Archive for November, 2010

Tejada to The Other Part of The Bay

About four years ago, Baseball Prospectus offered this exchange during the Winter Meetings:

Scene: Cal Ripken, Steve Finley and Jim Leyritz are sitting on a couch in the Opryland hotel.
Observer: “All that’s missing is Brian Sabean and a pen.”

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Get Rid Of Free Agent Compensation

Draft pick compensation is a decent enough idea in theory. By rewarding teams who cannot retain their own high-quality players with extra selections each summer, low-budget franchises should get additional prospects to try and remain competitive with those who can spend liberally in free agency. The problem is that it just doesn’t work.

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Cardinals Acquire Ryan Theriot

As seen here, yesterday, as written by yours truly, regarding the Juan Uribe acquisition:

If the move is simply to replace [Ryan] Theriot with Uribe, it is a mistake.

If I’m one to stick by my words, then I have to call this deal a mistake, seeing as the Dodgers just traded Ryan Theriot to the Cardinals in exchange for Blake Hawksworth. Read the rest of this entry »

Colorado: The New Bull Market

Over the weekend, Ireland became the second Eurozone country to get a significant bailout from its neighbors in order to head off a large scale financial collapse. Yesterday, the President issued a two year wage freeze for all federal employees as a response to the continuing weakness in the economy. Unemployment has shown few signs of recovery, and the housing market continues to struggle. After some years of free spending, the world is now focused on deficits and debt reduction.

The Colorado Rockies, however, think everything is going to be just fine. Read the rest of this entry »

Making Postseason $ When Missing The Playoffs

If you wonder why expanded playoffs won’t be coming until 2012, this explains a small part of it.

Yesterday, the league announced World Series shares for the 2010 postseason – an extra bonus for the players that make the postseason (for those wondering a full share for the Giants was $317,631.29 while the Rangers got $246,279.55 for winning the ALCS). But, it’s not just those that make the postseason that earn some extra green. Here’s how postseason shares are currently defined:

The players’ pool, formed from 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first three games of the Division Series and 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first four games of the League Championship series and the World Series, was divided among 12 clubs: the World Series participants, the League Championship Series and Division Series runners-up, and the four regular season second-place clubs that were not Wild Card participants.

That’s right. Those that came close to making the postseason, but not quite, get postseason bonuses even when they don’t make the postseason. So, this year the White Sox, Padres, A’s, and Cardinals were the beneficiaries. Here’s the breakdown:

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Top 10 Prospects: The Florida Marlins

The Florida Marlins
2010 MLB Record: 80-82 (3rd in the NL East)
Minor League Power Ranking: 25th (out of 30)
Click for: Last Year’s Top 10 Prospect List

The Prospects

1. Matt Dominguez, 3B
Acquired: 2007 1st round (California HS)
Pro Experience: 4 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: AA
Opening Day Age: 21
Estimated Peak WAR: 4.5

Notes: Dominguez has long been known for being a defensive player first and an offensive player second. The former No. 1 draft pick did nothing to take away from that notion in 2010, as he posted a .337 wOBA in double-A at the age of 20. His ISO rate of .158, accumulated between 2009-2010, goes to show that he currently projects to have average-at-best power for the hot corner. With that said, his 34 doubles in 2010 suggest he could develop more over-the-fence power down the line. Dominguez is not gifted with plus bat speed. He takes only a slight stride when batting and he shows a minor upper cut in his swing at times. Dominguez has a good arm at third base and solid hands, but some have questioned his range. He could appear in the Majors in 2011, but look for him to be ready for full-time duty in 2012.

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Offseason Notes, Starring an Illustrative Graph

This edition of Offseason Notes contains:

1. Equal parts insult and injury.


2. An illustrative graph.

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Florida Marlins Farm System Discussion

It’s no secret that success for an organization like the Florida Marlins must begin with a healthy scouting department. This has long been a team that has either used prospects (or homegrown regulars) to acquire greater talent, and filled their 25-man roster with Marlins draftees. Even with the team’s busy November — acquiring Omar Infante, John Buck, Javier Vazquez — this payroll will always be one that demands a foundation of youthful stars.

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Plugging The 2011 Hardball Times Annual

In the interest of full disclosure, I am included among the writers in this year’s book from the guys at The Hardball Times, but I do not receive additional income from sales of the book. The opinions that follow are simply how I feel about their product, and not some kind of scheme to make any extra money for myself.

Sitting about four feet away from me is a copy of The 2011 Hardball Times Annual. I would love to give you a full review of the book, but that would require me to read the whole thing, and given the depth of content in this year’s copy, that will take me a while. So, instead, here’s a few of my favorite tidbits that I’ve picked up from the book so far, which double as reasons why you should go buy this thing right now.

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Dodgers Give Juan Uribe Three Years

At this point last winter Juan Uribe was still more than a month away from signing. The year before he was two months away from signing a minor league deal. This year he has found a deal before the calendar flips to December. The Dodgers have signed him to a three-year, $21 million contract, stealing him away from the division-rival Giants. On the surface that represents a nice three-win swing between the two teams, but there is plenty more that goes into this deal.

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Javier Vazquez’s Fastball Is Probably Not Coming Back

As RJ noted yesterday, the Marlins gave Javier Vazquez $7 million for the 2011 season, hoping for another rebound season after a switch back to the National League. Vazquez’s career peripherals are quite good, and he was one of the game’s best pitchers in 2009 with the Braves, so there are reasons to think that it is a reclamation project worth taking on. There’s also this:

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Dodgers Risk Little on Garland

Outside of the Javier Vazquez and Tsuyoshi Nishioka news, the only move of note over the holiday was the signing of starter Jon Garland by the Los Angeles Dodgers to a one year, $5 million deal. Garland moves from divisional foe San Diego, where he posted good traditional numbers (14-12, 3.47 ERA) in exactly 200 innings with the Padres.

Garland is the quintessential “innings-eater.”

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The Marlins Prepare to Add Javier Vazquez

For the second time in Javier Vazquez’s career, he will rejoin the National League after a miserable season with the New York Yankees. Following the 2004 season, the Yankees traded Vazquez to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Barring an injury, Vazquez will play for his third National League East team in 2011, as he has chosen to sign with the Florida Marlins by his own devices.

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Thoughts on Nishioka

This was originally written on November 9th. It has moved back to the front page as a reference for Twins fans who want to read about their newest potential acquisition.

On Monday, a story that had been circulating around the Japanese press re-emerged in the US, with Tim Kurkjian reporting that Chiba Lotte Marines shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka is due to be posted this week. The Japanese media heavily covered the story when it first broke, but died down during the Nippon Series, which the Marines won. Now that hot stove season has kicked into gear there’s more to talk about.

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Russell Martin’s Future With the Dodgers

It wasn’t all that long ago that the Los Angeles Dodgers’ young catcher Russell Martin ranked among the best at his position in baseball. After two disappointing seasons, including an injury-shortened 2010, Martin is a potential non-tender candidate for the team. Whether or not a non-tender would be the right decision depends on Martin’s likely 2011 performance relative to his salary, where the Dodgers see themselves in relation to contention, and what they think of Martin’s health.

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FanGraphs iPhone App, $0.99 Sale!

For a limited time the FanGraphs iPhone app is on sale for $0.99.

Existing and new owners of the app will also find the 2011 Bill James projections in the player pages. I can also confirm that the app will include live and updated data for the 2011 season.

Bud Selig and Kennesaw Mountain Landis

For the past several years, Bud Selig has been a guest lecturer in Marquette Law School’s 7303 course, “Professional Sports Law.” His daughter (and successor as owner of the Brewers) Wendy Selig-Prieb, was a 1988 graduate of the law school. On Tuesday, the school announced that Selig was formally joining the school as adjunct faculty.

As it turns out, Commissioner Selig has an even deeper connection to Marquette: Kennesaw Mountain Landis lectured there in 1909, when he was a federal district court judge in Chicago, long before he became baseball’s first commissioner in 1921. Marquette law professor J. Gordon Hylton did a little digging and discovered that Landis’s lecture was entitled “Public Criticism of the Judiciary,” in which he used the example of baseball to defend the right of individuals to criticize judges:

Adverse criticism — denunciation that is unjust can permanently injure nothing or nobody. And as a rule its impotency increases with its bitterness. But very great injury can be done even a virtuous cause by an attempt to forbid inquiry into it or comment upon it… I have been going to baseball games for thirty years. I never saw a game or heard of one where somebody did not call the umpire a robber or a thief, and yet no intelligent man doubts the integrity of baseball.

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Bartlett on the Market

With the Tampa Bay Rays facing a budget crunch and possessing a home-grown prospect (Reid Brignac) capable of similar production at a fraction of the cost, shortstop Jason Bartlett figures to open the 2011 season in a new city. It’s possible that the Rays non-tender the 31-year-old, but it’s more likely that Tampa finds a trade partner. Bartlett’s name has been tied at various times to the Orioles, Nationals, Giants, Cardinals and Padres. What sort of trade value does Bartlett have?

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FanGraphs Chat – 11/24/10

Top 10 Prospects: The San Diego Padres

The San Diego Padres
2010 MLB Record: 90-72 (2nd in the NL West)
Minor League Power Ranking: 26th (out of 30)
Click for: Last Year’s Top 10 Prospect List

The Prospects

1. Simon Castro, RHP
Acquired: 2006 non-drafted free agent (Dominican Republic)
Pro Experience: 4 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: AA/AAA
Opening Day Age: 23
Estimated Peak WAR: 4.5

Notes: Castro reached triple-A in 2010 at the age of 22. The hard-throwing right-hander pitched the majority of the season in double-A and posted a 3.32 FIP in 129.2 innings of work. He showed respectable control with a walk rate of 2.50 BB/9, but his strikeout rate dropped from 10.07 K/9 at high-A in ’09 to 7.43 K/9. As he continues to face more advanced hitters, Castro will need to improve his slider and changeup to go along with his 90-95 mph fastball. The young pitcher has nice balance on the mound and stays tall through his delivery. He does land on a stiff leg at times and there is a little effort in his delivery, which puts some strain on his shoulder. He throws with a low-three-quarter arm angle and does not have a ton of deception. Despite the mildly alarming drop in strikeouts, Castro is by far the team’s best prospect, but he likely still needs another half year of seasoning in the minors.

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