What’s the Deal with the BBWAA?

by Shaun

Congratulations to Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar.  It’s good to see two deserving players elected to the baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America.  However, the BBWAA failed to elect several members clearly deserving of enshrinement:  Barry Larkin, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Alan Trammell.  The reason is simple.  Many members of the BBWAA do not view baseball in an appropriate manner.

You see, many members of the BBWAA evaluate baseball players in the same way that judges in gymnastics or figure skating evaluate participants in those events.  Many writers given the privilege to vote judge players on whether players look impressive on the baseball field.  Jim Rice hit a lot of homeruns and it seems he was feared, so he eventually is inducted.  Andre Dawson hit a lot of homeruns, played with bad knees and had an impressive arm so he eventually is voted in.

Many members of BBWAA view the game as a contest in artistry rather than as a game and a sport.  When someone views the game as a contest in artistry (much like gymnastics and figure skating), that person overrates things like how scary a player’s swing might have been or how great an arm a player had or how high a batting average or how many runs a player drove in.  That person underrates the important stuff.  The things that a player does that actually helps a baseball team win baseball games.

Sure, the members of the BBWAA that make this mistake think they are viewing the game appropriately.  Those members think that how pretty a player looks on the baseball field is the same thing as how much that player is helping his team win.  Those members aren’t intentionally ignoring the important things a player does to help his team win baseball games.  They’ve been trained to view all sports as contests in artistry, whether it be artistry in what a player does on the field or artistry in some arbitrary statistic that is meaningless or doesn’t tell the full story of how valuable a player was.  For some sports this works.  And for baseball this often works, otherwise the writers would get it wrong more often than they do when voting for Hall of Fame.

Many have been taught to view sports in such a way that greatness means a series of impressive feats.  This is why the rather unspectacular Jack Morris garners more support than more deserving players.   Morris won 7 postseason games including a 10-inning shutout in a Game 7.  He had a handful of seasons in which he was one of the top 10 pitchers in his league but he was never one of the top 2 or 3 pitchers in his league.  Many voters just see his impressive feats (if not the one impressive game) and his seemingly impressive 254 wins and they give him more support than they should.

But in sports, and especially in baseball, greatness is not always defined by a series of impressive feats.  A player can be one of the most valuable in history without the prettiest swing or without grace in the field; without constantly contending for the highest batting average, the highest homerun total, the highest RBI or run scored total, the highest win total in the league.  Sure these things are all fine and dandy and it’s even hard for a player to be great without at least some of the aforementioned things.

But most of us know by now that much of the greatness in baseball is hidden from the very casual fan by tradition and by players who more look the part but who aren’t necessarily any more valuable than the less graceful, the less impressive with regards to more traditional measures of supposed greatness (like batting average, RBI, pitcher wins).  Greatness is truly defined by things like how often a player gets on base, how often a pitcher causes the hitter to miss bats or hit off-balanced grounders, how many fly balls in the gap that a fielder gets to without a highlight reel catch, how many routine doubles a player hits.

Most of us know the game has changed over the past decade.  Most front offices aren’t as wedded to traditional measures (batting average, RBI, pitcher wins) and players who look the part (tools) as they once were.  Change started to take hold when the baseball establishment let in more and more of the readers of Bill James and those of the Branch Rickey/Allen Roth tradition.  Even the BBWAA opened their doors to more enlightened writers.  Eventually enlightened writers will outnumber the less intellectually curious, the writers who aren’t all that concerned with finding out what a player does to help his team win baseball games and are more concerned with grace, style and the statistics that tradition (rather than fact) tells them are the measures of greatness.

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174 Responses to “What’s the Deal with the BBWAA?”

  1. Chuck Says:

    “At 3pm John or Shaun will have an article up, not complimentary of Blyleven or Alomar, but ripping the BBWAA as a bunch of mindless old farts who watch baseball through a shot glass.”

    So, I was off by a couple of hours….

  2. Mike Felber Says:

    This is mostly correct. I add that good offense adds significantly more value than good defense, varying by position, with the possible exception of a great catcher & game caller. Considering real peak value with career value is worth mentioning. And that we discussed it in Talmudic detail on his own thread a while back, but Dawson is at least a borderline HOF guy. Though you could argue him either way, unlike a Morris, Rice, Perez, etc…

    Unless it is due to the suspicion of PEDs, I do not see why Baggy should be added now to the list of players w/so little support. hopefully the Writers at least saw his career as worthy just in terms of performance.

  3. Cameron Says:

    For a guy with those numbers in that era in a team that linked to steroids with enough circumstancial evidence with the most uptight group of baseball assholes on the planet… You have to admit that 40 percent for a guy like him is impressive. I would’ve guessed he’d be closer to 30 after a closer examination of the thought process the BBWAA employs.

  4. Cameron Says:

    For the record, even the silliest, most tangential link to steroids is evidence damning enough to them to make sure a player doesn’t exist to them. They’ll drop dead if anyone thinks the word. Alex Rodriguez could hit 297 home runs next year, but because he admitted to juicing in Texas, will not give him a single vote and induct a guy and give us the world’s greatest circus act to try and justify why. It’s like the giant elephant in the room mixed with a case of overcompensating denial. Unless it’s right in front of them, they won’t talk about it in the present, and talking about the past, they stop just short of saying juicers should be publicly executed and their children sodomized in public as a lesson not to fuck with the almighty baseball purity gods.

    …Or something like that. I barely know what I just said because I shouldn’t be up right now and my fatigue addled brain is making up words.

  5. Cameron Says:

    By induct, I meant vote MVP.

    Unless the level of denial is so bad that they think that the real A-Rod retired in 2001. But this would be his 5th year on the ballot in this case, though the steroid denial meant he got knocked off his first ballot. So the BBWAA has the power of bullshit retcon. …Who’s the head of the BBWAA, Joe Quesada?

    …If any of you get that last reference, you get a fucking medal.

  6. Chuck Says:

    The quote from Tom Verducci that I provided on another thread echoes what many on the BBWAA feel and which I agree with;

    When it comes to steriods, it’s guilty until proven innocent.

    There are enough lines in the sand which can be drawn from admitted steriod users to Jeff Bagwell that the question really isn’t whether he used, but for how long.

    What former teammate Derek Bell said carries more weight than anything anyone has said here, even though it’s just as circumstantial.

    I knew about Bagwell’s personal trainer and how Bagwell fired him over him documenting meetings FIVE years ago, again, it’s circumstantial, but where there’s smoke there’s fire.

    I’m with Cameron in post #3, I, too, am a bit surprised by Bagwell’s vote total, but if you look around the internet at the so called “experts” who believed Baggy to be a first ballot lock, then not so much.

    As far as the liars/apologists go, I don’t care.

    Andy Pettitte’s admittance and apology doesn’t mean anything to me because he’s not a HOFer anyway.

    Neither is McGwire.

    Neither is Gary Sheffield.

    I agree with Raul…Bagwell doesn’t pass the smell test for me as a HOFer, and even the slightest reference to steriods means he’s out.

    And keep this in mind;

    I asked the guys at BaseballReference to confirm and haven’t heard back yet, but I recall reading somewhere the biggest percentage gain over a two year period is 18%.

    Which means Bagwell isn’t getting in next year either.

    Starting in 2012 and for probably the next ten years, the ballots will be loaded, and, depending on how the steriod guys are treated, could easily have two or three guys elected each year.

    Which means Bagwell is STILL out.

    For those excited about the increases this year from Morris and Raines, next year is their last shot for the same reason.

    And for those supporters of Edgar Martinez, look no further than Harold Baines.

    A few years of cursory support, then, gone like a fart in the wind.

    Even if the steriod guys pay the ultimate price, there still could be a dozen or so guys elected in the next ten years; Thomas, Thome, Jeter, Maddux, Johnson, Glavine, etc.

    With neither Bagwell or Raines or even Morris being in their class as players, their chances will become less and less as the years pass.

  7. Bob Says:

    Bob Costas predicts Larkin is the only guy to get in next year.

  8. Chuck Says:

    Here’s a good one.

    Barry Stanton of ESPN.com voted for BJ Surhoff and NOT Roberto Alomar.

    Talk about having your credentials revoked.

  9. Bob Says:

    He is the guy that plagerized Posnanski. Although as Graig Calcaterra wrote, ( I am paraphrasing) he appears to have learned from that mistake, cause he did not copy anyone elses ballot.

  10. Richard Says:

    BJ Surhoff never spit on anyone…

    And the First-Ballots in 2012 are weaker than A-Rod’s “my cousin made me do it.”
    Barry Larkin is a lock.

    As for the article, I don’t ever think I’ve read more speculation – with NO basis. How many BBWAA writers have you interviewed to come to this conclusion?

    The elitist attitude adopted by Shaun reminds me of a teenager that thinks he is the first person to understand what life is all about, and constantly rebels against his parents, who knew all along what he is going through, and are looking out for his best interest. GMs and Managers have long understood what makes great players great, and writers themselves that watch the game from the park know the value of a Jack Morris to the top of a rotation, something you can’t find in a stat. You can’t define the leadership of Derek Jeter or even a David Eckstein by Sabermetrics. Some things can’t be judged by stats, and some votes can’t be reasoned by mindless bloggers who never played or covered the game.

  11. Hartvig Says:

    “GMs and Managers have long understood what makes great players great”

    Certainly some of them have, and as far back in the history of the game as you can go, but… it’s also true that there have been more than a few who: 1) could have led the 1998 Yankees to a 3rd place finish or 2) traded Ricky Henderson for Greg Cadaret, Eric Plunk & Luis Polonia or 3) named Juan Gonzalez the Most Valuable Player in the American League in 1998.

    Oh wait…

    OK, so you would have to be the worst manager ever to screw up the 98 Yankees that much (but I suspect there have been a few who could have done it). And that smart people sometimes do stupid things. And that if you make enough trades you’re eventually going to make one that looks awful in hindsight.

    But there’s still no excuse for giving Juan-Gone the MVP.

  12. Cameron Says:

    What about Juan Gone’s 1996 MVP?

  13. Cameron Says:

    Hah, just saw the speech from Blyleven when he was inducted.

    “Okay, first all, I know you’ve been sitting a while, so how bout we all stand up? Can you hear me? Okay, now stretch your hands up over your head. Now out to the side, flex ‘em a little. Now I need a good clap. …Now three. …Now I need a bout twenty in a row.

    …Thanks everybody, I bet Roberto twenty bucks I could get a standing ovation.”

  14. Richard Says:

    The best argument you can find is the Gold Glove for Palmiero in 1999 while playing 28 games there. I’m still shaking my head over that one.

  15. Cameron Says:

    The thing is that Gold Glove voting isn’t the BBWAA, it’s the managers and coaches of the league. Baseball as a collective was filled with complete morons in 1999. Raffy Palmeiro gets a Gold Glove for 28 games and Pedro Martinez loses to Pudge Rodriguez in MVP voting.

    …The fuck?

  16. Bob Says:

    I will put this here. The Reds signed Edgar Renteria and the Phillies signed J.C. Romero.

  17. Shaun Says:

    GMs and Managers have long understood what makes great players great, and writers themselves that watch the game from the park know the value of a Jack Morris to the top of a rotation, something you can’t find in a stat. You can’t define the leadership of Derek Jeter or even a David Eckstein by Sabermetrics. Some things can’t be judged by stats, and some votes can’t be reasoned by mindless bloggers who never played or covered the game.

    This is an ideal example of viewing baseball like a judge viewing a contest in artistry instead of viewing baseball as a sport and a game. Basically Richard implies Jack Morris had value because of impressive things instead of actually giving us some solid evidence that shows what Morris did and how much to contribute to his team winning. And Richard implies that leadership is going to get Jeter into the Hall, not all the things the evidence shows us beyond a reasonable doubt that Jeter did to help the Yankees win baseball games. And I’m the one who is speculative. “Hey, pot. You are black. Sincerely, kettle.”

  18. Shaun Says:

    Neither is McGwire.

    Neither is Gary Sheffield.

    I agree with Raul…Bagwell doesn’t pass the smell test for me as a HOFer, and even the slightest reference to steriods means he’s out.

    “Smell test”…hmmm…sounds a lot like a figure skating judge instead of someone who pays attention to what helps a team win baseball games.

  19. Mike Felber Says:

    Shaun is right here. No adequate reason has been given here why Baggy, Big Mac, & less discussed, but I will say Sheffield…are not HOFers based upon PERFORMANCE. Keep them out due to juicing? That is something else. Though in Jeff’s case, he MAY have used, & Chuck may have inside info, but mainly we have guilt by association. And factually & metaphorically, often when there is smoke there is NOT fire. DNA testing, when kept, continues to free people, sometimes DECADES after they were convicted by eyewitness testimony (which has proven unreliable, especially many are IDing someone of another race).

    Richard, while sometimes there are some intangibles, much more often they are as real & true in adding significant value as “Gritty/the grit factor”. Jeter is clearly an HOFer, but Morris? Except for that o great game he was not very good at all in the post season, blowing several games. A highly detailed analysis of his record in all game score differentials posted here a while back blew up the myth that he “pitched to the score”. What HAS been factually shown is how much run support he had coinciding with his best years-& less focused on is his defense-but in any measure of isolated performances his best years did not approach not only the best guys of his era, but Blyleven.

  20. Bob Says:

    Actually Morris was solid in the 1984 playoffs.

  21. Chuck Says:

    Right, Shaun.

  22. Cameron Says:

    That doesn’t excuse the fact outside of one game, he choked balls from 91-93, all WS winners that were counting on him and got precisely one good game from him.

  23. Bob Says:

    Cameron, while I am not a supporter of Morris for the HOF, Morris was in fact quite good in 1984. He in fact did not chocke in 1984 when the Tigers needed him. It pains me that Morris gets this level of hatred/ cause in fact he was slightly above average, and only started to suck when the steroid users were the majority of the batters he faced. I wished he retired after 1991. But alas, no player from that 1984 team will make the Hall. And that team had Evans, Trammell and Whitaker.

  24. Hartvig Says:

    In Morris’ defense:

    He wouldn’t be the worst pitcher in the HOF
    He did pitch a lot of complete games for the era in which he played which probably didn’t help his peripheral stats much but did help his team
    He did pitch the most amazing, thrilling single game I have ever seen
    It would go a tiny way towards making up for Trammell & Whitaker not being in the HOF yet

    But it would be pretty hard to explain why he got into the HOF if Kevin Brown can’t even reach the 5% needed to stay on the ballot.

  25. Chuck Says:

    Kevin Brown:

    1) Wasn’t that good,

    2) Used steriods.

    Don’t understand the fuss about his vote total.

    It would have been a shock if he stayed on the ballot another year.

  26. John Says:

    Kevin Brown isnt a HOF pitcher. I have no problem with him not making it, and if he’s not in the ballot past a year, fine…makes no difference to me. He doesn’t belong.

    But he was 800 times the pitcher Jack Morris was.

    As for the article? Shaun’s mostly right. But we’ve coveted this stuff to the point of exhaustion. Lets talk about the Beltre signing.

  27. John Says:

    Ask any NL central fan if Jeff Bagwell passes the so-called smell test.

    He does.

    Before Pujols, Bagwell was the guy you didn’t ever wanna face with the game on the line.

    Not McGwire. Not Sosa.

    I’m sorry he didn’t play in NY. Maybe then he would have the fetishistic media love that Jeter gets.

  28. Cameron Says:

    Even Greg Maddux didn’t wanna face Bagwell that often when the Astros were in the NL West. He was a pretty fearsome presence at the plate.

  29. Chuck Says:

    “But he was 800 times the pitcher Jack Morris was.”

    I wouldn’t go that far, John.

    Given the choice I’d probably take Brown too, but neither are HOFers.

  30. Cameron Says:

    Depends on what you’re going by. On a career, I’d probably take Morris on longevity, consistency, and ability to stay healthy. Brown had his flashes, but Morris was pretty mechanical. You knew what you were getting from him, and it was pretty good.

  31. Chuck Says:

    Former AL umpire John Rice passed away the other day.

    He was the target of one of the great all time benchjockeying lines, from Ball Four.

    Rice and Pilots manager Joe Schultz were going back and forth over balls and strikes, and Schultz said this beauty..

    “Hey, Rice, what comes out of a Chinaman’s ass”?

  32. Chuck Says:

    “Lets talk about the Beltre signing.”

    Ok.

    For the next four years he’s going to split .260/18/64, bitch and whine about the weather in Texas and make at least two trips to the DL with non-existent injuries, then play the fifth year like he’s Mike Schmidt.

    Wash, rinse, repeat.

  33. John Says:

    Lol Chuck.

    We don’t see eye to eye often but you can drive’em home when it counts.

  34. John Says:

    @Cam #12: I know how most of us feel about this stat but….

    Go to the 1996 mvp voting and click sort-by-WAR.

    Funny Stuff

  35. Chuck Says:

    Holy shit…

  36. John Says:

    I mean, it shouldn’t take a bizzare stat to tell these guys that the best season from the best SS of a generation is the mvp, even if he’s hitting behind the best cf since willie mays…who was also better.

    Not to mention Belle, Thomas, Vaughn, I-Rod, Hentgen, Rivera (yes, a reliever), Palmeiro, the spitting hofer, Clemens ( forget the losing record), Salmon, McGwire, Steinbach, Knoblauch, Molitor….

    I’m on my phone. No bbref…there’s prolly still a bunch more guys more deserving than Juan-Gone.

  37. Chuck Says:

    You can’t blame the writers for picking Gonzalez, his stats were almost identical to Griffey’s, who actually led in WAR.

    Further proof that WAR is a dumb stat.

  38. John Says:

    That’s not proof.

    Griffey was a historically great CF.
    Gonzalez was a crappy RF.

    WAR blows, but that’s not why.

  39. Chuck Says:

    We agree WAR blows.

    Why is irrelevant.

  40. Mike Felber Says:

    WAR has flaws, but if you assume it is terrible & it does not matter why, any overlap with the truth you hit is likely to be coincidental. It does a good job with most aspects of the formula, is dubious defensively in a good # of cases, & a beef I have-& have been lobbying B-R.com to address this in an analytical thread- is how much the different WAR formulas can vary, in terms of conclusions they reach about different players. But if I gave some WAR haters truth serum, if it turned out that 1 version was very accurate most of the time, they would admit they would disdain it abesnt, or in spite of, close examination.

    Just like some mindlessly support WAR. Now, besides character/sertoids, WHY is Kevin Brown not clearly an HOF pitcher? Start with the basic structure: average modern level IP, 127 ERA +, & a peak that seems a bit high even for this excellent ERA +. Can someone really argue that his peripheral/relevant stats did not support his ERA +? That he got lucky for his whole career with great defenses?

    I misspoke on Morris, excuse me. I did not mean to say he was never good in any other post season appearance other than those famous 10 IP: I meant in totem he was not very good in other PS starts. He was slightly above average for his career Bob, better than that at his peak, but not anywhere near a HOF pitcher. Also, we do not know if there were EVER a majority of batters taking PEDs-there may have been-but ‘89 was his 1st full way below average year. And then his last 2 were in ‘93 & ‘94: I would be surprised if the level of PED use was nearly as high then as starting after ‘98, for obvious reasons. The offense was just starting to explode at the very end of his career.

    Bagwwell’s adjectives above can be backed up by measuring his whole game & bat. Rice as so “feared” cannot. Brown was much better than Morris, over a career in less IP, & easily at their peak. WAR has it about right: Morris in his best year was as good as Brown in his worst in a bunch of years, mainly the 5 straight from ‘96-’00.

    Now, if you live & die by reaching milestones or counting stats, he might fall a little short. but if you recognize it is the quality of what you do per IP, & adding that up, & peak years-he absolutely qualifies. By the way, I discovered that black & gray ink do not consist of all the categories one leads in. They leave out some very important rate stats, but also negative stats, like losses & GIDP/Ks, are not counted.

    More reasons why using ranking stats without looking at what they mean in measuring performance is addle-deaded.

    By the way, though missing a fair amount due in injuries IS irrelevant if you are good enough per season & career, I would NOT put Brown in, due to PEDs. His Mitchell report ID, combined with late career peak, means he may well have been good enough DUE to PEDs. That is a distinct argument from looking at what he did & saying, otherwise, was he HOF material.

  41. Hartvig Says:

    Just to be clear, I don’t think either Morris or Brown belong in the HOF but I do think Morris is better than some people are giving him credit for. I do know for a FACT that he stayed in games when 99% of other starting pitchers at that time would have come out and he won at least as many of those as they would have by going to the bullpen. That is one thing that statistics don’t measure- in fact it probably counts against him because he would give up a run or 2 with a 4 to 1 lead and have to pitch more carefully to hitters because he didn’t have his best stuff. But it saved the bullpen to come in & bail out Milt Wilcox & Dan Petry- which meant more wins for the team.

    I also have to admit that when Brown was on, his stuff was pretty impressive. But his career curve looks suspect as all get out. I just wish I could have the confidence to think that the writers understood that when they voted.

    And Chuck is probably right about Beltre but I’ll go out on a limb & predict that he puts up some pretty impressive numbers the first couple of seasons, if only because he’ll be playing in one of the best hitters parks in baseball. But I wouldn’t put any money on it.

  42. Mike Felber Says:

    Well if he was only just about as good as the bullpen, or slightly better,then the extra inning or 2 would not make a huge difference, unless the bullpen could not go effectively for any length of time. I do not know about “fact” but you may be absolutely right that he stayed in games longer than most all who would have come out-when in his best years he was very high in complete games, higher than his infield-assisted ERA + would indicate he should have-then it seems he stayed or was kept in when others who were performing the same would have been taken out.

    But some can go too far in the other direction on Morris. It is just that he is clearly not an HOF pitcher. I would say that B-R.com has it just about perfect: they list 5.0 as all star level, & if you take his 4 best years, they average just shy of that. He certainly added significant value overall.

  43. Richard Says:

    This is an ideal example of viewing baseball like a judge viewing a contest in artistry instead of viewing baseball as a sport and a game. Basically Richard implies Jack Morris had value because of impressive things instead of actually giving us some solid evidence that shows what Morris did and how much to contribute to his team winning. And Richard implies that leadership is going to get Jeter into the Hall, not all the things the evidence shows us beyond a reasonable doubt that Jeter did to help the Yankees win baseball games. And I’m the one who is speculative. “Hey, pot. You are black. Sincerely, kettle.”

    There’s a difference between judging arbitrary artistry and recognizing that Pure Statistics can’t tell the whole story. You can’t just read a box score, even an expanded B-R box score, to understand a particular game, you have to watch it. Was DeWayne Wise’s catch against the Rays anywhere in the box score of Buehrle’s perfect game? Fred Merkle is just another out in the box score. Same as Willie McCovey’s screaming line drive, Vic Wertz’s shot, Don Denkinger’s call in the 85 WS… the list goes on.

    As someone who firmly opposes a Morris plaque in Cooperstown (he’s like 800th in Career ERA), I also recognize that he brought more to the table than ERA+ and WHIP. Intangibles are a real part of the game, and while some voters may use that as a criteria, I also believe you have to look at the stats to back them up. Some voters felt Morris had both, and voted for him. I think those guys are wrong, but I still respect their ability to vote based upon Win totals and clutch pitching in the postseason. By the way, he was 7-4 in the postseason, so ease up a bit on the “one good game” garbage. Still, to me, Jack Morris is not a HOFer. He was pretty good for alot of years and played on some really good teams, but he wasn’t elite.

    I also did not imply Jeter’s leadership will get him into the Hall, just that his leadership is something that doesn’t show up anywhere on the stat sheet. Do you really think I’m starting a David Eckstein for the Hall in 2017 campaign? Eck is a glue guy, ask “the genius” LaRussa about him. I sat down with Tony two off-seasons ago at an Anhueser stockholders mtg., and he went on and on like he had a man-crush on the guy.

    Jeter is a first-ballot guy on performance alone. He’ll also have at least 5 rings to back up his numbers. He and Mo (Boggs was on only one WS team) may be the only players from the 90’s Dynasty to get in. (Yes, that was a dig at Raines’s supporters, for the slower guys in the bunch)

  44. Richard Says:

    Sorry…meant to put the first paragraph in quotes…mea culpa

  45. Hartvig Says:

    Mike- Just so you know, I wasn’t directing my comment at you or anyone in particular. I’ve just read a lot of comments over the past week or so, on many websites, that just dismissed Morris as an average pitcher. He may not be a Hall of Famer but he was much more than some interchangeable part, as some people have made him out to be.

  46. Mike Felber Says:

    I hear you Hartvig. Ironically it is not the advanced stats on Morris, it is the understanding of them. Besides that you need to consider the value he added in his best years, folks do not realize that many IP a season adding up to an ~ 105 ERA + still has significant value added. So how good a Blyleven is at 118 ERA + over many more IP, & with often porous defense behind him, has been also not well understood.

    Richard, certainly a box score, or even analysis derived from other sources, cannot capture all the flavor, beauty, meaning, & even value of the game. Though very often intangibles are fictitious or overrated. Jeter has not been very good in how he has discussed, & treated, A-Rod. He may add significant value as a leader-but we do not know if it is much beyond his HOF worthy play. How many rings he has or games Morris won: that is so dependent on others & context. They get credit for what they did, & Morris was OK at .380 ERA on the post season, having a great game, some bad ones…the “intangible” of him pitching to the score or better under pressure is just not borne out by any reasonable &/or detailed analysis.

    But he was a good pitcher for sure, not his fault he has usually been overrated. Rugged good looks, pitching with excellent run support & defense & one huge game did make him seem somewhat better than he was to many though.

  47. Cameron Says:

    Ha, just click-sorted WAR for 1996 MVP and he’s DEAD LAST!

    Full list of people he finished behind WAR-wise in he MVP ballot…

    Ken Griffey
    Alex Rodriguez
    Chuck Knoblauch
    Jim Thome
    Brady Anderson
    Mark McGwire
    Andy Pettitte
    Mo Vaughn
    Ivan Rodriguez
    Frank Thomas
    Mariano Rivera
    Roberto Alomar
    Albert Belle
    Kenny Lofton
    Rafael Palmeiro
    Paul Molitor
    Bernie Williams
    Terry Steinbach
    Jay Buhner
    John Wetteland

    Yes, a collection of superstars like Kenny Lofton, Terry Steinbach, and Mariano Rivera, AKA, John Wetteland’s setup guy. Yes, an 8th-inning pitcher was more valuable than a 50 HR OF.

    …How horrible does your defense have to be for that to happen?

  48. Cameron Says:

    Agreed, Mike. Morris was certainly a good pitcher, probably even great. Just not great enough for the Hall. But, like Raines, even if he’s not good enough for the Hall of Fame, you’d be lucky to have him on your team.

    I officially induct Jack Morris into the Hall of Very Good. Along with former HoF hopeful Dave Parker.

  49. Bob Says:

    According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees are will willing to offer Pettitte 12-13 million this year.I bet he comes back.
    Yanks rotation
    1. Sabathia
    2. Pettitte
    3. Hughes
    4. Burnett
    5. Probably Ivan Nova although Mitre could be the guy unless they take a flier on Freddy Garcia

  50. Chuck Says:

    Matt Garza to the Cubs.

  51. Bob Says:

    Chuck, you beat me to it. My God, Baltimore will be 2nd this year in the ALEast. I firmly believe that.

  52. Chuck Says:

    Tampa would have finished fourth WITH Garza.

    So, you’re saying the Red Sox are finishing third?

  53. Bob Says:

    1. Boston
    2. Baltimore
    3. Who knows
    4. Who knows
    5. Who knows

  54. Chuck Says:

    Good one, Bob…LOL.

  55. Cameron Says:

    Looks like the trade details are as follows.

    Chicago gets
    -
    Matt Garza
    Fernando Perez
    PTBNL

    Tampa gets
    -
    Hak-Ju Lee
    Sam Fuld
    Chris Archer
    Robinson Chirinos
    Brandon Guyer

    Maybe it’s just me not being too high on Garza, but I think Tampa’s a clear winner in this trade. Solid talent all around there.

  56. raul Says:

    What’s the Cubs’ rotation now?

  57. Cameron Says:

    I believe…

    Dempster
    Zambrano
    Garza
    Wells/Gorzelanny/Silva filling the 4/5 spots.

  58. raul Says:

    I thought Zambrano was getting traded

  59. Cameron Says:

    They’re trying, but nobody wants to take on that much contract and insanity. They have a better chance of unloading Alfonso Soriano.

  60. Cameron Says:

    The Yankees intend to hold onto their first round pick in the 2011 draft. That means no Pavano-Yankees reunion. I think many people are glad about that one.

  61. Chuck Says:

    BA came out with their Cubs’ top ten list on Tuesday and Archer was listed as the top prospect in their system. They listed him as having similar stuff to Edwin Jackson and projected him to be in Chicago by mid-season at the latest. His stuff is top of the rotation quality but has command issues and the Cubs’ would likely have allowed him some bullpen time before putting him in the rotation later on, as they did last year with Andrew Cashner.

    Lee is their sixth prospect who at some point in the next year or so would have moved Starlin Castro to second base. He’s a better defender, has a better arm but has struggled with consistency. He is a switch hitter and is a legitimate leadoff type hitter.

    Guyer ranked tenth and projects as a fourth OF with the ability to play all three positions with comparisons to Reed Johnson.

    The other two guys are junk.

  62. Chuck Says:

    RIP Ryne Duren.

  63. raul Says:

    The Rays traded for a SS after basically giving the job to Reid Brignac?

  64. Bob Says:

    You can never have too much depth at shortstop. And to state the obvious, you trade for quality, not for a specific position.

  65. raul Says:

    Yeah, but the Rays have no catchers…

  66. Bob Says:

    How many teams do?

  67. raul Says:

    That’s not the point and it’s not an excuse.

  68. Cameron Says:

    Isn’t Guyer or Chirinos a catcher?

  69. Chuck Says:

    “The Rays traded for a SS after basically giving the job to Reid Brignac?”

    Lee is two years away, at least.

    Chirinos is a catcher.

  70. John Says:

    Cam: “Yes, an 8th-inning pitcher was more valuable than a 50 HR OF.”

    Rivera was more than just “an eighth inning guy” that year; he was, in my opinion, the most important pitcher on that team. He regularly came into the game in key situations; very few of his 100+ relief innings were cakewalks. Then he became the 9th inning closer – and the best ever at it – yet he’s never been as valuable as he was in ‘96.

  71. Cameron Says:

    True, but I just love the fact that a setup guy being considered more valuable than one of the league’s top sluggers. 50 HR > 100 IP if you ask me. Which makes me think that Juan Gone must’ve been the second coming of Dave Kingman that year.

  72. John Says:

    Well, it’s not an exact science or anything but…

    Rivera had an ERA+ of 240 and was involved in 425 PA – almost all of which were the “close & late” variety.

    Juan-Gone had an OPS+ of 145 and was involved in 592 PA.

    I probably would’ve voted him like 5th in the MVP voting, even with his d.

  73. Chuck Says:

    265 defined as “late and close”

    189 with runners on

    108 with RISP

    216 with a one run lead or tied.

    Not worthy of a 240 ERA+

  74. Cameron Says:

    Relative to the ERA of the 1998 AL? Remember, late 90s = Death to Pitching.

  75. Chuck Says:

    I guess we’re cut from a different cloth Cam, because I’m not impressed by a 2.09 ERA in 107.2 innings.

    Especially when it took 61 appearances to get that amount.

    Pffft.

  76. Cameron Says:

    True, not that impressive. I’d call Gonzalez more impressive than Rivera. Rivera WAS very important to that team, but on a pretty small sample size. Though Griffey and Rodriguez both earned MVP honors that season and were completely snubbed. Out of all the Rangers MVPs that have been given (Jeff Borroughs, Juan Gone twice, Pudge, Hamilton) the only one that really deserved it was Josh Hamilton. Sad. Why does the BBWAA give Rangers players such a handicap in their favor?

  77. Cameron Says:

    Ouch… BA just released their top 10 Astros Prospects list.

    1. Jordan Lyles, rhp
    2. Delino DeShields Jr., of/2b
    3. Jonathan Villar, ss
    4. Mike Foltynewicz, rhp
    5. Jio Mier, ss
    6. J.D. Martinez, of
    7. Jimmy Paredes, inf
    8. Tanner Bushue, rhp
    9. Austin Wates, of
    10. Ariel Ovando, of

    …I recognize only Delino Jr. If he profiles to be like his dad and he’s the best position prospect in their system… Well, they have Bourn, Pence, Wallace, Johnson, and Castro as a core, but they’re still hosed.

  78. Cameron Says:

    And speaking of prospects, holy shit. Just saw an Ask BA column. After Brett Lawrie was traded to Toronto, Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress would have been ranked Milwaukee’s #1 and #3 propsects.

    …When they were traded to KC, they became the team’s #9 and #11 prospects. Holy hell, that’s jaw-dropping two kids who can throw that much smoke are that low on a system. It’s official, no one can beat that farm system. Texas and Atlanta have young arms out the ass, but we match them on our own and that’s BEFORE adding the position players. Even if they all don’t become stars, we’ve got enough players that we can throw them at a wall, see what sticks, and still dominate for years.

    The city set a precedent by signing football star Jamaal Charles for the next five years two years before he hit free agency. If they even look serviceable at the majors before they break out, take that money from the revenue sharing you’ve been pooling and hand out extensions like they’re going out of style.

  79. Chuck Says:

    Jordan Lyles is an effin’ beast. He was pitching in AAA as a 19 year old.

    He’s as legit a pitching prospect as their is.

    DeShields wasn’t projected to go in the first four rounds. The teams are spread out on tables in alphabetical order, so Florida was next to Houston. Andre Dawson was the Marlins’ player rep and when Houston chose DeShields the look on Dawson’s face was like he had just seen Roseanne Barr naked.

    I’ve heard of a couple other guys, Foltynewicz, Martines and Paredes, but you’re right Cam, you got a stud and nine pieces of crap.

  80. Chuck Says:

    I was thinking of you the other day when I read that BA piece on the Royals.

    They’re so loaded it’s not even funny.

  81. Chuck Says:

    “As for the all-time Top 100 Prospects record, that belongs to the 2006 Dodgers, the only organization ever to place nine prospects on our list. Los Angeles had Chad Billingsley (No. 7), Andy LaRoche (No. 19), Joel Guzman (No. 26), Russell Martin (No. 42), Scott Elbert (No. 55), Jonathan Broxton (No. 63), Blake DeWitt (No. 82), Andre Ethier (No. 89) and Matt Kemp (No. 96). Four organizations have had eight Top 100 Prospects: the 1991 Dodgers, the 1998 and 2000 Marlins, and the 2007 Rockies.

    We haven’t begun putting the 2011 Top 100 together, but I think the Royals will at least tie the record. Hosmer, Myers, Moustakas, Lamb and Montgomery all ranked among my 25 best prospects when I did a personal Top 50 for the Handbook. Colon, Duffy, Dwyer and Odorizzi all will make my personal Top 100 and I expect them to make the consensus Baseball America list as well. Crow and Jeffress have a chance, but I think they both may fall short of the final Top 100.”

    Sick

  82. Bob Says:

    The A’s DFA’d Phil Humber, and the White Sox signed Will Ohman to a 2-year deal.

  83. Chuck Says:

    Damn, Phil Humber got DFA’d?

    And I had him pegged in for the seventh spot in the A’s rotation.

    That sucks.

  84. Bob Says:

    Chuck, good to see you are okay in Arizona today. Sad story.

  85. Bob Says:

    Joe Torre might be hired by Bud Selig to replace Sandy Alderson. Time for football.

  86. Cameron Says:

    …I missed one fucked up day of news at work at seems.

  87. Cameron Says:

    And in other news, the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks won their game against the 12-4 New Orleans Saints.

    …Say what you will about baseball’s playoff picutre, but with the 162 game season, the law of averages pretty much dictates we’ll never see a losing teams in the playoffs. There hasn’t historically been a division in baseball that didn’t have an over .500 team. That’s one thing we’ll never see. Thank God, I’m gonna go try and bleach the fact Seattle’s in the playoffs outta my head now.

  88. Hartvig Says:

    Cameron, I wish I could share your confidence. In 2005 San Diego won the NL West with a record of 82-80 and the following year the Cardinals won the World Series with a regular season record of 83-78. Unfortunately not only could it happen, it almost certainly will.

  89. Cameron Says:

    Mathematically, it’s possible, but the odds are pretty slim. Like you said, even the 2005 Padres still went 82-80, despite them being a pretty average team. It could happen, but the odds are high.

    Hopefully, if the NFL adds a rule stating a division winner must have a winning record to reach the playoffs, other sports will follow suit as a precaution.

  90. Lefty33 Says:

    Due to the strike the ‘81 Royals made the postseason and their record was 50-53.

  91. John Says:

    “Due to the strike the ‘81 Royals made the postseason and their record was 50-53.”

    But that was because of the messed up rules. They had a winning record in the second half.

  92. Jim Says:

    I’m pulling for the Seahawks to make/win the stuporbowl, making a mockery of the NFL.

  93. Lefty33 Says:

    “But that was because of the messed up rules.”

    I’m aware John but the their final record was still a losing one like it or not.

  94. John Says:

    Right, but I’m just saying that their making the playoffs was not the result of an abnormally weak division, just a convenient set-up.

    “I’m pulling for the Seahawks to make/win the stuporbowl, making a mockery of the NFL.”

    The 2006 Cardinals won the World Series with a record of 83-78. The 1973 Mets (82-79) took the World Series to 7 games, with the series ending with the tying run at the plate.

    As it currently stands, the worst reg. season teams to ever win the superbowl were the 49ers in 1988 and the 2007 Giants. There have been some 9-7 teams to make it there.

  95. Richard Says:

    Let’s not forget Texas at the time of the strike in 94 was leading the West at 52-62…chances are they wouldn’t have made up those 10 games in the remaining 48, having to go 29-19 just to reach .500.

  96. Chuck Says:

    Seahawks in the SuperBowl, Mike Vick winning MVP, cancelling the next season on a lockout, no team in the second largest market in the US.

    The NFL is already worth mocking.

  97. Cameron Says:

    Vick would be an alright MVP winner, guy’s had a good season. Now, my money’s on Tom Brady, but that’s just me. The lockout could happen if they don’t get the CBA agreed on, but baseball’s CBA is up a year or two after theirs and we could have one too, keep that in mind. And as for LA? Don’t worry, the Vikings are gonna fix that very soon. Nobody wants to pay to renovate the Metrodome, attendance and general opinion of the team are down after a truly awful year. Several investors are working to get them there and I see it happening.

    And I found out that Carlos Pena’s actually getting paid 20 million this year. 10 in contract money, 2 in initial signing bonus, 3 over the course of the season, and 5 when the contract expires.

    …Wow, Hendry. You are a fucking moron. You’re giving a guy who just hit under the Mendoza line TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS!

  98. Lefty33 Says:

    You know as well as I do Chuck that the NFL is not going to cancel next season.

    Worst case is probably a delayed season start by a week or two.

    And while the NFL might be worth mocking, when it comes to fan interest, ratings, and money MLB is sucking on their tail pipe and wondering how the hell the NLF blew by them to become this country’s sport of choice.

    IMHO, Vick has no chance at the MVP. Brady wins it easy.

  99. Cameron Says:

    Especially money, the lowest net worth team (either Carolina or Buffalo) is still worth over 750 million dollars. IE, any team not named the Yankees money.

  100. John Says:

    Chuck’s comments are: incorrect, incorrect, incorrect, and irrelevant.

  101. Chuck Says:

    Speaking of irrelevant, so was your last comment John.

    Thanks for stopping by, though.

  102. John Says:

    Love you too buddy

  103. Bob Says:

    Brad Penny signed a 1-year deal with the Tigers, which most likely ends Jeremy Bonderman’s chances of ending up there.

  104. Cameron Says:

    Looks like New York’s trying to sign Justin Duchscherer to avoid putting Sergio Mitre in the rotation. I kinda like this, Justin’s a good pitcher when healthy. …The problem is that whole “when healthy” qualifier attached.

  105. Chuck Says:

    Reading between the lines it seems clear the Yankees believe Andy Pettitte will retire.

  106. Bob Says:

    Hew does owe them an answer soon.

  107. Bob Says:

    The Red Sox hired Chili Davis to be the hitting coach for their Pawtucket team. Rich Gedman was hired in the same capacity for their Lowell affialiate. And there are still over 100 free-agents still looking for work.

  108. Chuck Says:

    Trevor Hoffman announced his retirement today.

  109. Cameron Says:

    I really hate to say this, especially considering I love the Hoff, but about damn time. That makes him eligible in… 2015 for Hall consideration?

  110. raul Says:

    I’d vote for Mariano Rivera for the HOF. I know a lot of guys here won’t. And it’s been noted. But Rivera’s case is more due to post-season performance and generally being consistently effective throughout his career. In a lot of ways he’s the face of the Yankees success (Jeter aside).

    But the only argument for Hoffman is literally the number of saves. There are no “Hoffman moments” to make him stand out in any way.

    I think Hoffman will get elected, and he’s had a fine career, but I pretty much draw the line with Rivera when it comes to relievers. Or Gossage. Actually Gossage had a stronger case than either of them, but you know what I mean.

  111. Cameron Says:

    Let’s face it, if Lee Smith is sniffing 40 percent while not exactly being that great a pitcher, Hoffman, a guy with over a hundred more saves and was THE dominant closer in his league for pretty much his entire career, he’ll be there. I’m giving him a vote because he was one of the best relievers in the game for well over a decade, and being the big man for the Padres for such a long time. It may just be me having a soft spot for him, but this is me waving aside some arguments by bringing out my early “Hall of FAME” argument, and he was a big name.

  112. John Says:

    “There are no “Hoffman moments” to make him stand out in any way.”

    I dunno – that’s kind of to his credit. He was consistently good at what he did, year in and year out and rarely had any kind of a hitch.

    I don’t really think the value of what he did (in the context that he was used) was HOF-high. But I think I’d throw him and Rivera votes anyway. Debatable.

  113. Cameron Says:

    That’s the problem of being good at your job. Not a lot of people thought Jackie Robinson was an elite defender because he wasn’t a guy who made a bunch of big plays. Thing is, he usually had a couple of steps on the ball already and made a routine play out of what most guys would dive for because he was a smart fielder.

    Same thing with Hoffman. He knew how to get guys out and made a very consistent career of it. He was pretty mechanical about his job. Get in, get the outs, leave. He didn’t have his moments, but the longevity and consistence of his dominance speaks for itself more than a handful of big saves could do.

    Especially the length. Francisco Rodriguez may have a bunch of saves one day, but with so many coming from ‘08 and his his streakiness won’t have him counted among the greats. Hoff? He doesn’t need a great season. Nobody remembers Bobby Thigpen anymore, do they? Exactly.

  114. Chuck Says:

    Hoffman led the league twice in saves.

    Talk about compiling.

    The role of the bullpen is an important one, but the specialization we see today cheapens the save in general.

    Raul is right…Rivera gets in rather easily because of his association with the Yankees and the rings, but no other closer should get in.

    Smith was a journeyman who actually led his league in saves and games finished more times than did Hoffman.

    The previous save leader to Smith was Jeff Reardon, who was one and done on the ballot.

    I don’t think Hoffman has much chance, he’ll probably get vote totals similar to Smith and will fall off the ballot before the fifteen years has expired.

  115. Hartvig Says:

    I read somewhere that the Yankees had been talking to Bondermann too. I wouldn’t mind if the Tigers picked him up again for maybe $1 million plus some incentives to see if he can find his stuff again.

    Cameron- the only problem I have with Hoffman is that he has been a 1 inning reliever his entire career and I’ll never be convinced that those guys are as valuable as guys like Goose were when they came in for 2 or 3 innings when needed. But he was as good at it as anyone except Eckersly & Rivera so he’ll probably get in

  116. Cameron Says:

    I dunno, Hoffman was a much better pitcher than guys like Reardon and Smith. Save totals aside, a guy with a career ERA of sub-three, even a reliever, over 18 years is pretty damn impressive. I’m not saying he was the best reliever ever, but given his continued excellence, name value, numerous all-star appearances, career totals, and the importance of the closer in public opinion (whether properly warranted or not) will have an influence over voters over the next few years. While there aren’t exactly a whole lot of big name relievers coming up besides him and Mo, I’ll be watching his ballot because it’ll show what the BBWAA thinks of the modern closer.

    Again, I’m giving him a vote of fame and being excellent at his job, shutting guys down. Even if he doesn’t get a call from Cooperstown, congrats on Hoffman for a truly exceptional career.

  117. Chuck Says:

    When a closer enters the game 90% of the time with no runners on, and almost never pitches more than one inning, a 2.89 ERA sucks.

  118. Cameron Says:

    And Chuck… Hate to call someone out, especially a fellow Yankees fan, but if Hoffman and Rivera switched teams and the two had the same exact numbers they do now, would you say Hoffman would be the more deserving Hall closer because of his association with the Yankees and the rings, despite Rivera being a superior pitcher.

    …Actually… The thought of Mo pitching in Petco kinda made me shit myself.

  119. Chuck Says:

    If I was Brian Cashman, you know who I would give a minor league contract to?

    Ian Snell.

    I know his brain has a tendency to take a vacation once in awhile, but his stuff is filthy, and he’s not even 30 yet.

  120. Cameron Says:

    If I was Brian Cashman, I’d be calling Bud to see if you could just offer straight cash in trades for players because the only real good, possibly expendable trade chip I’ve got is Montero.

  121. Chuck Says:

    Asking the wrong guy, Cam, because if I had a HOF vote I wouldn’t vote for Rivera, either.

    I just echoed what Raul said because I think the scenario he painted for Mo is right on.

  122. Cameron Says:

    I know, but it’s kind of a valid question. How much do World Series rings mean in Hall of Fame voting? Do you start giving guys like Vic Raschi, a one-time strikeout king and six time world champ a vote because “Boy, look at all those rings.”

  123. Cameron Says:

    …Though as a manager/coach, Frankie Crosetti may deserve a look under the new VC rules. 8 rings as a player, 9 as a manager, including the record 5-time champs. While not the greatest manager, there’s something about leading 9 world champs that’s pretty special.

  124. Chuck Says:

    “How much do World Series rings mean in Hall of Fame voting.”

    To me, nothing.

    Although if you look around the internet you’ll find a shitload of “Andy Pettitte/Jorge Posada/Curt Schilling for the HOF” articles.

    So they mean something to someone.

    As long as it isn’t the BBWAA, I’m cool…

  125. John Says:

    “Hoffman led the league twice in saves.
    Talk about compiling.”

    Rivera led thrice. Saves are merely a function of opportunity, like runs, wins, or rbi’s.

    “The role of the bullpen is an important one, but the specialization we see today cheapens the save in general.”

    Agreed.

    “Smith was a journeyman who actually led his league in saves and games finished more times than did Hoffman.”

    See above.

    “When a closer enters the game 90% of the time with no runners on, and almost never pitches more than one inning, a 2.89 ERA sucks.”

    No, it doesn’t. Only a couple other closers ever have done that. And the number of runners on base when a player enters the game has no impact whatsoever on his ERA.

    “I don’t think Hoffman has much chance, he’ll probably get vote totals similar to Smith and will fall off the ballot before the fifteen years has expired.”

    Yeah. He will.

  126. Chuck Says:

    “And the number of runners on base when a player enters the game has no impact whatsoever on his ERA.”

    No shit?

  127. Chuck Says:

    Although I do BELIEVE inherited runners should count towards a pitcher’s ERA.

  128. John Says:

    I dunno Chuck.

    A reliever comes into a game with the bases loaded and no outs. He gets through the inning and gives up just 1, when the expected #runs is like 3…and you’re saying he should have a 9.00 ERA for that effort?

    Of course WPA measures this. But that’s voodoo.

  129. Chuck Says:

    “Of course WPA measures this. But that’s voodoo.”

    Actually, it’s doodoo, but point taken.

    Yeah, John, I know. I know the starter is responsible for the runners being on base, but I have a fundamental issue with charging him runs while he’s in the shower.

    The relievers job is to prevent runs, so there should be no “expected” runs.

    Until one is actually scored.

  130. John Says:

    Why? He let those guys reach base so that they could be in a position to score. Scoring isn’t just about what happens on the play, but what happens leading up to it (insert sex joke here).

    If all pitchers started each inning with three runners on base, then Pedro Martinez, Tom Seaver, and the like would all have ERA’s of about 12.00.

  131. Cameron Says:

    Just here to make a recommendation. The Onion just got a show on Comedy Central, Onion Sports Dome. It’s pretty good for a chuckle, I’d check it out.

  132. Chuck Says:

    I’m a fan of IRS% for relievers, but even that’s not fair when talking closers because of how few runners they inherit.

    I just wish the save rule was changed.

    If the tying run isn’t in scoring position when you enter a game, sorry, Charlie.

    No more cheap ass saves where you pitch one inning with no one on and a three run lead.

  133. John Says:

    There was an article last year – I think it was on fangraphs – that proposed that evaluating relievers according to “shutdowns” and “meltdowns” according to a certain standard of WPA (I think he proposed +/- 0.05, or something).

    Ironically (I say because Chuck has, by now, thrown one of his daughter’s barbies through his computer) this would coincide with the idea that if you come into a game in the ninth inning with a 3-run lead (or save a 27-run lead for 3 innings) you wouldn’t get credit; on the other hand, if you let 3 inherited runners score after entering the game with the score tied, you would be penalized even if it’s not a save situation.

  134. Chuck Says:

    I know you couldn’t penalize the starter AND the reliever for the same run, but…

  135. Cameron Says:

    Who do you penalize then? The starter for letting the guy on or the reliever who let the guy across?

  136. John Says:

    Half a run each? I dunno, why not.

  137. Chuck Says:

    All I know is if I’m a starter and I go out and give up five runs in the first inning, that’s my bad, but, if I pitch my ass off for seven innings and leave with the lead and some reliever throws a wild pitch and blows it for me, I’m seriously pissed.

    At the reliever AND the manager, for taking me out in the first place.

    There’s a reason relievers are relievers in the first place…

    They suck.

  138. Jim Says:

    “I know you couldn’t penalize the starter AND the reliever for the same run, but…”

    Why not? If the purpose of a stat is to measure a player’s performance, rather than reflect the overall game, then using the same incident twice, in this case a run scored, to evaluate two individuals performance makes sense. ERA gives a good indication of how well a starting pitcher performed, but is deceptive when evaluating relievers, so why not develop a measurement that takes in things like runs allowed and base runners allowed, while awarding for things like base runners stranded.

    As I think about it, such a stat could be a counting stat as opposed to something derived from a formula, e.g. the reliever would receive 2 points for each inherited runner stranded and would lose two points for each run scored (inherited or otherwise). He could get one point for each out and lose a point for each base runner. Just a thought.

  139. brautigan Says:

    Chuck: “There’s a reason relievers are relievers in the first place…

    They suck.”

    In some instances, that is the truth. In others, a pitcher with a two pitch repertoire is going to be pigeonholed in the bullpen.

    Sometimes, a pitcher like C.J. Wilson has 6 early (and not very good starts) starts and gets banished to the bullpen. There are a variety of reasons why a guy lands in the bullpen, not just because they suck. (Mariano Rivera certainly doesn’t suck, but he might had he been a starter, eh?)

  140. JohnBowen Says:

    “Why not? If the purpose of a stat is to measure a player’s performance, rather than reflect the overall game, then using the same incident twice”

    Interesting argument. When you hit a solo HR, you get credit for both a run and an RBI, but only 1 run actually scores. This would be the same kind of idea.

    “There’s a reason relievers are relievers in the first place…
    They suck”

    That’s true for most of them. Every team has 5-6 relievers, a minimum of three of which would’ve had no shot at the majors pre-1977 or so.

    Honestly though, I’m not sure if a frontline starter could necessarily do what Mo or Hoffman has done. HOF starters sure. But, say, David Wells? I dunno.

  141. JohnBowen Says:

    *6-7 relievers. 5-6 is what my fake fantasy teams get. Any requests?

  142. Chuck Says:

    “Honestly though, I’m not sure if a frontline starter could necessarily do what Mo or Hoffman has done”

    I think John Smoltz and Dennis Eckersley pretty much destroyed that theory.

  143. JohnBowen Says:

    Two people don’t consist of a significant sample space. But even if it did…

    Dennis Eckersley and John Smoltz were both very very good starters.

    In Smoltz’s last year as a reliever, he had a 2.76 ERA. The next year, he had an ERA of 3.06 as a starter.

    In his brief career as a reliever, Smoltz had a 2.65 ERA…easily worse than Mo and only a little better than Hoffman. Eck was at a 2.96 ERA, worse than both gentlemen.

    So instead of destroying this argument, they kind of verified it.

  144. Chuck Says:

    While I appreciate you always having to try and contradict everything I say, John, it bears mentioning that both Eck and Smoltz had over 1000 innings as starters and were coming off either injury or substance abuse problems.

    Neither Rivera or Hoffman were good enough to start in their early 20’s, while Smoltz and Eckersley were 20 game winners.

    But they really aren’t the point. When I look at closers, I don’t see Mo and Hoffman and Wagner, I see Joe Borowski, Keith Foulke and Bob Wickman, who also led their respective leagues in saves.

    It’s not a tough job. Anyone can do it.

  145. JohnBowen Says:

    “While I appreciate you always having to try and contradict everything I say, John”

    It’s what gets me out of bed in the morning…

    “Neither Rivera or Hoffman were good enough to start in their early 20’s, while Smoltz and Eckersley were 20 game winners.”

    Now hold on. Both these guys were specifically put in the bullpen in their 20’s based on circumstantial reasons where they excelled and both gentlemen were then paid a lot of money – more than a typical #2 starter – to pitch one inning twice a week. Not what I would call a smart use of money, but if “anyone can do it” than wouldn’t teams just use minor leaguers, or bums as closers and pay them league minimum?

    In his first big league season, John Smoltz went 2-7, 5.48 ERA and 1.672 WHIP in 12 starts. That’s basically the exact same thing that Mariano Rivera did in his first season as a starter.

    The difference? Mariano Rivera went to the bullpen, had one of the best seasons by any reliever in history, and the Yankees never messed with their surefire late-inning guy. John Smoltz – who, mind you, was EXACTLY THE SAME GUY in his first outing as a starter, was put into the starting rotation. Just because a guy sucked in his first 10 starts doesn’t mean he isn’t cut out to be a Major League pitcher.

    “When I look at closers, I don’t see Mo and Hoffman and Wagner, I see Joe Borowski, Keith Foulke and Bob Wickman, who also led their respective leagues in saves.”

    Those three guys, between them, have had like 5 good seasons as closers. Rivera and Hoffman dominated the closer role in their respective leagues for 15 years. So no, not everyone can do what they could.

    “It’s not a tough job. Anyone can do it.”

    Derrick Turnblow begs to differ.

  146. Chuck Says:

    “It’s what gets me out of bed in the morning”

    I don’t doubt it.

    “Just because a guy sucked in his first 10 starts doesn’t mean he isn’t cut out to be a Major League pitcher.”

    And while Smoltz threw a fastball, curve, slider, and change, Rivera threw a very straight fastball and pretty much nothing else.

    THAT, my good man, is why the careers of Smoltz and Rivera took different paths.

    “Rivera and Hoffman dominated the closer role in their respective leagues for 15 years.”

    The number of dominant closers you could count in less than ten fingers.

    The number of closers who had, “between them, like five good seasons” you would need the fingers of an average attended Rays home game.

  147. JohnBowen Says:

    “And while Smoltz threw a fastball, curve, slider, and change, Rivera threw a very straight fastball and pretty much nothing else.”

    And in 15 years of the league seeing Rivera, they’ve caught up to him? Figured out how to beat him?

    What’s that? They haven’t, at all?

    He must throw a pretty mystical “very straight fastball.”

    “The number of dominant closers you could count in less than ten fingers.
    The number of closers who had, “between them, like five good seasons” you would need the fingers of an average attended Rays home game.”

    Um…that’s kind of a point in favor of Hoffman and Rivera. Roughly 23,024 people (according to you) have been put into the closer’s role and only a handful have been able to dominate? That kinda makes it sound like closing is something that NOT anyone can do.

  148. Chuck Says:

    “And in 15 years of the league seeing Rivera, they’ve caught up to him? Figured out how to beat him?”

    Yeah, I haven’t figured that out either.

    Some things are beyond explanation.

  149. Cameron Says:

    Rivera chalks that cutter up as a gift from God. …That sounds like the best explanation anyone can give.

  150. Cameron Says:

    John, ANYONE can close.

    …Very few can close well.

  151. Chuck Says:

    Do you think if Rivera’s pitching six innings a game he wouldn’t have been figured out?

    Only three players..Johnny Damon, Jason Varitek, and Manny Ramirez, have more than 35 career PA’s against Mo.

    In fifteen seasons.

  152. Chuck Says:

    What former ML player did Mark Reynolds recently hire to be his off-season personal trainer/hitting instructor?

    A) Rob Deer

    B) Brady Anderson

    C) Luis Gonzalez

    D) Mario Mendoza

    F) Jose Canseco

  153. Cameron Says:

    Ooooh, Mendoza would be the funny answer. Canseco’s too busy trying to find more ways to make a quick buck, I think Gonzalez has a job.

    …I’m gonna go with the original Mark Reynolds and say Rob Deer.

  154. John Says:

    ” you think if Rivera’s pitching six innings a game he wouldn’t have been figured out?”

    There are thirteen American League teams that flat-out haven’t figured out a way between them to hit this man. They have video. They have thousands of at-bats and basically one type of pitch to look at.

    15 years later, the league is still hitting .183 against him.

  155. Cameron Says:

    Basically. I believe the other 7% of his pitches that aren’t cutters are a two-seam fastball.

  156. Chuck Says:

    # 152.

    The answer is Brady Anderson.

    Somehow, I don’t think he will be sharing ALL of his secrets.

  157. Richard Says:

    “And while Smoltz threw a fastball, curve, slider, and change, Rivera threw a very straight fastball and pretty much nothing else.”

    According to Gene Michael’s scouting report from 1995, he had pretty much something else.

    So, when (Gene) Michael discussed Rivera, he dug into his memory bank to offer his scouting report on Rivera from 15 years ago. Michael said that Rivera threw a straight fastball that averaged 88 to 91 miles per hour, a nice slider and a solid changeup. Rivera had a smooth motion and Michael said that enabled his pitches “to be right on the hitter.

    “Michael was puzzled when Rivera’s fastball suddenly exploded to 95 MPH while Rivera was fashioning a scoreless streak of 20 2/3 innings at Class AAA Columbus.”

    Rivera began throwing primarily cutters after the 97 season, when he gave up that LCS homer to Sandy Alomar.

    “Basically. I believe the other 7% of his pitches that aren’t cutters are a two-seam fastball.”

    According to Fangraphs, he threw the cutter 84.5% of the time, and the two-seamer 15.5% of the time. Pretty close.

    Rivera is a HOFer by anyone’s standards.

    Dominating his position? Check
    Consistent Excellence? Check
    Dominant player of his era? Check
    Clutch Performance? Check

    Arguing Rivera doesn’t belong because he’s a one-inning guy is like saying Maddux doesn’t belong because he pitched in a five-man rotation and only finished 109 of his starts.

  158. Chuck Says:

    Rivera was the Yankees’ 9th rated prospect in ‘93 and ‘95 and wasn’t ranked at all in ‘94, and wasn’t considered a top 100 prospect in any year.

    He wasn’t very highly thought of as a starter regardless of what he threw.

  159. John Says:

    “Rivera was the Yankees’ 9th rated prospect in ‘93 and ‘95 and wasn’t ranked at all in ‘94, and wasn’t considered a top 100 prospect in any year.”

    But Scott Ruffcorn cruised in at #31 and went on to a HOF career…

  160. Chuck Says:

    Point in there somewhere, Johnny boy?

  161. John Says:

    honestly not really. We weren’t really on the topic of how good is baseball america can project future mega-stars. I just looked at who did make the list and it made for a fun read.

  162. Chuck Says:

    Whew..had me worried there for a minute.

  163. John Says:

    …I don’t doubt it

  164. Chuck Says:

    Well, Andy Pettitte made it official today.

    He’s not coming back.

    Yanks are fucked.

    CC
    Burnett
    Hughes
    Nova
    Who the hell knows.

    I have Ian Snell’s phone number if Cashman wants it.

  165. Cameron Says:

    They also have their eyes on Justin Duchscherer… But with Brad Penny in Detroit and the absolute horror that was American Idle, your next best option is a tie at Mark Prior making a comeback or Sergio Mitre.

    …Ouch.

  166. Chuck Says:

    Justin Douchebag?

    Why not Kevin Dillweed?

    Jeremy Dunderhead?

    God…the remaining free agent pitchers suck.

    Of course, I guess that’s why they’re “remaining.”

  167. John Says:

    Carl Pavano could use another 4-year deal…

  168. Cameron Says:

    Again, Duch’s not terrible when he’s healthy, but he’s pretty much a Ben Sheets-lite.

  169. Cameron Says:

    Gonna be interesting to watch the defending champs next season. Pablo Sandoval’s spent the offseason with an Olympic decathalete and has lost 17 pounds already and management is gonna give Brandon Belt a chance to win an everday job in either first base or left field, probably with Aubrey Huff getting the job Belt doesn’t get.

    Could San Francisco produce back-to-back Rookies of the Year?

  170. Jim Says:

    Will Josh Beckett once again be an ace or even effective? History frowns http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/baseball/red_sox//view.bg?articleid=1309210

    Frankly I’m in the show me mode regarding Beckett. He’s been pretty mediocre since mid-2008 partly due to injury, but partly due to his performance being only fair and he’s giving up a lot of home runs. It wouldn’t surprise me at the end of 2011 that Dice-K has a better line.

  171. John Says:

    I’ll tell you who’s not done…Hanley Ramirez.

  172. Chuck Says:

    Pablo Sandoval losing 17 pounds is like Ralphie May losing 17 pounds.

    The Giants signing Huff was a surprise because of what Belt did last year. Granted, it was minor leagues, but, still.

    I don’t see Belt in the OF, more likely, Huff plays right and Scherholtz or whatever his name is becomes the fourth OF.

  173. Jim Says:

    @John: Ah one of the great debates. Was the trade of a player who has become an outstanding talent worth winning the WS? Without Beckett and Lowell the Sox would not have been in the 07 series. I’d make the deal again.

  174. Cameron Says:

    Ha, Ralphie. “When you lose enough weight to make a whole fat man and you’re still a fat bastard, you’ve got a weight problem.” Still, he’s lost 17 and it’s only January. Panda knows if he keeps his weight problem up and plays like last year, they WILL send him to AAA. I’m intrigued.

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