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Sunday, May 05, 2013

Mitch Williams: April surprises

So it wasn’t the 7.96 ERA over his last three seasons that made Mitch Williams retire. It was the fun factor! #tommyrot

This team I did pick to win the AL West because I thought the additions of Josh Hamilton and Jason Vargas would help them because they are both low-key players who would fit in to the Angels clubhouse — which I have since found out from a player who has since left was not a very cohesive clubhouse. And it shows on the field.

Harold Reynolds pointed out one specific play that demonstrated this point perfectly. Albert Pujols was coming in for a pop-up and it bounced out of his glove. The catcher, Chris Iannetta, was there to catch it. There was no excitement on their faces, no laughing, nothing. This game is supposed to be fun. The minute you play the game just for the paycheck, it’s time to go home.

I can speak from personal experience on this. I always said that when the game felt like a job, I would retire. Because your ability won’t shine through. I retired at 32 because I wasn’t having fun anymore.

Repoz Posted: May 05, 2013 at 09:40 AM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: media, phillies

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   1. John Northey Posted: May 05, 2013 at 10:07 AM (#4434398)
Uh huh. A horrid 1994/1995 (combined 7.34 ERA, 6 saves, 13.2 BB/9 1.5 HR/9) led to him being in the minors in 1996 (7.43 ERA 4.7 BB/9 8.2 K/9) then KC gave him 7 games in 1997 and he sucked over 6 2/3 IP giving up 11 hits, 2 HR, 7 BB and 10 SO. I could see how that wasn't fun, I could also see how no team in AAA or even AA would sign him. His only hope then was an indy team signing him for 'star power' as he was fairly famous after his 1993 'wild thing' 43 save season.

Did you know his lowest BB/9 in the majors was 5.7 BB/9 (1989 in Chicago) - that was his only year sub 6 for BB/9? Lifetime he was at 7.1 BB/9? How the heck did a guy that unable to throw strikes have a 11 year career in the majors with a ERA+ of 111? In 1993 he saved 43 despite a 6.4 BB/9 rate and a 8.7 K/9. Why on earth did anyone bother swinging the bat against him that year (outside of Joe Carter of course)?

What a bizarre career. I couldn't imagine many teams wanting someone like that today, especially in the closer role.
   2. Tricky Dick Posted: May 05, 2013 at 01:58 PM (#4434549)
Albert Pujols was coming in for a pop-up and it bounced out of his glove. The catcher, Chris Iannetta, was there to catch it. There was no excitement on their faces, no laughing, nothing. This game is supposed to be fun. The minute you play the game just for the paycheck, it’s time to go home.


Maybe reading too much into this? As I recall, Pujols has never been a barrel of laughs on the field. He is very intense, not jocular.
   3. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 05, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4434592)
As I recall, Pujols has never been a barrel of laughs on the field. He is very intense, not jocular.
When you're winning, you're intense and focused. When you're losing, you're just showing up for the paycheck.
   4. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: May 05, 2013 at 03:05 PM (#4434597)
I don't need to RTFA to know how dumb this is. Reading the byline suffices.
   5. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 05, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4434601)
When you're winning, you're intense and focused. When you're losing, you're just showing up for the paycheck.


And on the other side of the equation, when you're winning, you're loose and having fun out there. When you're losing, you're not taking the game seriously.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: May 05, 2013 at 05:33 PM (#4434693)
I couldn't imagine many teams wanting someone like that today, especially in the closer role.

Carlos Marmol says hello. Also Frieri, Albuquerque, Rodney (outside of last year), and some others (probably short season flukes). Last year there were 29 relievers with a walk rate of 5+ and at least 20 innings. And I discover there's a pitcher named Brad Boxberger.
   7. John Northey Posted: May 05, 2013 at 06:07 PM (#4434707)
Its one thing to use a guy like that for a season, it is another for him to be put in a closers role for 6+ years in a row (15+ saves all 6, 3 over 30 with another at 29, then 6 in 94 before Houston went 'uh, no').
   8. Walt Davis Posted: May 05, 2013 at 09:27 PM (#4434801)
And Marmol has 107 saves over the last 4 years. Rodney has two seasons over 30 saves and two others over 10. Frieri had 23 saves last year but a walk rate of just 4 and he's got 4 saves so far this year. Kevin Gregg had 143 saves from 2007-11 while averaging 4.7 BB/9 (K'ing only 8.7), including one season at 6.

We all know how this works.

step 1: Sheesh that guy throws hard and strikes a lot of guys out.
step 2: Let's give him a shot at closer.
step 3: Gee, he makes us awful nervous but he saved 30 out of 35.
step 4: Let's make him the closer this season too.
step 5: Repeat until step 3 is no longer true.

In the last 3 seasons, there have been 84 with 20+ saves and 11 of those had walk rates of 4.5 or higher. Marmol had 3 of those and is the best match to Williams as those 3 seasons also featured 309 Ks in 206 IP. (Although Williams K'd a lot fewer than I realized.) Axford has one season over 5 BB/9 and one at 4.2, throwing in 169 K in 127 IP and is probably the second best match. Frieri is too soon to tell, probably just a sample size fluke this year.

Of course Williams is unusual but if you can K 12/9, teams will forgive a lot of BB. Also, from 2010 to 2012 there aren't that many pitchers with 20+ saves in each season and they're not a particularly impressive lot for the most part:

Marmol, Axford, Chris Perez, Street, Papelbon, Valverde.

By the way, I'm not sure Houston said "no" ... looks like he got hurt. He was their closer to start the year at least although it's possible he'd lost the job by the time he got hurt (he didn't pitch after May, I'm assuming that was injury).

I don't disagree with you, not a save opportunity went by when I didn't dread Williams coming in for the Cubs. I dread seeing Marmol come into the game these days ... although that applies to all the other Cub relievers too I suppose.
   9. Matt Welch Posted: May 06, 2013 at 08:55 AM (#4434952)
the Angels clubhouse — which I have since found out from a player who has since left was not a very cohesive clubhouse.

Consider the source, etc., but it's remarkable that we're having to hear this kind of news broken by Mitch freaking Williams.
   10. WillYoung Posted: May 06, 2013 at 09:08 AM (#4434963)
Consider the source, etc., but it's remarkable that we're having to hear this kind of news broken by Mitch freaking Williams.


I know, it just goes to show that Torii Hunter will talk to anyone if it can ultimately make him look better.
   11. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: May 06, 2013 at 09:19 AM (#4434972)
Watching some of the Orioles-Angels series was an odd experience. I was ready to throw something after, Hammel gave up three runs in the first inning yesterday, and I just assumed that the Orioles were going to lose big. But they pulled it together and ended up winning easily. The Orioles and Angels seem to have switched places...it's like Freaky Friday.
   12. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: May 06, 2013 at 09:53 AM (#4435002)
Yeaarrgghhhh-Freaky Franchise?
   13. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: May 06, 2013 at 10:04 AM (#4435021)
Exactly. Obviously they need to trade Trout for Ryan Flaherty to reverse the spell.
   14. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 06, 2013 at 10:15 AM (#4435035)
The problem with the Angels isn't effort or intangibles, it's that their pitching is poor and Hamilton isn't hitting. The pitching looked mediocre coming into the season so that shouldn't be a surprise. There were some subtle warning signs about Hamilton but, then, Pujols had a terrible first month for them last year and ended up fine. The pitching won't miraculously get better, though, which is going to keep them anchored to .500 this year, I think. If things don't get better, they aren't really set up for a fire sale, either, so they may as well let it ride this year.
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 06, 2013 at 10:21 AM (#4435045)
Frenchy has fun. The Royals should trade Francoeur for Pujols. Maybe get the Angels to eat some money.
   16. The Polish Sausage Racer Posted: May 06, 2013 at 11:15 AM (#4435111)
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bud Selig Brewers.
   17. Matt Welch Posted: May 06, 2013 at 02:52 PM (#4435419)
If things don't get better, they aren't really set up for a fire sale, either, so they may as well let it ride this year.

Almost no tradeable assets, gigantor contracts, and the worst farm in baseball. There is no Plan B. Win-now didn't work, and now they're perfectly set up for a Lost Half-Decade....
   18. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 06, 2013 at 02:56 PM (#4435426)
Almost no tradeable assets, gigantor contracts, and the worst farm in baseball. There is no Plan B. Win-now didn't work, and now they're perfectly set up for a Lost Half-Decade....

They haven't shown themselves to be shy about spending even with dead contracts on the team. I don't think it's as bad as all that. I think the Angels are closer to the Yanks/Red Sox model of being able to re-load than to the Cubs model of multi-year futility.
   19. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 06, 2013 at 02:59 PM (#4435436)
If you can trade Vernon Wells twice, no contract is untradeable.

Almost no tradeable assets


Just a thought experiment, but what could you get for Mike Trout?
   20. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: May 06, 2013 at 03:16 PM (#4435460)
I think the Angels could demand the other team's top 4-5 prospects, and one of those prospects would have to be a grade A type. So maybe Oscar Taveras and 3-4 of the Cardinal's other top prospects might work. But there's so much risk involved for both teams that a deal like that is almost impossible.
   21. Nasty Nate Posted: May 06, 2013 at 03:25 PM (#4435468)
Just a thought experiment, but what could you get for Mike Trout?


Trout for David Price and Wil Myers and one other guy?
   22. Jean Claude Vander Wal (Pokey1228) Posted: May 06, 2013 at 03:53 PM (#4435513)
Did you know his lowest BB/9 in the majors was 5.7 BB/9 (1989 in Chicago) - that was his only year sub 6 for BB/9?


What's even more ridiculous is that his last year in the minors (except that short stint where he was trying to resuscitate his career) he walked 165! in 132 innings. By that measure, his lifetime BB/9 in the majors is downright impressive.

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