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Thursday, March 07, 2013

Mariano Rivera Plans To Retire After 2013 Season

It seems Mariano Rivera will call it a career after one last season in the Bronx.

The Yankees have a press conference scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, when Rivera will announce his intentions to retire after the 2013 season, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

The legendary closer promised last month he’d let us all in on his decision before Opening Day.

“Always possible private Rivera decides to change mind at last sec,” tweeted Sherman, “but time and room are booked for his retirement announcement.”

Thanks to Doug.

Repoz Posted: March 07, 2013 at 01:29 PM | 320 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yankees

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   101. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 07, 2013 at 04:53 PM (#4383213)
He would be compared to the average reliever (not closer), right?

He should be compared to the average pitcher. His baseline is what an average starter could do as a pampered closer. The Eck showed definitively that a mediocre starter could be converted into a lights-out closer. Hell, there's no reason to believe Jack Morris couldn't have become a lights-out closer as his worse-starter contemporary, The Eck, did.

Closer is far to the right of the "pitching spectrum." WAR should downgrade for that, not upgrade for "clutch" and "leverage."
   102. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 07, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4383214)
About an order of magnitude more frequently than 206 ERA+ relievers that perform at nearly the same level every year.

Again, given the nature of RP, that's not that valuable.

You're always planning on having 3 or 4 really good RP, and need 6 or 7 total. As long as a couple of them have good years, you can adjust the usage accordingly, and don't care which ones are good. There's no special benefit in having the same guys as the top RPs every year.
   103. Nasty Nate Posted: March 07, 2013 at 04:57 PM (#4383222)
As long as a couple of them have good years, you can adjust the usage accordingly, and don't care which ones are good.


That's not how it works for a variety of reasons.
   104. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 07, 2013 at 05:02 PM (#4383231)
I should amend 101 to note that Rivera was, himself, a very mediocre starting pitcher.
   105. Spectral Posted: March 07, 2013 at 05:05 PM (#4383236)
Isn't the effect of moving from starting into the bullpen pretty well studied and quantified? It certainly isn't anything on the order of turning a below average starter into Dennis Eckersley; if it were, bullpens would be nearly impossible to score against as a general rule and bad relief pitchers simply wouldn't exist at all.
   106. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: March 07, 2013 at 05:27 PM (#4383259)
The Eck showed definitively that a mediocre starter could be converted into a lights-out closer. Hell, there's no reason to believe Jack Morris couldn't have become a lights-out closer as his worse-starter contemporary, The Eck, did.


umm, as a starter, Eckerlsey created more WAR in his 2400+ IP than Jack accumulated in his 3800+
   107. Randomly Fluctuating Defensive Metric Posted: March 07, 2013 at 05:36 PM (#4383268)
One thing about Snapper's 'cake walk' point: I believe he is right, in that regard, about '98 and '99. If you put, say, Mike Jackson as the Yankees closer those two years, they probably still win the title. But I think Mariano was a very necessary ingredient in '96 and '00. And obviously, '01, they came very close to winning it again, with Mo a key component. I wouldn't say Snapper's point is totally invalid, but I disagree with it's blanket claim over Rivera's career. Hell, Rivera even had a great, pressure postseason performance in '95, before anyone even knew who he was, other than hardcore baseball fans.
   108. AndrewJ Posted: March 07, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4383269)
Long live the number 42.

Obviously when Rivera retires, 42 will never be worn again by anybody on the Yanks. If they can't retire that number, will they just put up Rivera's name in the outfield alongside 3,4,5,7...?
   109. Guapo Posted: March 07, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4383272)
If anybody could do what Mariano Rivera has done, then why hasn't anybody?

-with apologies to Yogi Berra
   110. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 07, 2013 at 05:44 PM (#4383276)
If anybody could do what Mariano Rivera has done, then why hasn't anybody?

Because the role of closer is vastly overrated and teams don't want to waste their best pitchers on such a marginal responsibility.

Rivera didn't cut it as a starter and has one pitch. He's tailor-made for the role, but unique.
   111. Nasty Nate Posted: March 07, 2013 at 05:47 PM (#4383279)

Because the role of closer is vastly overrated and teams don't want to waste their best pitchers on such a marginal responsibility.


Those 2 clauses are contradictory because it has often been the teams themselves doing the overrating.
   112. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 07, 2013 at 05:49 PM (#4383281)
he Eck showed definitively that a mediocre starter could be converted into a lights-out closer.


1977, 247 IP 112 ERA+
1978, 268 IP 139 ERA+
1979, 246 IP 149 ERA+ (lead league)

then he had some arm (and other) troubles

but 1985, 169 IP, 129 ERA+
in 1986 his BABIP climbed 60 points (41 points above his career BABIP) and he turned in an 88 ERA+ in 201 IP (with peripherals consistent with his career to that point- that had garnered him a 113 ERA+ as a starter- higher than Jack Morris)

Eck was a better (albeit less durable) starter than Morris- which isn't to say that Morris would not have made a good closer, but I suspect that he wouldn't have been as great at it as Eck was,
   113. smileyy Posted: March 07, 2013 at 05:51 PM (#4383283)
I should amend 101 to note that Rivera was, himself, a very mediocre starting pitcher.


Was that before he started throwing his cutter?
   114. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 07, 2013 at 05:55 PM (#4383286)
Rivera discovered his cutter in June 1997, almost two years after his last start.
   115. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 07, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4383293)
Closer is far to the right of the "pitching spectrum." WAR should downgrade for that, not upgrade for "clutch" and "leverage."


Correct. Rivera would have the same ERA+ if he pitched the 5th inning instead of the 9th, save for the odd pinch hitter, which happens relatively infrequently in the AL anyway. Everything we know says that it's virtually just as easy to pitch the ninth as it is to pitch any other inning. There is no good reason to overrate !!!!!!NINTH INNING!!!!! AOOGA!!!!! AOOOOOO0000OOGA!!!!!.

Certainly "manager decision" - and that's all this is - is not a good reason to add a massive chunk to his WAR.

And his ERA+ already gets a boost, because it's damned easier to pitch in 1+ inning bursts than it is to go at it multiple times through the lineup.

People have vastly missed the boat here. He comes in with a 2-run lead to pitch the ninth and people hugely value that? It would take an ERA of 18.00 in that inning to blow that save - just to blow it, not necessarily to lose the game. If he posts a 9.00 ERA in the inning, he gets credited with a SAVE. Why is this valued in the form of LI?
   116. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: March 07, 2013 at 06:20 PM (#4383310)
"I have been recalled to my home planet."
   117. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: March 07, 2013 at 06:24 PM (#4383314)
Obviously when Rivera retires, 42 will never be worn again by anybody on the Yanks. If they can't retire that number, will they just put up Rivera's name in the outfield alongside 3,4,5,7...?
No, they'll retire his number, and put up a second 42. There's already a precedent: They've got two 8's on the wall, one for Bill Dickey and one for Yogi Berra. Or, at least they did in the old stadium; I assume, but do not know for sure, that they've got them in the new stadium too.
   118. RatSalade Posted: March 07, 2013 at 06:29 PM (#4383327)
Nicest star athlete I ever had the pleasure of meeting. 11 years ago when I was working in Charlotte with the Hornets (NBA) and Sting (WNBA), I was traveling with our WNBA team to Minnesota for a preseason game. When we arrived at the hotel, there seemed to be extra hotel security everywhere, and turns out it was there because the Yankees were staying there.

After our game that evening, our trainer and I decided to go down to the hotel bar to play some pool and have a drink or two. In the middle of our playing, the hotel staff started cordoning off the area at the bar by the pool table. Shortly thereafter, Mariano, Ramiro Mendoza, El Duque, Charlie Steiner and a few members of the Yankees traveling party, came into the bar. Since we were already using the pool table, we were essentially locked in with the Yankees and their entourage while other hotel patrons stared in and gawked.

Mariano is a decent pool player, and we started playing with him and a few other members of the group.

I remember having a shot to win one of the games we played against him, and I wanted to bank the shot, but our trainer convinced me to cut it. I missed, and Mariano put his arm around me and essentially advised me to always go with my gut in those situations otherwise I'd always be second guessing myself.

This was six months after he'd given up the bloop to Gonzalez to lose the 2001 World Series, and I flashed back to that moment thinking that that was probably how he felt about that pitch. He threw the best pitch he had and didn't have any regrets about getting beat by it. He'd throw it again 100 times out of 100. Probably get Gonzalez out 99 of those times too.

Two months later, we were getting off a plane in Cleveland, and who was at the luggage carousel but Mariano Rivera. He had been having shoulder issues and as I recall was in Tampa for a while getting evaluated before rejoining the team. We spoke to him for a while, and the next day, he and El Duque came to our noon WNBA game and they had a great time sitting behind our bench. We went to the Yankees Indians game that night, and afterwards went out and shot pool with him again at a local billiards joint.

As we were leaving the manager of the place asked Mariano to sign a pool ball for him. Somehow he produced a perfectly clean signature on a cue ball.

Class personified, and I am sad to see him go.


   119. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 07, 2013 at 06:34 PM (#4383335)
So he shot pool with you without being a jackass, and that earned him credit.

Standards are low.
   120. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: March 07, 2013 at 06:36 PM (#4383340)
BUT RAY, DOES MARIANO HAVE HONOR
   121. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: March 07, 2013 at 06:36 PM (#4383341)
This is a minor point, but--as possibly Rivera's biggest fanboy here--it's a pet peeve of mine. Rivera came in to that game in the 8th inning, 1st-and-3rd, no one out, Yankees leading by one. He gave up a SF, G3 and K. The next inning was 1B (CS), 6-3, F8. He got tagged with a BS, but his WPA for the game was actually positive (.307).

It's not that minor of a point. A WPA of .307 is not just positive, it's very large; for instance, it's the 11th-highest posted by Rivera in his 96 postseason games.

Speaking of WPA - if you weight by importance of game relative to winning a championship (so Game 7 of the WS is weighted 1.0, Game 6 of WS and Game 7 of LCS are 0.5, and so on) and add up championship probability added, Rivera isn't just in first - he's something like 50% higher than the next-best pitcher. If you don't believe in postseason credit for Rivera, you don't believe in postseason credit.
   122. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: March 07, 2013 at 06:38 PM (#4383343)
If he posts a 9.00 ERA in the inning, he gets credited with a SAVE. Why is this valued in the form of LI?

Leverage is a multiplier, not an added term. Which means that if a pitcher regularly posts an ERA of 9.00 in high-leverage situations, accounting for leverage will punish him more for sucking.
   123. Swedish Chef Posted: March 07, 2013 at 07:01 PM (#4383390)
Standards are low.

What a joy you are to have around.
   124. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 07, 2013 at 07:20 PM (#4383402)
Gee, think Yankee fans are spoiled?

Sure, it's easy to replace the best closer in the game with your setup man when you pay $10+ million a year for someone else's awesome closer to be your setup man. Oh, and by the way, that setup guy had a 4.12 ERA the previous season.

I agree that Mariano's regular season value is overstated by BWAR, but the idea that it's easy to go out and find an awesome reliever to close for you every year is pretty silly. Sure, it's easy to go on baseball-reference at the end of the year and determine who the awesome relievers were. It's more difficult to do it at the beginning of the season, every season, for 15 straight years. I mean, congratulations on identifying Fernando Rodney as a great closer who was available cheaply. Where were you before the season, when the guy was coming off a 5-year stretch with a 98 ERA+, and a season in which he BB'd more guys than he K'd? The fact that he was available for $1.75 million is proof that no team, and especially not the Yankees, had any idea how good he'd be.

   125. Bruce Markusen Posted: March 07, 2013 at 07:29 PM (#4383409)
The 2009 World Series was hardly a cake walk. Six tough games. Rivera allowed no runs in four games.
   126. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 07, 2013 at 07:33 PM (#4383411)
I would also note that the Yankees might not have made the playoffs in 2000 or 2005 without Rivera.
   127. Swoboda is freedom Posted: March 07, 2013 at 07:52 PM (#4383431)
I wanted to bank the shot, but our trainer convinced me to cut it. I missed, and Mariano put his arm around me and essentially advised me to always go with my gut

One would have thought Mariano would have also gone with the cutter.
   128. Swoboda is freedom Posted: March 07, 2013 at 07:53 PM (#4383432)


(Eck)then he had some arm (and other) troubles


Yeah, that mullet was awful.
   129. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 07, 2013 at 08:03 PM (#4383453)
I wanted to bank the shot, but our trainer convinced me to cut it. I missed, and Mariano put his arm around me and essentially advised me to always go with my gut

One would have thought Mariano would have also gone with the cutter.

Mo knew how difficult it was for a mere mortal to perfect a cutter.
   130. Lassus Posted: March 07, 2013 at 08:13 PM (#4383462)
So he shot pool with you without being a jackass, and that earned him credit.
Standards are low.


Holy cow, Ray, did you step on a dead rat in your building's hallway or something?
   131. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: March 07, 2013 at 08:16 PM (#4383466)
Wow, he pitched about two of his regular seasons' innings worth of postseason innings, with an ERA of about half of his best regular season ERA.
   132. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 07, 2013 at 08:24 PM (#4383470)
So he shot pool with you without being a jackass, and that earned him credit.
Standards are low.

Holy cow, Ray, did you step on a dead rat in your building's hallway or something?


You think lawyers don't believe in professional courtesy?
   133. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 07, 2013 at 09:25 PM (#4383513)
I would hope that Rivera would pitch as long as he is Rivera, but if this year is the end, he retires as The Greatest Closer Ever and a certain Hall of Famer -- almost surely on the 1st ballot unless the voting process becomes hopelessly broken. Might be a closer call without the postseason record, but postseason matters an awful lot.
   134. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 07, 2013 at 09:58 PM (#4383532)
Might be a closer call without the postseason record, but postseason matters an awful lot.


I discard postseason record completely for all players when evaluating a HOF case, but even in so doing I don't think this is a close call. When he only had 750 innings I in fact argued it was a close call (and I was met with the same type of crazed reaction that I am met with regard to Ichiro's case). But now with 1200 innings it's a close call no longer. Rivera is a HOFer by the standards set out for relievers. They wouldn't be _my_ standards, but they are the standards.

Is Pedro a HOFer had he only pitched from 1998-2001? 780 IP, 214 ERA+.

What about 1997-2002? 1221 IP, 213 ERA+.
   135. jyjjy Posted: March 07, 2013 at 10:34 PM (#4383571)
Sure, it's easy to replace the best closer in the game with your setup man when you pay $10+ million a year for someone else's awesome closer to be your setup man. Oh, and by the way, that setup guy had a 4.12 ERA the previous season

I was waiting for someone to point this out but this is way too weak of a response. Soriano was not a "setup man," he was a closer, a rather good one, purposely signed as a backup for Rivera as he entered his 40s, for closer money and he has now been signed by the Nats to be their closer, at closer money. Referring to him as, "the next guy on the bench" and saying that he replaced Rivera effectively for the season shows how easy it is to replace a good closer is... well, sorry, but the best word here is just idiotic.

As for the debate at large Rivera has been the best pitcher of all time at preventing the other team from scoring on a rate basis vs average. By a LOT. As those arguing that this is diminished by the "reliever advantage" should already know the subject has been studied and the typical advantage simply doesn't come close to making up the difference between his career ERA+(208) vs number two, Pedro(154.) That the gap is so huge and the second player on the list isn't also a reliever... very clear hint that Rivera being a reliever likely does not cover the spread without even looking into studies on the subject which show it clearly. You can say “Pedro could have done it" all you want but that is idle speculation without any serious numbers to support as far as I can tell.

He may not be the most valuable pitcher of all time but the numbers show he was the most effective. Throw in that he was also the most dominant post season pitcher of all time and there he DOES also have the innings to also make him the most "valuable" and I cannot not see any plausible reason to deny him entry to the hall as soon as eligible.
   136. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 07, 2013 at 10:54 PM (#4383597)
You can say “Pedro could have done it" all you want but that is idle speculation without any serious numbers to support as far as I can tell.


But that's what you're saying, in reverse. You're saying "Rivera could have done it." Do you think Rivera would have posted a 154 ERA+ in 3000+ innings? What ERA+ _do_ you think Rivera would have posted in 3,000+ innings, starting every 5th game, going through the lineup multiple times a game (with one pitch), throwing 90-130 pitches an outing, throwing 200 IP a year?
   137. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: March 07, 2013 at 10:55 PM (#4383599)
You can say “Pedro could have done it" all you want but that is idle speculation without any serious numbers to support as far as I can tell.

Also, even if true, this is hardly an insult to a pitcher.
   138. jyjjy Posted: March 07, 2013 at 11:07 PM (#4383608)
But that's what you're saying, in reverse. You're saying "Rivera could have done it." Do you think Rivera would have posted a 154 ERA+ in 3000+ innings? What ERA+ _do_ you think Rivera would have posted in 3,000+ innings, starting every 5th game, going through the lineup multiple times a game (with one pitch), throwing 90-130 pitches an outing, throwing 200 IP a year?

No, that is not what I said at all. I said the subject has been studied as empirically as we can manage, repeatedly, and those numbers show that unless Pedro and/or Rivera are extreme outliers in this regard(the idle speculation I mentioned) there's no data to support that the gap between their performance can be washed away by the way they were used.
   139. Howie Menckel Posted: March 07, 2013 at 11:13 PM (#4383611)

The personal insults aside, I'm finding a lot of the pro/con Mariano interesting and even fresh in some cases, which I would not have expected...
   140. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 07, 2013 at 11:20 PM (#4383616)
No, that is not what I said at all. I said the subject has been studied as empirically as we can manage, repeatedly, and those numbers show that unless Pedro and/or Rivera are extreme outliers in this regard(the idle speculation I mentioned) there's no data to support that the gap between their performance can be washed away by the way they were used.


I guess I'm not really grasping what you're saying here, or why my characterization was wrong. But so be it.

I do think Rivera is an extreme outlier. Who else relies on one pitch?
   141. SoSH U at work Posted: March 07, 2013 at 11:21 PM (#4383617)
That the gap is so huge and the second player on the list isn't also a reliever... very clear hint that Rivera being a reliever likely does not cover the spread without even looking into studies on the subject which show it clearly.


I'm generally on board with you here jy, but this is a bit misleading. The reason the second person on the list isn't a reliever isn't because there's no one close to Mo in terms of effectiveness, but because most relievers get tripped up by the 1,000 innings cutoff. It's still a decent gap between him and Billy Wagner (187 in 900 IP), but it's not light years (though the gap widens further when you look at the postseason, which you obviously should in a case like his).

   142. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 07, 2013 at 11:27 PM (#4383624)
(though the gap widens further when you look at the postseason, which you obviously should in a case like his).


It's not really so obvious. What other reliever has had the chance to pile up 140 freaking relief innings in the postseason?

It's not like Billy Wagner was chopped liver, as you note. He had a long and successful career as a reliever.

And yet Wagner got just 12 innings in the postseason.
   143. jyjjy Posted: March 07, 2013 at 11:34 PM (#4383630)
I do think Rivera is an extreme outlier. Who else relies on one pitch?

Rivera most certainly did not just throw cutters and there are a number quite effective starters and relievers with one standout pitch and nothing else to write home about, knuckleballers being the obvious place to start.
   144. SoSH U at work Posted: March 07, 2013 at 11:35 PM (#4383635)
It's not really so obvious. What other reliever has had the chance to pile up 140 freaking relief innings in the postseason?


Well, it's not as if Billy Wagner was sitting home every October. His teams made seven postseason appearances. They won one series. Of course, if his teams' ace reliever hadn't pitched so crappy in the playoffs (unlike the Yankees' guy), they might have won a few more games.

But we've been over this before. You know the arguments about the postseason, particularly as it relates to pitching. You choose to ignore them because, well, some folks are just irrational like that.

   145. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 07, 2013 at 11:46 PM (#4383642)
Well, it's not like Billy Wagner was sitting home every October. His teams made seven postseason appearances. They won one series. Of course, if his teams' ace reliever hadn't pitched so crappy in the playoffs (unlike the Yankees' guy), they might have won a few more games.


Uh huh. How about Papelbon, then? He is Rivera's equal in terms of rate stats (192 ERA+ for his career). He's pitched for 8 years, mostly on contending teams. He has a 1.00 ERA in the postseason.

And yet he has gotten just 27 postseason innings. Double that to match the length of Rivera's useful career (16 seasons) and Papelbon gets 54 postseason innings. Miles from 140.

And that matches with one of my objections to including postseason performance to a HOF case, item 1) on this list:

1) Lack of similar opportunity for other players;
2) Lack of any evidence that performing in the postseason is a special skill.
3) Small sample of games skewing a player's postseason results.
4) Exhibition games the stats of which by convention are not incorporated into a player's career stats.
   146. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 07, 2013 at 11:51 PM (#4383644)
I discard postseason record completely for all players when evaluating a HOF case . . .

Yeah, "glorified exhibition" and all that, but that is a stance that very few share - perhaps just 1 person. A lot of players don't have enough of a postseason resume to matter, but for Rivera I think it removes any doubt about his 1st ballot status even among those who maintain a higher standard for the initial election and/or have reservations about relief pitchers being Hall-worthy.
   147. jyjjy Posted: March 07, 2013 at 11:58 PM (#4383650)
It's not really so obvious

That you think the most important games played against the toughest competition should be thrown out when evaluating someone's worthiness to enter the hall of "fame" is a personal mental issue of yours. If Rivera had been mediocre or bad in the post season he would have also, appropriately, be held accountable for that when being considered for the hall. Ignoring that the most effective pitcher of all time (arguably I'll give you) put up numbers over many years and innings in the post season that make his usual performance look like trash is ridiculous simply because we don't know if Wagner could have done the same. The innings Wagner did put up are more like the awfulness of let's say Lidge gone bad than Rivera and if I recall often he was the direct cause of his team not getting more post season games for him to pitch in.
   148. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 07, 2013 at 11:58 PM (#4383652)
A lot of players don't have enough of a postseason resume to matter,


That's precisely the point.
   149. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:01 AM (#4383654)
It's not really so obvious. What other reliever has had the chance to pile up 140 freaking relief innings in the postseason?

It's not like Billy Wagner was chopped liver, as you note. He had a long and successful career as a reliever.

And yet Wagner got just 12 innings in the postseason.


Wagner: 13 RA in 11.2 postseason innings

Rivera: 13 RA in 141 postseason innings

I understand why you don't consider playoff stats when you consider someone's HOF case, but it'll never seem reasonable to me. Those extra 130 innings of scoreless baseball happened. It doesn't matter to me that those opportunities are due to things beyond his control. You say you ignore them because you don't want to punish Wagner, but you're just punishing Rivera instead.
   150. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:04 AM (#4383655)
Wagner: 13 RA in 11.2 postseason innings

Rivera: 13 RA in 141 postseason innings


Do people seriously believe this gap represents an actual difference in ability level re the postseason?

See my item 3) in post 145. I can scarcely imagine anything more absurd than thinking Wagner's true ability level in the playoffs was a 10 ERA. And if you don't think that, then we're back to my item 3) -- a small sample of games skewing the results.
   151. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:07 AM (#4383657)
But Rivera does not have a small sample in the postseason. You want to throw out Wagner's postseason performance, that's great. But throwing out Rivera's is either idiocy or intentional dissembling.
   152. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:08 AM (#4383658)
Or both, I suppose.
   153. SoSH U at work Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:09 AM (#4383659)

1) Lack of similar opportunity for other players;

Also, lack of opportunity to get hurt. You may want to consider those playoff innings as being done in exhibitions and therefore irrelevant, but the various shoulders, elbows and backs that tend to go kablooey during the act of pitching don't know that.

Exhibit A, of course, is one Curt Schilling. Now this is the point where you jump in and say, "He's a Hall of Famer anyway, so that proves my point" or some such felony against logic. Not the point. Curt Schilling lost all of his 2005 campaign because of something that happened in the 2004 postseason. Under the Ray DiPerna School of Accounting, we're not allowed to consider that when assessing his career.

You think you're being fair by not including postseason numbers. You're actually being unfair (at least when it comes to pitchers, and I'd argue for all players, but this point obviously applies to pitchers far moreso than it does position players).

2) Lack of any evidence that performing in the postseason is a special skill.

So what? It's performance against the highest level of competition in games the performers value the most. Ignoring those results is moronic.

3) Small sample of games skewing a player's postseason results.

April games are a small sample. So are games played on Sundays. The postseason results merely build on the existing set of numbers to create a more complete picture of the individual's playing record (a larger sample).

And this is just one example of the folly of your whole argument. You're complaining about the small sample size nature of the postseason, except when the sample is too big in the case of Rivera. Pick a lane, buddy.

4) Exhibition games the stats of which by convention are not incorporated into a player's career stats.

Not blended together, but ignored only by you and some other simpletons.

The results in the actual exhibition games, those played in March, are nowhere to be found on a player's BBRef pages. These are true exhibition games in every sense of the word.

But the results in the postseason, those games that are defined as "exhibitions" only by people trying to salvage losing arguments, are very much a part of the performance record. They're not combined, for obvious reasons, but let's not pretend they've ever been considered meaningless.
   154. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:10 AM (#4383662)
If he puts up a typical year he will not retire.
   155. jyjjy Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:11 AM (#4383663)
4) Exhibition games the stats of which by convention are not incorporated into a player's career stats.

This is the clear spot where you make a break from what most consider reality. It is generally considered that the regular season is more of an "exhibition" for the post season than the other way around(see basically any other major sport for proof of the point.) The stats are kept separate because they should be for a reasons you point out; not every player gets the same number of games and they are fundamentally different from regular season games, but in a way that makes them more important, not less, basically by definition, which you oddly don't seem to get.
   156. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:11 AM (#4383665)
But Rivera does not have a small sample in the postseason. You want to throw out Wagner's postseason performance, that's great. But throwing out Rivera's is either idiocy or intentional dissembling.


See my item 1) -

1) Lack of similar opportunity for other players;
   157. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:12 AM (#4383666)
I'm leaning towards "both".
   158. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:12 AM (#4383667)
Do people seriously believe this gap represents an actual difference in ability level re the postseason?


No. I suspect if you gave Wagner 140 innings of playoff innings, the numbers in the extra 130 innings would look more or less like his regular season numbers. Nothing in my post indicates that I think that Wagner's true ability is represented by a 12 inning sample.

Do you seriously believe that adding those 141 postseason innings of Rivera to his regular season numbers (regardless of whether you treat those postseason stats as different from regular season numbers) doesn't create a more accurate profile of Rivera's ability and value?
   159. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:14 AM (#4383674)
Exhibit A, of course, is one Curt Schilling.


Could I see Exhibits B and C and D and E et seq?
   160. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:16 AM (#4383676)
And this is just one example of the folly of your whole argument. You're complaining about the small sample size nature of the postseason, except when the sample is too big in the case of Rivera. Pick a lane, buddy.


When there are multiple problems with an issue, there are multiple complaints. This is utterly natural, and is why I listed four main problems 1) through 4). This is your logic failure, not mine; I'm just pointing out the multiple points at which your logic fails. To blame that on me is odd.
   161. SoSH U at work Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:18 AM (#4383679)

Could I see Exhibits B and C and D and E et seq?


I'll give you Exhibit B when you pinpoint the exact pitch that messed up John Smoltz. Surely it must have happened in the regular season, so that should narrow your search.

   162. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:20 AM (#4383681)
God, I can't believe I'm actually going to bother being explicit about this:

The idea that Rivera's postseason performance should be ignored, rather than at the very least considered like any other 141 innings, simply because other people didn't get a chance to pitch 141 innings in the postseason, is, again, either idiocy or intentional dissembling or both. Lots of players don't get a chance to pitch 141 innings at any point. We don't ignore the careers of those who did get that chance. And the fact that others didn't get the chance does not alter the fact that Rivera did, and performed remarkably, in a significant sample size. Jesus Christ.

At this point, I am dangerously close to asking -- seriously -- if anyone likes you. So I'm just going to quit here.
   163. SoSH U at work Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:22 AM (#4383684)


When there are multiple problems with an issue, there are multiple complaints. This is utterly natural, and is why I listed four main problems 1) through 4). This is your logic failure, not mine; I'm just pointing out the multiple points at which your logic fails. To blame that on me is odd.


And when one of your reasons contradicts one of your other reasons, it shows that you're desperately trying to extract things from your rectum that are best left untouched.
   164. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:30 AM (#4383689)
There is no contradiction. Please try to keep up. Lack of similar opportunities across the board is precisely the point. If we didn't have 140 IP vs. 12 IP issues, I wouldn't have listed this.
   165. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:36 AM (#4383703)
I'll repeat:

Do you seriously believe that adding those 141 postseason innings of Rivera to his regular season numbers (regardless of whether you treat those postseason stats as different from regular season numbers) doesn't create a more accurate profile of Rivera's ability and value?



   166. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:50 AM (#4383726)
Do you think Rivera would have posted a 154 ERA+ in 3000+ innings?


No, but Ichiro would have. If he'd wanted to.
   167. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:52 AM (#4383730)
Do you seriously believe that adding those 141 postseason innings of Rivera to his regular season numbers (regardless of whether you treat those postseason stats as different from regular season numbers) doesn't create a more accurate profile of Rivera's ability and value?


Relative to what? Relative to other players? No. Other players didn't have the same opportunity. It creates a less accurate profile compared to other players. It distorts his profile relative to theirs, and thus is simply an unfair and disparate approach.

   168. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:59 AM (#4383733)
It has nothing to do with other players.
   169. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:59 AM (#4383734)
That was cruel of me. I apologize. Goodbye.
   170. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 08, 2013 at 01:03 AM (#4383738)
Lack of similar opportunity for other players;

Boo hoo. This is Major League Baseball - every child doesn't get a trophy. The object of MLB is to get to the postseason and win the World Series. Postseason games are the most important games. You don't penalize a player for a limited postseason career if he otherwise HoF-worthy, but those who have performed spectacularly over a long period certainly enhance their status, and none more than Rivera.
   171. jyjjy Posted: March 08, 2013 at 01:07 AM (#4383742)
No, but Ichiro would have. If he'd wanted to.

Hmm... Ichiro is signed for two years... 2 x 162 x 9 = 2916
Under 3000 but things may get sticky at the end if you take extra and post season(not that they matter) innings into account so maybe they should still let Mo close things out this year, maybe give CC an occasional start next year to keep him sharp for 2016.
   172. SoSH U at work Posted: March 08, 2013 at 01:31 AM (#4383755)
There is no contradiction. Please try to keep up. Lack of similar opportunities across the board is precisely the point. If we didn't have 140 IP vs. 12 IP issues, I wouldn't have listed this.


Your third reason is small samples skewing results. But when you are faced with a player with a large sample, then the problem is unequal opportunities. That's trying to have it both ways (or, to be the most charitable to you, which you clearly don't warrant, but I'm a nice guy, it's a single reason).

The absolute, undisputable fact is that looking at the postseason results gives us a fuller picture of a player's career. It's a larger sample, not an isolated smaller one.

It's not extra credit, which is an idea that you seem to be hung up on. No one advocates lumping the hits, wins, strikeouts, homers, etc. onto the overall numbers and treating it as some counting stat competition. It's looking at the postseason performance to give us a more informed picture of the individual. In most cases, it's a wash, or the sample is truly too small to move the meter. But not always. But it's more information, which is always a good thing.

Mariano Rivera has pitched 1340+ innings of meaningful, competitive major league baseball. When you deduct the 140 postseason innings, you are voluntarily choosing a smaller sample size on which to judge his playing career. That's simply foolish.

   173. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 08, 2013 at 01:36 AM (#4383758)
#171,

But if they have Ichiro pitch every inning of every game, how's he going to hit all those home runs that they need him to? Go without the DH?
   174. Walt Davis Posted: March 08, 2013 at 04:34 AM (#4383797)
As for the debate at large Rivera has been the best pitcher of all time at preventing the other team from scoring on a rate basis vs average. By a LOT

No, he doesn't. And it's not just Wagner. Rivera is only at the top of the list because he's pitched so few innings (and probably boosted by the fact he gets to throw then one at a time). As Ray mentioned, from 1997-2003, Pedro threw over 1400 innings with a 213 ERA+. That was better than Rivera's career. From 1994 to 1998, Maddux threw 1140 innings of 202 ERA+. From 1912-15, Walter Johnson threw 1400 innings of 208 ERA+ and he added another 600 innings of 215 ERA+ in 1918-19. At the ages of 42-43, Clemens threw over 300 innings of 213 ERA+ and has two other full seasons over 200 in his career.

Now if you want to point out that Rivera is in damn fine company here then you've got something of a point (and where the debate about the "easiness" of relieving begins) but he has not been the best pitcher of all time at preventing runs on a rate basis and certainly not by a lot.

   175. Howie Menckel Posted: March 08, 2013 at 07:58 AM (#4383822)

Ray,
It seems like the larger the number of people disagree with your logic, the more entrenched you become.
Being the 1 against 100 doesn't automatically make you wrong, of course. But it might be a good time to start afresh - truly afresh - and see if you wind up in the same place.

This is my favorite, and costs you all the credibility in the world:
4) Exhibition games the stats of which by convention are not incorporated into a player's career stats.

Equating stats that no one on earth cares about with the ones that people care about more than any others (the postseason) is bizarre beyond belief.
   176. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 08, 2013 at 08:04 AM (#4383824)
I can't believe nobody else has pointed out that the chance to play pool against a future HOF Yankee pitcher, as related in #118, is probably Andy's wet dream (assuming he can still have one).
   177. JRVJ Posted: March 08, 2013 at 08:38 AM (#4383848)
I'm coming in late, but some points: (1) It seems disingenuous to me to start cherry picking parts of a starter's career to compare that to Mariano, because if THAT's allowed, why can't we carve out Mariano's 1995 season, where he started 10 games? (1995 not being Mariano's finest year).

Mariano's numbers look a lot better if 1995 is carved out.

(2) Mariano was an unimpressive starter in 1995, but (as pointed out previously) he learned the pitch that turned him into a HoFer in 1997.

As of that point, Mariano regularly threw 3 pitches (depending on your definition of pitches): a cutter, a 2-seam fastball and a 4-seam fastball. And it stands to reason that he could have included an off-speed pitch if he had been pushed back to starting, but that was not a decision that the Yankees were willing (or chose) to make.

(3) Mariano is 7th all time in post-season IPs. That's not a fluke, people: those are pretty darn relevant stats.
   178. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 08, 2013 at 08:51 AM (#4383859)
Without 1995, Mo's ERA+ is 225.

Like I mentioned upthread, we've had relievers as a separate "position" for a good 50 years. Rivera is so far and away the best ever, I don't know why this is even an argument. Since becoming a reliever, he's never even had a merely "good" season - every single year he's been somewhere between excellent and superhuman.
   179. The District Attorney Posted: March 08, 2013 at 08:56 AM (#4383862)
Re: Rivera's low career IP: Are those who think it's simply impossible to make a HOF case in as many innings as Rivera threw, also anti-Koufax for the HOF? It would seem inconsistent otherwise. And although I can imagine someone making the argument Koufax shouldn't be in the HOF, I'm not sure I've actually seen anyone do it.

Re: postseason generally: I do agree that, if the player essentially does the same thing in the postseason as he does in the regular season -- e.g. Derek Jeter (313/382/448 regular, 308/374/465 post) or Andy Pettitte (3.86 ERA/.633 W% regular, 3.81 ERA/.633 W% post) -- and you then choose to reward postseason quantity, then that is essentially just giving credit for having consistently great teammates¹. I suppose the player does deserve a little credit because they're doing "the same thing" against tougher competition. But not all that much. Some people (including Rob Neyer) think that Pettitte's 19 postseason wins are huge to his HOF case. I disagree with that.

However, if the player demonstrates a different level of quality in a decent sample size of postseason play, e.g. Rivera on one hand or Jorge Posada on the other, then I think that is fairly attribuble to the player and is significant.

¹ And also, given that the Hall of Fame requires us to compare players from very different eras, for playing post-1994.
   180. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 08, 2013 at 09:40 AM (#4383905)
Postseason games are the most important games. You don't penalize a player for a limited postseason career if he otherwise HoF-worthy, but those who have performed spectacularly over a long period certainly enhance their status, and none more than Rivera.


What if the player consistently sucks in the postseason? Would someone on the fence not get in for playing terribly in the playoffs?
   181. Nasty Nate Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:11 AM (#4383922)
As for the debate at large Rivera has been the best pitcher of all time at preventing the other team from scoring on a rate basis vs average. By a LOT


No, he doesn't. And it's not just Wagner. Rivera is only at the top of the list because he's pitched so few innings (and probably boosted by the fact he gets to throw then one at a time). As Ray mentioned, from 1997-2003, Pedro threw over 1400 innings with a 213 ERA+. That was better than Rivera's career. From 1994 to 1998, Maddux threw 1140 innings of 202 ERA+. From 1912-15, Walter Johnson threw 1400 innings of 208 ERA+ and he added another 600 innings of 215 ERA+ in 1918-19. At the ages of 42-43, Clemens threw over 300 innings of 213 ERA+ and has two other full seasons over 200 in his career.


Was Ted Williams not the best of all time at getting on base because Barry Bonds OBP was higher than Williams' career mark over the last 7 years of his career?
   182. GuyM Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:35 AM (#4383939)
Was Ted Williams not the best of all time at getting on base because Barry Bonds OBP was higher than Williams' career mark over the last 7 years of his career?

No. But if Bonds had put up 17 seasons with a higher average than Williams, but then brought his career mark down with another 5 seasons of lower OBP, that would surely be relevant to determining who was "best." At some point, quantity does matter. Jason Bay has a slightly higher SB% than Tim Raines (85.2% vs 84.7%). Do you really want to say Bay was a "better" base stealer on a per attempt basis?

   183. Nasty Nate Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:44 AM (#4383949)
Do you really want to say Bay was a "better" base stealer on a per attempt basis?


Yes. Because "per attempt basis" means specifically and exactly SB%.

And if you dropped the innings bar low enough someone would have a better ERA+ than Rivera. Quantity does matter, and if Rivera hasn't thrown for enough innings to make it meaningful for whatever purpose at hand, than he should be excluded - but if we include him, his career rate stats shouldn't be compared against the rate stats cherry-picked from mid-career of some other guy, considering the Rivera is at the end of his career (or at least very unlikely to decrease his career ERA+ by much at all).
   184. GuyM Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:48 AM (#4383957)
Quantity does matter, and if Rivera hasn't thrown for enough innings to make it meaningful for whatever purpose at hand, than he should be excluded

Which he hasn't, which I think was Walt's point. Plus, it's apples vs. oranges since Mariano only does it one inning at a time.
   185. Nasty Nate Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:56 AM (#4383965)
Which he hasn't, which I think was Walt's point.


If 1200 innings isn't enough, why does he bring up 330 innings from a stretch within Clemens' career for comparison? If that is the method, just cut to Hershiser's streak and be done with it.
   186. Blastin Posted: March 08, 2013 at 11:02 AM (#4383972)
Which he hasn't, which I think was Walt's point. Plus, it's apples vs. oranges since Mariano only does it one inning at a time.


So, you think Jeter and Rivera should both be excluded. I don't want to live on your lonely island.
   187. GuyM Posted: March 08, 2013 at 11:05 AM (#4383978)
Even if you want to set the threshold for a discussion of "greatest pitcher of all time at doing X" at merely 1200 IP, which I can't imagine anyone would, you would still have to exclude Rivera because he was a reliever. It's just an entirely different discussion.

Do you actually agree with the statement Walt was responding to: "As for the debate at large Rivera has been the best pitcher of all time at preventing the other team from scoring on a rate basis vs average. By a LOT?" If not, I'm not sure what we're arguing about.
   188. tfbg9 Posted: March 08, 2013 at 11:06 AM (#4383982)
Was Ted Williams not the best of all time at getting on base because Barry Bonds OBP was higher than Williams' career mark over the last 7 years of his career?


No!
   189. GuyM Posted: March 08, 2013 at 11:13 AM (#4383990)
So, you think Jeter and Rivera should both be excluded.

Of course Jeter would be excluded. As best I can tell, he hasn't faced a single MLB batter -- certainly he's way below 1200 IP. Ruth is much more relevant: he pitched 1221 IP. But that's still below my standard for best all time pitchers.....
   190. Nasty Nate Posted: March 08, 2013 at 11:21 AM (#4383995)
Even if you want to set the threshold for a discussion of "greatest pitcher of all time at doing X" at merely 1200 IP, which I can't imagine anyone would, you would still have to exclude Rivera because he was a reliever. It's just an entirely different discussion.


No, you wouldn't have to exclude him, you would just have to discount whatever meaning you ascribe to the accomplishment. ALL pitchers are trying to prevent the other team from scoring, so they can be compared on that although if a reliever bests a starter at it in terms of rate, it is reasonable to not be impressed much because the circumstances were easier for the reliever.

Do you actually agree with the statement Walt was responding to: "As for the debate at large Rivera has been the best pitcher of all time at preventing the other team from scoring on a rate basis vs average. By a LOT?"


Yes I agree (if Rivera meets whatever innings threshold is chosen, and subject to the accuracy of ERA+ as a stat). If you are using "rate basis" then you use rate basis (or rate basis adjusted by park and era in this case, otherwise we'd be talking about dead ball era guys).
   191. salajander Posted: March 08, 2013 at 11:30 AM (#4384008)
Ray, you're amazing. I tip my hat.
   192. jyjjy Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4384033)
Now if you want to point out that Rivera is in damn fine company here then you've got something of a point (and where the debate about the "easiness" of relieving begins) but he has not been the best pitcher of all time at preventing runs on a rate basis and certainly not by a lot.

Can you explain how you are using the term rate basis here? I'm really not getting it.
   193. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:05 PM (#4384036)
No, he doesn't. And it's not just Wagner. Rivera is only at the top of the list because he's pitched so few innings (and probably boosted by the fact he gets to throw then one at a time).


What is tripping people up is that the 1,000 cutoff for b-r's listing of ERA+ is almost exactly the ideal scenario for Rivera, given that he is just above the line with 1200 innings. Below the 1,000 line, people like Wagner are cut out. Above that line, you've got pitchers who are _well_ above it, logging 2,000, 3000, 4000, 5000 innings, having stretches over their careers as good or better than Rivera's 1200 inning stretch, but finishing well below his ERA+ due to all the innings/starts they put in. People aren't seeing the problem here with citing RIVERA BEST ERA+ OF ALL TIME.
   194. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:07 PM (#4384037)
Equating stats that no one on earth cares about with the ones that people care about more than any others (the postseason) is bizarre beyond belief.


Nobody cites postseason stats when projecting or analyzing players. Nobody cares about them for those purposes. It's only when someone is trying to move a pet candidate's HOF case up that they resort to these numbers.
   195. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4384042)
Like I mentioned upthread, we've had relievers as a separate "position" for a good 50 years. Rivera is so far and away the best ever, I don't know why this is even an argument.


Probably because you made that up. Relief isn't a position; it's a role.

The position is pitcher.
   196. Nasty Nate Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4384043)
Nobody cites postseason stats when ... analyzing players.


Does your head get itchy from being buried in the sand?

What is tripping people up is that the 1,000 cutoff for b-r's listing of ERA+ is almost exactly the ideal scenario for Rivera


How low below 1000 do we have to go to find someone else at #1?
   197. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4384045)
What if the player consistently sucks in the postseason? Would someone on the fence not get in for playing terribly in the playoffs?


This would be the logically consistent argument for the people who want to credit good postseason work like Rivera's or Pettitte's; but to date I have not seen a single one of them actually penalize a player for poor postseason play. It's intellectually dishonest.
   198. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:27 PM (#4384066)
How low below 1000 do we have to go to find someone else at #1?


160ip, apparently. Craig Kimbrel, 160.1IP, 269 ERA+. Mo falls all the way to #2
   199. Nasty Nate Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4384067)

160ip, apparently. Craig Kimbrel, 160.1IP, 269 ERA+. Mo falls all the way to #2


So, 1000 innings is not exactly the ideal cutoff for Rivera. Anything from 160 to 1200 would have him at the top.
   200. jyjjy Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:32 PM (#4384069)
Even if you want to set the threshold for a discussion of "greatest pitcher of all time at doing X" at merely 1200 IP, which I can't imagine anyone would, you would still have to exclude Rivera because he was a reliever. It's just an entirely different discussion.

Why can't you imagine that when setting it higher excludes an entire group of pitchers, as you then point out? Then you purposely NOT figuring out who was the best "pitcher" you are figuring out who was the best starter.

Yes, relievers are pitchers. You are essentially saying they are not. Yes there are differences in how they are used that are important when comparing their performance. Sure, apples vs oranges but that is always the case. We regularly adjust for position, era, park, etc, etc, etc. The matter has been studied and quantified the best we can with the data available, as folks in these parts are prone to, and the advantage relieving vs starting gives to ones performance typically doesn't come close to explaining the way Rivera towers over others in that regard. All you can do is say "not enough innings" and exclude relievers entirely but then you have changed the basic nature of the question.

Also I honestly do not care if Rivera could have been even a good starter. Someone like Pedro perhaps never could have remotely handled Rivera's usage pattern as a reliever, particularly when Torre would start leaning on him heavily in the post season and other times of need. Pedro needed his rest, did not respond to over usage of any sort well especially as he got older and this was made a big deal of in Boston. Pedro probably couldn't even have handled how starters themselves were used before modern reliever usage pattern were established. So there is even irony in that guys like Rivera likely are specifically what allowed Pedro to be used in a way HE was uniquely suited for.

That Ruth could have never cut as a catcher also irrelevant to him being the best hitter of all time on a rate basis vs average(when adjusted appropriately.)
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