Author Archive

Mark Cuban for Dodgers Owner

This article originally appeared on June 23rd. With news that McCourt is going to sell the team, and Cuban’s statements that he’d be interested if the price was right, we felt like it was worth reading again.

TMZ recently asked Mark Cuban if he’d be interested in buying the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“If the deal’s right and they’re fixable, then, yeah, I’m very interested,” he said.

Seriously, Cubes?

When you took control of the Dallas Mavericks in January 2000, the team was on its way to a 10th straight losing season. Some of your starters and key rotation players included Cedric Ceballos, Erick Strickland, and Shawn Bradley — in baseball terms, Late-Career Garret Anderson, Matt Treanor, and Esix Snead.

And that was the best Mavs team in a decade.

So don’t talk to me about fixable. Not when Koufax Jr.’s taking the mound every five days, and the center fielder’s a pending 40/40 machine who has flings with Rihanna, because why the hell not.

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Jonah Keri FanGraphs Chat – 8/8/11


Jonah Keri FanGraphs Chat – 8/1/11


Jonah Keri FanGraphs Chat – 7/25/11


The Phillies’ Other Guys

Let’s get this out of the way first: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels are pitching like Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz in their prime. They’re Spahn and Sain and a whole lot of pain.

They’re also not that far above, say, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner. Yet the Phillies sit well above the Giants, and ahead of every other team in baseball, with a 61-36 record.

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Jonah Keri FanGraphs Chat – 7/18/11


To Meekly Go Where Few Teams Have Gone Before

Even after last night’s drubbing, the New York Yankees own the best run differential in baseball, an impressive +112. They’re in second place.

The Detroit Tigers have limped their way to their All-Star break, allowing more runs than they’ve scored. They’re tied for first place.

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Jonah Keri FanGraphs Chat – 7/11/11


Jair Jurrjens: Lucky SOB, the New Matt Cain, or Both?

First, he was an unknown commodity, the kid with the funny name from the same little country as Andruw Jones.

Then he was the guy who got traded, after a sluggish cup of coffee in the big leagues, for Edgar Renteria.

Then he was the so-so peripherals guy, a pitcher who flashed low ERAs but seemed destined for a reckoning, given his lack of swing-and-miss stuff.

Then he was the injuries guy, suffering hamstring and knee injuries and eventually requiring surgery to fix the problem.

Even today, mlbdepthcharts.com lists him as the number-four starter on a second-place team.

Yet recently — in just the past few days, in fact — he’s gone from afterthought in the minds of most, to borderline superstar. Today, the narrative is, “That Halladay guy stinks, let’s start Jair Jurrjens in the All-Star Game instead.”

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Jonah Keri FanGraphs Chat – 7/5/11


Ben Zobrist, Stealth MVP Candidate (Again)

He’s a .266 hitter, has just nine homers, and plays for a third-place team. Yet for the second time in three seasons, Ben Zobrist is emerging as an MVP candidate. A deep sleeper, no-way-in-hell-anyone-will-ever-vote-for-him MVP candidate.

With the Rays’ 4-3 loss to the Reds today in the books, Zobrist is now hitting .266/.349/.472. Yet those numbers belie his status as one of the most versatile, and valuable, players in the game.

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Jonah Keri FanGraphs Chat – 6/27/11


Andrew Miller and The Art of the Dumpster Dive

Facing one of the worst offenses in baseball last night, Andrew Miller yielded 10 baserunners, became the first pitcher to give up a home run to Orlando Hudson all season, and walked away with a no-decision, despite facing an unimpressive mound opponent and pitching for a clearly superior team.

He also pitched out of trouble multiple times, pitched backwards when he needed to, and induced nine whiffs out of 89 pitches. For a pitcher making his first big league start of the year following an 8.54 ERA last season, three runs allowed in 5 2/3 innings ain’t half bad. Clay Buchholz‘s stint on the disabled list might not hurt much at all.

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Jonah Keri FanGraphs Chat – 6/20/11


Realignment: The AL East Quandary

Dave Cameron noted an excellent reason for favoring the elimination of divisions and unbalanced schedules, and the revamping of Major League Baseball’s playoff schedule: fairness. Eliminating a set-up that has six teams vying for the NL Central crown, and just four teams battling in the AL West, would be a welcome change.

Putting the Pirates and A’s in the same boat isn’t the only fairness improvement baseball could see with realignment. A number of writers (myself included) have noted the overwhelming challenge of having to climb over the Yankees and Red Sox every year to get to the postseason. From a purely competitive standpoint, blowing up the divisions and going to a balanced schedule would seem a major win for the Rays, Jays and Orioles.

That view ignores one key counterpoint: The three non-superpowers in the AL East see a jump in attendance and overall revenue gains from those six extra games per season against both the Yankees and Red Sox. So here’s the question: All things considered, would the Rays, Jays and O’s be better or worse off if MLB blew up the AL East and shelved unbalanced schedules?

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The Continuing Failure of Baseball Umpires

Bases loaded, one out, top of the 7th, 1-0 game. Casey Kotchman, the worst .335 hitter in the history of baseball, hits a pop-fly to right. Magglio Ordonez camps under it, makes the catch, unleashes a looping throw to the plate. Alex Avila blocks the plate with his left leg. Running hard from third, Justin Ruggiano‘s left leg briefly collides with Avila’s, as the catcher makes a swipe tag that catches nothing but air.

Home plate umpire John Tumpane, wisely, withholds his signal. Having slid past home, Ruggiano swings his left leg back, taps home plate. Avila half-heartedly tags Ruggiano’s leg a couple beats later. Now, Tumpane’s ready to make the call.

Out.

Here’s a still shot of Ruggiano’s leg on the plate, with Avila leaning over to make the tag, his glove still touching nothing but air.

Here’s the video of the play, shown from multiple angles, at full speed and in slow motion.

You make the call.

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Jonah Keri FanGraphs Chat – 6/13/11


Win Now > (Maybe) Win Later

You could have told me they were giving up the next Ruth, the next Mays, the next Koufax. That as fans, we’d live to regret the trade for the rest of our lives. Did not care, at all.

The day I found out the Montreal Expos had traded for Mark Langston, just one thought rattled through my head: “F Yeah, they’re finally trying to win something!” That one of the players headed back to Seattle in the deal really did turn out to be the next Koufax (only much taller, and yes, I’ll say it, much better) never made me change my mind.

Find the best players who can help you win right now. Don’t torch the future, but don’t jump in into the rabbit hole and spend your life chasing prospects either. That’s a losing game.

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Jonah Keri FanGraphs Chat – 6/6/11


Jonah Keri FanGraphs Chat – 6/1/11