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After 129 messages on our previous hijack central, the time is right to move to a new thread. We can begin discussion with the A's latest deal, Mark Redman for. last year's Rule 5er Mike Neu and a player to be named. Is this the best the Marlins could get for a guy who won 14 games for the World Champs? As Thomas noted in the last hijack central, Redman may not stick with the A's; hopefully, he can be swapped for an ace relief pitcher or a hitter, two things the A's need. And badly.
Hijack Central: flying with pigs | 112 comments | Create New Account
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_steve - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 02:13 AM EST (#82600) #
the infamous jack cust, the guy who did a faceplant 10 feet away from home to tie a game.
_steve - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 02:14 AM EST (#82601) #
question: is the spencer fordin or was it the ba guy interview done yet? i thought it would be posted on monday.
_Steve Z - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 04:21 AM EST (#82602) #
Griffin gives us his usual shtick today, offering up the suggestion that the Jays ("in neutral" with the Mariners) are no better than last year. Go figure!

The Jays have done a good job of keeping payroll down, but Batista and Ted Lilly are not legitimate 2-3 starters. If they add a shortstop like Rich Aurilia, the infield will be better. Last winter's bullpen, with Escobar as closer and Politte setting up, looked better on paper than the grab-bag of set-up men in the current bullpen-by-committee. But you wouldn't know it talking to the club now. It will be tough to match 86 wins in a free-spending division.
_Jurgen - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 04:22 AM EST (#82603) #
I wonder if Redman might be insurance if Beane decides he'd get better return trading one of the Big Three.

Redman's obviously not in the same class as Mulder, Hudson, or Zito, but his career 104 ERA+ isn't horrendous (it's actually the same as Escobar's). He'd make a decent #3 if Beane can trade, say, Hudson and Dye for youngsters, and then try to sign Guerrero with the $15M he's cleared.
_Young - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 04:51 AM EST (#82604) #
I dunno, I was going to say to stop writing about Griffin, given his negativity on the Blue Jays. I mean, the guy will complain no matter what the team does... Hypothetically, if we had traded Delgaldo for Arod, he can have a field day on how we have become the evil empire or something.

But isn't this guy just going the other way? Predicting baseball isn't an exact science, so with him being negative, one of these years, you'd figure that JP led Blue Jays are going to stink, and that is when he will really shine. "Look, I've said that the team sucks all along!!! Give me my props!"

Can the A's move in on the whole Arod deal though? Are they still going after Youkilis?
_Jurgen - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 04:57 AM EST (#82605) #
I'm just guestimating what the 25 man roster would look like, but adding Rhodes and Guerrero would completely transform the A's.

This no longer looks like a mediocre team to me. It actually looks pretty good:

CF Kotsay L
LF Kielty S
RF Guerrero R
3B Chavez L
DH Durazo L
1B Hatteberg L
SS Crosby R
C Melhuse S
2B Ellis R

IF Scutaro R
IF German L
C ?
OF Byrnes R
OF Watson L

SP Mulder L
SP Zito L
SP Redman L
SP Harden R
SP ?

RP Rhodes L
RP Rincon L
RP Bradford R
RP Ramos L
RP Mercir R
RP Duchscherer R

Think Beane can get a starter from the Cubs (Cruz?) as the PTBNL?
_Marco S. - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 05:07 AM EST (#82606) #
http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Golf/News/2003/12/16/288995-cp.html
Eric Gagne was narrowly defeated by Mike Weir for this year's Lou March Award. COMN for the details.
_BagofBalls - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 05:53 AM EST (#82607) #
"JP snows fans"?

How about Graham Parley snows readers by pretending he's editor of a sports section. Instead he offers up empty accusatory headlines, bad faith coverage of the team, and garbage coverage. How about Richard Griffin snows readers by pretending he's a sportswriter.

Parley and Griffin both disgrace journalism.
_Kristian - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 06:45 AM EST (#82608) #
The player that Beane will get would be Damian Miller. Not a chance the A's get Cruz. Does anybody else wonder what the heck Beane is doing this offseason?
_Steve Z - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 07:05 AM EST (#82609) #
Rios went 3-4 with a 3B and HR (10) yesterday, the day after putting on a display at the winter league all-star game (HR, 4 RBI).
_Steve Z - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 07:13 AM EST (#82610) #
And he's playing RF, by the way.
_Scott - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 07:13 AM EST (#82611) #
I believe that is five home runs in the past four games for him (including the all-star game).
_S.K. - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 07:36 AM EST (#82612) #
Wow, Rios is putting on quite a display.
_Kristian - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 08:07 AM EST (#82613) #
I would not be suprised to see Rios get a long look in the spring. I think he has or soon will pass Gross on the depth chart.
_miVulgar - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 08:16 AM EST (#82614) #
Although Griffin's article has a definite negative taint, I didn't find its premise all too offensive. Sure, the Jays may be stuck on 86 wins this year thanks to a beefed up division.

Having said that, his contention that the last year's Politte/Escobar driven bullpen looked better on paper than what the Jays have this year (Lopez, Ligtenberg, Speier, Kershner, Miller) exposes his complete lack of knowledge.

Of course, the "J.P. Snows Fans..." title exposes his editor as someone with a hopeless chip on his shoulder.
Pistol - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 08:16 AM EST (#82615) #
More Aurilia talk, this time in the Sun, and Toronto was mentioned in a SF newspaper as well.

I suspect that if the Jays ultimately sign Aurilia in the next 2 days that they'll non-tender Woodward to save another million.
_Steve Z - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 08:22 AM EST (#82616) #
According to the Fan, The Jays will unveil El Artista at the SkyDome today. Any chance you can get a last-minute press-pass, Coach?
_Kristian - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 08:26 AM EST (#82617) #
Maybe the Jays would move Woodward over to 2nd? Not sure if that is the wisest move but it would be better than Berg or Clark if Hudson is moved.
_Gwyn - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 08:36 AM EST (#82618) #
Nomar to the White Sox for Ordonez if the A-Rod/Manny trade goes through.
_Kristian - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 08:43 AM EST (#82619) #
An interesting note in the Sun has the Orioles saying that they want to get Guerrero, Lopez or Irod and then they will still have money to get Ponson. That makes the East even tougher if Baltimore can pull that off.
_Kristian - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 08:43 AM EST (#82620) #
An interesting note in the Sun has the Orioles saying that they want to get Guerrero, Lopez or Irod and then they will still have money to get Ponson. That makes the East even tougher if Baltimore can pull that off.
_Jordan - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 09:11 AM EST (#82621) #
Steve, the Josh Boyd interview is in the works and will be posted either this afternoon or early tomorrow, depending on how busy things get around here. :-)

The rumours flying around the possible A-Rod deal are stunning. As soon as we have confirmation that something's gone down, we'll start up a thread devoted to it. I'm sure the Jays are watching the big names flying around and would be ready to swoop in if smaller yet still valuable names fell to earth in the process.
_David Goodwin - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 09:15 AM EST (#82622) #
Wow. Thanks for the link Gwyn. If Epstein/Henry can really pull the trigger on these blockbusters, not that ARod/Manny is new news, but getting Ordonez instead of Odalis Perez or Jarrod Washburn or Adam Kennedy is remarkable. The fit seems perfect with the White Sox, in that both Ordonez and Garciaparra have one year left on their contracts, and neither was likely to stay with their team after this season. ARod becomes our nemesis in the AL East for the remainder of this decade (with no apologies to the Yankees - the Sox look like our main competition), and if Ordonez seems to work out for the Red Sox he will likely be locked up long term as well. Ordonez is two years younger than Ramirez, and ARod is two years younger than Nomar. Ordonez has missed no more than 9 games per season in the last five years. We are all familiar with Nomar's injury, and though his last two seasons have been good, he's been a shadow of his former 1000+ OPS self. I'm not sure what the Sox outfield would look like defensively, but Ordonez is better defensively than Ramirez, whose recent hamstrings troubles have slowed him considerably. ARod and Magglio vs Nomar and Manny? Give me the former.
_Jonny German - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 09:19 AM EST (#82623) #
Last winter's bullpen, with Escobar as closer and Politte setting up, looked better on paper than the grab-bag of set-up men in the current bullpen-by-committee.

My initial reaction was to jump on Rich and proclaim his wrongness. He is wrong of course, don't get me wrong, but mostly because he's looking at only the top two of what is actually a seven man pen. I also disagree with the assertion that it's a bullpen-by-committee. I wouldn't use it as such.

2003 2004
Closer Escobar Speier
RH setup Politte Ligtenberg
LH setup Creek Kershner
Mr.Fixit Tam Lopez
LOOGY Miller Miller
Longman Linton Walker
Rule 5 Lopez Haines

While Kershner & Lopez are big improvements "on paper" over Creek & Tam, Speier & Ligtenberg do indeed look a little weaker than Escobar & Politte did. I'd rate the net of the bottom 3 spots as "slightly improved". Overall, a better bullpen on paper this year. Considering that 4 of last year's relievers blew up (and another only pitched 9 innings), it shouldn't take too much luck for this year's pen to substantially outperform last year's.
_Steve Z - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 09:28 AM EST (#82624) #
From the New York Post:
A strong indication that the Red Sox are ready to ship Manny Ramirez to the Rangers is that they are close to acquiring left fielder Jacque Jones from the Twins, a deal that could be announced today.
_Steve Z - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 09:29 AM EST (#82625) #
Sorry, here's the link.
_Andrew Edwards - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 09:45 AM EST (#82626) #
Biggest trade ever?

TO RED SOX
A-Rod
Ordonez

TO RANGERS
Ramirez
cash or prospects (Rauch?)

TO WHITE SOX
Garciaparra

That'd be two or three HoFers, probably? What fun.
_Ryan Day - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 09:48 AM EST (#82627) #
According to Richard Griffin, the Detroit Tigers rate an "improved" because they signed Rondell White and Fernando Vina.
The D-Rays are improved by adding Jose Cruz Jr. and Tino Martinez.

The Jays add Batista, Speir, Haines, Hentgen, Lilly and Ligtenberg, but apparently they're "stuck in neutral." (How the Mariners are going to stay "in neutral" by replacing Cameron with Ibanez and signing Scott Spezio to a 3-yr deal is also beyone me)

No, the Jays haven't improved as much as the Yankees and Red Sox. Yes, it's going to be tough to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox. These are not hidden subtleties of the game that can only be revealed by a great baseball mind.

I suspect Griffin will not be happy until Ricciardi announces that the Jays haven't a prayer of winning a single game and the Jays finish the season at 0-162.
_Mick - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 10:46 AM EST (#82628) #
Mike Neu?

Okay, slightly off-topic, but as a former MAC school student (Bowling Green) and college football fan, is this former Ball State starting quarterback Mike Neu?
_Steve Z - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 10:49 AM EST (#82629) #
Following up on Andrew's theme -- Biggest Trade Ever -- David Schoenfeld (of ESPN.com's Page Two) rates the biggest shakedowns in (North American) professional sports history. The fateful Carter-Alomar-Fernandez-McGriff blockbuster ranked #8, well behind the deal that brought Gretzky to LA.
_Ryan - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 11:24 AM EST (#82630) #
I've been trying to avoid discussing Griffin's columns lately, but this one was just too idiotic to ignore.

Tino Martinez is basically an older and more expensive version of Travis Lee, whose option was declined by Tampa. Cruz is the only player Tampa has acquired this offseason who could be considered an improvement over what they already had, and even then he's not going to make too much of an impact.

Baltimore added Tejada, but so far he's the only one they've added, and they also lost two of their best pitchers in 2003 to the Blue Jays. Vlad and Rodriguez/Lopez haven't signed yet, and while Baltimore is pushing hard for them, there's no guarantee any of them will wind up there. Griffin is counting his Orioles before they're hatched.

Vina is of little use to the Tigers since he's been bad for two years now and he wasn't all that good before. I consider White to be similar to Cruz in Tampa; he'll help, but he's not going to make the team that much better.

Meanwhile Griffin scoffs at what the Blue Jays have done when they've added three quality starting pitchers and two quality relievers, while only losing one pitcher who made a significant impact on the team last year in Escobar. Pitching was Toronto's biggest problem last year and this offseason Ricciardi has turned over nearly half of the pitching staff, making some significant upgrades to it.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that someone completely devoid of integrity and baseball knowledge, like Griffin, could conclude that the Blue Jays had a worse offseason than Tampa, Baltimore and Detroit (afterall, last offseason Griffin suggested the Blue Jays might lose 90 games), but it still amazes me that this uninformed garbage can get printed in a major daily newspaper. It's beyond belief that the Star's standards could be this low.
_Donkit R.K. - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 11:31 AM EST (#82631) #
Ordonez makes this deal look sooo good for the BoSox, it's sick.
_Mick - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 11:44 AM EST (#82632) #
Jurgen, I can't think of a team in the history of baseball that wouldn't be improved with the addition of Vlad Guerrero. That strikes me as the "Let's trade Chris Woodward for Alex Rodriguez" talk-show chatter: well, duh the Blue Jays would be better if they got A-rod. And I know you're far smarter than those talk-show folks. :)

I do, however, like your idea of the A's possibly trading Hudson and Dye near the all-star break if the team is deep in a funk. I should clarify: I think the idea makes perfect sense; I can't say I "like" the idea of Hudson pitching for anyone other than the A's.

Mick, this particular Mike Neu apparently went to the University of Miami (FL).

And I can only wish doom and gloom on the Red Sox. If they ever complain about the Yankees being an Evil Empire again ... and it's not like they had much grounds to make that argument in the first place.
Gitz - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 11:46 AM EST (#82633) #
Doof. That is not Mick above, that is me, John Gizzi, or Gitz. My bad, Mick. The number of people who would want to be confused with me has to be around zero, or possibly lower.
_Jeff Geauvreau - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 12:32 PM EST (#82634) #
YANKEES SIGN GARY SHEFFIELD

The New York Yankees announced today that they have signed free-agent outfielder Gary Sheffield to a three-year contract with a club option for a fourth year.

He will be introduced at a media conference at Yankee Stadium today at 2:00 p.m.

You can LISTEN or WATCH LIVE on yankees.com »

Sheffield, 35, joins the Yankees after leading the Atlanta Braves with a .330 batting average and a career-high 132 RBI in 2003. He also set a career-high in runs (126) and posted a career-best 24-game hitting streak from July 26-August 20. He ranked among National League leaders in RBIs (third, 132), total bases (third, 348), runs (fourth, 126), slugging percentage (fifth, .604), extra-base hits (tied for fifth, 78), on-base percentage (sixth, .419) and home runs (tied for seventh, 39).

In addition to reaching the 2,000 career-hit plateau, the seven-time All-Star stole his 200th career base this past season and became just the 17th player in Major-League history to hit at least 300 home runs and steal at least 200 bases.
_Kyle S - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 01:02 PM EST (#82635) #
Although Redman had a good year last year, the Marlins had an extra starter. With Redman gone, they're left with Beckett, AJ Burnett, Brad Penny, Carl Pavano, and Dontrelle Willis, which is still by all accounts a good starting rotation.

Perhaps this is a move by the Marlins to clear Redman's salary in an attempt to go after Guerrero? Gammons (and ESPN insider) keep insisting that Florida is his preferred place to go, if the money is right. Say they sign another contract with an opt-out clause if a new stadium doesn't get built. How scary would the Marlins be to me (a Braves fan) next year?

A lineup of:

Pierre
Castillo
Lowell
Vlad
Cabrera
Conine
Ramon Castro
Alex Gonzalez

and a rotation of

Beckett
Burnett
Penny
Pavano
Willis

With Hee Seop Choi on the bench. Yikes.
Coach - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 01:06 PM EST (#82636) #
It's beyond belief that the Star's standards could be this low.

What else is new? Despite their repeated denials, it's a vendetta. I strongly resent the implication that I've been "snowed" by the recent Jays moves that improved the team's rotation and the bullpen without hurting one of the sport's most fearsome lineups. The column is another new disguise for an undeserved cheap shot, but Richard Griffin probably didn't write the headline. Whoever did is invited to e-mail me; I always enjoy chatting with someone whose baseball knowledge is so vastly superior to my own gullible ignorance.

Any chance you can get a last-minute press-pass, Coach?

I don't think that would be a problem, Steve, as the Jays' media department has been very kind to us in the past. As much as I would enjoy attending on behalf of Bauxites, I simply can't do it today, as my life is getting in the way of my hobby again, so we'll have to rely on the "real" reporters this time.

Sorry, Gitz, but I can't stop chuckling at the idea of you confusing yourself with Mick.
_Matthew E - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 01:10 PM EST (#82637) #
There seems to be a type of reasoning that Griffin, as well as some of your more pessimistic Jays fans, go through at times. It works like this:

- the Jays claim they will have a good bullpen this year
- but they claimed they'd have a good bullpen last year, and they didn't
- therefore this year's bullpen won't be good either
- therefore the Jays don't know how to put together a bullpen, and they'll probably never have a good bullpen

Or maybe:

- the Jays say they have a lot of good prospects
- but Sil Campusano and Marty Janzen were supposed to be good prospects too, and they weren't
- therefore there is no such thing as a good prospect, and the Jays a) are lying to us, and b) should go sign some superstars

It gets tiring after a while.
_Jim Acker - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 01:24 PM EST (#82638) #
Can a group of good baseball writers (ie. Neyer, Verducci, Shaughnessy, Gammons, etc.) gang up and throw this Griffin character out of their ranks ?

(On other note can, can a group of baseball broadcasters do the same for Rob Faulds?)
_perlhack - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 01:49 PM EST (#82639) #
Speaking of Neyer, in his latest column he has an interesting, uh, conspiracy theory about Pete Rose, focussing on Rose's new book. (It's at the end of the article)

I hope that's all it is.
Gitz - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 01:52 PM EST (#82640) #
Don't chuckle, Coach. Why wouldn't I want to confuse myself with someone as intelligent, articulate and, frankly, dashing as Mick is? I mean, who wouldn't??
_Mick - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 01:52 PM EST (#82641) #
P.S. Hi JG. Yes, that was me.
:-)
_Jonny German - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 02:21 PM EST (#82642) #
Lee Sinins says the Yankees are reportedly talking to Vazquez about a contract extension for about 4 years, $40 million.

This could be very important in terms of what Halladay will cost. While Roy has been the better pitcher over the last few years, Vazquez has more bargaining power, being one year from free agency instead of two.
_Shane - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 04:21 PM EST (#82643) #
It's official, Gassner is the PTBNL, there's a little AP blurb over to Spencer Fordin's house.
_Spicol - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 04:22 PM EST (#82644) #
If people were waiting on the Gassner announcement to become official, it is now.
Gitz - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 05:04 PM EST (#82645) #
Apparently the Angels have inked Jose Guillen to a two-year deal. Assuming he sinks back to pumpkin status, this won't quite "officially" tilt the balance of power in the AL West. If, however, he retreats to semi-pumpkin status -- say, to cumquat (sp?) status -- then it's a nice pick-up. I dunno. Six mediocre years (sub-800 OPS) with one good one tells me Guillen's 2003 was a fluke.
_Jordan - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 05:15 PM EST (#82646) #
Since this is probably my last chance to do so, I'll say an official farewell to Dave Gassner. Long-time readers will know that I've been a supporter of Dave since I first started doing minor-league reports for the Box, and that he was the first prospect I picked out of a crowd and predicted success for. I'm sorry to see him leave the Jays, of course, but I'm very happy he's going to a good organization in Minnesota that clearly targeted him as a solid acquisition. As Josh Boyd intimated, Dave will have to continue to walk a very fine line to be successful in the majors, because his stuff is not overpowering. While that's true, it's also true that Dave has shown excellent command, the ability to keep the ball in the park, and a knack for retiring batters. I don't think Double-A is his ceiling, and I'll be rooting for him and for Rich Thompson to have successful major-league debuts over the next year or so.
_Mick - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 05:16 PM EST (#82647) #
Hey Jordan, can you give some projected "most similars" to Gassner? Just curious.
_Mick - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 05:29 PM EST (#82648) #
I don't read Griffin every day, but I continue to be mystified by the vitriole spewed at him by Boxers. I think he's generally negative -- hey, so am I -- but for instance, today his comments on the Jays are:

The Jays have done a good job of keeping payroll down, but Batista and Ted Lilly are not legitimate 2-3 starters. If they add a shortstop like Rich Aurilia, the infield will be better. Last winter's bullpen, with Escobar as closer and Politte setting up, looked better on paper than the grab-bag of set-up men in the current bullpen-by-committee. But you wouldn't know it talking to the club now. It will be tough to match 86 wins in a free-spending division.

Let's see ...
The Jays have done a good job of keeping payroll down
This is a compliment.

Batista and Ted Lilly are not legitimate 2-3 starters
This is true. Maybe they CAN be, but compared to the front three of most of the AL contenders (Mussina/Vazquez/Brown; Martinez/Schilling/Lowe; Hudson/Mulder/Zito; Colon/Washburn/Ortiz; Moyer/Pineiro/Soriano -- sorry I don't know who will contend in the Central at this point) ... look at the names. Take the ace (Halladay, Mussina, etc.) out of the equation. Is there ANY duo in the above who you wouldn't swap Batista and Lilly for?

If they add a shortstop like Rich Aurilia, the infield will be better.
This is true.

Last winter's bullpen, with Escobar as closer and Politte setting up, looked better on paper than the grab-bag of set-up men in the current bullpen-by-committee.
This has already been discussed. But I think the "on paper" comment is the key and ... well, that's true. A year ago, Boxers themownselves couldn't wait to get Politte in here to solidify a bullpen that right now has people guessing about what roles will be filled by which pitchers.

But you wouldn't know it talking to the club now.
Of course not. Every club is a pennant contender in mid-December. Every club is "better." That's the point of the entire column. In fact, that's his lead!

It will be tough to match 86 wins in a free-spending division.
As discussed on Da Box previously, this is very likely true. With two powerhouses and two stacked wannabes, the AL East is going to spend a lot of time beating the hell out of itself.

I really just don't get it. I think sometimes that Griffin has propagated so many perceived wrongs to Toronto fans that they simply LOOK for reasons to be snarky.
_Scott Lucas - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 05:54 PM EST (#82649) #
Nice Fisking, Mick.

I re-read that column plus a few older ones, and I have a few opinions as a non-Jay fanatic:

I think some of the antipathy toward Griffin is due to the generally grumpy and dour tone of his writing. It's not that he's a bad writer, it's that reading him is, intrinsically, an unpleasant experience.

He also makes statements that could be perceived as insulting to Jays management or the readers of his columns. The headline "J.P. snows fans..." implies that not only have Ricciardi's moves not improved the team, he's outright duplicitous in his statements about them. Likewise, from a prior column: "The Jays are, once again, being fiscally responsible, to the delight of brainwashed fans."

In sum, it's not so much what he says but how he says it.
_Matthew E - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 06:07 PM EST (#82650) #
I cancelled my subscription to the Star today. Then I sent them this e-mail:

I stopped my subscription to the Star today. It's because of the baseball coverage; I like the paper otherwise. This isn't intended to be a grand gesture of any kind; that never works. It's because of this:

The Star's coverage of the Blue Jays is not only negative, not only deceptively and constantly negative, but often insulting to Jays fans. For the most recent (but not the only) example of this, see Wednesday's column by Richard Griffin.

Mr. Griffin argues that the Jays, who have added three decent starting pitchers and two decent relief pitchers, haven't done anything to improve their team, while Jose Cruz and Tino Martinez are enough to put the Devil Rays in the 'improved' category. That's fine; I don't demand that everything I read make sense. However, the article's headline read: "J.P. snows fans with flurry of deals."

I've been following the Jays closely this off-season. I've read a lot of analysis of J.P. Ricciardi's moves, and I've done some thinking about them myself. My informed conclusion is that the Jays significantly improved themselves. I don't mind disagreeing with the Star on this subject, but I do mind the Star telling me, based on Mr. Griffin's amusing attempt at logic, that I've been 'snowed' if I think the Jays are a better team after Ricciardi's signings.

I stopped my subscription because I didn't want to pay to be insulted anymore.

Thanks,

Matthew E
Mike Green - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 06:08 PM EST (#82651) #
Mick, I'm not a big fan of Ted Lilly, and I've had my criticisms of some of JP's moves, but the statement that Batista and Lilly are not "legitimate" 2-3 starters is a bit over the top.

I am personally of the view that Batista and Hentgen are the 2nd and 3rd best starters on the team right now, and that while they are obviously not the equal of Vazquez/Brown or Schilling/Lowe, that does not mean that they are not "legitimate". If you look around the majors, I'd say that they are above average for the 2/3 starters on a team.

If Richard Griffin means to say the Jay pitching staff is not competitive with the Yankee or Red Sox staff, I'll buy that. But, unless Rogers was prepared to spend $80-$100 million, that is not a reasonable expectation for JP. Bearing in mind attendance figures and TV ratings for Jay games the last few years, one can hardly blame Rogers for not wanting to spend this amount.

Actually, a more pointed criticism of JP would require an analysis of how some of his off-season signings will affect his ability to re-sign Roy Halladay and Carlos Delgado, and what the long-term impact will be if he cannot.
_Jonny German - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 06:10 PM EST (#82652) #
I don't dislike Griffin as much as most, but your assessment is skewed in his favour as much as we're skewed against him.

The Jays have done a good job of keeping payroll down
- This is a compliment.


Followed directly by a BUT, implying that it's not something to be applauded.

Batista and Ted Lilly are not legitimate 2-3 starters - This is true.

It's not true at all. Why does it make sense to compare to contenders? Compared to league average, they are easily 'legitimate' #2 and #3 starters. He said he was looking for who had improved on paper. Batista-Lilly-Hentgen is a huge improvement over what Escobar-Lidle-Hendrickson contributed in 2003.

If they add a shortstop like Rich Aurilia, the infield will be better.- This is true.

I don't think anybody had a problem with this line, and I don't see how it's a positive. Here's a prediction for you, and I want you to call me on it when the Jays do acquire a shortstop: I say that if they add Aurilia, Griffin will talk about how much Aurilia has regressed since 2001. If they add somebody else, he'll say they should have signed Aurilia - conveniently forgetting that last week he said any of the wet noodle quartet of Gomez, Hocking, Ordonez, or Sanchez would be nice pickups.

Last winter's bullpen, with Escobar as closer and Politte setting up, looked better on paper than the grab-bag of set-up men in the current bullpen-by-committee.

As I discussed in a previous post, Griffin is right - But only because he's arbitrarily choosing to look at the closer and RH setup man. The pen overall is improved, which is what he's supposedly looking for.

But you wouldn't know it talking to the club now. - Of course not. Every club is a pennant contender in mid-December. Every club is "better."

You're exactly right. So why does Griffin mention it? It's not relevant, it's just an opportunity to imply that the Jays aren't being truthful.

It will be tough to match 86 wins in a free-spending division.

This may or may not be true. I expect them to win more than 86, and even if they don't, it doesn't mean they're not a better baseball team than they were in 2003. Griffin is a very simple fellow. He doesn't understand that measuring improvement is not as simple as measuring change in wins. Every team could feasibly improve, by bringing in players from the minors and Japan and so on, but half the teams will lose more than they did the previous year. It's a zero sum game.

I think sometimes that Griffin has propagated so many perceived wrongs to Toronto fans that they simply LOOK for reasons to be snarky.

He's established himself as a statistical nitwit who will always look at the glass as half empty, and will omit whatever hard facts contradict his argument (i.e. looking at only 2 members of a 7 man bullpen). He'll even invent bizarre numbers in order to have something negative to say - Remember a couple of weeks ago when he was counting pitching wins on the roster?

I'm not looking for reasons to be snarky, but I don't give him the benefit of the doubt. He's established he doesn't deserve it.
_Jordan - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 06:31 PM EST (#82653) #
can you give some projected "most similars" to Gassner?

Well, here's one guy who looks similar:

Pitcher A, Eastern League, 23
9-2, 3.63, 27 G, 19 GS, 119 IP, 125 H, 25 BB, 80 K

Dave Gassner, Eastern League, 24
10-4, 2.79, 35 G, 19 GS, 145 IP, 139 H, 28 BB, 92 K,

Put differently:

H/IP--BB/IP--K/IP

A: 1.05/0.21/0.67
G: 0.95/0.19/0.63

That's close enough as makes no difference. Pitcher A is Jason Kershner, and all things considered that would be a pretty nice result for Dave.
_Ryan - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 06:50 PM EST (#82654) #
As discussed on Da Box previously, this is very likely true. With two powerhouses and two stacked wannabes, the AL East is going to spend a lot of time beating the hell out of itself.

There were more problems with that column than the blurb on Toronto. I took issue with him saying the Orioles, Devil Rays and Tigers improved themselves more this offseason than the Blue Jays. Two of those supposedly improved teams are division rivals and would also be affected by the strength of the other teams in the East. Looking at the moves those two teams have made so far, how can anyone seriously suggest that they have improved relative to their rivals while the Blue Jays haven't?

The suggestion that Detroit has had a better offseason than the Blue Jays is equally indefensible. Even when you factor in the difference in the divisions and the loss of Escobar, there's no way that Fernando Vina, Rondell White and Al Levine outweigh the potential impact of Miguel Batista, Ted Lilly, Pat Hentgen, Kerry Ligtenberg and Justin Speier.

This is just more of Griffin's trademark silliness and negativity. He downplayed Toronto's acquisitions while making those of other teams appear far more significant than they actually were. In Baltimore's case he gave them credit for moves that may not even occur. To call Griffin's analysis dishonest is being kind.
_Mick - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 06:55 PM EST (#82655) #
It may be just me, but the "J.P. snows ..." headline (and remember, everyone, as most of you have noted, columnists don't write their own headlines) struck me as a baseball fan writing a headline and trying to be clever.

"J.P. snows" for me, immediately made me think "Ah! A pun on J.T. Snow! Someone is being arcane but clever."

I dont' read Griffin enough to really believe I'm defending him, and couldn't say I'm "skewed in his favor." I am just amazed that literally every comment about Griffin on this site is negative. Even if he writes something everybody likes, the inevitable post says "Hard to believe, but Griffin wrote something not half-awful today ..."

I just think TO baseball fans of the sort who read this blog are preconditioned to hate Griffin so much that you open the paper thinking "What'm I gonna hate today?" (There are writers like that for me, certainly.) And so it's easier to find disagreeable things when you look for, when you expect them.

If I appear to be defending Griffin, it may be because I am the only on this site who doesn't actively torch him. Politics are relative.
_Young - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 08:19 PM EST (#82656) #
Mick, can we equate the Griffin hating here to the Gammons grammar/spelling bashing that goes on over at Primer? Of course, Primer itself has fallen apart...
_Shane - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 08:21 PM EST (#82657) #
The guy's a ****ing hack. Period. He's been given plenty of respect here in the last few months. Kent and others went out of their way to be professional with him and that didn't change the fact the guy is putrid to read, and highjacks the sports page to expose his poison pen letters. Frankly, I think he's pathetic.
_Ryan - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 08:37 PM EST (#82658) #
And so it's easier to find disagreeable things when you look for, when you expect them.

All I'm looking for is coverage of my team that is informed and unbiased. Griffin is usually neither of those things when he writes about the Blue Jays.

I can only speak for myself, but I don't go out of my way to find fault with Griffin's column. I stand by everything I've said about his work. More often than not I will attack the entire premise of one of his columns, rather than a single point within the column. In today's piece, for example, his entire analysis was flawed. If I were looking for things to disagree about, you'd see me frequently attacking a single sentence in a column, which is something I don't normally do.

As for explaining the amount of criticism Griffin receives here, it could be that people do try to find fault with everything he says. However a far more likely explanation is that Griffin is simply an awful baseball writer. I can cite numerous examples to prove that the latter is true, while I don't see much evidence of the former being the case at all.
_Young - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 10:40 PM EST (#82659) #
So supposedly the player union blocked the Arod to Boston deal.

How does deferred salaries change the Union's power? I don't understand, if he was signing a lesser contract, I can understand, but he is still being paid the same amount, is he not?
_Matthew E - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 10:41 PM EST (#82660) #
I have enjoyed some of Griffin's columns. I love it when he writes about the Expos. He'd make a great baseball columnist in Montreal. I also enjoyed the one he pointed to in the interview he did on this site, the Jackie Robinson one. Really, anytime he interviews someone and writes about that, he produces something pretty good. It's the analysis and commentary that brings out the worst in him.
_Matthew E - Wednesday, December 17 2003 @ 11:00 PM EST (#82661) #
...that bring out the worst in him.

Ahem.
_perlhack - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 12:12 AM EST (#82662) #
How does deferred salaries change the Union's power? I don't understand, if he was signing a lesser contract, I can understand, but he is still being paid the same amount, is he not?

I don't know; we haven't been given the details. But deferred salaries don't change a Union's power. The MLBPA is involved in any transaction that requires the re-negotiation of a contract, to ensure that there is no manipulation. (Owner's can cite that as a precedent for lowering salaries.)

Note: When determining the value of a contract, it isn't the sum of yearly salaries that's important, but rather the sum of the present values of those yearly salaries. $!M today is worth more than $1M next year, which is worth more than $1M five years from now.

The present value is calculated by discounting the salary by the expected interest rate (how that's determined is another discussion entirely), using any of various formulae. Here's an easy one to calculate the present value of a salary earned next year:

PV = Salary/(1+i)

If the interest rate is 3%, then i=0.03, so:

PV=$1M/1.03 = 970,873.79

That's clearly not the same as $1M. This calculated value also depends on the type of interest compounding etc, but I won't get into that.
_perlhack - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 12:14 AM EST (#82663) #
Sigh, replace the $!M with $1M in my previous message. Stupid shift key.
_Jurgen - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 12:57 AM EST (#82664) #
Please please please let me get what I want...

I don't see how it could happen. Don't the M's already have a decent 2B?
Gitz - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 01:28 AM EST (#82665) #
Ted Lilly will be 28-years-old at the start of the 2004 season, and he now is 22-24 in his career -- which has spanned five (six?) teams now -- with an ERA+ of 94. Putting the capricious nature of wins/losses and whatever potential Lilly has aside for the moment, is it fair to say that someone of Lilly's career path is even a worthy fifth starter? Putting aside my personal dislike of Lilly, I think it's a fair assessment. I am truly baffled at how much praise Lilly receives, because, to this point, he hasn't shown much in the majors. At what point does "potential" become "unrealized"? I'll certainly give the Jays a shot to capture Lilly's talent, but I wouldn't expect much.

I do very much like Miguel Batista, however, and I think Griffin doesn't realize how good he's been the last three years. Whatever the case, people in Toronto will come to understand that they have a winner in Batista. I fear, on the other hand, that they will think the reverse with Lilly.
_Spicol - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 08:14 AM EST (#82666) #
is it fair to say that someone of Lilly's career path is even a worthy fifth starter?
(snip)
I am truly baffled at how much praise Lilly receives, because, to this point, he hasn't shown much in the majors.


You're absolutely right that Lilly is receiving a lot of praise and the quality and magnitude of it is perhaps more than he should be getting given his performances so far. But to suggest that his career numbers don't even merit a starting spot is being a little tough on the guy. It's not your overall numbers that get you a starting spot, it's what you're likely to do in the future. Lilly's most recent two seasons weren't bad at all (ERA+ of 120 in 2002 and 98 in 2003) and I see no reason why he would decline at this point. He might not ever tap into the potential he's been labelled as having but surely he's worthy of a starting spot...he's one of the best candidates on the Jays.
Craig B - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 08:49 AM EST (#82667) #
an ERA+ of 94... is it fair to say that someone of Lilly's career path is even a worthy fifth starter?

Someone with a career ERA+ of 94 in 430 innings is an excellent fifth starter. The same pitcher coming off successive years of 120 and 98 is even better. Lilly's a good #4.

The #4 starters (at the beginning of the year) of last year's 8 playoff teams and their ERA+ in the two prior seasons:

Florida - Carl Pavano (73/79)
New York - Boomer Wells (103/117)
Boston - John Burkett (145/98)
Chicago - Carlos Zambrano (28/110)
Minnesota - Kyle Lohse (80/104)
Oakland - um, Ted Lilly (83/120)
Atlanta - Shane Reynolds (105/88)
San Francisco - I have no idea. Was it Ainsworth? Anyway, whoever it was had no significant major league experience but was a prospect highly thought of.

So Lilly fits the "#4 starter" profile just about exactly.
_Jason Robar - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 09:06 AM EST (#82668) #
http://www.thestar.ca/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1071702610985&call_pageid=970599109774&col=Columnist1059689060047
COMN for a column about the Jays' new #2 starter. The most surprising part?

The Jays, who see Batista as a cost-effective solution for their No. 2 starter position — and who are enamoured with his willingness to help out in relief between starts — didn't sign Batista as the bullpen bard.

They really wouldn't try this, would they?
_Ryan - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 09:21 AM EST (#82669) #
From the same article Jason points to:

Last season, upset by what he considered "negativity" in media coverage of his Diamondbacks, Batista placed unusual conditions on interview topics. Baseball was off limits, he said, but he'd be happy to answer questions about his poetry and his pet parrot.

You're gonna love Toronto, Miguel.
_Ryan Day - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 10:17 AM EST (#82670) #
That Batista piece in the Star is actually quite good. It should be a lesson to Baker & Griffin that you can, in fact, write an article about the Blue Jays without obligatory references to "shoestring budgets" and "third-place finishes."

I would love to see Griffin interviewing Batista about his parrot, though.
Pepper Moffatt - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 10:33 AM EST (#82671) #
http://economics.about.com
I would love to see Griffin interviewing Batista about his parrot, though.

I'd love to see Griffin interview the parrot. I want to know which one can say more phrases.

The Jays Can't Compete... Griffy Wants a Cracker

Mike
_Jordan - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 10:57 AM EST (#82672) #
The Batista profile now has its own thread.
_JOhn Ducey - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 11:36 AM EST (#82673) #
Baseball America has this on Dave Gassner:

Dec. 17 update: The Twins received lefthander Dave Gassner to complete the trade. Gassner, 25, was a 24th-round pick out of Purdue in 2001. He's a finesse lefty who has an unremarkable 85-89 mph fastball, but he does own a good changeup, pitchability and command. He also throws a slider that acts more like a cutter, plus a curveball. Because he has less-than-overwhelming stuff, he'll have to prove himself at each level, and he has accomplished that mission thus far. Gassner has a 27-17, 3.07 record in 2˝ pro seasons and won his lone start in Triple-A in 2003. He spent most of the year at Double-A New Haven, going 10-4, 2.79 in 35 games (19 starts). In 145 innings, he had a 92-28 strikeout-walk ratio, while opponents hit .253 with 10 homers against him.
Gitz - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 12:39 PM EST (#82674) #
Craig, I agree that Lilly is a #4 starter, in theory. One could make the argument, however, that based on his age, his stats, and his bouncing from team-to-team in recent years, he's not much more than a #5 guy. I apologize for playing devil's advocate. That's it, though.
_Shane - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 12:42 PM EST (#82675) #
That's pretty funny Moffatt.
_Scott Lucas - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 12:59 PM EST (#82676) #
This calculated value also depends on the type of interest compounding etc, but I won't get into that.

I will. The Union uses a discount rate of 9% for purposes of deferred salary. So for their purposes, $1 million deferred for a year is worth only $917,000 in present-day dollars. $1 million deferred for five years is worth about $650,000.

9% is ridiculously high if you consider it a measure of the risk that a baseball team would be unable to pay its deferred salary.
_Blue in SK - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 01:12 PM EST (#82677) #
Pretty hard to find a rate of return of 9% unless your playing the equity markets. More typically long term debt can be obtained by medium sized corporations at 3.5% to 4% (for short term instruments, which you just continually re-up).
_Blue in SK - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 02:27 PM EST (#82678) #
http://www.slam.ca/Slam031218/mlb_tor-sun.html
Not sure if this has been mentioned yet or not, but all signs seem to indicate that Aurillia will not be a fighting Jay this year.

COMN for the article from Slam.

Apparently Rich doesn't want to switch leagues, play on turf or attend Spring Training in Florida.

Bring on Chris Gomez.
_perlhack - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 04:55 PM EST (#82679) #
The Mariners agreed to a four-year contract with Ichiro. No financial details yet.
Coach - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 06:41 PM EST (#82680) #
No deal, says Bud. Of course, that's one way to prolong the soap opera. Whether this trade gets revived or not, Garciaparra's an unhappy camper. That's still the best-case scenario for a Jays fan; if Pedro and Nomar are both reluctant Red Sox, youneverknow.
_Ryan Day - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 07:02 PM EST (#82681) #
Actually, I think the best-case scenario for the Jays is that Pedro says "Ow, my shoulder hurts." (and that Curt Schilling, Kevin Brown & Javier Vazquez all express similar sentiments)
_bin - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 07:13 PM EST (#82682) #
Haven't seen this mentioned yet:

Yanks trade Hammond to A's for 4 bit players.

(Guess they need to restock abit)
Thomas - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 07:22 PM EST (#82683) #
Actually, I heard it was mid-level prospects J.T. Stotts and a reliever named Eduardo Sierra, I believe. The Yankees sent cash and Hammond to the A's. Another good deal for Billy Beane, provided that they get a good chunk of cash as he continues to restock his bullpen cheaply and they don't lose any noticable prospects. Hammond is tougher on righties than lefties, and isn't your prototypical lefty specialist. With Rincon, Bradford and Hammond, that is pretty solid back 3, although they are missing a closer. I know the A's don't really buy the closer theory, there is no reason to suspect they won't go with one next year. If they could sign Arthur Rhodes to close, and then slot Jeremey Fikac and Frank Brooks in the last 2 holes, that would be a reasonably solid pen. I don't know if Mecir is still under contract, but they could go with 7 back there anyway.
Gitz - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 07:46 PM EST (#82684) #
I beg to differ re: the A's not believing in the value of a closer. They may not believe in paying $8 million per for one, but they have always had one go-to guy down there: Foulke, Koch, Isringhausen, B. Taylor, Eckersley, to name the last 14 years' worth of closers. I doubt very much Beane will go with a committee, and if he does, he's going to get somebody better than the pitchers above. Jeremy Fikac is a four-A pitcher: he dominates the minors, getting strikeouts along the way, but when he faces quality hitters in the majors, he can't get them out. He's one of those "gimmicky" pitchers, in that he throws from about 2/3, trying to use a riding fastball and slider. Works on AAAA hitters, not on most big leaguers. And I am a big Arthur Rhodes fan, but something was missing last year. If he was just a bit nicked, go get him. If it's more serious than that, well, I'd rather see Beane get Williamson or Kim.
Gitz - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 07:49 PM EST (#82685) #
And I don't wish injury on anybody, really. Unless, of course, those anybodies are Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, and anyone else with "Boston" stitched across their uniforms. For Nomar's sake, I hope he gets traded. I don't see how they can keep him on the team now.
_Jordan - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 08:26 PM EST (#82686) #
I'm saving this for when I start a thread on the A-Rod talks, and even more so for my spring training article, but I really think the Red Sox overreached with the A-Rod deal. Whether the trade happens or not -- and remarkably, it looks like not right now -- they've sown some seriously bad seed in that clubhouse.

What I wouldn't give for a way to get Nomar into a Jays uniform....
Mike Green - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 10:26 PM EST (#82687) #
I know this might be heretical, but Nomar is in my view not worth his salary. He was at his peak a superstar. Now, he is much less than that. He still chews up lefties, but against righties he has gone .296/.339/.518 over the last 3 years. In Fenway, that's not great (on the road over the last 3 years, he's .266/.314/.459). And late in the game against a tough right-hander, he often looks overmatched, as for instance against an Aquilino Lopez slider. He still plays good but unspectacular defence.

He's a fine, fine player, but quite a ways behind Tejada (.304/.361/.499 on the road over the last 3 years) in my opinion. At $8-$10 million, he's worth it. But, those are not the figures that are being bandied about.
_R Billie - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 10:27 PM EST (#82688) #
The Athletics got their man signing Arthur Rhodes to a three year $9.2 million deal pending a physical. I think he'll do great as a closer though I doubt the Jays would have been willing to go as many years as the A's did on a contract, particularly coming off the year he had.
Thomas - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 10:38 PM EST (#82689) #
Well, with regards to the A's not buying the closer theory, I think that Beane probably beleives that the optimal use of your relievers would be as Bill James suggested, using the best one sometimes in tie games or 1-run games in the 8th, as opposed to keeping him for save situations. I bet if you came down to it, Beane buys that, although I really have litlte basis for saying so.

However, I know the A's history of picking up closers and then dumping them (or turning relievers into closers like Taylor), and it's turned a year of Koch into a year of Foulke into 2 draft picks. Additionally, I do believe that pitchers are more "comfortable" if they know their roles, and can anticipate when they will pitch. I don't doubt Beane will continue to use closers for the time being, but I think if he was purely playing a computer sim game with no draft picks or human emotions, he'd use his "A" pitcher in the James sense, and not the traditional sense.
_Lefty - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 10:46 PM EST (#82690) #
Nomar's never going to be in a Jay uni given our "fiscal responsibility."

I'd give Williamson the money Arthur Lee is looking for even if I was on drugs. Rhodes has to be considered long term toast now. Cripes the guy is looking for a 3 yr. deal. What is Williamson, 27 and by the looks of it finally healthy and back to his dominating old self.

In my opinion this guy is the best closer prospect on the market. If Oakland can pull a trade there watch out. They'll win more 3-1 games than any other team in the AL. If Williamson's health is maintained he will be a $6 million dollar closer.

I would trade O-Dog for him and pick up a non tendered 2nd base replacement. A natural fit other than the divisional rivalry, so it likely won't happen. Therefore i am hoping my favorite westcoast team the A's land him.
_Lefty - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 10:53 PM EST (#82691) #
Well what can I say after my last post other than Mr. Beane needs to check himself into ole Betty Ford's.
Youch! I guess Billy is competing with Bavasi in team self destuct.

I won't be going higher than $10 on Arthur Lee in my AL 5by5 roto league.
_Jonny German - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 11:10 PM EST (#82692) #
Nomar as a Fighting Jay... I like that little dream too. Enduring image from the 2003 playoffs: Johnny Damon and Damian Jackson collide head-to-head, Nomar has the presence of mind to pick up the ball and throw it back to the infield.

Regarding bullpen usage, I like the happy medium. For the 2004 Blue Jays, that means Speier is the closer and Aquilino is the go-to guy in any tense situation that arises before or during the ninth. If the Eagle needs work, he subs for Ligtenberg as the RH setup.
_Jurgen - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 11:15 PM EST (#82693) #
This whole A-Rod business has pissed me off to no end.

I honestly and truly hope it's over for good.

Nobody here is the least bit sympathetic.

Come on, A-Rod knew the Rangers sucked when he signed with them. Yes, they had just come off their first decent season, but nobody really thought they were on the verge of bigger things. If A-Rod believed otherwise, it's because he was blinded by the money. Now he's not happy? He should have thought about that back in 2000.

The Rangers claim they can't compete because of the money they're paying A-Rod, but nobody seems too concerned with the $15M a year going to Chan Ho Park. A-Rod is the best all-around player in baseball. He's given Texas $25M worth of production every season he's worn a Rangers uniform. Rather than spending the past months on this stupid trade, if maybe they had focused on getting some pitching (John, did you even try to sign Miguel Batista?), they could compete with the big boys in the West.

The Red Sox have masses of revenue, and yet they insisted they couldn't afford A-Rod without restructuring his contract. Hogwash. They're being greedy. And, honestly, A-Rod doesn't make the Red Sox that much better. Manny Ramirez is the best right-handed hitter in baseball, and their current shortstop out slugs most leftfielders. But let's say the Red Sox get Magglio Ordonez from the White Sox in return for Nomar. A-Rod makes $25M, and Magglio makes $14M next year. To keep Magglio, it'll cost AT LEAST $15M a year (we'll see what Guerrero gets), which means their total salary in 2005 between the two of them would be at least $40M. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will already be paying Ramirez $20M and even if it costs them $17-18M to keep Nomar in 2005... they're still saving money. I would have admired the chutzpah had John Henry opened his checkbook and decided to get A-Rod and keep Ramirez... but the way the Red Sox are nickel and diming just seems petty.
Mike D - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 11:19 PM EST (#82694) #
Does anyone disagree with me when I say that Gene Orza did absolutely the right thing?
Leigh - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 11:26 PM EST (#82695) #
In the last hijack central thread, Mick and Jonny German discussed whether or not it was possible to hijack a thread dedicated to hijacks.

At the risk of raising this type of existential question, me extant post has nothing to do with hotstove, offseason, trades, rule 5, etc.

Here goes: I just got done watching Kerry Wood's twenty strikeout game vs. the Astros in May of 1998 on ESPN Classic Canada. Simply amazing.

Here is this kid, twenty years old, fifth major league start. He strikes out twenty, with no walks and only one hit (and that could have been an error by thirdbaseman Kevin Orie). It was magical. It was raining. It was the WGN broadcasters, which means that Ron Santo was in the booth.

So Wood finishes off Derek Bell for strikeout number twenty. The crowd is chanting: "Kerry. Kerry. Kerry...". He takes the WGN microphone and attempts to give an interview. He is shaking; he has no idea what to say.

One hit, zero walks, twenty strikeouts, no runs. Probably the greatest pitching performance in the history of the National League.

Maybe it's the rum and eggnog that I have been drinking tonight, but when the obviously humble twenty year old could barely construct a sentence after that performance, there just might have been a tear in my eye. Amazing.
_Mick - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 11:35 PM EST (#82696) #
Hammond wasn't going to contribute in New York anyway.

Wouldn't the Oaktown Beaners consider using
(A) A closer by committee
(B) Chad Bradford?

Despite the public flogging Boston took on (A) this past season, either approach seems reasonably within the New BillyBall theme.
_Mick - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 11:42 PM EST (#82697) #
On the A-Rod stuff, if for some reason Who'sYerBud has indeed forbidden the Red Sox and Rangers to make the deal long-discussed, there's an easy way for it to happen anyway.

Red Sox trade Manny Ramirez to White Sox for Magglio Ordonez.
Rangers trade Alex Rodriguez to White Sox for Ramirez and Jon Rauch.
White Sox trade Rodriguez to Red Sox for Nomar Garciaparra.

Everyone still ends up with the same players and the Rangers and Red Sox never actually make a trade with each other.
Gitz - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 11:46 PM EST (#82698) #
Jurgen, I too am fed up with the A-Rod/Nomar/Manny fiasco. A-Rod is a fabulous player who gets too much grief for the contract -- as if any of us would have turned it down -- but that is not a free pass. I won't get bogged down in the "Alex Rodriguez is not a winner but Derek Jeter is" argument, but if A-Rod never plays for a winning team the rest of his career, well, TS for him.
Gitz - Thursday, December 18 2003 @ 11:54 PM EST (#82699) #
Mick, there may be some reluctance to make Bradford the closer, because of the prejudice against submariners. (I don't have the splits in front of me, but I seem to recall that there was no platoon platoon difference, or at least not a very large one.) I do think that Beane believes in the optimal reliever strategy, even if Art Howe seldom used Billy Koch in non-save situations, just as Ken Macha didn't last year with Keith Foulke.

I like the Rhodes signing; I hope he's healthy. I'll miss Foulke, though. He was fun to watch. And, of course, I'll miss Miggy, my favorite player. Sniff.
_Jurgen - Friday, December 19 2003 @ 12:42 AM EST (#82700) #
Ah, it's past midnight here in the East... only Gitz and I left.

Bradford's splits are dramatic. I had also assumed they weren't during the ALDS while screaming at the TV when Macha didn't bring Bradford in to face a lefty late in a game, but I checked afterwards and was more than a little shocked by my findings:

2003
v. RH 189 AB .190/.245/.254 (.174 GPA)
v. LH 95 AB .326/.458/.579 (.351 GPA)

Yeesh. Lefties hit him like Albert Pujols and righties like Kevin Cash.

2001-2003
v. RH 493 AB .231/.266/.312 (.198 GPA)
v. LH 225 AB .298/.396/.480 (.298 GPA)

Bradford was actually pretty successful against lefties in 2002 which is probably what threw us off (.239 GPA v. LH and .203 GPA v. RH), but it was only a brief reprieve in what is otherwise a career of suckiness against lefties.
_S.K. - Friday, December 19 2003 @ 12:56 AM EST (#82701) #
Slide over to Baseball Prospectus to check out Joe Sheehan's excellent column on the A-Rod thing (it's not Premium, don't worry). I agree with Gitz that I don't feel sorry for A-Rod - I don't begrudge him his money, but he made his choice (which I, personally, think was the correct one. Would've done the same thing myself).
_Jurgen - Friday, December 19 2003 @ 01:35 AM EST (#82702) #
How the hell did the Tigers get Levine for less than $1M?

Not a bad price for 8.0 ARP.
_Scott Lucas - Friday, December 19 2003 @ 02:36 AM EST (#82703) #
The Rangers claim they can't compete because of the money they're paying A-Rod

Many people are saying this, but not the Rangers themselves. In any case, it's untrue. They spent upwards of $85 million on non-Rodriguez personnel in 2003. Poorly. As a percentage of team payroll, A-Rod's salary was substantially below Carlos Delgado's.
_Mick - Friday, December 19 2003 @ 03:09 AM EST (#82704) #
OK, I didn't know that about Bradford's splits.

But I can't imagine that Howe and Macha have a prejudice against Bradford's delivery and him closing. I mean, I used the massively cool Baseball Oracle at BaseballReference.com -- which we Boxers have wasted hours with previously -- to find out the following two lines of information:

Kent Tekulve played with Ken Macha for the 1977 Pittsburgh Pirates
Kent Tekulve played with Art Howe for the 1974 Pittsburgh Pirates

I couldn't make more than a one-degree of separation connection between Billy Beane and any of the submariners who closed that I know about (Tekulve, Quisenberry and -- I think -- Konstanty and Garber).

But I wouldn't think either of those managers would hesitate to send Bradford out there because of his motion because of their history with Tekulve.

Maybe not just you and Gitz left, Jurgen -- looks like us hearty Texas boys are on the board, too.
_gid - Friday, December 19 2003 @ 04:00 AM EST (#82705) #
Does anyone disagree with me when I say that Gene Orza did absolutely the right thing?

I tentatively disagree. A-Rod presumably wanted the deal (wasn't it his idea in the first place?), or things would not have reached the point where the MLBPA was brought in. But the deal was rejected because nominally it wasn't in A-Rod's best interest. What is wrong with this situation? Clearly, A-Rod is in a better position to determine his own interest; that includes trading a few $MM for vastly improved chances of post-season success. He's not a drooling idiot, and even if he were, Scott Boras can explain to him the ins and outs of interest rates and the discounting of future cash flows.

Does anybody know the precise set of proposed changes to A-Rod's contract? All I heard was that some salary would be deferred. Did he get any sort of new incentives for say future MVP awards, HR totals, or World Series wins? If substantial incentives were on offer, then I don't see how Orza could say that he's not getting something in return. Maybe I just didn't get the full story or something, but I find it surprising that the MLBPA stance would not have been anticipated. Maybe Theo isn't such a genius after all. Maybe they'll eventually figure this all out and the deal will get done. The Boston clubhouse issues aren't going to go away.
Lucas - Friday, December 19 2003 @ 04:35 AM EST (#82706) #
http://www.aarongleeman.com
It's 3:32 am, but I wanted to say two things before I go to sleep...

#131025 Posted 12/17/2003 09:28 AM by Steve Z:

From the New York Post:
A strong indication that the Red Sox are ready to ship Manny Ramirez to the Rangers is that they are close to acquiring left fielder Jacque Jones from the Twins, a deal that could be announced today.


I was talking to...oh, let's say someone "involved" with the Red Sox, two days ago and I suggested Jacque Jones for Williamson. They seemed very intrigued by the idea and said they would "pass it on."

Maybe the BoSox already had Jacque in mind, but youneverknow...

2003
v. RH 189 AB .190/.245/.254 (.174 GPA)
v. LH 95 AB .326/.458/.579 (.351 GPA)

Yeesh. Lefties hit him like Albert Pujols and righties like Kevin Cash.

2001-2003
v. RH 493 AB .231/.266/.312 (.198 GPA)
v. LH 225 AB .298/.396/.480 (.298 GPA)


I have nothing to add here, other than to say GPA BABY!

Also, having given a full endorsement for Arthur Rhodes as the Twins closer, I am just sick at the idea of him closing for Beane and the A's. The bastard steals all my brilliant ideas.
_A - Friday, December 19 2003 @ 05:09 AM EST (#82707) #
Just a few notes on moves from the last 24 hrs...
Mike DeFlice has a one year contract with the Tigers worth $650K

Henry Blanco (aka Greg Madux' catcher) has signed with the Twins for one year $750K.

Cubs sign Todd Hollandsworth and Kent Mercker for $1M and $1.2 respectively, both contracts are one year deals.

The Phillies sign RHP Amaury Telemaco for one year at $525K (plus incentives).

Padres pick up Sterling Hitchcock and Ismael Valdes, both for one year at $800K plus $700K in potential bonuses.

Adam Kennedy signed a 3 year, $8.85M extension with the Angels.

Pokey Reese is close signing with Boston as their starting second baseman. (Maybe these O-Dawg rumours will finally stop?)

Wilson Alverez signed a one year, $1.5M deal with the Dodgers.

Ichiro's deal is worth $44M for four years, including a $6M signing bonus.
_Scott - Friday, December 19 2003 @ 06:00 AM EST (#82708) #
Rios is still lighting it up in PR. He went 3 for 5 yesterday with 4 RBIs and 2 home runs. He now has 32 rbis in 30 games and 12 home runs (7 in the last 6 games, if you include the all-star game). You can say what you want about the competition or small ballparks but it only took him 119 at-bats in Puerto Rico to do what it took him 514 at-bats in New Haven to do and that is hit 11 home runs. Me thinks he has learned his power stroke.
Joe - Friday, December 19 2003 @ 07:27 AM EST (#82709) #
http://me.woot.net
Scott,

I'm not sure how Rios lighting up PR proves that he's found his power stroke. The very fact that he's destroying the opposing pitchers at about 5x the normal rate sort of proves the opposite point you intended, I think. That is, Rios is able to hit all these HR because of the smaller ballparks and weaker opposition.

Now, off to bed. (Yes, bed! at 7:30 am EDT!)
_Jurgen - Friday, December 19 2003 @ 08:59 AM EST (#82710) #
Aaron:

I like GPA a hell of a lot. Good work, young man.
_Jordan - Friday, December 19 2003 @ 09:47 AM EST (#82711) #
Well, see, all you night owls made an A-Rod thread unnecessary. Well, because I'm stubborn, and because there's precious little else going on today, I'll start a separate thread anyway, as well as a new Hijack Central, in the next half hour.
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