She said - "Listen John I love you,
but there's this bloke I fancy
I dont want to two time you,
so it's the end for you and me"
Standings as of June 22nd, 2005 TEAM W L PCT GB 2WK St. Louis 45 26 .634 -- (7-6) Chicago 36 33 .522 8 (6-6) Pittsburgh 32 38 .457 12.5 (5-8) Milwaukee 31 39 .443 13.5 (3-9) Houston 31 39 .443 13.5 (10-4) Cincinnati 29 43 .403 16.5 (7-8)Despite going 5-8 on the week the Pirates gained a spot in the standings due to the weak play of the Brewers. Houston has gone from cellar dweller to middle of the pack with a very strong 10-4 showing. Their success was largely at the expense of the Rockies and Blue Jays, who were each swept in 3 game series.
2004 record: 76-86 2004 pythag: 67-95 2005 record: 65-97 2005 pythag: 68-94The 2005 records are just the team's current records scaled to a 162 game season. This team isn't playing any differently than last year's club, except their record isn't massively exceeding their pythagorean expectation like last year's club did.
We can examine this a little deeper by considering the team's position players, starters, and bullpen.
Position Players - Value over Replacement Player (VORP) PSN04 Name yr2004 PSN05 yr2005s yr2005 C LaRue 21.1 C 18.9 8.4 1B Casey 66.2 1B 38.7 17.2 2B Jimenez 35.3 IF -1.1 -0.5 3B Freel 26.9 2B 38.5 17.1 SS Larkin 26.5 RF Kearns 6.2 RF -8.6 -3.8 CF Griffey 26.4 CF 41.4 18.4 LF Dunn 64.8 LF 59.0 26.2 OF Cruz 0.6 OF 9.0 4.0 OF Pena 23.5 OF 28.1 12.5 IF Lopez 8.0 SS 54.9 24.4 IF Castro 0.8 C Valenti 3.1 C 9.7 4.3 Aurilia IF 10.8 4.8 Randa 3B 43.0 19.1 TOTAL 309.4 342.2The 2005s column represents each player's VORP scaled over 162 games.
Much to my surprise, the offense has actually been better this year. Rich Aurilia has been an improvement over Juan Castro, who signed a 2-year deal with the Twins in the off-season. Joe Randa has been terrific at third and allowed the team to play Ryan Freel at second and boot D'Angelo Jimenez down to AA. I don't understand the need to punt Jimenez, but everything I've read in the press suggests that he has "personality issues".
Less surprising is the move to send Kearns down to AAA to give Mo Pena more playing time. Kearns smells a lot like Josh Phelps to me; any deal to acquire him is misguided in this economist's opinion, even if he does like to buy low.
Starting Pitching - Value over Replacement Player (VORP) PSN yr2004 yr2005s yr2005 SP Wilson 24.6 -25.2 -11.2 SP Harang 13.1 38.7 17.2 SP Lidle 0.4 SP Acevedo -7.1 SP Clausse -7.7 14.6 6.5 SP Ortiz -10.1 -4.5 SP Milton -52.7 -23.4 TOTAL 23.3 -34.7Paul Wilson is out for the year with a shoulder injury, which probably explains his poor performance (1-5 record, 7.77 ERA) in the months that he was still on the active roster. Harang and Claussen have improved so much that Wilson, Harang, and Claussen 2005 is almost a wash for Wilson, Harang, and Claussen 2004.
Ramon Ortiz was acquired from the Angels in a salary dump this season (he was acquired for Dustin Moseley). Given his 6.22 ERA I imagine the Reds wish they had kept the 3.5 million dollars and tried to find the next Josh Towers or Bruce Chen instead.
Speaking of bad investments: Eric Milton - 3 years, $25.5 million dollars. Like Named For Hank, they should send their money to the London Food Bank instead. But hey, it's only 3 months into a 3 year contract. There's still plenty of time for him to turn it around, despite my cattyness.
Bullpen - Value over Replacement Player (VORP) PSN yr2004 yr2005s yr2005 RP Jones 11.1 RP Graves 4.3 RP Wagner 1.7 -2.7 -1.2 RP Hancock 1.0 RP Norton 0.6 RP Rieldin -4.8 RP Van Pop -6.5 RP Mercker 16.0 7.1 RP Weather 9.9 4.4 RP Belisle 8.6 3.8 RP Coffey 5.6 2.5 RP Stone 2.3 1.0 RP Keisler -1.1 -0.5 TOTAL 7.4 38.5As much fun as slagging free-agent signings is, the Randa signing wasn't the only move by Dan O'Brien that panned out. Both Kent Mercker and David Weathers have been excellent for the Reds this year. Overall the Reds pen has been much better this year, despite the fact that most of their bullpen payroll is spent on current Met Danny Graves.