Sunday, December 31, 2006

A favorite subject

Bashing sports writers. Especially columnists. Example 2,715,239. Today's Mike Lupica column. I shouldn't care. Or even be surprised. This is a guy who has used his column for years to promote his political views, bash his enemies, and strut around on his high horse. But what caught me today was his sheer stupidity, ignorance or utterly laziness.

On the latest steroid business, of the names of the survery testing from 2003 getting into the hands of the Feds:

"Donald Fehr and Eugene Orza had a right, under their agreement with Major League Baseball, to destroy the record of the names attached to those positive tests. For some reason they sure did not. Only they know how and why this happened. "

Do a little research Mike - it is all out there. Fehr and Orza sort of had a right to destroy the names attached to the tests. But as you can contend, "for some reason they sure did not. Only they know how..." Actually we all know why - two things called a subpoena and a search warrant. It has been reported in great detail. Fehr and Orza, as we know, will do just about anything for their constituents; however, I doubt they would risk a felony obstruction charge.

Do the editors of these papers even bother to read this stuff? Or are these columnists such must read pieces that it does not even matter. I could only imagine having the same kind of independence in my work.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Baseball Folklore

So I made the idiotic assertion this weekend that George Brett's Pine Tar incident was one of the top 10 moments in the past 25 years in MLB. As my brothers regailed me with multiple examples it became clear that it wasn't and that I was probably just drunk. Below are a handful of moments that we came up with that top Brett's. I think that particular moment sticks out for me, because he put up such a fuss. Plus I love how the umpire measures the bat with the plate!

1. Barry hits 73
2. Sammy and McQwire
3. Kirk Gibso
4. Carlton Fisk (see above)
5. Buckner
6. Red Sox win and Dennis loses a nut
7. Aaron F. Boone/Bucky F. Dent
8. Arizona beats Yankees
9. Cal Ripken

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Yowza. Apparently when multiple teams are involved, Scott Boras still has it. Damn, all of a sudden that $51M posting fee doesn't seem so big, does it? Had Matsuzaka been a free agent, a six-year contract may have been for a lot more money than the $103M the Red Sox paid for him...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Something's wrong...

Dear Mr. Steinbrenner (and all your "baseball men" in Tampa),

What the hell? You're actually trying to unload one of the greatest pitchers in baseball, a first-ballot Hall of Famer? I mean, it's bad enough that for the first time since 2001 or so, you don't sign a mega-free agent. But now you're trying to get rid of the ones you have? Come on Georgie, step it up! Don't let these pencil-pushing, money-grubbing sissies in New York tell you what to do! I know they're saying you can save money - and field a better team - by signing people under the age of 35, but you and I both know that's bullshit. It's obvious to anyone who follows baseball that the only reason you guys haven't won a World Series this millennium is that you haven't signed enough people for $22M/year. This offseason, you've been outdone by the Cubs, Astros, Angels, Dodgers, and even the hated Red Sox. Hell, even the Brewers and Royals have thrown more money at free agents than you have. You can't have that, can you? No, of course you can't. So stop this silly "trade the 43-year-old" talk - maybe even sign him for 4 more years - I mean, he shut you guys down in the World Series over five years ago, so he must be awesome. And then go out and get you some more free agents! Remember: if they're expensive, that means they're really good.

Sincerely yours,

P.S. Here's a tip, for free: Steve Finley's still available. He's only 41, and had 36 HR in 2004 - that's worth at least $16M right there.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays to all. Here is to a prosperous 2007 for all of you and for our beloved Red Sox.

Friday, December 22, 2006

This would NEVER happen in Boston

So the local SF sports talk station (KNBR) is your fairly typical sports station. They do run some syndicated stuff at time (Jim Rome, Chris Meyes), but they generally have decent hosts and the talk is very, very evenly distributed among different sports and local vs national (as opposed to Boston where it is 95% Red Sox and Pats). But I digress.

This week, their regular morning host has been on vacation and Eric Byrnes has been filling in. Solo. And he has done a great job. He was decent (even if he is a bit goofy looking) during the post season work he did this year. But he has nailed this radio gig. The guy is smart and funny and does not say the stupid things that athletes tend to say all the time (like Damon saying Mienkieviwcz saves 2-3 runs per game.) When he does say things from an athlete’s perspective, he is the first to say “I know I am saying this from the perspective on a player, but the owners….” He has had a few of the beat writers for the A’s and Giants on this week and he has totally just called a spade a spade when addressing certain of the writers – saying which ones you can talk off the record to, which ones are the best to get information out accurately, which ones to avoid. And he gave examples. Plus he had Zito on, asked him some pretty direct questions about contracts, Boras, TEX, NY. And Zito answered them. And you know a guy like Ordway would never ask smart questions that weren’t self serving, get the trust of a player to actually answer them, or even someone that is not his suck up crony take over the show for a week.

It has been extremely refreshing.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


For whatever reason, the big baseball news this week is salaries, which - shockingly - went up last year. Nerdy pet peeve of mine: it drives me nuts when stories talk about averages without saying whether it's a mean or a median. (Like when Bush said the "average American" would get a huge tax cut back in 2001; by using the mean salary rather than the median salary, the "average American" earned something like $200,000/yr. Which pisses me off.) Back to baseball: the $2.7M average MLB salary is a mean; the median salary is around $1M.

Anyway, what shocked me about the article is that it pointed to Houston's huge payroll. This last year the Astros quietly became the highest-salaried team in the NL (or at least came very close). The reason is a few gigantic contracts:
Roger Clemens $22M (prorated at $12.5M)
Jeff Bagwell $19.3M
Andy Pettitte $16.4M
Lance Berkman $14.5M
Roy Oswalt $11M
Damn, those are 2007 numbers. I have to say I've never really thought of Houston as a big-market team, but I guess they are now. Of course, Bagwell and Pettitte are gone in 2007, and Clemens maybe (I bet he'll be back), but Carlos Lee's $100M contract should keep them up there for a while.

(Also: I like this. That's a lot of $327,000's.)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

This just in... Murray Chass is an Ass

Nothing new to report, just that I find it funny when the rest of the world catches up to GYS. Clearly, Seth Mnookin needs to read more GYS.

By the way this is my favorite GYS-Ch-Ass post, thanks Earl!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Shades of 2003

Red Sox add a couple of middle relievers today. Donnelly and Romero have been good in the past, but most recently haven't been exceptional. I still like the move and it gives me much more confidence that we will be able to get through close games.

Sox Beating Out Boras Again?

Could the Sox have made that offer to Drew just to get Boras to work with them a bit on the D-Mat deals? I am not one for conspiracy theories, but it seems as though the Sox may be taking a closer look at the Drew deal now.

Consider this...The Sox outbid everyone for J.D. Drew at $70MM. The strange this is that no one else was bidding. They gave him a contract much longer than they had given others before (including big named Sox players). Of course, Drew is represented by Boras.

Then, there is no announcement as to the signing. Why? Well, according to a report today, the Sox aren't sure that Drew is healthy enough to warrant the contract. His physical turned up something. Boras said the holdup was "language issue(s) in the contract".

Anyway, injury vs. terms of contract are very different. Of course, Boras doesn't want an "injured" Drew back on the market. And maybe this is more because the Sox couldn't move Manny and might feel like they could do without Drew. Would this be a deal-breaker?

Who knows? It is interesting, though, that this is coming about. Drew was healthy last year. What could have happened in the meantime?

What would the Sox do if Drew wasn't their guy? Well, it would give them a lot more money to play around with. But, who else is out there? If Drew is injured, they can't pay him all that money. No way. Not for 5 years. Even that money at 3 years is too risky. This is a franchise, after all, that let future-hall-of-famer Pedro go for fear over a fourth-year breakdown. The same could be said of Damon. I can't see them working too hard to satisfy a contract with Drew if there are injury concerns following a healthy season.

So what is the conspiracy? Well, the Sox had signed Drew before D-Mat, but didn't announce him. They must have known that he had problems with the physical by then. Of course, so would have Boras (I think). But, it could be possible that the Sox didn't kill the Drew deal just to make sure Matsuzaka got done.

My overall take, though, is that Boras came well down on the Matsuzaka price because of the Drew concerns. And now...the language in the contract is restructuring Drew's value as an injured player. Maybe a contract in terms like "if he plays an average of 135 games over the next two years, options for 3 and 4 are triggered...etc..."


Saturday, December 16, 2006


Man, is there a single article on the Matsuzaka press conference that doesn't mention the translator? Yes, it was bad, but is that really all the press can talk about? I especially like this, from the Herald:
Matsuzaka’s translator was universally panned by the English-speaking media, which discovered afterward that many of the pitcher’s responses were shortened, changed or butchered. Members of the Japanese media helped provide the accurate comments.
They discovered that afterwards? The five minutes of Japanese translated to one sentence fragment in English didn't give them even the slightest clue? The translator is named Tak Sato, and he was hired by Scott Boras...more evidence that Boras has no idea what he's doing with these international negotiations. What's weird is that even though this guy seems completely unable to translate Japanese into English, he apparently had no trouble translating the English questions into Japanese, given Dice's long answers.

Anyway, I for one don't understand why everyone is talking about how the Sox need to find Matsuzaka a new translator. I totally disagree - I think the Sox should hire this guy for the whole season. Given how remarkably lame most questions the media (esp. the Boston media) pose to sports figures, having Sato around can only be an improvement. Just imagine the dialogue:
HAZEL MAE: D-Mat, would you say that David Ortiz's three-run home in the 4th run took some of the pressure off of you, so you could concentrate just on getting guys out?

TRANSLATOR: (speaks in Japanese to Matsuzaka)

DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: (3 minute response in Japanese)

TRANSLATOR: In Japan, the bulldozers are only slightly smaller.
Hell, the guy shouldn't be relegated just to translating for Matsuzaka. Think how much better things would be if everything that Larry Lucchino said to the media went through this guy first. Same goes for Curt Schilling. And for Johnny Damon.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I think his favorite word might be "inaudible".

Okay, this is now my second post about Matsuzaka after saying I was getting sick and tired of all the press coverage. The problem is, the press coverage is just so great. We've already discussed the awesomeness of the new translator, and the Globe even has an article on it. (Doesn't one of the Sox trainers speak Japanese? He used to translate for Nomo and Ohka, right?) But what I like is that the official transcript is even worse than the horrible translation. Some excerpts:

Q. Have you thought about pitching to Ichiro and Hideki Matsui?


Q. What was the turning point that made negotiations?


Q. Is there any player that you are looking forward to meet that's on the Red Sox, any particular player you've always followed?

DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: As a member of the Boston Red Sox, to contribute to the World Champions, I'd like to meet inaudible.

Q. I wanted to get from both of your perspectives what the last 30 days have been like for you guys, and in particular yesterday, from list off to touchdown here, and also, John Henry, did the plane make it back to Florida to get you, or did you have to go commercial?

DAISUKE MATSUZAKA: Very many interesting things have happened in my life, waiting inaudible.

Man, he's just like you or me. Very many interesting things have happened in my life, waiting inaudible, as well.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Oh, and just for the record...

I'd pack myself on the back for predicting this headline yesterday, but it was just too easy.

(Update: yes, that's a typo. I would neither pack nor pat myself on the back. Good thing I didn't accidentally type "pat myself on the bat", because that sounds naughty.)

***Breaking News***

I don't know about the rest of you, but I think I'm done with all the Matsuzaka stories (and the lame puns associated with it). I mean, I'm thrilled he's coming to Boston, and think the Sox really handled the posting process/negotiations well. But now I'm content to wait until he pitches to say much more about it.

With the huge circus surrounding this story, one other huge baseball story of great importance to me has gone under the radar. No, not the signing of Doug Mirabelli, or even of Julio Lugo. No, I'm talking about the absence of Anna Benson from the Mets Christmas party. Remember her? Not sure why this is news - apparently the image of her dressed up as Mrs. Claus is seared into the brains of some of the Mets beat reporters.

Anyway, David Wright was Santa this year (click here for an extremely surreal photo). If I were a Mets fan, I'd be worried, since being the Mets Santa is basically a kiss of death. The last three (John Franco, Mike Cameron, and Kris Benson) were each all out of the organization within a couple months after the party.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Could it be? says it is a done deal - 6 years at $52MM. If so, I would say Boras appears to have seriously blinked on that one. I would have to say that is a victory for the Sox.

The puns so far

No matter how you "Dice" it, it's become a circus -, 12/14
The Dice Man cometh to Boston - Salem News, 12/14
The die is cast as 'Dice-K' makes it to Massachusetts - Salem News, 12/13
Red Sox roll the dice - SportingNews, 12/13
A roll of the dice - Yahoo! Sports, 12/13
Dice game is too costly: Team needs to stand firm - Boston Herald, 12/13
Who's throwing with no Dice? - Boston herald, 12/13
Dice is not the only game in town - BDD, 12/13
No dice for the Red Sox could mean no Rocket for the Yankees - NY Daily News, 12/12
Boras is playing with loaded dice - BDD, 12/12
Tumbling Dice - Boston Globe, 12/11
Dice-K or Craps? - Red Sox Times, 12/10
NO DICE - Boston Herald, 12/10
Tumblin’ Dice: Sox’ talks with Matsuzaka break down - Boston Herald, 12/10
Getting dicey with Matsuzaka - Boston Globe, 12/7
Rolling The Dice - Joy of Sox, 12/7
Sox should roll out the Dice-K - Maine Village Soup, 11/17
Rolling the dice - Mark it Down, 11/15

(If he does sign, expect lots of "The Diceman cometh" headlines. Maybe a "Dice Dice Baby!" or two. If he doesn't, at least we can hope for a great Herald headline: "What a Bore-ASS!")

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Quote of the day


With the signing of right-hander Gil Meche, Royals general manager Dayton Moore has sent a strong message about his desire to improve the moribund franchise.


(Seriously, what the hell "message" could he be sending? "I have no desire whatsoever to improve this moribund franchise"? "My desire is to make this franchise even moribund-er? "I hate my job and would like to get fired, and might as well screw over this moribund franchise in the process"?)


Yesterday was a great day to be a headline writer...

Texas Legislator introduces bill to allow blind people to hunt

Tigers add experience to bullpen with reliever Jose Mesa

I don't know, I really feel the Tigers already have plenty of "experience" losing World Series they should've won. (Or is the headline just referring to the "experience" that is Jose Mesa's relief pitching?)

Also, I know I'm hardly the first to point this out, but according to Mesa's official bio on, his first child is only 8 years younger than he is. Is that a typo, or did he marry an older woman?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Just the beginning

So Pettite is going back to NY. Big whoop. I always thought him kind of a wuss. And pitching in the NL, the last three years has likely done nothing to toughen him up. Apparently his children are wusses too. They cried when the learned Andy signed with NY. Maybe it was because they know the humiliation and disappointment that he is likely to suffer this year. come to think of it, lots of kids in NY will be crying next October, when the Yanks fall short of a WS victory again.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Manny, Manny Possibilities Loom

So the latest and greatest (?) rumor flying around is Manny for Todd Helton. Not sure if I believe it at all...Why would Colorado dump Helton for Ramirez? Their salaries are similar (although they would save a little money with Manny over the long haul), and you are trading one bat for another. I can see the Sox interest here. They trade someone who wants to be traded and get pretty close dollar for dollar returns. Even if Helton's power numbers are/were helped by playing in Colorado, the guy can mash.

That brings me to the next point and/or question...

For a few years, we've heard about Aubrey Huff...Well, he entered free agency this off-season. I am surprised they haven't taken a run at him. Is he signed? Everywhere I've looked he's listed as a free agent (*unsigned)...If they can sign him, they could move Manny for less. Does he put up Manny numbers? No...but then you could make the Sexson deal, or take a little less from LA. I guess my surprise is that I've heard nothing about Huff.

As for the bullpen...I hope that Theo isn't going to be Boras's bitch. He signed Drew to a huge contract. Some thought was that he did it to get some leverage in the D-Mat deal. Now they are closing in on Gagne (who has only pitched about 15 innings over the last two years) at pretty big money. At least Foulke showed promise at the end of last year...Of course, there could be a huge upside IF Gagne is healthy. I am not holding my breath.

So the Sox as of now look like this

Youkilis 1B
Lugo 2B
Papi DH
Manny LF
Drew RF
Lowell 3B
Varitek C
Pedroia 2B
Crisp CF


They need a backup catcher still...probably the kid they got from the Padres...

Starting Pitching

This looks better with Matsuzaka, but he's not here, yet...

Japanese Dude

If D-Mat signs, that is 24 on the roster. One spot for the closer...Does Lester move to the pen? My guess is that once D-Mat is signed, the Sox start trading...Hansen, Tavarez, Delcarmen, Pena, Manny, and Hinske are on the block. If Manny goes for Helton, Youk or Lowell would go. Then they need a LF...Would they start Wily Mo?

Probably not...In fact, if you look at most of the Manny trade scenarios now, they would have to trigger many subsequent moves. Of course, it is only December...But, I can't see them completely reshuffling less than two months from players reporting.

So, I see some younger guys going out...

Just my thoughts...

PS- It is freezing in Boston today, so this baseball talk is like warms one up...


Nothing like an article based entirely on unattributed quotes. But, if the quotes are accurate, there sure are some stupid, stupid people working in baseball these days. I like this one:
“I don’t think he’s the kind of player who would walk away from $33 million without some idea of what was out there,” a baseball official said.
Dude, his agent was Scott-effin'-Boras. Of course he had "some idea of what was out there". Let's see: Juan Pierre got $9M/year, Gary Matthews Jr. $10M/year, Vincenet Padilla $11M/year. Unless you think Drew is a Pierre/Matthews/Padilla-caliber player, obviously he'd walk away from a contract worth $11M/year! If the Dodgers wanted him to stay, why not up his contract $1-2M? Now they're stuck with Pierre, who costs them practically the same amount that Drew did, while bringing far less to the table.

The main person baseball people should be complaining about here is Paul DePodesta, and his terrible contract-writing skills. If you give players an "out clause", you've just short-circuited the entire point of negotiations. GM's try to undervalue players; players try to overvalue themselves. If the GM was right, and the contract was lower than market value, the player loses a lot of money, and the team gets a great deal...

...unless, of course, the player is allowed to simply walk away from the contract.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Winter Meetings - Day Three Recap

Well, a good day for a Sox fan. Manny still dons number 24 and yesterdays signings were confirmed, while the Yankee options become more and more limited.

Lily is signing with the Cubs (Pavano money $40MM/4 years)
Freddy Garcia has been traded to the Phillies (for minor leaguers)
Schmidt goes to the Dodgers $47MM/3years
Pettite appears to be using the Yanks to drive up his price to stay in HOU.

A couple of catchers to the NL West (Molina - Giants and Lieberthal - Dodgers)
Bonds implies he won't play for less than the $18MM he made last year. If true, he will not play.
In a bizzaro situation two former Padres sign with the A's - Piazza and Embree, with Embree getting two years and future HOFer Piazza (who, I believe, had the most HR of any catcher in baseball) only one. Odd.

The Braves and Mariners swapped former top prospects that never achived their potential.

The meetings are done - save the rule 5 draft tomorrow.

Once the meetings are finalized, I will try to taliate the damage - as CHB said, nothing happens these days at the meetings. well I guess, spending nearly a half billion dollars is nothing then.

A few random thoughts:

That brawl at the basketball game in Serbia was amazing. Worth watching the footage.

Flashback to one of the better games this year - the Dodgers with 4 straight homers in the 9th - for those that say Drew "never" produces, I think he hit one of the HRs. BTW that was one of the best games this year in the regular season this year.

One more day to get the lineups in......

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Winter Meetings - Day Two Wrap Up

CHB was right, nothing really happens at the winter meetings.

Red Sox sign JD Drew - 5 years $70MM
Red Sox sign Lugo - 4 yeats $36MM
Manny is still a Red Sox, please come soon opening day.
Lester speaks up and all appears even better than reported yesterday.

SD signs Maddux

Texas signs Padilla

And more rumors than you can possibly even begin to report on, although ESPN has tried.

One note on Lugo, for all the attention that JD Drew is getting as a bad makeup guy, it will be interesting to see if the papers even mention that he was involved in a spousal abuse, restraining order situation with a wife or girlfriend.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Winter Meetings - Day One Wrap Up

Carpenter gets a nice fat extension. Expect to see a lot more of this over the next few months. Why on Earth would any GM let a talented, young player reach the FA market. MN is the cheapest franchise on Earth (with a Billionaire owner, nonetheless) – how they handle Johan will be fascinating. They would be absolutely crazy to not do something this spring.

Padilla gets over $11MM per year.

Pujols now wants to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

No firm news on Manny.

If I am a dodger fan and I wake up and read that my team did not get one of the most feared sluggers on the planet because Ned Colleti did not want to part with Jonathan Broxton, I would be pretty upset about it. Jonathan Broxton? There is as good a chance we reach the ASB next year and his ERA is 4.00 or above as there is he repeats his performance this year. Hopefully all six dodger fans don’t read the paper this morning.

Jon Lester is apparently getting better.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Long anticipated 2007 Opening Day Lineup/Rotation Contest

So here it is. It deserves its own thread. Thanks to Dino and GR for getting this moving....

Rules are as follows:

Predict the Red Sox Starting Lineup for opening day 2007. Exact batting order and positions, plus the first five starting pitchers to take the hill. Oh and name the closer. To be determined as the first Sox pitcher to earn a save in 2007.
Scoring is as follows:

9 points for any player on the roster by this Friday (so if Drew or Lugo signs this week they are a nine point player.
18 pointes for a player not on the roster by Friday (therefore, if D-Mat signs, we should all get the 18 - can't really think of a better way to handle these).
Minus one point per place in the batting order that a hitter is off (i.e., if you have Youk hitting 6th and he actually was batting leadoff that would be minus 5)
deadline is Friday noon Eastern.
Pitchers - 9 points per starter and 5 for the closer. Order of starters does not matter.

This is all open for discussion - we could add anyone with all 9 players in the batting lineup is a bonus 20 points, but that would discourage random guesses.
I'm not looking for positions - i.e. if Youk plays 1B or LF, just care about order - otherwise there is too much too tabulate (my thoughts, but we shall see).
Predictions posted become final - if someone posts with an out of the blue trade (like GR with Sexson) prior to the trade commencing credit will be given for the acquisition - so if Sexson is acquired Wednesday, but GR put it up today, he gets the 18 points, but if Dino put it up Friday, its only 9 for him.
Do we want to count starters orders similar to batting average?

Do these make sense? Any suggestions?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Shoot, now we have to go out and find another injury-plagued right fielder

No arbitration for Trot. Too bad Edes didn't give us the odds of that happening. Here's yesterday's post from Seth Mnookin's "Feeding the Monster" blog:

Read Tomorrow's News Today!

The Feeding the Monster blog, November 30, 2006: “There are some intriguing possibilities out there, though, at least one of which hasn’t been much discussed, and that’s the possibility that Trot Nixon ends up back in Boston on a one-year deal.”

The Boston Globe, December 1, 2006: “Sox: Nixon in ‘07? Team may offer him arbitration.”

I can't decide which is better: that he said an item reported by Buster Olney and Peter Gammons "hasn't been much discussed", or that he was proud he reported Gammons's (incorrect) information before the Globe had the chance to. Yesterday's Globe article cited only one "source with ties to the team"...i.e., Peter Gammons.

Just yesterday, our own GrieveRules used statistical analysis to prove that the chance of Nixon being offered arbitration was no more than 50%. I think that makes the GYS Network a more reliable source of Red Sox insider information than Seth Mnookin, the Boston Globe, or Peter Gammons, put together. Rock on.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Edes Goes Out On a Limb've got to love sports writers that take a chance with bold statements. Gordon Edes has done just that.

While reporting on whether Ramirez will be traded, Edes estimates there is a 50-50 chance.

Now, I took stats...There are two possible outcomes. 1, he gets traded. 2, he doesn't get traded. 1 out of 2 in either direction...that's 50/50. Edes is a madman! Why waste the ink? I mean is there another possible outcome to the scenario?

I know that he was trying to put a likelihood on Manny being traded (not just the cut and dry)...but even when someone says there's a 70 percent chance....there's really only a 50 percent chance. It either will...or won't happen.

Well, on another note...the Sox might offer arbitration to Nixon. I think that's a pretty good move. It really keeps them from having to sign another outfielder, and kind of makes Manny tradeable, and your bench deep. Your outfield players this year in Boston: Nixon, Drew, Crisp, Pena, Hinske, Youkilis. You could get Pena a bunch of at-bats, have two left-handed hitters who are injury-prone spell each other. You have plenty of depth. Not bad...Plus, you could still trade Pena and/or Crisp.

I'd say there's a 50-50 chance of Trot being offered arbitration....

Holy Crap

Sick, sick shit. Courtesy of deadspin.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Random Thought

I really like how Tom Glavine was going through some deep internal debate about whether to pursue his 300th victory as a Met or a Brave. And it was very nice of him to keep us informed of his thought process – he was taking a vacation with his family over Thanksgiving and would have his mind made up by Monday. One small problem with his process. The Braves aren’t interested. Interesting approach. And I guess it is not done, but if you are the Braves do you make him a $5MM take it or leave it offer. Or do you engage in “negotiations” in order to drive up the price for your division rival. Especially now that Minaya must be getting antsy. Its almost December 1 and he hasn’t signed any huge multi-year contracts yet.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

How much for winning a MacArthur grant?

I can't decide which incentive clause in Alfonso Soriano's obscene contract with the Cubs less likely to happen:

- $350,000 if he is selected the World Series MVP
- $75,000 if he wins a Gold Glove

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Best news I've gotten all week: Dante Bichette is on the 2007 Hall of Fame Ballot.
DANTE BICHETTE: 1st year on the ballot… Played 14 seasons… Led National League in hits, home runs, RBI, slugging percentage and extra base hits in 1995; his .340 average was third in the NL… Finished second in the NL MVP voting that year, behind Barry Larkin… Named to The Sporting News Silver Slugger team in 1995…One season with 40-plus home runs, three seasons with 30-plus home runs and eight seasons with 20-plus home runs…Nine consecutive seasons of 30-plus doubles and five consecutive seasons of 100-plus RBI… Six seasons batting .300 or better, with a career average of .299… Named to four All-Star teams (1994-96, 1998)… One NL Division series (1995): batted .588 with 10 hits, including three doubles and a home run, in 17 LDS at-bats.
Think anyone will vote for him? (If so, is that grounds for getting kicked out of the BBWAA?)

Update: as of now, 374 voters in ESPN's poll think he should get in. Hopefully most of them are smartasses like me. Man, I wish I had more time to keep voting until he gets the required 75%.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Here we go again

The "Manny is about to be traded" rumors are bigger than ever. I suppose that means something (though the media always has to make the newest rumor seem bigger than the last). I just don't get it - so far none of the options seem like good trades at all. Moreover, Manny's contract looks better than it ever has - way crappier players like Soriano are now getting almost as much, and Manny's contract is no longer a huge multiyear deal. And the thought of J.D. Drew (or whoever) providing "protection" for Ortiz is just laughable. Yikes.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Its that time again

Book Review.

This month’s entry. The Blind Side by Michael Lewis.

A football story that simultaneously focuses on two somewhat related stories. It is the story of Michael Oher a 6-5 350 pound African American form the inner city, with absolutely no family, no education, nothing. He gets “adopted” by a wealthy family who send him to an exclusive Christian school in Memphis and transform him into an elite athlete, passable student and caring human. The somewhat related story is the evolution of the Left Tackle position on football and its importance in the game (protecting the QBs “blind side.”)

Of course the publisher is going to sell this up as doing for Football what Moneyball did for Baseball. It won’t. But it is a good read. And Lewis is back to his much more entertaining style of writing that he seemed to have lost in his last book. Funny thing about Blind Side is that he stumbled on Oher when he was writing Coach – the adoptive parent was one of Lewis’ friends from High School that he contacted to write the story of their coach.

Plus, I always have thought it was pretty cool that he is married to Tabitha Soren from MTV fame. Overall a pretty good book.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mourneau. MVP.

Nice. Very nice.

Hoo boy

Leave it to the Chicago Cubs to make Todd Helton's ridiculous contract seem reasonable, and the $51M posting fee for Matsuzaka a downright bargain. $136M for eight years? For a 30-year old? Who can't play defense? I doubt I have anything to say that others haven't said already, but so far I haven't found anyone who thinks this is a great idea for the Cubs...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Fun with Numbers

Courtesy of Joe Borowski, who reports "I think of the 30 closers in the league, 99.5 percent of them have better stuff than I do. But my attitude, my heart, my desire, and my knowledge in how to get hitters out gets the job done. "

I'm guessing Joe was not a math major at Rutgers. Joe must have been saying that every closer has better stuff than him. Either that, or he watched Todd Jones this season, he realizes that Armando Benitez still sucks or perhaps he was watching the Tribe during the week they tried the Fausto Carmino experiment, which means he really should have said "I think of the 30 closers in the league, 96.5 percent of them have better stuff than I do." But that probably does not make as good of copy.

Friday, November 17, 2006

"You know, you're actually quite sexy..."

This is almost a month old, but we barely touched on it: MLB and MLBPA announced a new CBA for the next five years, with surprisingly little trouble. I guess when the owners are consigned to higher salaries, and the players are consigned to drug tests, they don't have too much to argue about. And everyone's a winner - millionaires AND billionaires alike! The luxury tax continues, but the thresholds keep increasing, up to $178M in 2011 (an increase of $40M over this year). Minimum salaries go up also, to $400,000 in 2009 for major leaguers and $65,000 in 2009 for minor leaguers (I think the era of minor league players "struggling to make ends meet" is officially over). But what's most interesting to me is the new draft compensation rules: it looks like those are being slowly phased out....
1. Type C free agents eliminated in 2006
2. Also in 2006, compensation for type B players becomes indirect (sandwich pick) as opposed to direct compensation from signing Club.
3. Effective 2007, Type A players limited to top 20 percent of each position (down from 30 percent) and Type B players become 21 percent - 40 percent at each position (rather than 31 percent - 50 percent).
This really might change the dynamics of free agency. I like the idea of compensation picks; I have no data to back this up but I think it's a much more effective way to achieve parity than revenue sharing or the luxury tax. These changes certainly benefits teams who love free agents (Yankees), but they seem to be pretty devastating for teams which rely on young players with relatively small salaries (A's). For the Sox it seems to be a pretty mixed bag - on one hand, they certainly rely on free agents...but on the other hand, as X has pointed out more than once, compensation picks seem to be a pretty important part of the FO's plan for building a strong farm system. Not sure I like this change...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dr. Z

The guy behind Lucchino and Henry (the one who's trying to catch a marshmallow in his mouth) is Andrew Zimbalist, "one of the world's foremost experts on the economics of professional sports". At least that's what he was called on NPR today. My question is: "one of the foremost experts"? Judging from the national media, surely he's the only one. Really, in news reports, have you heard discussions of the economics of sports from anyone else? Anyhow, I don't know how he finds time to teach (he's a professor at Smith College) or write (he's written 14 books), because he seems to give interviews to freakin' everyone. He's quoted in 35 newpaper articles in the last month alone, covering topics like the Olympics, coaches' salaries, stadium funding, and of course Daisuke Matsuzaka. He's been arguing that Matsuzaka's appeal in Japan will bring the Sox maybe $3M/year. Maybe he's right...but where the hell does that number come from? I'm sure it's based on some real data/calculations, but I have no idea what those might be. But of course, when he gives some numbers, they go unquestioned. The media never ask (or aren't interested in reporting) about the source of his numbers, and apparently can't (or won't) find anyone to give a second opinion. So seriously, does nobody else study the economics of sports? Or do those people exist, but just don't give interviews?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

We Win. We win.

Now the funny part is Yankee fans will say the Sox can never complain about how much they spend. Okay, even if we add the entire $51 Million to the Sox payroll from last year, it would still come up short.

Two funny things on today:

1. this poll. Question 7 is a tough one. If the Red Sox are able to sign Matsuzaka, how will they fare in 2007?
Reach world series
Al champion
AL East Champion
Miss Playoffs.

Hmmm. I'm having trouble deciding between the first two.

2. had a little link to a page where they proudly noted that their panel of Experts correctly predicted Webb would win Cy Young. Funny how we didn't see that for their post season picks.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


If dollars are generally equal (i.e., 5 years $15 MM), would you rather have JD Drew (a monster bat that absolutely provides protection for Manny and Papi, but is also likely to miss 30 games per season or even a huge chunk of at least one entire season) or a Carlos Lee or Soriano (a much lesser bat that does not exactly fit the organization philosophy of patience, etc.)

I know the instinct might be to take the more sure thing. But if the goal is to win a WS, I think I might choose Drew. Sure one or two years he may leave us frustrated as hell, but if he puts it together in a few of those years, you have to like that 3-4-5.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


That tony Maz is an idiot. From today's article:

"It also has been widely speculated that Foulke has been unhappy playing in Boston over the last two seasons."

really? Speculated? I guess that is Tony covering his butt or something. I would say it would have been safe to say that Foulke hated playing in Boston, openly feuded with the media, and very frequently had contempt for the fans and the attention the team received. And I don't think anyone would have denied it. But tony apparently took a safer route.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Shake it up

Maybe Theo has been reading GYS and was acting in response to Grieve's post. According to reports on ESPN, the Sox are the top bidder for Matsuzaka - at around $40 MM just for the post.

That plus say,4 years/$40 MM bring the total to a whopping $80 million for 4 years. I bet Zito is licking his chops. Of course nothing is guaranteed until it is signed sealed delivered... Lets just hope he is more Nomo than Irabu.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hot Stove on low heat

Timlin, Wakefield, Cora??? Wow, this is worse than I thought. I realize that the Hot Stove has just been lit, but how can this version of the Sox be rebuilt in one off-season?

In my opinion, it can't. For a team looking to get better, I can see holding on to Wakefield, but Timlin? The guy was solid in years past, but his injury last year really took something out of him. Maybe he'll get it back, but more than likely he is headed the way of Embree. Bad signing.

Cora is a great backup infielder, no doubt about that. He shows patience at the plate, and can play both SS and 2B. However, how many light hitting (read :no power), middle infielders do the Sox need? Perhaps he is insurance for Pedroia. However, the Sox are looking to re-sign Gonzalez, and they are still speaking with Loretta. With Youk staying at first, this is an infield with no power (and this includes Lowell at third).

But what are the alternatives? The Sox seem to really like Youkilis at first. The guy is a gamer, no doubt. But the Sox need another huge bat on the infield. They are looking at a Japanese player with some power as a possible upgrade over Lowell. But take a look at Matsui. I'd love to have him in the Sox outfield, but the guy is not a "power" hitter. If they re-sign Gonzalez, have Pedroia play second, Youk and first and Lowell at third, how many homers do you see out of those guys combined? 55? 60? Let's not even speak of the combined averages of Gonzalez and Pedroia.

Varitek had a down year offensively, and looking at how far behind on fastballs his swing was, I can't see him getting much better this year. They have a very young backup (acquired in the trade for Wells), but how much time is he going to see? How much power from Tek and the new guy? 15-20 Hrs?

Now to the outfield. Manny will be back. Coco in CF. And there is a right-field position open. It is obvious that the Sox need not only someone with a good arm out there, but also a lot of power. This is, of course, the reason the Yankees exercised Sheffield's option. Not sure who else is available that could fit this bill, but this has to be a position on which the Sox focus.

Prospective lineup:

Wow, that bottom of the order is not good. A solid hitting middle-infielder could do wonders down there. Also, and I know that his fielding is questionable, but wouldn't Soriano in the 2-spot or 5-spot make you feel much better about this lineup?

So, seeing that there are many, many holes to fill on this team, what is the one move that could really make them a contender? The answer there is a top starting pitcher. This means a legit #1. And you give up a lot to get it. If you get a horse that throws 7-innings of nearly lights-out ball 4 out of 5 starts, then go to Schilling, then Beckett, and have Papelbon and Wakefield at the back-end of your rotation, you can get away with a weaker pen. Delcarmen, Hansen, Tavarez, and Timlin don't look too bad at that point, and the weaker hitting infielders aren't so glaring.

So, what's the point of all this? Well, as the Sox sit right now, don't hold your breath for next year. There are a ton of questions, and not many available "exciting" players to fill them.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Is it just me

Or am I the only one that gets a kick out of all these articles about how the owners are awash with cash and therefore the FA class this year is going to see some ridiculous contracts. As if this is anything new. In the past two years, we have seen the Beltran contract at over $100 MM sky rocket based on one great month in the playoffs, and the following players getting five guaranteed years. Magglio coming off injury, injury prone JD Drew (with the option of declaring FA after two – real nice upside for the player there), Beltre after one career year, an and Millwood. And of course, a little less than a year ago, everyone was saying how crazy Riccardi was to go five years on Ryan and Burnett. Hey, I actually supported him on that front, recognizing that they needed to pay extra to get guys to come to Toronto, plus they had some excess cash after their owner pledged to increase payroll and while we all laughed about it at the time, there is some marketing advantage to them finishing ahead of the Sox.

But now, we are seeing a number of references to these two signings in the context of this year’s FA class. As in, getting these two guys at these prices was the result of foresight into the 2007 FA class (i.e., Riccardi knew this year was thin, so he made his moves last offseason. Please, stop. Giving 5 guaranteed years to a starter with a history of injury (only one season with no time missed due to injury) is not genius. It’s a gamble. And one Riccardi knew he had to take. And while Ryan may have been a better signing, he had only been a closer for one year. And we all know how closers can lose their effectiveness as quickly as the gain it. In fact, take a list of all teams and take a guess how many have had the same closer the last three years *(defined as one pitcher getting 90% of their saves in that period) and I’ll show you a list with only the Yankees, Minnesota and the Padres. That is it. Three teams.

So when the media start going nuts about Jeff Suppan getting 3 or 4 years or Soraino and Lee getting close to $100 Million, is it really surprising? Or even that new?

World Series wrap-up

From the Onion:

"I don't know what we could've done differently," second-baseman Ronnie Belliard said. "We gave the Tigers every opportunity to win ballgames, but when their pitchers keep making errors on simple ground balls, what are we supposed to do, pretend we forgot the rules and start running to third base?"

Desperate for a Tigers win in Game 2, the Cardinals chose to overlook the fact that starter Kenny Rogers was pitching with the aid of a foreign substance on his left hand.

"Of course we all knew it was pine tar, but it seemed like they were finally finding their rhythm… We certainly didn't want to shake their confidence, so we decided to just let it go," La Russa said. "Frankly, if the umpires didn't bring it up, we probably would've let him pitch with it the whole game."

This is pretty good also.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Happy news

I'm pretty freaked out about tomorrow's election - a bad feeling it's not going to turn out as well as I'd hoped - but focusing on good news: at the very least, Gary Sheffield will not play for Boston next year. Thank God. I hate forcing to root for guys I can't stand (Carl Everett, anyone?) I haven't been keeping up with the story too much, but there are two big questions I have about the whole Sheffield thing:
  1. Was the Sox front office really that interested in him?
  2. Why didn't the Yanks just pick up his option in May? By forcing him to wait all this time, allowing for the return of the old Sheffield we've all come to know and loathe, didn't they seriously reduce his trade value?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Load Of Crapola

Jeter wins the Gold Glove???
That's it...This award means absolutely nothing.

He had twice as many errors as Gonzalez, and certainly not the range.

And this is voted on by the players and managers.

That's a shame...Gonzalez owns that position.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Predictions, revisited

Well, at least we got one postseason prediction right...

Dino, October 2: "Which Detroit team will show up?"

X, October 2: "The Tigers."

New York Times, November 1: "An entry in the News Summary on Saturday misstated the name of the team that the St. Louis Cardinals defeated to win the World Series. It was the Detroit Tigers, not the Detroit Lions."

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I’ve been doing some reading on this cat and a couple of thoughts come to my mind. Almost all reports indicate that he will be posted as early as tomorrow. The posting process has sealed bids with the highest bidder then being allowed to negotiate exclusively with him (and agent Scott Boras) for 30 days. If the two sides can not reach an agreement, the posting fee is returned. Ichiro fetched a $13 Million posting fee six years ago. Current speculation is that Matsuzaka could fetch double that (or more) in just the posting fee.
Now, here is where my questions come in:

One, if Matsuzaka can be a total free agent next year, why would he (led by Boras) not just wait out the one year? By coming to the US now all it does is put the alleged $25+ million in the pockets of the owner of the Seibu Lions. Conservatively, say its $20 Million to post, plus $35 million over 5 years (all indications are that Boras is going to ask for even more). That comes to $55 Million over 5 years (Burnett money) for the team. But if he is that good, why not wait the year, be a full free agent and then sign for the prorated $44 million over the last four years – the player would get $9 Million more (plus what he earned in Japan). To me, any posting fee paid by the US team is merely money taken out of the player’s pocket.

Two, what is prevent a team from bidding a ridiculous amount and not signing him, just to keep him away from other teams? Okay, you would probably create some ill will with the Japanese team/league (possibly even to the extent of damaging future transactions). And possibly with your own fans. You would likely have chance at him next year, but in the process you would increase the cost for the team that ultimately signs him (see math above). But it is a possibility.

Three, with the winning team being the exclusive negotiator, doesn’t that effectively stop Boras from doing what he does best – playing offers (fictitious or real) off one another? Then again, he got Hicks to go to $252 when no one else was above $150, so maybe it will be his finest day.

So all this adds up to a sneaking suspicion that this is all much ado about nothing. He may very well return to Japan next year.

Monday, October 30, 2006


Okay, seeing as how we were so good at out post season predictions lets have two more contests. The first is pretty simple - major awards. The rules are simple - one point per correct guess.


MVP - Jeter (pains me to say it and I don't agree, but I do think the voters will award to him)
Cy Young - Johan
ROY - Verlander
Manager - Leyland

Wow, this is not as hard as it looks...... Then again, the NL could be much harder


MVP - Howard
Cy Young - Carpenter
ROY - Hanley (probably the toughest of the group)
Manager - Girardi (again another tough call)

I'm guessing that we will do better as a group with these predictions.

The tougher category will be guess next year's opening day Sox starting lineup, 5 starting pitchers and closer.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Tigers Win! The Tigers Win!

I was going to post this under X's previous post, but with a headline like that I couldn't resist! I am not sure if it was Buck of sycophant McCarver who remind us all of this "stat": in the two previous World Series between the Tigers and the Cardinals the winner of Game 4 eventually loses in game 7. Anyway, I can't believe they will even bother to play it out. With stats like that we should just crown the Tigers champs!

Getting back to sycophant McCarver, it is truly amazing how much ass he kisses and how much more noticable it is when the Yankees (the ass he loves most to kiss) aren't playing. To paraphase his commentary regarding Granderson's double last night, "that is a beautiful hit by Granderson, beautiful fielding by Wilson, and great base running by Granderson" - ugh. He sounds lost. With out the Yankees around he doesn't want to get left out in the cold by kissing the wrong ass, so he opts for kissing all ass. (Note to Jeff Passan, you have my permission to freely reuse this material).

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Holy Crap

Scooter is back. And with the voice (and face) of Jeff Suppan. How perfect. Maybe Scooter will also say "Vote for McCain." After all, it is Fox.

What a great guy

So Sheffield is apparently unhappy that the Yankess may pick up his option for next year. The same option that Sheffield was angered (then not angered and then angered again)over the Yankees not picking up this spring. Classic.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

When "celebrities" attack

Just in case you've stopped disliking Jeff Suppan because his crappy stint with the Sox was over 3 years ago, check this out...and start the hatin' all over again. Shockingly, it turns out his understanding of politics (and developmental biology) is on par with his mastery of baserunning fundamentals.

Go Tigers!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


As X pointed out, there's big news about the steroids in the NFL; the ~450 articles on it show it's gotten some attention. But compare this to the 2200 articles on the mysterious brown stuff (with no proof of any wrongdoing!) on Kenny Rogers' hand. Yes, yes, I know, World Series, Sanctity of the Game, etc. But there were at least as many articles were written about Sammy Sosa's corked bat in a meaningless game. I agree the double standard is ridiculous.

Stil, I've decided: I don't care. I follow only baseball closely, and want the one sport I follow to be relatively free of cheating and scandal; I try not to let it bother me if the fans and the media and Congress completely ignore the ridiculousness in the NFL...because fans and the media and Congress are stupid.

I don't have much to add about the Kenny Rogers thing - the evidence is all circumstantial, but it's pretty damning. The discrepancies in everyone's stories didn't make much sense, and the cap thing discovered by Uni Watch is what convinced me. But whatever. What I can't stand is argument that "Well, he pitched really well after cleaning his hands, so it's no big deal." Talk about a great ethical standard. So if Barry Bonds stops using steroids, and passes Hank Aaron, apparently we're supposed to ignore all the steroid use from before?

On a related note, Jeff Passan quotes Todd Jones (who's the reason Kenny Rogers is my second-least favorite Tiger) admitting to he's used pine tar. "It's whether you think it's cheating or not." Awesome.

Update: apparently everyone's doing it. Well, that's exciting. It would certainly explain why LaRussa and MLB aren't making a big deal about it. Double awesome.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Double Standard Continues

Last year’s NFL Rookie of the Year tested positive for steroids. And while it has made some headlines, my guess is that it will be allotted about 45 seconds on PTI today.

Had this been the 2005 ROY of the NL (Ryan Howard), we would be subjected to endless hours of media scrutiny and criticisms of Bud Selig et al on what a mess baseball is.

An actual quote from an ESPN talking head – “I'm shocked and saddened by the news of Shawne Merriman's reported suspension for a positive steroids test.”

MLB postseason pool: results

Thanks for playing, everyone! The postseason isn't over, but thanks to a boatload of awful predictions, the pool is. The scoring: 1 point for each correct ALDS/NLDS pick; 3 points for each correct ALCS/NLCS pick; 5 points for correctly picking the World Series champs. The contestants are me, X, Dino, and 19 of ESPN's baseball "experts".

THE RESULTS (max score=15)

Peter Gammons: 2
Buster Olney: 2
Steve Phillips: 2
Gary Gillette: 2
Bob Klapisch: 2
Earl: 1
X: 1
Jayson Stark: 1
Jerry Crasnick: 1
Eric Neel: 1
Keith Law: 1
Tim Kukjian: 1
Enrique Rojas: 1
Phil Rogers: 1
I Believe In Dinosaurs: 0
Rob Neyer: 0
Jim Caple: 0
Alan Schwarz: 0
Eric Karabell: 0
Pedro Gomez: 0
John Shea: 0
Sean McAdam: 0

Wow. I can't decide which is saddest: that no one at ESPN (people who get paid to follow baseball) picked more than 2 series correctly; that only five of them did better than me or X; or that one of those five was Steve Phillips.

(Also, there's a nice analysis of the ESPN picks over at Fire Joe Morgan)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Its that time again

Book review. This month's entry - The Mind of Bill James or How a Complete Outsider Changed Baseball.

After my last reivew, I vowed that I would no longer read almost every baseball book that came along. And I was tempted to ignore this book as well. I had a feeling that the book would try to give Bill James credit for everything from Sabermetrics, to Billy Beane and Moneyball, to the 3 run Home Run. But it turned out to be a solid look at the life and work of Bill James. In fact there was a lot of effort to debunk that James was responsible for creating focus on a number of items.

There also was quite a bit written about James that was unflattering. Nothing in particular worth mentioning, just that he can be a bit grumpy.

No real specifics to get into. A solid book.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Possibly the worst baseball article ever

Today's NY times has this rubbish from Tyler Kepner actually giving credit to Scott Boras for the Tigers being in the World Series. I guess that these things happen when someone goes from being a beat writer to actually writing a column. Without a formula for game coverage to fall back on, the job gets harder and you have to reach. There a couple of references to Mike Ilitch, but not a single mention of the Tigers GM (Dombrowski).

I am still shaking my head on this one.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Maine Event

I am disappointed that the NY papers weren't more creative with their headlines this morning. My pathetic attempt above is better than most. All the talking heads think the Mets are going to use every pitcher they have to tonight. Should be an interesting game if it stays close. A couple other observations from last nights game:

1. Is it me, or will both of these teams get crushed by Detroit?
2. Wagner is crazy unpredicatable or predicatably crazy?
3. Reyes is HUGE he's like a foot taller than Lo Duca
4. Booooit

Meaningless, useless "statistics"

From the MLB homepage at

"Good news for New York: Home teams are 7-4 all-time in LCS Game 7's."

I just hate stuff like that. As much as I want the Mets to win (a team with 83 wins should not make to the WS), there is pratically no information, and no predictive power, in a "stat" like that. It was about two years ago (two years ago tomorrow, to be exact) that they could have written a very similar, equally stupid caption:

"Good news for New York: Home teams are 6-3 all-time in LCS Game 7's."

(Man, that just doesn't get old.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Damnit Lucchino

I think he is on to me. From today's Globe.

``Talking about payroll in any way is a competitive disadvantage," Lucchino said. ``We spend a lot of time keeping track of the loose comments regarding payroll and it's been a point of pride that we don't discuss that. It's very helpful for us to know that Team X has made a major announcement that they're going to take their payroll from 72 to 92 [million].

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

An embarrassment of riches...crappy, has-been riches

This is just ridiculous. The Phillies now have a coaching staff that includes

Manager: Charlie Manuel
Bench coach: Jimy Williams
First-base coach: Davey Lopes
Third-base coach: Art Howe

(Phillies GM Pat Gillick knows these guys were fired for a reason, right?) This staff is reminiscent, of course, of the Yankees coaching staff, to the right...

Manager: Joe Torre
Bench coach: Lee Mazzilli
First-base coach: Tony Pena
Third-base coach: Larry Bowa
Bullpen Coach: Joe Kerrigan

That's four current/former managers for the Phils, five for the Yanks. I think the Sox should one-up them (turns out while they hired Magadan, it might not be as hitting coach). I hear Buck Showalter is available; so are Ken Macha, Don Baylor, Buck Martinez, Jeff Torborg, Bobby Valentine, and Jack McKeon.

I think we should get them all. We can have the stupidest and/or least likeable coaching staff in baseball history!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Saynora Senor Psycho

Steve Lyons - fired by Fox. For making racially sensitive comments about Lou Pinella. Who knew Sweet Lou was Hispanic. Now Lyons has a small history, but this seems extreme to me.

A couple more thoughts.... The big Boo-Ya Frank Thomas whined last night that Kenny Rogers hit him on purpose. With an 0-2 count nonetheless. Frank you should be happy that you got on base somehow.

Who would have thought Milton Bradley would be the most clutch player for Oakland in the ALCS.

And Suppan is pitching well. Based on this offseason, I would say that the best way to have success in the post season is to be cast off pitcher from the AL East. Kenny Rogers, Jeff Suppan, Jeff Weaver, David Wells - have all pitched decent this postseason.

A few thoughts for a Saturday

What on Earth is Chuck Merriweather doing umpiring an ALCS game? Should be lots of questionable strike calls today.

I guess my World Series Tickets are worthless.

I think I have watched 3 Mets games this year from start to finish. And Billy Wagner has basically blown two of them.

If it is true Soriano turned down $70MM for 5 years from Washington, I hope Theo and the trio will finally see that Manny is a bargain at $20MM.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Welcome Dave Magadan!

I remember this guy taking over 1B for the Mets after Hernandez left. The guy had a sweet swing (reminded me of Olerud) and a ton of plate discipline (a .390 career OBP...he walked in over 11.5% of his plate appearances).

Why am I bringing this up? Because he is the new hitting coach for the Sox.

The downside? He was the hitting coach for the Padres and was fired...because the Padres couldn't hit.

He also wasn't a power hitter (never even hit 10 HRs in a season), so I am not sure how that helps someone like Wily Mo.

My guess is that he was specifically hired to help guys like Youk, Pedroia, Murphy, and Crisp. You know, all the young all-stars we'll have on the field next year.

Anyway, a move by the Sox...better than the "no news" we've been getting.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Lists/pop quiz

I don't really have anything useful to say about the Lidle thing; it's just so tragic, and really puts the whole "sports" and "rivalry" things into perspective. (My sister lives basically across the river from the building, so can see it from her street.) Alan Schwarz's article is definitely worth reading. Anyway...

Turning to happier, and less important,'s a quiz. What's this a list of?
  1. 2006 Red Sox
  2. 2003 Mets
  3. 2001 Red Sox
  4. 2002 Red Sox
  5. 2002 Rangers
I'll give you a's a related list, one I like much, much more:
  1. 2005 Yankees
  2. 2006 Yankees
  3. 2004 Yankees
  4. 2003 Yankees
  5. 2002 Yankees


Cory Lidle RIP.

Also, I', sure we all had a momentary flashback to five years ago. While my thoughts and prayers go out to the Lidle family, they also go out to all the firemen who had to respond to this call. I can not even imagine.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


So, despite Tommy Lasorda's best efforts, I admittedly haven't been watching very much of the postseason (the west coast is so great for watching baseball - you can watch "normal" 7:00 games from work, and you never have to stay up late). So I don't have much to say about the last few games. Except that Barry Zito's value just went down by about $10M. Makes no sense, but it's the reality.

(Thoughts on where Zito will be next year? I'm assuming a NYY/BOS bidding war will occur, but they can't be the only ones.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

am I a bad person...

...for actually hoping Steinbrenner fires Torre and hires Piniella? I think Torre's pretty damn overrated, but I still like the guy, and just like I don't think he doesn't deserve all the credit for the 1996-2000 run, I don't think he deserves much blame for the last couple playoff losses. Firing him would be such an utterly stupid act...but obviously that's a good thing. And Torre's going into the HOF anyway, so it's hard to feel too bad for him. So instead, I think of the entertainment value - a new twist on the Jeter vs. A-Rod saga, Piniella's on-field temper tantrums ("Yankee class!" "Mystique and Aura!"), Torre actually saying something negative once he's fired, etc. Wheeee!

[I'm sure this joke's been made 100,000 times already, but some team (Yanks? Cubs?) should sign Buck Showalter to a $10M, one-year contract.]

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Jumper Warning

New York (AP) - With the elimination of the Yankees and the Mets advancing, New Era caps is bracing for an onslaught of Met hat purchases to accomodate all the bandwagon jumpers.

Peter Y/Peter X/Paul/Mary or whoever you were, making comments earlier this week after game 1. On the outside chance you stop by again (not likely) , I'll save you the effort and provide a link for you.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Heading to Oakland

I'm leaving the office right now. Should have a beer in hand in about an hour.

Go A's!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2007 World Series Champions

The Texas Rangers!!

October 1995 - Fired by the Yankees. October 1996, Yankees end longest world series drought in team history.

October 2000 - fired by the D-backs. November 2001 - D-backs win World Series.

It seems almost inevitable. And of course we will be subject to 4,915 articles over the next couple of days making the same claim.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Go Oakland!!

I guess we should all be cheering for Oak-Town to sweep, now that they have beaten Johan it would be nice to have Zito stat Game 1 of an LCS. Then again, they are the A's. And history has not been kind to them.

Speaking of Tom Brady...

1) Ron Jackson and Dave Wallace won't be with the Sox next year. I understand about Wallace, but Jackson's departure confuses me. The offense was better than I had expected this year (Youk, Gonzales, Lowell), and Ortiz loves the guy and gives him a lot of credit for his success. Anyway, Jackson wrote a very classy letter (to the fans, players etc), printed here. Though his postscript, "P.S.: I want to make sure Tom Brady knows that, although I'm no longer with the Red Sox, I'll always be his personal hitting coach and he can come take BP with me any time," sounds a little...uh...weird.

2) The federal prosecutor in the mlb steroids case has announced that the LA Times report, saying that Grimsley fingered Clemens, Pettite, Gibbons, Tejada, and Roberts, contains "significant inaccuracies." Which is good...but the prosecutor's never done this before. Can we therefore assume that whenever a leaked report comes out, we can tell whether it's true based on whether the prosecutor denies it.

(Also, who the hell is leaking false information?)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Change of subject and refocus....

First a quick note on the Pats - I have not read the paper yet, but I wonder what the reaction will be that the Pats TROUNCED a good team. Scoring 38 points in the process. Everyone (especially Borges) was so down on these guys.

But, back to the Sox. Did anyone read Edes piece on the rebuilding of the Sox. A few things jumped out at me. Particularly in this quote from Epstien:

"One, it revealed we had flaws on the team, weaknesses on the team, that were revealed some but not exposed in the first half. Two, everything that could go wrong did go wrong, to an extent that I've never seen before and probably was close to unprecedented in modern baseball."

I agree the team had flaws, but I think it is a bit self serving and naive to say that everything that could go wrong did go wrong to the extent that it was unprecedented in modern history. Huh? Perhpas there is hyperbole in there. And sure there were things that went wrong, but really what went wrong that none of could have foreseen (or been able to forsee)? Maybe Coco's finger? Or Wake's injury. Clement had been shaky since ASB 2005. Wells is old. Same with Timlin. Nixon is always hurt. Foulke has sucked since October 27, 2004. Lester was not even supposed to be in Boston, so that can't really count. Maybe someone could say Beckett was a disappointment, but he was inconsistent and he has been that his entire career - its usually just the result of injury instead. He did have career highs in Wins and Innings. So maybe Tek's injury was a surprise.

Now if we had looked back and say everything went wrong, we could have had a rookie 1b that did not adapt to everyday play. We could have had a new middle IF or two not adapt to the pressures of Boston (that certainly has happened before), Lowell could have continued his 2005 performance, Schilling could have remained a shell of his prior self, and Ortiz could have come back to earth a bit. So, Theo, after you stop feeling sorry for yourself, maybe you will see that EVERYTHING did not go poorly.

And yet he continued:

``Look, we knew that there were players being pushed into roles that we thought at this point in their careers would be fortunate to [succeed]. Go back and look at June, how well Lester was pitching right off the bat. That's rare for that stage. Not everyone has the same assimilation to the big leagues as Jonathan Papelbon. That happens about once a generation."

Okay, but who exactly is he talking about Hansen, Delcarmen, Lester? Not really. They were pushed into those positions because everyone else sucked. None of those guys were on the opening day roster, if I recall correctly. Go back and look at June? How about we look at April or January. That is when the team was built.

And then to suggest that what happened with Papelbon was soooo very outstanding? Are you kidding? I guess he forgot about Huston Street coming in the year before and being one of the top closers in the league as a rookie.

Okay, that is about all the venting I will do on Theo. I still believe. I just don't like anyone thinking we are all naive.

Post Season Predictions

We need to get this on the books quick. How about we make some lame-ass predictions about the post season? Here are a couple of topics to pick from or feel free to add your own categories:

1. Will The Twin's and Pitching be too much to handle or not enough?
2. Will Oakland's bat be enough to get by?
3. Will the Yankees get their act together or will their big names up-stage each other?
4. Which Detroit team will show up?
5. Will the Mets raly?
6. Will the Cardinals Conintue to Slide?
7. Will the best rotation in the league possibly the MLB (San Diego) get through to World Series?
8. Will the ex-sox (LA) win it all?

More in the comments about my lame-ass predictions!

Oh, hey look! The season's over! And the Sox finished third! Awesome.

So I actually disagree with GR's statement that "Second place is no better than last place if you don't make the playoffs." I mean, it's absolutely right in terms of results, but what pisses me off about the 3rd place finish is that all the dumb "analysts" who predicted Toronto would come in 2nd were right. And for all the wrong reasons - no one said anything about a lot of injuries, a crapass bullpen, and a questionable starting rotation. No, the difference, they said, was Glaus and Overbay and Ryan and Burnett. Which is silly. But their prediction - of a Yanks-Jays-Sox finish - was correct. Pisses me off.

Anyway, looking at parity for the are the final standings, listed in terms of salaries:

AL East: 1st, t-3rd, 2nd, t-3rd, 5th
AL Cent: 3rd, 2nd, 1st, 4th, 5th
AL West: 4th, 1st, 3rd, 2nd
NL East: 1st, 3rd, 2nd, 5th, 4th
NL Cent: 3rd, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 1st
NL West: 1st/3rd, 2nd, 5th, 4th

Wow, I'm surprised, and impressed - not much (though certainly some) correlation between payroll and success. This might actually be a real sign of parity. Or maybe it's a fluke - last season it was "highest payroll wins the division". We'll see.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Ortiz = Tom Brady??

In the little that I have followed the Pats, there seems to be this collective whining about how the Offense is struggling because Number 12 does not have Branch and Givens to throw to. It is 3 games into the season and the team is 2-1. And they play in avery weak division. Sure they have work to do, but the hacks would make it seem like they are 0-3. Of course Borges has had an ax to grind with Coach Bill for a few years, but that is another story. Which brings me to the Sox. The last two months Ortiz is getting nothing to hit. Three more walks last night. And August and September are his two highest walk total months this season. By far. Every one knows that Manny's bat will be hard to replace. And while these guys (theo and the trio) appear to not really care how the media portray their decisions, they will get crucified if Manny goes, Ortiz walks and the offense sputters. The same people that are screaming about Branch and Givens, and talked about Bagwell for years, will be all over the Sox.

Friday, September 29, 2006


For all the complaining about the FO's mistakes the last 2 years (much of it legitimate, in my opinion), will we see any of the "Henry/Theo sucks!" crowd admit that maybe Boston was right not to sign Pedro? He's now out for the postseason (which the New York Times hilariously says was unexpected), and that very well may be it for his career.

Assuming it is (of course, I'm really hoping it's not), he's had 54 starts for the Mets, coming out to almost exactly $1M/start. His ERA the last 2 years is the NL East. Adjusted to the AL East (add ~1 point of ERA), and the fact that plenty of people here feel we should have outbid the Mets, a multiyear contract with Boston becomes a pretty scary thought. Don't get me wrong, I miss Pedro a lot, and him pitching even half of this season in Boston would have helped the 2006 Sox immensely...but 2007 and 2008 would've been not-so-fun, for everyone involved.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A new theory?

While I never believed in the "Curse" to begin with, if the Cards blow this lead and lose the division I am going to write a book that when the Red Sox won the WS in STL, that they transferred the Curse from the Red Sox to the Redbirds. In reality, the Cards string of bad luck extends back much longer than 2004, but then again reality apparently has nothing to do with writing a hit book about baseball - take it from the book reviewer.

We're Number Two! And Post-season Thoughts

Back in second place...AAHH...sigh of relief. Just kidding. Second place is no better than last place if you don't make the playoffs.

With that said, what about playoff speculation. After reading this quote from the Globe today, "Beckett has had to endure the challenge of switching from the Triple A National League to the American League"...well, let's just say that the level of writing everywhere in this country is childish...poopie, if I must say.

Of course, if the Mets win the WS it will be because they are the most AL team in the NL. And correct me if I am wrong, but didn't an NL team win within the last 3 years?

I understand that pitchers' ERAs tend to go up in the AL due to the DH, but the AAA National League?

Ok, back to the big picture which I hope will tie in with what I've just written.

In the AL you have Oakland, Minnesota, NY Yankees, and the Tigers. Is there a dominant team out of this bunch? With the Yankees rotation starting to show signs of age as they head to the post-season, you have to wonder as to their chances. The Tigers have nothing more to really thank than their unbelievable start. Essentially, they've held on to make the post-season. But, hey, they're in. Oakland played in a fairly terrible division, and they have great pitching. So, despite the injuries to the Twins pitching, they still have the most dominant starter in the AL, and an excellent closer (not to take away from the other closers, but Nathan is by far the most underrated closer around), I am picking Minnesota to win the AL.

The A's just don't have the sticks. MAYBE they pull a White Sox and pitch their way through, but I just don't see it.

The Yankees are going to have big problems with RJ's back, and Mussina. Wang is very good, but you can't base your post-season hopes on that kid just yet. Of course, their lineup is huge, but they are going to give up 5+ runs per game, and you can't win a championship doing that.

The Tigers, like I said, held on. They are still a very good team, however, and if their pitching performs like they can, they have a shot.

I just like the Twins this year.

In the AAA National League...I like the Mets. Big surprise. Seriously. They have Pedro (who, if you haven't noticed has been resting...they've called it DL'ing, but those of us from Boston know what is going on there). Glavine. Hell, even Trachsel has been good. Their pen is solid, and they have Wagner as a closer. If you haven't noticed, Beltran is an MVP candidate, Delgado and Wright are terrifying, and Reyes is excellent.

Their biggest competition? Houston, if they make it. I can't see any team from the West doing damage (with the possible exception of LA, but they may not make it, either). The Cards? Nope. The Phillies? Possibly. They give the Mets problems, but I say it is NY.

So my WS is Minnesota/NY. I would be very happy with any outcome of that series. But just to punish all the stupid writers...Go NL!!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

We're number three! We're number three!

Wow. Well, looking on the bright side of things:

- maybe some level of parity is returning to baseball. I'll take a closer look at this at the end of the season.
- tickets may be easier to come by. Obviously, I'm never going to root for the Sox to fail, but another season like this and the bandwagon will be so empty I'll be able to go to Fenway again, without giving some guy from Quincy $120 for a bleacher seat. (Does that make me a "foul weather fan"?)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Random thoughts at the end of a rough season

  1. The Magic Number for finishing the season in 2nd place is 7. Woohoo!
  2. Julian Tavarez got the Sox's first complete game win the other night. Some people seem surprised by this - but I'm not.
  3. Is Gordon Edes becoming the next Dan Shaughnessy? This is may be the worst Boston sports article written all year.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


My god that guy is awesome. So nice to have a bright spot in an otherwise bleak end to the season.

Roids, Off Season Moves, and a Lost Season

Looking back at the last off-season and the moves the Sox made, I have a theory...

The Sox didn't take the plunge on guys like BJ Ryan and sluggers like Thome, Delgado, etc...because they were concerned that many performances would drop significantly due to steroids, and they didn't want to get stuck with big contracts for little hitters...

Needing a corner infielder, and having a Delgado and Thome available, why didn't they make a run at one of them? A big problem they had last year was no protection for Manny. My theory is that they believed that many sluggers around the league were going to experience huge power losses due to the new drug testing policies. There definitely seemed to be a fear against going for a few big of the big name sluggers.

The reason that I was thinking about this was they went and signed non-power guys like Loretta and Gonzalez (and Crisp). Guys who get base hits, have some speed (not Loretta) and can field. They quickly moved away from the long ball and turned to defense as a philosophy. Why? Defense definitely helped them win the WS, no doubt about that, but having that offense didn't hurt them...

I know that most of the guys they got fit the bill with OBP, but, I have to think that Henry and company (the way they view it all as a business) didn't want to take a chance on bringing in a 40HR guy at 10+MM, only to have him test positive or show up at camp a singles hitter.

And not saying that any of the Sox pitchers were past abusers, but some of them dropped in velocity considerably (many pitchers around the league did...especially bullpen guys). Maybe this was the reason they didn't take the chance on guys like BJ Ryan. I am not saying Ryan was a user. I don't think he was/is. But maybe they said, "look we're heading into a transition year, anyway AND there is going to be dropoff on many hitters and pitchers now that juicing is out. Let's play it safe and not spend the money on....etc....".

It seemed like their entire philosophy changed, and very quickly. Something must have triggered it. I believe that a conversation about not getting burned by a steroid scandal (I have to believe most teams thought about this) took place. Especially with how careful the FO has been about constructing an image.

I guess that we will see what happens this off-season since no one big got caught cheating this year (why was that??? was there really no big name guy juicing??? that just seems so unlikely)...

I know that this post is a little disjointed, but I was just sort of thinking of the effect the new testing policies might have had on some of the off season moves the Sox made last year...I am sure the discussion on this topic will tighten up this post...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Two bits of news

Deja Vu - Bronson Arroyo is 14-10. Exactly the same as last year. His periphial stats are improved, but I would imagine when adjusted for league and park, the difference is not as big.

Looks like there is a bit of a soap opera going on in NY. If the Giambi A-Rod exchange is accurate, Giambi goes from 0 to about an 8 on the respect meter (of course that is out of 100), but its a start.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

No theory is perfect

Much has been written this year about how pitching in the NL is the elixir that any major league (or not so major league) pitcher could hope for. But even the NL, in a hitters park, could not put an end to Rudy Seanez' nightmare that is 2006.

For anyone that did not catch it, the padres took a 9-5 lead into the 9th. And the Dodgers hit 4 straight HRs to tie. In the 10th, Bard singled home a run for 10-9 lead. And then Seanez gave up a HR to Nomar in the bottom of the 10th.

The game featured 10 former Red Sox players, including 3 from the 2004 championship team (which is more than started any of the 4 games this past weekend for the Sox).