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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kernan: Alderson’s Moneyball plan yet to work as well as Beane’s

Them boys in their high stirrups. Ah, Sandy, their uniforms are so white…and green…and gold.

Sandy’s Mets were supposed to be Billy’s A’s.

They were supposed to become low-budget wonders of the baseball world.

The A’s, under Billy Beane, are just that, again, posting the best record in the majors at 47-29. They have scored the most runs (389) while surrendering the fewest (254).

The Mets were 21st in the majors with 294 runs scored, three below the Yankees, going into Monday night’s action.

The A’s, who visit Citi Field Tuesday and Wednesday, were leading the majors with a 3.02 ERA. The Mets were 11th in runs allowed at 296 and 10th in ERA at 3.54.

...More than anything, Alderson’s credibility is on the line now. His teams have not turned the corner. He was the one who threw out the challenge of 90 victories to this Mets squad that is six games under .500 in a season of baseball mediocrity.

If the Nationals or Braves had played up to expectations, the Mets would be buried. They are fortunate to be in a division where the top team is only four games above .500.

In his fourth season in charge, Alderson’s Mets look a lot like the Padres, which was Alderson’s previous team destination from 2005-09 as CEO.

The Padres were dead last in runs scored with 225 and 13 ¹/₂ back in the NL West.

The Padres fired GM Josh Byrnes on Sunday.

Sandy’s Mets need to turn it around and start playing a bit more like Billy’s A’s.

Repoz Posted: June 24, 2014 at 10:05 AM | 40 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets, oakland

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   1. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 24, 2014 at 10:33 AM (#4734268)
Sandy’s Mets need to turn it around and start playing a bit more like Billy’s A’s.

Yeah, stop being lazy. Be better!
   2. JE (Jason) Posted: June 24, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4734270)
They were supposed to become low-budget wonders of the baseball world.

There do exist ########## within the Mets fanbase who are convinced that Alderson, not Madoff, is the reason why the club isn't spending on talent.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 24, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4734272)
There do exist ########## within the Mets fanbase who are convinced that Alderson, not Madoff, is the reason why the club isn't spending on talent.

The "Big Lie" is remarkably effective. The coiner of the phrase rode it a long way.
   4. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 24, 2014 at 10:44 AM (#4734274)
Oh Sandy, the losses are mounting behind us...

Hat tip to Repoz.
   5. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: June 24, 2014 at 11:00 AM (#4734285)
I'm not sure what it means in this case, but their pythag is 38-38. I guess it means there's a reasonable chance they finish right where they are -- 6 games below .500, which would be a 6-game improvement from last year. Next year with some better luck and a few wins worth of more talent (Harvey returns and, say they manage to upgrade at one position), they could end up on the fringes of the WC race.

That would hardly be reason to pop the corks, of course, but the team has been mostly unwatchable for years now.
   6. formerly dp Posted: June 24, 2014 at 11:08 AM (#4734289)
Next year with some better luck and a few wins worth of more talent (Harvey, an upgrade at, say, one position), they could end up on the fringes of the WC race.
As frustrating as the team has been at times this year, there are enough causes for optimism. How d'Arnaud plays the rest of the way (getting called up today) will tell us a lot, and they need an answer at SS. Now that Granderson seems to have fixed himself (somewhat...), 2014 seems like it's going almost exactly as expected, outside of Wright's struggles at the plate. They gambled on a couple of cheaper guys (Colon, Young)-- one worked out and the other didn't. Not a ton to be concerned about long-term, IMO.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 24, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4734296)
I'm not sure what it means in this case, but their pythag is 38-38. I guess it means there's a reasonable chance they finish right where they are -- 6 games below .500, which would be a 6-game improvement from last year. Next year with some better luck and a few wins worth of more talent (Harvey returns and, say they manage to upgrade at one position), they could end up on the fringes of the WC race.

That would hardly be reason to pop the corks, of course, but the team has been mostly unwatchable for years now.


And you could argue the Mets have been a good bit unlucky this year in the base performances.

Give Wright a 130-140 OPS+, D'Arnaud an 80-90 OPS+, and if Colon and Wheeler are at least average, you've got a pretty good team.
   8. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: June 24, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4734300)
The Mets were 21st in the majors with 294 runs scored, three below the Yankees

Small market teams just can't compete!
   9. Danny Posted: June 24, 2014 at 11:43 AM (#4734318)
Billy even tried to throw Sandy a bone with free Brandon Hicks and Collin Cowgill.
   10. formerly dp Posted: June 24, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4734320)
Give Wright a 130-140 OPS+, D'Arnaud an 80-90 OPS+, and if Colon and Wheeler are at least average, you've got a pretty good team.
They had to figure on 2014 as an up and down year for Wheeler. Everything is still in place for them to contend in 2015-- Harvey, Wheeler, Gee, Niese, and Colon gives them a lot of depth. They'll probably come away from this year with the bullpen at least mostly sorted. If d'Arnaud really can't hit at the major league level (doubt that's the case, but an open question now), Plawecki will be closer to fully baked next spring, and their SS prospects will have advanced further.
   11. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 24, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4734324)
Give Wright a 130-140 OPS+, D'Arnaud an 80-90 OPS+, and if Colon and Wheeler are at least average,

... and you take the Youngs out back and shoot them...

semi serious:

I do not want to watch either Young play for the Mets ever again, I'd rather watch Captain Kirk flail away, or Brown, or anyone for that matter.
either play Fores or send him to Vegas
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 24, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4734331)
... and you take the Youngs out back and shoot them...

semi serious:


How different does this team look if they spend Chris Young's money on Nelson Cruz?
   13. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: June 24, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4734335)
What to make of DeGrom? Also, I'm disappointed that mejia was so quickly relegated to the bullpen.

I think I'd trade bartolo colon even though he's been a solid pitcher. He's worse as an nl player and I do think the mets do have enough pitching to contend next year.
   14. Nasty Nate Posted: June 24, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4734337)
How different does this team look if they spend Chris Young's money on Nelson Cruz?


That's a tantalizing question for a lot of teams. If the Sox had spent the money eventually spent on Drew on Cruz instead? Or the Yankees with Beltran?
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 24, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4734341)
That's a tantalizing question for a lot of teams. If the Sox had spent the money eventually spent on Drew on Cruz instead? Or the Yankees with Beltran?

True, but IIRC, there was some real chatter about Cruz and the Mets. Maybe I'm wrong.
   16. JJ1986 Posted: June 24, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4734344)
I think Cruz was looking for something like 4y/$56m when the Mets came around asking.
   17. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: June 24, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4734357)
I really have no idea what the Mets are going to do with Flores. Can they at least try him in Left?

Dilson Herrera is already in double A as a 20 year old. He's been playing short there.

The mets can compete next year but they'll need to make a trade or two
   18. formerly dp Posted: June 24, 2014 at 01:24 PM (#4734426)
I do not want to watch either Young play for the Mets ever again, I'd rather watch Captain Kirk flail away, or Brown, or anyone for that matter.
I'm with you. A Brown/Kirk platoon would have to produce better than what the Youngs are giving them. EY's at .229/.317/.313 (that slugging surprisingly over .300!) and CY's a putrid .201/.284/.313, both in around 200 PAs.
I really have no idea what the Mets are going to do with Flores. Can they at least try him in Left?
Why not a month-long trial at SS? Tejada's had enough chances to prove himself-- Flores by all accounts has a better work ethic, is the better hitter by a good bit, and at this point, is an unknown with the glove. They don't have much to lose with this plan. The current course of action is mystifying.

I think I'd trade bartolo colon even though he's been a solid pitcher. He's worse as an nl player and I do think the mets do have enough pitching to contend next year.
As I said in the last thread, it depends on the return. With the way he has been going, that contract looks pretty appealing-- due another $10 M next year
   19. billyshears Posted: June 24, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4734620)
I have to say that I'm somewhat disappointed in Alderson's overall performance. While most of his transactions (or lack thereof) are defensible, the overall record is underwhelming. The Beltran, Dickey and Byrd trades are major positives. The Byrd signing was a positive. Excluding transactions for which it is too early to judge, everything else was too insignificant to matter. I don't think that's good enough.

I understand that the Mets have been operating within significant financial constrain, but assuming Alderson knew these constraints, his moves have been far too timid under the circumstances. Not trading Reyes was a major, major error that is practically indefensible. It's also starting to look like resigning Wright rather than trading him was an error as well. Given that the financial constraints for the past five years have severely limited the Mets' ability to improve in the short term, the team had to use every avenue to improve in the long term. They have failed to do that. Instead, the Mets look like they are going to be not good for the foreseeable future because they have been too concerned about being respectable in the present.
   20. formerly dp Posted: June 24, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4734641)
Not trading Reyes was a major, major error that is practically indefensible.
I think, at the deadline, the Mets intended to try to resign Reyes, and were scared off by the recurrence of his hamstring issues shortly after. There's a good bit in the timeline to suggest this was the case.
It's also starting to look like resigning Wright rather than trading him was an error as well.
Can we wait until the end of the season to draw that conclusion? He's coming off two excellent years-- this is a mediocre half-season that may or may not be indicative of what to expect going forward (FWIW, nearly identical to the 2014 Longoria's having-- .264/.330/.399 vs .278/.336/.395).

It's easy to imagine Alderson looking pretty good a year from now. If d'Arnaud comes back and hits well, Wheeler progresses, and Thor steps into the rotation as a solid #2/#3, they add up to a significant injection of talent into what was a rather weak system. If Herrera and Black turn into useful players, that further underscores the point. A lot of that is just right place at the right time; in April of last year, no one expected the Mets would be able to get anything worthwhile for Byrd; Dickey had a career year at pretty much the perfect time, and Beltran stayed on the field for the right combination of games, but Alderson gets credit for selling higher than anyone thought possible in each case.
   21. billyshears Posted: June 24, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4734674)
I think, at the deadline, the Mets intended to try to resign Reyes, and were scared off by the recurrence of his hamstring issues shortly after. There's a good bit in the timeline to suggest this was the case.


I don't know - from what I recall, the Mets always seemed very restrained in their affection for Reyes that year.

Can we wait until the end of the season to draw that conclusion? He's coming off two excellent years-- this is a mediocre half-season that may or may not be indicative of what to expect going forward (FWIW, nearly identical to the 2014 Longoria's having-- .264/.330/.399 vs .278/.336/.395).


My view is more based on the Mets record and the shape of their roster than Wright's performance. They're not going anywhere this year, so the first two years of the contract will have been wasted on a non-contender. Though I expect the Mets to be better next year, I don't see the position player talent necessary for them to more than a potential wild card club. It's not that I think the Wright contract was a bad contract in a vacuum from a pure value perspective, but I do think the prospects that might have been obtained in a Wright deal would be would be more likely to contribute to a sustained Mets winning team than David Wright.
   22. formerly dp Posted: June 24, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4734697)
I don't know - from what I recall, the Mets always seemed very restrained in their affection for Reyes that year.
Alderson talked up Tejada as a potential replacement for Reyes in spring training that year, IIRC-- basically, the performance gap between them was not worth $15-20M. But that was with Reyes coming off two fairly OK years (101 and 103 OPS+), and before he went on to hit .354/.398/.529 in the first half, and their tone seemed to change a bit.

Re: Wright-- that's a defensible position. I do think if Harvey didn't get hurt last year, they'd be in a different position right now, if not in terms of performance (the gap between Harvey and Colon isn't enough to make them a contender), then at least in terms of present-orientation.
   23. Swoboda is freedom Posted: June 24, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4734774)
(the gap between Harvey and Colon isn't enough to make them a contender), then at least in terms of present-orientation.

They could have used the money spent on Colon for Cruz, but maybe they would have signed Drew for SS.
   24. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: June 24, 2014 at 05:35 PM (#4734790)
Is everybody done with Tejada? He has a .379 OBP with a .757 OPS since May 11. I hate splicing seasons up like that but he's played better since a horrible start to the season. Overall, he has a not terrible 86 OPS+ on the season.

If he finishes the season well, I am OK with him being the starter next year.
   25. billyshears Posted: June 24, 2014 at 06:10 PM (#4734830)
Is everybody done with Tejada? He has a .379 OBP with a .757 OPS since May 11. I hate splicing seasons up like that but he's played better since a horrible start to the season. Overall, he has a not terrible 86 OPS+ on the season.

If he finishes the season well, I am OK with him being the starter next year.


I'm not done with him as I've also noticed that he has picked it up recently. But there is an awful lot of season left for him to finish well.
   26. Banta Posted: June 24, 2014 at 06:22 PM (#4734833)
I agree. With Ruben, he's done enough lately to at least be a plausible starter next year, but the rest of this year will really tell the story. He needs to start getting hits and showing some more contact skills. He isn't gonna have an OBP of 340 hitting 220 forever.

Still can't get used to the fact that Wright's slash line is good for a 109 OPS+ these days.

I think the Mets could have been pseudo contenders with Harvey for the full year. It took them a little while for the pitching to settle down. If their starters started stronger, who knows. The Mets have the components of a 500 team currently... little things could have swung them from six games under that to a few over.
   27. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: June 24, 2014 at 09:35 PM (#4734946)
We should have threatened to physically harm Chris Young a long time ago.
   28. formerly dp Posted: June 25, 2014 at 12:40 AM (#4735024)
Is everybody done with Tejada? He has a .379 OBP with a .757 OPS since May 11.
As long as we're slicing up his numbers, coming into tonight, he was at .222/.327/.267 since June 5. Of the 7 walks he drew in that stretch, 2 were intentional. From May 11 to June 4, during his only hot streak of the season, he went .304/.426/.464. He needs several more similar stretches before he starts looking like someone capable of starting for a contender. Outside of those 18 games, he has been a total drag on the offense, especially when you consider that his .343 OB% continues to be inflated by all of the intentional walks he's receiving just by virtue of hitting #8-- he's walked 31 times on the year, and 7 of those were free passes.

If the Mets are going to continue to score 10+ runs a game though, they can afford to roll with a defense-only SS>
   29. Walt Davis Posted: June 25, 2014 at 03:19 AM (#4735059)
He needs several more similar stretches before he starts looking like someone capable of starting for a contender.

Oh c'mon now. We see contenders start lousy players all the time. The Yanks are contending despite the infield of doom and McCann putting up a 75 OPS+. Det SS are hitting 208/268/296 -- that's what Det RF are supposed to hit. Tejada is currently out-OPS+ing KC's 1B, 2B, 3B, RF and nearly their DH. He's doing the same to Seattle's 1B, SS, LF and DH. Even bad Tejada would be out-hitting Uggla and BJ Upton right now. He might could be the starting 2B for StL.

And he's a SS. His current production would be just fine but even for his career, he's only (approx) 7 runs below average for his position (Rbat + Rpos). Of course he's putting some below-average defense on top of that.

Which doesn't disagree with what you probably meant which is that any team, but especially a contender, would be looking to upgrade from Tejada if they could.

The "could" part is a bit trickier than we give it credit for.
   30. formerly dp Posted: June 25, 2014 at 06:23 AM (#4735069)
Which doesn't disagree with what you probably meant which is that any team, but especially a contender, would be looking to upgrade from Tejada if they could.
Sorry-- my point was more that he shouldn't be Plan A. I was pretty firmly in the pro-Tejada camp coming into the season, but two things changed my mind: 1) his play over the first half-season, including stretches where he hasn't look very good with the glove, and 2) Flores' apparent ability to play a passable SS.
but even for his career, he's only (approx) 7 runs below average for his position
The "for his career" part is a little tricky here-- 2011-2012 Tejada was a different offensive player than the 2013-2014 version. I don't know why.
   31. Lassus Posted: June 25, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4735125)
1) his play over the first half-season, including stretches where he hasn't look very good with the glove, and 2) Flores' apparent ability to play a passable SS.

Keith and Gary and Ron were noting an improvement in #1 while talking last night, and re: #2 are you REALLY convinced Flores is passable there if he's barely played there?

EDIT: I should read back. Billyshears and Banta said it before and better than I did.
   32. Conor Posted: June 25, 2014 at 10:57 AM (#4735142)
I continue to have no faith in Tejada. The only reason his line is somewhat respectable is because of the intentional walks, 7 of his 31 walks are intentional. Even with that, he's hitting 228 with a 299 slug and has .1 fWAR. If you ask me, t he Mets need to play Flores at SS. Most likely result is that he proves he can't handle the position with his glove, but if he hits, you could use him as a trade piece, or move him to second and use Murphy as a trade piece. I just feel like any scenario where Tejada starts next year as the every day SS is a failure.
   33. Lassus Posted: June 25, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4735184)
Most likely result is that he proves he can't handle the position with his glove, but if he hits

Listen, I understand that everyone hates Tejada. I'm fine with replacing Tejada with someone even marginally better. I guess I'd even be fine with parking Flores there to see IF he hits and IF he fields. But one needs to admit those are IFs and sometimes teams hate those IFs.

Can someone run non-biased rankings of the standards starting SSs for the league to see if Tejada is actually dead last amongst those with similar PAs? Standard and advanced stats? I'm sorry I'm asking others to do work, but my work doesn't really afford me the opportunity.
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 25, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4735192)
Can someone run non-biased rankings of the standards starting SSs for the league to see if Tejada is actually dead last amongst those with similar PAs? Standard and advanced stats? I'm sorry I'm asking others to do work, but my work doesn't really afford me the opportunity.

Of 29 SS with >150 PA, Tejada is 25th of 29 in fWAR, 19th of 25 in wRC+, 15th of 29 in Def(UZR)

SS >150 PAs
   35. formerly dp Posted: June 25, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4735201)
#2 are you REALLY convinced Flores is passable there if he's barely played there?
In his minor league career, Flores has played 695 games. 478 of those were at SS.
I guess I'd even be fine with parking Flores there to see IF he hits and IF he fields. But one needs to admit those are IFs.
Totally admitted. My ideal situation would be giving Flores a month-long audition out there, and seeing how it goes. If he fails miserably in the field, they just re-install Tejada, with nothing lost in the effort. Even a 3/4 time job sharing arrangement, where Flores sits with ground-ball pitchers on the mound, would be preferable to the current situation.

Or they could send Flores back to Vegas and have him play regularly there, like he was earlier in the season. Anything but the current plan, where they're wasting a very valuable year of his career having him on the bench 6 out of 7 games. I'll cop to a bit of Flores fanboyism, but part of that comes from the Mets' post-Wright/Reyes inability to churn out good, young hitters-- Flores looks like one of those, and they should find a spot for him or send him back down to the minors and let him go all Lambo on the league.

Colon's turning out to be pretty good. And d'Arnaud homering in his first game back was pretty much perfect.
   36. Lassus Posted: June 25, 2014 at 12:22 PM (#4735218)
Of 29 SS with >150 PA, Tejada is 25th of 29 in fWAR, 19th of 25 in wRC+, 15th of 29 in Def(UZR)

Thanks. Not good, but also a lot of room to be worse for starting SSs, it seems. It's this, and wherever he ranks in the more common stats, that make me a little confused at the rending of garments.

   37. billyshears Posted: June 25, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4735247)
Still can't get used to the fact that Wright's slash line is good for a 109 OPS+ these days.


Even more shocking is that Granderson has a 119 OPS+.
   38. Conor Posted: June 25, 2014 at 02:24 PM (#4735337)
Flores is definitely an IF, but he has a track record that says he'll hit, and I just see no upside in Tejada.

I wonder what the trade market would be for Colon.

Of 29 SS with >150 PA, Tejada is 25th of 29 in fWAR, 19th of 25 in wRC+, 15th of 29 in Def(UZR)

Thanks. Not good, but also a lot of room to be worse for starting SSs, it seems. It's this, and wherever he ranks in the more common stats, that make me a little confused at the rending of garments.


Not sure I agree with that; just using WAR he's the 5th worst starting SS in the majors, after being worth negative WAR last year; that sounds like a guy a team should be pretty aggressive about trying to replace.
   39. CrosbyBird Posted: June 25, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4735460)
Totally admitted. My ideal situation would be giving Flores a month-long audition out there, and seeing how it goes. If he fails miserably in the field, they just re-install Tejada, with nothing lost in the effort. Even a 3/4 time job sharing arrangement, where Flores sits with ground-ball pitchers on the mound, would be preferable to the current situation.

Flores needs to be playing regularly, whether it's in NY or Vegas. Playing once every two or three days is a huge waste.
   40. Walt Davis Posted: June 25, 2014 at 06:15 PM (#4735697)
Not sure I agree with that; just using WAR he's the 5th worst starting SS in the majors, after being worth negative WAR last year; that sounds like a guy a team should be pretty aggressive about trying to replace.

But how/who? (Flores I know but bear with me)

Certainly any team would like to upgrade on Tejada. But to find someone reliably better than Tejada, you either have to convince another team to give up their starting SS, convince another team to give up a top SS prospect, buy a FA or have a top SS prospect of your own.

Alternatively you figure you rolled the dice on Tejada and lost so no harm in rolling the dice again. But given he's 25th of 29, there are clearly a number of worse options out there than Tejada. If you're thinking "it can't get worse", it can.

Generally speaking at a position, there are probably only 15-20 guys you can really count on. There are then another 30-40 guys who are all seriously flawed in some way and it's really hard to tell the 1 WAR guy from the 0 WAR guy from the -1 WAR guy.

Tejada was horrible beyond belief last year ...he was on pace for one of the worst seasons in history. But the rest of his career is perfectly OK.

Then you get into baseball prejudices. Teams hate putting defensively limited players at SS (not named Jeter). But Flores should be playing everyday somewhere even if it's AAA. I'd probably rather bench Tejada to see what Flores has too but chances are you'll end up right back where you started.

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