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Well, that was a win for the Blue Jays. Not a very exciting win -- not the kind of game that you sit around years from now and say, "Hey, remember that 7-4 victory in Baltimore in September 2005? Man, that was classic." Now, if Orlando Hudson's injury turns out to be anything remotely serious, then yeah, we'll remember this one in a bad way. But otherwise, well, yawn, frankly. So what can we talk about this morning?

* What to make of Scott Downs? Tonight was his worst outing in several starts, and it wasn't even all that bad. He's having his best major-league season by far, and when you're looking for reasons to praise the hiring of Brad Arnsberg, Downs' performance should be high on the list. Can Downs be counted on as a regular rotation member next season? Despite his recent run of success, I don't think so. He may well have finally tapped into his potential -- he was once a highly touted prospect with the Cubs -- but that's the kind of development that you want to be a pleasant surprise, not a cornerstone of contention. Downs has earned a roster spot for 2006, but I would slot him back into his long-relief role next year, and consider him a proven insurance policy. If it turns out he can pitch effectively in the rotation if needed, all the better.

* It was nice to see our old friend Carlos Tosca there in the 7th inning, even if he was only briefly possessing the body of Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo. Subscribing to the Tony LaRussa school of playing every single percentage into the ground, Perlozzo used four different relievers in the top of the 7th frame, which worked so well the Blue Jays scored only four runs. It's pretty well established by now that if a manager uses multiple situational relievers in one inning, he's eventually going to find one that can't do the job. Tonight, Perlozzo found two (though I have to say that young Chris Ray throws some pretty wicked stuff up there). It's painful to watch a manager flip through his bullpen Rolodex like that, but at least it wasn't John Gibbons, whose pen management has been superb pretty much from from day one of the season.

* Speaking of relievers ... aside from a terrible July, Jason Frasor has been solid all season and is really coming into his own down the stretch. As Jamie Campbell noted last night, his confidence is growing and he's really been piling up the strikeouts lately. Frasor and Justin Speier are the two RH relievers whom I can see returning to the team next season. Vinnie Chulk has been a fine placeholder, but there are a lot of top-rank righty relievers poised to join the big-league club in 2006, and Chulk won't be able to match what a Brandon League, Shaun Marcum or Chad Gaudin can deliver. Even if Downs does return to the pen, he's not a situational lefty, so the Blue Jays will still need Scott Schoeneweis or a reasonable facisimile. Most importantly, there are at least three potential relievers who should be as good as or better than Miguel Batista in the closer's role next year. Right now, I don't really see El Artista in Toronto togs next season.

* In virtually every Miguel Batista appearance, by the way, you can usually count on the following phrase showing up in the MLB GameDay play-by-play: "Blocked Ball in Dirt."

* Interesting to see John Gibbons start his A lineup last night, even with a bunch of prospects on the bench who need some show-off time. I think Gibbons really wanted a win, for his team's morale as well as to send a little message to Baltimore that no, you're not actually better than we are, despite last season's standings. My strong sense is that Baltimore and Boston are going to be Toronto's main rivals in the AL East for the balance of this decade, and that the Blue Jays think so, too. The Jays have served notice on the BoSox by handling them pretty well all year, and while a 10-9 season series record is hardly a thumping, the Jays want to establish the same sort of attitude regarding the Orioles.

* John Maine, Daniel Cabrera, and Erik Bedard -- meet Roy Halladay, Chris Carpenter and Kelvim Escobar. Or more pessimistically, Jerome Williams, Kurt Ainsworth and Jesse Foppert. Three very young starters in the same rotation is a pretty exciting development, but it's rare that all three pan out, and very rare that they'll do so for their original team. I've said this before, but I think the Orioles and Jays will both be hard after AJ Burnett this off-season, and if either team gets him, it'll have a marked advantage over the other for the next few seasons. If Hayden Penn pans out and the O's keep BJ Ryan around as their closer, this team could make some noise. A real manager and a single competent GM would be nice, however.

* Jamie Campbell, you're doing a great job out there this season, especially with a rotating band of colour commentators (my vote for your best colour man is Rance Mulliniks, by the way). But I cannot let a statement like "Rik Emmett is one of the best guitar players in the world" go by unchallenged. Aside altogether from the brand-name Mark Knopflers and Eric Claptons of the world, not to mention warhorses like Eddie Van Halen or Kirk Hammet, any greatest-guitarist discussions have to begin with Django Reinhart. And let's not bring Alex Lifeson into the discussion at all. There you go.

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And now, a sampling of my usual semi-weekly puffery. I'm a little cranky these days, and the following essay might not be to everyone's tastes, so if you're just looking for some light-hearted baseball gab, you might want to skip to another thread. And if you don't feel like reading a social sciences lecture this morning, then you should definitely skip over to the Hall of Names. Bon? Allons-y.

I’ve been noticing an odd trend recently — and by recently I mean over the past few years and possibly longer, but more especially lately. Often you see it manifested right here, in comments posted at Batter’s Box, but the phenomenon is by no means limited to our little corner of the Net. You can find it on virtually any baseball Website, in numerous columns and articles by professional sportswriters, and indeed, pretty much right across the whole spectrum of published opinion on this continent, baseball-related and otherwise.

What I’m talking about is the moralization of criticism. In broad terms, it’s the tendency for those offering up an analysis of underperformance to assign moral values to the object (a person or an organization) of their criticism, even when no moral values are in play. It’s a heavily loaded phenomenon, with a lot of baggage most of us don’t even think we carry around with us. But it is there.

Here are two examples from the baseball context: “clutch hitters,” and “plate discipline and strike-zone command.”

“Clutch hitters.” We’ve heard a lot about this subject in 2005, most of it centered around whether or not various Blue Jay batters have succeeded often enough in driving in a runner in scoring position, especially with two out, especially in late-and-close situations.

On its surface, it’s entirely a statistical matter: some batters simply happen to produce better lines than others in these situations in any given year. Moreover, with some exceptions, most studies have shown that “clutch hitting” isn’t a repeatable skill: almost all batters’ production in these situations varies from year to year. This only make sense, because if you were able to consistently hit better in RISP situations, the obvious question is why you don’t hit that well in other situations, all the time. So while it’s not an entirely random event, it’s pretty close to one.

But the language we use in debating this issue reveals that there’s a lot more going on here than just BA/OBP/SLG numbers in small sample sizes. “Hitting in the clutch” clearly implies something about the fundamental reliability of the player in question. A “clutch” performance is one that is produced under pressure, with high stakes. Naturally enough, we tend to assign a greater value to those performances than to others, in life as in sports.

But our assessment of “clutch” also says a lot about our opinion of the player’s character — we often equate his performance with runners on base with his overall personal reliability. We tend to believe that a noticeable (or worse, consistent) inability to reach base in these situations is a “failure” — both of performance and of character. We think less of such players as athletes and as people. The disappointment and frustration we feel is consistent not so much with a missed scoring opportunity, but with a personal faith found lacking, a character flaw exposed, a buddy who let you down. Someone who doesn't come through when you need him the most is a “choker,” and there’s no worse label you can apply to an athlete — or to a person.

It is also, as demonstrated above, irrational and unfounded in fact. Yet reams of newsprint have been published and careers have been made legend over “clutch hitters.” Derek Jeter is a marvelous player whose offensive accomplishments will someday earn him a place in Cooperstown. But it’s his image and reputation as “Mr. Clutch,” someone who comes through when the need is greatest (especially in the playoffs), that is the foundation of his stature — even if the numbers don’t necessarily back that up.

Why does this happen? Because we like to think that good character equals good performance. We have always wanted our leaders and our celebrities to be wonderful people, and we’ve assiduously avoided knowing too much about what the private lives of our heroes are truly like. We want to believe that character, like steel, is forged in fire, and that a player who produces “in the clutch” has proven his personal worth, his reliability, our confidence in him.

It’s a psychological phantom play, but it’s one we all engage in from time to time. The only shame is that it leads to some men being unfairly lionized and others unfairly pilloried, and that it detracts from our ability (very necessary these days) to separate the acts from the person, the truth from the spin.

“Plate discipline and control issues.” You can probably see where I’m going with this one. Anyone interested in a sabrmetric approach to baseball analysis (or, to stretch back a little further, a Branch-Rickeyesque approach) knows that these two skills are widely praised among batters and pitchers, respectively. Hitters need the ability not to swing at pitches they can’t hit, and hurlers need to know where the pitches they deliver are going. Sounds simple, right?

Well, sort of, except for those words “discipline” and “control,” heavily weighted terms at the best of times. A hitter who has difficulty waiting for his pitch, and who ends up with a low BB/K ratio, is apparently “undisciplined.” A pitcher who’s all over the strike zone “can’t get his stuff under control,” and is accordingly “wild.”

Reading comments like these about players, you’d almost think you were reviewing a Parents’ Advisory Panel talking about “juvenile delinquents” in the 1950s. “These wild, undisciplined kids — how do we get them under control?” Yes, first it’s the Jitterbug, then it’s heavy petting, and before you know it, they’re hooked on crystal meth! The patronizing nature of these sentiments is remarkable only in the way they’ve passed into common parlance — we don’t give a second thought to describing professional athletes this way.

But there’s more than meets the eye here as well. One of the longest-standing racial stereotypes in baseball — besides “only white guys are scrappy hustlers” — is that Latin players have no strike-zone judgment. Inspired by Rafael Ramirez’s now-20-year-old quip “You cannot walk off the island,” a whole generation of baseball fans believes that Hispanic players swing at anything that comes their way — despite the presence of players like Bobby Abreu, David Ortiz and Albert Pujols on the list of the ten highest walk totals in the game.

What’s the implication? That Latinos are wild, impatient, and undisciplined — fitting in perfectly with their other stereotypes, about being party-loving, hot-tempered people insufficiently serious about settling down to work and improving themselves. And when the best Latin hitters, like Vlad Guerrero, can hit pitches off their shoe tops — well, that just shows you how much more these players are “natural athletes” who are so gifted, they can succeed despite their “impatience” and “lack of discipline.” For as long as there’s been sportswriting, “white” has meant plodding, steady and industrious, while “black” has meant naturally gifted, easy-going and undisciplined. Larry Bird? A brusque, hard-working country boy who made himself a Hall of Famer through rigorous practice. Magic Johnson? A supreme athlete who glided effortlessly through the air while showing off that 100-watt smile.

This isn’t a screed about political correctness — it’s an attempt to show that the words we use unconsciously betray the underlying judgments and assumptions we simultaneously make. And making judgments is pretty much everyone’s favourite game show these days. Right across North America, finger-pointing and blame-throwing has displaced cogent analysis and real problem-solving in the public sphere.

It’s easier to pick a position and denigrate your targets than it is to actually look for nuance and locate the truth. Jumping to conclusions has become our national sport — judging people’s character and motivations by the handful of actions we choose to observe. If you don’t believe me, watch a few political programs, some afternoon freak-shows, or an average day in the House of Commons. Tune into a radio call-in show discussing an athlete’s performance — or the flooding of New Orleans. The rhetoric all flows from the same stagnant source.

It’s a bad trend, in my opinion, and one that won’t go away anytime soon — it’s deeply ingrained in our own collective character. But one small way to stem the tide is to resist our own rushes to judgment in as tiny a matter as baseball. The next time someone strikes out with the bases loaded, let’s not denigrate his commitment or determination. The next time a batter strikes out on a terrible pitch, let’s not impugn his personal dedication and discipline. The next time a pitcher issues yet another walk, let’s not assume he doesn’t care enough about his talent or his teammates to do his best every day.

The fan in us will always react from the gut, and that’s human nature — but the next and better level up is to look behind the visceral reactions and abandon the assumptions. The truth is too valuable to approach any other way.

The Gypsy Guitarist and Other Stories | 62 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Named For Hank - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 09:03 AM EDT (#127604) #
But I cannot let a statement like "Rik Emmett is one of the best guitar players in the world" go by unchallenged.

I always root for the underdogs. As such, I must give a little shout-out to Neil Finn here. A friend of mine almost lost his mind attempting to play There Goes God and eventually quit trying so that he could concentrate on his education.
Pepper Moffatt - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 09:08 AM EDT (#127605) #
Aside altogether from the brand-name Mark Knopflers and Eric Claptons of the world, not to mention warhorses like Eddie Van Halen or Kirk Hammet, any greatest-guitarist discussions have to begin with Django Reinhart.

or Jimmy Page or Yngwie Malmsteen or BRIAN "THE MAN, THE MYTH, THE LEGEND" MAY!

fozzy - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 09:34 AM EDT (#127606) #
or Jimmy Page or Yngwie Malmsteen or BRIAN "THE MAN, THE MYTH, THE LEGEND" MAY!

... or Jesse Cook, who makes someone like me actually like flemenco music. Awesome stuff.

Chuck - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 09:38 AM EDT (#127607) #
my vote for your best colour man is Rance Mullinks, by the way

Absolutely. Mulliniks outclasses the rest by far. Fletcher is good. Tabler and Candiotti, on the other hand, are cookie cutter cliche machines, entirely interchangeable with any of a hundred others similarly polluting the airwaves.

Two guitarists of note not yet mentioned: David Gilmour and Carlos Santana.

cbugden - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 10:03 AM EDT (#127608) #
Rod Black drives me nuts so I'm glad that most of the Jays games are on Sportsnet, and I love Rance Mulliniks as a colour guy. On another matter, does anyone think that a team who has trouble scoring runs should try laying down a bunt from time to time? In my opinion there is no excuse for guy on second not scoring with no one out, so if the batter is unable or unwilling to hit the ball to the right side then have him bunt instead. We also miss Carlos for sure and does anyone think it suspicious that Ted came up with extra cash just after he left?
the mick - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#127609) #
Nice to see Neil Finn get a shout out. If we're talking guitarists, how's about Richard Thompson? I've seen him live a few times and he's unreal.
Flex - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#127611) #
Rance Mulliniks is the Brian May of colour men.

Controlled, precise, intelligent, unshowy but able to snap off a stellar riff whenever he wants to.
Craig B - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 10:18 AM EDT (#127612) #
Stolen from BTF...

On this day in 1992, Toronto rookie catcher Mike Maksudian won $800 from his teammates for eating a live locust.
Jonny German - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 10:30 AM EDT (#127613) #
And let's not bring Alex Lifeson into the discussion at all.

Is Rush the most popular band ever that nobody likes? Seriously, they get tons of play of classic rock radio and they're always mentioned among the greats in Canadian rock history, but I've never heard any non-DJ admit to liking them.

Pistol - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#127614) #
"Magic Johnson? A supreme athlete who glided effortlessly through the air"

I agree with just about everything with the exception of that comment. Magic was a great player, and there might have been a perception that he succeeded with minimal effort, but he was far from a supreme athlete. He could barely jump let alone glide effortlessly throught the air.
Named For Hank - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#127615) #
We also miss Carlos for sure and does anyone think it suspicious that Ted came up with extra cash just after he left?

Unless you think that Sportco was involved and that they all conspired to delay the final agreement on the sale of SkyDome to Rogers to until after Carlos was gone, that's pretty far-fetched. Remember, the team has extra money now because the team makes more money from every game because they now own the stadium. Every buck from popcorn goes to them, instead of 40% of every buck or whatever it was before.

It would have been great to get the sale done before losing Carlos and then maybe use that extra money to keep him around, but I don't think that it happened the opposite way because of some kind of nefarious plot.
Gwyn - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#127616) #
I've never heard any non-DJ admit to liking them

Bubbles loves them

VBF - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#127617) #
It’s a psychological phantom play, but it’s one we all engage in from time to time. The only shame is that it leads to some men being unfairly lionized and others unfairly pilloried, and that it detracts from our ability (very necessary these days) to separate the acts from the person, the truth from the spin.

I don't think I've ever agreed more about anything than this statement. Nice read.

Mike Green - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#127618) #

"Rik Emmett is one of the greatest guitarists in the world". Hmm. I can just imagine what our non-Canadian readers are thinking: "Who in the name of Ruth is Rik Emmett, and why can't he spell his name properly?"

Here are the Jays' salary commitments for 2006 for contracted players or arb. eligibles who cannot be non-tendered in millions:

Doc 12.7
Batista 4.75
Hinske 4.325
Wells 4.3
Cat 2.7
Koskie 5.25
SSLoogy 2.75
Speier 2.25
Zaun 1.00
Hudson 4.00(est.)

This totals almost exactly $44 million. Almost all of the other potential returns (Frasor, Downs, McGowan, Rios, Adams, Hill, League, Chulk, Sparky, Chacin, Bush) will earn the minimum or just above. Decisions will have to be made with regard to Lilly and Hillenbrand.

At this point, the organization will be taking on salary. The remaining budget for 2006-07 is approximately $160 million. What the organization needs to resolve is what the budget will be for 2008 (so that 3 year offers can be made to free agents), and the priority for filling needs. My own view is that the top priority is two bats for the 1b/dh, or possibly lf, slots.

ScottTS - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 10:47 AM EDT (#127619) #
"Magic Johnson? A supreme athlete who glided effortlessly through the air"

I agree with just about everything with the exception of that comment. Magic was a great player, and there might have been a perception that he succeeded with minimal effort, but he was far from a supreme athlete. He could barely jump let alone glide effortlessly throught the air.

I think that was sort of Jordan's point.

Thaskins - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#127620) #
Hey all. Been reading for a while and have only thrown up the occasional post. Anyway, been thinking about the IF jam and looked up Adams and Hudson’s numbers this year and as I thought, they are pretty similar. Except, Adams has put his up at a younger age AND has a much better OBP.

Adams – Age: 25
2005: .272/.343/.416 – 394 AB’s - 8 HR – 23 2B

Hudson – Age: 27
2005: .271/315./.412 – 461 – AB’s - 10 HR – 25 2B

Though I love Hudson’s attitude and defense, wouldn’t the prudent baseball move involve trading Hudson (assuming the right deal) and shifting Adams to 2B? Realistically, Adams is probably better suited for the 2 bag anyway. Plus, I haven’t seen anything that makes me think Hill will have less range than Adams and he does have a better arm. I’m a big fan of Hill and his potential at SS. 3B, not so much. I don’t know if he’ll have the power to hit there.

Also, Hudson hasn’t been the healthiest of players for us either. Adams, at least so far, has stayed healthy. There’s value there. Finally, having two relatively quick players with OBP potentially in the .350’s at the top of our lineup next year would do wonders for our offense.

Thoughts?
gv27 - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#127621) #
At first, I thought it was unfair to make a blanket, opinionated statement about Rik Emmett. But after reading the about thread, I'll rest easy. Gawd, I love this site...
gv27 - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 11:35 AM EDT (#127622) #
Um... that should be the "above" thread. Clearly, spelling isn't a job requirement.
Mike D - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#127623) #
Clearly, spelling isn't a job requirement.

No kidding, Jamie. You even misspelled the name of The Almighty.
Jonny German - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 11:52 AM EDT (#127625) #
It all depends on how much value you place on Hudson's defence. Personally, I think he'll still be very good value next year. (I think Mike's estimate of $4M for Hudson in his first year of arbitration is very high - I'd expect more like $2M - $2.5M).

JP reiterated last night that nobody is untradeable outside of Halladay, and used the specific example of a caller a couple weeks ago insisting that Hudson should not be traded. Sez JP, if you're offered Adam Dunn for Hudson, you gotta do it.

If Hudson misses the rest of this season it'll be interesting to compare the Jays runs allowed in games with and without him.
Named For Hank - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 12:01 PM EDT (#127626) #
I think that a trade of Hudson without a seriously big bat coming back in return would be disastrous. Also, I think the pitchers would riot.
Named For Hank - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#127627) #
By the way, was it gv27 who shared with us that Javy Lopez was a big fan of Quiet Riot? i think that's the best biographical tidbit since Joey Gathright jumping over cars.
Mike Green - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 12:10 PM EDT (#127628) #
Jonny's right. My estimate for Hudson is high. Adam Kennedy, who is Hudson's most comparable player, got 2.5 in his first year of arb-eligibility. Hudson's a little better, and might get 2.5-3.

There are trading options. Hudson and Wells are both in this category. Their WARP1, which combines offence and defence, 2003-05, is almost exactly the same (Hudson 18.0; Wells 17.8). Wells is a year younger, but his contract will be a little more dear for the next 2 years. In both cases, there are reasonably possible defensive replacements (Adams/Hill, Rios), but legitimate questions about the ability of the replacements to do the job defensively. If it were me, I would stick with Wells and Hudson.
Rob - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 12:15 PM EDT (#127629) #
I didn't see the broadcast, but if Jamie mentioned Rik Emmett during an Orioles game, then Triumph makes more sense than Quiet Riot for Javy Lopez.

Wasn't it Triumph? I remember that from a game earlier for some reason.
Named For Hank - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#127631) #
Oh yeah, maybe it was Triumph. Quiet Riot showed up in the Batter's Box is... thread.
Thaskins - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#127633) #
I agree the defense Hudson brings to the table is great. But, realistically we’ve got three players (Hudson, Hill, Adams) for two positions. Something needs to happen. Hill and Adams project to have higher OBP and about the same power and average numbers as Hudson. Plus, they’re younger and are still not too bad with the leather. It’s not like we’d be replacing the low OBP good glove of Hudson with the no glove high OBP of someone like Mark Belhorn. In my opinion, the solution can not involve either DHing or moving anyone of these three players to 3B. If Hudson is kept, than is Hill or Adams the one to go?
Mike Green - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 12:45 PM EDT (#127634) #
A propos of Jordan's specific point about controlling the strike zone, Dan Fox has a terrific article on topic in today's THT.
Jonny German - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 12:56 PM EDT (#127635) #
But, realistically we’ve got three players (Hudson, Hill, Adams) for two positions. Something needs to happen.

I disagree with the notion of not playing Hill at third - he's very good at it, and the regular 3rd baseman has an extensive injury history. DHing Koskie on occassion can only serve to help keep him healthy.

Assuming 625 AB per position, a pretty fair number by historical averages, here's one simple way to make it work. With the inevitable injuries, any of these 4 who stay healthy all season will get more than the 500 AB I'm projecting for them.

	 2B	3B	SS	DH	Plr Tot
Hill	 125	250	125		  500
Hudson	 500				  500
Adams	 		500		  500
Koskie	 	375		125	  500
Pos Tot	 625	625	625	125	
Mike Green - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#127637) #
I agree. That is one possibility. Another is to move Koskie to first, and to install Hill as the everyday third baseman.
Thaskins - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#127639) #
I do agree Jonny’s plan would spread the AB’s around nicely. But, I don’t think it helps solve one of the issues with the team, which is a lack of power. IMO, I think Hudson paired with some minor league pitching and hitting can bring back the additional big bat we need to bring to the lineup. Whether that’s someone like Dunn, Huff, Kearns, Carlos Lee exe. It’s too early to know exactly who is available, so exact speculation will have to wait. But, I think moving Hudson would allow us to deal from a place of strength to upgrade a place of weakness. I think it’s important we keep in mind that offensively Hill and Adams have more or less put up the same numbers as Hudson who has been in the league an additional couple of seasons. Once the kinks are ironed out in Spring Training and over a half season of play for Adams at 2B I don’t think the falloff in defense will be that much between Adams and Hudson.

Yes, the pitchers would not be happy to see Hudson’s “D” go. But, I’m sure their not thrilled losing all these 3-2 games either.

And just to throw it out there. This only makes sense if the Jays can get an impact bat in return. If not, going to Jonny’s plan makes sense.
Mike Green - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#127644) #
Incidentally, if you believe that WARP1 is an accurate measure of performance, Dunn is probably poor value for Hudson. He's delivered less combined offensive and defensive value over the last 3 years (the same this year), and he's entering his second year of arb. He earned 4.5 million in his first year of arbitration, and would probably get 6.5-7 this year.

Dunn is younger, and in the Jays' particular context, you can justify getting somewhat less value for money in order to fill a need. But, it's not something that one should leap at.
Pistol - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 02:20 PM EDT (#127646) #
	 2B	3B	SS	DH	Plr Tot
Hill	 125	250	125		  500
Hudson	 500				  500
Adams	 		500		  500
Koskie	 	375		125	  500
Pos Tot	 625	625	625	125	
Interesting. I think the main issue with that alignment is whether making Hill a super utility player will have a negative effect on his hitting.
Pistol - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 02:29 PM EDT (#127647) #
I just noticed how similar Adams and Hinske are this year. The only real difference is in the number of Ks.
NAME	AB   R	H   2B	3B HR	TB  RBI	BB SO	SB CS	BA	OBP	SLG	OPS
Adams	394  57	107 23	5  8	164 57	43 46	9  2	0.272	0.343	0.416	0.759
Hinske	407  69	105 25	2  12	170 56	43 109	7  4	0.258	0.335	0.418	0.752

Thaskins - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#127649) #
Fair point on the overall value of the two. But, Dunn has played the OF all year for the Reds and if he came to the Jays I don’t see any way that would continue. He’s just not a good OF. Dunn, I imagine, would play some combination of 1B and DH depending on which of Hinske, Hillenbrand and Koskie are still with the team. In terms of VORP, Dunn ranks 19th in baseball at 53.6. While, Hudson is ranked 22nd among 2nd basemen at 14.3.

Do we think Dunn would be the type of player who would command a 6-7 year deal? Or, is it possible to tie him up for 3-4? I’d be much more willing to stretch the pockets to sign him to a shorter deal. And I guess do we think he’d give up a couple year of free agency for some guaranteed money now?
Jordan - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#127651) #
"Failing to outhit the rookie shortstop" is not something a first baseman wants on his resume.
binnister - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#127653) #
Re: Hudson's ankle

I seem I'm not the only one here who isn't particularly concerned over this turn of events (baring, of course, any *perminent* damage). Though mathematically still in the hunt, the painful reality is the Jay's are not playoff bound.

Personally, I think this is the PERFECT opportunity to get Adams & Hill playing EVERY DAY at 2B/SS for the rest of the year. Given Hill's recent struggles, I think its important to hand him the every-day job and see if the guy can snap out of it.

At the same time, we can see how good a replacement Adams might be at 2B, if Hudson is indeed used as trade bait in the off season.

Jobu - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#127654) #
i think that's the best biographical tidbit since Joey Gathright jumping over cars.

I'm still waiting for this scene to play out:

Rays @ Jays on a lazy summer night. Bottom of the fifth, Jays holding a two run lead. Just then the bullpen door opens and a terrible noise is heard. The winner of the GM Drive Home Event, Mr. Joel, is drunk behind the wheel of his shiny new Vibe. Exhaust spews out as he starts swirving out of the gate headed for center field. He's headed straight for Joey, who turns his head and locks eyes with the driver. His heart fills with panic and sweat falls from his brow. "Oh God..." Joey whispers under his breath. It's come to this, the moment he's been training for his whole life. Muscle instinct kicks in and with the sound effect from 6 Million Dollar Man time stops as he leaps into the air. The sporty sunroof of the Vibe grazing his spikes. He lands like a cat and spins around to see Mr. Joel circling back, he let's out his war cry "You should never argue with a crazy GO-GO-GO-GO-GOMES" and heads towards him. "Like hell you will..." Joey calls out as he sprints towards Johnny, ahead of the Vibe. With one motion he takes him under his arm and leaps again high into the air, just as the metallic Pontiac of death glides underneath them. Mr. Joel spins out of control to avoid the fence on the slick field turf. But for all his powers, Joey was too late to save his slowfooted friend Toby...

Mike Green - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 04:18 PM EDT (#127655) #
...but Carl Crawford wasn't. Some jump over tall buildings; others outrun speeding trains. Carl came from the latter school of superherology, and raced to Toby's aid. With a banshee cry, he whisked Toby off to the safety of the dugout tunnel...
smcs - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#127656) #
I do not think that trading Hudson for Dunn is a smart move because Adams is not good enough defensively to pick up the slack. Hudson has made plays that kept the game at 3-2. Perhaps an Adam Dunn could bridge the gap offensively that Adams creates defensively but I think that Hudson is a spark plug that helps kick the team into gear. The pitchers will pitch better if they know that the guys behind him can make plays
Craig B - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#127657) #
...only to crash at top speed into the oblivious Alex Gonzalez, who was preening himself in his compact mirror readying himself for his next pinch-hitting appearance. As all three players lay senseless on the rubberized warning track in front of the dugout, Scott Kazmir...
Rob - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 05:16 PM EDT (#127659) #
...knew he could, with the help of his former team's pitching coach, figure out how to fix this in ten minutes. With the help of Josh Phelps and Kevin Cash, he was able to...
Paul D - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#127661) #
Something at BTF got me thinking... would Roberto Petagine be a good backup plan for a DH next year? If you could trade/release Hinske, you could sign Petagine to DH if you can't get Dunn/Lee whoever, then spend the money you've saved to overpay a reliever or a Burnett.

Also, no matter how Miguel Batista does the rest of the year as a closer, I would imagine that there would be teams out there who could use him as a starter, since his contract is considerably cheaper than what free agent pitchers get.
VBF - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 06:23 PM EDT (#127665) #
...convince resident senior, and bench coach, Don Zimmer to fly out of the dugout at such a speed that he could...
greenfrog - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 07:43 PM EDT (#127669) #
In the Ouch department: didn't Philly offer Ryan Howard for Ted Lilly, straight up, sometime before the July trade deadline? I think it might have been Gammons who reported this.
VBF - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 07:44 PM EDT (#127670) #
JP said on WWJP that there was no talk whatsoever, and such a trade proposal never existed.
BallGuy - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 09:05 PM EDT (#127676) #
I love discussions about who is the best guitarist because nobody wins. Don't forget Phil Keaggy. Jimi Hendrix said Keaggy was the best guitarist he ever saw.

Page is way overrated.

Joseph Krengel - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 09:28 PM EDT (#127677) #
What, no votes for Don Henly?

Call me crazy, but is Thome worth investigating?
Matthew E - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 09:35 PM EDT (#127678) #
Guitarists:

Let us not neglect Chuck Berry and Steve Cropper. Also, I've never heard their stuff, but I understand Les Paul and Lenny Breau were worthwhile.
Paul D - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 11:48 PM EDT (#127680) #
I think Tom Morello blows away everyone who's been mentioned.
Joe - Thursday, September 08 2005 @ 11:58 PM EDT (#127681) #
How about some love for that most frequently forgotten band member, the drummer? I (and yes, Rush fans exist, because I'm one of 'em. But my taste may be suspect, because
  • I have a fu manchu moustache
  • One of my favourite bands is The Presidents of the United States of America
  • My favourite Nine Inch Nails CD is The Fragile
  • I am a programmer
, so feel free to discount what I have to say) don't think a drummer exists who's better than Neil Peart.
Named For Hank - Friday, September 09 2005 @ 08:08 AM EDT (#127682) #
Manu Katche.
Jonny German - Friday, September 09 2005 @ 08:16 AM EDT (#127683) #
Point number 2 is especially well taken, Joe... but more importantly: Way to work the parentheses!
Mike Green - Friday, September 09 2005 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#127686) #
Matthew E, Lenny Breau was something. I saw him, shortly before he died, in a nightclub in Toronto, picking out melodies with his baby finger.
Mike Green - Friday, September 09 2005 @ 11:11 AM EDT (#127691) #
On another topic, THT has added in-season ERA+ to their panoply of stats. Here are your AL leaders. It's fun to see Halladay at the top where he belongs, and Chacin and Towers in the top 16. Towers and Chacin both have modest K rates, but they are beaten by Rogers and Silva. Control pitchers of the world unite...
Joe - Friday, September 09 2005 @ 11:45 AM EDT (#127695) #
I didn't realize Doc was having such a dominant year. I knew he was good, but an ERA+ of 203?! He's in front of everyone else in the AL by a mile.

Of course, when you add in the NL, you find that Carpenter has been just as good as Doc. And then you notice that Roger Clemens is a mile ahead of both of them, with an ERA+ of 296. Incredible.

I was skeptical when Magpie (or Mick?) mentioned that Clemens' performance might be one of the best by any pitcher ever, but that really just backs it up. The fact that he probably won't win the Cy Young because of a useless number like wins — it's criminal.

Mike Green - Friday, September 09 2005 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#127696) #
I'd vote for Clemens over Carpenter this year, the same way that Randy Johnson would have gotten my vote over Clemens last year. I don't know if I'd describe it as criminal; Carpenter has pitched significantly more innings, struck out batters at a higher rate, walked fewer and hasn't had quite the defensive support that for some reason Clemens has enjoyed this season (.770 DER). Carpenter will likely get the award, as Joe says, not for these reasons, but because he has more wins. He'll join Bob Welch, Steve Stone...
James W - Friday, September 09 2005 @ 02:02 PM EDT (#127704) #
Carpenter has pitched very well though. It's not as if he's a mediocre pitcher who has stumbled on to lots of wins (Yes, I'm talking to you, Mr. Garland).
Bid - Friday, September 09 2005 @ 02:16 PM EDT (#127706) #
Guitar players, eh? Lenny Breau's career was sadly short, but we used to see him nearly weekly at the Randomanor and the Stage Door in Winnipeg in the late 50s...(ouch). But no love for Johnny Winter? John Fahey, Leo Kottke? and our local hero, twice winner of the US National Fingerstyle Championship, Don Ross.

All the Cy discussion just makes me sad for Roy's shortened season. I hope this the last major hurt he has to deal with.
Nigel - Friday, September 09 2005 @ 02:45 PM EDT (#127708) #
The scary thing about the THT list though is the column xFIP-ERA. Its a potential rogues gallary of pitchers whose current ERA's may be a bit deceiving due to defense and luck(depending on your views of the predictability of HR's to flyballs ratio). Current top (or bottom) 10:

K Rogers
J Washburn
G Chacin
J Blanton
J Garland
M Buerhle
B Zito
B Chen
C Young
J Contreras

and at number 12 - J Towers
John Northey - Friday, September 09 2005 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#127715) #
Somehow seeing Chacin and Towers on a list of 'lucky' pitchers is no shock. Both need good defense to survive and they have had it this year. For those who don't know, xFIP-ERA basically shows the difference between what a pitchers real ERA is and what it would be if they had normal fielding behind them. It also adjusts for home run tendancies of the park and fly ball tendancies of the pitcher (more fly balls should give up more HR).

Chacin is listed as having an 'honest' ERA of 5.22 while Towers is given a 4.76. Towers sounds about where I'd expect him to be while Chacin is just scary.

Jays...
xFIP and spread from real ERA not counting sub 20 IP guys
Walker - 5.36 - 2.44
Speier - 4.55 - 1.79
Chulk - 5.10 - 1.60
Chacin - 5.22 - 1.58
Batista - 4.74 - 1.21
Towers - 4.76 - 0.85
Halladay - 3.15 - 0.73
Frasor - 4.31 - 0.66
Bush - 4.70 - 0.57 (only time lucky and Bush go together)
Schoeneweis - 4.15 - 0.35
The rest are being hurt by their defense...
Downs - 3.83 - (0.36)
Lilly - 5.06 - (0.59)
McGowan - 5.86 - (2.06)
League - 4.80 - (3.02)

I felt like Walker was doing it with mirrors and this stat suggests the same. It also looks like Halladay and Downs are the only ones below 4 in ERA, thus suggesting the pen has been very lucky. It also appears that the Jays have an above average defense since almost everyone with significant pitching time is helped.

Boston, on the other hand, has just 7 guys helped and 17 guys hurt by their defense. Arroyo and Wakefield helped by about 1/2 a run and Timlin by 2.01 are the only significant ones helped. The Yankees are about evenly split with Aaron Small the most helped (no shock) by 2.75 runs/game. Baltimore also is about evenly split. Oakland is like Toronto with the majority helped (11 of 12 guys with 20+ IP are helped with Street the highest of their major pitchers).

Interesting stuff. After the season it would be interesting to see how it holds, compare to past seasons, and see if team defense is consistant for the Jays and A's since both seem to be going for top defense and mediocre hitting to go with strong pitching. Hmmm... Moneyball II - its all about pitching and defense.
Mike Green - Friday, September 09 2005 @ 06:06 PM EDT (#127717) #
xFIP-ERA doesn't measure only luck and defence. As you can see from the link, the LOB% decreases steadily as you work your way down the list. It seems likely that the ability to avoid bunched baserunners plays a significant role. Chacin, in particular, has now performed much better than his peripherals for 2 years running.
King Ryan - Friday, September 09 2005 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#127718) #
Wow.

Brandon League has given up 7 HR's in 25 innings. That is, um, a lot.
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