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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Friday, April 02, 2004

Chicago Cubs

Signed IF Damian Jackson and P Glendon Rusch to minor-league contracts.

Jackson will be hard-pressed to make the roster.  They just have better infield options.

I’m about the last fan of Rusch left, but I do feel the Cubs might be better off sticking Mitre in the 5th spot temporarily than Rusch.

Both Jackson and Rusch should be in the minors in this organization.

Dan Szymborski Posted: April 02, 2004 at 04:28 AM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   401. Dusty's Least Favorite Base-Clogger (Roy Hobbs) Posted: December 19, 2003 at 06:31 PM (#570577)
Could Wright be a good Iowa project worth converting to relief? Good stuff, poor control when he was with the Brewers. If he focuses on just his hard sinker, maybe he'll find a niche?
   402. Floyd Thursby Posted: December 19, 2003 at 06:59 PM (#570579)
Hmm. Hollandsworth plus a draft pick instead of Tucker for two years.

Hmmmm.

tick tock tick tock

Hmmmmmmm.

tick tock tick tock

No sir...I don't like it!
   403. Graeme Posted: December 19, 2003 at 07:00 PM (#570580)
Ooh boy, now Endy and Ender won't feel alone as the only Chavez's on the team. Good for them
   404. H. Vaughn Posted: December 19, 2003 at 07:26 PM (#570581)
Whew! And here I was worried the Cubs wouldn't be able to fill a third of the big league roster with toxic sludge.
   405. Transmission Posted: December 19, 2003 at 08:02 PM (#570585)
Hollandsworth and Goodwin in the outfield means no spot on the roster for Kelton. nuts.
   406. H. Vaughn Posted: December 19, 2003 at 08:50 PM (#570588)
Toxic Avenger sounds like as good a synonym for a guy who wasn't useful to the Tigers and was traded for Satan's Minion as any.
   407. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: December 19, 2003 at 08:51 PM (#570589)
I finally got this straight in the Clutch Hits, but neither Macias nor Martinez are under contract for next year, so lets hope they can sign Martinez and non-tender Macias. Whether they non-tender Macias or (worse) sign him and make him part of the F-Troop, dealing Wilton Chavez for him is a bad deal.

As for Hollandsworth, I agree with the Oracle that he's better than any 4th OF the Cubs had last year. He also is likely to outhit Kelton (IMO) and, more importantly (a) hits lefty and (b) can play CF -- neither of which I believe Kelton can do very well. Yes, he's basically league average, but still above replacement level. For a 4th OF, I'll take that.
   408. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 19, 2003 at 10:31 PM (#570591)
Looking at his last 3 years against RH's, he has this line:

.298 avg/.356 OBP/.505 SLG/.861 OPS


Most of that in Colorado. His career OPS against RHP is .787, which seems like a decent projection for 2004. I hasten to point out that O'Leary's career OPS against RHP is over .800.

As for Hollandsworth, I agree with the Oracle that he's better than any 4th OF the Cubs had last year.

That's sort of a truism, isn't it? I think Hollandsworth is not a bad fit for this team, but I'd rather have John Vander Wal. O'Leary was not a bad idea either, it just turned out very badly.
   409. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: December 19, 2003 at 10:45 PM (#570592)
The more I think about this, I realize/hope that the fact that (a) Martinez, and for that matter Macias, is arbitration eligible and (b) they made this deal so close to the non-tender deadline means that the Cubs are simply looking for leverage in negotiations with Martinez.

In other words, Martinez made $800k last year. If the Cubs tender him a contract and he opts for arbitration, he'll probably make more than this -- Rey Sanchez made $1.3mm, for instance. I suppose it's possible that they were willing to give up Chavez for the possibility that they can get a lower price on Martinez.

Then again, I don't recall them having a difficult time signing Martinez last year, so what do I know.
   410. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: December 19, 2003 at 10:48 PM (#570593)
Yes, David, it is a truism and Vander Wal probably would be a better hitting lefty. What I like about Hollandsworth, though, is that he has the flexibility to play CF if necessary -- if Patterson struggles coming out of the gate (or nurses his knee for a few games), the team won't be saddled with Goodwin.
   411. flournoy Posted: December 20, 2003 at 05:44 PM (#570599)
Dan, why would they use that lineup instead of:

Patterson
   412. Danny Posted: December 22, 2003 at 08:22 PM (#570666)
The Cubs sent the A's $800,000, so the A's are paying slightly less for Miller than the Cubs are for Barrett.
   413. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: December 22, 2003 at 08:34 PM (#570667)
I guess the Cubs paying slightly more for Barrett seems about right, given that consensus around here is that he's going to be slightly better than Miller.

One thing I'm just noticing. Over the last three years, his day/night splits (in about 1100 ABs total):

Day: 278/318/441
   414. Dusty's Least Favorite Base-Clogger (Roy Hobbs) Posted: December 22, 2003 at 09:26 PM (#570669)
To give an idea of how bad Miller looked at the end of last year, consider that Bako looked better as an offensive option. I'm a little surprised that Oakland didn't just sign Barrett at a 20% cut ($2.06) Maybe they are planning to flip Miller again.
   415. APNY Posted: December 22, 2003 at 10:03 PM (#570670)
The Cubs sent the A's $800,000, so the A's are paying slightly less for Miller than the Cubs are for Barrett.

According to bluemanc, the A's are paying Miller $2.2M ($3M-800k)
   416. APNY Posted: December 22, 2003 at 10:18 PM (#570673)
And $2.2 (3 mil-800k) is less than $2.35 mil (1.55 mil+ 800k).

Right, I didn't look at it that way.

The A's are still paying more for Miller than they would have paid if they just kept Barrett.
   417. Walt Davis Posted: December 22, 2003 at 10:29 PM (#570674)
I think (and I emphasize think) I have this figured out from the A's perspective.

1. they needed a C. Probably not thrilled with the options of Barrett and Miller, but there you have it. Let's assume the A's consider them equal options.

2. the Cubs wanted Barrett, but only if they could unload Miller. The Expos weren't interested in Miller, they're looking to unload payroll.

3. Now we have to rely on my faulty memory, but I thought I read that the A's trade with the Expos had the condition that the A's would give them crap if they traded Barrett before the non-tender deadline. If they signed Barrett, they'd give up something potentially useful.

4. So Beane got Miller for a crappy PTBNL (to Montreal) when Barrett would have cost him more.

Or another theory, also consistent with recent events it seems, is that Beane has decided that age effects are over-rated and/or that the current market inefficiencies are in 30-34 year old players (Hatteberg, Redman, Miller).
   418. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 23, 2003 at 06:45 AM (#570679)
Are the Cubs planning to use Barrett as the regular catcher or do they still want to sign Ivan Rodriguez?
   419. Walt Davis Posted: January 22, 2004 at 06:53 PM (#571880)
Dan, I wish you were right. But Dempster had over 200 IP each season from 2000 to 2002. So there's a good chance he'll be putting up Estes-numbers all year long.

I'm curious about Dan's H/IP projections too. Despite his good K-rate, he's given up more than a hit an inning for his career and each of the last 3 seasons.

Poor Juan Cruz.
   420. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 22, 2004 at 07:21 PM (#571882)
Dempster's been bad, but bad and a little unlucky.
   421. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: January 23, 2004 at 03:26 PM (#571888)
The same Juan Cruz who had a 6.05 ERA last year?

In all fairness, he was so badly misused last year that he never had a chance to put up decent numbers. Dusty stuck him in every conceivable role in the bullpen, often going a week or more without getting him into a game, then asked him to fill in as starter once it was clear (to him) that Estes had bombed, but took him out at the first sign of trouble in every game.

If he gets a serious chance in the rotation, he'll be OK. He's not going to blow anyone away (we're not talking this year's Zambrano or Prior), but he should do much better than Estes and would be among the best 5th starters in the league.

I mean, do they really think Maddux is coming back?

I think they do. Dempster is a reclamation project who, if he does well, will probably slip into Clement's spot in the rotation after this season. It gives them a cheap alternative for 2005 and a possible bargaining chip to use in the Clement negotiations -- if he asks for too much, they'll just let him walk and (hopefully) take the draft picks. 2005 would be Wood, Prior, Zambrano, Maddux, Dempster (or Clement or one of the kids, probably Guzman), and then in 2006 they can think again about putting in two youngsters behind the top three.
   422. Walt Davis Posted: January 23, 2004 at 06:40 PM (#571889)
OK, ignore my first post, I didn't realize at the time he was out with TJ surgery (would it kill TO to slip this minorly important bit of info into the analysis? :-).

But, the biggest difference between Dempster and Lieber isn't the guaranteed contract year, it's that Lieber used to be a good pitcher and Dempster never has been. Even if Dempster recovers, so what? Or to put it another way, I was more upset with this signing when I thought the Cubs were paying him $500 k to pitch for them. $500 k to throw long-toss makes me much happier.

Yes, there could be another Rothschild makeover. But Clement and Dempster aren't identical. Look specifically at the HR rate -- even when he was stinking it up, Clement had a good HR rate while Dempster gives them up at the rate of about 1 per every 7 innings. And of course Clement wasn't coming off TJ surgery.

I've got no problem with the Cubs rolling the dice on some pitchers who could turn it around, but why do it on this guy? It's still an OK signing, who cares if they flush the money and maybe it will pay off. He won't even take up a 40-man spot over on the 60-day DL. But there have to be better, healthier bets for them to put their money on.
   423. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 23, 2004 at 07:51 PM (#571890)
Well, it's unlikely that Dempster's "too injured to play for half of the season" due to a case of the clap, yes?
   424. Walt Davis Posted: January 23, 2004 at 09:19 PM (#571891)
Well, it's unlikely that Dempster's "too injured to play for half of the season" due to a case of the clap, yes?

Depends on if they caught it in time!

But your phrasing works just as well for a guy who gets injured a lot (which is what I thought you were saying about Dempster) vs. a guy who already has an injury known to keep him out for half a season.

Not a biggie.
   425. CFiJ Posted: February 19, 2004 at 02:39 AM (#572716)
This may be a silly question (I'm not a TO regular), but the Maddux projection above is slightly worse than the one in the link at the top of the Oracle page. Is there a reason for that? Park adjustment? Run support adjustment?
   426. Kyle S Posted: February 19, 2004 at 02:48 AM (#572718)
I think the one in the Diamond-Mind disk assumes league average run support and league average park; this one takes into account the fact that he'll play for the Cubs. (Maybe not?)
   427. Andere Richtingen Posted: February 19, 2004 at 03:47 AM (#572720)
K-wise, he's an improvement over Estes, right?

No, even in last year's train wreck, Estes struck out .67 per inning. Maddux hasn't exceeded that since 2001.
   428. Andere Richtingen Posted: February 19, 2004 at 03:48 AM (#572721)
Oh, and the details of the vesting option have been released. If Maddux throws 400 IP in 2004-05, the third year is guaranteed.
   429. Andere Richtingen Posted: February 19, 2004 at 04:02 PM (#572732)
If you're going to spell Greg with three g's, at least have the common decency to spell his last name with an 'o'.
   430. fracas' hope springs eternal Posted: February 19, 2004 at 04:27 PM (#572733)
If you're going to spell Greg with three g's...

What, David, you're afraid they'll run out?
   431. Andere Richtingen Posted: February 19, 2004 at 05:14 PM (#572735)
I'm of the opinion Cruz should be starting at AAA and not wasting away in the bullpen; there are plenty of good options there for long relief.

I believe Cruz is out of options. That being the case, the Cubs are likely not to promote him unless they really need to.
   432. Walt Davis Posted: February 19, 2004 at 05:23 PM (#572736)
Well, with that vesting option, I'm much happier with this contract. Maddux probably will be better for 2004 and he'll take Clement's spot in 2005.

I'd still rather they'd signed a real C or something, but no major complaints.
   433. Eric Posted: February 19, 2004 at 06:14 PM (#572739)
Plexiglass Principle? What does that mean?
   434. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 19, 2004 at 09:16 PM (#572745)
I think both Brian's are right on this one
   435. Walt Davis Posted: February 20, 2004 at 12:20 AM (#572749)
The Twins have already inked Mientkiewicz (Sp?) for the next two years.

When in the world did they do this? This would be dumb as rocks.
   436. Andere Richtingen Posted: February 20, 2004 at 12:38 AM (#572751)
I'm not sure what you're saying here? Are you saying the Cubs would send him to AAA to start the season and not call him up unless they have to because he's out of options? That's not how options work. If he's out of options, they CAN'T send him down without him clearing waivers and agreeing to go to AAA.

Currently Cruz is on the 40-man roster, but not on the 25. As soon as they add him to the 25-man roster, they can't send him down without putting him through waivers. I'm pretty sure teams get one last shot at assigning players to AAA before the season starts without consideration of options. But I'm guessing that the Cubs won't put him on the major league roster because they won't be able to send him down again.

I could be wrong about that, and the Cubs could decide to let him atrophy (again) as the fourth righty/Maytag repairman on the bench, but I think they'll do the right thing. Either that or trade him.
   437. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: February 20, 2004 at 05:10 AM (#572752)
Plexiglass Principle? What does that mean?

It means that when a player or team has a drastic change in results one year, they tend to gravitate back to their previous level of ability the next year.

In this case, it means that Maddux is likely to be much better in 2004 than he was in 2003.
   438. Mike Posted: February 20, 2004 at 02:17 PM (#572755)
The Cubs have a hole to fill at shortstop so maybe Maddux could be traded for Edgar Renteria of St. Louis? Just a thought
   439. Shoeless Joe Posted: February 20, 2004 at 03:39 PM (#572757)
<i>The Twins have already inked Mientkiewicz (Sp?) for the next two years.

When in the world did they do this? This would be dumb as rocks
   440. Shoeless Joe Posted: February 20, 2004 at 03:42 PM (#572758)
I like Matt Clement for Justin Morneau. I see D. Lee having a monster year in the friendly confines and then bolting for the greener pastures elsewhere

Blue, the rumor is that your Cubs are thisclose to signing Wood and Lee to long term deals. It has been reported on the radio. This is very likely to be a good thing for you.
   441. Walt Davis Posted: February 21, 2004 at 01:19 AM (#572767)
Walt, Gleeman has thoughts on this matter (see homepage link). He loves Doug M. and has some stats saying that he was the 8th best 1b in baseball last year.

I can easily believe he was in the top 10 1B in baseball last year. I just can't believe he'll be there in the future. He's bounced between 105 and 120 OPS+'s the last 4 years which is between well-below and just-above average for a 1B. And this deal covers his age 30-32 seasons. He's JT Snow.

And like Snow, he deserves to start (or at least play a lot) in the majors over the next few years. But when you have Mourneau on the way and another dozen or so candidates for DH, this is not the team he should be signed to.

It's not a lot of money, he'll be decent, it's not a team-killer. It's just a plain ol' bad idea.

Why hasn't there been talk of doing this with Aramis Ramirez? He's a free agent after this season no? What better time to sign him than when overall market value is so suppressed, economy bad, etc.

Well, Ramirez has hardly established himself as a quality ML player. He was about average last year, historically horrible the year before, and exellent in 2001.

Second, he'll be a tough sign. Ramirez is scheduled to make $6 M this year. This means that if the Cubs take him to arb, he'll make a minimum of $4.8 M (max reduction is 20%) ... and arbitrators rarely (ever?) give out pay cuts to non-injured players, so chances are he'll make at least $6 M. That's way too much for a guy like Ramirez.

So Ramirez has no incentive to sign now unless the Cubs will offer him something in the area of at least $5-6 M per year and maybe he won't even sign then. The Cubs really have little choice but to wait until after the season and non-tender Ramirez and then try to resign him at less than $6 M. Ramirez may decide to see what he's worth on the open market (if non-tendered, he becomes an FA).

I thought this was the case, but now I believe Kyle is right and this is wrong. The key is how many seasons you are on the 40-man without being on the 25-man roster. Rick Ankiel pitched in AA in 2003, for example, even though he was on the Cardinals 25-man roster for parts of three seasons.

No, Kevin H is correct. The options clock starts when a player is added to the 40-man and it runs for 3 years.

As to Ankiel I'm not sure. It's possible that if you don't get put on the 40-man roster until mid-season that it doesn't count as a year (which would apply to Cruz too I suppose). Or, if you're on the 60-day DL, you're not on the 40-man roster and I'm not sure how much time Ankiel has spent on the 60-day DL.

Ahh, thanks to the star, I see that he was injured for all of 2002. So he wasn't on the 40-man roster in 2002. So 2003 should have been his last option year.
   442. Walt Davis Posted: February 22, 2004 at 08:11 PM (#572775)
OK, looks like I did misunderstand. Neyer's transaction primer also mentions that it covers "on the 40 but not on the 25". I thought the clock was 3 years whether you were sent down or not.

The "4th option" year probably either is the confusion Kyle mentioned or is a function of spending a year on the 60-day DL in which case you are not on the 40-man roster (and you weren't optioned out either).
   443. Mike Emeigh Posted: February 24, 2004 at 03:09 PM (#572777)
A player may be optioned to the minors only three times before he is out of options (you only use at most one option per season, regardless of how many times the player goes up and down). If a player spends the entire year on the disabled list, that doesn't use an option, even if the player's sent out on rehab - but he can only be out on rehab for 20 days in any given season (30 if he's a pitcher). If a player is sent down, but spends fewer than 10 days in the minors before being recalled, that also does not use up an option - although a player can be recalled from the minors within 10 days after being sent down only if he is replacing an injured player.

-- MWE
   444. MM1f Posted: March 01, 2004 at 06:05 PM (#572780)
Didn't they sign some other righty too?
   445. Dolf Lucky Posted: March 02, 2004 at 04:28 AM (#572786)
Lindner's just as bad as McClatchy or Selig

I didn't realize that either of the latter two had their shares in a major bank bought out to the tune of one billion dollars, only to announce the very same ####### day that this transaction would have no effect on payroll.
   446. Dolf Lucky Posted: March 02, 2004 at 04:29 AM (#572787)
In other words, Lindner's much much worse.
   447. jwb Posted: March 02, 2004 at 05:23 PM (#572792)
So Helton's contract runs, like, 30,000 years?
   448. Will B. Posted: March 02, 2004 at 09:28 PM (#572797)
I didn't realize that either of the latter two had their shares in a major bank bought out to the tune of one billion dollars, only to announce the very same ####### day that this transaction would have no effect on payroll.

I don't understand why selling his stakes in another unrelated business should cause him to increase payroll for his baseball team. That'd be like me selling my car and then using that money to give my kids a bigger allowance.
   449. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: March 03, 2004 at 03:23 AM (#572799)
Lets not give the Cubbies too much credit here. In Wood's case you have ERA and popular appeal to keep him around. Lee, however, could just be dumb luck that he got inked. The Cubs tried to give Todd Walker 2 years at $8 million total to play first (2 weeks later he took far less to be super sub). Dusty had also been intimating that he was fine with Karros and Simon next year. That would be maybe alright for a team without 1st base options, but they still had Choi at that point. Anyone considering paying Walker $3.5 million more than Choi to play 1st base (both are lefties so obviously no platoon options) is foolish. I, for one, actually believe sending off Choi for Lee is a good thing but he can't be worse than Todd Walker.
   450. Dolf Lucky Posted: March 03, 2004 at 04:27 AM (#572800)
Arthur, well done.

The one thing you might be able to add to the analogy is that after promsing the kids a higher allowance, and after telling them to bugger off--pockets full of dough--is that the hero of our story would then go up to his wife (the cincy media) and innocently declare "All I want is to break even." A true saint worthy of immediate canonization.

Marge Schott was an awful owner. She decimated the farm system and humiliated every employee from Lou Pinella to Eric Davis to the lowest paid secretaries. Still, I mourn her death today because it rules out the chance of her buying the team back from Carl Lindner.
   451. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: March 03, 2004 at 04:12 PM (#572803)
That would be maybe alright for a team without 1st base options, but they still had Choi at that point.

Not really. It was obvious last year that Dusty had given up on Choi, and almost inevitably once a young player in your system acquires the perception that he was given the chance and failed, that's it. While that may not be true in a more progressive setting, with Dusty (quickly emerging as the king of the veteran presence managers) on the bench Choi was toast. I had a better chance of getting serious playing time at 1B this year than Choi did -- his options were either tear it up at Iowa for most of the year and come up when someone is injured or sit on the bench all year, start 5 games a month, and put up acceptable but not great numbers.

Thus, while I think Choi will become an all-star caliber player in Florida if given the chance, I applaud the Lee signing as making the best of the situation. Yes, it's $7M/yr that could have been spent upgrade the chasms that are C and LF, but in truth it probably spared us another year of watching Karros "hit" against right-handed pitchers and "field" his position. I will miss Simon, though -- guy cracked me up. He'd make a great hockey goalie -- stick saves everywhere.
   452. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: March 03, 2004 at 09:55 PM (#572810)
Well, according to VORP Wood was the 6th best starter in the NL last year behind Schmidt, Prior, Brown, Hernandez, and Vasquez. With Brown and Vasquez now toiling for the EE, Wood becomes the 4th best returning NL starter based on last year's VORP.

And I think he's going to blossom with Maddux on the stuff. If Wood does not seriously contend for a Cy Young Award within the next 3 years, I'll be surprised.
   453. Danny Posted: March 03, 2004 at 11:23 PM (#572811)
Oy...he's arguably not the third best pitcher on his own team, for crying out loud!

I'd love to see you make an argument that Clement, Zambrano, or Cruz is better than Wood.

PECOTA projects Prior and Wood to be the 2 best starters in the NL this year.
   454. Guancous Posted: March 04, 2004 at 07:30 PM (#572817)
A healthy version of Ken Griffey Jr. will win the MVP this year.
   455. Walt Davis Posted: March 08, 2004 at 06:07 PM (#572823)
The Lee contract I think is a real steal. The Wood contract is OK.

Count me among the "Kerry Wood ain't all that great" brigade. A damn fine pitcher, but not one of the league's very best. He's only got two top-10 ERA+ finishes, and both of those were #9 in the league. In addition to the walks, he also plunked the most batters each of the last 2 years -- and in 2003, that was 1 per 10 IP, which is a lot given he's also walking nearly half a guy an inning. Not that there's anything wrong with being a top-10 starter, but #2 starter in the league is a stretch.

What is the evidence that Maddux is a good influence on young pitchers (even if we can count the 5-year vet Wood as a young pitcher)? Glavine and Smoltz were already highly successful pitchers before Maddux got there. In fact, though it's probably just random fluctuation, both had down years in 93 and 94. Glavine's and Smoltz's walk rates appear to have been lower before Maddux's arrival. Maddux's tutelage didn't help Avery from blowing out his arm and Millwood is hardly a runaway success.

Maddux may be the Anne Sullivan to Wood's Helen Keller, but I don't see any statistical evidence on which to base such a claim.
   456. Walt Davis Posted: March 08, 2004 at 06:15 PM (#572824)
Yes, it is surprising to see the Cubs being one of the better-run franchises. It started a few years ago I'd say when the Cubs stopped giving up much talent in trades. The McGriff trade cost the Cubs next to nothing. Bellhorn for what's his name. Even Weathers for Quevedo ended up not costing the Cubs anything. The only one that didn't work out was Hinske for Chiasson and Cairo -- which amusingly was made in part because the Cubs system was chock full of 3B "prospects" at the time so Hinske was expendable.

What's interesting about Hendry is that he's been a good GM of a completely different type than I think anyone expected. As former farm director, it seemed most likely that he'd play the kids and maybe be the sort of GM to put a cheap but winning team on the field. Instead, his strength has been in veteran signings and trades.
   457. Danny Posted: March 08, 2004 at 10:25 PM (#572825)
Count me among the "Kerry Wood ain't all that great" brigade. A damn fine pitcher, but not one of the league's very best. He's only got two top-10 ERA+ finishes, and both of those were #9 in the league. In addition to the walks, he also plunked the most batters each of the last 2 years -- and in 2003, that was 1 per 10 IP, which is a lot given he's also walking nearly half a guy an inning. Not that there's anything wrong with being a top-10 starter, but #2 starter in the league is a stretch.

If you don't think Wood is a top 2 (or 5) pitcher in the NL, who would you put ahead of him other than Prior? Among pitchers who will be in the NL in 2004, only 2 finished ahead of Wood in VORP (Prior and Hernandez).

I wouldn't consider Hernandez one of the top 10 pitchers in the NL. I think the candidates for the top 5 are: Prior, Wood, Schmidt, Pettitte, Oswalt, Clemens, and Maddux. The only ones I can see arguments for putting above Wood are Prior, Schmidt, and Oswalt.
   458. Walt Davis Posted: March 09, 2004 at 12:31 AM (#572826)
If you don't think Wood is a top 2 (or 5) pitcher in the NL, who would you put ahead of him other than Prior? Among pitchers who will be in the NL in 2004, only 2 finished ahead of Wood in VORP (Prior and Hernandez).

Well, there are things in this world other than VORP. There were also seasons before 2003. In 2002, he was 17th in the NL in VORP, with 14 current NL pitchers ahead of him. In 2001 he was 14th, with 9 current NL pitchers ahead of him. Of course many of those pitchers are a good bit older than him. But then Oswalt, Miller, and Morris all finished ahead of him in both 2001 and 2002. Heck, Nomo wasn't that far behind him in 2002 and 2003 (about .5 wins each year).

Wood could become an outstanding pitcher, he has yet to do so. He's clearly a good bet to be a top 10 starter.

I would put Prior, Schmidt, Johnson, and Oswalt ahead of him, though it's not clear any of them deserve it due to injury or limited track record. For 2004, I would put Morris, Clemens, Beckett, Burnett (if healthy), Wade Miller (if healthy) on roughly the same level and would expect at least some of Wolf, Padilla, Zambrano, Webb, Willis, and as-yet unknown young pitchers to start establishing themselves on that level. And Kip Wells has been no slouch the last two years.

Obviously a lot of it will come down to health. Schmidt, Johnson, Oswalt, Burnett, Miller at the very least have big question marks because of recent injuries.

And obviously looking ahead to 2005-2006, Wood is a better bet than a lot of these guys.

I don't mean to be down on Wood. The only thing standing between him and being one of the all-time greats is his control. Even if he doesn't gain control, he's Nolan Ryan, which is nothing to sneeze at. If he keeps up this level of performance for another 7-10 years, he'll probably go to the HOF.

I'd say that there's little enough difference between, say, the 5th best and 10th best starters that it doesn't really matter much where Wood is in that group. In terms of VOPR, last year's #5 NL (Vazquez) had 54.7 and last year's #10 (Nomo) had 48.7, a difference of about half a win. Zambrano (#12) was about 1 win worse than Wood. That group was about 10-15 VORP (1-1.5 wins) behind the elite group of Prior, Schmidt and Brown ... and Schmidt and Brown both missed 4-5 starts.

Now it could be the NL is going to look like the AL did (or seemed to) a few years back when Pedro was great and then you had a bunch of very good but not great starters -- e.g. 2000 when Mike Sirotka had a legit claim of being a top 5 AL starter.

There's nothing wrong with being one of the 10 best pitchers in the league. And maybe he'll be #1 this year. But Wood's performance to date has been very good, but not great, and let's all remember that he's just 1 season removed from a 110 ERA+. And let's all remember that every year there's a couple of Loaiza, Livan, Paul Byrd, Kirk Rueter type pitchers that sneak in there.

I don't mean to be down on Wood. The only thing standing between him and being one of the all-time greats is his control. Even if he doesn't gain control, he's Nolan Ryan, which is nothing to sneeze at. If he keeps up this level of performance for another 7-10 years, he'll go to the HOF.
   459. Walt Davis Posted: March 09, 2004 at 07:37 PM (#572827)
Schmidt and Brown both missed 4-5 starts.

that should be Schmidt and Prior.
   460. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: March 11, 2004 at 12:05 AM (#572830)
"How the heck do you make things italics?"

(I)Like this(/I), except instead of parenthesis, you use the "less than" and "greater than" symbols. Had I used the proper symbols, the words "Like this" would have been in italics.

If you want to make it bold, you substitute a capitalized "B" for the capitalized "I".
   461. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: April 02, 2004 at 05:07 AM (#573240)
Looks like Jackson's trading PT and numbers (and thereby future $$) for a shot at a ring.
   462. Dan Szymborski Posted: April 02, 2004 at 01:31 PM (#573241)
I would suggest that if Jackson wants to maximize future dough, he should want people to watch him play as little as possible.
   463. MM1f Posted: April 03, 2004 at 04:53 AM (#573243)
"Rusch v. Anderson. Discuss"

And theres a drive.
   464. MM1f Posted: April 03, 2004 at 04:57 AM (#573244)
"Rusch v. Anderson. Discuss"

And theres a drive.
   465. MM1f Posted: April 03, 2004 at 04:57 AM (#573245)
oops, my bad
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