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Monday, August 16, 2004

Dialed In - August 15, 2004

Future Hall of Famers?

Tom Glavine Chases 300


With Greg Maddux reaching 300 this season, who can get there next became the discussion. Aaron Gleeman wrote an excellent article at The Hardball Times with a snazzy chart of who is really in line to make it.

Baseball-Reference lets me check who else has a shot as well:

Rank	Player	               (age)	Wins      2004Ws    Throws
1.	Roger Clemens	(40)	310	12	R
2.	Greg Maddux	(37)	289	11	R
3.	Tom Glavine	(37)	251	8	L
4.	Randy Johnson	(39)	230	11	L
5.	Chuck Finley	(40)	200	DNP	L
6.	David Wells	(40)	200	7	L
7.	Mike Mussina	(34)	199	9	R
8.	Kevin Brown	(38)	197	9	R


Some of the comments I read, obviously from disgruntled Braves fans, said that Glavine’s shot at winning 300 games took a powder when he signed with the Mets, ostensibly for “a little more money.”  Most of that is untrue.

That Glavine signed with the Mets for “a little more money” is true, but Glavine didn’t sign with the Mets for “a little more money.”  Glavine signed with the Mets for a fourth season.  Tom Glavine is no dummy.  He knows where he is in history and what it takes to get him where he wants to be in history.  He sees what has happened to Tommy John and Bert Blyleven.  He knows that having 287 wins and five 20-win seasons and two Cy Young Awards may or may not get one into the Hall of Fame.  He knows 300 wins will.  Without exception.

At the end of 2002, Tom Glavine had 242 wins.  The Braves offered Glavine a 3-year contract.  Tom knows there is no chance in hell he’ll win 20 games a season.  That means he had to have a fourth season, at least.  The Braves weren’t doing that.  The Mets were.  It would take an average of 15 wins, but that wasn’t a far-fetched goal while pitching for the Mets.

Or was it?

A pitcher that posts a 94 ERA+ in 180 IP will not win 15 games, unless he’s Jack Morris.  In 2003, Glavine stunk.  While certainly the Met defense was to blame for some of his poor outings, his dERA was in the neighborhood of 4.80.  He was terrible.  Even pitching for the Braves, with his injuries and poor performance, wasn’t getting Tom Glavine to 15 wins.  Might he have won 11 games instead of 9?  Sure, okay.

What about run support though?  In 2003, the Braves offense scored a ton of runs, and their starting staff got lots of runs.  Shane Reynolds got 6.45 runs per game, and managed 11 wins with a 5.43 ERA.  However, Horacio Ramirez got 6 runs per game and had a 4.00 ERA and still just managed 12 wins.  Ramirez pitched the same number of innings as Glavine and had an ERA half a run lower.  It would appear to me, that with the Braves, Glavine would have ended up with about 11 wins, based on his performance.  And he may well have ended up with 9.

Of course, the Braves also shelled Glavine.  Glavine’s non-Brave ERA was 3.80.  Given that ERA and run support of 5.5 to 6.5 runs, he might have won 15 games.  However, Greg Maddux had an ERA of 3.96 and only got 4.91 runs per game support, but won 16 games.  Run support distribution matters too.

Why didn’t Glavine win 15 games?  Tom had two teammates win 15 games, with the same defense behind them.  Largely, the difference between the three was their own pitching and run support.  Steve Trachsel (16 W) and Al Leiter (15 W) both got more run support than Greg Maddux.

In 2004, Tom Glavine has pitched superbly.  His ERA has been in the mid-2’s for most of the season.  He’s been victimized by his bullpen a couple of times.  He’s had some bad luck with run support, without having a poor-hitting caddy for a catcher.

So how would he be doing with the Braves?  It would depend on his luck, but the Braves do have a comparable pitcher – Jaret Wright.  Wright has a 2.95 ERA to match Glavine’s 2.92 mark.  He is getting 5 runs in support.  His W-L is 11-5, as opposed to Glavine’s 8-10.  We’re looking at a couple of wins.

On the other hand, if he were pitching for the Braves, he wouldn’t have had his teeth knocked out in a cab ride in New York, and missed two or three starts.

Effectively, Glavine may win 10 fewer games over three years by playing with the Mets instead of the Braves.  But with the Mets, he got a fourth year.  Glavine saw the way the Braves treated Greg Maddux (no contract offer before arbitration), and I’m sure he wanted no part of that.  At the end of this contract, Tom Glavine is likely to have somewhere between 285-295 wins.  The Braves demonstrated they wouldn’t be keeping a solid pitcher with 290 wins.

Glavine simply bet on himself, and his ability to pitch well enough to win 15 games a year for four years.  The Braves, even at 15 wins a season, were only letting Glavine get to Tommy John territory, and Glavine didn’t want to take that risk – certainly not after all he had given the Braves the previous 16 seasons.

Unfortunately for Tom, he didn’t pitch well in 2003, and instead of winning 15 games like his teammates Trachsel and Leiter, he probably self-created the need for another season after this contract expires.

Something he would have needed at the end of any contract he signed with the Braves.

In the end, it won’t matter - Glavine will make the Hall of Fame.

Is Jeff Kent a Hall of Famer?

Jeff Kent began the 2004 season with 258 home runs as a second baseman.  The career record, held by Ryne Sandberg, widely regarded by those who vote as a Hall of Famer, at 277.  I have no doubt that Jeff Kent will retire as the all-time home run hitter for a second baseman.

Is that enough?  Is that anything?  In addition, Kent had a 6-season stretch where he was dominant in the areas of “what most people think baseball is about”: runs batted in.  Batting behind Barry Bonds on the San Francisco Giants team, allowed Kent to prosper in a category viewed as one of the most important aspects of the game for a player: driving runs in.

Research into RBIs shows that RBIs are a function of how one hits with runners on base, and even better, with runners in scoring position.  A player is “clutch” or some such.  Research done by one of my favorite analysts, Ron Johnson (he’s Canadian, eh), produced this equation:

RBI = (BA x 0.43 + 1.09 x ISO) x ABROB   (I got this from a post in alt.sports.baseball.calif-angels on November 10, 1998).

This is a simple RBI predictor and it does a really good job.  Sure, there are the occasional outliers, but for the most part, it illustrates that if you are a good hitter and you have the runners on base, you will drive in runs.  Heck, even if you aren’t a really good hitter, given enough chances, you’ll drive in runs, a lot of runs.  That’s somethng the mainstream media never seems to completely grasp.  Sometimes it will be noted during the season that a player has a ton of RBIs because he has had a lot of runners on base, but in the end, the almighty RBI will win out.

From 1997 through 2002, Jeff Kent terrorized the NL.  He drove in 121, 128, 101, 125, 106, and 108 runs.  That will jump off the plate when people that have Hall of Fame votes vote.  Then you throw in the mix - he’s the *all-time* home run hitting second basemen.  More than Rogers Hornsby; more than Joe Morgan.  Kent also won the 2000 MVP.  There are few MVP second basemen - Kent, Jackie Robinson, Charlie Gehringer, Joe Gordon, Sandberg, Frisch, Morgan and Hornsby.  That is Hall of Fame territory.

Personally, I think Sandberg is a borderline candidate, and as I’ve explained before, he’s probably not in my personal Hall of Fame.  He’s been eligible for a few seasons and hasn’t made the cut yet.

Compared to his Hall of Fame candidate contemporaries, Craig Biggio and Roberto Alomar, Kent holds up decently, albeit differently.  He needs a few more seasons to catch those guys in some count stats (games in particular).  Kent is much more of a peak argument than a steady career argument, but that’s really the fault of the New York Mets.  Biggio and Alomar (presently) have career OPS+ marks around 117, while Kent comes in at 125.  Kent still has some decline phase left which will lower his OPS+.

Kent’s “HoF Standards” isn’t that high: 36.6 out of an HoF average 50.  His HoF monitor is 65 against a bar of 100.  But Kent has done the things that impress the voters - drive in 100 runs and win an MVP.

My point of this discussion is “who will” and not “who should” make the Hall of Fame.  I am not arguing that Kent *should* make the Hall, but rather that he will under the standards that Hall of Fame voters have set.

Jeff Kent has also been a decent defensive second baseman - good some years; not so good in others.  He’s gotten a bad wrap because he is such a good hitter.  He hasn’t been an embarrassment, and he’s been willing to help his team by playing third base and first base when asked.  It is obvious, to me, that you want to play a player at the most difficult defensive position he can handle and for Kent that is second base.

Count stats:

Player	G	AB	R	H	2B	3B	HR	RBI	SB	CS	BB	SO
Kent	1632	6064	943	1754	404	34	275	1100	79	49	543	1159
Alomar	2323	8902	1490	2679	498	78	206	1110	474	112	1018	1109
Biggio	2253	8588	1503	2461	517	51	210	931	389	116	1020	1373
Sandberg	2164	8385	1318	2386	403	76	282	1061	344	107	761	1260

Rate stats:

BA	OBP	SLG	OPS+
.289	.352	.503	125
.301	.372	.444	117
.287	.375	.432	117
.285	.344	.452	114


Kent has some way to go.  His count stats will need to increase, but he has 13 home runs this season to pass Sandberg overall.  He doesn’t look like he’ll get the record this year for career HRs by a second baseman, without a hot streak.  He’s needs to hit about one a week.
 
Because Kent is performing well – or well enough - this season (.287/.341/.480), he’ll play in 2005 – maybe for Houston.  The Astros have an option for $9 million ($700,000 buyout), but that might be a bit much.  I can certainly see Kent as a free agent this off-season.
 
He’s probably got three more seasons to go to pass Sandberg (who is probably an eventual Hall of Famer) in every category, except Gold Gloves.  Sandberg will be Kent litmus.  If Sandberg never gets close, Kent won’t.  If Sandberg gets in, Kent probably will.  If Sandberg gets close, but doesn’t get in, Kent may still.

Chris Dial Posted: August 16, 2004 at 12:38 AM | 58 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Mike A Posted: August 16, 2004 at 02:22 AM (#799848)
I'm not one of those Braves fans disgruntled with Glavine. It was his choice to sign wherever he wants, good for him. And I agree that the 4th year was important - though I feel other factors such as the Braves' late/questionable negotiating and his position in the union were important as well. But my question is: did Glavine really see the Mets' 4th year as 'guaranteed'?

From what I understand (and according to ESPN), Glavine has to pitch 600 innings in his 3 years and 200 in 2005 for the option to vest. Now maybe Glavine thought that would be easily reachable, but certainly late 30s pitchers are far from a sure bet to reach that many innings.

With 183 IP his first year, and 160 so far this year (and currently injured), Glavine is going to have to throw a heckuva lot of innings as a 39 year old in order for the 2006 option to vest. It's going to be tough, and Glavine should have foreseen this...but ballplayers are a stubborn lot, particularly when it comes to their own ability.

It will be interesting to see what happens in Glavine in 2006/2007. I don't want to see another Dale Murphy/Andres Galarraga/Fred McGriff type situation where a player struggles to reach that last milestone. I hope he gets to 300 easier than that, but it does look a little dicey. I do agree with Chris's premise that Glavine probably wouldn't have won that much more with the Braves/Phillies, though.

Good luck to Glavine the rest of the way in his quest for 300.
   2. Rich Corinthian Leather Posted: August 16, 2004 at 02:55 AM (#799881)
Yup, I am surprised that Kent is often ignored in HOF discussion, or written off as a longshot. He has very HOF-friendly stats. All he needs is a couple more years of stat padding, to overcome any doubts about his fielding and personality. He certainly seems capable of doing that; he has been extremely consistent ever since he came into his own.

Sandberg will also get in, and I'll be quite surprised if it's not in the next couple of years.
   3. Srul Itza At Home Posted: August 16, 2004 at 03:31 AM (#799906)
Kent has in fact been part of numerous HOF discussions.

Kent's biggest problem getting in is that, in the current era, Second Basemen are looked at as glove men first. Kent has no gold gloves, and regardless of what the sophisticated defensive analysis shows, the people who vote, do so on reputation, and Kent's reputation is not that of a good glove man.

He will also be viewed, at least in part, as a product of the higher offense era.

He is not a long shot, but he probably still needs a couple more good years. I think that if he gets it north of 300 HRs, as he should, along with 1,300+ RBI, even if he finishes up at another position, it will still be a very impressive line on the resume of a second baseman.

As to Ryne Sandberg, he got 61.07% his first time out. Guys who start that high make it. It may take him another vote or two, but he will make it.

As for Glavine -- if his resume is not yet good enough for the Hall, the bar has been raised way too high.
   4. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: August 16, 2004 at 04:02 AM (#799924)
I just noticed something interesting about Glavine. He has never relieved in a game. 561 games, 561 starts. Currently it's the all-time best. (A check of B-R fails to reveal to me who might get the title if Glavine's cool record is destroyed. Nobody else with 409 starts or 231 CGs didn't relieve at least once.)

Note to all managers of Glavine: keep that intact!
   5. KJOK Posted: August 16, 2004 at 06:01 AM (#800014)
Mike Mussina had 386 starts without a relief appearance going into this season.

Both Roger Clemens and Frank Viola had only 1 relief appearance....
   6. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: August 16, 2004 at 01:23 PM (#800179)
The top ten coming into the year looks like this:

Glavine, Tom      537
Mussina, Mike     386
Guzman, Juan      240
McBride, Dick     237
Larkin, Terry     176
Hudson, Tim       156
Wood, Kerry       142
Ortiz, Ramon      123
Zito, Barry       119
Mulder, Mark      117
Benson, Kris      106


OK, so that's 11, but Ortiz pitched in relief this year.
   7. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: August 16, 2004 at 01:23 PM (#800180)
That's according to the Lahman database.
   8. fracas' hope springs eternal Posted: August 16, 2004 at 02:08 PM (#800214)
He has never relieved in a game. 561 games, 561 starts. Currently it's the all-time best.

Highest, sure. Best? Best implies this is an accomplishment on Glavine's part, when really it's just a change in usage in the modern era. In modern times it's considered best not to waste a good pitcher as a reliever, but formerly the best pitchers were also used out of the bullpen between starts, i.e. without throwing away starts in favor of relieving.
   9. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: August 16, 2004 at 02:27 PM (#800237)
He’s gotten a bad wrap

Well, tell him to stay out of those cheap Mexican restaurants!

\rim shot
   10. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: August 16, 2004 at 02:50 PM (#800257)
Highest, sure. Best? Best implies this is an accomplishment on Glavine's part.

Sheesh, unclench those butt cheeks. It's just a cool novelty, we all know that I'm sure.


...when really it's just a change in usage in the modern era.

Not sure how you figure that one. There is no HOF pitcher who hasn't relieved at least once.
   11. Loren F. Posted: August 16, 2004 at 04:39 PM (#800427)
I agree that Glavine's stats so far -- especially after this season -- should make him a no-brainer for the Hall of Fame. But I do think it'll be interesting to see if he makes it to 300 wins.
   12. Toolsy McClutch Posted: August 16, 2004 at 04:48 PM (#800447)
I once made the argument on this very site that Kent is such a poor defensive 2B, his stats should be compared to a higher offensive position (say LF) rather than other 2B. In other words, he's basically Candy Maldonado (to pick someone out of the air) and happens to stand between the 1B and SS rather than the OF. They keep throwing him out there, well, because that's where he played yesterday. And last year.

Now if the metrics tell us that he's not really that bad, I can believe that. I have a lot of faith in the combined measure of the defensive stats. But by eyeballing, I can't remember a poorer glove man at second.

And I believe he has that kind of a reputation (though probably not that extreme). And HOF voters like well rounded players.
   13. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 16, 2004 at 05:31 PM (#800511)
Glavine saw the way the Braves treated Greg Maddux (no contract offer before arbitration), and I’m sure he wanted no part of that.

Um, Chris, when exactly did Glavine see this? On the one year deal Maddux took prior to leaving?
   14. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: August 16, 2004 at 07:54 PM (#800690)
Glavine's comp list doesn't exactly scream "Hall of Fame!" :

Billy Pierce (986)
Rube Marquard (982) *
Eppa Rixey (979) *
Jesse Haines (978) *
Greg Maddux (977)
Jim Bunning (977) *
Tommy Bridges (976)
Paul Derringer (976)
Curt Simmons (973)
Bobo Newsom (973)

(Of course, those are his BATTING comps...)
   15. Ginger Nut Posted: August 16, 2004 at 08:04 PM (#800696)
Toolsy,

I don't have a comprehensive set of Kent's defensive stats, but I do remember that he was always among the league leaders in many categories in those "Baseball Scoreboard" books that Stats Inc used to publish. He has somewhat bad range, but his arm is excellent and he was excellent at turning the double play. My subjective view is also that he was underrated. I didn't think he was anything special with the glove, but he always seemed fine with a couple of real strengths. Just my 2 cents.

However, for some reason I can't think of him as a hall of famer, equally irrational I suppose.

Ginger Nut
   16. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: August 16, 2004 at 08:58 PM (#800738)
Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?
No. (At least, not outside a small circle of friends.)

Was he the best player on his team?

No. According to Win Shares, Glavine has never once been the best player on his own team -- and has never really come close, other than 1991 and 2004.

However... over a period of 13 years, he was the second-best player on one of the best teams of all time.

Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?
For a season or three, yes. The man has Cy Youngs on his shelf.

Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?
An emphatic, overwhelming, colossal YES.

Glavine has almost certainly had more impact on more pennant races than any other pitcher in baseball history. (The number is 13 pennant races and counting, by the way.)

Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?
Well, let's see... he's 38 and currently makes $11 million a year. That would be another big fat "Yes."

Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?
No: Pete Rose, Torriente, yada yada. Discounting ineligible guys and forgotten Negro Leaguers, Glavine would probably be one of the five best players in history to be left out of the Hall, right up there with the Blylevens, Miñosos, and Santos of the world.

Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?
Yes, mostly. His list of most-similar pitchers through age 37 includes Warren Spahn, Roger Clemens, Jim Palmer, Bob Gibson, and, uh... umm.... Bob Welch.

Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?
You betcha. He ranks at least near the bottom tier of Hall of Famers in all the various tests. The Hall of Fame Monitor says Glavine has had one HOF career plus half of another. (He scores 151.5; the garden-variety HOFer is at 100.)

To the extent that 300 wins is a Hall of Fame standard, he hasn't met it. However, I would argue, like many, that 300 wins is not (and has never been) the standard for the Hall of Fame.

Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?
(Ask Voros.)

It's been suggested by some that Glavine's success and longevity has been due in large part to having the best defensive CF of all time playing behind him. I will leave the legitimacy of that theory for others to debate, but given the 2003 and 2004 results, perhaps Glavine should put down a deposit on a nice Queens brownstone for Mike Cameron.

Glavine has usually been a good hitting pitcher and a good fielding one too.

Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?
If his position is "pitcher," the answer to that question is no -- Rik Aalbert is.

If his position is "left-handed pitcher," the answer would be yes.

How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

Pitchers don't win MVPs unless they win 55 games and rescue the Lindbergh baby, so the answer is zip, zilch, nada. He was never even the best player on his team, remember. (Though he did finish 10th in MVP balloting once.)
   17. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: August 16, 2004 at 08:58 PM (#800739)
How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

Please don't mention All-Star games at his induction. One of my strongest memories of Glavine is of the A.L. hitters beating him like a red-headed stepchild in the 1992 All-Star Game. (Yes, Virginia, that was 7 consecutive hits given up.)

To actually answer the question, Glavine has been an All-Star eight times, which is usually good enough for the Hall. More tellingly, perhaps, is that he's gotten Cy Young votes in 6 different seasons. (And remember, only 3 pitchers can be listed on a ballot.)

If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?
Sure. It never actually happened, but there's no reason it couldn't have.

What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

Well, he pitched more postseason innings than anyone else in baseball history. (Shut up, Smoltz; take your lousy two-thirds of an inning and shove it. The bullpen is for sissies.)

The problem is, he didn't pitch those innings particularly well, with certain memorable exceptions, of course. In a full season's worth of postseason pitching (32 starts), Glavine is 12-15 with a 3.71 ERA. That's not shocking given the higher quality of postseason competition, but still, he hasn't exactly been Sandy Koufax.

If you are, like me, one of those know-nothing boobs who counts postseason performance as a legitimate HOF credential, then Glavine's record -- and especially that 1996 WSMVP -- should win him a huge amount of extra credit.

Aside from his postseason antics, Glavine will be best remembered as a vocal and articulate leader in the players' union. He was, in my view, always a little too eager to toe the union line, but he was very well-spoken and never said anything stupid. He was about as thoughtful a spokesman for ballplayers as anyone this side of Curt Flood.

Glavine has also long been the poster boy for soft-tossing left-handers. He might be indirectly responsible for Jamie Moyer's career, anbd

Also, Glavine's abduction of the outside corner of the plate in the 1990s may have had some lasting impact on the strike zone. Ever since Glavine busted out in 1991, it seems umpires have been overwilling to call the outside strike, and underwilling to let pitchers pitch inside.

Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider? Other than playing for the Braves, yes, he did.
   18. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: August 16, 2004 at 09:00 PM (#800741)
In summary: Will someone please remind me why we needed to have this discussion? Glavine is an absolute slam-dunk Hall of Famer, and has been for several years. There is no precedent for leaving someone with his credentials out.
   19. this space for rent Posted: August 16, 2004 at 09:01 PM (#800742)
Player       G      AB       R       H      2B      3B      HR      RBI     SB      CS      BB      SO
Kent      1632    6064     943    1754     404      34     275     1100     79      49     543    1159
Alomar    2323    8902    1490    2679     498      78     206     1110    474     112    1018    1109
Biggio    2253    8588    1503    2461     517      51     210      931    389     116    1020    1373
Sandberg  2164    8385    1318    2386     403      76     282     1061    344     107     761    1260

Whitaker  2390    8570    1386    2369     420      65     244     1084    143      75    1197    1099

            BA     OBP     SLG    OPS
+
Kent      .289    .352    .503     125
Alomar    .301    .372    .444     117
Biggio    .287    .375    .432     117
Sandberg  .285    .344    .452     114

Whitaker  .276    .363    .426     117 


Each of Sandberg, Whitaker, Alomar and Biggio has the other 3 among their top 5 most similar batters, with Sandberg/Whitaker and Alomar/Biggio topping each other's lists. It's almost eerie how similar those four were.

I suspect that Kent's HOF chances are going to resemble Whitaker's more than Sandberg's. Ryno was a very popular player; neither Kent nor Whitaker were ever perceived as particularly fan-friendly (as far as I'm aware, anyhow). If Sandberg doesn't actually make it, I don't think Kent stands a chance, and even the former getting in easily doesn't guarantee anything for Herr Car Wash.

(IMO, all five should be in if Kent can decline gracefully, but that's naught but a well-tanned strip of leather 'round these parts. . .)
   20. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: August 16, 2004 at 09:08 PM (#800749)
Kent won't fare as poorly as Whitaker did in HOF voting. I just can't see him being eliminated from the ballot after his first year, as happened to Sweet Lou.
   21. bunyon Posted: August 16, 2004 at 09:35 PM (#800768)
Was he the best player on his team?

No. According to Win Shares, Glavine has never once been the best player on his own team -- and has never really come close, other than 1991 and 2004.


Hang on. He won a Cy Young award for a pennant winner. (and another for a division winner). As far as this test is designed to determine if a player gets in, I'd say change this answer to yes.
   22. NedFlandersFields Posted: August 16, 2004 at 09:36 PM (#800770)
For one thing, Kent is white. I still think that makes a difference in whether one is "focused" or "a jerk."
   23. Chris Dial Posted: August 16, 2004 at 09:38 PM (#800771)
A couple of differences - specifically what I say in the article: the RBIs and the MVP award. Sweet Lou couldn't touch those.

Sam,
yes, that one. You don't imagine Greg and Tom chatted about that sort of thing, do you?
   24. Colin Posted: August 16, 2004 at 11:50 PM (#800924)
I may fall under the category of those perceived to be disgruntled. I wanted the Braves to keep Glavine, but I thought he (and moreover, his agent) conducted themselves very poorly during the negotiations. That he then went to the rival Mets was just asking for negative fan response.

All that said, if you think it's possible Glavine would have had ten more wins as a Brave in three years than he will in four as a Met - and that sounds about right to me - then I think he'd have done better with Atlanta. Getting ten wins in his fourth year will not be easy. And as someone else posted, he may not even get that fourth year. I expect there's a decent chance he'll be back with Atlanta via free agency for that fourth year.

All that said, he'll go to the Hall. I don't think he'll get in as easily as he should, but he'll go in, and I'll be cheering his induction.
   25. Chris Dial Posted: August 16, 2004 at 11:50 PM (#800927)
If it helps, Ned, I think Kent is a jerk.

Well, he wasn't very fan-friendly in the early 90s with the Mets.
   26. fracas' hope springs eternal Posted: August 17, 2004 at 12:48 AM (#801104)
...when really it's just a change in usage in the modern era.

Not sure how you figure that one. There is no HOF pitcher who hasn't relieved at least once.


Maybe I wasn't clear. I'm saying that using good pitchers STRICTLY as starters is a fairly recent phenomenon, so it's no surprise an active pitcher holds the record. In any case, we agree it's a fluke stat.
   27. Srul Itza Posted: August 17, 2004 at 12:52 AM (#801116)
Just for fun, here are all the MLB pitchers elected to the Hall since 1980, with the date of election, who elected them (Baseball Writers or Veterans Committee), and their win totals:
Year    Name                Elected By   Wins
2004Dennis Eckersley       BW        Reliever
1999    Nolan Ryan             BW         324
1998    Don Sutton             BW         324
1997    Phil Niekro            BW         318
1996    Jim Bunning            VC         224
1995    Vic Willis             VC         249
1994    Steve Carlton          BW         329
1992    Tom Seaver             BW         311
        Rollie Fingers         BW         Reliever
        Hal Newhouser          VC         207
1991    Gaylord Perry          BW         314
        Fergie Jenkins         BW         284
1990    Jim Palmer             BW         268
1987    Catfish Hunter         BW         224
1985    Hoyt Wilhelm           BW         Reliever
1984    Don Drysdale           BW         209
1983    Juan Marichal          BW         243
1981    Bob Gibson             BW         251 


The Veterans Committee has had no problem with electing below 300 win pitchers, but then again, neither has the BBWAA. I don't see any problem for Glavine come retirement.
   28. Chris Dial Posted: August 17, 2004 at 01:31 AM (#801221)
I would offer that there has been plenty of turnover from 1975 to present in BBWAA voters.

In the last 15 years, Fergie Jenkins and Jim Palmer are the only ones below 300 - and they got in on the strength of 20-win seasons and Cy Young Awards.

Is there a demonstrable difference between Don Sutton (W 324, ERA+ 107) and Tommy John (288, 111)? And Bert Blyleven (287, 118)? And Jim Kaat (283, 107)?

I think the difference between these four pitchers is "300".

There's a HUGE bias. But Glavine has the 20-win seasons and the CYAs. So he'll be Jim Palmer at worst.
   29. Srul Itza Posted: August 17, 2004 at 04:30 AM (#801435)
I would offer that there has been plenty of turnover from 1975 to present in BBWAA voters

I don't doubt it, but Palmer was elected in 1990, and Fergie in 1991.

I don't think we can talk about ERA+ with these voters.

It is worth noting that it took Sutton 5 votes to get in. And 324 is a huge amount of wins.

I still think Tommy is safe for the same reasons you point out -- 5 20 win seasons, 2 Cy Youngs, 1 WS MVP, and also for being associated with Maddux and the Braves' huge run of division titles.
   30. Chris Dial Posted: August 17, 2004 at 11:34 AM (#801541)
Yes, but Srul, you said this:
"The Veterans Committee has had no problem with electing below 300 win pitchers, but then again, neither has the BBWAA."

I think that's very untrue. Particularly today.
   31. Ziggy Posted: August 17, 2004 at 05:01 PM (#801945)
WRT the help Glavine got from his fielders, his quick DIPS ERA is 4.01 compared to an actual ERA of 3.43 coming into this season.

His qDIPS ERA from 1996 (last year pre-Jones) was 3.56, in 1997 it was 4.04, and his actual ERAs were both around 2.95 for those years. It's an awfully small sample, but Glavine benefited from defense a lot more once Jones rode into town. 1999 through 2002 numbers are similar to or worse than 1997.
   32. Walt Davis Posted: August 17, 2004 at 06:15 PM (#802104)
I think the difference between these four pitchers is "300". There's a HUGE bias.

There's a huge bias -- in the comparison of Sutton, John, and Kaat. Sure, for borderline selections, milestones play a huge role. And relativity plays a big part -- the late 60s/70s produced a ton of 300 game winners.

That era produced a bunch of pretty similar guys with HOF-style numbers -- Sutton, John, Kaat, Blyleven, Ryan, Jenkins, Niekro, Perry, Carlton, Hunter. Very different styles, some with great longevity and others with great peaks, but pretty similar career results in terms of wins, ERA, and ERA+.

Carlton's the only one of those that I think of a "true great" (who was hurt by sticking around too long) and I'm not sure I should think that. I can't blame the writers for looking at that batch and deciding there's no way they should all go in. In sorting out amongst those players, milestones stand out. And they still made Sutton, Jenkins, Perry, and Niekro wait a few years.

Which isn't to say the writers were perfect. Even by "traditional" standards, there's just no good reason for Hunter to be in and Blyleven to be out. Switch those two guys and you'd have a perfect demarcation based on milestones.
   33. Chris Dial Posted: August 17, 2004 at 06:21 PM (#802111)
I notice you left Seaver out of your list, Walt. I consider Seaver and Carlton "true greats".

Was Sutton a "borderline selection"? (By teh BBWAA, not us).
   34. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: August 17, 2004 at 08:38 PM (#802389)
WRT the help Glavine got from his fielders, his quick DIPS ERA is 4.01 compared to an actual ERA of 3.43 coming into this season.

His qDIPS ERA from 1996 (last year pre-Jones) was 3.56, in 1997 it was 4.04, and his actual ERAs were both around 2.95 for those years. It's an awfully small sample, but Glavine benefited from defense a lot more once Jones rode into town. 1999 through 2002 numbers are similar to or worse than 1997.


One of the many things glossed over here. Between giving up a lot of defense, losing the game's best pitching coach and manager, dropping three spots in the standings, and having to get routed by his old team a few times each season, Glavine essentially crippled his 300 win chances the day he signed with New York. To say it was to chase a mythical (and now fictional) fourth season is not factual. He did it for the money and to be loyal to the union by taking the biggest dollar figure. That's not sour grapes, that just the way it is. It was a terrible decision if your #1 goal was to win 300 games, but I'm not sure that was his #1 goal at the time.

Either way, if he's not a Hall of Famer, there is no sense in having a Hall of Fame.
   35. Chris Dial Posted: August 17, 2004 at 09:19 PM (#802468)
1. He doesn't give up a lot in defense necessarily. He certainly has a better CF this season, and a lower ERA than any starter on the Braves' staff.
2. Game's best pitching coach? Glavine knows what he's doing.
3. Um, routed by his old team a few times each season? Isn't that disingenuous? He's 1-1 one great game (6 IP 2 ER) and one not great (5 IP 6 ER).
4. Crippled? Hardly.

And yes, it *is* sour grapes.
   36. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: August 17, 2004 at 09:33 PM (#802496)
1. I guess that true. I forgot Glavine never allows a ball to be hit anywhere but CF. It's not like the Mets are soft everywhere else or anything.
2. Even the best sometimes need some help. Who would be better equipped to give it to him the guy he's worked with for a decade?
3. You've blocked out '03? Probably for the best.
4. Crippled? Exactly.

As far as sour grapes, I hope he makes it. After his Mets contract runs out, hopefully he'll hook on with a contender (not the Braves hopefully)and get what he needs. It would have been a lot easier though if he had taken the Braves three year deal and hit the FA market with almost 290.
   37. Chris Dial Posted: August 17, 2004 at 09:59 PM (#802522)
1. Oh yes, because Chipper is a stellar LF, Furcal never throws the ball into the stands and Franco is a great glove at first. Oh, and there's Mark DeRosa!

Richard Hidalgo is a very good OF. Reyes is a good fielder. Wiggitnon is a statue.

2. Greg Maddux stayed and posted a 4 ERA.

3. Robert, you said, and I quoted "a few times *each* season". Thanks.

4. So I'll expect mea culpas when he reaches 300. And I'll be happy to wager a significant amount of money on it - say in the form of sponsoring Glavine's Baseball-Reference page.

"It would have been a lot easier though if he had taken the Braves three year deal and hit the FA market with almost 290."

Really? Greg Maddux had a real easy time of it?
   38. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: August 17, 2004 at 10:27 PM (#802551)
3. Robert, you said, and I quoted "a few times *each* season". Thanks.

Fair enough. It's already happened once this season, and the Braves play the Mets nine more times. I like my odds.

"It would have been a lot easier though if he had taken the Braves three year deal and hit the FA market with almost 290."

Really? Greg Maddux had a real easy time of it?


Uh, yeah he did. Maddux was pretty average last year but sucked up the wins because the Braves were terrific. When he finally left he was knocking on 300's door, so it didn't matter where he landed. This was the path Glavine could have been on if he would have stayed. Instead he'll leave the Mets in the neighboorhood of 270 and it will be pretty tough.

Like I said, I hope he makes it. I'm also glad (as a Braves fan) he turned down the Braves offer because at this point he's very replaceable.

I want to see your side of it, but it's hard for me to see how being on a losing team, with a lousy bullpen, in front of a lousy defense doesn't hurt his chances. I guess we are arguing degrees. You are saying it doesn't hurt much, I'm saying it could cost him 12-15 wins of the three years which very well may keep him from making it to 300.
   39. Srul Itza Posted: August 17, 2004 at 11:22 PM (#802619)
"The Veterans Committee has had no problem with electing below 300 win pitchers, but then again, neither has the BBWAA."

I think that's very untrue. Particularly today.

I don't think things are that bleak. The problem may not be who they left out so much as who they voted in, just because they hit the magic 300 Win mark. But while having over 300 Wins pretty much forces the writers to vote for you, eventually, how many truly great under 300 pitchers have come before them recently, that they voted down?

Really, we are talking about three guys with big win totals -- Kaat, John and Blyleven -- and only Bert is that great of a choice.

John and Kaat pitched for-fuking-ever, but they did not have the kind of great seasons that make you sit up and say, this is a Hall of Famer. If we lower the bar for such a season to 140 ERA+ and 200 IP, neither had a single such season. Don't get me wrong, they had some good years. But not great, HOF ones.

Glavine, by contrast, has had 4 such season. Not overwhelming, but it is a difference.

Blyleven is a different story. He had 5 such seasons. He should be in.

Blyleven has 8 more years on the ballot. I don't think that he is entirely without hope. But sometimes, they just get it wrong.
   40. Chris Dial Posted: August 18, 2004 at 04:19 AM (#803565)
Srul,
I'm saying the difference btw Kaat/John/Sutton is run support (Jaffe may correct me).

So Sutton's 324 wins is more than Kaat and John, but *nothing* else about him. He also pitched forever. Sutton is in for 300. That's *all* that seperates him from the others.

Robert - no way it cost him that much. He pitched too poorly the first season. He couldn't have won many more games.

And very replaceable??? He's better than everyone on the Braves staff!!! A pitcher with an ERA of 2.92 is "very replaceable"? Good Lord.
   41. Srul Itza At Home Posted: August 18, 2004 at 06:24 AM (#803734)
So Sutton's 324 wins is more than Kaat and John, but *nothing* else about him. He also pitched forever. Sutton is in for 300. That's *all* that seperates him from the others.

You say "that's all", like 324 wins is nothing. That is an incredible number of wins for a pitcher to rack up. It is 12th all time.

And Sutton, unlike Kaat and John, did have some HOF type seasons in terms of IP and ERA+, in 1972, 1973 and 1980. That is three more seasons thatn Kaat and John had.

And while all three are short in black in, Sutton also has about 100 points more points in gray ink, and comes in significantly higher on the HOF Standards -- he is at 58; John and Kaat are at 44. 300 wins does not account for all of that.

Sutton is 10th all time in Shut outs. John is 26th. Kaat is not in the top 100.

Sutton is 7th all time in innings pitched. Tommy John and Kaat are around 500 innings behind that.

Sutton struck out over 3,574 batters --well over a thousand more than Kaat or John -- and good enough for 5th place all time when he retired (since passed by a Unit and a Rocket).

Don Sutton is sort of like Rafael Palmeiro -- never a superstar but piled up the numbers through being good and incredibly durable, hardly ever missing a turn, for an incredibly long time.

Now, Blyleven is definitely getting hosed. But I
have no problem drawing a line between Sutton on one side and Kaat/John on the other.
   42. The definitely immoral Eric Enders Posted: August 18, 2004 at 06:51 AM (#803738)
hardly ever missing a turn,

Actually, Sutton literally NEVER missed a turn during his entire career, which is probably the most amazing thing about him.
   43. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: August 18, 2004 at 05:23 PM (#804276)
Robert - no way it cost him that much. He pitched too poorly the first season. He couldn't have won many more games.

If you say so I guess. The big flaw in the article is that you compare him to Horacio last year and Jaret Wright this year, two guys who were very unlucky in getting Ws for their quality pitching. You assume that Glavine would have been similarly unlucky which, of course, there is no reason to do, except that it fits with the conclusion you were looking for.

And the point you can't seem to remember: He pitched so poorly because of the beatings the Braves put on him! His non Brave start ERA was 3.80 which would have easily got him 12-14 wins on last year's Braves juggernaut. You say he could have had nine which there is absolutely no support for. The Mets are costing him four wins a year, easy.

Anyway, I give up. The Glavine portion of this article was clearly written inside out (intro and conclusion first, mold the facts to fit between them), and I couldn't resist calling you on it.
   44. Srul Itza Posted: August 18, 2004 at 05:54 PM (#804340)
Actually, Sutton literally NEVER missed a turn during his entire career, which is probably the most amazing thing about him.

I thought that might have been the case from reading his plaque, but it seemed so unbelievable I thought it had to be an exaggeration.

For a guy who pitched as well as he did for as many years as he did, that to me is every bit as impressive as the Ripken streak.
   45. GregD Posted: August 18, 2004 at 07:20 PM (#804486)
If not actually more impressive...
   46. Chris Dial Posted: August 18, 2004 at 07:52 PM (#804552)
Robert -
did you read this part of the article:
"Of course, the Braves also shelled Glavine. Glavine’s non-Brave ERA was 3.80. Given that ERA and run support of 5.5 to 6.5 runs, he might have won 15 games."

It wouldn't have "easily" gotten him those wins - it might have. I clearly say in the article he could certainly won 15 games - which you above accuse me of ignoring.

I'm not "assuming" Glavine would have been unlucky - I am saying that one cannot assert that he would have won a bunch more games because he was on the Braves *because* he *might* have been as unlucky as these two guys. You are the one saying he *would* have. I'm saying you can't make that assertion because here are players in the same situation *not* winning.

Give up - you are wrong.
   47. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: August 18, 2004 at 08:18 PM (#804582)
Talk of secondbasemen means I have to jump in with my customary advocacy of Bobby Grich. He of the 125 OPS+ (the same as Ron Santo, btw) and four Gold Gloves. Hell is OPS is about the same as Biggio's before you even account for era. Sure, Biggio could steal bases, but Grich was a better defender.

Grich's WARP3, 112.6, betters Sandberg (105), Jeff Kent (80.9), and is just under Lou Whitaker's 118.2 and Biggio's 115.7. Of course, Biggio is putting up some of that at other positions ...

Grich is also right next to Santo in WARP3 (Santo has 114.8) even though he played in about 200 less games.

Okay, back to Glavine ...
   48. Chris Dial Posted: August 18, 2004 at 10:01 PM (#804748)
Wow, Black Hawk - I really hadn't ever looked at Grich's case. At 2B, is he a better "who's the best player not in the HoF?" than Santo?

Looks like it off the cuff. There may be peak/career issues, I understand.
   49. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: August 18, 2004 at 10:25 PM (#804800)
I prefer Grich to Santo, but I openly admit a bias there. I think peak value likely favors Santo:

Top 5 OPS+ By Player
Grich   Santo
 164     164
 144     161
 138     153
 138     146
 135     138

Top 5 WARP3 By Player
Grich   Santo
10.1    13.3
 9.8    13.0
 9.6    12.3
 9.5    11.3
 9.5     9.9
When you look at seasonal notation (per 162 games), you see how Grich was hammered by his era in terms of his raw totals:

Player  AVG  OBP  SLG  HR  RBI   R  OPS+  EqA
Grich   266  371  424  18   70  83  125  .295
Santo   277  362  464  25   96  82  125  .293
What if you took the career league averages (park adjusted) of Santo, and said Grich was the same percentage over those thresholds as Santo was to his (I'm going off BB-ref here)? You'd end up with Grich at a 275/382/441. Giving the Santo treatment to a few other guys:

Player     AVG  OBP  SLG
Grich      275  382  441
Sandberg   286  341  446
Whitaker   281  369  425
Biggio     290  375  417
Alomar     302  369  425
Strictly as a hitter, who's the class of that group? And Grich was a very good defender, too boot.

As for Grich vs. Santo, they have a WARP3 very close to each other, though Grich played 235 less games (two seasons worth) and had a lower peak, which indicates Grich was certainly better in his non-peak years.

I don't know that Grich vs. Santo is clear-cut, but there is no doubt in my mind that Grich belongs in the Hall.
   50. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 19, 2004 at 06:22 PM (#806659)
DIAL: Oh yes, because Chipper is a stellar LF, Furcal never throws the ball into the stands and Franco is a great glove at first. Oh, and there's Mark DeRosa!

Chipper Jones was a league average left fielder until this year, in fact. Rafeal Furcal throws a few away, mostly because he gets to balls very few other players do, and Julio Franco is one of the better defensive 1B in the league.

Mark Derosa sucks, of course, but he's also on the bench. His defensive shortcomings (at 3B, a position Glavine doesn't really pepper with opportunities) would have been a factor in maybe 6 starts before getting benched again.

HTH.

s/
   51. Chris Dial Posted: August 19, 2004 at 11:34 PM (#807638)
"Rafeal Furcal throws a few away, mostly because he gets to balls very few other players do"

Yes, he and Rey Ordonez...
   52. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 20, 2004 at 01:21 PM (#808915)
Yes, he and Rey Ordonez...

well, let me be a little more clear, then.

chipper jones is a better defensive LF than cliff floyd.

chipper jones is a better defensive 3B than ty wigginton.

rafeal furcal is a better defensive SS than jose reyes.

rafeal furcal is a better defensive SS than, um, who the hell did the mess run out there before they called reyes up last year? joe mcewing?

marcus giles is a better defensive 2B than robbie alomar.

julio franco is a better defensive 1B than jason phillips or mike piazza.

gary sheffield is a better defensive RF than jeromy burnitz.

j.d. drew is a better defensive outfielder at any position than anyone the mets have fielded in the last 2 years, including mike cameron.

charles thomas and eli marrero are better defensive outfielders than anyone who has been in LF or RF for the mets this year.

am i making my point yet?

s/
   53. Sam M. Posted: August 20, 2004 at 07:31 PM (#809465)
Unfortunately, I agree with every comparison Sam H. made in # 52 -- except for saying J.D. Drew is a better defensive outfielder than Mike Cameron. And Rafael Furcal is a more proven defensive shortstop than Jose Reyes -- we don't know yet how good Reyes is capable of being, since he's played less than half a season of ML shortstop. But Furcal has certainly outperformed Reyes and every other Met shortstop (especially Matsui) of the last two years.

Overall, there is no doubt at all that Tom Glavine has been hurt by the Mets defense, and that it has been decidedly inferior to the Braves. This is not, I hasten to add, exactly a news flash.
   54. Chris Dial Posted: August 20, 2004 at 08:36 PM (#809591)
Hutch, you are just wrong about Drew. Or the Braves have the wrong guy in CF.

How many IP did Franco play last season? How many games did Giles miss?

Richard Hidalgo is as good a defensive OF as anyone the Braves have.

Am I making my point yet?

Please quantify the runs you think that defense made - or at least demonstrate that Glavine's BIP distribution was such that the Braves would have saved X runs.

At least your disgruntledness surfaced.
   55. Mike Devereaux: MVP Posted: August 21, 2004 at 12:00 AM (#809962)
One pertinent thing that I seem to remember is that Glavine actually turned down the initial "lifetime" contract that the Braves offered him that offseason. To my knowledge it was a potential 5-year deal with only the first year guaranteed. At the time, Stan Kasten remarked that Glavine could have played "forever" on that deal if he only met certain performance requirements every year - performances "comparable to a 4th starter on most teams". In addition, the contract guaranteed Glavine an organizational job upon the completion of his playing career.

I remember Glavine being very displeased with the Braves that offseason, and I think that contract offer was the main thing that pissed him off. Given the lack of guaranteed years I can partly understand his anger - obviously the Braves were acting on the hope that he would remain loyal to them. That action backfired and I don't think the Braves ever made up for it in the negotiations.

Did they need to? To this point, history suggests not, even though the loss of Glavine caused the emergency re-sign of Maddux, the loss of Millwood, and the lament of Schuerholz.

I think Glavine chose NY for the money and the years... for both his own interests and those of the union. I also believe that he chose NY (and NY was willing to offer the most money and years) because of dislike of the Braves. I think he wanted to go to NY and lead them over the Braves at least in part out of personal spite. To this point, the Braves' players have responded accordingly.

Speaking as a Braves fan, it bothers me not in the least that my team has administered repeated whippings to Mr. Glavine. He went to the Mets. That's all there is to it. But I do hope that he gets his 300th win, and I am quite certain that he will make the HOF regardless. He's probably the 5th best pitcher of the last 15 years, and finishing 5th behind Clemens, Maddux, Johnson, and Martinez is no insult.
   56. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 21, 2004 at 05:09 PM (#811006)
Hutch, you are just wrong about Drew. Or the Braves have the wrong guy in CF.

the Braves are currently playing their best defensive outfielder in RF, yes. their second best defensive outfielder, assuming it's not eli marrero's day at the office, plays LF. both are better, for the record, than anyone the mets run out there on a regular basis.

How many IP did Franco play last season? How many games did Giles miss?

412. robert fick got the most (900+) and matt franco got the rest. (mike hessman and mark derosa notwithstanding.) so, to line 'em up for your metsie universe:

fick better than phillips.
franco, j. better than clark.
franco, m. better than vaughn.

Richard Hidalgo is as good a defensive OF as anyone the Braves have.

and you call me a homer. that's funny.

Please quantify the runs you think that defense made - or at least demonstrate that Glavine's BIP distribution was such that the Braves would have saved X runs.

that's your job, capt'n spreadsheet. my job is...

At least your disgruntledness surfaced.

yeah, that.

s/
   57. Chris Dial Posted: August 23, 2004 at 10:17 PM (#814302)
Sam,
FWIW, I miss you.
   58. shoomee Posted: September 10, 2004 at 12:22 PM (#846763)
No one much mentions Kent as a HOF. He has never become one of theose legendary Met fans wailings like "we traded away Ryan, Singleton, Otis, Mitchell, didn't sign Knight or Arod". He was traded for Cone just as Cone (ripped for years as blowing NLCS, arguing with umpire letting a Braves player circle the bases and score) was getting popular. Kent was not happy to leave pennant-winning Blue Jays for the Bobby Bonilla-Vince Coleman-Jeff Torborg Mets. He made a big fuss over not wearing a "pimp suit" that even clubhouse pariah Gregg Jeffries advised him to. The Move to 3rd in 1996 was disaster..lots of errors and no rbis with RISP. The trade away for Carlos Baerga was greeted as "steal of a deal" and "we've got the next Keith Hernandez"
Kent got more publicity for the wrist injury in spring 2002 under mysterious circumstances. Perhaps if his team hadn't blown lead in World series and if he had a big hit/play it would have helped. Reputations in NYC can be trcky..both Paul O'Neill and Chuck Knoblach won often, often having big hits but O'Neill's attitude was interpreted as competitive while Knoblach was a "jerk", remember mainly for throwing problems and bonehead play vs cleveland in 1998 LCS (although he occasionally is at Stadium and gets cheers from fans when picture of him is on TV screen).
Kent will probably end up like Whitaker but he still has some time with Houston to win and get late career glory, I do know a couple years ago I teasingly suggested to impassioned Met Fan Joe Beningo on WFAN as Kent for Baerga was a bad trade and he said "Kent never would have hit as well in NYC as he did in SF"

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