Thursday August 26, 2004
TWINS IN TEXAS
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
OTHER BASEBALL THOUGHTS
One quick note - I'm embarrassed honestly that I didn't write this article first. But Aaron Gleeman beat me too it. I have been raving all year about Jason Kubel and for good reason. I mean, take a look at his numbers this season (on the left of this screen). After hitting .377 in a little over a month at New Britain, Kubel was called up to Rochester where he and his .350 batting average is tops in the International League. Combined, he has hit 22 homers and driven in 98 runs. He has the makings of being a star. And, I didn't write a full story about him, just updates.
So, I need you to go to Aaron's Baseball Blog and check out his article "Who is Jason Kubel?". And, for the record, I am proud to say that My Mom Knew Who Jason Kubel Is!! Ha!
EMPTYING THE MAILBOX
OK, so yesterday I didn't have much of a new entry. As I mentioned, while trying to type up a Mailbox entry, the power in my house went out completely. Just for a second or two, but it was enough to shut off the computer and everything else. Frustrated, I decided I would just write a couple of quick thoughts to go along with my explanation and go to bed. Have I ever mentioned that sleep is a beautiful thing!?
So anyway, last night I decided to at least include some of your e-mails that I still had in my hotmail account, since I've been promising some reader's thoughts for quite some time. I decided that I was going to open up a Word document and save it right away. Well, when I opened Word, up popped the Recovered file that I had been working on the other night when the power went out. I was thrilled! Everything was there. So, now all I needed to do was organize it into a decent format.
So again, I do thank all of you have have written me and shared your thoughts on the Twins, baseball or anything. On that note, let's get 'er done!
Last month, I wrote some brief notes on the pitchers who were in the top 10 in Innings Pitches a season ago. Roy Halladay had just gone on the Disabled List with "tired arm." He had thrown 25 innings more than anyone else in baseball last year. The pitcher with the second most innings thrown last year was Oakland's Tim Hudson, who missed six weeks with arm problems. I wondered aloud if there was a relation between innings pitched and arm problems the next year. I don't know if that really proved anything or not, but it did garner a couple of thoughts from readers.
From Justin Ahern -
I received the Bill James/Rob Neyer Guide to Pitchers book for my birthday (which is June 25th, like yours). In that book James published a study that he did about this topic. He concluded that a high number of innings pitched had no long term affect. I tend to agree with him although I didn't agree with the methodology of the study. I think he came into the study with the idea that he would find that as a result and it didn't look like he was going to try to disprove his belief. He wrote about it a little in his most recent Abstract and said that he believed that overuse of a mature pitcher probably didn't have any long term effects. He cited the workload of the pitchers that came up on the late 60's and early 70's and how long they were able to pitch (Blyleven, Palmer, Seaver, Carlton, etc). The guys from Baseball Prospectus were also allowed to write a rebuttal in the book. It was very interesting to see both views on the issue. I agree with James in that I think that once a pitcher is mature, he can handle the workload if he works up to it gradually.
PAUL MOLITOR - COACH
Sometimes I end up e-mailing back and forth with people, debating or whatever. When the Twins were playing the Mariners awhile back, I was debating the coaching/managing potential of Paul Molitor with a reader named Pabs. I made the comment, "I don't necessarily disagree with you on Molitor, but it's hard to ignore what the Seattle offense has done this year. Ouch!!!" He came back with an excellent response in favor of Mr. Molitor:
There's a huge question mark on if this is the fault of Molitor. The Mariners are hitting. A lot. But its almost all singles. So if the offense gets hits, but no power, is this really the fault of the hitting coach, or the players? By all accounts, the Mariners GM tried to form his team of mostly speedy, singles hitters. Thus when their power threats started to decline (because lets face it, the Mariner are an old team!) they just couldn't execute it. I'd argue a hitting coach is responsible for helping the hitters make contact. If the hitters can't swing the bats hard enough to do much good, is that the coach's fault?
TWINS PITCHING PROSPECTS
At the end of July, I spent three days checking out the season's of My Top 30 Twins Prospects. (Prospects 1-10, 11-20, 21-30) Those rankings were done last December, and certainly would be full of changes if I did them again today. (Note - I am going to wait until the offseason to update my list) But I did get a few thoughts on some of the Twins Prospects, including this one, which is simply a list, a list that should make Twins fans really excited for the future.
From Chris Dunn -
1. Scott Baker
2. JD Durbin
3. Alexander Smit
4. Glen Perkins
5. Kyle Waldrop
6. Adam Harben
7. Justin Jones
9. Errol Simontisch
10. Jay Rainville
11. Scott Tyler
12. Anthony Swarzak
13 Matthew Fox
14. Steven Duguay
15. Boof Bonser/Michael Rogers.
I would probably switch Durbin and Baker. Smit is so young that he warrants that high spot, but Perkins has been very impressive in his pro debut. I think that Francisco Liriano's first few starts at New Britain may move him up this list. And even Boof Bonser has seemed to regain his prospect status of late. Many of the others are between rookie league ball (3 were 2004 draft picks), Quad Cities and Ft. Myers, which means they are a long way from pitching in the majors, and so much can happen. But, I would venture a guess that you could put this pitching prospect list up against any other major league organizations.
QUESTIONS FOR YOU
A couple of weeks ago, I actually wrote a blog entry asking you a number of questions. For instance, I wanted to know what you liked or disliked about the site. Which parts are you sure to read and which do you just skip by? Those of you who responded really helped me decide some things about the direction of this site, at least during the regular season.
I am going to share a few thoughts from some of the other questions I asked.
Are you looking forward to the Olympics? Apparently they are starting this week sometime in Athens, Greece? Do you care about the Olympics? Which events do you chose to watch? How do you think the USA Basketball team will do?
Here are your responses:
From Peter Carlson -
Don't really care about them. I'm more interested in the security situation than the games themselves. I'm also interested in the level of anti-Americanism exhibited. Its sort of disgusting to me to hear how they're coaching the athletes to try not to get too excited and act really humble to not stir up resentments. Hooey. They're just athletes playing in games.
From Scott Ostman -
Am I looking forward to the Olympics? Not even a little bit. I watch the Winter Games a little bit, but the Summer Games bore me to tears. Swimming, diving and gymnastics are okay to watch, but the other stuff is deadly. Watching track and field is about as exciting as watching NASCAR. And I would love nothing more than to see the US Hoops team fold up their tents early and go home. I liked the Olympics better when it was about amateur athletes, not overpaid, whiny pros. Take my comment with a bucket of salt though as I'm mostly reacting to my deep hatred for the sport of basketball, which is only slightly more interesting than soccer.
From John Johnson -
For the most part I don't get into the Olympics. I think most of the sports are boring. I sometimes watch baseball and basketball, but not much of that even. I think USA basketball will win, but it will be much closer than it has been. Each time has been closer than the last. Unfortunately, the best players from the U.S. are no longer playing in the Olympics. Instead of viewing it as a great honor to play, the best U.S. players view it almost as an exhibition. Kinda sad.
From Andrew McGuire - Baseball and a little bit of life: My musings on the game of baseball, the Minnesota Twins, and whatever else I feel like talking about
I don't like that the Olympics are about commercialism and not the thrill of sport. I'm probably going to watch anyway.
From Philip Winn -
From Leslie Monteiro -
I can care less about the Olympic Games. Not a big fan of it. I will say this though. I do like the Winter Games a lot better than the Summer Games. I will watch basketball. As for the USA Basketball team, I don't know. It would not surprise me if they lose. They don't play defense and they have not played with any cohesion. Stephon Marbury has zero business being in the Olympic Team. He is horrible.
Seth's Olympic Thoughts -
I find the whole thing to be way overblown. I mean, it's basically just a big track meet with a bunch of other events. I find it funny when I hear that what these athletes do is train for four years. There are these types of events each year in between, whether it is the Pan-Am Games, the World Championships, etc. Basically, what I have watched so far has been whatever happens to be on NBC from 12:45-1:30 each day. The reason? Well, normally I go home to watch Days of our Lives, but , but it isn't on, so I leave that channel on and do other things. And, I do have two TVs in the living room, so I can have the Olympics on TV2, but I really haven't even watched that.
Anything involving people running is not watchable. The 100 meter dash isn't bad cuz it only takes like 10 seconds. Gymnastics? Women's is ok for about 10 seconds. Mens? Not watchable. Beach volleyball is OK. Who invented the pole vault? I mean, run a ways with a long pole, and use the pole to lunge over a bar way up in the air? Rowing? The sports I would actually want to watch, the team sports, are rarely on TV, at least not on channels anyone gets.
That said, I would enjoy watching the women's basketball team. I really would have liked to see the gold medal women's softball team.
To the men's basketball team - In two words... LAY OFF! I understand that many people don't like the perceived attitude of the NBA players. Well, I don't think it is fair to question the heart of these guys. Fact is, it isn't their fault. If there should be any fault given, it should be to the members of the selection committee who chose this team. I realize that most of the best players chose not to go to Athens, something I can not blame them for at all. I realize that they want to market their players. But, why not put at least one shooter on the roster? Seriously, put Steve Kerr on the roster if you have to. I'm sure he'd be happy to play. Fred Hoiberg? Voshon Lenard? How about a Brent Barry? And then, besides Allen Iverson, who on this team plays any defense? Put Ron Artest on the roster, or even Trenton Hassell. If they can't get the best players, then there should be a better 'team concept' in the roster management.
Favorite Sports to Watch
Next question: With the Olympics and all the sports out there, it reminds me of our "Favorite Sport" discussion. What is your favorite sport to watch. If it is baseball, why? If it is football, why?
From Peter Carlson -
NFL, MLB, NBA, in that order. Or, rather, Vikings, Twins, Twolves. I rarely watch other teams, except a bit of the NFL.
From Scott Ostman -
My favorite sport to watch? It depends on whether it's live or on TV. The best sport to watch live is hockey. It's fast. It's physical. And the athleticism is phenomenal. Even a scoreless tie is fun to watch because the action is so intense. On TV, I like football or baseball. I love the commentary and replays in football because it gives you a perspective you don't get at the stadium. Baseball is good because of the intense strategy involved. It's always fun to be the armchair manager and think how you would handle certain situations.
From John Johnson -
Favorite sport to watch on tv is football. To watch in person is baseball. To play is football. However, I like them both way too much (ask my wife).
From Andrew McGuire -
I love to play baseball, but I think watching it on TV is hard. The TV crews don't give you the big picture, like subtle shifts in the positioning of fielders. Going to a game is a blast though. One of my guilty pleasures is that I'm a huge curling fan.
From Philip Winn -
My favorite sport to watch is NBA Basketball during the fourth quarter, with Vikings football as a close second. I donít watch Twins baseball on TV, Iíd rather experience it at the park.
From Leslie Monteiro -
I love basketball. Any team can win it. Small-market teams have a chance to win. Watching the Timberwolves is so much fun especially with KG doing his thing. You can dissect everything that goes on in basketball. Basketball provides a lot of opinions. You can always discuss each and every call and coaching move.
Seth's Favorite Sports -
I think I could just copy Scott's thoughts on here. Watching good hockey in person is the best. The rush every time someone is about to take a check. The rush every time there is a shot on goal. That said, I can not watch hockey on TV.
But baseball is absolutely my game. I can watch an entire game on TV. Maybe it's because I can be doing other things and watch it. Sure, I find TV announcers to be a little simplistic, but then I remind myself that they aren't talking to me. They are talking to the common fan, the people who don't care about OPS, or WHIP, or the term "prospect." They are talking to the people who just like their hometown team and the only stats they care about are W's and L's. But I love thinking the game, the strategies, the pitch selections, the home run, the sacrifice bunt, everything. I love going to a real game in person, seeing the minute details, shifts, bullpen activity and more. It is the greatest game.
I enjoy watching the NFL on Sunday afternoons in the fall. I have two TVs in the living room (as I may have mentioned a time or two) which makes watching two games at a time possible. Maybe it is because of fantasy football that I got back into the NFL. I prefer watching the Vikings on TV than at the Dome. Being at the Dome is incredible because of the volume and the intensity of the crowd. And tailgating is fun too. But I like being able to watch a couple games at the same time and seeing highlights from other games and replays.
And NBA basketball gets a bad rap. So many people don't like watching games until the final two minutes of a game. I think that's the most boring part of the game. The good basketball is played the rest of the game. The strategies and just playing are done the first 46 minutes. The last two minutes are just time outs. But I love watching the game. Sure, I wish there were more mid-range shooters. But overall the game is good!
And, if you notice the good teams, they have everything. Maybe it is because my team is the Minnesota Timberwolves. Kevin Garnett is the best basketball player in the world. Yet, he is so unselfish. He could be a ball hog and demand to get shots. But he has always understood the concept of team. He loves sharing the limelight. He is what the NBA should be selling.
And, if you want to know just how good basketball can be, just think back to the Wolves/Kings Game 7. That was the most intense sporting event I have ever watched!
So in order - Baseball, Basketball, Football, hockey...
From Aaron Etkoshin -
Last night I went to the game. I love the Twins, but generally detest going to the Metrodome. At the beginning of the year, sportswriters throughout Minnesota kept writing how disappointing attendance was at the Metrodome even when the Twins are in a Pennant Race. They kept saying that people have lost interest in the Twins. Well, people have not lost interest in the Twins. Simply look at the Twins' ratings on FSN to prove that point. However, people have lost interest in watching games at the Metrodome. Can you imagine going to the game last night at a place like Coors Field or Camden Yards? I am just bitter about the Dome after sitting through a game there last night. Bottom line: It's a horrible place to watch baseball.
Seth's Dome Thoughts -
I concur. The Metrodome is a terrible place to watch baseball. Well, unless it is raining. I am 100% of the belief that the Twins need a new, retractable roof stadium. The site lines are bad. The seats are uncomfortable and unless you buy expensive seats, they don't even face the plate. It is a football stadium that is used for baseball. Two years ago, I went to 12 Twins games. In 2003, I went to six. This year, I have been to just two. I would like to get to one or two more, but I can watch it on TV too.
I have been to Miller Park in Milwaukee and Coors Field in Denver. Going to those facilities really make me wish the Twins had an outdoor park. That's just the way it should be!
What is an "ACE"?
In the last couple of weeks, I have done analysis on both Brad Radke and Johan Santana starts. I have also discussed why Santana should be the AL Cy Young winner. The question I asked was "who is the Twins 'ace' and why? My opinion was... Who Cares? Let's just be happy that we have two of the best pitchers in the American League. For a little bit of help explaining how good these two pitchers have been, we get a little bit of information from The Baseball Savant (with the assistance of Baseball Prospectus' VORP statistic):
I was reading your stuff on Radke the other day and I was going to write you about it. You know what is funny, is that when I see Radke pitch, which is usually in the post-season b/c we just don't get Twins games in Indiana, I always notice him throwing in the low 90s and for whatever reason, I think he's overthrowing b/c he's nervous or something. It's funny but I guess that was based on the assumption that everyone says that Radke is a soft-tosser.
I don't know how much you keep up with Baseball Prospectus' VORP, but right now, Santana and Radke are #1 and #3 respectively in the A.L. in that category. Geez, that's nice! In comparison, Schilling and Martinez are 2nd and 7th respectively while Mulder and Hudson are 4th and 6th respectively in VORP.
For the other playoff contenders their top 2 pitchers in VORP rank as follows:
TEX: Ryan Drese 5th and Kenny Rogers 35th
ANA: Kelvim Escobar 10th and Ramon Ortiz is 31st
NYY: Javier Vazquez is 23rd and Kevin Brown is 27th
Just to add insult to injury, Oakland also has Rich Harden at 19th, Mark Redman at 30th and Barry Zito at 37th. EEK!
I just don't see how anyone can think New York is going anywhere this season. Their pitching has been abysmal.
Johan Santana is the best pitcher in the American League, and Brad Radke has been the third best pitcher. I would say that is a pretty solid 1-2 punch!
Let's get to more of your thoughts:
From Ryan Johnson -
Just wanted to let you know that I found your Radke analysis to be one of the best Twins blog articles Iíve read all year. Congratulations on getting some air time on Max and Maloney, too. Keep up the good work. And to answer your whoís the ace question, Iím going to have to go with Radke. Radke is having the best year of his career and has done better in "big games" than Santana so far this year. In games this year against above .500 teams, Radke is 4-1 with a 2.56 era in 11 starts. 9 out of 11 of those starts were quality starts. Santana has only had 8 starts so far against above .500 teams and is 3-2 with a 4.47 era. 5 of the 8 were quality starts. I could be wrong on the stats, I just ran through them pretty quick, but thatís pretty impressive for Radke. So come playoff time, I hope Gardy does what Iím sure he will do and start Radke in game one. And if we go with a three person rotation it works out pretty well with Radke in games one and four and Santana in two and five. Iím sure nobody would complain if we had Santana going out there in game five of that first series, and if we can win it in four that puts Santana out there for game one of the championship series. Sets up pretty well if you ask me.
From Dave Anderson -
Have you noticed that Radke's strikeout rate has gone up substantially this year? It's 5.96 -- his highest since '97/'98 when he was a 20-win threat.
You may be onto something with your velocity readings, I have a hunch he was under 90 the last few years.
Oh -- but Santana's still the Ace! Man is he dominant!
From John Hall -
I figure that Radke is the "Ace" because he is the senior guy. Santana needs to put in another year or two to take over for a guy like Radke. I don't really care I just really like having two guys that can pitch like they do.
So, which is it? Radke? Santana? Does it really matter?
There are just a number of your thoughts on various issues. Thanks again for taking the time to write. And, as always, please feel free to share your thoughts with me on anything. Any questions, comments, ideas for future postings, anything. E-mail me.
TWINS GET A WIN
- Twins 8, Rangers 5.
- Justin Morneau was back in the lineup and hit his 13th home run! Seriously, how good is he? How powerful is her? Assuming he stays healthy, what can he do?
- OK, Luis Rivas is a terrible hitter. Last night, he had a double, a triple and a home run. He was a single away from the cycle! All he ever does is hit singles (I mean, when he actually does get a hit). Ah, baseball is a funny game.
- That was just what Joe Nathan needed. Another save opportunity after blowing his second consecutive chance the night before. It was far from easy, which I don't think is a bad thing either. He really had to work for that Save. Now he needs a couple of days off before his next chance. He has thrown a lot of pitches.
- I asked this on Tuesday, but it warrants being asked again: How many infield singles does Lew Ford have this year? I like how sometimes he just puts the ball in play and makes something happen. I so much prefer a hitter like that than one who strikes out. Ford was 3-5 with two infield singles and a triple.
- Kyle Lohse was awful last night, but he still gets the win. This is reason #6,046,395 why the Win statistic is overrated.
- Almost have to feel bad for Ryan Drese. He gave up 13 hits and 7 runs in 3.1 innings. But the Twins really didn't hit him hard at all. But they all fell in. The movement on his pitches was pretty impressive.
MORE HELP - Nate Robertson (8 IP, 1 R) and Carlos Guillen (3B, HR, 3 RBI) and the Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago White Sox 5-4. A Coco Crisp drag bunt in the 8th scored Casey Blake and gave the Cleveland Indians a 4-3 win over the Yankees. Here are the current standings in the AL Central, as all four teams have split their last two games.
Current AL Central Standings
Minnesota Twins 71-55 --
Cleveland Indians 64-64 8.0
Chicago White Sox 61-63 9.0
Detroit Tigers 60-66 11.0
ONE MORE TO GO - Tonight the Twins will finish their Texas series. Terry Mulholland will start for the Twins while Chan Ho Park will be activated to start for the Rangers. I think it is a good matchup for Mulholland. His craftiness could be very affective against the fastball, aggressive hitting Rangers lineup. Park has been rehabbing at various minor league levels and has really struggled, at least until some of his more recent starts.
What are you looking for in the rest of the Rangers series? Can the Twins #3-#5 pitchers keep the Rangers hitters in check? Any thoughts? E-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
REDWINGS 2, Buffalo 3 - The Redwings were down 3-0 and had just four hits until the top of the 9th. They attempted a comeback, but a 2 run Todd Dunwoody single left them still one run short. Dunwoody was 2-4. Michael Restovich went 3-4. Seth Greisinger took the loss despite giving up the three runs in 7.2 innings. He walked one and struck out five.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
ROCKCATS 3, Trenton 1 - Down 1-0 heading into the eighth, New Britain scored three runs, including two on a Luis Maza double to grab the lead and the win. Ryan Owens went 2-2 with a walk. Jim Abbott started and lasted just 3 2/3 innings. He just threw too many pitches. He gave up a run on 3 hits and four walks. Travis Bowyer was stretched out. He went 4 1/3 innings. He gave up two hits, two walks and struck out four. Bobby Korecky came in and recorded his 26th save with a scoreless ninth.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
MIRACLE 2, Tampa 4 (5) - In this shortened game, Matt Yeatman gave up 4 runs in 4 innings, but gets a complete game! Danny Matienzo was 2-2 with a 2B. Alex Romero launched his 5th homer of the year, and third in the last week.
SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
SWING - No games scheduled in the Midwest League.
Friday - E-TWINS 3, Pulaski 6 - Kyle Aselton gave up four runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out five. Dennis Medina gave up three hits and three walks in two innings, but somehow allowed just one run. Then Jeff Mousser pitched the next two innings without allowing a run, despite giving up five hits. LF Javier Lopez went 2-4. Deacon Burns is still hitting well. Last night, he hit a two-run homer, his 9th of the short-season.
OTHER BASEBALL THOUGHTS
In the last two days, two of the top pitching prospects in baseball made their major league debuts. On Monday night, Scott Kazmir (My #1 National League Prospect heading into the season) threw five shutout innings against the Seattle Mariners. Remember Kazmir came to the Devil Rays in exchange for Victor Zambrano (yeah, I know, it still makes me laugh too!).
The other is Jeff Francis who flew up the Colorado Rockies farm system this year, starting in Class A. He was a combined 16-3 between AA and AAA. (Last night, he took the loss to the Braves as Chipper Jones took him deep twice.)
Both of these pitchers are huge prospects, and both of them are not able to drink yet. One more similarity is that both of these pitchers are pitching now for teams that have no chance of making the playoffs. So, the question has to be asked... why call them up at this point? Sure, I am excited to see both of them in the major leagues, but why start their major league service time now? Why not wait until next spring to bring them up? I realize that it is a detail at this point, but maybe in three or four years, when they are now eligible for arbitration, those teams may be questioning their decisions. This is a bigger issue with the D-Rays in my opinion. I mean, they have started the service time clock on BJ Upton and Joey Gathright already in the last month or so.
Rick Ankiel is just about back. What a great story it would be for him to come back from all he has been through the last couple of seasons! As I mentioned a while back, I still can't believe that Tony Larussa and Dave Duncan as still considered good with pitchers when, in reality, they are responsible for many of Ankiel's mental/control struggles. Maybe the best thing that happened for Ankiel was Tommy John surgery. He was able to not pick up a baseball and to just take some time away from the game. Maybe that has cleared his head or something, because in his minor league rehab assignment, he has been nothing short of dominant! He is scheduled to make one AAA start before being called up to the Cardinals where he will pitch out of their bullpen for now. I hope he comes back and is what he was just three years ago. He is still very young!
DREAM TEAM - By the time you read this, Team USA will likely be playing, or have already played. Their start time is 6:30 this morning. They play Spain, so the assumption is that they will win. Well, not so fast, Spain (led by Pao Gasol) is 5-0 so far in the Olympics.
ANOTHER CHANCE - Must be good to be tall. Joel Pryzbella has done pretty much nothing throughout his four year NBA career. He has been hurt more than he has been healthy. However, he is 7-1 and has shown some athleticism. So yesterday, he signed a contract with the Portland Trailblazers. Expect him to have some run-in with the law in the near future. That's just what they do out in Portland. Ask Zach Randolph, who could be in some major trouble for lying to the authorities. He and his brother were out in a club. Someone threw a drink at his brother. So, did he get in the guy's face and have a verbal altercation? No. He pulls out a gun and starts shooting, while Randolph was holding on to him. Of course, Zach told the police that he didn't know what had happened. Ah, the Jail Blazers!!!
I wanted to point out two blogs worth checking out today and bookmarking for future reference!
First, there is a new site that I became aware of yesterday. Sports Center Blog is a very new site. In its first couple of days of existence, there have been postings on the NL MVP debate (Bonds? Pujols? Rolen? or Adrian Beltre?), the Erick Dampier to the Mavs trade and some on the NFL. I think it is worth taking the time to check out each day, especially if you like reading about a variety of sports.
And then I have to point out a great series by a blog that has been around and should be a staple in your daily reading. Athletics Nation is a great daily blog. Recently, they did a 3 part interview with the A's GM Billy Beane. Now, I loved the book Moneyball. I respect their organizational philosophy. I don't agree with everything about it, and generally don't like the arrogance that he and other "Moneyball GMs" tend to have. HOWEVER, this is a great interview, and shows the Beane can be far more than what you would think. So please take time to read all three parts. I will take an excerpt from each that I found interesting.
Part 1 -
Blez: You successfully signed Eric Chavez to a long-term deal before the season started and there was a lot of speculation that the front office had always targeted Chavez as the man to sign when you were mapping down the road with Giambi and Tejadaís negotiations. First of all, is that the case, and second, do you have a similar plan on which pitchers to target out of the Big Three?
BB: Iím not even sure they could. One of the things that went into the decision was eliminating one of the options. A shortstop and a third baseman at that age are a much better risk to take if youíre going to sign. Miguelís a marvelous player and we miss him now. Heís such a marvelous personality. But we had Bobby Crosby coming and Bobby Crosby is only 24 years old. People forget that Eric Chavez is only 26 years old. So you look at the age and when he was contracted and take into account that as long as his contract is, heís only going to be 32 when the contract is up. In the case of Jason, Jason was 31 the first time he was a free agent. There is something to be said for age and injuries. And whatís difficult is that if you sign a player to a big contract, if theyíve not playing and theyíre hurt, then thatís money lost. So we had to make sure we were getting the most bang for the buck and Eric seemed to be the guy.
Part 2 -
BB: Exactly, guys like Scottie Hatteberg. Now people are recognizing the value of that and theyíre paying for it. And if weíre in a bidding war, weíre going to lose that. So we have evolved. If you look at some of our first playoff teams, the Ď99 team that won 87 games, it was a power, on-base team. Now weíre tops in the league in defense and pitching. For us, itís all about filling in on the backend and figuring out what people are undervaluing. You know, one day weíre going to have a team with guys who steal 50 bases because people arenít paying for it. But itís all about wins. Thatís all that matters
Part 3 -
BB: When people comment on chemistry, itís usually people whoíve never been in a clubhouse. And I donít mean that in a negative sense. Itís like me commenting on the drinking water in Mongolia. Iíve never drunk the water in Mongolia, therefore I donít know. It may be good, it may be bad, but I have no right to an opinion. Things like that, subjective things, things you canít measure are all subject to peopleís opinion. And the farther out you go, the more off it is. When it comes to chemistry, Iíve got a promise for you. If you win, you have good chemistry, if you lose, youíve got bad chemistry. Thatís the bottom line. Thereís no one who can evaluate a guy who can say, ďThatís a chemistry guy.Ē
OK, on that note, I am going to call it a day. After pretty much skipping yesterday, I think I made up for it today with some extra content.
Have yourself a Happy Tuesday! As always, if you have any questions, comments or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me.
Back to Archives Home