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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

ESPN: Mike Scioscia talks Mike Napoli trade

Interesting comments by Napoli on his time with the Angels, I don’t recall seeing anything about them when he made them

In August, Napoli told the Dallas Morning News he felt constrained by Scioscia’s high demands on his catchers.

“I always felt like I was looking over my shoulder to see if I was doing things right,” Napoli said. “I had ‘bad hands.’ I was so worried about my setup and the mechanics all the time. I learned a lot. I learned a lot of what I do there, but playing there just wasn’t much fun.”

Also from Saxon at ESPN: Scioscia and the new GM: setting boundaries

Jim Wisinski Posted: October 26, 2011 at 02:03 AM | 115 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, arizona, rays, yankees

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   1. Tripon Posted: October 26, 2011 at 03:12 AM (#3975542)
Scioscia had a quote saying that one of the reasons why Napoli got traded because being a catcher didn't come naturally to him like it did some catchers. Kinda interesting that he didn't apply that to his favorite toy, Jeff Mathis, like the fact he can't hit at all.
   2. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: October 26, 2011 at 03:12 AM (#3975543)
"I think we have to wait a couple years first. Right now, it's obvious. Mike Napoli is having an incredible run with Texas," Scioscia said.


We probably don't.
   3. Ebessan Posted: October 26, 2011 at 03:27 AM (#3975549)
Vernon Wells.
   4. Hugh Jorgan Posted: October 26, 2011 at 03:28 AM (#3975551)
I find it incredulous that Texas and the small posse that represents the sabermetric community are seemingly the only people that value Napoli correctly. Surely..SURELY, other teams could see that this guy was, well you know, actually good and should be playing every day.
   5. Don Malcolm Posted: October 26, 2011 at 03:35 AM (#3975554)
I think the Red Sox were interested in acquiring Mike back in '10 before the Angels traded him away--there were waivers, yes?

Methinks that Jon Daniels may have had a hand in orchestrating the deal twixt the Halos and the Jays, knowing that Toronto would never trade Napoli to a division rival--especially one that had shown interest in him earlier.
   6. Ray (CTL) Posted: October 26, 2011 at 03:35 AM (#3975555)
No matter what Scioscia says, what he cannot change -- what he can never change -- is that Napoli can throw out runners as good as Jeff Mathis can, and then you get to the ocean that separates them offensively.

No amount of fundamentals or mechanics or plate blocking or pitch calling or whatever didn't come "naturally" to Mike Napoli in Scioscia's eyes (I can't access the full article) can ever make up for that.
   7. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: October 26, 2011 at 03:54 AM (#3975560)
I saw these comments from Napoli in August. I also saw the Scioscia comments a few hours ago. Basically, I think that this interview is primarily meant to put the 'Scioscia is de facto GM' rumors to bed so that the new GM is comfortable in taking the job.

He will NEVER admit that the Napoli-Wells was the shitsandwich that it is. He is way too arrogant. He's a friggin' Dodger afterall.

I am so happy for Napoli - I can't stand it. I hope he hits three homers tomorrow, throws out a handful of would-be basestealers and guides Lewis to a no-hitter where he frames all 27 called third strikes perfectly - all the while showing off this "F U Scioscia" tattoo.
   8. Ray (CTL) Posted: October 26, 2011 at 04:52 AM (#3975579)
"I think we have to wait a couple years first. Right now, it's obvious. Mike Napoli is having an incredible run with Texas," Scioscia said. "He was certainly capable of doing what he did and we valued him. The thing that cracks me up is when people say we didn't think he was any good. We played him a lot more than Texas has this year over his career with us."


You gave a lot of his playing time to Jeff Mathis. You traded him in one of the worst deals ever.

That Ron Washington may be as dumb as you doesn't change how dumb you are.
   9. Tripon Posted: October 26, 2011 at 05:02 AM (#3975581)
Ron Washington isn't as dumb as Scioscia is. It took the Angels about 4 years to finally realize that Napoli's bat can play as a part time 1B/DH when he's not catching. It took the Rangers about 5 seconds to find that out.
   10. Ebessan Posted: October 26, 2011 at 05:05 AM (#3975583)
"We played him a lot more than Texas has this year over his career with us."


Not really true. He only exceeded his 2011 PA count in 2010.
   11. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: October 26, 2011 at 05:07 AM (#3975584)
That Ron Washington may be as dumb as you doesn't change how dumb you are.

Napoli would have gotten more playing time, but he had a DL stint in June.
   12. bunyon Posted: October 26, 2011 at 05:29 AM (#3975587)
Napoli used that "bad hands" line in the postgame interview talking about the near-passed ball to end the game. He looks like he's having fun now.

Hey, sometimes people don't click. Yeah, Scioscia should have used him better. But it seems really clear from all that's gone down that the two just didn't get along.

Now, it would have been better just to release him than make the trade...



Sciosia can't come out and talk about how bad the trade was because he'd been insulting his current players. That's a bad move.
   13. Tripon Posted: October 26, 2011 at 05:37 AM (#3975590)
Bill Plaschke and quotes from Sciosia.


"If you say our organization didn't value Mike Napoli, it's absolutely wrong," he said. "The hindsight of this trade is 20/20 vision, and right now, obviously in the playoffs, that vision carries lot of weight. But I still think there is a lot of upside of what our team can become with Vernon."

The rap on Napoli here was that he wasn't a good defensive catcher, and, indeed, the Rangers have seemed to agree. He was their starting catcher for only 57 games this season, fewer than he caught in each of his five Angels seasons.

The Angels never gave up on Napoli's hitting, and, in fact, valued it even more than the Rangers, as he had nearly 100 fewer at-bats with the Rangers this season than with the Angels last year.

The Angels didn't hate Napoli. They simply thought that with Kendrys Morales returning at first base and Bobby Abreu scheduled to be the DH, there wouldn't be enough playing time for him.

They obviously blew it. They obviously placed far too much value in the defense of a Jeff Mathis-led group that finished the year as the worst-hitting catchers in the American League.

Scioscia, who prided himself on defense when he starred for the Dodgers, set that value and should be held accountable for its impact. It's fair to blame Scioscia for thinking Napoli could not be an everyday catcher, and fair to assume that he thought Napoli was expendable.

But is it fair to blame him for trading Napoli for an underachieving, $23-million disappointment like Wells? Scioscia refused to utter a negative word about Reagins, but he insisted Tuesday — as he has insisted since he joined the Angels a dozen years ago — that he did not make that trade, or any trades.


It seems pretty damn obvious to me that if you as the GM actually did value Napoli, then Regins would have just non tendered Jeff Mathis.
   14. valuearbitrageur Posted: October 26, 2011 at 05:43 AM (#3975591)
Basically, I think that this interview is primarily meant to put the 'Scioscia is de facto GM' rumors to bed so that the new GM is comfortable in taking the job. [\quote]

Watch what they do, not what they say.

Scioscia said he has spoken with Bud Black and Joe Maddon, former coaches on his staff who now are major-league managers, and neither is interested in leaving the bench to become the Angels GM.


I think the fact that Scioscia has already tried to recruit former subordinates for the job tells you volumes about the amount of control he wants to exert over the GM.
   15. Ray (CTL) Posted: October 26, 2011 at 05:46 AM (#3975592)
Hey, sometimes people don't click. Yeah, Scioscia should have used him better. But it seems really clear from all that's gone down that the two just didn't get along.


It seems clear that a reasonable theory is:

* Scioscia was a good catcher
* Scioscia is therefore an "expert" at evaluating catching talent
* Scioscia is biased towards fundamentally or mechanically sound defensive catchers, as he sees them
* No amount of offense is going to get Scioscia to overcome his biases
   16. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: October 26, 2011 at 05:57 AM (#3975593)
The Angels traded Napoli and Juan Rivera to the Toronto Blue Jays for Wells. Toronto then traded Napoli to the Texas Rangers, where he batted .320 with 30 home runs and a stellar .1045 OPS.


That OPS is more Brandon wood than Mike Napoli.
   17. Tripon Posted: October 26, 2011 at 06:09 AM (#3975596)

* Scioscia was a good catcher
* Scioscia is therefore an "expert" at evaluating catching talent
* Scioscia is biased towards fundamentally or mechanically sound defensive catchers, as he sees them
* No amount of offense is going to get Scioscia to overcome his biases


Scioscia already has given the bad defensive rap to Hank Conger, as one of his justifications to start Jeff Mathis for the majority of the games. It might even be true, but for a team that starved for offense, sitting down a player that can help you this year and potentially for the next five for Mathis was just silly.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: October 26, 2011 at 06:40 AM (#3975599)
the January trade that cost the Angels one of the most powerful hitters in the American League and saddled them with the onerous contract of Vernon Wells.

While technically correct, the Blue Jays would have gladly traded Wells for Bob Napoli. It's not like the Angels went out looking to trade Napoli and took the best deal they could find, they wanted Vernon Wells and were dumb enough to pay almost the full load and give up talent.

There have been a lot of bad trades in baseball, some of which might end up being even worse than this one from a baseball value point of view (say Anderson-Bagwell). But this was the dumbest trade I can think of.
   19. Srul Itza At Home Posted: October 26, 2011 at 06:58 AM (#3975601)
Scioscia has been with the Angels since 2000 and is signed through 2018.


Wow. That seems kind of long for any manager. I know you don't want them to feel like lame ducks, but 7 years . . .
   20. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 26, 2011 at 07:12 AM (#3975602)
Scioscia already has given the bad defensive rap to Hank Conger, as one of his justifications to start Jeff Mathis for the majority of the games. It might even be true, but for a team that starved for offense, sitting down a player that can help you this year and potentially for the next five for Mathis was just silly.
Pretty much. It's been a few weeks now, but I'm still stunned at just how awful Mathis was this season. An OPS+ of 37 — for the SECOND YEAR IN A ROW!

I do hope Napoli continues to roll in the WS, because the better he does, the brighter he shines a light on the Wells trade. Hopefully, that'll have some positive effect on future Anaheim deal-making. Not holding my breath, though.
   21. A Random 8-Year-Old Eskimo Posted: October 26, 2011 at 07:18 AM (#3975603)
Not really true. He only exceeded his 2011 PA count in 2010.

I think he meant that Napoli had far more at-bats during his Angels career than he has accumulated during one season in Texas. I'm not sure that this point really proves Scioscia's contention that they valued him properly, as it's not surprising this would have occurred.

It's not surprising Scioscia is saying what he is. He probably doesn't want to insult Wells and may also be stubborn. The truth is that he prioritizes catcher defence much more than most managers and found Napoli lacking, which led him to favour giving Mathis more playing time and also probably coloured his relationship with and perception of Napoli.

The Napoli to Toronto trade was shocking. The Napoli to Texas trade was also surprising, even accounting for Toronto having several corner infield/catcher pieces and having a need in the bullpen.
   22. Yellow Tango Posted: October 26, 2011 at 10:16 AM (#3975608)
Scioscia acknowledged the trade hasn't worked out as the Angels envisioned. On Sept. 30, Angels general manager Tony Reagins stepped down under pressure from owner Arte Moreno and the Angels are deep into their search for his replacement. The team also fired its farm director, two top scouts and assistant general manager Ken Forsch.


Obviously, there are other factors.

But if one paragraph could sum up a trade...
   23. Jim Wisinski Posted: October 26, 2011 at 11:32 AM (#3975614)
I think the fact that Scioscia has already tried to recruit former subordinates for the job tells you volumes about the amount of control he wants to exert over the GM.


That's what really struck me as odd in the second article. I suppose Scioscia might have done that on Moreno's orders but that seems unlikely. Moreno's list of GM interviews strongly suggests that he's looking to get somebody who is a total outsider (and firing several top level guys in baseball ops after forcing the GM to resign sure looks like an owner who has lost faith in the "Angel Way"). Whether Scioscia reached out to his former subordinates with Moreno's blessing or not it sure as hell doesn't sound like a guy who has no interest in being the man behind the curtain for a puppet GM.
   24. ray james Posted: October 26, 2011 at 12:47 PM (#3975624)
Scioscia had a quote saying that one of the reasons why Napoli got traded because being a catcher didn't come naturally to him like it did some catchers. Kinda interesting that he didn't apply that to his favorite toy, Jeff Mathis, like the fact he can't hit at all.


It seems from afar like Girardi and Posada have the same sort of relationship. That must have sucked for Posada, to spend his entire career playing for ex-catchers.
   25. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 26, 2011 at 01:01 PM (#3975627)
Re Posada and playing for catchers just playing for Girardi must have sucked as a player Girardi was in the Scoiscia/Mathis mode otoh Torre was more the Napoli/Posada type catcher as a player
   26. Mattbert Posted: October 26, 2011 at 01:19 PM (#3975633)
I find it incredulous that Texas and the small posse that represents the sabermetric community are seemingly the only people that value Napoli correctly.

It took Texas a while to figure it out too. Napoli lost a ton of playing time to Yorvit Torrealba and Mitch Moreland in the first half. Wash was handling him essentially like a platoon player; he got all the starts against LHP with scattered games against RHP if Torrealba needed a day off. But basically Napoli was only playing 3-4 games a week there for quite some time.
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 26, 2011 at 01:32 PM (#3975639)
I find it incredulous that Texas and the small posse that represents the sabermetric community are seemingly the only people that value Napoli correctly.

It took Texas a while to figure it out too. Napoli lost a ton of playing time to Yorvit Torrealba and Mitch Moreland in the first half. Wash was handling him essentially like a platoon player; he got all the starts against LHP with scattered games against RHP if Torrealba needed a day off. But basically Napoli was only playing 3-4 games a week there for quite some time.


Has no one looked at the Jorge Posada experience with the Yankees and seen that if you have a C with a 120 OPS+ his D don't matter much? You'd think that a team making 14 of the last 15 post-seasons with all bat and no glove players at C and SS would get people to rethink biases.
   28. Textbook Editor Posted: October 26, 2011 at 01:38 PM (#3975646)
While I'm bummed that the Red Sox never landed Napoli, I am thrilled he's getting ABs and this kind of exposure. It seemed for years--literally--the Red Sox wanted this guy; it's rather odd that all we would have needed is Wells' bloated contract to pull off the trade.

Were I a decent GM, I wouldn't touch the Angels' job.
   29. The Good Face Posted: October 26, 2011 at 01:41 PM (#3975650)
I find it incredulous that Texas and the small posse that represents the sabermetric community are seemingly the only people that value Napoli correctly.


This blows my mind as well. Even before Napoli went all Piazza on the league in 2011, he had a strong track record as a hitter, with a career OPS+ around 120. He'd have to be a historically bad catcher to overcome a bat like that, and there's just no evidence he's anywhere near that bad. Hell, guys who can put up a 120 OPS+ are almost always valuable in their own right, but if you've got a guy like that and he can catch, tossing him away for a sack of crap is just insane. I get the fact that he's slow and doesn't look much like an elite athlete, but it's not the 1970s and nobody's selling jeans anymore.

It took Texas a while to figure it out too. Napoli lost a ton of playing time to Yorvit Torrealba and Mitch Moreland in the first half. Wash was handling him essentially like a platoon player; he got all the starts against LHP with scattered games against RHP if Torrealba needed a day off. But basically Napoli was only playing 3-4 games a week there for quite some time.


True, although his hitting in the first half was mortal and he missed a goodly chunk of time to injury. To Wash and Daniels' credit, once he was healthy and mashing, Napoli was a fixture in the lineup. That said, if Wash bats him 8th in tonight's game, my head might actually explode.
   30. Charles S., looking 4 band-aids instead of dreams Posted: October 26, 2011 at 01:42 PM (#3975653)
Moreno's list of GM interviews strongly suggests that he's looking to get somebody who is a total outsider


I'm sure Jim Hendry would listen if the Angels called. He has plenty of experience being intimidated by a strong-willed manager.
   31. Textbook Editor Posted: October 26, 2011 at 01:49 PM (#3975659)
That said, if Wash bats him 8th in tonight's game, my head might actually explode.


You might want to have 911 on speed-dial, then, because I would bet a very large sum that's exactly where he bats.
   32. The Good Face Posted: October 26, 2011 at 01:53 PM (#3975664)
That said, if Wash bats him 8th in tonight's game, my head might actually explode.


You might want to have 911 on speed-dial, then, because I would bet a very large sum that's exactly where he bats.


I know Wash hasn't exactly covered himself in glory with his postseason tactical maneuvers, but even he HAS to realize that batting Napoli in front of the pitcher means the guy won't get to swing the bat unless the bases are loaded, and hell, maybe not even then.
   33. Textbook Editor Posted: October 26, 2011 at 01:57 PM (#3975667)
#32--My bad, I forgot that the NL plays that exciting brand of baseball where the pitcher bats.
   34. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 26, 2011 at 02:03 PM (#3975671)
* Scioscia was a good catcher
* Scioscia is therefore an "expert" at evaluating catching talent
* Scioscia is biased towards fundamentally or mechanically sound defensive catchers, as he sees them
* No amount of offense is going to get Scioscia to overcome his biases


If Scioscia wanted better defense, he should have made every effort to turn Napoli into at least an acceptable option since his bat was so much better than the Angels' other options. Yogi Berra was a sub-par catcher when he arrived with the Yankees -- Bill Dickey changed that. That Scioscia couldn't do something similar seems to indicate that something was amiss with either his standards or teaching ability, since Napoli looks more than OK in the playoffs.
   35. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: October 26, 2011 at 02:04 PM (#3975672)
I know Wash would never do it, but Hamilton should be batting 8th as he is only a shell of his MVP self at this grointastic moment.
   36. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 26, 2011 at 02:06 PM (#3975673)
Against the lefty Garcia, Napoli has to bat 3rd or 4th, no?
   37. BDC Posted: October 26, 2011 at 02:12 PM (#3975677)
I have no explanation for why Napoli's been batting 8th even in DH games. But it sure seems to have worked out in terms of coming up with lots of guys on base at crucial moments :)
   38. JJ1986 Posted: October 26, 2011 at 02:15 PM (#3975683)
I'll bet Napoli gets all the way up to 6th tonight.
   39. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 26, 2011 at 02:17 PM (#3975687)
Folks, we see this all the time where a former player identifies with the skill set he had and expects those who play the same position to have the same qualities. It just "is".

It will be interesting if Mike is able to get past this event without winning some more divisional titles with the Angels. Even the best can see a career impacted if a decision morphs into being galactically stupid
   40. Shredder Posted: October 26, 2011 at 02:23 PM (#3975697)
Whether Scioscia reached out to his former subordinates with Moreno's blessing or not it sure as hell doesn't sound like a guy who has no interest in being the man behind the curtain for a puppet GM.
I wouldn't read too much into this. My sense is that Scioscia is probably still close with those guys and talks to them regularly. This is the first I've seen this reported, and the way I read, it sounds like he at most was gauging any interest. And why wouldn't he? Wouldn't you want someone as your boss with whom you worked well and had a successful partnership in the past? I'm not saying that this would be in the best interest of the Angels, but how many managers are going to say "I really hope they hire someone I've never worked with who won't come to me for any input whatsoever"?
   41. PreservedFish Posted: October 26, 2011 at 02:26 PM (#3975699)
That said, if Wash bats him 8th in tonight's game, my head might actually explode.


Double cleanup. Second most important position.
   42. Fanshawe Posted: October 26, 2011 at 02:29 PM (#3975704)
Has no one looked at the Jorge Posada experience with the Yankees and seen that if you have a C with a 120 OPS+ his D don't matter much? You'd think that a team making 14 of the last 15 post-seasons with all bat and no glove players at C and SS would get people to rethink biases.


In an ideal world, people rethink their biases. In the sports world, we get Derek Jeter: Gold Glove shortstop.
   43. Spahn Insane Posted: October 26, 2011 at 02:39 PM (#3975716)
It's been a few weeks now, but I'm still stunned at just how awful Mathis was this season. An OPS+ of 37 — for the SECOND YEAR IN A ROW!

You know, for all the ragging on Mathis that's gone on here, I don't think I'd ever actually looked at his stats page until now; I'd just sort of internalized that he was a bad hitter in a generic sort of way. Good god--he's never even approached mediocre, even for one season. Is there a worse hitter in baseball who's gotten that much playing time in recent years?
   44. Sean Forman Posted: October 26, 2011 at 02:50 PM (#3975727)
AL Team catching by OPS

edit: fixed the link

They obviously blew it. They obviously placed far too much value in the defense of a Jeff Mathis-led group that finished the year as the worst-hitting catchers in the American League.


The Angels C's were bad, but the team with the $23m catcher was worse.
   45. Shredder Posted: October 26, 2011 at 02:50 PM (#3975728)
Folks, we see this all the time where a former player identifies with the skill set he had and expects those who play the same position to have the same qualities. It just "is".
I'd buy this if Mathis had Scioscia's skill set. Scioscia had a career OPS+ of 99, pretty decent for a catcher. Also, he didn't suck at catching like Mathis.
   46. Rally Posted: October 26, 2011 at 02:52 PM (#3975730)
Drew Butera hasn't been around as long, but looks like a Mathis level hitter. Unlike Mathis though, he can actually throw runners out.

If you're going to put such an insane premium on catcher defense, why can't you get someone who is actually good at catcher defense? Henry Blanco's been around forever, has a career OPS+ of 69, throws out 43% of baserunners, and only made more than 2 million once in his career.

Judge him against guys who can hit, judge him against guys who can field, any way you do it Jeff Mathis is just a complete waste of a roster spot.
   47. ColonelTom Posted: October 26, 2011 at 02:55 PM (#3975737)
He only exceeded his 2011 PA count in 2010.

And he only exceeded it in 2010 because of injuries to Mathis and Kendrys Morales. After Mathis returned from a broken wrist, the Angels kept Bobby Wilson on the roster, and Napoli's playing time was almost exclusively at 1B (50 starts at 1B, 12 at C in the final 93 games).
   48. The Good Face Posted: October 26, 2011 at 02:56 PM (#3975738)
Folks, we see this all the time where a former player identifies with the skill set he had and expects those who play the same position to have the same qualities. It just "is".


Absolutely true, and that explains the Scioscia/Napoli dynamic, but the Angels had a GM who supposedly should have known better. Even if he couldn't convince Scioscia to shut up about defense and just put Napoli in the lineup at C every day, there were apparently several GMs out there who were quite keen on getting their hands on the guy. Trading Napoli wasn't necessarily a disastrous move, but trading him for Vernon Wells was. What's almost equally fascinating to me was that Toronto then let him go for a reliever. I suppose their front office was in a state of euphoria from dumping Wells and they just weren't thinking clearly.
   49. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 26, 2011 at 02:58 PM (#3975741)
Good god--he's never even approached mediocre, even for one season. Is there a worse hitter in baseball who's gotten that much playing time in recent years?


Brandon Wood. 2008-2011 718 PA 41 OPS+

Mathis 2008-2011 1099 PA 48 OPS+

Of course Wood was also (mostly) an Angel, so it's hardly a point in their favor.
   50. Ray (CTL) Posted: October 26, 2011 at 03:09 PM (#3975755)
The Angels C's were bad, but the team with the $23m catcher was worse.


Yes, that surprised me, too, when I looked at your link. I had forgotten that Mauer was hurt, a shell of himself, and not catching regularly, and therefore something called Drew Butera was getting a lot of PAs.

Back to Mathis... is there actually any evidence that he's a better defensive catcher than Napoli? I ask this seriously. Because their CS percentages (career) are the same.

If Scioscia wanted to ditch Napoli, fine, but how did his answer keep coming up Mathis?

It's amusing that precisely BECAUSE Scioscia was a good catcher himself, the Angels got saddled with crap at the position. And made one of the worst trades in history, ending up with Wells and his contract.
   51. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 26, 2011 at 03:14 PM (#3975762)
Even the best can see a career impacted if a decision morphs into being galactically stupid

The Mathis decision is waaaay into the galactically stupid realm.

He's giving 1360 PAs to a guy with a 50 OPS+. There aren't too many stupider decisions made in MLB, unless the Red Sox decide to try out Ortiz at 3B.
   52. Ray (CTL) Posted: October 26, 2011 at 03:36 PM (#3975781)
Defense at C, per b-r:

Mathis:
-6 FR
-.6 dWAR
3307 innings
252 SB, 78 CS => 24%
.987 FP (league .991)
27 PB
140 WP
16 pickoffs
7.6 RF/9 (league 7.35)
252 assists
37 errors
19 DP turned

Napoli: (* all defensive stats at C except FR and dWAR includes time at 1B)
-14 FR (*)
-1.4 dWAR (*)
3729 innings
286 SB, 95 CS = > 25%
.989 FP (.991 league)
21 PB
176 WP
4 pickoffs
8.41 RF/9 (7.35 league)
206 assists
34 errors
22 DP turned

They look similar. Mathis looks a little better, overall. Not by much.

Amusingly, Napoli had his first +dWAR season in Texas.
   53. escabeche Posted: October 26, 2011 at 03:39 PM (#3975785)
Home runs are home runs, but Napoli had a .344 BABiP this year. Doesn't change the fact that he's an elite hitter, but it does suggest he's not really as good as he looked in 2011.
   54. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 26, 2011 at 03:48 PM (#3975801)
Home runs are home runs, but Napoli had a .344 BABiP this year. Doesn't change the fact that he's an elite hitter, but it does suggest he's not really as good as he looked in 2011.

Well, he put up a 171 OPS+. Everybody not named Ruth, Gehrig, Williams, Hornsby or Mantle isn't as good as he looked this year.
   55. ColonelTom Posted: October 26, 2011 at 03:54 PM (#3975806)
The pickoffs are probably a big part of why Mathis is perceived as a better catcher - they're flashy plays. Pudge Rodriguez has been getting paid well past his sell-by date because of his penchant for pickoffs in his first few seasons, as did Benito Santiago. (It's also worth noting that B-R's catcher pickoffs include some plays that also count in the CS numbers - that double-counting probably overstates Mathis' defensive contributions more than Napoli's.) Pudge and Santiago both had very few pickoffs later in their careers, which probably indicates that runners were being more cautious - the intimidation factor is an asset as well, but in Mathis' case certainly not enough to offset his putrid offense.

Napoli's monster 2011 is heavily BABIP-driven. If I had to guess, he'll be more of a .265/.355/.460 player going forward. Of course, that's still a very valuable catcher.
   56. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 26, 2011 at 03:57 PM (#3975811)
The Angels C's were bad, but the team with the $23m catcher was worse.


The Angels situation was self-inflicted they chose to tarde away Napoli, keep Mathis and demote Conger, in Minnie Mauer was hurt and his replacements were Mathislike
   57. Ray (CTL) Posted: October 26, 2011 at 04:00 PM (#3975814)
Home runs are home runs, but Napoli had a .344 BABiP this year. Doesn't change the fact that he's an elite hitter, but it does suggest he's not really as good as he looked in 2011.


It was a career year. Nobody is really as good as they look in a career year.

I certainly am not criticizing Scioscia for tossing aside a "170 OPS+" hitter. The point is that Sciosca had a 120 OPS+ hitter -- and tossed him aside. And when you're a 120 OPS+ hitter, you range from 100 to 150 OPS+ -- which is basically what Napoli had done for Scioscia. And when you have a career year where everything goes right - well, that's what we saw this year.

FWIW, Napoli had a .321 BABIP in 2009, so this wasn't entirely unprecedented. But normally he'd been in the .280 to .300 range (IIRC). The biggest change this year was that he absolutely mashed righties -- but he had shown flashes of hitting them well in the past.
   58. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 26, 2011 at 04:12 PM (#3975830)
Napoli has only had more than 500 plate appearances in a season once. I don't think anyone is certain as the type of hitter he is even at this point in his career.

And the guy has a career slugging percentage of over .500. Being in Texas, playing a bit more often and staying healthy I doubt that number will slip any time soon.

Napoli strikes me as a guy who could easily pump out 2-3 seasons slugging well over .500 before age hits and he begins to slip.
   59. Dangerous Dean Posted: October 26, 2011 at 04:14 PM (#3975834)
The Napoli to Toronto trade was shocking. The Napoli to Texas trade was also surprising, even accounting for Toronto having several corner infield/catcher pieces and having a need in the bullpen.


I love the Rangers and was overjoyed when my boys got Napoli for a RP we could do without. It was especially sweet because this is the sort of bonehead move that Texas has specialized in over the years...only as the victim, not the fleecer.

That said, I think we are seeing the best of Napoli. I expect that the rest of his years in Texas will be good, but not Benchesque. And that is ok. Winning it this year is more than I had hoped for and Napoli has been a HUGE part of this run.

But I think that if we are judging this trade and Scioscia's competence, we need to make sure we don't pencil Napoli in for a 1.045 season OPS and a WS MVP in 2012, 2013, etc. I would love to see his defense stay this good, but I am afraid it is more of a bubble than a permanent (or long lasting) trend. Even if he regresses next year to a Ryan Doumit-like incompentence behind the plate, he will still be a better option that Taylor Teagarden or Yorvit Torrealba on most days.
   60. Mark Donelson Posted: October 26, 2011 at 04:14 PM (#3975836)
Double cleanup. Second most important position.

A schoolmate tried to sell me on this in second grade. Never trusted that guy again...
   61. BDC Posted: October 26, 2011 at 04:23 PM (#3975844)
Has no one looked at the Jorge Posada experience with the Yankees and seen that if you have a C with a 120 OPS+ his D don't matter much?

Theoretically, but I do think that guys who can actually catch are rarer than one might think. How many catchers languishing in AAA could put up a 120 OPS+ in the majors, but are blocked by defensive worries? Even Matt Wieters's career ML OPS+ is still only 100; he had a fine year in 2011 and his OPS+ was 113. Guys who can hit for a 120 OPS+ at any position are in pretty short supply. And I don't think you can simply hand Bobby Abreu a catcher's mitt. {/shudder}

Napoli is an excellent counter-example, but: (a) Scioscia's got a point, if a weak one: Napoli played 500 games for the Angels and hit 90 HR for them; he wasn't entirely buried; and (b) he's a huge and glaring counter-example, which is why this thread exists :)
   62. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 26, 2011 at 04:29 PM (#3975848)
Theoretically, but I do think that guys who can actually catch are rarer than one might think. How many catchers languishing in AAA could put up a 120 OPS+ in the majors, but are blocked by defensive worries? Even Matt Wieters's career ML OPS+ is still only 100; he had a fine year in 2011 and his OPS+ was 113. Guys who can hit for a 120 OPS+ at any position are in pretty short supply. And I don't think you can simply hand Bobby Abreu a catcher's mitt. {/shudder}

Napoli is an excellent counter-example, but: (a) Scioscia's got a point, if a weak one: Napoli played 500 games for the Angels and hit 90 HR for them; he wasn't entirely buried; and (b) he's a huge and glaring counter-example, which is why this thread exists :)


Yeah, but lots of "bats" are quickly moved off of catcher in the minors b/c of perceived defensive issues. Look at the Jesus Montero saga, and the crap the Yankees take for trying to make him a C. Bryce Harper didn't even sniff a game at C as a professional.

Now, if these guys become 140 OPS+ hitters, great, that plays everywhere. But, if they're 115-125 OPS+ hitters, you took a potentially hugely valuable C, and made him a meh 1B or corner OF.
   63. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 26, 2011 at 04:31 PM (#3975852)
Another aspect of Napoli that has not been mentioned is that the guy gets on TORRID hot streaks during a season. The Angels would let him going and then as soon as he cooled off sit him down versus what needs to happen with a power hitter and that is deal with the down cycle hoping that he has a ANOTHER boom period.
   64. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 26, 2011 at 04:34 PM (#3975854)
Another reason to enjoy Napoli is that EVERYTHING about the guy is a throwback to MY era.

He's pure Italian. He's stocky. He swings the bat like a guy cutting wheat with a scythe. His NAME is a classic.

You could drop this man in any decade from 1920-1960 and nobody would bat an eye.
   65. Ron J Posted: October 26, 2011 at 04:46 PM (#3975866)
#62 Thing is that a young catcher is substantially less likely to develop. Mostly because they're always battling (at least) a minor injury.

If you've got a young catcher with an offensive upside who is kind of raw defensively you're probably better off moving him off the plate.

And yes, there are examples the other way. Posada in particular developed as a hitter (he always had the strike zone judgment but hadn't shown a lot of power in the minors. A lot of that was an injury in his first shot at AAA)
   66. Mattbert Posted: October 26, 2011 at 04:48 PM (#3975871)
True, although his hitting in the first half was mortal and he missed a goodly chunk of time to injury. To Wash and Daniels' credit, once he was healthy and mashing, Napoli was a fixture in the lineup. That said, if Wash bats him 8th in tonight's game, my head might actually explode.

Sort of. Napoli started the year red hot before scuffling somewhat in May (only a .764 OPS while, as I recall, Torrealba and Moreland were hitting well) and hitting the DL for much of June. He then came back from injury and went apeshit for several weeks before finally becoming the regular starter.

Mike Napoli slash line by month (PAs in parentheses):

APR .267/.431/.733 (58)
MAY .206/.320/.444 (75)
JUN .179/.233/.214 (30) <-- Injury
JUL .443/.500/.820 (68) <-- Great scott, not even Ron Washington can ignore this!
AUG .304/.388/.559 (116)
SEP .429/.518/.843 (85)
   67. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 26, 2011 at 04:53 PM (#3975877)
Look at the Jesus Montero saga, and the crap the Yankees take for trying to make him a C.

Montero hit better than Napoli did in the minors, so by the logic of this thread there is even more reason for the Yankees to give him every opportunity to establish himself as a catcher.
   68. 'Spos Posted: October 26, 2011 at 05:00 PM (#3975885)
Has no one looked at the Jorge Posada experience with the Yankees and seen that if you have a C with a 120 OPS+ his D don't matter much?


Maybe there are folks who thought Jorge's [edit: & Napoli's] style of game-calling & receiving contributed to the implosion of a few million dollars of pitching? Sarcasm not intended: in-house receiving stats are kept in-house as far as I know.
   69. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 26, 2011 at 05:04 PM (#3975887)
Maybe there are folks who thought Jorge's [edit: & Napoli's] style of game-calling & receiving contributed to the implosion of a few million dollars of pitching? Sarcasm not intended: in-house receiving stats are kept in-house as far as I know.

Hard to imagine for veterans like Clemens, Johnson, Brown, etc. Didn't seem to bother Cone, Wells and El Duque.

Now if you want to blame having Jeter, Soriano, Giambi, Sheffield, a Japanese Zombie and the corpse of Bernie Williams playing D behind them, we can talk. Man, was that an awful defense for 3 or 4 years.
   70. Ron J Posted: October 26, 2011 at 05:12 PM (#3975893)
#68 Who'd you have in mind though. It's not like Burnett pitched well to Martin and company (yes, the guys like Garcia and Colon did far better than expected, but these guys weren't expensive. There's only one expensive flop on what was a pretty effective staff). And if you look at 2010 you'll see that after his first 3 starts, Girardi had Cervelli catching Vazquez when it was at all practical.
   71. 'Spos Posted: October 26, 2011 at 05:22 PM (#3975905)
Well, I was thinking of AJ & Irabu, Farnsworth, Kevin Brown & Johnson. Just checked to make sure they were all part of the Jorge era.

I was thinking aloud, & I've got to admit Snapper's "awful defense" theory certainly makes sense. I think the catcher's role is poorly understood, and steals aren't necessarily how front-offices are judging talent.
   72. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 26, 2011 at 05:36 PM (#3975926)
Well, I was thinking of AJ & Irabu, Farnsworth, Kevin Brown & Johnson. Just checked to make sure they were all part of the Jorge era.

I was thinking aloud, & I've got to admit Snapper's "awful defense" theory certainly makes sense. I think the catcher's role is poorly understood, and steals aren't necessarily how front-offices are judging talent.


The more I look at it, the defense is the likely culprit. Going by B-Ref, here are some of the "highlights"

'02 Jeter -18, Soriano -13, Williams -22, Total -56
'03 Jeter -14, Soriano -10, Wiiliams -15, Matsui -19, Total -65
'04 Williams -22, Matsui -14, Sheffield -10, Lofton -9 (83 Gs), Total -54
'05 Giambi -8, Matsui -12, ARod -11, Williams -12, Total -63


Egads, that's frightful glovework.

Giving away 5-6 wins on D will make any rotation look shitty.
   73. 'Spos Posted: October 26, 2011 at 05:40 PM (#3975935)
Giving away 5-6 wins on D will make any rotation look shitty.


...and maybe break them of the habit of pitching well, leading to injury etc.
   74. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 26, 2011 at 05:47 PM (#3975943)
...and maybe break them of the habit of pitching well, leading to injury etc.

Certainly wouldn't be surprised to see BB-rates climb, as they get a serious case of "nibblitis" after watching the zombie fielders lurch around for a while.
   75. Ray (CTL) Posted: October 26, 2011 at 06:26 PM (#3976013)
That said, I think we are seeing the best of Napoli. I expect that the rest of his years in Texas will be good, but not Benchesque. And that is ok. Winning it this year is more than I had hoped for and Napoli has been a HUGE part of this run.

But I think that if we are judging this trade and Scioscia's competence, we need to make sure we don't pencil Napoli in for a 1.045 season OPS and a WS MVP in 2012, 2013, etc.


Yes, everyone agrees with this.

Not that we need BP to see it, but just to provide an account of what was being said when Napoli was with Scioscia, here is what BP said before 2010:

As a player, Mike Scioscia was an excellent defender, and as a manager, he does not suffer fools wearing the tools of ignorance. Despite Napoli's ability to mash, his defensive limitations have always dimmed his stature in his skipper's eyes. Coming off shoulder surgery, he nabbed a higher percentage of basestealers than in 2008 (22 percent, up from 17 percent), and set a career high in starts, but he was prone to what his manager termed "defensive funks" with his pitch selection and sloppy setup. The struggles may have carried over into his hitting; soon after his most public airing-out in August, Napoli slid into a 3-for-45 offensive funk. Given his skills as a hitter, the Angels might be better served treating him as an everyday DH/backup backstop, but such a plan is virtually unprecedented... and the scheme loses its value if it results in more at-bats for Jeff Mathis.
   76. Ray (CTL) Posted: October 26, 2011 at 06:30 PM (#3976020)
Now if you want to blame having Jeter, Soriano, Giambi, Sheffield, a Japanese Zombie and the corpse of Bernie Williams playing D behind them, we can talk. Man, was that an awful defense for 3 or 4 years.


I haven't looked in a while, but IIRC there is a pretty decent argument that getting away from the Yankees' defense was a major factor in Clemens's post-40 resurgence in Houston.

It's at least a more solid theory than shouting "steroids!" in a crowded room of sportswriters.
   77. Ray (CTL) Posted: October 26, 2011 at 06:37 PM (#3976035)
Clemens's ERA+s by team are fascinating:

BOS (ages 21-33) 145
TOR (ages 34-35) 196
NYY (36-40, 44) 114
HOU (ages 41-43) 180
   78. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 26, 2011 at 06:41 PM (#3976043)
I haven't looked in a while, but IIRC there is a pretty decent argument that getting away from the Yankees' defense was a major factor in Clemens's post-40 resurgence in Houston.

Look at Pettitte's Houston numbers as well. The early '00's Yankees ran out a horrible, hideous, defense. see post [72].
   79. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: October 26, 2011 at 06:42 PM (#3976048)
I haven't looked in a while, but IIRC there is a pretty decent argument that getting away from the Yankees' defense was a major factor in Clemens's post-40 resurgence in Houston.

It's at least a more solid theory than shouting "steroids!" in a crowded room of sportswriters.

Why is it always black or white? Why not black AND white! ROIDS and crappy D!
   80. Rally Posted: October 26, 2011 at 07:45 PM (#3976160)
Why is it always black or white? Why not black AND white! ROIDS and crappy D!


Roids make no sense as an explanation here to anyone with multiple working brain cells. For roids to be a factor in Clemens improving from NY to Houston, there would have to be a change. In other words, you'd have to make the case he was clean with the Yankees and started (or resumed) his use with the Astros. Good luck selling that theory to anyone.

The causal factors were 1. Defense 2. Overall league quality and 3. Getting to strike out pitchers.
   81. BDC Posted: October 26, 2011 at 08:06 PM (#3976191)
Guy pitches coupla years here, coupla years there, coulda just been his year some years and not other years, just sayin.
   82. Rally Posted: October 26, 2011 at 08:16 PM (#3976205)
Sure, a lot of it could be random variation. But things like pitcher hitting explain a lot. For example, his OBP against was essentially unchanged if you remove pitcher hitting from the 2004 line.
   83. Ray (CTL) Posted: October 26, 2011 at 08:23 PM (#3976221)
Guy pitches coupla years here, coupla years there, coulda just been his year some years and not other years, just sayin.


The thing is that he was in NY for five years, and didn't post an ERA+ at his career average even once (nor did he come all that close). Even his Cy Young year of 2000 featured a 128 ERA+. (Though it did make up for the award they gave to Bob Welch in 1990.)

And it's clear he had plenty left, as the Houston years showed.
   84. valuearbitrageur Posted: October 26, 2011 at 08:26 PM (#3976223)
I wouldn't read too much into this. My sense is that Scioscia is probably still close with those guys and talks to them regularly. This is the first I've seen this reported, and the way I read, it sounds like he at most was gauging any interest. And why wouldn't he? Wouldn't you want someone as your boss with whom you worked well and had a successful partnership in the past? I'm not saying that this would be in the best interest of the Angels, but how many managers are going to say "I really hope they hire someone I've never worked with who won't come to me for any input whatsoever"?


If I was hiring a new executive that one of my middle level managers was going to report to, and the middle level manager mentioned to me that he was talking to several of his former employees to see if they'd want the job, I'd tell him to shut up, he's not doing the search or picking the candidates.

Moreno really needs to wake up. Scioscia stepping out of his area of responsibility and competence is a big problem for this team and if the new GM doesn't have full authority (extending up to firing Scioscia if he so needs) the Angels are going to be continually pulled in two directions.
   85. Halofan Posted: October 26, 2011 at 11:09 PM (#3976388)
Archetype scenario: Mike becomes an even more bitter an incompetent favorites-playing rationalizer as mentor Lasorda.
   86. BWV 1129 Posted: October 28, 2011 at 08:52 PM (#3980230)
It's not like the Angels went out looking to trade Napoli and took the best deal they could find, they wanted Vernon Wells and were dumb enough to pay almost the full load and give up talent.

This is exactly true, and I don't understand why people seem to act as though it is not true. The team believed they had a surplus at catcher, and they believed Wells was an impact bat worth the money, so they traded from surplus to shore up a deficiency. The problem was that they didn't really have a surplus at catcher and that Wells was not at all (and was never going to be) what they hoped.
   87. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: October 28, 2011 at 09:29 PM (#3980273)
It's not like the Angels went out looking to trade Napoli and took the best deal they could find, they wanted Vernon Wells and were dumb enough to pay almost the full load and give up talent.

This is exactly true, and I don't understand why people seem to act as though it is not true. The team believed they had a surplus at catcher, and they believed Wells was an impact bat worth the money, so they traded from surplus to shore up a deficiency.


Yep, as hard as that is to believe - that is exactly what happened. It would be one thing to pick up Wells on waivers - but to give up Napoli and Rivera for him AND take on the whole salary (minus $5 million) is just incredible. When the deal broke and I came to terms that Napoli had been dealt for a really mediocre - or worse - player I tried to image the amount of money changing hands from Toronto to LAAoA. My initial thought was $20 million. Then I realized that he was still owed over $80 million and figured that $20 million couldn't be enough - so I started thinking it would be between $30 and $40 million - about half of his remaining contract would be sent to LA.

I STILL thought it was a terrible deal, but if they were paying him $10 million and he produced in a similar manner to his 2010 numbers (ignoring Home/Road splits!) I could at least find a way to live with the deal. When it broke that only $5 million was changing hands I was in shock. Just the dumbest trade I could ever imagine a team making - and it involved MY team and my favorite player on said team. Mmmmm - that still stings.

I sure hope Napoli hits a trio of HR's tonight to lead TX to the WS title.
   88. TVerik, who wonders what the hell is "Ansky" Posted: October 28, 2011 at 09:32 PM (#3980279)
I think the Victor Zambrano/Scott Kazmir trade was dumber on the day it was made, but it's close.

But this was the dumbest trade I can think of.
   89. Ray (CTL) Posted: October 28, 2011 at 09:39 PM (#3980286)
This is exactly true, and I don't understand why people seem to act as though it is not true. The team believed they had a surplus at catcher, and they believed Wells was an impact bat worth the money, so they traded from surplus to shore up a deficiency. The problem was that they didn't really have a surplus at catcher and that Wells was not at all (and was never going to be) what they hoped.


They didn't value Napoli. That is the problem, and you can see it over the years of their handling of him.

They did not value him properly.
   90. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: October 28, 2011 at 09:57 PM (#3980302)
I think the Victor Zambrano/Scott Kazmir trade was dumber on the day it was made, but it's close.


When you add the money into the equation do you still think the Zambrano/Kazmir trade was worse? That's a hard sell for me...
   91. BWV 1129 Posted: October 28, 2011 at 10:00 PM (#3980306)
They didn't value Napoli. That is the problem, and you can see it over the years of their handling of him.

They did not value him properly.


We were just getting into this in The Lounge. I think they evaluated him pretty close to properly -- they knew he was a good offensive player with defensive shortcomings -- but that they mis-evaluated Mathis and Wells in extreme ways. The counter was that mis-evaluating those two is the same as mis-evaluating him, because all value is relative, or something, but to me that's a semantic kerfuffle that has no meaning.
   92. Ray (CTL) Posted: October 28, 2011 at 10:08 PM (#3980314)
But his defense is not that much worse, if at all, than Mathis's. I looked at this the other day, pouring over their relative defensive stats on b-r, and didn't see much difference. I concluded that Mathis was probably a little better defensively, but just a little. He's clearly more flashy: 16 pickoffs vs. 4 for Napoli. But their CS%s and PB and WP, etc., are similar.

If they had valued Napoli properly they'd have been playing him more, and not giving his time to Mathis, and not making life difficult for him (criticizing him last August), and then not trading him away for a horrificly bad contract.

That they thought they had to give ANYTHING OF VALUE to get Wells in return strains credulity. And so the conclusion is that they didn't think they were giving anything of value.

Bottom line: A team that thinks it has a good catcher PLAYS THE GOOD CATCHER AS THEIR STARTING CATCHER. You don't see the Braves fecking around with McCann.
   93. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: October 28, 2011 at 10:16 PM (#3980325)
And so the conclusion is that they didn't think they were giving anything of value to get him.

But Napoli was then traded for Frank Francisco. Given that, unless AA is incompetent also, wouldn't the likely conclusion be that Napoli just wasn't very highly valued at all? He was due about 6 million, hit poorly against righties when he got consistent playing time in 2010, wasn't viewed as a good defensive catcher, and had some health concerns. He was treading dangerously close to the Craig Wilson zone, no?

It's fair to say that the Angels didn't recognize Napoli's value, but isn't it the case that nobody recognized Napoli's value? Not even Texas slotted him as their regular catcher.
   94. PreservedFish Posted: October 28, 2011 at 10:18 PM (#3980329)
It's fair to say that the Angels didn't recognize Napoli's value, but isn't it the case that nobody recognized Napoli's value?


We nerds count, right?
   95. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: October 28, 2011 at 10:31 PM (#3980342)
Here are many nerds in their natural habitat. There's definitely some who are saying that Napoli is undervalued in that link, but it wasn't viewed as an incredible steal by everyone.

EDIT
   96. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: October 28, 2011 at 10:37 PM (#3980352)
You could drop this man in any decade from 1920-1960 and nobody would bat an eye.

I'm pretty sure this guy would.
   97. BWV 1129 Posted: October 28, 2011 at 10:55 PM (#3980370)
But his defense is not that much worse, if at all, than Mathis's. I looked at this the other day, pouring over their relative defensive stats on b-r, and didn't see much difference. I concluded that Mathis was probably a little better defensively, but just a little. He's clearly more flashy: 16 pickoffs vs. 4 for Napoli. But their CS%s and PB and WP, etc., are similar.

His defense is pretty clearly worse than Mathis'; the only place Napoli had an edge on coming into this season was PB (and probably WP, I don't remember exactly from the last time I looked). Mathis had a slight but notable CS% advantage (remember in looking at BB-Ref you have to look at the catcher's "baserunning" fielding stats to see how many CS he had, as the gross CS numbers on the main player page include pitcher pickoffs), though Napoli made that up and surpassed Mathis this season.

Mathis has a clear and meaningful advantage in fielding batted balls.

If they had valued Napoli properly they'd have been playing him more, and not giving his time to Mathis, and not making life difficult for him (criticizing him last August), and then not trading him away for a horrificly bad contract.

Why is that about valuing Napoli, and not Mathis? I think they recognized exactly what Napoli could do; the error was/is in identifying what Mathis can do. Remember, another factor they think was in Mathis' factor was handling pitchers.

Basically, let's say on a scale of 1-100, Napoli is a 75. You and I and everyone here thinks that Mathis is a 40. They thought Mathis was a 60.

That they thought they had to give ANYTHING OF VALUE to get Wells in return strains credulity. And so the conclusion is that they didn't think they were giving anything of value.

That idea doesn't strain credulity at all; they thought they had to give value to get value.

Bottom line: A team that thinks it has a good catcher PLAYS THE GOOD CATCHER AS THEIR STARTING CATCHER.

And they did use Napoli as the starting catcher. He always started at catcher more than Mathis when both were healthy, with the only exception being when Napoli was the everyday 1B.
   98. MM1f Posted: October 28, 2011 at 11:00 PM (#3980373)
But his defense is not that much worse, if at all, than Mathis's. I looked at this the other day, pouring over their relative defensive stats on b-r, and didn't see much difference. I concluded that Mathis was probably a little better defensively, but just a little. He's clearly more flashy: 16 pickoffs vs. 4 for Napoli. But their CS%s and PB and WP, etc., are similar.


Jesus, paying too much attention to regular defensive stats is bad enough. But trying to get anything more than a grain of meaning out of CATCHER'S defensive stats?

Oy!

EDIT: Not that the Napoli/Wells/Fransico exchange wasn't a complete disaster for Anahiem - it was - but catching stats ain't part of it.
   99. TVerik, who wonders what the hell is "Ansky" Posted: October 28, 2011 at 11:00 PM (#3980374)
When you add the money into the equation do you still think the Zambrano/Kazmir trade was worse? That's a hard sell for me...


That's why I qualified it the way I did. Kazmir's later career trajectory makes it a better deal than it looked like it might be. If Special K had blossomed into a great ace for years, it's more horrid than Napoli/Wells.
   100. PreservedFish Posted: October 28, 2011 at 11:21 PM (#3980392)
Here are many nerds in their natural habitat. There's definitely some who are saying that Napoli is undervalued in that link, but it wasn't viewed as an incredible steal by everyone.


I was willing to be proven wrong, but I've just read the first dozen or so posts, and I see:

"This is a good move for Texas"
"Seems like a lousy trade for Toronto,"
"Good trade for Texas. "
"Am I missing something? Why does no one want Napoli?"
"I don't really get this trade ... there was a real role for Napoli on the team."

And then there's a big discussion on why Primates had been overestimating Napoli's trade value.

No, nobody is predicting that Napoli would win the WS MVP, but the general tenor is of disbelief that such an obviously solid player was so little valued by two different organizations.
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