Michael Phelps is in the news again. Instead of dating strippers, he's just doing drugs now. I dont have much problem with it, but the olympic committee just might, like not letting him swim in the olympics. At least he can retire early and go back to doing what he does best, being a douche
Believe it or not but the bulls are only 1.5 games behind the bucks and zero games in the loss column for the 8th and final playoff spot in the eastern conference. Considering the bucks just lost michael redd for the season with a torn ACL/MCL, the outlook actually looks decent for the bulls to get destroyed by the celts in the playoffs. Loul Deng is finally returning to his 06-07 form averaging 18/6/2 in the month january with a solid +/-. Noah and Thomas appear to be bringing their game on a consistent basis, however the center position is pitiful. According to my favorite basketball sabr website, the bulls rank dead last in offensive and defensive PER, sabr efficiency formula with 15 being league average, at the center position. That might be a problem.
Interestingly enough, one of the most infamous and utterly hilarious trades in the history of major league baseball is absent from this list: the notorious trade of Hall of Famer Dave Winfield from the Twins to the Indians.
"During the 1994 baseball strike, which began on August 12, Winfield was traded to the Cleveland Indians at the trade deadline on July 31 for a "player to be named later." The 1994 season was cancelled two weeks later, so Winfield did not play for the Indians that year and no player was ever named in exchange. To settle the trade, Cleveland and Minnesota executives went to dinner, with the Indians picking up the tab. This makes Winfield the only player in major league history to be traded for a dinner."
1913: When the St. Louis Browns concluded spring workouts, they didn't have enough money to pay the rent they owed on the Montgomery, Ala., ballpark where they'd trained. So they gave the local minor league team a rookie infielder named Clyde Ellsworth "Buzzy" Wares to satisfy the bill.
1920: Before he made it to the majors, Lefty Grove pitched for the Martinsburg (W. Va.) Mountaineers. In June, a storm leveled the outfield fence at the town's ballpark. The Baltimore Orioles, then of the International League, agreed to pay the price of a new fence, about $3,500, if Martinsburg would fork over Grove.
1962: In April, the Mets traded catcher Harry Chiti to the Indians for a player to be named later. On June 15, the Mets received the PTBNL, who turned out to be Chiti, making Chiti the first player to be traded for himself (in 1987, in the same sort of scenario, Cubs pitcher Dickie Noles was also traded for himself).
1971: The Kitchener Concordia Kickers of the Canadian National League deemed Istvan Gaal such a pathetic player that they swapped him to the Toronto Hungarians for a soccer ball worth $27.50. Kickers president John Fischer said, "I think it was a very fair trade. We didn't give him away for nothing."
1973: In March, Yankee pitchers Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich (a Mariners reliever in 1977) swapped families and houses. Marilyn Peterson, her youngest child and their dog went to live with Kekich. Susanne Kekich, her youngest child and their dog went to live with Peterson. The unusual trade prompted Yankees GM Lee McPhail to declare, "We may have to call off Family Day."
1983: The Seattle Breakers of the Western Hockey League traded the rights to left-winger Tom Martin to the Victoria Cougars for a team bus. At the time of the swap, Martin was playing at Denver University and had stated that he wished to play in his hometown of Victoria. The Spokane Flyers purchased the bus from Trailways in 1981 for $60,000. When the Spokane franchise folded, the Cougars purchased the bus, but it remained in the United States because Victoria could not afford to pay customs, excise and sales taxes. The Breakers finally obtained the bus for Martin as well as $35,000. "I didn't think much about it at the time," Martin recalled later. "But it was a real nice bus."
2006: Romanian soccer club UT Arad sold defender Marius Cioara to Regal Horia in exchange for 33 pounds of meat. The deal turned out badly for Regal Horia because Cioara decided to retire. A Regal Horia official told Romania's Pro Sports daily, "We are upset because we lost twice -- firstly because we lost a good player and secondly because we lost our team's food for a whole week."
1998: A Romanian first division soccer club named "Jiul Petrosani" found itself so strapped for cash that it traded one of its players, midfielder Ion Radu, to a Romanian second division team for $2,500 worth of pork. At the same time, Jiul Petrosani also transferred defenseman Liviu Baicea to another Romanian club for 10 soccer balls.
There's no particular reason that you should have, unless you followed independent minor league baseball ten years ago (or watched the MLB Network earlier today). Apparently, in 1998, Krahenbuhl -- six years removed from his brief stint as a minor league Cubs pitcher -- was traded from the now defunct Oxnard Pacific Suns to the also defunct Greenville Bluesmen for $1,000 and "a player to be named later." That "player to be named later" was 10 pounds of catfish.
And if that wasn't strange enough, in his first start as a Bluesmen, Krahenbuhl tossed a perfect game.
(and just in case you hadn't heard of John Odom, he is an independant league baseball player who was traded last season for ten baseball bats because he couldn't get a worker's visa to play for the Canadian baseball team who signed him)
Today, the Cubs moved another out-of-options (OOO) player in Ronny Cedeno, whom we traded to the Mariners for Aaron Heilman. I really like this move, as Heilman is an underrated bullpen arm with great control (3+ K/BB from 2005-2007, had a bad year last year). This move should shore up the Cubs late game security.
Next on the Radar is Rich Hill, who three unknown teams are allegedly interested in. Personally, I don't think it's a good idea to sell low on Hill; we should at least give him a shot in spring training to prove himself as still capable of pitching.
Another move made today (as predicted) is the Cubs signing Paul Bako to a one-year, $750,000 deal. I don't understand why we didn't just resign Henry Blanco, who usually posts CS% in the high 30's/low 40's.
Finally, a few rumors on the rumor mill. According to ESPN, the Cubs are in talk with Juan Uribe to replace Ronny Cedeno as the team's primary utility infielder. Additionally, ESPN is reporting that the Cubs are planning on pursuing Randy Wolf and Braden Looper, who is almost as bad and expensive as Jason Marquis, if they cannot get Jake Peavy.
This led him to sign a guaranteed contract with the Tampa Bay Rays last week. He will be a backup outfielder and could get a lot of playing time to start the season if B.J. Upton is not ready to go. What’s interesting about the contract is the salary. He will be making $1,000,000.18. He wanted the 18 cents because his lucky number is 18 for Chai. If he was really Jewish he would have made it 18 dollars!
Chris Paul is a sick sick man. He doesnt play in a mike d'antoni system like steve nash did, and he doesnt run a pick and roll offensive like jerry sloan does for deron williams. He is just a sick baller who cannot be stopped. Tonight against the 76ers, paul went for a cool 27/10/15/7 line. That's 3 steals short of the oh so rare quadruple double. If you thought a perfect game or an unassisted triple play is a rarity, consider that there have only been 4 such occurrences in the history of basketball. David Robinson and Hakeen Olajuwon stand out and only one occasion where steals was the 4th category. 10 steals is much harder to get than 10 blocks, but i predict Paul will one day to it. He did just set the record for most consecutive games with a steal so anything is possible.
"It wasn't just the black people who made sacrifices. There were a lot of white people who died to help the cause. We seem to forget them. And I thought about where are we going now."
Can someone explain to me what he's talking about. Apparently he feels sorry for the white man. Back to lab
The answers are:
1. There is no available video for the first myth, but Mythbusters proved that putting cork in a bat actually reduced the momentum of the batted ball by up to 50%. In other words, if Sosa truly was playing with a corked bat, not only was he cheating himself out of homeruns, but he was also significantly more powerful than fans ever gave him credit for!
Yes, but it only works on reflected glare (not direct sunlight)
3. I couldn't find a video for the humidity myth, but Mythbusters proved that there is a noticeable impact on the home run propensity of baseballs stored in humid areas.
5. I couldn't find a video for the sliding myth, but Mythbusters proved that sliding is unequivocally more effective by fractions of a second.
Not by a human, no.
Now I have actually had the privilege of meeting the star Illini cornerback Vontae Davis, younger brother of high draft pick, big bust TE Vernon Davis, and he's a really funny guy and I wish the best for him.
But I think he's going to be like his brother. A high draft pick and a big bust. Mel Kiper predicts him to go as the 17th overall pick. Luckily this puts him at the New York Jets and not the Chicago Bears (at 18). Because frankly, I don't want him.
Last year was Vontae's best year. He had like 14 INTs. This was also Illinois' best front 7 in recent memory. Last year, Illinois wasn't bad at all getting to the QB which made the secondary, and Vontae Davis much better. But this past year, when the front 7 was not very good at sacking, Davis' weakness in coverage were shown.
As I mentioned in a much earlier post about CBs, INTS are a misleading stat, I want to watch how good a defensive back is in coverage. And frankly, after watching Vontae for two years, I just don't see it yet.
Now V.D. is fast as all hell and possess the raw skills and talent to potentially be a good corner, but it seems to me if you're not good in coverage at the college level, you won't be in the pro level.
Now again, I wish all the best for Vontae and I want him to be successful. I also think it looks good for the Illini program that we have two first rounders two years in a row. But as much success as I want V.D. to have, I just don't see it for him. I'm sorry Vontae. But mothafucka, get PAID, homey!
Let me start off by saying I think he's an above average quarterback that's very mobile, smart, and crazy accurate.
But there's one giant flaw that if he was a free agent, I don't think my beloved Bears should spend a lot of money signing him (although looking into him wouldn't be a bad idea). He's a system quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger is as good as is he because he was lucky enough to get drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He possesses skills to be a great quarterback but he's on a team that highlights his strengths and diminshes his weaknesses.
The big problem with Big Ben is that he isn't asked to throw a whole lot per game. The Steelers during Ben's reign (for the most part) have had a great running game so Ben is only asked to throw about 20-30 times per games. Plus the Steelers defense has been one of the best in the NFL during this time with the Steelers. So the great running game, the stingy D, and Ben's accuracy have made the Steelers a great and winning franchise, but they win with Roethlisberger not because of him. Let's look at his stats during his five year stint.
2004: Steelers running game: 4.0 YPC- 2nd in NFL
295 attempts- 28th in NFL
98.1 passer rating- 5th in NFL
66.4% completion %- t-4th in NFL
2005: Steelers running game: 4.0 YPC- 5th in NFL
268 attempts- 30th in NFL
98.6 passer rating- 3rd in NFL
62.7% completion %- 9th in NFL
2006: Steelers running game: 4.2 YPC- 10th in NFL
469 attempts- 11th in NFL
75.4 passer rating- 21st in NFL
59.7% completion %- 19th in NFL
2007: Steelers running game: 4.2 YPC- 3rd in NFL
404 attempts- 16th in NFL
104.1 passer rating- 2nd in NFL
65.3% completion %- 7th in NFL
2008: Steelers running game: 3.7 YPC- 23rd in NFL
469 attempts- 14th in NFL
80.1 passer rating- 24th in NFL
59.9% completion %- 21st in NFL
Last year, the 2008/2009 season, Roethlisberger had his 2nd worst statistical year ever. He had the 2nd lowest completion percentage and 2nd lowest passer rating of his career. It's no surprise that the Steelers running game was by far the worst Big Ben has had in his 5 years and he tied his career high in passing attempts. 2006 was the other year in which he threw so much and this was the year in which he had his career low in passer rating and completion percentage. This WAS Big Ben's worst statistical year. I don't think it's a coincidence that Ben Roethlisberger's two worst years was the years in which he had to throw the most.
Ben's two best years was the 2005/2006 season and the 2007/2008 season. In 2005, Ben was 30th in passer attempts. There are 32 teams in the NFL. This year the Steelers running game was the 5th best in the NFL. In this year, Ben had the 2nd best completion percentage and passer rating in his career. In 2007, Ben experienced the best running game of his career. He only threw 404 times; that's an average of a little less than 27 times a game. ONLY 27! This was the only year in which Ben had a passer rating over 100 and had the 2nd best completion percentage on his career (his best was his rookie year when he only threw it 295 times).
If Big Ben was on the vast majority of other teams and other systems, I believe his numbers would see a significant decline. Ben Roethlisberger has yet to show me he's an elite QB on his own. I will change my mind if he shows me he can have a high number of attempts AND a high completion percentage. The 2008/2009 season was his chance to show he can take an offense on his back and he failed miserably.
This is why I don't like Ben Roethlisberger.
As the name indicates, these points are "free" and should never be underestimated in how valuable they are. The history of the NBA has shown that a top player for any given year most likely scores between 25-30 points per game. Now we have to consider how many field goal attempts he averaged that year. If a guy scores 20 points by taking 20 shots per game, he is a BAD player. That is a bad ration of points to shots and very inefficient if you want to win games. Think about it, most teams average between 75-80 shots per game. If your best player gets only 1 point for every shot he takes, your team isnt going to score much and lose. That is a problem with Derrick Rose at this point in his career. He does not get to the free throw line enough to be considered a top player. He averages about 16.5 points on 15 shots per game. That is highly inefficient. He only averages 3 FT's per game. A great player who scores 26 points per game will most likely average about 20 shots per game. When Kobe averaged 35 and T-Mac averaged 33, the didnt simply have out of this world seasons, they simply took more shots because the team around them sucked. Those years kobe took 27 shots, per game, much more than his career average of 19, and T-Mac took 24 shots that year well above his 18 career average.
What stays consistent year to year is free throw attempts is directly proportional to a players efficiency and most times effectiveness. One example from last night. Al Thornton shot 13-28 for 34 points. The extremely high shot total accounted for the 34 point game. He got to the line 6 times and made all 6 shots. So a solid but not great night for the 2nd year player. His teammate Eric Gordon shot 12-19 for 41 points. So he took 9 less shots and scored 7 more points. Far more efficient. How? He took 8 more free throws and made 6 more than Thornton. A spectacular night!! And it just so happens that the best and most talented guys are the ones who get to the line the most. Here is the top 20 this year in FTA per game. Tell me who of these is not great?
1 Dwight Howard (10.7)
2 Dwayne Wade
3 Kevin Martin(most underrated player in NBA)
4 Devin Harris
5 LeBron James
6 Corey Maggette
7 Chris Bosh
8 Shaq O'Neal
9 Danny Granger
10 Amare Staudemire
11 Brandon Roy
12 Kobe Bryant
13 Chris Paul
14 Paul Pierce
15 Kevin Durant
16 Carmelo Anthony
17 Dirk Nowitzki
18 Tim Duncan
19 Chauncey Billups
20 Gerald Wallace(6.4)
Coincidence, I think not.
2 examples on the other spectrum. Peja Stojakovic this year has taken just 44 free throws in 34 games and Bobby Simmons has only taken 31 free throws in 40 games. Both of these players are paid in excess of 10 million and both of them suck!
In other news, no one cares.
1) Boston Celtics - Have no bench as their two "reliable" guys are eddie house and glenn david. Marbury would be a great addition, yet the starters are the best in the NBA. This year it has been allen and rondo carrying the club as opposed to garnett and pierce showing how powerful the starters really are.
2) Orlando Magic - 2 words, Dwight Howard. Although he's not a first option offensively, his presence is that of a HOF center. Orlando just set the record for 3' in a game with 23 thanks to open looks for Lewis, Turkolu, and the much improved Jammer Nelson 51%. Pietrus should return soon and give them more depth and a great perimeter defender.
3) Cleveland Cavaliers - 2 words, LeBron James. Best point differential in NBA due to emphasis on defense. However, unless LeBron channels his inner Jordan in the playoffs, they will be exposed for lack of talent around LeBron come the playoffs.
4) Atlanta Hawks - Lost some of the defensive edge they had finishing last year and beginning of this. Joe Johnson has regressed mainly due to increased shot totals. Mike Bibby is having his best year since the Kings glory days, however the team is still too young and short on the bench to compete for the pennant(wait wrong sport)
5) Philadelphia 76ers - This team in on fire right now. Iguandala is red hot after a slow start and the rest of the starters are solid, consistent performers. Respect Andre Miller. The bench is mainly composed of grinders(good in basketball) and the flair or Louis Willaims. Once Brand is back in shape, this team can contend with the Hawks.
6) Miami Heat - The team in greatly improved from last year, but is still short on number of top players. Wade must carry the team every night, hence him leading the league in scoring. This is reminiscent of great scoring seasons of Kobe on bad Laker teams and T-Mac on bad Magic teams. Chalmers was a great 2nd rounder and Dequan Cook is becoming one of the best 6th men in the league, but the inconsistency and decreasing playing time for marion and beasely is holding this team back.
7) Detroit Pistons - 2 words, Rasheed Wallace. He embraces everything that is wrong with this team. They just don't have the will and fire power to maintain their "Detroit Basketball" style. Wallace is too high to care. He's a freakishly talented 7 footer who take 10 3-pointers a game calls it a day. Replacing Billups with Iverson basically ended their chance of competing this year. With Hamilton now on the bench for the all world Amir Johnson, their only upside is Rodney Stuckey who is showing to be the best player on the team.
8) Milwaukee Bucks - Scott Skiles does what he does. He has put together a solid roster with upside. Redd has improved in January much like Iguandala. The combo of jefferson and vilanueva give them big, skilled scorers. And they have their share of grinders up front with bogut and Luc Richard. Should slide into the playoffs especially with more production comes from 1st rounder Joe Alexander
9) Chicago Bulls - My judgment is skewed on this team so the ranking may be way off. They are pitiful to watch. Their center is Aaron Gray. However, when the team in healthy with gooden, Hinrich, and deng on the court, the Bulls are still competitive against the average teams in the league. God bless Derrick Rose. There is hope
10) Charlotte Bobcats - This team depends on their defense to win games and they have been doing that much more often after the Boris Diaw/Raja Bell trade. Gerald Wallace is an efficient SG. Anyone who didnt this Augustine was big enough to play in the NBA was wrong. This guy can shoot and gets to the line at a Dwight Howard rate.
11) New Jersey Nets - This team has overachieved thus far and I expect them to fall off quickly. Vince Carter is still half man, half amazing, half the time. Devin Harris and Brooke Lopez are the only keepers. They need to clean house including Lawrence Frank.
12) Toronto Raptors - By far the most disappointing team. The problem is squarly on the coaching. Firing Mitchell as the right move, hiring Triano was not. This team is the 5th most talented in the East according to my observation. They have size, depth, shooting, but no direction. Hopefully they can turn it around and challenge for the 8th seed.
13) New York Knicks - I have never been a fan of the D'Antoni system. I dont understand how letting 30% 3-point shooters fire at will and playing 7 guys 40 minutes each every game is suppost to equal wins. It kinda worked in phoenix, but Amare and Nash work in Phoenix. The knicks are in better shape than last year, but thats not saying much. David Lee and Chandler are keepers but the rest need to go before LeBron comes to town
14) Indiana Pacers - Another team with no direction. They play absolutely no defense and hope to outscore some lowly team every now and then. The assembly of this team makes no sense. Danny Granger has to carry the team every game like Wade, except he has even less talent around him. Lets face it, the team is just too white to be any good.
15) Washington Wizards - Worst team in the NBA. Their only chance of winning comes when jamison and butler each go for 30+, which happens about 20% of the time, hence their 20% winning percentage. The rest of the team is garbage. I used to this Blatche had upside, but he makes tyrus thomas look like a polished player. Nick Young looks like the goods, but another guard isnt what the team needs.
Fangraphs put Varitek's production value at an astonishingly high $5.6 million (he contributed 1.2 Value Wins to the team, each win being worth [according to calculated league average salary/win contribution] $4.47 million). Baseball Prospectus indicated that the career of a Catcher begins to (sharply) decline somewhere around the age of 32:
"Catchers hold their value pretty well during their late 20s, comparable to other positions. The 30 to 33 range is very volatile... after age 34, things go downhill very quickly for catchers, a trend noticeable even in the very small sample sizes beyond age 35."
At this point, however, the Red Sox are in dire need of a capable major league-ready catcher for the 2009 season if they plan on competing. To this point, I assert that the Red Sox sign Varitek to a contract worth no more than $3-4 million a year for no more than two years. Seeing as how Varitek turned down arbitration and would cost any team who signs him a draft pick, Varitek is being flagged. There is little room for him to negotiate a 2009 salary if he plans on playing anywhere other than Boston sometime before June (at which point, he is going to have to take a partial season pay cut anyway). A low value (perhaps incentive laiden) two year contract would be ideal because it would give the Red Sox three viable options for the future at the backstop, in my opinion.
- Wait two years and sign Joe Mauer, who will be a free agent in 2011 at age 28 (just to clarify, Mauer will turn 28 right before the 2011 season), to an extended contract (4-6 years). Upside: with enough money to spend, the Sox could probably pull this off no problem. Downside: signing Mauer would almost assuredly cost the Sox their first round pick.
- Trade Michael Bowden for Taylor Teagarden. The Red Sox have a very deep farm system when it comes to pitching; the converse is true about their minor league catchers. Obtaining a young player with as much upside as Teagarden could provide much future security for the Red Sox behind the plate.
- Trade Clay Buchholz for Max Ramirez or Jarrod Saltalamaccia. Same logic as assertion #2, only I've downgraded the pieces of the trade on both sides of the table. It's already publically know that the Rangers covet Bowden and Buchholz and won't trade any of their young catchers for anything less than top talent. Given the Rangers' surplus of talent behind the plate, a swap of player depths between Boston and Texas seems most logical (especially since the Dbacks probably aren't willing to give up Miguel Montero at a reasonable price).
First of all, do you know how hard it is to appear in five Championship games!? My roommate pointed out to me that if you have a first round bye all you have to do is win one game and you're in the Championship game. Three responses to that: First, if this year and Denny Green's Vikings are any indicator, it's not necessarily the easiest thing to win just one playoff game. Second, to be in the position to have a first round bye is impressive. In fact, to lead your team after 16 games to earn a first round bye is really good and almost better than just one sole game. Lastly, not all of McNabb's NFC Championship appearances came when his team earned a first round bye. Like this year- his team was the 6th seed and went to the big game.
It's an extremely impressive feat to be so good to make it to five NFC Championship games. Many QBs don't even have the chance to make it to one nevertheless five. Yes, he didn't make it to the ultimate goal (winning a Superbowl) but when you come that close for this long, you don't deserve to get shit on like he does.
Here's some examples of other great sports people in recent history who came close to winning it all but didn't, yet still doesn't get close to the amount to crap that McNabb does (that I can think of right now):
-Jim Kelly (QB- Bills). He went to four straight Superbowls and never won once (although he should at least one but stupid fucking Scott Norwood...)
-Bobby Cox (Manager- Braves). His team went to 14 straight playoffs and only won one World Series even though he had arguably the greatest rotation in history (plus a darn good offense throughout the years to go along with it)
-Alex Rodriguez (3B- Yankees). Yes people blame him all the time for choking in the playoffs but if he retired today I think he'd be in the Hall of Fame. Plus, SMALL SAMPLE SIZE SMALL SAMPLE SIZE!
-Peyton Manning (QB- Colts). Before this douchebag won in 2006 he had been to plenty of postseason games in the pros AND in college and seemingly never was able to win a big game. But how much criticism did we hear about this!? Very little.
-Dan Marino (QB- Dolphins). As great and awesome and excellent as a QB Marino was, he only made it to one SB and lost it.
Now I know McNabb respectively is nowhere near the talent that each of these four men are at their position, but seriously, don't dismiss all of what McNabb has done based on four or five games.
And in further respect, McNabb (except for one year with T.O. AND in the playoffs T.O. was injured and didn't play) has never had a legit #1 receiver and Andy Reid is just retarded in how he uses Brian Westbrook so McNabb loses a little something from throwing so much and the Eagles not running nearly enough. Also, the entire Eagles team and how many games they win or lose is not ALL on Donovan's shoulders; teams do have defenses you know.
Now in all fairness, the fact that McNabb has not been able to win a Superbowl with five prime opportunities is most certainly a fault of his. I mean seriously, with his first 3 appearances he most certainly should have won those games. But the fact that he didn't isn't as big of a deal as the media and Philly fans make it out to be. And McNabb (while his career is not over) has not shown to me that he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Not like Peyton or Kelly and of course he's not even in the same league, not even in the same breath as Dan Marino. But (as Skip Bayless likes to say) if there is a Hall of Very Good, McNabb would fit right in.
McNabb is still an above average QB and better than the vast majority of QBs both this year and throughout his career. The fact that he's lost four out of his five NFC Championship games is a fault, but he's still a fucking good QB and as a Bears fan, I'd still love to have him.
And in case you were offended by my title yet still read all of my article, it's a fucking joke- get over it.
The Sun-Times is reporting that the Tribune Company has (unofficially) selected Thomas Ricketts as the new Owner of the Chicago Cubs. Rickett's bid is speculated to be around $900 million.
According to the unnamed source who "confirmed" the Ricketts selection by the Tribune Company, Tom Ricketts -- who met his wife in the Bleachers at Wrigley field -- is said to have offered the most stable and conservative financing package to purchase the Chicago Cubs. Given that the Tribune Company recently filed for Bankruptcy, the selection of Tom Rickets seems to make the most sense because Sam Zell probably wants to unload as much of the Tribune's debt as quickly and as fiscally sound as possible.
SPIN: Thomas Ricketts is a wealthy, long-time Cubs fan who once lived above a bar across from Wrigley Field. Hopefully, if selected as the new owner, he will do all in his power to ensure future and present Cubs victories as more than just a financial stakeholder.
"To understand the romantic sweep and swaggering musical ambition that define Bruce Springsteen's first album of the Obama era, you have to go all the way back to an artifact of the Ford administration."
Welcome to the Obama years, America.
1) All postseason games will be played to their conclusion.
2) Head to head records will replace the coin flip in determining home field advantage for the tie-breaker game in division and wild card races.
Did everyone else know about these changes? Am I the only one who cares?
There had been speculation that the broadcast duo of Joe Morgan and Jon Miller for Sunday Night ESPN baseball was going to split up ending their reign of terror on baseball fans everywhere. But ESPN decided to go a different direction by adding STEVE PHILLIPS to the sunday night broadcast. Dear GOD no!! Thats like throwing gasoline on a fire, like letting Michael Jackson babysit your kids, like cheating on OJ Simpson. Just don't do it!
Players who annually rank top 10 in G/9:
01. David Eckstein (Small Guy, Big Heart, TWO World Series Rings!!)
02. Derek Jeter (Captain Clutch, Mr. November, makes appearances on SNL)
03. Darren Erstad ("The Punter", dirties up his uniform every single game)
04. Scott Posednick (From Rule 5 To Fifth String OF!: The Scotty Pods Success Story)
05. Jacque Jones (strong ability to try hard trumps weak arm and inability to walk)
06. Justin Mornaeu (Captain Clutch Jr.)
07. C.C. Sabathia (completes every game he starts and has the ability to pitch on three days rest five consective times late in a season after throwing over 5oo innings over the past two seasons because he's "competitive")
08. K-Rod (you might as well nickname him Jesus for all the shit he saves)
09. Juan Pierre (Mr. "What Is This New-Fangled OPS Shit? Did You See How Many SBs Pierre Had In 2008?")
10. Carlos Zambrano (His sheer manliness prevents him from hydrating during games)
Players who annually rank bottom 10 in G/9.
01. Alex Rodriguez (anti-clutch, "overpaid")
02. Adam Dunn (doesn't try, not entertaining enough to watch, can't run the 50 yard dash in 3 seconds)
03. Barry Bonds (cheater, drug-user, sells poison milk to school children)
04. Jason Giambi (the biggest bust in baseball; only hits 33 HR a year)
05. Aaron Harang (strikeouts are fascist, couldn't get Cy Young votes if his life depended on it, brags too much about his 4:1 strikeout rate, what are statistics?)
06. Pat Burrell (his career .852 OPS is too inconsistant)
07. Frank Thomas (clogs the bases, strikes out too much)
08. Johan Santana (ONLY won 16 games in 2008; his inability to complete every outing last year showed his lack of competitiveness [that and the fact that he did not pitch on 3 days rest five consecutive times])
09. Bert Blyleven (ONLY has 3701 career strikeouts, ONLY has 287 wins, no perfect games)
10. Mark Teixeira (his refusal of an 8-year, $140 million contract from the perennial losers that are the Texas Rangers in favor of an 8-year, $180 million contract from the perennial winners that are the Yankees makes him greedy)
Paul DePodesta was depicted as the stat nerd in the book "Moneyball". He was the guy who would sit behind Billy Beane looking up stats on his stat finder and reciting those stats over to Beane for final approval. He was to be the next great GM and so was hired by the Los Angelas Dodgers to drive them into the groud...errrr...bring them back to prominence in a cost efficient way. He did get his economics degree from Harvard, what could possibly go wrong?
He turned out to be no Billy Beane, not even close for that matter. One of his major problems can be summarized in his last blog post, yes he has a blog for some reason. Being apart of the San Diego Padres front office, he commented on the teams recent signing of none other than David 'MVP' Eckstein. Paul speaks very highly of Eckstein's grindiness. I mean he has the dirtiest uniform in sports, you cant even clean it cause it's so dirty. Cause he grinds. And he wins championships all by himself, well him and his grindiness that is.
C - Brian McCann, Chris Ianetta, A.J. Pierzynski, Brian Schneider
1B - Derrek Lee, Kevin Youkilis
2B - Mark DeRosa. Dustin Pedroia, Brian Roberts
SS - Derek Jeter, Jimmy Rollins
3B - Chipper Jones, Evan Longoria, David Wright
OF - Ryan Braun, Curtis Granderson, Brad Hawpe, Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Quentin, Grady Sizemore, Shane Victorino, Vernon Wells
SP - John Danks, Jeremy Guthrie, Scott Kazmir, John Lackey, Ted Lilly, Roy Oswalt, Jake Peavy
RP -Jonathan Broxton, Joey Devine, Brian Fuentes, J.P. Howell, Matt Lindstrom, Joe Nathan, J.J. Putz, Chad Qualls, B.J. Ryan, George Sherrill, Scot Shields, Matt Thorton, Justin Verlander, Brad Ziegler
C - Wilkin Castillo, Miguel Olivo, Ronny Paulino
1B - Carlos Pena, Albert Pujols
2B - Adrian Beltre, Robinson Cano, Placido Polanco
SS - Jhonny Peralta, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Miguel Tejada
3B - Aramis Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez
OF - Moises Alou, Melky Cabrera, Vladamir Guerrero, Jose Guillen, Alfonso Soriano, Willy Taveras
SP - Daniel Cabrera, Fausto Carmona, Johnny Cueto, Ualdo Jimenez, Fransisco Liriano, Pedro Martinez, Odalis Perez, Wandy Rodriguez, Ervin Santana, Edison Volquez
RP - Jose Arredondo, Santiago Casilla, Fransisco Cordero, Juan Cruz, Octavio Dotel, Carlos Marmol, Damaso Marte, Tony Pena, Rafael Perez, Edwar Ramirez, Ramon Ramirez, Frenando Rodney, Jose Valverde, Jose Veras
C - Henry Blanco, Ramon Hernandez, Dioner Navarro, Humberto Quintero, Max Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval
1B - Carlos Guillen, Oscar Salazar
2B - Alex Cabrera, Jose Lopez
SS - Cesar Izturis, Macier Izturis, Marco Scutaro, Omar Visquel
3B - Miguel Cabrera, Melvin Mora
INF - Edgar Alonzo, Jose Castillo, Jesus Guzman
OF - Bobby Abreu, George Blanco, Endy Chavez, Carlos Gonzalez, Magglio Ordonez, Gerardo Parra, Juan Rivera
SP - Armando Galarraga, Angel Guzman, Felix Hernandez, Anibal Sanchez, Johan Santana, Carlos Silva, Carlos Zambrano
RP - Jose Ascanio, Rafael Bentacourt, Carlos Carrasco, Cesar Jimenez, Jorge Julio, Jose Mijares, Victor Moreno, Fernando Nieve, Renyel Pinto, Juan Rincon, Fransisco Rodriguez, Victor Zambrano
C - Raul Casanova, Bengie Molina, Yadier Molina, Pudge, Geovany Soto, Javier Valentin
1B - Carlos Delgado
2B - Felipe Lopez
SS - Mike Aviles, Alex Cora,
3B - Mike Lowell, Ramon Vasquez
INF - Ivan DeJesus, Luis Figueroa, Andy Gonzalez, Jose Valentin,
OF - Carlos Beltran, Hiram Bocachica, Jesus Feliciano, Luis Matos, Alex Rios, Andres Torres, Bernie Williams
SP - Jonathan Sanchez, Ian Snell, Javier Vasquez, Joel Pineiro
RP - Giancarlo Alvarado, Federico Baez, Fernando Cabrera, Kiko Calero, Pedro Feliciano, Nelson Figueroa, Javier Lopez, Ivan Maldonado, Josue Matos, Juan Padilla, Saul Rivera, Orlando Roman, J.C. Romero, Jose Santiago, Tomas Santiago
C - Cole Armstrong, Luke Carlin, George Kottaras, Pete Laforest, Brett Lawrie, Russell Martin, Chris Robinson, Max St. Pierre
1B - Justin Morneau, Joey Votto
2B - Pete Orr
SS - Chris Barnwell, Cale Iorg
3B - Shawn Bowman
OF - Jason Bay, Matt Stairs, Mark Teahen, Aaron Guile, Jamie Romak, Adam Stern, Nicholas Weglarz
SP - Chris Begg, Jesse Crain, Jeff Francis, Rich Harden
RP - Eric Gange, David Davidson
P - Phillipe Aumont, James Avery, T.J. Burton, Rheal Cormier, Eric Cyr, Scott Diamond, Bryan Dumesnil, Steve Green, Blake Hawksworth, Mike Johnson, Christopher Leroux, Kyle Lotzkar, Brooks McNiven, Alex Periard, Vince Perkings, Scott Richmond, R.J. Swindle, Phillipe-Alexandre Valiquette
C - Rod Barajas, Humberto Cota, Genonimo Gil, Miguel Ojeda
1B - Adrian Gonzalez
2B - Luis Cruz, Edgar Gonzalez, Augie Ojeda
SS - Jerry Hariston Jr., Omar Quintanilla
3B - Jorge Cantu, Freddy Sandoval
INF - Juan Castro, Erubiel Durazo, Augstin Murillo, Oscar Robles, Jorge Vasquez
OF - Alfredo Amezaga, Karim Garcia, Scott Hariston, Cristhian Presichi, Mario Vanezuela
SP - Matt Garza, Yovanni Gallardo, Jorge De La Rosa, Jorge Campillo, Oliver Perez
RP - Joakim Soria, Eddie Guardado, Luis Mendoza, Ricardo Rincon, Denny Reyes, Oscar Villarreal
P - Luis Ayala, Fransisco Campos, David Cortes, Elmer Dessens, Rafael Diaz, Edgar Gonzalez, Arturo Lopez, Rodrigo Lopez, Pablo Ortega, Heriberto Ruelas
C - Kenji Johjima, Sinnosuke Abe, Toru Hosokawa, Yoshiyuki Ishihara, Shinji Takahashi
2B - Akinori Iwamura
INF - Yasuyuki Kataoka, Menenori Kawasaki, Kenta Kurihara, Nobuhiko Matsunaka, Suichi Murata, Hiroyuki Nakajima, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Michihiro Ogasawara, Kensuke Tanaka
OF - Norichika Aoki, Kazuki Fukuchi, Kosuke Fukudome, Arsunoria Inaba, Yoshiyuki Kamei, Ichiro Suzuki, Seiichi Uchikawa
SP - Dice-K, Yu Darvish
RP - Masahide Kobayashi, Hideki Okajima
P - Kyuji Fujikawa, Hisashi Iwakuma, Minoru Iwata, Takayuki Kishi, Satoshi Komatsu, Takahiro Mahara, Katsuhiro Nagakawa, Toshiya Sugiuchi, Masaru Takeda, Masahiro Tanaka, Hayato Tehara, Tetsuya Utsumi, Tsuyoshi Wada, Hideaki Wakui, Shunsuke Wantanabe, Tetsuya Yamaguchi
Panama: the big names
C - Carlos Ruiz
OF - Carlos Lee
RP - Manny Acosta, Manny Corpas
Italy: the big names (no Mike Piazza)
C - Mike Napoli, Vinny Rottino
1B - Frank Catalanotto
SS - Nick Punto
RP - Jason Grilli, Mike DiFelice
The Netherlands: the big names (no Andruw Jones)
SP - Jair Jurrjens
RP - Rich VandenHurk
Australia: the big names
SP - Drew Naylor
RP - Grant Balfour, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Phil Stockman
Korea: the big names
OF - Shin-Soo Choo
Chinese Taipei: the big names (no Chien-Ming Wang)
No MLB players
China: the big names
No MLB players
Cuba: the big names
No MLB players
South Africa: the big names
No MLB players
Rich Harden, who has a history of injury and is currently rehabbing a "minor labrum tear" that often warrants surgery to repair, was listed as a provisional player on the Canadian roster. Harden also threw 110 innings over what he did in 2007. All flags point to GM Jim Hendry pulling Harden from the WBC as an injury risk.
Alfonso Soriano, who has had leg injuries each of the last two years that have kept him out of a cumulative 65+ games, is slated to play for the Dominican Republic.
Carlos Marmol, who played in over one-half of the Cubs games last year (82 games, 87 innings), is also slated to pitch for the Dominican Republic.
Then there is Carlos Zambrano, whose career of heavy workload put him on the DL in late August/September, is set to throw for Venezuela.
Ted Lilly is set to pitch for the USA, despite throwing career highs in innings each of the last two years.
Finally, there is Geovany Soto (Puerto Rico), who needs to work with the pitching staff during spring training (not the WBC team)
All in all, you have guys with heavy workloads and looming injuries slated to add to their 162-game long season. That's just a recipe for disaster. Recall Peavy's 2006 season; the added workload from the WBC ultimately tired him out enough to add a full run and a half to his end of season ERA.
The 2008 Yankee's cumulative net payroll win-value was +12.23 million. The win-profit margin is nothing impressive, given the size of the Yankees payroll (est. at $210 million).
As one might notice, there are very many negative value contracts on the Yankees payroll for the primary roster spots. Carl Pavano, Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi were the most inefficiently paid players on the 2008 squad; each had a win-value profit margin below -$10 million.
Johnny Damon, Xavier Nady and (suprisingly enough) Derek Jeter were the only primary offensive players whose contract values provided a postive win-value profit margin.
It was the Yankee's pitching, anchored by rookie arms, that kept the team's cumulative win-value profit margin positive. Players like Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, who were paid in peanuts, kept payroll way down while providing the team some value along the way. That and Mike Mussina's stellar final year in the majors.
A-Rod, suprisingly enough, wasn't really overpaid in 2008. He provided the Yankees with just enough offese to create $160,000 in win value profit.
What one could conclude from this graph is that the 2008 Yankee's offense was, indeed, highly overpaid.
These are just the few players I can think of off the top of my head from the past two seasons.
The overall contract profit of the team's rotation and bullpen comes out to about $43.5 million, meaning that the Cubs organization did a decent job at value pricing contracts in 2008. Of course, this neglects the impact of backloaded contracts, which easily skew payroll efficiency.
The team's biggest losses were in Jon Lieber, who cost the team roughly $4.4 million, and (no suprise here) Bob Howry, who was overpaid by about $3.6 million. Though Jon Lieber really wasn't that bad outside of 3 outings, his injury and minimal playing time lead to a negative WARP in 2009.
Zambrano was also a hefty loss at -$3.48 million, although much of that negative value comes from his late season injury/ineffectiveness. Prior to mid/late August, I'm sure that the contract value was about even. Regardless, it is easily discernable that Zambrano is overpaid at his current rate as Dempster and Harden, who had better years than Big Z, had production values that only slightly edged out Z's 2008 cost; as Z's costs increases over the next few seasons, the probability that he provides a contract profit will decrease -- even (and especially) if he produces at his career averages for the remainder of his tenure with the Cubs.
What you may find shocking in this data is that Jason Marquis had a slightly profitable contract in 2008, producing $1.8 million above his salary value. In 2007, his contract profit was even higher. However, this is and was largely due to contract backloading (Marquis is set to make $9+ million -- or little under one-half of his three year, $21 million contract value -- in 2009). If his contract were to have been evenly set at $7 million a year, his two-year contract profit value with the Cubs would have been a cumulative $1.2 million (Marquis was worth $7 million in 2007). So while Marquis may have sucked, he surely wasn't overpaid -- at least not relative to the rest of the league.
On a final note, given Kerry Wood's overwhelming productive contrubution to the team (his contract profit was fourth to only Harden, Dempster and Marmol) in 2008, I'm shocked the Cubs decided not to bring him back for 2009. Even at a cost of $10 million last year, he would have been "underpaid."
This information is courtesy of Fangraphs.com, who calculated the 2008 pitcher WARPs and WARP values.
News came today that Rich Harden has a partial tear in his pitching shoulder. He chose to forgo surgery and and rehab using Larry Rothschild's patented towel throwing methodology. Rothschild may have to work on his brutal honesty saying Harder is no where close to pitching off a mound. Injuries are mostly unpredictable. Alfonso Soriano was never on the DL prior to joining the cubs, yet has spend much of his 136 million dollar contract on the DL. JD Drew was notorious for sitting out half the season prior to finally leaving St Louis for the Braves. It wouldnt surprise me if Milton Bradley played out 140 games for the Cubs this year. However, some guys just can't help but break down physically, mentally, every freakin year. Harden and Prior seem to fit description to a tee. Prior may never see a baseball field again, and harden is destined to spend much of every year on the DL. Lets just hope it's the 15 day DL and not the 60
The Cubs traded him today for two pitchers, left-hander Garrett Olson and right-hander Henry Williamson. Olson is 25 years old year and was a rookie last year. As a rookie he went 9-10 with a 6.65 ERA. In his minor league career he was 12-10 with a 2.96 ERA in 71 career Minor League appearances.
Olson will either be used as trade bait or will battle for Marshall for the 5th spot in the rotation. The other candidates for the 5th spot are Angel Guzman and Jeff Samardzija. If we keep Olsen this mean we will have at least one lefty in the bullpen besides for Neal Cotts who is very inconsistent.
I think Olson will be traded though. The road blocks in the Jake Peavy trade was Jason Marquis contract, and not enough pitching prospects. We received pitching prospects from trading Pie and DeRosa. Thus, those obstacles are no longer in the way. As long as Kevin Towers the GM of the Padres doesn’t demand to many prospects including Sean Marshall, Josh Vitters, and all the other prospects we just got in the trades this off season. We will see what happens.
2) My prediction of a Steelers/Eagles Superbowl seems to be coming to fruition
3) The White Sox still haven't made a move to address their key concerns
4) The Chicago Cubs still haven't made a move to address their key concerns- although they've added players (haha fuck you Cubs fans!)
5) Boerhs and Bernstein still blow
6) Mac, Yurko, and Harry still blow
7) The Milwaukee Bucs have a better record than the Bulls! WTF!?
8) I have really absolutely no idea what's going on in sports
9) You three post WAY too much- and that's coming from ME
We are all aware that the world is moving exclusively to the digital age. This has greatly enhanced the sports watching experience making it much more pleasurable in the process. Personally speaking, i couldn't live without my tivo/DVR. Those are essential components to any true sports fanatic. Firstly, sports was never meant to be watched with commercials. How moronic is it that there is a commercial every half inning during a baseball game. With the gift of the DVR, you can simply skip over the commercial in 3 seconds flat, unless the sale at Macy's turns you on or something. Secondly, you dont even have to be home to see any sporting event. Just set the DVR to record one or two events from that night and then watch it in half the time when you get home. This isnt anything overly new. The VHS has been around for decades, but the digital recorder and high definition 16:9 televisions have taken it to an extreme.
However there are flaws with with the digital signal and the reason i'm writing this useless blog entry tonight. Knowing that I was going out for Chinese with the folks, I set the DVR to record both the Bulls and Blackhawks game that I was gonna stay up till 4am watching in crystal clear HD (btw, this is my example of the perfect night). I get home, turn on the Blackshawks game, and what do I see? A frozen, distorted, ruined hockey game. I couldnt play it, fast forward it, or watch a single second of it. Motherfucker!! This almost never happened with VHS. The picture may suck, the sound may go in and out, but it got the job done. With the DVR, it's more like flipping a coin to see if it records the game.
So if you ever lost an important recording, or your computer went dead, or an extermal hard drive erased all of your photos from Cancun, you can blame it on the digital world. You take the good with the bad, but god knows i couldnt live without it.
The big news today from the Cubs convention was the news that Carlos Zambrano is going to have laser eye surgery before the start of the baseball season. Somehow this is supports to add the 5 mph and nasty sink on his fastball that he has apparently lost the past 2 years. This procedure has actually improved many hitters ability to identify pitches. Denard Span of the Twinkies had the procedure last year allowing him to tear up AAA and secure a job in the majors. Consequently, both Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer are having the same prodecure done this winter.
I recommend something different, something better! In 2005, Brian Roberts started wearing special red contact lenses that helped him identify pitches better. Despite his season high of 5 home runs prior to the 2005 season, his 10 homers in April of 2005 seemed kinda strange. I thought this was the new steroid, but it never seemed to catch on. How awesome would it be if Big Z was starring down hitters with Bull red eyes and possibly a little more control
January 9, 2009
Let Freedom Ring
Busting the Myth of the Salary Cap
by Shawn Hoffman
Small-market teams love salary caps. Or rather, they think they do. At least on paper, caps stop teams in New York, Boston, and Chicago from oligopolizing the free-agent market, and should therefore help level the economic playing field. And, to a certain extent, they do; a small-market team in a capped league is more likely to acquire or retain top-tier talent. But there's a catch. That same small-market team will need to win, and keep winning, just to stay financially viable. And sometimes, winning might not even be enough.
Let's say, in some far-off universe, MLB owners and players actually did agree on a salary cap. With it would come the normal provisions: a salary floor at around 75-85 percent of the cap, and a guaranteed percentage of total industry revenues for the players. Since the players have been taking in about 45 percent of revenues the past few years, we'll keep it at that figure (the other three major sports leagues, which are all capped, each pay out over 50 percent).
Using 2008 as an example, the thirty teams took in about $6 billion (not including MLB Advanced Media revenue), for an average of $200 million per team. Forty-five percent of that (the players' share) is $90 million, which we'll use as the midpoint between our floor and cap. If we want to make the floor 75 percent of the cap (a low-end figure, relative to the other leagues), we can use $77 million and $103 million, respectively.
With a $103 million cap, nine teams would have been affected last year, and a total of about $286 million would have had to be skimmed off the top. Since total salaries have to remain at existing levels, the bottom twenty-one teams would have had to take on this burden, which had previously been placed on the Yankees, Red Sox, et al. On the other end, fourteen teams would have been under the payroll floor, by a total of $251 million. Even discounting the Marlins' $22 million payroll, the other thirteen teams would have had to spend an average of $15 million more just to meet the minimum. Some of those teams might be able to afford it; most wouldn't.
Imagine being Frank Coonelly in this situation. Coonelly, the Pirates' team president, has publicly supported a cap. Had our fictional cap/floor arrangement been instituted last year, the Pirates would have needed to increase their Opening Day payroll by $28 million. Not only would the team have taken a big loss, but Neal Huntington's long-term strategy would have been sabotaged, since the team would have had to sign a number of veterans just to meet the minimum payroll.
Now fast forward to 2009. Let's say the Pirates' sales staff runs into major headwinds, with the team struggling and the economy sinking. The team's top line takes a hit, falling $10 million from 2008. The Mets and Yankees, meanwhile, open their new ballparks, and each team increases its local revenue by $50 million. If the twenty-seven other teams are flat, total industry revenues rise by $90 million (not including any appreciation in national media revenue). Forty-five percent of that, of course, goes to the players. So even as the Pirates' purchasing power decreases, the payroll floor actually rises.
In other words, without a more egalitarian distribution of income, the system crumbles.
Until recently, the NFL has been uniquely fit for this type of model, since most of its revenues have come from national television contracts. But now, with local revenues rising, small-market teams are feeling the pinch. This past May, the owners unanimously voted to opt out of their CBA, which was supposed to run through 2012. Some blamed the players' share of revenues. Others, including Dan Rooney of the Steelers, cited the need for more local revenue sharing.
But sharing local revenue has a major drawback: it is a tax, which inevitably lowers incentives and decreases output. If the NFL shared all (or even most) local intake, why would an individual team ever look to maximize revenues at its own cost (i.e. by hiring a sales staff, or cleaning its own stadium)?
The NHL, which also has a hard cap, does very little revenue sharing, partly thanks to an overly convoluted system. On a league-wide level, the results have been very positive; the NHL has had record revenues every year since its lockout, and Gary Bettman has been very positive about this season as well. But the NHL is a great example of why caps and capitalism don't mix: as the league grows, it ends up leaving teams behind. Small-market clubs like the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Nashville Predators are forced to spend almost two-thirds of their revenue on player payroll. And the Phoenix Coyotes, after years of hemorrhaging money, are on the verge of going bankrupt.
So what's the best solution? Certainly not the NBA's soft-cap system, which has too many problems to even count—imagine having to take on Luis Castillo or Carl Pavano every time you wanted to unload a high-priced veteran.
So instead of these models, what if there was an uncapped league, with limited local revenue sharing to support small-market teams, and a post-season system that naturally created tremendous parity? Does this sound familiar? It should. It's what MLB has had in place for over a decade, leading to record growth in both attendance and revenue.
The expanded postseason is key. More than any other sport, MLB's playoff system acts as an equalizer. Fair or not, in broad strokes, a team that wins 83 games in a bad division has as much chance of winning the World Series as the Yankees or the Red Sox. Seemingly, no matter how much those teams spend over the winter, that competitive advantage is neutralized come October.
So while the capped leagues all struggle to find the right balance between capitalism and socialism, baseball continues to prosper operating within a much more free-market system. Teams in big markets and small markets alike are making money, and everyone has a chance to win it all.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And right now, baseball is anything but broke.
(Note: All salary data taken from the Lahman Database.)
So chalk up the Cubs offseason moves:
-Cubs re-sign SP Ryan Dempster, who is 32 and had an uncharacteristic career year, to a $4 million, four-year deal.
-Cubs trade super utility man Mark DeRosa (and his $9 million '09 salary) for 3 grade B- prospects.
-Cubs sign SS/2B Aaron Miles to a two-year, $4.9 million deal
-Cubs sign OF Joey Gathright to a one-year, $800K deal
-Cubs get trade SP Jason Marquis (to free up payroll and migrains) for RP Luis Vizcaino.
-Cubs sign injury/temper-tantrum prone Milton Bradley (who plays great when he actually plays) to a three-year, $30 million deal that has an injury protection clause (3rd year is a vesting option based on his health in 2009)
-Cubs sign So Taguchi to a one-year deal worth $900K
So far, I can't say anything other than the Bradley move has been an improvement for the Cubbies. I think we overpaid Dempster (whose 2008 seemed more like a statistical aberration rather than a sustainable level of production based on his career numbers) and I would much rather have Peavy on the team leading the roation. Hell, I might even prefer Kerry Wood.
This offseasons looks worse and worse every day. At least the Padres got to David Eckstein before us...I wish we had a new GM :(
Here are Rickey Henderson's numbers and here are Tim Raines' career stats. They played during the exact same era, in opposite leagues, for about the same time. Look at the 162 game averages for the two players and you will find the smallest of small differences. Although Henderson may be 7% better than Raines, he is 70% better than Raines in terms of hall of fame voting among baseball writers(95%-23%). This is ridicules. Let me tell you the main difference. Rickey played in New York and California and spoke in the third person. That is what Rickey did and that is what Rickey does. Raines played in lonely Montreal where they dont even speak english and measure homers using the metric system. Raines was the penultimate leadoff man in all of baseball for 20 years, just behind Rickey the Great. They should be entering the hall of fame side-by-side as the leadoff men for the AL and NL, but it was never to be for "the rock"
You guys have probably no seen this, but a funny idea of dressing up a portly baby as Kansas football head coach Mark Mangino has become an internet sensation. Baby Mangino recently won deadspin.com sports human of the year award beating out people like Erin Andrews, Isiah Thomas, Chris Berman, and even Matt Lienart. Here he is!
So how is he not in the hall of fame?
Note: If Blyleven doesn't get in, Mussina probably won't either.
The ideal batting lineup (in the AL) would have been:
This team, on average, would produce 5.922 runs-per-game (RPG). Three other teams would have been equally productive, with similar lineups. However, something that remains noticibly consistant between permutations is that 1) Soriano should be batting (according to this data) in the #8 spot, while Ramirez should be (and rightfully is) batting in the #4 slot. Most combinations also have Edmonds batting #2 and Soto #3.
Given all possible permutations, however, the team's overall RPG average was calculated to be 5.761. This would have yielded a grand total of approx. 919 runs.
In reality, the Cubs "only" scored 855 runs (while giving up 671).
Once you factor in the fact that a pitcher hit in the #9 hole (as opposed to Reed Johnson or Fukudome) and that the team used much more than nine offensive players, the predictive figure doesn't seem to be too far "off the mark" of what the Cubs actually produced. I think it's clear that, like any other team in the NL, the Cubs would have been a better offensive team in the AL, but that there is some untapped potential for 2009.
The lineup in 2008, as I often complained, wasn't being maximized.
I think it’s probably fair to say that Adam Dunn, for all his obvious talents, can be a remarkably frustrating player to watch.
The sheer enjoyment one derives by observing players is much more important than winning games. Aaron Rowand is an MVP.
He is a dreadful left fielder, a designated hitter in outfielder’s clothes.Adam Dunn's range factor is generally below league average.
He’s slow, though it should be noted that he’s not a bad baserunner…according to the Bill James baserunner analysis he’s actually a very GOOD base runner.
Adam Dunn is so slow is that, despite being a very good baserunner who scores on hits, he isn't fast enough to be fun to watch.
He’s brutal going first to third, as you might expect, but he tends to score from second on singles and from first on doubles, he doesn’t run into many stupid outs, he doesn’t get caught stealing,
So what if he doesn't make outs and scores runs? His jogging isn't fun to watch. Believe me you, Adam Dunn is no Willy Taveras!
and he doesn’t ground into many double plays
He's also no Derrek Lee!
(though in his case that probably has little to do with his running and a lot to do with his fly ball tendencies and his many, many strikeouts.If only Adam Dunn stopped hitting balls out of the infield (and out of the park) and slapped the shit out of grounders like Michael Bourne; imagine the possibilities.
He strikes out a ton. He hits .225 with runners in scoring position for his career (and over his career he has never hit better than .248 in those situations).
Who needs to hit the ball with runners in scoring position when you hit yourself in 40 times a year and walk 20% of the time?
He walks (797 times) about as often as he gets a hit (955 hits) — those walks might be good for value but that doesn’t make them fun to watch.
Fuck winning and valuable contributions. I want to see great plays, not great players.
There is a sense around the game that he does not especially like playing baseball; and nobody who has watched him play with any regularity would argue that he demonstrates Willie Mays’ joy.
Again, who gives a shit how little you try or how little enthusiasm you show when you rack up 40 home runs and 122 walks in the process? That's like saying "the U.S. Constitution is a piece of shit because James Madison didn't like writing as much as John Locke and other Enlightenists."
At the same time, I think it’s probably also fair to say that Willie Bloomquist, for all his obvious shortcomings,
Shortcomings like hitting one extra-base-hit (a double) all season long (192 PAs)
can be a fun player to watch, if you are a certain kind of baseball fan.
The kind of fan who enjoys singles and watching a player contribute to 101 losses with an 83 OPS+ in 2008.
He plays all the positions — he has at least 10 games at every position but pitcher and catcher — and he seems to play them all credibly.
Tony Pena Jr. struck out Pudge last year. So what?
He can run (he has stolen 71 bases in 87 attempts), and he hustles, and he has that underdog thing going for him.
He doesn't hit 40 home runs like clockwork or walk 122 times a season, but MAN is Bloomquist a hotdogger! He's got so much heart! He might even be the next David Eckstein (who, likely out of work for 2009, just penned the century's most anticipated baseball novel "Have Heart").
He has only six career homers, but, hey, one was a grand slam.
Hey, even though he really sucks, he did have one good at bat once.
No one who has ever watched Willie Bloomquist play would doubt that the guy loves ball.
No one who has ever looked at Willie "underdog" Bloomquist's career numbers would ever doubt how bad he is at baseball.
Yes, in my mind, Adam Dunn and Willie Bloomquist are almost perfect opposites.
Adam Dunn is good at baseball and Willie Bloomquist is not. End of article.
And while they are not anything close to equal baseball players, I would also say that you would not want to build a whole team of Bloomquists or Dunns.
Actually, if you were to tell me I could build a major league roster of players who would all hit 40 home runs and walk 120 times a season, I'd cum in my pants.
According to the Baseball Musings Lineup Analysis — one of my favorite toys— a whole team of 2008 Adam Dunns would average 6.67 runs per game — so that’s 1,080 runs per season. A whole team of 2008 Willie Bloomquists, meanwhile, would average 4.177 runs per game — 677 runs per season. So using the Musinator, Dunn is 400 or so runs better offensively than Bloomquist. That sounds about right to me.
According to data from 2005-2008, teams that scored 5 runs in a game had winning percentage (in those games) upward of .613, while every run scored beyond the fifth seemed to increase the team's winning percentage by about .100. By contrast teams who scored 4 runs per game won approximately .465 of the time. Considering that Adam Dunn's career OPS+ is 30% above league average and Willie Bloomquists is 26% below league average, I'd say Baseball Musings Lineup Analysis did a good job here.
Of course, it’s downright frightening to imagine how two Adam Dunns would turn the double play.
They'd make up for the error by walking and then hitting a two run blast in the bottom of the inning.
By the way, this Lineup Analysis is sort of a fun way to compare players. Take the great NL MVP race of 2008. According to the Musinator, a team of 2008 Albert Pujols would score 1,488 runs for a season. A team of 2008 Ryan Howards would score 977 runs for a season.
In other words, Adam Dunn isn't as good of a player as Albert Pujols, but he's better than Ryan Howard. You see no objections by me here.
So, by this way of thinking, Pujols is 500-plus runs better. And he’s a much better defensive player, and a much better base runner, and … I’m really not sure why this was ever really an argument.
In actuality, the 2008 NL MVP wasn't much of an argument. Idiot sportswriters like you, however, tried to fuck it up with ancient, obsolete baseball intuition.
It’s also a fun way to look at the Hall of Fame Ballot. Here, using the players career numbers, is what a complete team made up of each player would score for a season:
Mark McGwire: 1,199 runs per season.
Rickey Henderson: 953 runs per season.
Jim Rice: 948 runs per season.
Tim Raines: 918 runs per season.
Don Mattingly: 916 runs per season.
Dale Murphy: 880 runs per season.
Dave Parker: 864 runs per season.
Andre Dawson: 837 runs per season.
Alan Trammell: 812 runs per season.
For a guy who is knocking on Adam Dunn, you just showed that his career numbers, thus far, would surpass those of Shoe-in hall of famer Rickey Henderson. Granted, Dunn is in his prime and has yet to regress on the back end of his career, but he's still a really fucking good player.
Of course, that’s just offense, and it doesn’t take into account much base running,
Considering that Bill James has already proven that Adam Dunn's baserunning is well above average, who cares?
Perhaps you could just visit www.baseballprospectus.com and look up these player's WARPs and we wouldn't be having this pointless arguement. It's not like researching sports to make an educated opinion is your job or anything...
I find all this to be a little bit more than an interesting side note — I think that, in many ways, Dunn and Bloomquist represent opposing philosophies about baseball.
The old good versus bad philosophy?
I think the Adam Dunn philosophy is built around what you can see, what is measurable, what is cold and hard and real.
Not to mention what is consistent and independent of luck.
With Dunn, you get a titanic power hitter who plays every day, hits long home runs (exactly 40 ever year — no more, no less), walks a lot, strikes out every three or four at bats, plays zero positions, doesn’t have much speed and doesn’t do those little things that show off his great love of the game. The Dunn Way is the Michael Corleone Way, strictly business.
Adam Dunn is a souless robot who hates baseball and would murder his own brother if given the opportunity.
The Willie Bloomquist philosophy, meanwhile, is built around passion, what is intangible, this sense that if you can get a bunch of guys who KNOW HOW to play the game, who LOVE the game, who HAVE BASEBALLS BEATING IN THEIR CHESTS,
First and foremost, this is not "the Willie Bloomquist way"; it is the David Eckstein way. David Eckstein patented "heart" in 2002 and renewed the copyright in 2006.
Secondly, as clearly evident by his career 74 OPS+, Willie Bloomquist doesn't not "know how to play the game" of baseball, no matter how much he "loves" it.
then you can do wonderful things (even if the players can’t hit worth a damn).
Actually, without getting on base or clubbing home runs, you can't do shit. No matter how fast you run.
With Bloomquist you have an astonishingly weak hitter who plays occasionally, cracked ONE EXTRA BASE HIT last year, doesn’t get on base, plays seven defensive positions,
A glaring endorsement for Willie Bloomquist's 2-year, $3 million deal.
can really run and gets his uniform so dirty that, according to his jarringly lengthy Wikipedia entry, he has over the years been called (mostly in jest/derision) Wee Willie, Ballgame, The Ignitor, Effin, WFB, The Spork, Princess Willie, Willie Boom-Boom and, by Angels announcer Rex Hudler, The Mighty Bloomquist.I can't put my finger on why, but somehow, nicknames like Princess Willie the imposing punch of "Big Donkey."
And my point is that I believe every baseball fan, at his/her core, leans Dunn or Bloomquist.
Every baseball fan is either understands the game as enumerated by historical data and scientific reasoning or doesn't. The ones who don't are generally afraid of the the magic and sorcery that is sabremetrics and have continuously called for Bill James and Michael Lewis to be burnt at the stake.
People who believe that on-base percentage and slugging are the most significant things, that defense and speed are overrated, that what matters is what you do and not how you look doing it lean heavily Dunn.
These people are nerds who live in their mom's basements and do nothing with their lives other than crunch numbers and not play baseball.
The New York Yankees have leaned heavily Dunn: Get on base, slug the ball, don’t worry too much about catching it. And so on.
The New York Yankees, despite their inefficient payroll, also made the playoffs for 13 consecutive years.
At the same time, there are plenty of people in the game and in the stands who believe that you win by doing the little things,
Little things that don't actually contribute to winning games consistently.
by playing defense and running out ground balls and playing the game with passion every day. They lean heavily Bloomquist. The Minnesota Twins, for instance, lean Bloomquist. The Twins run and catch the ball and they have not worried too much about power or on-base percentage. This, no doubt, frustrates the heck out of a lot of Dunn-leaning Twins fans.
Actually, the Twins were carried by a phenomenal starting/relief pitching core (Slowey, Baker, Blackburn, Liriano, Nathan, Reyes, Crain) that was carried by what little offense that Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Denard Span could mustard on their own (since the rest of the team was largely too concerned with doing all the "little things" that don't win games). Willie Bloomquist-like offense didn't win the Twins 88 games last year; great pitching did.
You know who also won more games than the Twins in 2008? Those awful Yankees and their Adam Dunn-philosophy to winning.
It’s an irritating feeling when you lean heavily one way and have a team that leans heavily the other way. But I think the more irritating feeling is when you do not know which way your team leans. And that, finally, leads us to the Kansas City Royals, recent purchasers of Willie Bloomquist himself.
The Royals under Dayton Moore have TALKED about leaning Dunn. That is, Dayton has made statements that would lead you to believe he cares a whole lot about on-base percentage and power numbers.
Mark Jacobs? Mark Teahen? Ross Gload? The Royals are not leaning towards The Dunn Method, no matter what claims management has that they are looking for "on-base players" for 2009.
That’s what he says. But everything he DOES leads you to believe he leans very, very Bloomquist.
Here are Dayton’s big-money signings and trades the last couple of years:
1. Jose Guillen ($12 million per): .323 on-base percentage.
2. Mike Jacobs ($3 million or so): .318 on-base percentage.
3. Coco Crisp ($5.75 million or so): .331 on-base percentage.
4. Willie Bloomquist ($1.55 million plus incentives): .324 on-base percentage.
5. Miguel Olivo ($2.7 million): .275 on-base percentage.
That’s actually quite remarkable. Look at that list again. You have five pickups totaling about $25 million per year — and you have to suspect that all five will be in next year’s lineup quite regularly. And not one guy — not ONE GUY — has even a league average on-base percentage for his career.
This is why, more or less, the Royals have sucked every year for the past 15 years. They are the Pittsburg Pirates of the AL.
Look at that list again. That’s the core of the Kansas City lineup — the leadoff hitter, the four-five hitters, the eight-nine hitters probably. And that’s a combined .314 on-base percentage.
And yet fuck Adam Dunn and his career .381 on-base percentage.
So why did Dayton sign these guys?
1. Jose Guillen: Because he was the best right-handed “power” bat available, and he’s “a real competitor.”
2. Mike Jacobs: Because he’s got power, and “his work ethic is off the 3. Coco Crisp: Because he’s an excellent defensive center fielder, has speed and could blossom playing every day. Plus, he has “been a part of championship teams.”
4. Willie Bloomquist: Because he’s got some speed, he’s versatile and “He’s an on base guy(??), a speed-type player and a hustler.”
5. Miguel Olivo: Because he’s got a little pop in his bat and he can throw out baserunners.
The Royals believe in the Bloomquist Way.
The philosophy of losing.
And look, I am not saying that these moves will not work.
Good, because -- just like with the 2005 Nationals -- they probably won't.
They could work, I guess. There are many ways to win baseball games. Guillen could have one more good season left in him. Jacbos could pop 30 homers. Crisp could revert back to his Cleveland days and could win a Gold Glove in Kansas City’s big center field. Bloomquist could, um, … well, he could be used as a super utility player. Olivo could … well, anyway.
Yes, if every player on the team were to have to career highs in every statistical category, you could probably win some games.
The Royals also spent $4.25 million per year on Kyle Farnsworth and $1.9 million on Horacio Ramirez.
Spent or overspent?
Man, the Royals threw around a lot of money to a lot of players who did not have good years in 2008. Maybe it will work.
But probably not.
They do have a lot of guys in the clubhouse who love the game.
I personally would have taken that money and signed Adam Dunn and a couple of other guys who may not like baseball a whole lot but at least get on base and get batters out.
Hey, me too!
It's a different philosophy.
The philosophy of winning.