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  1. A comment about ambiguous language:

    “Would that starting five be better than any current starting rotation in the majors?”

    That could mean a couple different things. It could mean (as I believe it was intended):

    “Would that starting five be better than at least one current starting rotation in the majors?”

    However, it just as easily (and more naturally) reads as this:

    “Would that starting five be better than all of the current starting rotations in the majors?”

    Comment by Mark Geoffriau — March 20, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

  2. She wrote better than *any* not better than *every other*. I didn’t think twice about her intentions on that one.

    Comment by vivalajeter — March 20, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

  3. If I wrote the following:

    “Is Albert Pujols better than any current starting 1B in the major leages?”

    Would you assume I was asking if Pujols the best 1B, or merely if he’s better than the worst starting major league 1B?

    Comment by Mark Geoffriau — March 20, 2012 @ 1:26 pm

  4. the unmentioned AJ will win the cy young of course

    Comment by adohaj — March 20, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

  5. The sentence is certainly ambiguous, because of the word *any*, not in spite of it. If I answered using the same wording as the question, it would read:

    “Yes, that starting five would be better than any current starting rotation in the majors.”

    Comment by Ken — March 20, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

  6. This sounds a lot like that Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, and David Spade movie . . . without the promise of seeing Salma Hayek’s breasts.

    Comment by Choo — March 20, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

  7. Mark, if you wrote that sentence I would assume you were asking if he was the best 1B, because the grammatically correct meaning of the sentence wouldn’t make sense (he’s obviously better than the worst 1B).

    In Wendy’s case, she used the proper word and only one of the scenarios makes sense – obviously that rotation wouldn’t be better than Philly’s rotation. It seems like you’re calling her out for being grammatically correct.

    Comment by vivalajeter — March 20, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

  8. Don’t forget Moyer! He’s still older than all of them!

    Comment by DD — March 20, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  9. I must admit, I had to reread that sentence, but I think the only reasonable interpretation is your first suggestion.

    Comment by Barney — March 20, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

  10. I dont like the premise of these sorts of articles. Essentially what you did was state that, in your opinion, the old guys would be better than some current rotations. There is no data. There is no analysis. You just made up the numbers you ascribed to the old guys.

    An important part of a data driven analysis is accepting when there is no data to address the question you are asking. You don’t get to just make the data up and then treat it as if it is meaningful.

    Comment by Jason — March 20, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

  11. as a Pirates fan, I don’t know whether to feel insulted that the author omitted AJ Burnett and Erik Bedard, or grateful that JoJo Reyes wasn’t mentioned in the article.

    :shrug:

    Comment by gonfalon — March 20, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

  12. I thought her meaning from the headline was that they would be better than every rotation. I didn’t figure out that was wrong until reading her conclusion.

    Comment by dartjeff — March 20, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

  13. This reminds me of the line in the Ty Cobb movie where he is asked what he thinks he would hit against the pitchers today, and he says about .270. The guys says really, are they that good these days and Cobb says no, I’m 70 years old. As an old guy myself, I really think I’m a lot better baseball player than I am in reality. I suspect Andy Pettitte will find out the same thing. The rest of those guys are toast.

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — March 20, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

  14. When reading this article, I thought she meant that a rotation of those old guys would be better than every other rotation.

    Comment by sstracher — March 20, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

  15. I changed the language to make it clear that I was asking if the rotation of retirees would be better than any one rotation of the thirty current ones.

    Comment by Wendy Thurm — March 20, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

  16. Agreed, this article really had nothing to do with sabremetrics. Intellectually it was quite shallow. I expect more from you guys because you gals and guys are better than this. It feels more like one of those boring slide shows about nothing on Fox Sports.

    Comment by Shane — March 20, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

  17. If you are really buying the projection that no Pirate pitcher will go more than 130IP you are nuts. Last year all 5 Pirate starters were over 150 IP with 25+ starts and Maholm is replaced by the durable AJ Burnett (who is already throwing). I’ll take the Bucs rotation in the NL central over the O’s, A’s, Indians, Royals, Rockies, Astros, or Mets.

    Comment by PiratesHurdles — March 20, 2012 @ 4:42 pm

  18. I miss Kenny Lofton and Frank Thomas.

    Comment by Resolution — March 20, 2012 @ 5:39 pm

  19. the numbers for the old guys come from the projection systems. wendy didn’t make them up.

    Comment by brendan — March 20, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

  20. From the article:

    “We don’t have ZIPS projections for Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Mike Mussina or Greg Maddux but Marcel did provide projections for Johnson and Martinez, who pitched as recently as 2009. For Johnson, who would be in his age-48 season in 2012, Marcel projected 52 innings with a 4.36 FIP. For Martinez, who would be in his age-40 season in 2012, 60 innings pitched and a 4.13 FIP.”

    “ZIPS projections come from a secret Szymborski family recipe. I don’t pretend to know what’s in the special sauce sauce. But let’s take the Marcel numbers we do have for Johnson and Martinez, and the data we have for them, Maddux and Mussina from the last three seasons they pitched, and make some very, very conservative estimates about what they could do for a full season in 2012.”

    Translation: She made them up.

    Comment by Jason — March 20, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

  21. Ah the question is do you think they would make for better leadoff and cleanup hitters respectively than at least one of the current 30 teams combined production from those two spots in the order. Seattle Mariners, Maybe. I could see a mid forties version of each out producing modern day Chone (shoulda stayed in LA) Figgins and Justin (no poke) Smoak.

    Comment by Shane — March 20, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

  22. this is a fckin joke of an article and this website is usually above it

    Comment by matt — March 20, 2012 @ 6:45 pm

  23. Great article, Wendy. You took what could have been glib subject matter and offered a thoughtful, detailed approach. The Marcel Projections and mention of ZiPS are nice touches (I don’t know how Dan Szymborski derived the latter metric either.)

    Very nice work, as always.

    Comment by Graham Womack — March 21, 2012 @ 12:54 am

  24. He’s not retired! In camp with the Rockies.

    Comment by jrogers — March 21, 2012 @ 1:50 am

  25. No clemens?

    Comment by shthar — March 21, 2012 @ 2:28 am

  26. That assumed Pirates rotation is incorrect. Bedard should be inserted and Lincoln removed. Also, once Burnett returns, someone else will be heading to the pen.

    Comment by rcbucs — March 21, 2012 @ 9:09 am

  27. You’re right! This article is completely irrelevant and has no present-day context.

    Comment by yefrem — March 21, 2012 @ 9:38 am

  28. Agreed. Pettitte and Mussina might manage to stay at the back end of a bad rotation, but the other guys are toast. And I would say the “projections” are not conservative at all for any of them, but really really optimistic. If Martinez and Johnson were able to combine for 100 innings total, ignoring quality, I’d be shocked. I’m sure the quality of their few innings would be awful, too.

    Comment by Kris — March 21, 2012 @ 10:39 am

  29. I nominate Billy Wagner for closer.

    Comment by TheBigStapler — March 21, 2012 @ 11:12 am

  30. Even Mussina was working with smoke and mirrors that last year when he won 20 games at age 39. Now after missing 3 seasons, I’m guessing he has very little to offer at the age of 43. 140 innings, 4.50 FIP that seems unlikely to me. Truthfully those are the kind of stats I would expect from Pettitte at this point. Pettitte would be the best bet obviously at this point but I do wonder what Martinez could provide even today in a small sample size. He would never last the whole season but I could still see him dominating for a couple or handfull of games if he got in shape and had the desire.

    Comment by Shane — March 21, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

  31. It really is bad, I mean not only no present day context, Just no context at all. No predicative value whatsoever. I wonder if this quintet could even make the Toledo Mudhens better. Is someone screwing the editor because I don’t see how else this got through. I’m gonna take heat for saying that but I doubt I’m the only one whose mind considered that.

    Comment by Shane — March 21, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

  32. Thing is that might even be realistic. He missed last year but was maybe the most dominant closer two years ago at 38. Billy Wagner’s 2010 stats. 7-2, 275 ERA+, 37 saves, 70 innings, 38 hits allowed, .865 whip, 13.5 K’s per 9, 0.6 HR/9, 3 BB/9. 2.7 rWAR, 2.2 fangraphsWAR. I’m sure their are some bullpens who would give him a shot at the age of 40.

    Comment by Shane — March 21, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

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