Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Transaction Oracle > Discussion
Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Cubs - Acquired Lawton

Chicago Cubs - Acquired OF Matt Lawton from the Pittsburgh Pirates for OF Jody Gerut

Well, the Pirates would’ve done better with a prospect if they could get a good one, but nothing to really complain about here from their standpoint - Lawton’s not that much better than Gerut and can’t really play center, which won’t stop the Cubs.  Lawton will provide a nice OBP for the Cubs, something they sorely need, but Lawton avoids outs in center as well as he avoids them at the plate.  The big winner here is Derrek Lee, whose chances at the Triple Crown have just jumped a bit now that he will have a real on-base guy in front of him (presumably, anything’s possibly with Duhsty).

2005 ZiPS Projection - Jody Gerut
——————————————————————————————————
Period     AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
——————————————————————————————————
Actual ‘05 150 13   39 10 1   1 12 20 16   1 .260 .345 .360
Rest ‘05   149 18   41 10 1   5 18 18 17   3 .275 .361 .456
——————————————————————————————————
Total ‘05 299 31   80 20 2   6 30 38 33   4 .268 .353 .408

 

2005 ZiPS Projection - Matt Lawton
——————————————————————————————————
Period     AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
——————————————————————————————————
Actual ‘05 370 53 102 28 1 10 44 57 59 16 .276 .382 .438
Rest ‘05   186 31   51 11 0   6 27 27 28   7 .274 .375 .430
——————————————————————————————————
Total ‘05 556 84 153 39 1 16 71 84 87 23 .275 .380 .435

Dan Szymborski Posted: July 31, 2005 at 08:42 PM | 104 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Related News:

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 
   1. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 31, 2005 at 09:42 PM (#1513863)
Another banner trade deadline for Littlefield.

I like Gerut as a person and as a player, but I don't think he'll do much for the franchise.
   2. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: July 31, 2005 at 09:57 PM (#1513876)
I'd guess that Lawton plays LF, not CF. Hollandsworth has been terrible lately, and Dusty's probably antsy about letting Murton play every day.
   3. Artie Ziff Posted: July 31, 2005 at 10:00 PM (#1513880)
It looks like Pittsburgh upgraded from speed to a slugger according to those predictions. It seems like a pretty pointless deal for both sides.
   4. Sweet Posted: July 31, 2005 at 10:12 PM (#1513895)
A pretty marginal move for the Cubs. Lawton's probably an upgrade over Gerut this year unless he takes time away from Murton, which he might. But the Cubs need much more than that, as evidenced by the dismal D-Backs series.

So, um, wait until next year! Anyone even want to try to guess what the Cubs' starting outfield will be next April? There isn't a single player that you can peg with any certainty. Could be anything from Murton-Pie-Sing to Hollandsworth-Lofton-Burnitz. Hendry has a lot of work to do this offseason, and this will be a particularly challenging test of his abilities given the dearth of quality free-agent oufielders.
   5. Psychedelic Red Pants Posted: July 31, 2005 at 10:14 PM (#1513901)
It looks like Pittsburgh upgraded from speed to a slugger according to those predictions. It seems like a pretty pointless deal for both sides.

Gerut will belong to the Pirates for a while, no?
   6. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: July 31, 2005 at 11:09 PM (#1513939)
Could be anything from Murton-Pie-Sing to Hollandsworth-Lofton-Burnitz.

I don't think they'll bring Sing up from AA, and I really hope that they don't promote Pie after he missed almost two months this year with injury. He's basically Patterson at this point.

Best case scenario? A hard push for Brian Giles, and an OF of Giles-Patterson-Burnitz/Murton (if they decline the option).
   7. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 31, 2005 at 11:37 PM (#1513967)
Giles is totally heading for Atlanta.
   8. mgl Posted: August 01, 2005 at 01:14 AM (#1514111)
Assuming that the Cubs have to pay Lawton's salary, this is a pitiful trade for the Cubs. Lawton cannot field. He used to be a DH and still ought to be. He is almost 34, while Gerut is almost 28. Gerut makes 356,000 and Lawton 7.5 mil. This trade is a joke for the Cubs. For Cub fans, who don't care how much money they spend/make, unless it impacts other potential contracts, trades, and acquisitions in the future (which it will no doubt), it is still a poor swap as Gerut is better overall because of his better fielding. Not only is Lawton's fielding bad, but so are his other peripherals (Slwts). He has no arm and can't run...
   9. mgl Posted: August 01, 2005 at 01:20 AM (#1514118)
And I don't mind saying (repeating actually) that the Cubs (their GM and manager) are a collosally stupid team, and the only way they are going to put together a winning team is through some luck and some serious greenbacks. Fortunately for Cub fans (and fans in general), the nature of baseball is such that any team smart or dumb, small or large market, can get lucky and win now and then. The draft is a great equalizer, BTW, and until recently (perhaps) the sabermetric teams had no advantage in the draft. Also some teams seem to have better player development than others, which also probably has nothing to do with whether they are sabermetric teams...
   10. zfan Posted: August 01, 2005 at 01:24 AM (#1514127)
Well, good to hear your perspective, Mitch; however, I do think the news reports have said that Pittsburgh is sending cash to the Cubs. I don't know how much, maybe a million or so, enough to cover half his salary the rest of the year. And according to Cub fans from Elmhurst who actually know him personally, Gerut is not back to full strength from his knee problems. He apparently could not start every day this season even if the Cubs had wanted him too. I like the deal of Dubois for Lawton, and Gerut for Lawton is OK too.
   11. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: August 01, 2005 at 01:27 AM (#1514133)
Assuming that the Cubs have to pay Lawton's salary, this is a pitiful trade for the Cubs.

It feels like a deal just to make a deal, and the best we can say is that Hendry didn't do something crazy like dealing away Pie and Hill for Soriano. At least Lawton's only signed through this year, so the Cubs are in reality paying only the remaining 1/3 of his salary ($2.5M). I can't imagine they'll want to bring him back, but if they do it certainly won't be for $7.5M/yr.

The left field situation was Murton (who has been great but is (a) a detested rookie and (b) playing over his head), Hollandsworth (who has been Neifi-level awful for about the last month), and Gerut. While I'd like to have seen Murton get the chance to play full time for the last two months, it's highly unlikely that Dusty would have allowed that to happen. It's more likely that we would have ended up with about 50-60% Murton (all LHP and some RHP), 25% Gerut and 15-25% Hollandsworth.

It's not good regardless of how you look at it, and I'm sure the Cubs were dazzled by the high OBP and will be plugging Murton in at the top of the lineup so that Walker can go back to "protecting" Ramirez (whose performace certainly hasn't suffered with Walker at the top of the lineup).

I'd guess this means a pretty strict Lawton/Murton platoon for the last two months, with Hollandsworth playing occasionally to spell Burnitz or Lawton. Holly back on the bench is actually an improvement over having him as a starter.

All in all, it's a nothing deal, but the Cubs can afford the $2.5M. Giving up on Gerut seems kind of stupid unless they felt he was permanently damaged goods and would never amount to much more than a 4th OF. I'm just glad we emerged with the farm system intact. If the Cubs weren't going to get an Adam Dunn-type player, it would have been pointless to start giving up the chits.
   12. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: August 01, 2005 at 01:32 AM (#1514137)
And I don't mind saying (repeating actually) that the Cubs (their GM and manager) are a collosally stupid team, and the only way they are going to put together a winning team is through some luck and some serious greenbacks.

Feel free to deride Dusty Baker all you want, but Hendry's pulled off some nice deals since taking over. I certainly wouldn't put him in the colossally stupid camp, particularly given that the competition for stupidest GM is fairly stacked right about now.

He botched the Sosa situation, and he's let the manager have far more power than he should, but all in all he's been more a positive than a negative. It's a welcome change.
   13. NTNgod Posted: August 01, 2005 at 01:40 AM (#1514144)
Another banner trade deadline for Littlefield. I like Gerut as a person and as a player, but I don't think he'll do much for the franchise.

In his defense, what was he supposed to take for Lawton? There apparently wasn't much of a market for Lawton.

Most reports indicate it came down to the Cubs and the Cards (Jocketty assigned Jim Leyland to check out Lawton for a few days).
   14. jolietconvict Posted: August 01, 2005 at 01:40 AM (#1514145)
but all in all he's been more a positive than a negative. It's a welcome change

I agree for the most part, but basically Hendry has failed to significantly improve the team the last two years. Part of that falls on Baker, but Hendry did hire Baker. My worst fear is that Dusty gets an extension. If that's the case there will be a whole lot of talent in AAA rotting away. Oh well at least the ICubs could be PCL champs.

Al Yellon brought up a good point on his blog. Hendry said that they were committed to Gerut for the long haul and now he's gone a few weeks later. Who's going to want to come here when that's your level of commitment?
   15. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 01, 2005 at 01:50 AM (#1514153)
"There apparently wasn't much of a market for Lawton."

This may be true, but it's immaterial when compared to Littlefield's larger failure to move any of his other dealable commodities: Mark Redman, Jose Mesa, Daryle Ward, and an assortment of middle relievers.

Only pulling off one deal out of the bunch is a pretty serious disappointment. He priced his players out of the market, and got burned for it.
   16. akrasian Posted: August 01, 2005 at 02:14 AM (#1514175)
A LOT of teams priced their commodities too high. With a few exceptions, teams seemed to realize that mediocre players don't actually make a noticeable difference in pennant races.

But yes, the Pirates screwed up very noticeably in not moving at least one of Redman or Mesa. They won't be resigned, they won't be offered arbitration, and either could have fetched a half way decent prospect at the very least.
   17. SouthSideRyan Posted: August 01, 2005 at 02:20 AM (#1514188)
Feel free to deride Dusty Baker all you want, but Hendry's pulled off some nice deals since taking over. I certainly wouldn't put him in the colossally stupid camp, particularly given that the competition for stupidest GM is fairly stacked right about now.

Everyone's colossally stupid according to mgl, except for him. He's a genius.

And again, he did not botch the Sosa situation. They had to slam him publically to force him to waive the vesting option. After him getting slammed publically there was nobody that wanted anything to do with him. Getting Baltimore to pick up 9 million was quite impressive.
   18. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: August 01, 2005 at 02:22 AM (#1514195)
I agree for the most part, but basically Hendry has failed to significantly improve the team the last two years.

2003 --> 2005
Miller --> Barrett
Choi/Karros --> Lee
Grudz --> Walker
Gonzalez --> <strike>Nomar</strike> Neifi
Bellhorn --> Ramirez

Those are all positive moves (excepting the injuries to Nomar). Where he's dropped the ball is in the outfield, on the bench, and in the bullpen. The Cub benches have been uniformly terrible since Dusty took over, largely because they're stacked with the incompetent friends of Dusty. The bullpen's been a mess ever since Farnsworth flamed out and Borowski got hurt -- not having a reliable bullpen down the stretch was probably the #1 factor that kept the Cubs out of the playoffs last year. And the OF has been hurt by Patterson's regression and the rapid decline of Sosa after the 2003 beaning.

But Hendry's also done an above-average job of finding places for the members of Dusty's doghouse. Bellhorn became Jose Hernandez, who ended up (with Bobby Hill, another unloved rookie) going in the Ramirez deal. Choi became Derrek Lee. Giving up Dubois for Gerut wasn't terrible -- giving up Gerut for Lawton was a mistake, but not a tragic one. Getting value for guys who have been benched can be a difficult task, and he's done very well for the Cubs in that regard.

Outside of the whole Sosa fiasco (which was a huge deal, probably big enough on some teams to get the GM fired) and kowtowing far too much to some of Dusty's idiosyncracies, Hendry's probably been the best Cubs GM since Dallas Green.

Though I do have worries going forward. The Cubs are starting to develop a AAA glass ceiling for their position prospects, and it's going to be up to Hendry to either deal them for their value in major leaguers or clear room for them to play at the major league level. They're going to have to do something with Corey Patterson (who, I assume, will be back with the Cubs no later than the September roster expansion and who, I also assume, the Cubs will probably give another shot to as the starting CF in 2006 -- they've invested far too much time and money in him to just let him fade away without another try). And something has to happen at the corner OF spots -- Burnitz has played better than expected, but LF has been a mess all year, and the FA market is pretty barren of OFs this year (Brian Giles is the notable exception).

Hendry still gets the benefit of the doubt from me, but another offseason like the last one, and a 2006 that resembles 2005, and I'll start to sour. (And, of course, even discussions of an extension for Dusty and I'm off the bandwagon completely.)
   19. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: August 01, 2005 at 02:28 AM (#1514208)
For a collosally stupid team, the Cubs have a pretty good farm system. It's not great, but there's some mpact talent there.
   20. NTNgod Posted: August 01, 2005 at 02:28 AM (#1514210)
FWIW, the Pirates are sending along some cash...

The Cubs will also receive a little more than $1 million to offset the remainder of Lawton's $7.25 million salary.

AP via WaPo (RR)
   21. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: August 01, 2005 at 03:26 AM (#1514350)
It seems to me that this is a move that really doesn't help a whole lot other that for Jim Hendry to make it look like he's active and to give Dusty another plaything he may actually use, unlike Gerut.

In concrete terms, I think that Lawton is essentially similar at the plate as Gerut, but with less of a platoon split. I don't see him as a significant improvement. Yes, he's worse in the filed and can't play CF, but I don't think the Cubs planned to put Gerut out there much anyway, so it isn't a huge deal. There are only two real differences, IMO:

1. Money -- they are picking up a bigger salary. This apparently matters a lot more to mgl than the Cubs, however;

2. A fresh face -- I wonder how much of this deal was perhaps the result of Hendry looking at Gerut, seeing that he's not only 1/14, but is also being used sparingly by Dusty. Hendry may very well be saying "if Dusty is uncomfortable playing someone from the AL who he doesn't know well [Gerut], let's get him someone he's moer familiar with."
   22. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 01, 2005 at 04:07 AM (#1514424)
How could the Pirates fail to move Jose Mesa?

As far as Hendry improving the team; he got Jerome Williams and Aardsma for Latroy Hawkins (who came into Chicago and basically handed the Cubs two extra wins). That was a very nice deal that improved the team just this season.
   23. NTNgod Posted: August 01, 2005 at 04:10 AM (#1514433)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pirates barely beat deadline, trade Lawton

The Pirates sent Lawton and agreed to pay half his remaining 2005 salary -- at a cost of $1.12 million -- to acquire Gerut...Littlefield said he, too, was pleased with the deal, in particular because the Pirates can retain Gerut's rights for four years, as compared to Lawton, who can become a free agent this winter.
...
"We had interest [in Mesa, Ward, Redman, and Rick White]," Littlefield said. "But we feel like we wanted to do something only if it made sense."
   24. akrasian Posted: August 01, 2005 at 04:31 AM (#1514461)
"We had interest [in Mesa, Ward, Redman, and Rick White]," Littlefield said. "But we feel like we wanted to do something only if it made sense."

Redman would have been the best starting pitcher traded this deadline. I have a hard time believing that the Pirates wouldn't have been better with some prospect package than him. Not that winning an extra game or two this season doesn't matter - but is Littlefield pretending that the Rangers (for instance) were unwilling to trade anything of value for Redman? Ditto the Padres and the Yankees? For that matter, there are at least a half a dozen other teams that would have been willing to offer a B level prospect for him - maybe even one sort of ready for the majors.

Mesa had his own issues, but he was tradeable also, and not really all that helpful to the 2005 Pirates, so no great loss.

It surprises me that Littlefield isn't burning in effigy tonight, if he says such idiotic things. Admitting that there was interest in Mesa and Redman, and not acting on it? In a season where the Mariners actually get value for their superfluous players?
   25. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: August 01, 2005 at 04:36 AM (#1514468)
(shrugs). A guy I had no enthusiasm for for a similar hitter. (shrugs). Ah well, veteran hitters do often hit better under Dusty than one would ever imagine them to, & the '03 or '04 prospectus had some math to back it up . . . we'll see.
   26. Gainsay Posted: August 01, 2005 at 05:02 AM (#1514496)
I wasn't really expect the Pirates to be able to get much more what they were trading, but I was hoping that they would get somebody younger than 27.

I fail to understand why Littlefield is always so fixated on getting crappy ML players at deadline deals (Rios, Wigginton, and now Gerut).
   27. Boots Day Posted: August 01, 2005 at 05:04 AM (#1514499)
For a collosally stupid team, the Cubs have a pretty good farm system.

For a colossally stupid team, the Cubs have a pretty good record the past few years.
   28. Spahn Insane Posted: August 01, 2005 at 11:42 AM (#1514716)
I'm sure the Cubs were dazzled by the high OBP

An incongruous statement if ever I've seen one. If true, it represents progress.

Look--this move isn't likely to put the Cubs in the postseason, but for what it is (a modest attempt to fill a desperate current need, while not sacrificing much future value [i.e., an acknowledgment that this season is probably over, but youneverknow]), I like it fine, as long as it doesn't entail a commitment to Lawton beyond this year.

If the Bucs are sending cash, the Cubs' cash outlay for the rest of the year's minimal, and they didn't sacrifice a single prospect to do it. IF the Cubs are to make the postseason this year, it's going to take significant luck AND an improvement in the team's OBP. The deal enhances the team's admittedly small chances without making improvement in '06 less likely.
   29. Spahn Insane Posted: August 01, 2005 at 11:45 AM (#1514717)
Apparently, a certain poster's employer was the Cubs' lone competition for Lawton, so I'm taking the absurdly hyperbolized (at least as to Hendry) "colossally stupid" comment with a half-ton of salt.
   30. buddy34 Posted: August 01, 2005 at 11:59 AM (#1514723)
lawton is a considerably better hitter than gerut. gerut is a considerably better defensive player. i think the cubs did OK in the exchange.
   31. Mel Hall and Lou Boudreau at Danley's Garage World Posted: August 01, 2005 at 12:12 PM (#1514732)
It's swapping a deck chair with a wobbly leg for an older, more expensive deck chair...
   32. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 01, 2005 at 12:32 PM (#1514740)
Overall I agree with mgl on this, but...

it is still a poor swap as Gerut is better overall because of his better fielding.

Perhaps in the long run, but it seems he's still slowed from the ACL surgery.

The Cubs will also receive a little more than $1 million to offset the remainder of Lawton's $7.25 million salary.

That's not enough to make this worthwhile. I doubt it will have any negative financial impact at all on the Cubs' future success, however.
   33. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 01, 2005 at 12:41 PM (#1514748)
And I also think it's fair to say that the Cubs remain a very stupid team. Which of "colossal" or "tremendously" applies better isn't important.

Hendry has his strong points. He is rarely hornswoggled in trades, and has a genuinely good eye for talent. The fact that he built an actual farm system and did so in a short time gives him a special place in Cubs history.

However, he backs himself into corners all the time. He can't manage a roster for his life, and he is constantly forced to play the role of fireman instead of engineer. I think he'd be better as an Assistant GM and heading player development than as an actual GM.

Sometimes he shows better judgment than his manager is willing/able to implement, but that's his fault too. Maybe when Baker is gone -- and everyday I believe a little more that he's gone after this season -- he'll be more effective. Certainly, if he lacks the sense to remove Baker and his ineffective coaching staff this off-season, he himself should be demoted.
   34. zonk Posted: August 01, 2005 at 12:53 PM (#1514756)
"Colossally stupid"?

What's the number for the hyperbole police?

If the Cubs were still a legitimate factor in the playoff race (for the record, I don't think they are), this wouldn't have been a bad move.

Gerut is a nice 4th OF, but Lawton is precisely what the Cubs mediocre offnese -- despite being tops in the NL in HRs and slugging perecentage -- needs. Lawton's a fair hitter not afraid to take a walk with enough of the magical "speed" to bat leadoff for a man of convention like Baker.

I wouldn't have given up prospects for Lawton -- even "prospects" the stripe of Sergio Mitre or Richie Lewis - but I've got no problem giving up Gerut for him.

Like I said - I don't think this is a playoff team, but with Nomar back this week, Wood shoring up the bullpen - there's still a chance the Cubs can get healthy and hot for the last 2 months. Stranger things have happened than a team of this caliber getting hot at the right time.

I mean - let's face it, this isn't a season with much in the way of dominant teams. Apparently, a pulse is all that will be required to win the West (and even that bar is looking increasingly too high). The Braves have done their usual August charge - but the East is pretty much filled with mediocrities otherwise. Even the Cards have had their health issues --- which, let's be honest -- couldn't have been unexpected with Edmonds and Walker.

If the playoff chances are 1 in 5 - I'd throw down a Gerut to increase those odds however slightly.
   35. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: August 01, 2005 at 01:01 PM (#1514760)
Dusty Baker is awesome! I love that guy!
   36. Hack Wilson Posted: August 01, 2005 at 01:18 PM (#1514783)
Cubs are doing great. I just saw this headline on ESPN:
D-Backs rock Maddux, Cubs to move into NL West lead
   37. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 01, 2005 at 01:29 PM (#1514799)
"Apparently, a certain poster's employer was the Cubs' lone competition for Lawton..."

Strictly speaking, this isn't true. The Red Sox and Pirates also had conversations about Lawton, and there was at least one other team (LA?) that escapes my memory right now.
   38. DTS Posted: August 01, 2005 at 02:22 PM (#1514856)
Apparently, a certain poster's employer was the Cubs' lone competition for Lawton, so I'm taking the absurdly hyperbolized (at least as to Hendry) "colossally stupid" comment with a half-ton of salt.

The Cardinals, from what I've read, would only do a deal if the Pirates agreed to pay the rest of Lawton's salary and pay for Lawton's airfare to St. Louis. The Pirates would receive the Cardinals' rights to Jennie Finch, if the Cardinals ever got them, and four tickets to the next Harry Potter movie premier.

That's what I read.
   39. Russ Posted: August 01, 2005 at 02:53 PM (#1514905)
The worst part of this deal is that the Pirates were going to let Lawton go at the end of the year, giving playing time to a three man rotation of Ryan Doumit, Chris Duffy, and Nate McLouth in CF and RF next year (plus whatever days off Jason Bay gets). That meant 450 PA apiece for three guys who the Pirates really need to figure out what to do with.

Now with Gerut around, one of those three guys is going to get seriously screwed over (and I'd bet it's McLouth as Gerut is a slower version of Duffy -- low OBP, decent power -- whereas McLouth doesn't have power but looks like he'll have a decent OBP).

Of course, the Pirates COULD put Doumit behind the plate most of next year and that would help a bit, but really Gerut is going to gum up the works in an OF picture that is already getting very crowded. Mackowiak (if Jose Bautista is for real) and Tike (if he doesn't get released) are already around at the major league level, Yurendell DeCaster deserves a hot somewhere, Rajai Davis will likely be up by the end of next year, Bobby Kingsbury might end up in the picture with a hot start at Altoona next year, and McCutcheon is likely 3-4 years off.

Couldn't the Pirates have gotten a semi-decent mediocre player at a position where they don't already have 800 mediocre prospects (like first base or third)?
   40. Spahn Insane Posted: August 01, 2005 at 03:17 PM (#1514959)
And I also think it's fair to say that the Cubs remain a very stupid team.

Fair enough, but I don't believe the Lawton trade is evidence of this.

To the contrary, I think it shows a refreshing awareness of where they are--on the fringes of the wild card race, with a need to add a player who gets on base consistently if there's to be any hope of success in that race--but needing to preserve resources to build a much stronger team in '06, and recognizing that '05 is enough of a longshot to make spending any sort of future value on short-term upgrades ill-advised.
   41. Chief Posted: August 01, 2005 at 03:27 PM (#1514978)
I liked this sentence in the Sun-Times:

Cubs manager Dusty Baker wouldn't commit to Lawton as his leadoff man, though that is Lawton's most logical role.
   42. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: August 01, 2005 at 03:35 PM (#1514994)
From what little I read this morning, I'm figuring Holly may be moved to. PH role -- fine by me -- but that Lawton may get the LF job full-time. I'm not sure I like this, especially because I don't see the Cubs as a playoff contender, and even if they make the playoffs, I'd still see a 3-4 games and out situation. They certainly aren't pennant contenders, Prior and Zambrano notwithstanding.

As for Hendry, I note Andere's comments that "he backs himself into corners all the time" and "he can't manage a roster for his life, and he is constantly forced to play the role of fireman instead of engineer." I think these are valid points. All too often, we tend to blame Dusty for veteran predilections and for having a worthless bench, but at best Hendry's a willing accomplice in this and I fear that even if Dusty leaves, we may learn that the roster has every bit as much of Hendry's thumbprints as Dusty's.
   43. number 6 Posted: August 01, 2005 at 03:42 PM (#1515005)
I would use Doumit and Paulino behind the plate and see what happens in the outfield.
I would have given next year's rotation to JVB, Burnett, Duke, Snell, and Ollie Perez and have sent off pretty much every old expensive pitcher for guys who could hit. I think the pirates could have gotten more from redman than draft picks and I would have sent Wells away as well. Heck I would have sent fogg away, but you probably couldn't get much more in return for Fogg than a wet dishtowel. I think this deadline was a major bust for the pirates because so little was done by Dave "moneyball" littlefield.
   44. mgl Posted: August 01, 2005 at 03:47 PM (#1515014)
Trust me, the things you read in the paper about which teams are interested in whom, well...

Even is Lawton were a little better than Gerut (or Hollandsworth or Murton), which I don't think he is, although I did not know that Gerut was hurt, he would have virtually no impact on the Cubs season. That's just the way it is. Lawton being 1 win (10 runs) per season better than Gerut is a stretch (to say the least in my estimation) would give the Cubs an extra 1/3 of a win for the remaineder of 05. How do you think that impacts them? Negligibly of course.

And as of July 19, I had the Cubs with a 13% chance of making the playoffs. I have not updated that number.

Here are Lawton's and Geruts pre-season Superlwts projections in case anyone is interested in some actual data to use in order to make an assertion as to whether it was a good trade, it was an upgrade, if yes, how much it will impact the team's w/l record or chances of making the playoffs, etc. And BTW, I know that the average fan doesn't care whether a team spends 300,000 or 1.5 mil on a player, but from the team's perspective (and ultimately from the fan's, as most teams have a certain amount of money to spend and their "goal" is to get the most projected wins (actually revenue), short and long-term, out of that money), it is critical. It is not OK, for example, to spend even 1 mil on a player who is replacement level. 1 mil is a lot of money (even for a baseball team, and should buy you, if you know how to properly evaluate players, a half a win and sometimes more when you find the occasional bargain. Spending a mil on a replacement player or 2 or 3 mil on a near replacement player, which teams do all the time, is generally like flushing money down the toilet. Anyway...

Lawton projections:

Batting: +4 runs (per 150 games). That is right in line with his historical batting lwts, and right in line with his 05 batting lwts, and is below average for a corner OF'er.

Fielding: -4 (UZR) He is -10 so far this year.

Arm: -2 I guess he has a weak arm.

Baserunnng/basestealing/hitting into the GDP: -4 (I guess he is not a good baserunner and hits into a lot of DP's.)

Total projected Slwts: -5 in LF. That is 5 runs less than the average LF'er and around 13 runs better than a replacement LF'er. That makes him worth around 3-4 mil a year and not 7.5. That also makes him worth around 1 to 1.5 mil for the rest of the year, which is around what they are paying Lawton I guess.

What makes it (the trade) stupid (assuming that Gerut is healthy long-term, which he may not be), is that they already have a player (Gerut) or two (Holandsworth), who have as good, nearly as good, or better projections than Lawton and are a lot cheaper.

Gerut Slwts projections:

Batting: +2

Fielding: 0

Arm: 0

Baserunning. etc.: 0

Total projected Slwts: +3

So far this year, his UZR is -4 and his batting lwts is -10, so his projection has dropped to around 0 rather than +3 pre-season.

And BTW, Lawton's projection has dropped to -8, given his age, and UZR so far this year.

So, again, according to my numbers, Gerut is the better player by 8 runs (per 150 games). Even if I am off a little, they are around even. Basically, the Cubs, like any other "dumb" team would do, are undervaluing Gerut because of his poor hitting this year (attaching too much weight to most recent performance as all dumb teams do), and vastly overvaluing Lawton because they do not know how to quantify his likely defensive ability and his peripherals (baserunning, arm, etc.), and to some extent because of his high OBP (a little knowledge can sometimes be a dangerous thing)...
   45. 1k5v3L Posted: August 01, 2005 at 03:56 PM (#1515026)
So, the Cubs will now finish 5 1/2 games out in the WC race instead of 6. Big whoop. Moving chairs. And they certainly didn't get more cowbell...
   46. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: August 01, 2005 at 04:01 PM (#1515033)
I agree that Lawton won't have much impact, and that because of this the expense is probably not worth it. Still, though you consider this to be flushing money down the toilet (and are probably correct), I don't think we are talking about an organization that will back off getting whom they want because of a difference of a million or less (they still have Macias, after all). I don't think they are alone in this either -- how much extra value did Tino Martinez bring the Cards with his excess salary? Couldn't Seabol done as much or better for less?
   47. mgl Posted: August 01, 2005 at 04:04 PM (#1515035)
BTW, it doesn't matter what I "call" the Cubs and their GM (for all I know he is a real smart guy). That is just hyperbole. What matters is the type of analysis I just presented, not that that is the end all either...
   48. Neil M Posted: August 01, 2005 at 04:09 PM (#1515041)
Trust me, the things you read in the paper about which teams are interested in whom, well...

Whereas, what you read on the internet, well, you can take it to the bank.
   49. mgl Posted: August 01, 2005 at 04:14 PM (#1515053)
I was not with the Cards during the Tino days.

Even if the Cubs are willing to spend money, it sure helps to be able to evaluate players properly (that requires sabermetrics) in order to spend that money wisely and efficiently...
   50. Fridas Boss Posted: August 01, 2005 at 04:40 PM (#1515142)
mgl, if the hyperbole doesn't matter, why do it? It makes you sound like a jerk.
   51. Biscuit_pants Posted: August 01, 2005 at 04:47 PM (#1515177)
mgl - does the fact that the Cubs have a very high strik-out staff take down some of the negative inpact of Lawton's defence or have you already taken that into consideration.
   52. 1k5v3L Posted: August 01, 2005 at 05:02 PM (#1515233)
mgl, if the hyperbole doesn't matter, why do it? It makes you sound like a jerk.

tony la russa made him do it.
   53. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: August 01, 2005 at 05:05 PM (#1515242)
Where did that farm system come from if the Cubs don't know how to evaluate players?

It's not as if turning Dubois into Lawton is that big of a deal. The Cubs were never going to start Gerut long term and when DuBois failed in his audition, he doomed himself to a life as a trade bait/4th OF/PH. The Cubs aren't patient with young players. As bad as Lawton may be, he fills a pretty glaring need on the 2005 Cubs.

More importantly, he won't be resigned and the Cubs will go big game hunting for an OF for 2006.

mgl, if the hyperbole doesn't matter, why do it? It makes you sound like a jerk.

I think you meant to say, "It makes you sound like the world's biggest jerk times infinity."
   54. mgl Posted: August 01, 2005 at 07:10 PM (#1515669)
mgl, if the hyperbole doesn't matter, why do it? It makes you sound like a jerk.

Why all the hostility? I don't care how I sound or what people think of me. I try to speak my mind honestly and contribute what I think is valuable information and informed opinon. Not 100% of what I write is signal. Some of it is going to be noise. That is inevitable. I don't spend hours going over what I am going to post and then editing the final version.

If anyone is being a jerk it is those trolls who get hostile and make moronic statements for no reason at all while contributing absolutely nothing to the discussion at hand (like 50). At least post 53 adds something to the dicussion, although the last sentence could have been left out. Again, I don't know why that is necessary or what I write to deserve that. At the very least, I think I should get a pass for all the information and insight I have provided on this site over the last 3 years. And I don't think I have ever directed any invectives towards any other poster. As always, though,I could be wrong.

No I have not taken into consideration their K staff. That is a good point. A player's overall fielding value should be adjusted (pro-rated) for the number of expected chances. A quick and dirty method for Lawton would be to multiply his overall defensive value (say -7 per 150 games) by the ratio of Cubs pitchers' fly balls per game to the league average fly ball per games. That goes for a player's offense as well. A batting lwts calculation applies to a player on an average team in an average slot in the lineup. A player's real value (in marginal runs) depends a little on his teammates and his
lineup slot (and his park)...
   55. Fear is Moses Taylor's Bacon Bits Posted: August 01, 2005 at 07:18 PM (#1515697)
Why all the hostility? I don't care how I sound or what people think of me. I try to speak my mind honestly and contribute what I think is valuable information and informed opinon. Not 100% of what I write is signal. Some of it is going to be noise. That is inevitable. I don't spend hours going over what I am going to post and then editing the final version.

What do you expect the response to be? You said: "And I don't mind saying (repeating actually) that the Cubs (their GM and manager) are a collosally stupid team, and the only way they are going to put together a winning team is through some luck and some serious greenbacks." Do you expect everyone to ignore the slight (especially considering you're talking from the perspective of a rival) and just accept your opinions as fact? The Cubs are on pace (stupid, I know, but they're still above .500) for their 3rd straight winning season. While that's nothing exciting, it's genuine progress for this organization. It's even more surprising that us fans are *expecting* them to win and another .500 season isn't good enough to stop everyone calling for the manager's head.


That goes for a player's offense as well. A batting lwts calculation applies to a player on an average team in an average slot in the lineup. A player's real value (in marginal runs) depends a little on his teammates and his
lineup slot (and his park)...


And in Lawton's case, he'll be hitting leadoff ahead of the best offensive player in baseball this season. He's replacing the OBP gods at the top of the order than include Neifi and Patterson (Hairston also hasn't been that great since he's been playing FT).
   56. Dan The Mediocre Posted: August 01, 2005 at 07:27 PM (#1515726)
Overall I think this could turn out to be a good move if Dusty puts Lawton in the leadoff position. The fact of the matter is that no one has gotten on ahead of Lee this year. Even if the rest of the year doesn't turn out like his June, he'll still be among the best hitters in baseball.

Hendry's biggest problem as a GM is that Dusty is his manager. Hendry would look a lot better if he had a manager who understood that Neifi isn't a leadoff hitter and Macias shouldn't be the first option off the bench.
   57. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: August 01, 2005 at 07:32 PM (#1515746)
...although the last sentence could have been left out.

Just a joke, I didn't mean for you to take it personally.
   58. Fridas Boss Posted: August 01, 2005 at 08:22 PM (#1515878)
mgl, you should get a free pass in hurling invectives at people because you provide some analysis? Are you seriously this brazen and arrogant? Your "why the hostility" line is as ironic as they come when your hostility towards the Cubs' management was as clear as day.

Just because your content may be valuable; your delivery of said content is important to it's reception. Aren't you trying to sell a book in the future? Will the inside cover of it read "To make yourself less collossally stupid, read what's inside"?

And lastly, if you don't care how your posts are received, why bother posting at all? This is a serious question.

I have no personal problem with you (if that's even possible on an internet message board) but your tone is so off-putting, the 'noise' is messing with the 'signal'. Just my humble opinon.
   59. Biscuit_pants Posted: August 01, 2005 at 09:07 PM (#1515964)
And lastly, if you don't care how your posts are received, why bother posting at all? This is a serious question.

actually as someone who does not have the time to do some of the math myself I am glad he and people like him are posting.
   60. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 01, 2005 at 09:25 PM (#1515987)
Ditto. I find it difficult to understand why someone who provides as much insight as mgl is being criticized for merely adding a bit to the invective that we throw around every day here.
   61. Dan The Mediocre Posted: August 01, 2005 at 09:39 PM (#1516016)
I don't have any problem with hyperbole, as evidenced by my calling Chuck LaMar insane (although it was because he demanded Carlos Zambrano in exchange for Danys Baez, so it may not be hyperbole)
   62. 1k5v3L Posted: August 01, 2005 at 10:06 PM (#1516059)
OK, people, plenty of GMs and managers out there are stupid. Granted, maybe they aced their SATs and even took a Mensa test once or twice, but there is a good reason a lot of teams suck perpetually, regardless of payroll, while others do well consistently, regardless of payroll.

I have called Joe Jr. stupid plenty of times; most of his moves (if not all) speak of his stupidity. It's not a surprise to me that the new management let him go; Colangelo and Joe Jr. were a lethally stupid combination that exploded the moment Showalter (a pretty good talent evaluator, imo) was canned in 2000.

About the Cubs: are you telling me that a GM that has guys like Macias and Perez on its 25 man roster, and gives Hollandsworth a full time job (to give just a couple of examples) is smart? Or is a manager who bats Patterson and Neifi (or Neifi and Macias) in the 1-2 spots ahead of DLee smart? Please.

If it weren't for DLee's superhuman season so far and Aramis's recent resurgence, the Cubs would be so far out of ANY race that this trade would be a super moot point. The fact that the Cubs make lateral moves (at best) and consider those major improvements speaks volumes of their stupidity.
   63. 1k5v3L Posted: August 01, 2005 at 10:08 PM (#1516064)
Oh, and I've learned tons of great stuff from MGL. He can call ME shite for brains if he wants, as long as he continues to post here. It's totally worth it.
   64. Dan The Mediocre Posted: August 01, 2005 at 10:19 PM (#1516081)
About the Cubs: are you telling me that a GM that has guys like Macias and Perez on its 25 man roster, and gives Hollandsworth a full time job (to give just a couple of examples) is smart? Or is a manager who bats Patterson and Neifi (or Neifi and Macias) in the 1-2 spots ahead of DLee smart? Please.


Hollandsworth was supposed to platoon with Dubois out of a lack of a better OF alternative. Neifi and Macias, however, should be DFA'd as soon as possible.
   65. zonk Posted: August 01, 2005 at 10:23 PM (#1516084)
If I could --

Let me ask the more knowledgeable this question (I'm not trying to be snarky -- honestly).

Normally, I'm very much pro-VORP/WARP/Win Shares/etc...

However, aren't there situations where it makes more sense to evaluate a player relative to the team?

As others have indicated -- what Lawton does add is a relatively high-OBP top of the order hitter (career .370, .380 this year).

The Cubs are second in the NL in HRs, SLG, and team batting -- but 6th in runs scored.

Derek Lee leads the league in HRs, batting, and 2Bs -- but is 3rd (albeit only 2 off the pace) in RBI.

Of course - everyone knows both these are a direct function of the crap that has hit in leadoff and 2-hole (at least until Baker realized Walker should be in one of those spots). No one on this team will take a walk (other than Lee and maybe Burnitz).

By adding Lawton, we're certainly going to see a lot less 2-out bases empty doubles and HRs from Lee.

If this isn't a case where the one skill Lawton really excels at -- getting on base -- doesn't warrant a more.... unique... evaluation, then there probably is no such situation.

As far as defense goes -- I can and will completely accept that Lawton is a below average defender in LF, even a terrible one, if that be the case.

However -- first, someone needs to prove why I should care all that much whether my LF is a DH playing out of position or a legit gold glover, because I'm not sold that I should care all that much about my LF's defense.

If Nomar makes it back this week, the Cubs should probably bring CP back up. With Neifi on the bench, the Cubs lineup can afford to carry Patterson's bat in exchange for the plus defense in the OF.
   66. zonk Posted: August 01, 2005 at 10:25 PM (#1516086)
About the Cubs: are you telling me that a GM that has guys like Macias and Perez on its 25 man roster, and gives Hollandsworth a full time job (to give just a couple of examples) is smart? Or is a manager who bats Patterson and Neifi (or Neifi and Macias) in the 1-2 spots ahead of DLee smart? Please.

You're lumping Baker in too closely with Hendry. Sure - Hendry ultimately signed the contracts with Macias and Perez, but my blame for F Troop part deux stays with Baker.
   67. 1k5v3L Posted: August 01, 2005 at 10:27 PM (#1516091)
Is Patterson really a plus defender in CF?
   68. Dan The Mediocre Posted: August 01, 2005 at 10:31 PM (#1516097)
Is Patterson really a plus defender in CF?

He is over any other option we have.

But I'm not convinced that his defensive skill outweighs how bad his offense has been.
   69. zonk Posted: August 01, 2005 at 10:33 PM (#1516102)
I seem to recall MGL saying that he "plus" in '04, but that Patterson's defensive value seemed to vary wildly from 02 to 03 to 04.

I think it depends on which set of metrics you trust (IIRC, one says no, another says yes) -- personally, my eye tells me he's plus, so I'll pluck the metric that backs me up (whatever it might be).
   70. Biscuit_pants Posted: August 01, 2005 at 10:33 PM (#1516103)
Is Patterson really a plus defender in CF?

I think his judgment is a bit suspect but his speed almost always makes up for that. So yes I think he is a + defender.
   71. zonk Posted: August 01, 2005 at 10:36 PM (#1516106)
It's also worth noting -- as poor as he's been offensively this year, Patterson does have a bit of pop and has a pretty good career SB%... so it's not like we're talking about Gary Pettis here.
   72. 1k5v3L Posted: August 01, 2005 at 10:36 PM (#1516107)
I'm with DTM on Patterson. Unless he's superman on wheels in CF, and allows the Cubs to play Lawton and Burnitz by the lines, I don't think the combination of Patterson atrocious OBP and defense will outweigh the OBP plus lesser defense of Hairston in CF. And, I read the Cubs are trying to "reconstruct" Corey's swing down in AAA. Whatever that means. Maybe the Cubs want him to start swinging at pitches only BELOW his eye level...
   73. 1k5v3L Posted: August 01, 2005 at 10:38 PM (#1516109)
has a pretty good career SB%

So, what's his SB% stealing first base?
   74. Dan The Mediocre Posted: August 01, 2005 at 10:39 PM (#1516110)
So, what's his SB% stealing first base?

It's about the same as Podsednik's was last year.
   75. zonk Posted: August 01, 2005 at 10:41 PM (#1516113)
So, what's his SB% stealing first base?

Well, I know he's never been caught, so it can't be THAT bad.
   76. mgl Posted: August 01, 2005 at 10:48 PM (#1516121)
Platooning appears to be dying out again (I could be wrong about that). It is a powerful and generally underused weapon. Most overall mediocre lefty hitters should be platooned. They are generally much better versus a RHP than a full-time RHB (the non-superstar variety) and are usually helpless versus LHP's (as are many very good LH hitters, like Chavez). Platooning a guy like Hollandsworth, Gerut, or Lawton (they are all roughly interchangeable) with a guy like Dubois gives you a powerful hitting tandem.

Managers do not like to platoon for various reasons. Some of them are legitimate and others are not. There is some grey area as well (as to whether they are legitimate).

1) It takes 2 roster spots for a platoon of course. I don't see this as much of an argument for not platooning. You have to carry bench players anyway. Why not have some of your bench be part of a platoon. If you start your RHB versus a LHSP and a RH releiver comes into the game later on, you can switch to your LHB (in a high leverage situation), and vice versa.

2) You have to pay 2 players for the price of one. See the above argument. You have to pay 12, 13, or 14 position players anyway. Why not have some platoons. Plus when you do your trades, salaries, etc., you make sure that you don't pay 2 platoon players more than you would pay an equivalent single player.

3) Most players, especially star players, don't like to be platooned. Reasonable. You cna't make players unhappy as a manager. While E. Chavez should probably be platooned - at least benched versus tough lefties, that would be hard to do.

4) You want to make sure that the 2 players are roughly equivalent defensively, or you defeat the purpose of the platoon. With Eric Chavez, he is such a good fielder, that he might actually be better overall versus a LHP, unless his platoon partner were at least a pretty good fielder.

5) You may want to help a young player get used to hitting against same-side pitchers. I am not crazy about that argument. I am not sure that if a player is not good versus same-side pitchers by the time he gets to the majors, that there is much if any learning curve left. And of course, the primary goal for most teams is winning at the major league level.

Another reason why managers don't platoon much (and it is a poor reason, rooted in manager ignorance and stupidity), is that once they start a platoon, if one of the players stops hitting, or goes on a tear, they generally abandon the platoon and go with the "hotter" of the two players. Of course, there is a good chance that that will eventually happen by chance alone.

Here is an example of the power of a platoon:

Pre-season, Hollandsworth was projected at +7 (lwts per 630 PA) versus RHP (and a putrid -27 versus LHP). Dubois, +30 versus LHP. Assuming 70% of the AB's go to Holly, that's +13 total lwts per season for the platoon. That's a pretty good hitter! Compare that to Lawton overall (versus RHP and LHP) at +4...
   77. 1k5v3L Posted: August 01, 2005 at 10:56 PM (#1516125)
I personally think AZ should bench both Gonzo and Shawn Green vs. LHP. AZ is already benching Tracy against them, and Tracy is doing just fine hitting righties. Having Green face lefties is just stupid, as he doesn't have a prayer. Gonzo is getting there, he's got no power vs. lhp. Of course, they both will whine like hyenas if Melvin benched them; Gonzo got a day off in CO a while back and he cried like a baby for a week. I love Gonzo like the rest of the fans in AZ, but he really could use time off vs. LHP.
   78. mgl Posted: August 01, 2005 at 11:02 PM (#1516132)
Patterson's UZR in 402 career defensive games is +28 total runs or 10.4 per 150 games. That's pretty good. That gives him an estimated true defensive value of around +8 runs (better than an average CF'er per season), after regressing. You can probably even make that +9 considering that he is a very fast CF'er (regress towards the mean UZR of "very fast" CF'ers).

Given his excellent baserunning and staying out of the GDP, even with his mediocre hitting (it is actually near average for a CF'er), he is a well-above average CF'er (around 6 runs better than average). Their attitude towards him (I guess that he is not good enough to play in the majors), especially given that they have no other CF'er and the fact that they routinely carry and play replacement level players (Macias and Perez at -22 and -21 in Slwts projection, respectively), is a travesty, and more evidence that the Cubs do not know how to properly evaluate major league talent...
   79. mgl Posted: August 01, 2005 at 11:06 PM (#1516134)
Yup, Green is projected at -5 and Gonzo -9 versus LHP. A good rule of thumb is that your lefty hitter better be in the plus versus a LHP, otherwise he is prime candidate for a platoon. Given that Green is poor defensively, that is especially true of him. Almost any RHB, even replacement level players, will be "plus" (in projected batting lwts) versus a LHP...
   80. 1k5v3L Posted: August 01, 2005 at 11:06 PM (#1516135)
OK, so Patterson is pretty close to superman on wheels.

(Macias and Perez at -22 and -21 in Slwts projection, respectively)

Heh. Neifi mocks your projections by hitting grand slams vs. STL

:)
   81. 1k5v3L Posted: August 01, 2005 at 11:15 PM (#1516146)
Interesting; I thought Green was worse than Gonzo vs. LHP. Then again, these are projections. Neither is hitting lefties with much power this year anyhow, even though Gonzo has managed to post .373 OBP/.441 SGL line against them. Green, on the other hand, has put up .243 OBP/.352 SLG vs. LHP, in 105 at bats. That Melvin would waste 105 at bats on Green like that is one reason the Dbacks are just sucking this year; Terrero could probably do better than that vs. LHP and he can play better defense to hoot. If only Green weren't Moorad's golden boy and the second coming of Moses through the desert of Phoenix...
   82. mgl Posted: August 01, 2005 at 11:16 PM (#1516147)
I remember that one. He definitely showed some power on that inside pitch. Reminds me of when I was playing baseball about 15 years ago. I had very little power, but one time a very good pitcher threw me a high inside fastball which I was kind of looking for. Normally I can't hit that pitch with a telephone pole. Anyway, I swing early (probably before it left his hand) and hit one around 30 feet over the fence, but foul. The entire OF, who had never seen me before, backed up like 10 feet. Everyone on my team was cracking up, as that was the furthest ball I had ever hit in my life (probably 325 feet), and the only way that happened was by hitting it foul...
   83. Sweet Posted: August 01, 2005 at 11:23 PM (#1516156)
I agree with MGL that the Cubs treatment of Patterson has been a disaster. The guy's not, and never will be, a leadoff hitter. Stick him in the seven or eight hole, let him swing away and hit .270/.300./.450 with 10 runs a year on defense and 10 net steals, and be satisfied with an above-average CFer who won't impede your progress toward the playoffs.

The Cubs have overdeveloped their left-handed outfielder fetish to the point where they only have one outfielder -- Murton -- who hits better against lefties than righties (Hairston has a persistent reverse split). Give how they've tied their hands, I'd probably run a similar lineup out there every day:

Lawton (vs. RHP)/Murton (vs. LHP)
Walker
Lee
Ramirez
Burnitz
Garciaparra
Patterson
Barrett

Bench:

Lawton/Murton
Holly
Hairston
Blanco
Neifi

Macias should be DFAed, but of course he won't as long as he's hitting .285 or whatever the current number is.

FWIW, I'd also DFA Remlinger for Wood and send Mitre down to AAA in favor of Jermaine Van Buren.
   84. 1k5v3L Posted: August 01, 2005 at 11:33 PM (#1516165)
The Cubs should trade Remlinger to SD. AZ's C likes hitting him.
   85. Honkie Kong Posted: August 01, 2005 at 11:40 PM (#1516171)
The death of platooning can probably be attributed to modern day baseball teams carrying 12 pitchers on the roster ( heh, goes back to TLR somehow! ). So you have 13 spots for positional players. 8 "starters", atleast 1 backup catcher leaves us with 4 spots to play with.
Given the speciality of IF spots, teams tend to carry 2 backupinfielders atleast and one backup OF. Leaves one spot open for a platoon guy.
Platoons shouldn't be prohibitive because of salary though. As you mentioned in the post following, if you platoon Jay Payton with Ryan Church, you have an OF spot hitting 300+ with power. A full time OF producing that much is going to cost a ton, so I would assume that platooning saves salary.
Does platooning necessarily help develop young players? While managers seem to feel the need to put players in positions where they succeed, I think they are better off challenging young players, and protecting them when they struggle. And no young player is going to develop when being PH against a same handed pitcher.
So I think the second reason platooning doesn't work is modern day player egos. Every player, no matter what service time and what track record, is entertained by the media. Any time a player feels unhappy, all he needs to do is call up Jim Grey/Peter Gammons. Platooning is seen as "unfashionable", something to be done when you have a hole in your game. Also a platoon partner is not going to be paid a lot, so any player who is in a platoon wants to be come a starter. In times olden, your options on your request being rebuffed by your manager were not many. Nowadays, you can air your dirty laundry in the media, refuse to play and not be blackballed, free agency et al have opened more avenues for players. This I think is probably the single biggest reason for the death of platooning.
   86. Honkie Kong Posted: August 01, 2005 at 11:58 PM (#1516184)
And oh, I was not able to check the value per win thread for couple of days after I posted. Thanks for the reply on that. Every FA might have different value to a different team, hence their offer might vary. The difference won't be based just on basis of projections though ( for eg. local products have higher fan base, hence may be more viable to sign )
But consider this,
The wins added is calculated over a replacement level player. But that is probably not the true measure in signing a FA. The replacement level player for an organization has to be the MLE of the rookie it can promote or the incumbent.
More importantly, the cost of the player should also factor in the draft pick lost! So if an organization makes 40 picks in a draft and on average, produces N league average players, with the value of pick decreasing by round ( ignore trades for now ), each draft pick is worth a certain amount of money based on how long the draft pick produces over replacement level while being paid less than replacement level. So the value per win for the FA should be decreased if he has been offered arbitration.
I haven't read many studies, so have no idea if anyone has tried putting a value to a high round draft pick.
   87. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: August 02, 2005 at 12:09 AM (#1516207)
I'm wondering how much sample size can affect who we think should be platooned or not.

Here are Chone Figgins Platoon OPS for each year of his career.
        vs LHP   vs RHP
Year   OPS  AB  OPS  AB   LHP/RHP
2003   715  88  709 152     1.01
2004   813 169  751 408     1.08
2005   541 131  834 280     0.65
Career 693 396  770 844     0.90
Looking at his 2005 career numbers, you might say that he should not play against LHP. But coming into the year, you never could have guessed that. Perhaps if you had minor league splits and an MLE on them, that would help.

But it seems like some sample size has to be accrued before you realize if a player (particularly a LHB or switch-hitter) needs to be platooned.
   88. mgl Posted: August 02, 2005 at 12:26 AM (#1516240)
Sure, if you lose a draft pick when signing a FA (if that's what you meant), that surely has to be factored in to the equation. I would guess that a first rounder is worth a lot of money considering that they command 1-5 mil (is it more?) in bonus alone.

As far as $ value of win over replacement, the assumption is that you can pick up a replacement player from anywhere - your minor leagues, some other major league team, etc., but of course, it doesn't always work that way. I agree that you often have to use your best player in the minors as your personal "replacement level."

I don't know what a team like TB or KC's revenue is or what a marginal win might be worth for them, but for small market teams, especially those who don't evaluate players well or have poor drafts and player development systems, it may be correct for them to always field a replacement team. Of course, you eventually end up with some home grown very good young players whom you don't have to pay money to for a few years at least, so no team ever has to have 25 replacement players. IOW, it may be correct for some teams to have a 20 mil payroll, and expect to win 60-70 games or so...
   89. mgl Posted: August 02, 2005 at 12:35 AM (#1516264)
Excllent point about sample size and platooning. The answer is that you are at the mercy of the sample size of all of a player's historical stats. That is one reason why a sabermetric/statistical analysis is so important in making these kinds of decisons. You have to know how much to regress (and towards what number) a player's sample stats in order to estimate his true "whatever".

For platoon splits, remember that RHB's all have around the same true platoon ratio so we don't have to pay much attention to their sample splits. For LHB's, there is a lot of regression (a narrow range of true platoon splits). Switch hitters are a little trickier. Of course, you can tell a lot about a payer's true platoon ratio literally just by watching him bat a couple of times versus a tough same-side pitcher (especially with lefties). For example, E. Chavez bails out and has absolutely no pitch recognition versus LHP's as do lots of other lefties. Certain RHB's cannot lay off the down and away courve or slider and it is obvious from watching them just a few times. This is one area where I think observation is important in terms of "tweaking" the numbers. Of course the same (about observation) can be said of speed and arm strength. Some people think that's true of defense, but I disagree...
   90. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 02, 2005 at 01:22 AM (#1516301)
About the Cubs: are you telling me that a GM that has guys like Macias and Perez on its 25 man roster, and gives Hollandsworth a full time job (to give just a couple of examples) is smart? Or is a manager who bats Patterson and Neifi (or Neifi and Macias) in the 1-2 spots ahead of DLee smart? Please.<i>

Of course, you're preaching to the choir here, mgl. At the same time, it's not like the Cardinals organization has not been susceptible to similar stupidity over the years.

I mean, let's look at what you listed there. Having Macias and Perez on the roster is not in and of itself a terrible thing, so long as Macias is truly the 25th man and Perez is batting eighth every day. The rest of what you said is some pretty serious stupidity.

<i>If it weren't for DLee's superhuman season so far and Aramis's recent resurgence, the Cubs would be so far out of ANY race that this trade would be a super moot point. The fact that the Cubs make lateral moves (at best) and consider those major improvements speaks volumes of their stupidity.


Clive Djibouti makes a pretty salient point on this in #40.
   91. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 02, 2005 at 01:23 AM (#1516303)
Er, that was levski I was responding to there. mgl is next!
   92. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 02, 2005 at 01:27 AM (#1516307)
Excllent point about sample size and platooning. The answer is that you are at the mercy of the sample size of all of a player's historical stats. That is one reason why a sabermetric/statistical analysis is so important in making these kinds of decisons. You have to know how much to regress (and towards what number) a player's sample stats in order to estimate his true "whatever".

And be humble in accepting that sometimes there are not enough data for you to draw any kind of conclusion.
   93. Dan The Mediocre Posted: August 02, 2005 at 10:41 AM (#1516658)
mgl is right about the Cubs not doing the right thing with Patterson. He doesn't get on base nearly enough to be a leadoff hitter, but does have enough power to be a serious power threat.

The Cubs' underlying problem has been getting on base, not hitting home runs. Their plate discipline is terrible - 2nd in the NL in BA, but 11th in OBP.
   94. Dan The Mediocre Posted: August 02, 2005 at 10:54 AM (#1516659)
Our leadoff hitters gave us a line of 243/300/370. Lawton will hopefully be an improvement over that.
   95. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 02, 2005 at 12:39 PM (#1516698)
The death of platooning can probably be attributed to modern day baseball teams carrying 12 pitchers on the roster ( heh, goes back to TLR somehow! ).

This is IMO exactly what it is; teams have felt it to be more important to have extra flexibility on the pitching staff at the expense of carrying extra hitters on the bench. If the roster limit were raised to 28 (something which I'd like to see), I think you'd see platooning make a comeback.

-- MWE
   96. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 02, 2005 at 12:46 PM (#1516702)
Mike, if they expanded rosters to 28, Mac would bring you the majors' first 10-man bullpen.
   97. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: August 02, 2005 at 12:56 PM (#1516710)
Our leadoff hitters gave us a line of 243/300/370. Lawton will hopefully be an improvement over that.

There's no guarantee he'll end up leading off. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the top of the order be Hairston-Lawton, with Walker (who Dusty sees as a "protector" for the middle of the order guys) dropped back to the #6 spot.

Maybe Lawton-Hairston, but you just never know.
   98. zonk Posted: August 02, 2005 at 12:58 PM (#1516711)
Our leadoff hitters gave us a line of 243/300/370. Lawton will hopefully be an improvement over that.

Considering Lawton's career OBP is .370, and .380 this year -- I don't see how he couldn't.

I also want to re-insert the question I asked above -- because no one's given an answer to it.

Aren't there rare occasions where it's more valuable to evaluate a player relative to the team, rather than the strictly individual metrics like VORP/WARP/whatever?

I.e., in this case -- Lawton seems to be shoring a critical deficiency in the Cubs lineup. Doesn't that warrant a closer examination than a strict player A vs. player B analysis? Gerut may have more power, he may even be a better overall hitter, defender, player in general --- but absolutely nothing in Gerut's past suggests he's got a snowball's chance in hell of eclipsing Lawton OBP-wise.

Set aside whether or not you think the Cubs are going nowhere (and despite the AZ disaster this weekend, they only trail the Astros by 4 games with 10 head-to-heads left).

Does Lawton's one outstanding skill, which just so happens to be the Cubs' biggest deficiency, make them a better team?
   99. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: August 02, 2005 at 01:11 PM (#1516725)
Does Lawton's one outstanding skill, which just so happens to be the Cubs' biggest deficiency, make them a better team?

It depends on how you value his defense. His OBP, assuming he does continue to get on base at a .370+ rate, should help the Cubs improve offensively. Replacing Hollandsworth (who had about 6 good weeks but really stunk up the joint the rest of the year) with Lawton is an overall positive for the lineup, and having Hollandsworth available on the bench to pinch-hit should be a positive as well.

But defensively, without Patterson in CF, the Cub outfield is pretty terrible. Hairston's still learning the position and doesn't break well on balls, and he's not going to be able to make up for deficiencies in Lawton's range. Now, on a team that relies heavily on strikeout pitchers and doesn't give up a lot of fly balls, maybe it's not such a big deal.

But I don't think you can say that Lawton makes the Cubs a better team b/c of his OBP without also saying that he's a worse defender than Hollandsworth (or Murton or Gerut) in LF. The question is whether the increase in OBP for the offense will outweigh the problems with his defense? I'd tend to say yes, though I'd also tend to believe that Lawton will be platooned with Murton vs LHP, and Hollandsworth will still continue to get some starts when Dusty sees favorable matchups. So it's not like he'll be out there day in and day out.
   100. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 02, 2005 at 01:16 PM (#1516729)
Maybe Lawton-Hairston, but you just never know.

That's what I'm guessing, but with Mr. Toad at the wheel, who knows.

Our leadoff hitters gave us a line of 243/300/370. Lawton will hopefully be an improvement over that.

I don't think a .300 OBA is the true baseline though. It appears (knock on wood) that the horrible Mengelean experiments that put Patterson and Neifi in the leadoff spot are over. So, a more accurate baseline is probably Hairston's OBA, which is probably going to end up somewhere around .350. Lawton is likely to do better than that, perhaps his career .370 OBA being a reasonable call, but the difference is not big. If he has 250 plate appearances left this season, that pencils out to about 5 extra times on base.
Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Martin Hemner
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Syndicate

Demarini, Easton and TPX Baseball Bats

 

 

 

 

Page rendered in 1.1776 seconds
47 querie(s) executed