Sunday, December 19, 2004

Is Zito next?

"Now only Barry Zito is left among Oakland's Big Three -- and there is a chance he could soon be dealt, to Baltimore." - Buster Olney


Farewell, Mark Mulder - MLB - Big three down to one: Mulder dealt to Cards

"In return for Mulder, the A's acquired pitchers Danny Haren and Kiko Calero and minor league catcher Daric Barton."

I think Eric Byrnes says it best, "What, you've got to be kidding me. Wow. I don't know what to tell you."

I must say that I'm shocked, a little disappointed and a little optimistic. A rotation of Zito, Harden, Haren, Blanton and Meyer could be decent. But it's certainly not Zito, Mulder, Hudson, Harden and Blanton. It'll be interesting at least.

As always, it's "In Billy we trust."

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Dan Meyer

Dan Meyer, SP: If the Braves are not already planning on inserting Meyer into next season's starting rotation, they should be. The 23-year-old lefty has never even had an ERA above 3.00 in pro ball, including Triple-A. He throws in the low-90s with a solid repertoire and excellent control. We hear about Tom Glavine comparisons all too often from young pitchers that do not throw 95 mph, but Meyer might actually be able to have that type of career.

I guess he's in the A's starting rotation for 2005 along with Zito, Mulder, Harden and Blanton/Duchsherererererr?

Feeling Queasy

"With Los Angeles, Boston and the New York Yankees rumored to be pursuing [Tim] Hudson, the Braves swooped in and got the Oakland ace for outfielder Charles Thomas and pitchers Juan Cruz and Dan Meyer." -AP News

We all knew a trade was coming, but I was hoping we'd be wrong. I don't know much about the new guys yet, but I'm going to miss the hell out of Tim Hudson.

I just feel kinda empty right now. Why did it have to be Hudson?

And this isn't helping: First thought - fantastic deal for the Braves!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Hanukah Tune

Thanks to Aunt Marcia for this one: Hey-Ya

Monday, December 13, 2004

Distraction (!)

How about this fun one, eh? Trebuchet Challange (Thanks to Yahoo!'s daily picks)

My first score was 2300-ish.

How do you like that, marco?

Thursday, December 9, 2004

Great Amazon Review Books: A Short History of the Civil War: Ordeal by Fire

Bruce Canton could spend two pages discribing a muddy campaign, and you will come away knowing it was muddy and what a loggistical problem that was. Shelby Foote could spend a chapter on a muddy campaingn and you will come away knowing it was muddy and how much the troops complaigned about it and maybe a funny incident or two. Fletcher Pratt could spend a paragraph or two on that campaign, and when done you'll notice your leg's hurt. Why? Because you didn't want to get mud on your couch.
Loved that review so much, I bought the book.

I Think They Call it Satire

Over on the Hardball Times, Bill James urges caution and patience on the steroid witch hunt:


Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Adios, Sayonara, Dye-Dye

A's decline arbitration for Dye

The Oakland Athletics declined to offer arbitration to four free agents Tuesday, including power-hitting outfielder Jermaine Dye.

The A's also declined arbitration for second baseman Mark McLemore and relievers Jim Mecir and Chris Hammond. Oakland is now unable to negotiate with the four players before May 1, and won't receive compensation if they sign with other teams.

Can't say I'm terribly upset to see any of those guys go. Dye was great for us at times, mostly early in his Oakland tenure. But he was injured too often to make his $11M contract worthwhile.

And the article points out the key thinking on Dye. The risk that he would accept arbitration and command a significant salary from the A's outweighed the potential benefit of receiving compensation draft picks should he sign elsewhere. So, farewell.

Here's what we need to replace in terms of Win Shares:

Dye - 12 Win Shares (-3 Win Shares Above Average, given equal playing time)
McLemore - 6 WS (-2 WSAA)
Hammond - 6 WS (3 WSAA)
Mecir - 4 WS (1 WSAA)

That's a grand total of 28 Win Shares and (-1) Win Share Above Average. The A's should essentially be able to replace those four guys with average players capable of consuming innings and at bats.

I for one, as always, am looking forward to how Billy Beane will manage to do just that.

My (obvious) guess - an outfield of Kotsay, Byrnes, Swisher and Kielty. Marc Ellis at 2B again with Marco Scutaro backing him up. I guess the only question is: Who will pitch the roughly 100 innings that Hammond and Mecir contributed last year?

Almost a Compliment?

"Is it really more than a year?" My boss looks back (fondly?) on the founding of What's remarkable is that Stone linked to me without harping on my lack of blog-effort.

If you go to Stone and search for "Baseball", three of the top four results are posts suggesting that (A) I don't spend enough time on and/or (B) is going down in flames.

While (A) is certainly true, I hope that (B) isn't. Is it even possible for something as small as to really go down in flames?

When a blog dies, isn't it really more like Hanukah candles that slowly melt away before sputtering their last breath and expiring.

Sunday, December 5, 2004

BCS = Big F-ing Joke

Yahoo! Sports - NCAA Football - Cal angry, frustrated after Texas takes Rose Bowl spot

"Cal (10-1) was left out of the Bowl Championship Series... despite a season of statistical superlatives and dominating victories."

Instead of playing Michigan in the Rose Bowl, Cal will play Texas Tech, a 7-4 team that lost to New Mexico(!), Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M. The Red Raiders' seven wins were over the following teams:

SMU (3-8)
TCU (5-6)
Kansas (4-7)
Nebraska (5-6)
Kansas State (4-7)
Baylor (3-8)
Oklahoma State (7-4)

That's only ONE win over a team with a winning record. Hardly a team worthy of playing the team that both polls agree is the NUMBER FOUR team in the country.

And what of Texas? Both polls (AP and USA Today) agree that Texas is #5 in the country behind #4 California. While each team has only one loss, Texas was embarrased 12-0 by the #2 team in the country while Cal was barely edged out by the consensus #1 team in the country.

I hope Michigan and Cal win their respective Bowls by 40 points apiece. In fact, if USC destroys Oklahoma, Michigan beats Texas, Virginia Tech beats Auburn and Cal beats Texas Tech, it's not inconceivable that Cal could end the season as the #2 team in the country. And they're playing in the damn Holiday Bowl. What a joke.

This whole BCS thing will always be a farce to me until it's scrapped entirely and replaced with a playoff system.

(By the way, this is my second annual BCS complaint. Here's my first.)

Friday, December 3, 2004

Yanks To Stick Knife in Giambi's Back


A day after Giambi's grand jury testimony in the BALCO case, in which he admitted using steroids and human growth hormone, appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Yankees didn't come running to their troubled first baseman's defense.


One option is trying to void Giambi's contract, which has four years and $84.5 million remaining.


The [contract] reads, "The player agrees to keep himself in the best possible condition."

The Yankees could argue that Giambi's steroid use caused his left knee to fall apart in 2003 when he hit 41 homers but batted .250, and that the use led to the parasite and a benign tumor that limited him to playing 80 games this past season when he batted a career-low .208.


If the Yankees decide not to void the deal, they could work out a settlement with Giambi and he could become a free agent. Never a fan favorite from the beginning because he replaced popular Tino Martinez, Giambi has lied about using steroids. Before long Yankees fans will pin the 3-0 flush job against the Red Sox on Giambi even though he wasn't on the ALCS roster.
Kinda awful to see the Yankees throwing Giambi under the bus so quickly. What happened to the organization that prompted this comment from (longtime cocaine addict) Daryl Strawberry?

"I remain committed to helping the Yankees in anyway I can whenever possible," Strawberry said. "I greatly appreciate the encouragement and support given to me and my family by Mr. Steinbrenner and the Yankees."

And the comment from the post I bolded above (in the original quote) is little more than a suggestion that the Yankee fans SHOULD blame Giambi. I can't think of anything more ridiculous than blaming him for the loss to the Sox.

It's Official

What Bonds told BALCO grand jury

Bonds said he had begun using the cream and the clear [steriods] at a time when he was aching with arthritis and was distraught over the terminal illness of his father, former Giants All-Star Bobby Bonds, who died Aug. 23, 2003.

"I have bad arthritis. I've played 18 years, bad knees, surgeries and so on," Bonds testified, adding that he wanted a product that would "take the arthritis pain away that I feel in the mornings when it's super cold ...

"I was battling with the problems with my father and the -- just the lack of sleep, lack of everything."

But Bonds said he got little help from Anderson's products.

"And I was like, to me, it didn't even work."
Smells like perjury to me.

Thursday, December 2, 2004

Good News, Bad News

THE GOOD: There's now a semi-organized archive of Bill Simmons ESPN writings

THE BAD: Click on any link, say Top-10 Most Tortured City??? and you'll see a paragraph (if you're lucky) followed by an ad - "Want to read the whole article? Open your wallet, insert vacuum."

Probably a good way to increase near-term revenue for, but a bad sign for Bill Simmons (and me). It's only a matter of time before they move Bill's Boston Sports Guy entirely behind the "pay" wall, leaving him a much smaller audience (smaller at least by one - me). And really, he's the only reason I go to ESPN at all anymore.

Is moving all of their best content into their premium "Insider" package really the best long-term move? Do writers like Bill want a small, devoted "customer-base" OR do they want to be cultural institutions? In the long run, will ESPN be able to attract the best talent once they've managed to reduce their audience to the 5% of their current visitors that are willing to pay?

Is this all just a short-term cash-grab by Disney, parent of ESPN? Is there anything wrong with that?

And if you've got $40 to spend on a sports site, isn't Baseball Prospectus going to give you a better bang for your buck? (Even if they're currently overhauling their subscription process...)


A co-worker of mine did some work about HOF worthiness that's pretty interesting - I'll have to see if I can get his permission to post it here. The basic approach is to figure out what counting and rate stats the BWAA use (consciously or subconsciously) to determine whether a player belongs in the HOF.

Here's an interesting case:
G - 2,000
AB - 6,976
R - 1,455
H - 2,010
2B - 423
3B - 65
HR - 445
RBI - 1,299
SB - 460
CS - 132
BB - 1,430
SO - 1,112
BA - 0.288
OBP - 0.409
SLG - 0.559
Win Shares - 437

That's Barry Bonds' career through 1999 - a shoe-in Hall of Famer, right? So, when did Barry become a Hall of Famer? And when did he start taking steriods? My guess is that he was a Hall of Famer before he started taking the sauce. What do you think? Does it matter? Should it?

Academic Take on Moneyball

Hardball Times links to Sabernomics links to An Economic Evaluation of the Moneyball Hypothesis.

Our work is essentially an assessment of Lewis' [Moneyball] argument, and as such is merely an after-the-fact replication of work done by the innovators at the heart of his book. But we do find that they (and Lewis) were right, and further, that the process that they set in motion had in large part been completed by the time the book was published.
Essentially, the inefficiency in the market that allowed the A's to compete has been corrected, and the A's have had to move on to new (possibly smaller) inefficiencies, or so we A's fans can hope.

Yet More on the 2006 Baseball World Cup

I took a wild guess at the US roster for the proposed World Cup here. Craig Burley does the same with many more complete thoughts and logical reasoning.

You just have to skim past all that stuff about Diegomar Markwell (!?!?) and the rest of Team Netherlands.

Baseball's Bad Moon Rising

Giambi admitted taking steroids

The onetime Oakland A's first baseman and 2000 American League Most Valuable Player testified that in 2003, when he hit 41 home runs for the Yankees, he had used several different steroids obtained from Greg Anderson, weight trainer for San Francisco Giants star Barry Bonds.
Bad news for Jason Giambi, baseball and Barry Bonds. How bad? Time will tell. Here are the first rumblings:
"Jason Giambi's reported testimony that he used steroids might jeopardize his $120 million contract with the New York Yankees and allow baseball commissioner Bud Selig to discipline him."
-Giambi's steroids testimony may open him to discipline

The weird thing is that Grand Jury testimony is supposed to be secret, right? Isn't anyone upset that "secret", "sealed" testimony is now common knowledge? Well, here's something from that same article (the second one):

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan said his office was concerned about the leaks to the Chronicle and asked the Justice Department to investigate. "Violations of grand jury secrecy rules will not be tolerated," [U.S. Attorney Kevin] Ryan said .

Little late there Kevin, don't you think? This cat's already out of the bag...