Friday, January 30, 2004

The good ship blogipop.

Nevin? He's certainly fits the mold of a neo-Yankee: expensive, injury-prone, slow, and OLD. That said - I can't bad mouth him too much, because I like his fantasy potential this year, and if the Sox wanted to replace Mueller with him I'd be all for it. In any case, I don't think he's going anywhere. Though Colin makes a sound argument about Nady and options and money-savings, the Padres play in a weak and winnable division, and trading Nevin would be a good way to shoot themselves in the foot. They've got good young arms, and some proven run-producers. I'll predict now: this trade doesn't happen anytime soon, though if the Padres are out of contention come July, it gets done.

Too much Yankee talk lately. Lets talk about Tony Womack - this guy is junk. Did some alien-crab lifeforms kidnap Theo last week and replace him with a ringer who likes old, talentless guys who can't do anything? And if the answer is yes, well, then who was running the DRays while this was going on?? Zing. Seriously though, why Womack? I hope to God he was brought in to serve as competition in Spring Training for Bellhorn. Hes got a career OPS of .674 - thats just .007 more than Pokey Reese. Do we need two of those guys on the roster?

Speaking of Bellhorn, I'm keeping my eye on him for fantasy leagues. Good positional eligiblity, great pop - if he makes the team he could be a real steal at the end of an AL-only draft. Even more so if you're in a sabremetric league.

Hockey talk
When the h-e-double hockey sticks are the Bruins gonna acquire a second line scorer? I'm sorry, but this team needs a second threat, not necessarily a center either. I could imagine a Satan-Bergeron-Lapointe line being pretty effective. How about Jillson for Satan? Look, this team can't win by scoring just one or two goals a game, despite the stellar goaltending they're getting from Raycroft. The more the B's let Jillson watch the games as a healthy scratch, the more value he loses in the eyes of other teams. Are we just gonna keep him around so he can fill in at wing every once in awhile? How about Jillson for O'Neill? How about Jillson for Gagne? You can see where I'm going with this...there has to be something out there worth pulling the trigger on.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

What about San Diego?

We're probably beating a dead horse with this Boone thing, but it's not like there's anything better to write about this week.

There is one potetial option out there that I haven't seen anyone mention yet. San Diego, probably because they appear to be on the upswing and are one of the few non-AL east teams adding payroll this winter, has thus far been left out of trade speculation. Regardless, I see some potential in their surplus of corner guys. As near as I can tell they are currently planning to play Brian Giles in LF, Phil Nevin in RF (or 1B), Ryan Klesko at 1B (or RF), and Sean Burroughs at 3B (assuming Jay Payton in CF). That leaves prospect Xavier Nady and problem contracts Terrence Long and Jeff Cirillo on the bench. Now Nady may not project to be a monster hitter, but he's certainly serviceable for a lineup that no longer has any major holes. PECOTA forecasts him for a park adjusted line of .260/.322/.448. More importantly, it's in the Padres best interests to get the 25 year old some major league at bats to see if he is a guy they want to lock up long-term as Giles, Nevin, and Klesko all turn 33 this year. So what I propose is that you deal Nevin and his .274/.343/.471 to the Yankees to play 3B. VORP says that the Padres will lose 9 runs by replacing Nady with Nevin, but what can the Yankees offer in return? Well, as Derek pointed out, not a lot in terms of talent. However, Nevin still has 2 years left on his 4 year, $34 million deal. Since he "only" made $5 million last year, I can only assume the contract is backloaded and there is a significant obligation on the books for a 33 year old who missed time due to a major injury last season. If that's not enough, let's not forget that Long and Cirillo are owed $23.5 million over the next 2 years (assuming the 2007 option on Cirillo's is bought out). I'm sure the Padres would jump at the chance to clear enough payroll to add Greg Maddux. Getting Nevin to waive his no trade clause is an obstacle, but usually it's not a huge struggle to convince players to go to a team that has gone to the World Series 6 times in 8 years. The Pads can probably snag a prospect or 2 in the process, something Billy Beane has managed to do countless times with the Yanks.

Brian Cashman and Kevin Towers take note. Thank you.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Trade what for Boone?

Great minds think alike, and today apparently they thought alot about Aaron Boone. Nope, I wasn't included in this group until about 5 minutes ago - I'm talking about Colin and Rob Neyer both discussing the topic of the Yankees' internal options at the tepid corner. Both fine writers concluded the same thing: the Yankees need to look outside the organization for the answer (and no, I'm not talking about New Jersey and THE Answer). So I got to thinking - what could they possibly offer (besides piles of cash) in exchange for a player like Beltre or Helms, as Neyer suggests?

Well, their top prospect according to Baseball America is a catcher who split his time between Hi A and AA last season. In AA he posted a .341/.388/.471 line, and is expected to get a September callup this fall. Hes a switch hitter who doesn't project to hit for a ton of power, and he plays solid D. He's a solid chip to play with - but what else is there? Well, out of the remaining Top 10 prospects, just two (both pitchers who project as relievers) have spent any time at AAA, and just one additional player has spent any time at the AA level or above. Interestingly, the #2 prospect in the system is a 3rd baseman, Eric Duncan, who played rookie and short season ball, and profiles as a "middle of the order run producer" according to BA.

I'd guess that given the position scarcity at third base, a team like LA would demand Duncan as well as 2 to 3 of the other folks on this list in order to part with a Beltre type player. So despite giving up tons of talent in trades over the last year, it would appear the Yankees will have enough to get a deal done. But who knows if they'll have enough left in the clip come July and they need to replace their weakest link.

Other news:
- Dany Heatley returned to the ice tonight for the Atlanta Thrashers. I think its great, and its not just because I've got him on a fantasy team that is currently suffering in 5th place. For a great story on what he's gone through in the last 4 months, check this out.
- The Bruins are still a sloppy team in their own zone, and I have no idea why Jillson is watching games from the press box when schmoes like McGillis and Gill are daydreaming their way around the blue line. I hate this team sometimes.
-Holy Shnikeys!!! Ottawa's Peter Schaefer with a fantastic goal on Marty Turco of the Stars. Watch for it on ESPN sportscenter or Motion, or however you get your highlights.

Aaron Boone

Yesterday over IM I was discussing how losing Aaron Boone for the season effects the Yankees' 2004 outlook. In the absence of any other decent news ("heterosexual" Asian pitchers doing gay porn aside) I figured I'd recycle that as today's post. Rather than focus on what the Yankees are going to do with his contract and wild speculation of who they are going to buy to plug the hole, I'm going to take the angle of the pure baseball impact if they were to plug from within the organization. The basis for my figures are the 2004 PECOTA Weighted Mean Forecasts.

So what would Boone have been worth for 2004? Let's start with offense. According to the forecast, Boone would have hit .268/.324/.437 in 516 plate appearances, along with 16/20 on the basepaths. That translates to right around the major league average run production per PA, and is good enough for a VORP of 26.1 (meaning 26 runs above a hypothetical replacement AAA third baseman over the course of the season). That puts him 7th out of Yankee regulars, right between Hideki Matsui and a rapidly deteriorating Bernie Williams, and 12th out of major league third baseman.

Let's move on to defense. At the risk of offending the huge white elephant in Brian Cashman's office, let's just say that the Yankees may not be the best defensive team in the league. Granted 3B isn't exactly the (hot) cornerstone of any defense, but Boone is one of 2 Yankees (major and minor leagues) that BP thought fit to forecast who is above average defensively. PECOTA puts him at 5 runs saved above average, compared to say 10 runs below average for Tim McCarver's hero, Jeter. In fact, that 15 run difference in their defense is almost exactly the same as the gap between the two offensively. Of course, if #2 had hurt his knee playing basketball most of the major media would be declaring Armageddon, but maybe we can chalk that up to "veteran leadership," "clubhouse presence" or some other equally meaningless intangible. The reality is that losing Boone is a pretty significant blow to the team's 2004 outlook.

Of course someone needs to play 3B, so who do they have in the system? Here are the options, along with projections (PA/BA/OBP/SLG/VORP/Defense):

Enrique Wilson (150/.238/.287/.351/1.3/-7 SS)
Miguel Cairo (240/.263/.315/.400/6.1/-8 2B)
Erick Almonte (273/.237/.306/.381/6.0/-5 SS)
Drew Henson (276/.235/.293/.409/6.3/-13 3B)
Brian Myrow (234/.241/.340/.409/12.3/-9 3B)

Ugly. So the big winner here is a 27 year old AA third baseman that no one has ever heard of and is pretty much the definition of "replacement level." We can expect the Yankees to lose 25-30 runs and with it 3-4 wins. Myrow's potential offensive contribution is surprisingly good, but it's going to be painful to watch a ground ball pitcher like Kevin Brown pitch in front of Giambi (-3), Soriano (-4), Jeter (-10), and Myrow (-9).

If ever there was a need to flex those payroll muscles, now is that time.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Snoozings and Musings

With the exception of Aaron Boone getting stuffed by some street ball-uhs and blowing out his knee, its been a slow week in the hot stove leagues. (Yes, I'm aware A-Rod was named captain of the Rangers - I don't include the bestowing of meaningless titles in hopes of getting some positive PR a baseball move, so lets just move along.)

I wish something would happen, anything - just make the media stop talking about the "negotiations" between Pudge-rod and the Detroit Tigers. Since when does flirting between a team that won 43 games and an over-rated catcher become compelling hot-stove news? Am I missing something? What the hell are both parties thinking?

Pudge - you're nuts. You're a solid catcher, but you're 32 and coming off an OK season. It wasn't great, it wasn't bad. Your VORP was better than all but two catchers in the majors. But a $40 million 4 year deal? Take less, play for a real team where you'll be happy. No one wants to see you slumming it in the Motor City.

Detroit - you're playing the role of me, circa 1996. For weeks I chased a Hawaiian girl who, in retrospect, had no interest in me. I finally came to my senses when after I asked her to lunch (she said no) and then to dinner, she told me she didn't think she was going to eat again that semester. Ouch.
Guess what Mr. Dombrowski - Pudge isn't eating this semester, this academic year, this lifetime. While you sit around hoping hes gonna call you back and agree to eat dinner at Towers, Boras is using you to drum up some interest in his client with real baseball teams. So do us all a favor, stop calling that stuck up be-atch, and put an end to my suffering. For god's sake, its gotten so bad that a story about Sean Sedlacek looks interesting to me. Yes, that Sean Sedlacek. Even worse, the story was about him being acquired by the Mets. Yes, those Mets.

Coming soon to a theater near you...

Colin speaks

Speaking of the resident "Yankee lover", here I am. I'm Colin and, yes, I'm a Yankee fan living in Boston. How did this happen you ask? (I don't care if you didn't ask, most people do and I really have no obligation to explain myself to you anyway, do I? You're not the boss of me.) The simple answer is that I was living in NY when I discovered a love for baseball at the ripe age of 8, and despite the Mets recent (at the time) superiority, I was drawn in by the amazing history of the pinstripes. I did book reports on Lou Gehrig biographies and saved up my allowance to buy Don Mattingly rookie cards. Ah memories of the days of 1987 Topps fake wood edging and Pete Rose player/manager/gambler.

But I digress. I moved to New Hampshire when I was 10 and met Derek when I was 11. A whole bunch happened in between and now we're in Boston and spend way too much time talking sports on IM when we should be working. Let the record show that I love the Bruins and also consider myself a Patriots fan.

Out of me you should expect more sabermetrically inclined rants, as I jumped on that bandwagon a couple of years back. In particular I'm a big fan of Nate Silver and PECOTA, and not just cause it helped me place 1st in all 3 fantasy leagues last year.

I'd say that's enough for post #1. Now I gotta call some auditor back about a 10K pension footnote... Ah, the joys of work.

Welcome to the pain cave....

This is Derek, making my inaugural post. What should readers expect from this blog? Well, my opinions on sports, as the topic suggests. Specifically, all things baseball, and all things hockey. I love the Bruins, I love the Sox. I think the Rangers are a practical joke propagated against NY fans to punish them for being such annoying douchebags about the Yankees. By the way, it's a great joke. The part where they trade for Jagr after three of their top 6 defensemen got hurt - that was just classic.

I won't just offer boring, blahdy blah blahs though. My opinions will most certainly be ridiculous, they will be steeped in anti-New York sentiment, and typically (though not entirely) backed up with clever anecdotes and statistical evidence.

I can't promise the same from my Yankee loving partner in crime. With that being said, LET'S DO IT.