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Friday, August 01, 2014

Miklasz: Mozeliak sets off a loud wake-up call

This was a baseball trade, yes. Mozeliak dumped the unproductive Craig’s salary and essentially filled out Matheny’s lineup card by clearing the RF spot for hotshot prospect Oscar Taveras.

Mozeliak sacrificed Kelly’s talent and future growth potential in exchange for a hardcore veteran competitor with vast big-game experience that includes 16 postseason starts, 104 postseason innings, and two World Series-clinching wins.

But this was also a move that attacked the team’s creeping lethargy.

And that’s not all that Bernie has to say. One of the best pieces of analysis I’ve read.

Mike Emeigh Posted: August 01, 2014 at 10:32 AM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals

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   1. AROM Posted: August 01, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4762426)
The shakeup began last week when Mozeliak added the porcupine quills of notorious badass catcher A.J. Pierzysnki to the roster.


AJP is old and his playing career won't last much longer. But we are probably stuck with him being in baseball headlines for another 20-30 years.

Would anyone take a bet saying he won't become a manager?
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 01, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4762427)

Would anyone take a bet saying he won't become a manager?


Who are some managers that were known for being jerks as players? Billy Martin? Leo Durocher? Lou Piniella?
   3. just plain joe Posted: August 01, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4762442)
Who are some managers that were known for being jerks as players? Billy Martin? Leo Durocher? Lou Piniella?

Well, Ty Cobb managed the Tigers for a couple of years so he would need to be on the list. Rogers Hornsby managed to get himself traded several times because he had the ability to get under people's skin in a hurry. Frank Robinson might not be a jerk but was far from being universally loved, in part because of his manner of going hard into middle infielders to break up the double play. Eddie Stanky was known as "The Brat", which qualifies him for jerkiness in my mind. I'm sure there must be others.
   4. just plain joe Posted: August 01, 2014 at 11:16 AM (#4762444)
"Who are some managers that were known for being jerks as players? Billy Martin? Leo Durocher? Lou Piniella?"

Well, Ty Cobb managed the Tigers for a couple of years so he would need to be on the list. Rogers Hornsby managed to get himself traded several times because he had the ability to get under people's skin in a hurry. Frank Robinson might not be a jerk but was far from being universally loved, in part because of his manner of going hard into middle infielders to break up the double play. Eddie Stanky was known as "The Brat", which qualifies him for jerkiness in my mind. I'm sure there must be others.

Sorry about the double post.
   5. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 01, 2014 at 11:36 AM (#4762454)
I bet AJP ends up in the media. First he'll be a studio analyst/goofball for a local RSN, and if things work out, he'll be saying dickish things on Baseball Tonight.

This is a good article.
   6. Ron J2 Posted: August 01, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4762455)
Casey Stengel had an interesting record as a player. More known for being involved in some pretty wild fights than for being a jerk though.
   7. eddieot Posted: August 01, 2014 at 12:07 PM (#4762489)
Larry Bowa was more of a jerk as a manager than as a player but definitely not well-liked. Pete Rose was certainly a jerk.
   8. The District Attorney Posted: August 01, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4762490)
Of course, most of those guys managed several decades ago :-) The Leo Durocher-style manager would not fly nowadays. You do not rip your own players through the media (ask Bobby Valentine), never mind to their face. The team needs them more than they need you, and they make more money than you. The modern manager is trying to foster a culture of confidence-building and fraternity.

That said, I suspect that a lot of A.J.'s "heel" persona is an act, and that if he did want to manage (as opposed to going into media), he could succeed. He certainly knows the rulebook!
   9. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: August 01, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4762564)
Larry Bowa was more of a jerk as a manager than as a player but definitely not well-liked. Pete Rose was certainly a jerk.


I could see Pierzynski being a bench coach "bad cop" for a nice guy manager. Bowa has been successful in that role.
   10. Matt Welch Posted: August 01, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4762642)
Frank Robinson might not be a jerk but was far from being universally loved

Just before becoming a manager Robbie was seen as the principal clubhouse reason for the Angels playing managerial shuffle in 1974. He was a leader, but divisive.
   11. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 01, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4762649)
Hal McRae was kind of a jerk and probably not well-liked by opponents.
   12. Ron J2 Posted: August 01, 2014 at 04:12 PM (#4762699)
#10 He had something of a mixed record. He was a leader among the players under Weaver but I remember that he helped Weaver enormously in stamping his authority on the team.

When Weaver took over, Robinson asked him how he could help. Weaver knew Robinson hated signing baseballs (a routine chore that he begged off under Bauer). Weaver asked him to sign a bunch. Robinson did. Wasn't thrilled, but he had offered and wasn't going to back out.
   13. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: August 01, 2014 at 11:33 PM (#4762947)
Terry Francona missed the birth of his first child because Pete Rose basically told him he'd be cut loose if he left the team to go be with his wife. Yeah, jerk.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: August 02, 2014 at 01:13 AM (#4762973)
One of the best pieces of analysis I’ve read.

Can't say as I'm so impressed.

Miszlak claims that this trade and the trade for Masterson and the pickup of AJP were to shake up the clubhouse. He basically repeats that paragraph 5 times in the article. Other than a quote from Edmonds, he doesn't provide any evidence the clubhouse needs waking up nor really any that these are the guys to do it. It gets silly at times -- Craig was "liked" so it's good to get rid of him to send a message; Masterson was "respected" as evidenced by the fact that his teammates wore high socks to say goodbye ... are we really sure the Indians players didn't just "like" Masterson and wore high socks to say "we'll miss ya good buddy"?

He references the "creeping lethargy." Maybe it's just not such a good team. They've gone 15-14 in March/April, 15-12 in May, 14-13 in June and 13-11 in July. They may be lethargic but it's been going on all season.

He also notes that it opens up time for Taveras, dumps money from the Craig contract. He suspects that the Cards suspect that Craig is toast ... which would suggest they'd have made this trade anyway. He seems to believe it's an obviously good thing to replace Kelly with Lackey because of Lackey's WS experience ... tell that to the 2002 Angels.

He cites the poor offense. Yes and no -- the starting lineup outside of Craig is darn good but the bench has been flat replacement level. Who is that on?

And underneath it all is the comfortable assumption that these were the right moves to shake up the clubhouse.

Why can't it just be a baseball trade by a mediocre team trying to sneak into the playoffs?
   15. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 02, 2014 at 05:42 AM (#4762993)
the starting lineup outside of Craig is darn good

for someone so unimpressed you seem to be somewhat uninformed

wong is the primary at second base and has not hit all season. and it's only 300 odd plate appearances in the bigs but he's at a .273 obp. that stinks at any level

holliday is still drawing walks but is slugging 100 points below his career average and still hitting into a lot of double plays. his defense remains poor. again, he gets on base but his skill set may be shrinking due to age.

jay cannot hit lefties and is really stretched as a cf but has to play because bourjos has been awful at the plate

and the catching situation is pretty grim

thought he is hitting beucase matt adams has a nice power stroke what might be overlooked is that he has decided to not walk this season

and if adams is not in a good streak this offense sputters.

only the padres have scored fewer runs and nobody has hit fewer homers.

at minimum aside from pitcher there are 3 holes in the lineup every day no matter who is playing at catcher, second or centerfield. and this assumes that taveras will be a somebody at the plate this season.

if that's a good starting lineup i'm a vogue cover model
   16. frannyzoo Posted: August 02, 2014 at 09:36 AM (#4763017)
Jay cannot hit lefties

Jay can't hit righties. His reversed (from the norm) L/R figures are quite insane this year.
   17. greenback calls it soccer Posted: August 02, 2014 at 09:52 AM (#4763019)
That's almost certainly a sample-size fluke. For his career Jay is 294/356/404 against RHP, 286/352/369 against LHP. Jay has always been closer to lineup spackle than a star, but he's not a hole in the lineup by any means.

Wong is vaguely similar. The consensus is that he's talented enough to be an average player, but he lacks overwhelming physical skills. Last year he was as over-matched as any player I've seen, and that continued into the early part of this season. Wong has to adjust to speed of the game, and apparently he is doing that.
   18. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 02, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4763021)
green

I think wong can be a good player but until he shows I cannot give him credit
   19. JH (in DC) Posted: August 02, 2014 at 11:09 AM (#4763034)
I bet AJP ends up in the media. First he'll be a studio analyst/goofball for a local RSN, and if things work out, he'll be saying dickish things on Baseball Tonight.


Hasn't AJP done a couple of postseason stints for Fox? I seem to remember him being decent at it, and since he's a personality, I imagine he'll start national. I mean, if Dallas Braden can go right to BBTN...
   20. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 02, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4763035)


Hasn't AJP done a couple of postseason stints for Fox? I seem to remember him being decent at it,


Yes, he did. And when he was with the Sox, he had a weekly spot on the radio with an afternoon talk show, and he was truly excellent. I think he could be quite good in a TV role.
   21. greenback calls it soccer Posted: August 02, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4763043)
I think wong can be a good player but until he shows I cannot give him credit

Don't blame you. I'm not as high on him as the consensus, and the way the Cardinals have dealt with him (benching him late last year and the in-season demotion to Memphis this year) suggests to me that the Cardinals have the same basic view as I do. His playing time now is a function of the indisputably hole-y play of Mark Ellis and Daniel Descalso. I will say in his defense that Wong's numbers from last year and maybe April of this year should be discounted a bit. He has had some at-bats this year that would've been impossible for him last year.
   22. cardsfanboy Posted: August 02, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4763050)
He's also playing because he adds a speed component to the team, and plus defense. He has looked better at the plate since his recall than he did last year, but I'm still not seeing the guy we had in the second half of spring training.
   23. McCoy Posted: August 02, 2014 at 12:57 PM (#4763051)
You can't really call the starters darn good but STL starters besides Craig are league average overall. Starters in the NL have a 98 OPS+ and the Cards have a 96. Take away Craig and you got something like a 98 OPS+ or higher.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: August 02, 2014 at 06:10 PM (#4763144)
OPS+ of StL starters:

Molina 111 -- way above average for position
Adams 132 -- way above average for position
Wong 85 -- below-average for posiiton but comfortably above replacement
Peralta 113 -- way above average for position
Carpenter 121 -- way above average for position
Holliday 123 -- above average for position
Jay 102 -- average for position
Craig 79 -- way below average for position, comfortably below replacement

That is 4 players way above average for this position, one above average, one average, one 1 WAR and a guy who's hit terribly. That is an excellent starting lineup ... a straight unweighted average puts it at a 108 OPS+.

You might want to get out more HW.


wong is the primary at second base and has not hit all season. and it's only 300 odd plate appearances in the bigs but he's at a .273 obp. that stinks at any level

He's at .7 oWAR on the year. League average OPS at 2B is 681, he's at 661. Not a big deal.

holliday is still drawing walks but is slugging 100 points below his career average and still hitting into a lot of double plays.

That he is not as good a hitter as he was does not make him a bad hitter. Already at 2 oWAR on the year.

jay cannot hit lefties and is really stretched as a cf but has to play because bourjos has been awful at the plate

The two of them have totaled .5 WAA so far.

and the catching situation is pretty grim

Yes, because Molina is hurt. This is one of the issues Miszlak considers "solved" by adding AJ.

thought he is hitting beucase matt adams has a nice power stroke what might be overlooked is that he has decided to not walk this season

1.7 oWAR ... also providing excellent defense so 2.8 WAR, 1.6 WAA

only the padres have scored fewer runs and nobody has hit fewer homers.

Offense struggles because the bench is horrible.

at minimum aside from pitcher there are 3 holes in the lineup every day no matter who is playing at catcher, second or centerfield. and this assumes that taveras will be a somebody at the plate this season.

Again, Wong is not a "hole", he's below-average. C is a hole because the starter is injured. CF is above average. By this definition, the Brewers have holes at 1B, 2B and SS every game.

if that's a good starting lineup i'm a vogue cover model</i>
   25. Walt Davis Posted: August 02, 2014 at 06:36 PM (#4763153)
To summarize:

Molina 1.2 WAA
Adams 1.6 WAA
Wong +.3 WAA (yes above average)
Peralta 2.5 WAA
Carpenter 1.8 WAA
Holliday .3 WAA
Jay/Bourjos .5 WAA

All 7 non-Craig position starters above average. 8.2 WAA total so better than 1 win AA on average and 2/3 of the way through the season.

Now starting lineups are supposed to be above-average since benches are below-average so that total is probably more above-average than very good. Craig, the bench and the pitchers' hitting (I haven't checked) have cost the Cards 5 wins below average. Replacement level would probably be around negative 3-4 by this time of year.

Why the RS doesn't reflect this I don't know but I'll guess it's bad luck on random events, not creeping lethargy that will be solved by AJ.
   26. vivaelpujols Posted: August 03, 2014 at 06:22 AM (#4763308)
He references the "creeping lethargy." Maybe it's just not such a good team. They've gone 15-14 in March/April, 15-12 in May, 14-13 in June and 13-11 in July. They may be lethargic but it's been going on all season.


Would it matter more if they went 20-8 in a month and then 8-19 in another? Consistency of monthly records doesn't say anything about the true talent level of the team. But I agree with you that the Cardinals are only a slightly above average team at this point, although trading for Lackey and giving Oscar more playing time certainly helps.

As for the Oscar Taveras stuff, I'd be surprised if trading Craig was not designed to force Matheny's hand into giving him playing time. I agree that the Masterson/AJ shakeup the clubhouse stuff stuff is bullshit - that's just about cheap talent, but trading Craig definitely served a duel purpose. Matheny and Mozeliak have been at odds all year about Oscar's playing time.

wong is the primary at second base and has not hit all season. and it's only 300 odd plate appearances in the bigs but he's at a .273 obp. that stinks at any level


Wong has a 93 wRC+ on the season and a .294 OBP. League average for a 2B is an 89 wRC+ and a .311 OBP. He's been fine. Not sure how 60 scattered plate appearances with a .191 BABIP last year is useful information at all.

at minimum aside from pitcher there are 3 holes in the lineup every day no matter who is playing at catcher, second or centerfield. and this assumes that taveras will be a somebody at the plate this season.


Spoken like a politician. Only look at the bad, ignore the good, use qualitative and useless words like "hole". You're hilariously biased whenever you analyze the Cardinals.

only the padres have scored fewer runs and nobody has hit fewer homers.


Sure just completely disregard park factors, that sounds like intelligent analysis. Cards are 15th in baseball with a 95 wRC+ including pitchers. They are tied for 5th in the National League. Their offense is middle of the pack.
   27. vivaelpujols Posted: August 03, 2014 at 06:30 AM (#4763309)
Again, Wong is not a "hole", he's below-average.


Walt, we agree on pretty much all of that post, but you guys have to stop using OPS and OPS+ when wRC+ is available. Wong has been very slightly above average this year.
   28. vivaelpujols Posted: August 03, 2014 at 06:31 AM (#4763311)
Wong +.3 WAA (yes above average)


Thanks :)

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