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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

U.S.S. Mariner: Dave’s 2010 Off-Season Plan

The Moves

Trade Brandon Morrow to Milwaukee for J.J. Hardy.
Trade Jose Lopez, Mark Lowe, and Jason Vargas to Chicago for John Danks.
Sign Nick Johnson to a one year, $9 million contract
Sign Orlando Hudson to a two year, $16 million contract
Sign Ben Sheets to a one year, $7 million contract
Sign Russell Branyan to a one year, $4 million contract…

Giving up four years of Morrow for two years of Hardy is a risk, but it’s a risk the M’s should be willing to take. Young pitchers are full of false hope, so while Morrow may indeed put it together and become a quality starting pitcher, the M’s would be better off building around a shortstop instead. The Brewers have coveted Morrow for years, and they probably won’t get a better arm in return for Hardy. It’s a win-win trade, upgrading the M’s infield while giving the Brewers a pitcher they badly need.

Now, having written all that, perhaps you’ll think it is a little hypocritical that I then immediately suggest swapping an infielder for a pitcher by sending Lopez, Lowe, and Vargas to Chicago for Danks. However, the situations are quite a bit different. Despite his age, Lopez is simply not the kind of player the M’s want to build around for the future, and his value will be maximized in another city. His best skill, power to left field, is in direct conflict with the way Safeco plays. The M’s will get less value from Lopez than just about every other team in baseball, so moving him to an environment that doesn’t clash with his skills is an efficiency maximization decision.

He forgot “give Ken Williams a lobotomy.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 03:59 PM | 253 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. The Pequod Posted: October 20, 2009 at 05:44 PM (#3359481)
Yeah, I see almost no chance that they deal John Danks.

I'm going to need a more convincing argument than the nebulous "well it'd save them some money" stuff (especially when the money we're talking about is on the order of a couple million). Is there a particular indication that they're cash-strapped? They just added Peavy and Rios and have Dye, Thome, and Dotel coming off the books.
   2. JJ1986 Posted: October 20, 2009 at 05:48 PM (#3359487)
Sign Ronnie Belliard.
Trade Felix Hernandez for Robinson Cano and Phil Hughes.
   3. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: October 20, 2009 at 05:51 PM (#3359494)
Certainly not for that package. None of those three players are interesting.

I don't know anything about Mariners prospects, but I don't see anyone on the 2009 roster that I would give up John Danks for, aside from Felix Hernandez.
   4. The Essex Snead Posted: October 20, 2009 at 05:52 PM (#3359497)
The O-Dog getting $8M & Nick Johnson getting $9M while Branyan gets only $4M seems pretty strange. As does the aforementioned Lopez / Danks swap -- "here, take lots of our mediocre-to-middling crap for your above-average starter!"
   5. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: October 20, 2009 at 05:54 PM (#3359502)
Sign Orlando Hudson to a two year, $16 million contract

Is he having a laugh?

Trade Jose Lopez, Mark Lowe, and Jason Vargas to Chicago for John Danks.

Really?

Sign Russell Branyan to a one year, $4 million contract…

That's very nice of Russell.

The other moves are reasonable, but why would you throw 16 million at Hudson? Why would the Sox trade an excellent, cheap starting pitcher? And if I'm Branyan, I'll go to arbitration before I'd settle for only 4 million. He deserves a bit more than that and, let's face it, this is his last shot at the big money.
   6. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: October 20, 2009 at 05:54 PM (#3359504)
As does the aforementioned Lopez / Danks swap -- "here, take lots of our mediocre-to-middling crap for your above-average starter!"

Hey, it works in OOTP, why wouldn't it work in real life?
   7. The Essex Snead Posted: October 20, 2009 at 05:58 PM (#3359514)
[6] My dad's still waiting for the M's to trade Randy Johnson to Boston for Dante Bichette, Mike Lansing, and Rolando Arrojo.
   8. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:11 PM (#3359534)
[6] My dad's still waiting for the M's to trade Randy Johnson to Boston for Dante Bichette, Mike Lansing, and Rolando Arrojo.


Get it done, Dan.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:13 PM (#3359539)
As does the aforementioned Lopez / Danks swap -- "here, take lots of our mediocre-to-middling crap for your above-average starter!"

I said almost exactly the same thing in the USS Mariner comments sections and of course got abused for it.

My response was why don't you just ship Felix to the Yankees for Cano, Coke, and Mitre. Dave didn't take that well.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:13 PM (#3359540)
I liked in the comments section where Dave accuses snapper of being abrasive.
   11. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:15 PM (#3359541)
I liked in the comments section where Dave accuses snapper of being abrasive.

Not snapper! (By the way, snapper, you should have offered me that trade before publically abusing it. Too late now!)
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:15 PM (#3359542)
I liked in the comments section where Dave accuses snapper of being abrasive.

He doesn't like being wrong. He also doesn't like the fact that he's not smarter than all his readers.

I fully admit to being plenty abrasive, but Dave makes me look like Gandhi.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:17 PM (#3359545)
Not snapper! (By the way, snapper, you should have offered me that trade before publically abusing it. Too late now!)

Doh!
   14. AROM Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:23 PM (#3359561)
I think the Mariners could get Bonds and Griffey without giving up too much, especially since they already have Griffey.
   15. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:25 PM (#3359566)
I liked in the comments section where Dave accuses snapper of being abrasive.

Dave Cameron seems all right and is a bright guy, but I'm guessing he's pretty sick of hearing about Cano. snapper went for the weak spot on that one. I, of course, would have refrained...

I think the 16 million to Hudson is the bigger whopper. Just keep Lopez at those prices.
   16. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:25 PM (#3359567)
Dave makes me look like Gandhi.


Then why does he bother reading his comments? I don't want to analyze a guy I never met from afar, but am having a tough time trying to resist it.
   17. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:26 PM (#3359568)
“Danks is not that much more valuable than Lopez. Sorry, he’s just not.”

Well, I'm convinced.
   18. DL from MN Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:27 PM (#3359570)
The Twins are already trading (in my head) for JJ Hardy with their package including Glen Perkins.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:28 PM (#3359574)
Dave Cameron seems all right and is a bright guy, but I'm guessing he's pretty sick of hearing about Cano. snapper went for the weak spot on that one. I, of course, would have refrained...

Wow, I didn't even think about his Cano projection fiasco! I'm more of an evil genious than I thought ;-) I was just thinking he wanted to give an average 2B and crap for a very good starter, why is that any different from giving a very good 2B and crap for an excellent starter.

I'm quite pleased with myself now :-)
   20. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:30 PM (#3359578)
I'm quite pleased with myself now :-)

You're welcome. It's like Star Trek V when Kirk hits that alien in the face but it's actually his balls!
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:30 PM (#3359579)
Dave Cameron seems all right and is a bright guy, but I'm guessing he's pretty sick of hearing about Cano. snapper went for the weak spot on that one. I, of course, would have refrained...


Yeah, I didn't think snapper was using Cano in that fashion (which would actually be the opposite context of the typical Cano jab).


Then why does he bother reading his comments? I don't want to analyze a guy I never met from afar, but am having a tough time trying to resist it.


I think he likes the ones that tell him he's spot-on.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:30 PM (#3359580)
The Twins are already trading (in my head) for JJ Hardy with their package including Glen Perkins.

Don't forget the Red Sox getting Adrian Gonzalez for Bard, Bowden and Lars Anderson.
   23. RJ in TO Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:31 PM (#3359584)
It's like Star Trek V when Kirk hits that alien in the face but it's actually his balls!


Didn't he kick him in the knees (which were actually his balls)? And wasn't that Star Trek 6?
   24. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:32 PM (#3359587)
Well, I'm convinced.

RDF.

I'm having a hard time seeing how Lopez is a big upgrade over Jayson Nix, myself.
   25. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:32 PM (#3359588)
Didn't he kick him in the knees? And wasn't that Star Trek 6?

Like, whatever, dork. A wizard did it.
   26. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:36 PM (#3359595)
I think he likes the ones that tell him he's spot-on.


He just ignored me at Fangraphs when I said that Napoli hit worse late in games than early in games. Speaking of Fangraphs, with the exception of Carson Cistulli, they all seem to speak with one voice and they all use the same stats it seems for everything. A lot of wOBA and xFIP. I read them regularly, but contrast this with THT and BPro where there seems to be more freedom of expression.
   27. DL from MN Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:36 PM (#3359596)
I think the Mariners offseason plan should be to give Randy Johnson a 1 year deal. Isn't giving former stars a victory lap the current Mariners plan?
   28. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:37 PM (#3359598)
It's like Star Trek V when Kirk hits that alien in the face but it's actually his balls!



Didn't he kick him in the knees (which were actually his balls)? And wasn't that Star Trek 6?


Yes and yes. You may be thinking of MIB II and K fighting the ballchinian.
   29. JJ1986 Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:38 PM (#3359601)
Isn't giving former stars a victory lap the current Mariners plan?

They could get John Smoltz too.
   30. For the Turnstiles (andeux) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:39 PM (#3359603)
He doesn't like being wrong. He also doesn't like the fact that he's not smarter than all his readers.

You'd think he'd be used to both those things by now.
   31. The Essex Snead Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:49 PM (#3359619)
“Danks is not that much more valuable than Lopez. Sorry, he’s just not.”

If you look at their WAR salaries from this year (courtesy of Fangraphs), then they do look similar:

Lopez: $11.8M
Danks: $13.0M

Of course, last year marks Lopez highest WAR$ salary in four years, including years where his hitting (2007) and his fielding (2008) left skidmarks. Meanwhile, Danks was worth $10M more his rookie year (tho last year's probably more what shd be expected), & did this while pitching half the time in Newish Comiskey. And Danks is both (nominally) cheaper and younger (by 17 months). Lopez might be able to take advantage of CHW's friendly confines & his physical peak (& his all-or-nothing hitting style) to do some serious damage, but to give up on Danks on the chance that happens, given Lopez's prior inconsistencies, seems a little too wishcasty. & "sweetening the deal" with Vargas & Lowe doesn't do much to make that particular pill any easier to swallow.

That proposed San Diego / Boston trade, tho? Totally fair and balanced -- I approve 1000%.
   32. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:51 PM (#3359622)
I'm having a hard time seeing how Lopez is a big upgrade over Jayson Nix, myself.

Lopez is a perfectly average OBP challenged 2B, which is pretty much the last thing the CWS need.

The idea that an avg. 2B and a decent bullpen arm will get you a 24 year old 125 ERA+ SP, b/c his FIP was high for one year, is laughable.
   33. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:56 PM (#3359631)
Just skimming that USSM thread, it seems the analysis is -- Danks is a X win pitcher. Lopez + Lowe + Vargias = Y wins. Since Y wins > X wins, it's the White Sox who are actually getting the better end of the deal (I haven't looked at the numbers -- was the sum of those three better than Danks last year)? In any case, there appears to be no utilization of marginal utility -- that is, how much of an improvement is Lopez + his salary over a Getz + Nix platoon that's essentially making the league minimum? Furthermore, there's no understanding of scarcity -- how many left-handed, under-25 starters are out there who have done what Danks has done (ick that's awkwardly worded, my apologies -- I'm in a hurry)?

At least I got a good morning laugh from that.
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 06:56 PM (#3359634)
If you look at their WAR salaries from this year (courtesy of Fangraphs), then they do look similar:

Lopez: $11.8M
Danks: $13.0M


But that just gets back to this point.

Speaking of Fangraphs, with the exception of Carson Cistulli, they all seem to speak with one voice and they all use the same stats it seems for everything. A lot of wOBA and xFIP.

Cameron is treating 1 year of FIP like it is gospel. Danks just put up a 3.77 ERA in 200 IP. Just b/c his FIP was 4.59 doesn't mean he's going to be valued as a 4.59 ERA pitcher. The year before, his FIP was 3.44. He's also 24 and very likely to improve.

Also, Lopez's stats this year are buoyed by an abnormal number of "just enough" HRs.
   35. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:00 PM (#3359639)
Just skimming that USSM thread, it seems the analysis is -- Danks is a X win pitcher. Lopez + Lowe + Vargias = Y wins. Since Y wins > X wins, it's the White Sox who are actually getting the better end of the deal (I haven't looked at the numbers -- was the sum of those three better than Danks last year)? In any case, there appears to be no utilization of marginal utility -- that is, how much of an improvement is Lopez + his salary over a Getz + Nix platoon that's essentially making the league minimum? Furthermore, there's no understanding of scarcity -- how many left-handed, under-25 starters are out there who have done what Danks has done (ick that's awkwardly worded, my apologies -- I'm in a hurry)?

It's actually much worse than that. He values Lopez as a 2.5 WAR player, ignoring all his years worse than that (including 1 0 WAR season). He values Danks as a 3-3.5 WAR player, completely ignoring his 5.2 WAR season, and uses a 3rd year arb award of $15M to danks as part of his math. Then he touts Lowe's value as a closer.

Utter BS analysis.
   36. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:00 PM (#3359640)
Also, Lopez's stats this year are buoyed by an abnormal number of "just enough" HRs.

Can we all just agree that Duke is awful?
   37. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:02 PM (#3359642)
Lopez is a perfectly average OBP challenged 2B.

Which is exactly what Nix is, only Nix is probably a better fielder.

The best player the White Sox get in that deal is probably Lowe.
   38. rr Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:03 PM (#3359643)
snapper arguing with David Cameron would be funny. I'll have to read the comments.
   39. The Essex Snead Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:05 PM (#3359647)
[34] I was agreeing w/ you -- the rest of my post mirrors what you said in [32] & [35]!
   40. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:09 PM (#3359654)
The best player the White Sox get in that deal is probably Lowe.


...which is why I wouldn't make the deal if I were Kenny Williams. I might do the deal if I could send the Mariners Gavin Floyd instead.

There is no way that the Brewers trade Hardy for Morrow straight up.

-- MWE
   41. Martin Hemner Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:10 PM (#3359657)
Oh, and I forgot to mention one last part of the plan.

Sign Felix Hernandez to a 6 year, $90 million extension.


This is just some inside joke I'm missing, right?
   42. MM1f Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:13 PM (#3359660)
Trade Jose Lopez, Mark Lowe, and Jason Vargas to Chicago for John Danks.

And I'm going to trade my DVD collection, a bottle of wine and this mousepad for a new car this winter!

No wonder these guys always bemoan how bad their team screws everything up. Its got to be easy to be a genius GM when you can invent lopsided swaps in your fantasies.
Why can't the Mariner's management figure out that trading these for John Danks is a brilliant move!? ha ha
   43. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:14 PM (#3359661)
snapper arguing with David Cameron would be funny. I'll have to read the comments.


I found it hard to figure out who was replying to who there.
   44. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:16 PM (#3359667)
I found it hard to figure out who was replying to who there.

It reminds one of Duck Soup, no?
   45. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:19 PM (#3359673)
I might do the deal if I could send the Mariners Gavin Floyd instead.

I wouldn't even do the deal then.

Cameron is operating under the assumption that the White Sox have this surplus of starters. They really don't. Right now, they have five starters - Buehrle, Peavy, Danks, Floyd, and Garcia, and one prospect (Dan Hudson) that looks like he might be MLB-ready. The dropoff after that is unbelievably steep.
   46. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:25 PM (#3359685)
It reminds one of Duck Soup, no?


142 comments already. It's the most commented upon thread on the first page there. I may sound like I'm hard on Dave, but I do read him and the rest of the FG guys. That is more than I can say for any newspaper guy. The suburban local I read just has wire stories and local HS and college sports.
   47. AROM Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:30 PM (#3359697)
Non-elite second basemen are cheap. Why would I trade a good young starter like Floyd or Danks for Lopez so you can sign Hudson, when I can just sign Hudson myself and keep the pitcher? Or Kennedy, Polanco, Freddy Sanchez if Hudson wants to play somewhere else?

It's a fanboy trade, the kind that only works in poorly designed simulation games. If you don't want to be ridiculed for suggesting a fanboy trade as a way to improve your team, then don't propose fanboy trades.
   48. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:31 PM (#3359698)
By the way, speaking of Dan Hudson, he pitched at five levels in 2009 - Low-A, High-A, AA, AAA, and the Majors - in that order. Ignoring rehab assignments, how often does that happen?
   49. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:39 PM (#3359717)
Probably not often. I know Tom Gordon in 1988 went high A ball, AA, AAA, Majors.
   50. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:42 PM (#3359722)
[34] I was agreeing w/ you -- the rest of my post mirrors what you said in [32] & [35]!

Yes, and I was agreeing with you too, and trying to tie it into [26]. Sorry if it didn't come across that way.
   51. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:48 PM (#3359730)
142 comments already. It's the most commented upon thread on the first page there. I may sound like I'm hard on Dave, but I do read him and the rest of the FG guys.

I read Dave too, and he does some good stuff. It's just incredibly frustrating that he won't engage with any questioning of his ideas in formats that are supposed to encourage comments and discussion. He also has a posse of sycophants at both sites who will shout you down for daring to question their sensai.

It's a fanboy trade, the kind that only works in poorly designed simulation games. If you don't want to be ridiculed for suggesting a fanboy trade as a way to improve your team, then don't propose fanboy trades.

Spot on.
   52. Justin T is going to crush some tacos Thursday Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:50 PM (#3359737)
This thread makes me so happy.
   53. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:51 PM (#3359738)
He also has a posse of sycophants at both sites who will shout you down for daring to question their sensai.


I don't get what motivates people to do that. I'm one of the less argumentative guys here and I think arguing is more fun than lapping up morsels of cyberwisdom from someone.
   54. DL from MN Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:53 PM (#3359740)
Non-elite second basemen are cheap.


Why the hell can't the Twins find one then.
   55. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:55 PM (#3359743)
Don't the Twins have plenty of non-elite second basemen?
   56. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:58 PM (#3359753)
Don't the Twins have plenty of non-elite second basemen?

I like to consider myself a non-elite secondbaseman...
   57. The Essex Snead Posted: October 20, 2009 at 07:58 PM (#3359752)
[50] You killed my brother! Or mother! Or someone! FITE!
   58. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 08:07 PM (#3359766)
I don't get what motivates people to do that. I'm one of the less argumentative guys here and I think arguing is more fun than lapping up morsels of cyberwisdom from someone.

Need for approval?

I love arguing too. I try, and I hope I suceed, to argue ideas, and not get personal. I will get snarky in pushing my ideas, though :-)
   59. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 08:08 PM (#3359767)
That makes me a non-elite outfielder. Now Sammy Hughes, that was an Elite second baseman.
   60. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 08:17 PM (#3359783)
Between this and the Mo Rivera thing, it's been a banner day for AL West bloggers!
   61. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: October 20, 2009 at 08:22 PM (#3359787)
By the way, speaking of Dan Hudson, he pitched at five levels in 2009 - Low-A, High-A, AA, AAA, and the Majors - in that order. Ignoring rehab assignments, how often does that happen?

I asked that question with a thread here, and got a number of answers.
   62. JoeHova Posted: October 20, 2009 at 08:22 PM (#3359788)
If Sheets is willing to sign for $7 million, I have to think that the Brewers and Rangers will both be right there offering at least that amount. It's possible Sheets might prefer pitching in Safeco over pitching for his old team or his old pitching coach, but I wouldn't bet on it. I think it would take a little more that $7 million to beat the Brewers out for his services, especially considering that they were willing to give Hoffman $8 million. According to Fangraphs, Sheets has never been worth less than $9 million since his rookie year. Meanwhile, Hoffman has never been worth even $7 million (since 2002, when their WAR numbers start). Or to put it another way, Hoffman has been worth 9 WAR over the past 8 years while Sheets has been worth 29 WAR over the same time, despite missing all of last season (to be fair, Hoffman missed most of 2003). Even if WAR is not the last word, the disparity is huge and that's before considering the fact that Hoffman is 42. The Brewers are desperate for pitching, and can easily free up $7 million by declining Braden Looper's option. I can't see Sheets getting past them at that price, unless they think his arm is just ruined.

The argument could be made that Doug Melvin is just that stupid but I think it's a hard one to make and I'm not even a huge Melvin fan.
   63. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: October 20, 2009 at 08:31 PM (#3359805)
I asked that question with a thread here, and got a number of answers.

Thanks. I see a bunch of three-level, and a couple of four-level guys, but no five-level guys that I can see.

It's not a big deal (most hot prospects skip a level, and Hudson didn't), I just found it curious.
   64. WillYoung Posted: October 20, 2009 at 08:32 PM (#3359806)
I still get a chuckle about when Cameron ripped the Twins a new one because they gave Jason Kubel a 3-yr deal rather than signing Eric Hinske.
   65. Nineto Lezcano needs to get his shit together (CW) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 08:54 PM (#3359843)
He just ignored me at Fangraphs when I said that Napoli hit worse late in games than early in games. Speaking of Fangraphs, with the exception of Carson Cistulli, they all seem to speak with one voice and they all use the same stats it seems for everything. A lot of wOBA and xFIP. I read them regularly, but contrast this with THT and BPro where there seems to be more freedom of expression.


It is a bit easier for Fangraphs to speak with unity in the matter of what stats they use, because they have the most "up to date" stat section - they have probably the best linear weights implementation of any prominent site, they have UZR, they have a full soup-to-nuts WAR framework, etc. And they tend towards not having redundancy in their stats - there are some counterexamples, like having both tRA and FIP, but not many.
   66. AROM Posted: October 20, 2009 at 09:02 PM (#3359856)
they have a full soup-to-nuts WAR framework


Unless you're a catcher.
   67. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 09:02 PM (#3359858)
It is a bit easier for Fangraphs to speak with unity in the matter of what stats they use, because they have the most "up to date" stat section - they have probably the best linear weights implementation of any prominent site, they have UZR, they have a full soup-to-nuts WAR framework, etc. And they tend towards not having redundancy in their stats - there are some counterexamples, like having both tRA and FIP, but not many.

I think the issue is that they take their stats (wOBA, FIP, UZR, etc.) translate to value using a constant $/WAR multiple and that's it. That is the guy's "value" to them. No discussion of error bands, guys who consistently out or under perform their FIP. No acknowledgement of the subleties of player projection and valuation.
   68. rr Posted: October 20, 2009 at 09:33 PM (#3359885)
I don't get what motivates people to do that


Me neither! I totally agree with you on this. Good point, thanks.
   69. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 09:48 PM (#3359897)
I think the issue is that they take their stats (wOBA, FIP, UZR, etc.) translate to value using a constant $/WAR multiple and that's it. That is the guy's "value" to them. No discussion of error bands, guys who consistently out or under perform their FIP. No acknowledgement of the subleties of player projection and valuation.


Right. For instance, we can get a pretty good read on estimating how many runs a player is responsible for when it comes to batting. But even there, there is some uncertainty as you have described, CW. And if there's uncertainty there, what about pitching, baserunning, and defense?
   70. Floyd Thursby Posted: October 20, 2009 at 10:21 PM (#3359920)
Don't forget the Red Sox getting Adrian Gonzalez for Bard, Bowden and Lars Anderson.


They can't be. I heard a caller on a San Francisco radio station say the Giants should offer Jonathan Sanchez, Andres Torres, and Juan Uribe, so I'm pretty sure the Padres will take that offer.
   71. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 10:24 PM (#3359923)
Wow, a Floyd Thursby sighting!!
   72. Nineto Lezcano needs to get his shit together (CW) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 10:30 PM (#3359926)
Let's take this to an extreme for a second.

Let's ballpark it and say we expect Albert Pujols to be worth 8 WAR a season. He's owed $32 million for the next two seasons (assuming one picks up his team option, which is kind of a given). Can we put together a package of players worth 16 WAR over two seasons that costs less than that? If we can, will the Cards take it?
   73. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 20, 2009 at 10:33 PM (#3359927)
Also, Lopez's stats this year are buoyed by an abnormal number of "just enough" HRs.


Hence what Cameron says: "His best skill, power to left field, is in direct conflict with the way Safeco plays."
   74. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2009 at 11:16 PM (#3359954)
Hence what Cameron says: "His best skill, power to left field, is in direct conflict with the way Safeco plays."

Yes, but that's an argument as to why Lopez will likely decline next year (for the Mariners) not necessarily that he'll be better for someone else.
   75. puck Posted: October 20, 2009 at 11:37 PM (#3359972)
Can we put together a package of players worth 16 WAR over two seasons that costs less than that? If we can, will the Cards take it?


Yes, to the first, I think (some of these are close):

Lincecum and Cain (or Lincecum and Panda)
Longoria and Zobrist? (or Longoria and Crawford if he's extended)
Jimenez and Tulowitzki
Lester and Pedroia
Haren and Upton
Hanley and JJohnson


I'm partial to Jimenez/Tulo ($28.2M) and Lester/Pedroia ($37.25M) since they're pretty good contract-wise after the 2 yrs (i.e., for 2012/2013).
   76. Marcel Posted: October 20, 2009 at 11:38 PM (#3359974)
Oh, and I forgot to mention one last part of the plan.

Sign Felix Hernandez to a 6 year, $90 million extension.

This is just some inside joke I'm missing, right?


Why? He's still under team control for two more years, so it would give him the security that arbitration doesn't offer. And when you compare it to the deals that Lester, Greinke, and Kazmir signed last off-season, it blows them all out of the water. It would be a slightly team friendly contract, but it certainly wouldn't be taking advantage of the player either.
   77. Floyd Thursby Posted: October 20, 2009 at 11:57 PM (#3359985)
Wow, a Floyd Thursby sighting!!


Collect them all!
   78. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 21, 2009 at 12:00 AM (#3359991)
Why? He's still under team control for two more years, so it would give him the security that arbitration doesn't offer. And when you compare it to the deals that Lester, Greinke, and Kazmir signed last off-season, it blows them all out of the water. It would be a slightly team friendly contract, but it certainly wouldn't be taking advantage of the player either.

Presumably b/c he's already got the first big arb award locked up. The time to offer the extension was last.
   79. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: October 21, 2009 at 12:18 AM (#3360026)
I assume Dave will read this:

I have a bet to settle up with you, re: Smoltz. Who do you want sponsored? And what do you want the message to be?
   80. Lassus Posted: October 21, 2009 at 12:21 AM (#3360033)
Didn't he kick him in the knees (which were actually his balls)? And wasn't that Star Trek 6?

I'm to this thread way too late, and thankfully, too, or I would have outgeeked Ryan.
   81. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: October 21, 2009 at 12:27 AM (#3360042)
Presumably b/c he's already got the first big arb award locked up. The time to offer the extension was last.


Yeah, he's already set for life ($5.1 mil in career earnings so far, ~$8 mil at least guaranteed for 2010), so why not go for the brass ring. If I've got 13 mil in the bank, I'd risk 90 mil* for the possibility of getting 150+.

*In reality, much less than that. Unless King Felix dies (in which case he won't care), he's going to get something greater than 0 even if he's injured or sucks so much this year that he's offered less than the 90 mil.
   82. Lassus Posted: October 21, 2009 at 12:35 AM (#3360065)
wrong thread
   83. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: October 21, 2009 at 12:48 AM (#3360093)
Didn't he kick him in the knees (which were actually his balls)? And wasn't that Star Trek 6?

What movie or TV show was it where the "male sensitive area" was the armpits of the aliens?
   84. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 21, 2009 at 01:07 AM (#3360118)
Yes, but that's an argument as to why Lopez will likely decline next year (for the Mariners) not necessarily that he'll be better for someone else.


It's the same thing. He won't decline next year with someone else, because those homers will be definitely over the fence instead of just barely over the fence.
   85. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 21, 2009 at 01:14 AM (#3360131)
It's the same thing. He won't decline next year with someone else, because those homers will be definitely over the fence instead of just barely over the fence.

Right, but he's already counting him as a 2.5 WAR player, which includes all of this yrs. HRs. Not losing those HRs just keeps him at 2.5 WAR.
   86. Walt Davis Posted: October 21, 2009 at 01:42 AM (#3360198)
Also on the proposed Danks deal: Kenny Williams has a clear MO to his team-building philosophy -- good, durable starting pitching. He's not going to give that up. Sure, he traded Garcia (who was in the last year of his contract and whose arm was about to fall off) and Garland (who was in the last year of his contract and a mediocre BIP pitcher) but those guys are light years from where Danks is right now. The only way Williams does that deal is if his pithing spidey sense (which is second to none) tells him that Danks will be toast very soon ... in which case you don't want to trade for Danks.

they all use the same stats it seems for everything. A lot of wOBA and xFIP.

Good for them. If nothing else, this is good marketing. It was bizarre, back in the "glory" days of BPro, their writers were almost always using OPS, often not even OPS+, in their articles ... except of course in the articles where they wanted to argue that EQA was superior to OPS. They (rightly) almost never cited their defensive stats, WARP made the occasional appearance. And of course they had WARP and VORP and EQA and MLvr (or whatever that was) then PECOTA and translated stats and ...

Seriously, EQA and VORP came into reasonably common usage among stat nerds almost despite BPro.

My main problem with fangraphs is that their "earned salary" figures seem kinda nuts. Almost nobody makes what they're worth which just seems odd. Makes you wonder if they forgot about profit and overheads. By their count, Randy Winn has been both well above-average the last three seasons and paid only half of what he's worth. Randy Winn has been worth $40 M over the last 3 seasons -- really? Of course the fact that a guy who'd been a slighly below-average CF (5600 innings), a slightly above-average LF (3300 innings) has (at the ages of 33 and 34) turned into the greatest defensive RF in history* (+32 runs in his last 2500 innings) is equally mysterious.

I simply don't pay any attention to their worth calculations and I trust very few high WARs where the value is heavily defense-dependent.

* mild hyperbole
   87. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 21, 2009 at 02:49 AM (#3360356)
I trust very few high WARs where the value is heavily defense-dependent.


To be fair, that's not the case with Lopez. His career UZR/150 at 2B is 0.8 for his career and 2.0 for 2009. I don't know that I've ever seen Lopez play, so maybe he's really a butcher and that overstates his value by 10 runs, but I kind of doubt it.
   88. Darren Posted: October 21, 2009 at 02:56 AM (#3360365)
Good for them. If nothing else, this is good marketing. It was bizarre, back in the "glory" days of BPro, their writers were almost always using OPS, often not even OPS+, in their articles ... except of course in the articles where they wanted to argue that EQA was superior to OPS. They (rightly) almost never cited their defensive stats, WARP made the occasional appearance. And of course they had WARP and VORP and EQA and MLvr (or whatever that was) then PECOTA and translated stats and ...


I remember you had some great examples of guys who BPro was constantly destroying but who, including their FRAA, were actually good players on good contracts. Can't remember who but it was pretty hilarious.
   89. MM1f Posted: October 21, 2009 at 03:10 AM (#3360384)
As does the aforementioned Lopez / Danks swap -- "here, take lots of our mediocre-to-middling crap for your above-average starter!"

Thank you for saying that because it totally gave me the exact right idea of what that Danks trade would be like.
It is an OOTP 10 trade. If trading difficulty is normal the computer evidently just trades based on some simple addition-only logic. So basically you can trade for a 5-star guy with two 2-stars and a 1-star because, hey, 5 stars=5 stars, right.
(Sidenote: move that trade difficulty up to hard, and the game gets even stupider. I was told the only guy they would trade Casey Blake for was Brian McCann. That's right, even Jair Jurjens wasn't enough.. not that I would've offered that either obviously)

but those guys are light years from where Danks is right now.

Amen. It stuns me how many people think of Danks as just a decent pitcher. It has to be pretty rare for a former top-10 pick to put together two ace-ish/good-#2-starter years at ages 23 & 24 and NOT be talked about as one of the game's elite young arms.
   90. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 21, 2009 at 03:31 AM (#3360407)
I remember you had some great examples of guys who BPro was constantly destroying but who, including their FRAA, were actually good players on good contracts. Can't remember who but it was pretty hilarious.


Cristian Guzman? Rich Aurilia?
   91. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 21, 2009 at 03:36 AM (#3360411)
I have snapper beat easy. I used to post maybe 5 times a season at USSM until Zumphag notified me I was banned. Given that the stated reasons legitimately did not apply to me I am certain he confused me with another poster. But he dismissed me.

Snapper most likely, Ha!!
   92. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: October 21, 2009 at 03:56 AM (#3360418)
I have snapper beat easy. I used to post maybe 5 times a season at USSM until Zumphag notified me I was banned. Given that the stated reasons legitimately did not apply to me I am certain he confused me with another poster. But he dismissed me.


Harvey, you being banned from a baseball site tells me the site is screwed up. Not that we've ever exchanged words (good or bad) here, but I always look forward to your comments. I'd stop visiting BTF if you were ever banned. Not that there is any chance of that happening.
   93. Drexl Spivey Posted: October 21, 2009 at 04:32 AM (#3360442)
"I used to post maybe 5 times a season at USSM until Zumphag notified me I was banned."

So what is the best Harveys nickname on this site? I don't think that "Zumphag" is quite as good as Todd "The Big Fat Albino" Coffey, but it's close.

And I agree with Zuvella. I mostly lurk here, but Harveys is my favorite poster on this site.
   94. David Cameron Posted: October 21, 2009 at 05:32 AM (#3360505)
Here goes nothing.

Yeah, I see almost no chance that they deal John Danks.

Sure, maybe Kenny Williams hangs up the phone after saying he wants to keep his pitching rotation in place. That's certainly possible. It's also why I include the following sentence in the introductory paragraph: "As always, the specific players are more just examples of the types of moves I’d like to see the team make."

The ideas are way more the point than the players themselves. During the Bavasi era, the driving point of these posts was to show a better way to build a roster than throwing money at proven veteran starters and guys who knew how to drive in runs. Last year, the point was to show how a team could rebuild without having a firesale by exploiting the low cost of acquiring defense. This year, the point was to show a potential path to pseudo-contention while still focusing on the future, and to show just how hard it is going to be for the M's to actually win more games than they did this year, as I end up with an ~85 win team even after spending $30 million.

Certainly not for that package. None of those three players are interesting.

I guess interesting is a matter of where you set your baseline. If a 25-year-old who is already league average doesn't float your boat, so be it. To MLB teams, that's a valuable property, especially considering the contract and the environment in which he's performed. Mark Lowe throws 100 MPH. Jason Vargas is probably the ugliest player in baseball. No matter what kind of thing you find interesting, there should be something in that package that makes you say "hey, neato."

The O-Dog getting $8M & Nick Johnson getting $9M while Branyan gets only $4M seems pretty strange.

O-Dog made $8 million this year with all the incentives, and he was worth a bit more than that. He's easily worth 2/16, though obviously I'd take him for less than that too. Same deal with Johnson - in these posts, I usually put the number up to what I would pay for a player, and anything less than that is gravy. As for Branyan, he has a herniated disc in his back that he didn't have surgery on and caused him to miss the final two months of the season. I can't see the bidding for him getting too significant given the injury.

I'm having a hard time seeing how Lopez is a big upgrade over Jayson Nix, myself.

In nine seasons in the minors, he's a career .261 hitter, and that includes a three year stop in Colorado Springs. He hit .224 in the majors last year. I can't imagine there's a major league manager alive that will live with Nix's skillset as a starting second baseman. He's a useful player, but he's not one that Ozzie Guillen is going to give regular playing time too.

He just ignored me at Fangraphs when I said that Napoli hit worse late in games than early in games.

Is there any evidence that this is more meaningful than Player X hits well on Thursdays or in the first game of a road trip? Or is it just noise? I'm betting it's the latter, and it's certainly not any kind of reason why Gary Matthews Jr should ever pinch hit for Napoli.

Danks is a X win pitcher. Lopez + Lowe + Vargias = Y wins. Since Y wins > X wins, it's the White Sox who are actually getting the better end of the deal.

That's not the analysis at all. I never even say anything close to that. I used projected WAR for Lopez and Danks to show that the value difference between the two isn't that large, but there's simply nothing in the post or the comments that could be construed as the above statement.

Cameron is treating 1 year of FIP like it is gospel.

No, I'm not. I never even quoted his 2009 FIP.

He's also 24 and very likely to improve.

Pitchers don't improve as they age - as a group, they get worse, thanks to the power of attrition. And there's certainly nothing resembling a normal pitcher aging curve like there is for hitters. Lopez is the one you should be expecting to improve, not Danks.

It's actually much worse than that. He values Lopez as a 2.5 WAR player, ignoring all his years worse than that (including 1 0 WAR season). He values Danks as a 3-3.5 WAR player, completely ignoring his 5.2 WAR season, and uses a 3rd year arb award of $15M to danks as part of his math.

I didn't ignore anything. You don't just get a player's projected future WAR by taking his total past WAR and dividing by the number of years. Well, apparently, you do. But you shouldn't.

There is no way that the Brewers trade Hardy for Morrow straight up.

Doug Melvin is in love with Brandon Morrow. He's been trying to trade for him for two years now. Were it not for the Jack Wilson trade, I'd actually say that this move had a pretty good chance of happening. With Zduriencik's infatuation with Wilson, it probably won't now. But don't be surprised if Morrow ends up in Milwaukee eventually.

Non-elite second basemen are cheap. Why would I trade a good young starter like Floyd or Danks for Lopez so you can sign Hudson, when I can just sign Hudson myself and keep the pitcher? Or Kennedy, Polanco, Freddy Sanchez if Hudson wants to play somewhere else?

I could say the same thing about Danks - why trade for a non-elite LHP when I can sign Randy Wolf and keep the second baseman? Age and cost obviously are huge factors in their value, and you can't just ignore that with a "non-elite second baseman have little value" brushstroke.

It's just incredibly frustrating that he won't engage with any questioning of his ideas in formats that are supposed to encourage comments and discussion.

Go back and read your first comment, then try to tell me that you were seriously trying to "encourage discussion".

I still get a chuckle about when Cameron ripped the Twins a new one because they gave Jason Kubel a 3-yr deal rather than signing Eric Hinske.

This isn't even close to what I said.

No discussion of error bands, guys who consistently out or under perform their FIP.

Give me a break. We talk about this stuff all the time. Eric and I wrote like five articles last year on Javier Vazquez being a perennial underachiever due to his inability to strand runners over his career. We're very open about the issues with WAR and the other stats on the site. Of course they're not perfect - we get that, don't worry.

Let's ballpark it and say we expect Albert Pujols to be worth 8 WAR a season. He's owed $32 million for the next two seasons (assuming one picks up his team option, which is kind of a given). Can we put together a package of players worth 16 WAR over two seasons that costs less than that? If we can, will the Cards take it?

Again, just to reiterate, I obviously do not believe that five +1 win players = one +5 win player in value. Those are CWS Keith's words, not mine.

I have a bet to settle up with you, re: Smoltz. Who do you want sponsored? And what do you want the message to be?

Don't worry about it.

Almost nobody makes what they're worth which just seems odd.

That should be expected, actually. The calculations are based on market value of a player, but most of the players in MLB are not playing under contracts that were negotiated in an open market.

Makes you wonder if they forgot about profit and overheads.

The dollar value calculations are based on historical team spending in free agency in order to approximate market value. We're not calculating a profit model based on revenues and expenses.

I simply don't pay any attention to their worth calculations and I trust very few high WARs where the value is heavily defense-dependent.

You're a vocal skeptic of defensive numbers, but that's another conversation entirely. You could still easily re-apply the calculation after just zeroing out defense for everyone, or adjusting the numbers to reflect what you think their actual defensive contribution was.

I have snapper beat easy. I used to post maybe 5 times a season at USSM until Zumphag notified me I was banned. Given that the stated reasons legitimately did not apply to me I am certain he confused me with another poster. But he dismissed me.

Is that why you hate me despite the fact that, as far as I can tell, we've never had any interaction? For what its worth, I don't have any recollection of this. Did you use the same username on USSM? I searched the comments via the Wordpress back end and there's no record of any comments by your handle here.
   95. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: October 21, 2009 at 05:55 AM (#3360515)
No, I'm not. I never even quoted his 2009 FIP.


I'm sorry for not knowing this, but isn't FIP factored in when calculating WAR? If so, then I guess you could argue that your WAR comp between Lopez and Danks is based partially on Danks' poor FIP, no?
   96. fret Posted: October 21, 2009 at 08:59 AM (#3360575)
I'm sorry for not knowing this, but isn't FIP factored in when calculating WAR?

Yes.

--

Since 1961, starting LHP who threw at least 400 innings from ages 22-24 with K/BB between 2 and 2.5: link

The older comps may not be as appropriate since strikeouts have gotten much more frequent. In the last 20 years we have Steve Avery, Mike Hampton, Jose Rosado, Eric Milton, Randy Wolf, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Mark Buehrle, CC Sabathia, Oliver Perez, Dontrelle Willis, and Danks.

Interesting list. Ollie isn't an appropriate comp, but even without him we have the full range from Rosado and Willis to Sabathia and Buehrle. Maybe according to Dave's system, basically all pitchers are overpaid compared to position players.
   97. Jeff K. Posted: October 21, 2009 at 09:20 AM (#3360584)
I have a feeling this turned into a dogpile on DC; if it did, this is intended in good humor and not piling on after the whistle:

The Mariners are in something of a tough spot this winter, caught between rebuilding and winning

To be caught between rebuilding and winning, shouldn't you have won something in the previous 8 years?
   98. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: October 21, 2009 at 09:21 AM (#3360585)
Definitely an interesting list, thanks for cooking that up.

Though it's worth noting that just by eyeballing, the only pitchers with HR rates close to as high as Danks' are Rosado, Milton, Wolf, and Perez.
   99. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 21, 2009 at 11:04 AM (#3360589)
David:

As a poinr of fact I have repeatedly complimented your knowledge and understanding of the game. Any search of BBTF will bear that out.

But we have interacted dating back to the "BPro" days when you were kind enough to explain to me the magnitude of my foolishness via e-mail.

I also enjoyed USSM including contributing to the cause when your infrastructure went kaplooey years back. And no I don't want toe money back. I "get" that the crew there wants a specific audience. What I find different is that the line goew beyond jettisoning the profane or crude common to discussion forums. USSM seems to want uniformity of thought.

That is a bit....odd
   100. Jeff K. Posted: October 21, 2009 at 11:19 AM (#3360590)
Comrade Wallbanger,

You are to report immediately for re-education.
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