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The Phillies have signed catcher Rod Barajas to a one year deal for $2.5 million with a team option for a second year.


From the linked article:
"Barajas will be considered insurance for Carlos Ruiz, who will be a 28-year-old rookie next season. Ruiz's injury history and inexperience - he has played in 27 major league games, all last season - made the Phillies leery of entering the season without a proven backup."

As you may recall Barajas backed out of a deal with the Jays several weeks ago that would have paid him $5.25 million over two years and Barajas would have been the Jays every day catcher.

So Barajas has one less year guaranteed and isn't assured of a starting spot for the Phillies.
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Flex - Thursday, December 21 2006 @ 08:54 AM EST (#161267) #
I predicted this would happen. Not to be spiteful or anything, but it looks good on him.
Mike Green - Thursday, December 21 2006 @ 09:37 AM EST (#161268) #
Here's a nice summary of MLB salaries with team and position averages.  Second baseman continue to be the poor cousins, for reasons that escape me.
Ryan Day - Thursday, December 21 2006 @ 09:49 AM EST (#161269) #
  According to the article, the Phillies were also interested in Benito Santiago???  That would have been pretty awesomely terrible. (Unless there's another, younger Santiago out there somewhere)
John Northey - Thursday, December 21 2006 @ 10:31 AM EST (#161270) #
Just read virtually the same article at the Star about baseball salaries.  An interesting note was that the Jays were the lowest average pay team to have a winning record, the only one in the bottom 12 to do so.

No shock that relievers are about 1/2 of any other position for pay ($1.43 million) as that is a good spot to have rookies and hanger-on.  Next year the Jays should be below average $ at 1B, LF, RF, SS, 2B but well above at 3B, DH, a bit above at CF, and almost dead on at starting pitcher unless JP can find someone to take $10 million or gets something via trade.  Ryan on his own makes the relief pitchers more expensive than the average ($10 million divided by 7 gives you $1.43 million, dead on last years average without paying the other 6 guys). 
Flex - Thursday, December 21 2006 @ 12:21 PM EST (#161273) #
An interesting note was that the Jays were the lowest average pay team to have a winning record, the only one in the bottom 12 to do so.

It wouldn't surprise me if this very point was a prominent part of the presentation made to Ted Rogers and his advisors when Ricciardi and Godfrey campaigned for a bigger budget over the next few years.
Newton - Thursday, December 21 2006 @ 12:29 PM EST (#161274) #
Did the Twins have a higher payroll than the Jays in 2006?
kinguy - Thursday, December 21 2006 @ 12:31 PM EST (#161275) #
Wasn't Bengie Molina in the same situation last year, where he turned down a multi-year deal for more money thinking he could do better, then had to settle for the Jays offer?
Mike D - Thursday, December 21 2006 @ 02:55 PM EST (#161279) #

You're right, Newton -- the Twins and A's had lower payrolls than the Jays last season (though both were within $8-10 million of Toronto), and the Padres had about the same payroll.  All other winning teams had higher payrolls than the Blue Jays. 

Maybe the Jays are arguing that signing bonuses shouldn't count, and are thereby pretending that AJ and BJ played for very low salaries last season.  For all intents and purposes, though, the Twins and A's had cheaper clubs.

Estimated final payrolls for 2006:

$190s -- NYY

$120s -- Bos

$100s -- LAA, CWS, NYM

$90s -- LAD, ChC, Atl, SF

$80s -- StL, Hou, Phi, Sea, Det

$70s -- Bal, Tor

$60s -- SD, Tex, Min, Oak, Was, Cin

$50s -- Arz, Cle, Mil

$40s -- KC, Pit, Col

$30s -- TB

$10s -- Fla

John Northey - Thursday, December 21 2006 @ 04:22 PM EST (#161281) #

Checking MLB's site I found the article had one more line...

Figures were based on Aug. 31 rosters and disabled lists and do not account for money owed to released players or payments teams make or receive to cover parts of salaries of players who have been traded.

This strongly suggests it is based on salary and not bonuses.  Thus the Jays are knocked way down.  Plus it is based on the average salary and factors in disabled lists.  Thus, if your team had a lot of guys on the DL then your average probably went down (minor league callups normally make the minimum). 

vw_fan17 - Thursday, December 21 2006 @ 06:43 PM EST (#161284) #
It's not final yet - he still has to pass the physical, according to the article...

VW

Paul D - Friday, December 22 2006 @ 01:03 PM EST (#161289) #
Somewhat surprising info from Gleeman today (that he got from Buster Olney's blog).
Percentage of 1-2-3 innings from closers in 2006:

LEADERS               PCT          TRAILERS              PCT
Joe Nathan 47.0 Ryan Dempster 28.0
Jonathan Papelbon 45.5 Francisco Cordero 29.3
Huston Street 41.3 Francisco Rodriguez 30.1
J.J. Putz 41.0 Chad Cordero 32.8
Takashi Saito 41.0 B.J. Ryan 33.3
I'm surprised to see Ryan so low on the list.   I wonder if the fact that he pitched multiple innings every once in a while would affect him?

And truth be told, there's a good mix of great and not so great closers on each list.

ramone - Friday, December 22 2006 @ 01:35 PM EST (#161290) #

I was just curious if anyone has read the Scout.com's article on the high demand for Rios and the trade offers Ricciardi has given or received.  Apparently the Mets have offered Lastings Milledge and Aaron Heilman for Rios and Riccardi countered by wanting Pelfrey thrown in as well.  Also Ricciardi offered Reed Johnson, McGowan and a AAA pitcher for Brad Penny which the Dodgers rejected and asked for both Rios and Lind, which seems outrageous to me.  

CaramonLS - Friday, December 22 2006 @ 04:41 PM EST (#161292) #
I was just curious if anyone has read the Scout.com's article on the high demand for Rios and the trade offers Ricciardi has given or received.  Apparently the Mets have offered Lastings Milledge and Aaron Heilman for Rios and Riccardi countered by wanting Pelfrey thrown in as well.  Also Ricciardi offered Reed Johnson, McGowan and a AAA pitcher for Brad Penny which the Dodgers rejected and asked for both Rios and Lind, which seems outrageous to me. 

Good find Ramone, personally I'm very tempted by the Heilman/Milledge offer.  I think throwing Pelfrey into that mix is quite the pipe dream (but a very pleasent and nice dream nonetheless).

I think Milledge has the potential to be a very good player (hes already reached the majors at 21) and Heilman could put up some decent numbers as a starter.
Pistol - Friday, December 22 2006 @ 07:08 PM EST (#161294) #
I don't have a subscription, but in the lead to the scout.com story it says that 'half the league' has inquired about Rios.  That's the power of ESPN.com I suppose.

Part of my concern is that the Jays would be so desperate for a starter that they'd give Rios or Lind away.  From the sounds of it that won't happen.

Assuming the validity of the Met offers it'd be interesting if they settled on a Pelfrey/Milledge package for Rios.  I'm not sold on Heilman, if only because if the Mets don't look at him as a starter why should the Jays?

I had a similar feeling about Milledge in that the Mets seem eager to trade him.  However, checking out his numbers he's been great in the minors, especially for someone as young as he is.

CaramonLS - Friday, December 22 2006 @ 07:18 PM EST (#161295) #
Pistol, Heilman was a key part of the bullpen, apparently they wanted to move him to the starting rotation, but lets be honest, that bullpen has been in complete disarray for the last couple seasons. 

Behind Wagner and Bradford, he was probably their best known commodity in the pen beginning the 2006 season.  Obviously though, a lot of guys you didn't expect to, showed up.

greenfrog - Friday, December 22 2006 @ 07:43 PM EST (#161297) #
Why are the Mets so willing to deal Milledge? It seems as though he's been on the block forever. Is there some flaw in his game that teams aren't aware of? He's young and has hit at every level in the minors. (He struggled a bit in 166 AB in the majors, but that's normal for a 21-year-old.)

Heilman looks like a potentially decent reliever or back-of-the-rotation starter, though I wonder how well he'd do in the AL. He's not all that young at 27 and his career numbers, while respectable, are far from dominant.

TimberLee - Friday, December 22 2006 @ 09:02 PM EST (#161298) #

My concern is Penny. He fell apart completely after the "06 AllStar Break, and I wouldn't be surprised if McGowan were more valuable by,say, July of '08 anyway. Heilman would be great from all I've seen, but I must agree that I wonder why the Mets have been reluctant to use him in more important situations. Milledge looks like Rios did before his early-season breakout, and he should be fine. I don't worry much about trading Reed J. He was fine for most of last year, but at anything less than his absolute peak he's not a big deal, hustle notwithstanding.

  Merry Christmas and/or Happy  Holidays to us all. This is a fun place.

Gerry - Saturday, December 23 2006 @ 09:52 AM EST (#161305) #
Milledge has had some "maturity" issues.  When he was first called up he got into trouble after hitting a home run when he high-fived the fans down the line as he took his spot in the field, not a good move for a rookie.  I believe his more senior teammates started picking on him late in the season.  I don't remember why exactly but it could be because Milledge didn't stay quiet and in the background as rookies are supposed to.  Milledge also made some bad plays in the field, but in his defense he is very young.  He might have trouble fitting in with the same teammates in 2007 so the Mets were dangling him as trade bait.
melondough - Saturday, December 23 2006 @ 10:19 AM EST (#161307) #

Looks like the Yankees are about to get better.  http://buccoblog.mlblogs.com/my_weblog/2006/12/too_late_the_tr.html

If this is accurate and the Yankees end up with Gonzalez by today, then they will have a very good bullpen and a decent option to go to if Rivera were to get injured.  Throw in the fact that the Jays are probably worse off then last year and the high likelihood that Clemens will soon become a Red Sox or Yankee (I think the latter) and its easily a two team race in the AL East.

It's time for JP to take some calculated risks.  By that I mean he should rather trade for the future not trade the future.  He needs to think more outside the box.  I have not looked that closely at the free agent crop for next yr but if there is, say a few targets available to replace an Overbay or a Glaus, then move one now for some high end prospect(s) and replace him latter (we probably could get Aybar and Santana from Anaheim for Glaus).  Just as an added bonus, they can then use the money saved this yr towards next season.  I would be very hesitant to trade one of those two players but that is just an example. 

It makes sense to deal anyone JP feels he won't re-sign next year or those that can easily be replaced by next year's free agent crop.  So, trade R.Johnson and do what most are saying and keep Rios.  He also needs to stay away from locking in most of the remaining free agent pitchers long term, thereby keeping his options open next year at free agent time (though I would sign Suppan to 4 yrs and $44 million).

The only free agents the Jays have after this season are Clayton and Stairs so there is nobody obvious to move in that regard, although Overbay will be a free agent 2 yr's from now.  If they won't deal him, then this time next year, they would be smart to lock him up if he repeats last year's performance.  Here's a thread showing BlueJay player contracts....

http://www.rotoworld.com/content/clubhouse_Contracts.aspx?sport=MLB&majteam=TOR

If things continue the way they are going then the Sox and the Yankees free spending habits (as well as the structure of the Japanese bidding process) will put an end to the competitiveness needed to drive attendance for the other AL East teams.  My darkest guess is the Jays would be the first to fold.  The good news is that I think it will still take another 5 or so years before the gap is wide enough for this to happen so I can only hope for salary caps to come in before then.  I am completely frustrated by the inequities in baseball.  On the positive side, I guess I am lucky I don't live in Pittsburgh or Kansas City.

 

VBF - Saturday, December 23 2006 @ 12:24 PM EST (#161308) #

If things continue the way they are going then the Sox and the Yankees free spending habits (as well as the structure of the Japanese bidding process) will put an end to the competitiveness needed to drive attendance for the other AL East teams.  My darkest guess is the Jays would be the first to fold.

And I could get hit by a car if I cross the street today. For 12 years the Yankees and Red Sox have dominated the AL East (and just the Yanks in 06). As long as you have a decent Blue Jays team that is able to sign some free agents and generate some good public relations, the team will be fine.

And assuming this dominance continues, by the point at which attendance is starting to decline, it will be time for a brand new, revenue boosting, ballpark. And given Toronto's fascination with new stadiums, this would not be farfetched to assume there's Blue Jays life beyond the days of Rogers Centre.

And besides, who talks about the Blue Jays demise two days before Christmas?

Ryan C - Saturday, December 23 2006 @ 01:16 PM EST (#161309) #
Ted Rogers is one of the richest owners in all of baseball.  As long as he controls the Blue Jays and wants them to stay in Toronto they are in zero danger.
ayjackson - Saturday, December 23 2006 @ 02:38 PM EST (#161311) #
Juan Rivera has broken his leg.  Maybe the Angels will come hard for one of our outfielders.
david wang - Saturday, December 23 2006 @ 03:22 PM EST (#161312) #
Why would the Braves want to trade LaRoche? He looks like a very good young 1B. He went 285/350/560 last year, Very good numbers.
huckamaniac - Saturday, December 23 2006 @ 03:34 PM EST (#161314) #
Brandon McCarthy to Rangers for some prospects. I thought the White Sox were trading players to make room for him.
Cristian - Saturday, December 23 2006 @ 03:39 PM EST (#161315) #

Shocking ChiSox trade.  Perhaps now the Rangers don't go after Zito and Suppan and the Jays end up with the 16th overall pick.

greenfrog - Saturday, December 23 2006 @ 03:40 PM EST (#161316) #
The Rangers rotation is shaping up. If they land Zito, they could have a pretty respectable starting four: Zito, Millwood, Padilla, McCarthy. Of course, I hope Zito stays away from Texas. We need that 16th overall pick!
TimberLee - Saturday, December 23 2006 @ 06:02 PM EST (#161318) #

There you go! Reed Johnson for Ervin Santana. That was easy.

 Do the Jays have some kind of plan I can't figure out? One by one people I thought might be worth a shot are getting signed - David Riske, Runelvys. I'm also surprised at the WSox McCarthy trade, but I think there's another shoe to drop there.

Jonathan - Saturday, December 23 2006 @ 06:30 PM EST (#161319) #
Kenny Williams is amazing.  The guy has just shocked everyone by trading away his young pitcher everyone assumed to be his #5.  Has done a great job to deal him for pitchers with even higher ceilings a year down the road when FA will actually leave real holes for the WS starting five to fill.  Between the Garcia trade and now this, they are filthy with young pitching that will allow them to restock their starting five while further trading players for more offense.

I wish we had a GM this smart.

Chuck - Saturday, December 23 2006 @ 06:33 PM EST (#161320) #

There you go! Reed Johnson for Ervin Santana. That was easy.

I'll assume that was tongue in cheek (yes, 2006 Johnson was more valuable than 2006 Santana, but will that be so in 2007?).

I'd guess that the Angels would prefer to deal with the Rivera uncertainty with cash rather than talent. That might mean being prepared to pay more of Helton's contract than previously offered (this adds a bat, if not an OF). Or they may be prepared to push McPherson harder for the starting lineup, having Figgins caddy in the OF corners when Anderson and Guerrero have to DH (even if he doesn't hit like an OF corner).

greenfrog - Saturday, December 23 2006 @ 11:20 PM EST (#161323) #
One thing about Williams and Billy Beane is that they seem to stay ahead of the curve (although in some cases, players have had to be traded or let go for budgetary reasons). Beane's dealing Mulder and Hudson at peak value was a classic example of thinking ahead.

The Jays are clearly in "win-now" mode. But at some point (possibly soon, though hopefully not for a couple of years), JP may need to make some bold moves--with a view to the future, not the present. The Jays could bring in an amazing amount of young talent if they decided to trade some established stars.
danjulien - Sunday, December 24 2006 @ 09:58 AM EST (#161327) #
But for Williams, he traded Garcia to make room for McCarthy then traded McCarthy.  I don't know what kind of message this sends a team that is battling for the division and that still has strong hopes to make the playoffs.  It would be as if JP would trade away Rios not for a starter but for a couple Top 10 prospects.  On one hand, you get a couple good prospects, on the other...you're trading away a good player that could help you right now and years from now!
Marc Hulet - Sunday, December 24 2006 @ 04:47 PM EST (#161335) #

I noticed an interesting trend while researching Jaysí statistics for an upcoming article at my MLBlog site (Out of the Nest). Recently signed Royce Clayton hits very well against the starting pitchers in the American League East. I donít doubt this influenced the Jaysí decision to bring him aboard.

NYY (career stats versus  = AVG/OPS)

Randy Johnson .310/.907

Mike Mussina .308/.770

Andy Pettitte .385/.856

Carl Pavano .154/.385

Chien-Ming Wang ---

Kei Igawa ---

 

BOS

Curt Schilling .395/.980

Josh Beckett .250/.750

Tim Wakefield .303/.779

Matt Clement .250/.500

Daisuke Matsuzaka ---

Jon Papelbon ---

 

TB

Scott Kazmir ---

Casey Fossum .167/.542

Jae Weong Seo .308/.770

Jamie Shields .333/.666

Tim Corcoran .333/.666

J.P. Howell .500/1.167

 

BAL

Kris Benson .235/.690

Erik Bedard ---

Adam Loewen .333/.666

Daniel Cabrera .333/1.000

Jaret Wright .000/.000

Rodrigo Lopez .455/1.136

Rob - Tuesday, December 26 2006 @ 09:16 PM EST (#161363) #
Recently signed Royce Clayton hits very well against the starting pitchers in the American League East.

I have to disagree. After I made use of the fabulous features of Baseball Reference (seriously, go try out this matchup feature now if you haven't before, even if there's nothing left to research), Clayton's value as an AL East Pitcher Masher takes a huge hit. (Click on each pitcher's name to see the year-by-year breakdown for that specific matchup.)

Randy Johnson: 5-17 in 2004 with 1 HR, 3-5 with a double in 2003. That's it -- he didn't face the Unit in either of the last two years and hasn't since he was a Ranger and Randy was a Snake.

Mike Mussina: A .308 batting average doesn't mean anything if it's seven years out of date.

Andy Pettitte: 5 singles in 10 AB in 2006 and 1-2 (double) in 2005. Nothing else since 2001. This is one of the rare instances with a recent history between the pitcher and Clayton.

Curt Schilling: 1-3 with a walk in 2004, 2-4 (double, walk) in 2003, then you have to go back to the days when Clemens was in Toronto. I certainly hope the Jays don't make million-dollar choices based on three hits in nine years.

Tim Wakefield: Clayton has 10 hits against him, 9 of which came from 1991 to 2000. (Interestingly enough, the tenth was a homer in 2003, which was their only meeting that year.)

Jae Seo: Two doubles and a single in five AB last year is pretty much it.

Don't get me started on Shields, Corcoran, Howell, Loewen, or Cabrera.

That leaves us with Rodrigo Lopez and his 12 PA vs. Clayton, highlighted by a pair of doubles at the end of June last year.

I donít doubt this influenced the Jaysí decision to bring him aboard.

Excuse my editorial laugh. From where I sit, Clayton can claim good past results against Lopez, Johnson, and Pettitte. Throw Seo in there and that adds up to about fifty recent plate appearances. Unfortunately, ol' Royce has 2646 PA of outright offensive suckitude to his name since 2001, and there's no doubt that influences my decision to hate this signing to no end.
Marc Hulet - Wednesday, December 27 2006 @ 09:21 AM EST (#161366) #
Obviously 1500 plate appearances would show a much more accurate assessment of a player's ability, but there is a reason why some managers play match-ups and carry around little clipboards with how a player has done against certain pitchers. Some players just hit better against some pitchers. And to say it's totally useless is silly. Sure it's not as good... But are you really telling me, with the game on the line, if you had a batter due up that was 0-for-12 against a certain pitcher and an available guy on the bench with a life-time 7-for-10 against that pitcher, you wouldn't consider pinch hitting?
John Northey - Wednesday, December 27 2006 @ 12:14 PM EST (#161370) #

When digging into matchups I figure the best way for managers to look at it would be to see what type of pitches certain hitters hit best and what pitches certain pitchers throw most to help decide, rather than how did X do vs Y.  More plate appearances, more of quality of player matchup,etc.  Is there a study out there that digs into this stuff?  Harder to track as you really need pitch by pitch data, measuring both how did player A hit a fastball, does he hit inside/outside better?  Up/down?  Is he great vs 85-95 mph but hopeless vs 96+?  Etc.

When digging into matchups it could get very, very complicated.  Sometimes it is obvious but most would be marginal shifts.   As to the pitcher vs batter, I only pay attention if a real extreme happens.  ie: the guy going 0-12, that would probably indicate something as there is only a 3% chance of a 250 hitter doing that by random odds.  Add a hit in there and the odds jump to about 13%.  Even a Mendoza line (200) hitter shouldn't go 0-12 more than 7% of the time.

Now, a guy going 5 for 5 while being a 250 hitter should be about a 1 in a thousand shot (once in 6-7 years getting 5 AB a day, never walking or being HBP for a full time player), 2 in a thousand for a 300 hitter, 1 in a hundred for a 400 hitter.  A 200 hitter has a 0.03% chance of doing that at random.  However, that same 250 hitter has about a 1 1/2% chance at doing a 4 for 5 performance, a major jump in odds (over 10 times as likely) as most players will face 70 pitchers (I suspect) thus randomly should have someone that they do that against without it meaning anything.

Extremes are indicators, but it takes a full extreme (ie: 5 for 5 or 0 for 12 stuff) or the odds are it is just randomness.

FYI: 0 for 5 odds for a 250 hitter?  24%.  0 for 10?  6%.  0 for 15=1%  0 for 20=0.3%  It takes an 0 for 24 run to get to the 1 in a thousand shot.  Just using very basic statistics here btw, 0 for 2 = 75% X 75% = 56.25%

Rob - Wednesday, December 27 2006 @ 02:28 PM EST (#161372) #
But are you really telling me, with the game on the line, if you had a batter due up that was 0-for-12 against a certain pitcher and an available guy on the bench with a life-time 7-for-10 against that pitcher, you wouldn't consider pinch hitting?

If you want to argue that managers pay attention to matchups and it influences lineup choices, I won't go against you. But that really wasn't my point. I was more concerned with debunking the notion that Clayton's ancient history against Schilling, Mussina, and Wakefield and his 15 AB from last June vs. a bunch of Devil Rays and Orioles were good reasons for the Blue Jays to sign him.
actionjackson - Wednesday, December 27 2006 @ 07:18 PM EST (#161374) #
John Northey, there is such a study in "The Book" which attempts to resolve the small plate appearance issue, by rounding up different types of pitchers and placing them into families or famigliae, e.g. the Jamie Moyer famiglia of soft tossing lefties that couldn't break a pane of glass. Because of copyright, I won't go into the subject any further, except to say: go to the link I provided in a previous post and whet your appetite for the book, by reading the excerpts from all the chapters of it. Maybe it grabs you, maybe it doesn't, but at least check out the free teasers.

Marc, you've got to give me some context for your example. Is the pitcher RH or LH? Is the batter RH, LH, or a switch hitter? How about the guy on the bench? Let me give you an example. Let's say Frank Thomas has hit 0-12 against pitcher X, who is RH. Let's say Matt Stairs is 7-10 against the same pitcher. Let's say I'm the GM and you're the manager. You decide to pinch hit with Matt Stairs for Frank Thomas. a) Matt Stairs will probably look at you like you've got three heads, not to mention your coaching staff and all the players. b) If this is a home game, I would send Ernie Whitt out to make the pitching changes for the rest of the game. c) I'd be drawing up the "pink slip" in my private box. d) After the game, there would be a press conference to announce your firing, due to "irreconcilable differences". You've got to use Matt Stairs for the Royce Claytons or Jason Smiths of the world. Sorry to be brutal, but you gave me no context, so I provided one.

actionjackson - Thursday, December 28 2006 @ 02:12 AM EST (#161378) #
A more specific example using the same two hitters. Lifetime, Frank Thomas is 1 for 9 against Jeremy Bonderman, while Matt Stairs is 10 for 21. 100 times out of 100, "Big Frank" faces Bonderman with the game on the line if I'm managing because over the course of his career he has shown himself to be a hall of fame hitter, while Matt Stairs is a good to very good hitter. I don't think I'd even give Frank the day off and start Stairs in his stead because of the quality of pitcher Bonderman is. On a day when you're facing a guy like that, you need all hands on deck. Perhaps if Reed Johnson had struggled with Bonderman, I'd give Stairs a spot start in LF, but never over Frank, unless Frank begs off with fatigue or a nagging injury.
John Northey - Thursday, December 28 2006 @ 08:18 AM EST (#161379) #
Hmm.  If Bonderman is pitching and you have the 1-9 Thomas needing a day off soon, then maybe it makes sense to put in Stairs that day rather than the next when the Jays might be facing someone Thomas has lots of lifetime success against. 

While the limited sample size makes the match up stats fairly close to random, it does give a manager the excuse to give a guy a day off if he needs it without having to worry too much about egos (ie: Frank, I was thinking of giving you a day off and Stairs has pounded Bonderman in the past so howsabout you take today off so we can give Matt his best shot at helping the team).
actionjackson - Thursday, December 28 2006 @ 05:44 PM EST (#161406) #
Based on the stats of current Jays hitters over the last three years (2004-2006), Frank Thomas comes in at number 1 in OBP, number 1 in SLG, number 1 in ISOD (OBP-BA), and number 1 in ISOP (SLG-BA). In other words, he is clearly the best hitter on the team at .264/.389/.556 and some folks here would honestly sit him down because of what he's done in 9 career AB against Bonderman, in favour of Matt Stairs who has hit .264/.350/.440 over the same time period, but has "owned" Bonderman in 21 career AB. Thomas was badly hobbled in 2 of those 3 seasons and it is not even close, except in batting average, once again demonstrating how useless that stat is as a measure of a hitters worth. Unless Thomas can't answer the bell, he should be in the lineup, particularly against a young stud like Bonderman. Thomas is the guy everything else is built around and maybe he could take his rest day against a "lesser" pitcher, but you need all your weapons against the very good pitchers in the league. Incidentally, broken down by years Thomas was 0-3 in 2003 and 2005 and 1-3 last year, so maybe he's getting on a roll. Stairs went from .545 (6-11) in 2005 to .400 (4-10) last year, so maybe he's starting to decline, after all there was a 545 point gap in BA between them during 2005 and during 2006 it was only 67 points. Maybe Thomas will outhit Stairs against Jeremy this year. Isn't it possible that small sample sizes offer very little to no predictability as to what will happen next, which of course is what everyone wants to know? Do you really think that if both hitters had 100 AB against Bonderman that Thomas would have 11 hits, while Stairs would have 48? Then you're obviously not watching the same game I am.

These small sample sizes remind me of batting averages early in the season. Through 6 games last year, Troy Glaus was batting .364/.462/.727 with 2 HR and 6 RBI in 22 AB. He was on his way to a .364/.462/.727 season with 54 HR and 162 RBI right? Pretty darn good for a guy with a career 162 game average (including last year because I'm too damn lazy to take it out) of .253/.357/.503 with 37 HR and 103 RBI, but baseball and life don't work that way. Interestingly enough, Glaus wound up with a .252/.355/.513 line with 38 HR and 104 RBI, which is pretty much bang on what he's done over his career and nowhere near his numbers through 6 games. Then there was Aaron Walter Hill. After 29 games last year, he was hitting .182/.194/.253 with 0 HR and 7 RBI in 99 AB. This projected to 39 RBI, with all the other miserable numbers. But that didn't happen did it? In fact you could've made a killing in Vegas if you'd bet he was going to outhit the career numbers he established in 2005: .274/.342/.385. He did it though as he wound up with a .291/.349/.386 line. If 99 AB was not a large enough sample size to predict what would happen the rest of 2006 for Mr. Hill, why is 9 AB enough to predict that Frank Thomas will continue to struggle against Jeremy Bonderman? Why is 21 AB enough to predict that Matt Stairs will continue to shred Bondo? The answer is that neither is enough and therefore you should go with the better hitter, injuries and fatigue notwithstanding. Period.
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