Simon/Hendrickson/Eaton arrested day after tomorrow in some bizarre conspiracy, replaced by Tillman/Arrieta/Matusz.
3. Tillman/Arrieta/Matusz combine for 600 innings of a 3.25.
4. Matusz steps on nail before penultimate game of season, replaced in emergency spot start by Brian Bass who exorcizes the demons of Dave Johnson, Gregg Olson and 1989 and wins.
Interesting that William Burke has the Orioles finishing third (the only case where anyone had them above 4th), yet doesn't mention Matt Wieters in his top 3 for ROY. Kind of hard to imagine them competing without a big year from Wieters. And kind of hard to imagine a big year from Wieters not getting him in the top 3 for ROY.
Earl isn't happy that "platoon" is now synonymous with "veteran detritus." That dig should be reserved for your team's second LOOGY.
Do catchers peak late? I figured they'd peak early, since their attrition rate goes through the roof in their early 30s.
One weakness of the North American model of professional sports is that the league is the focus, not the game itself. The league is run as an invitation-only club, and the league sees itself as the benevolent dictator of the whole sport. There is no international baseball body with the teeth to enforce anything, so the de facto power is with Bud and his owners. And of course they're not going to cede power or financial advantage to anyone, be it the Olympics, other leagues, other countries, or the IBAF. So in other sports all of the varying leagues get together for a World Cup, but in baseball Bud puts together a WBC in such a way that MLB is showcased to as large an extent as possible. In other sports there's a consensus on how to make the Olympics matter. In baseball the sport gets kicked out, in part because MLB holds itself higher than any other competition or authority.
Great for MLB, not as optimal for spreading and growing the game around the world.
The Zaun/Wieters comment should read "The Orioles plan to go with Gregg Zaun as their starting catcher for the bare minimum amount of time necessary to delay top prospect Matt Wieters' service time clock, ensuring he has another year under team control." Zaun didn't beat out Wieters by any stretch. Wieters is being Lorgoria'ed.
I'd trade the O's starting five for the Sacramento starting five in a heartbeat.
At least the NCAA is taking on the task of figuring out which of their pitchers is among the half dozen of each generation who can throw superhuman numbers of innings. From a MLB point of view it's nice to do the culling of the weak (or maybe not exceptionally strong) on somebody else's dime.
Exactly. You\'re exacerbating the problem baseball already has with wild disparities in local revenues. One of the big fixes we had to look forward to was the equal distribtion of ever-growing MLBAM revenues. It\'s plausible that those revenues would overshadow the NESNs and the YES Networks in 10-20 years, and make for a much more level financial playing field.
This article seems to be implying that the fact that some teams have access to media markets orders of magnitude larger than others is a feature, not a bug.
One thing that\'s missing is Cabrera\'s performance over time, specifically the 2008 season. By the end of the year he wasn\'t throwing a 93 mph fastball, it was often in the high 80s. And he was getting hammered almost every start.
That\'s almost surely part of the reason he was non-tendered. Unless he had some easily correctable problem, you should re-run your analysis with the assumption that his fastball lost about four ticks.
Are there any successful major leaguers with a MiL record quite a K-phobic as Brad Bergesen? I know a lot of people get excited by his overall performance in AA last year, but even somebody like Chien-Meing Wang had a much, much higher K rate in the minors.
Cabrera was almost certainly hurt last year. Either that or his arm just doesn\'t do what it used to. He was barely hitting 90 in September. It was fine to go to camp every year with a guy who threw nearly 100 mph even if he had no concept of the strike zone, uneven temperment, horrible mechanics, and fielded his position like a newborn giraffe.
But when that same guy has a 1:1 K:BB ratio, a plummeting K rate, and is only throwing a tick harder than Jamie Moyer it\'s time to move on.
Orioles: Extend Markakis and Roberts. Realize baseball world exists outside of US/Canada. Feign interest in free agents. Wait for farm to produce.