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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Nats - Busy Day for Jimbo

Washington Nationals - Claimed P Jacob Sequea and P Ryan Drese off waivers; acquired 2B Junior Spivey from the Milwaukee Brewers for P Tomo Ohka; informed OF Jeffrey Hammonds of his retirement since he didn’t quite get the message.

A lot of moves here.  The big one is Spivey for Ohka, of course, which tells me that they’re still very worried about Vidro’s ankle.  Or that they’re super paranoid and can’t last three weeks with Jamey Carroll at 2nd.  Or maybe a little from column A and a little from column B!  Spivey will most likely be benched or traded once Vidro is healthy - there’s no chance that Spivey ever replaces Castilla as Castilla has 2 good weeks this year to Cristian Guzman’s 0 and Frank Robinson was aghast a couple of days ago hat people didn’t appreciate the awesomeness of Guzman this year.

For the Brewers, the benefits are obvious.  They get to send Obermuller, who would be very fortunate to keep that ERA under 5, to mopup duty and add Ohka to the rotation.  They lose Spivey, but they needed to anyway to get Weeks in there.  Now, it’s only a minor upgrade, but I think Ohka will beat the projection now that he’s not actively trying to kill the manager.

2005 ZiPS Projection - Richie Weeks
——————————————————————————————————
Period     AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
——————————————————————————————————
Actual ‘05* 195 39   57 12 6 10 40 24 54   6 .292 .392 .569
Rest ‘05   316 52   8.  20 5 10 40 36 78   3 .263 .349 .453
——————————————————————————————————
* - includes MLE

 

2005 ZiPS Projection - Ryan Drese
—————————————————————————————-
Period     W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
—————————————————————————————-
Actual ‘05   4   6 12 12   69   96   50   5 24 20 6.46
Rest ‘05   7   7 21 21 123 131   59   8 42 56 4.32
—————————————————————————————-
Total ‘05   11 13 33 33 192 227 109 13 66 76 5.09

 

2005 ZiPS Projection - Junior Spivey
——————————————————————————————————
Period     AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
——————————————————————————————————
Actual ‘05 182 22   43   8 1   5 17 18 57   7 .236 .308 .374
Rest ‘05   272 38   70 15 1   6 33 30 69   4 .257 .342 .386
——————————————————————————————————
Total ‘05 454 60 113 23 2 11 50 48 126 11 .249 .329 .381

 

2005 ZiPS Projection - Tomo Ohka
—————————————————————————————-
Period     W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
—————————————————————————————-
Actual ‘05   4   3 10   9   54   44   20   6 27 17 3.33
Rest ‘05   4   6 18 18 105 115   56 12 35 54 4.80
—————————————————————————————-
Total ‘05   8   9 28 27 159 159   76 18 62 71 4.30

Luckily, Bowden was kind enough to supply Baseball Think Factory with a page from the notepad he used while making today’s transactions.

Dan Szymborski Posted: June 11, 2005 at 01:37 AM | 40 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. joshtothemaxx Posted: June 11, 2005 at 02:56 AM (#1397088)
I must say, that is definitely the funniest thing I've seen in my time coming to this site!
   2. CraigK Posted: June 11, 2005 at 03:05 AM (#1397102)
RDF, Dan.

Again.

2nd time this week.
   3. Dave Bell Posted: June 11, 2005 at 03:08 AM (#1397110)
Tres Magnifique
   4. Grunthos Posted: June 11, 2005 at 03:12 AM (#1397117)
While I think today's set of moves is perfectly reasonable, I wish to say that I also think you have captured the essence of Jim Bowden's thought processes brilliantly. Hat tip to you, sir.
   5. Horatio Funderburke Posted: June 11, 2005 at 03:27 AM (#1397139)
Absolutely brilliant, thank you.
   6. Gaylord Perry the Platypus (oi!) Posted: June 11, 2005 at 03:34 AM (#1397144)
The Oracle is on a roll!

As a Braves fan, I'd much rather Bowden had found some way to get Hammonds into the lineup every day - even if he needed a wheelchair.
   7. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: June 11, 2005 at 05:43 AM (#1397264)
Are you trying to distract us or are you just senial?

a little from column A and a little from column B
   8. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: June 11, 2005 at 05:46 AM (#1397266)
I really don't understand the role that Spivey is supposed to play on the Nats, whereas Ohka had a clearly defined role and seems to be a better option than the guy replacing him in the rotation. Unless Bowden can flip Spivey for something useful, I don't see how the trade helps them.

If Vidro's injury is more serious than is publicly known at this time, it would explain the necessity of trading for Spivey. But unless that proves to be the case, it seems to me that the Nats gave away a promising young arm for a pretty fungible player that they don't really need.
   9. Zapatero Posted: June 11, 2005 at 11:11 AM (#1397324)
Hey, don't let the facts stop you from bashing Bowden and Robinson and their first place Nationals.

Castilla has a VORP of 12.4, putting him solidly in the middle of the pack for NL 3b. And having actually watched the team, I can tell you he means more to them than that. He's a great clubhouse guy. That 2 year signing looks better and better all the time.

Bowden absolutely stole Marlon Byrd from the Phillies. That was a great move.

But the most important thing about the recent moves is the pattern. Bowden and Robinson are building a "Nationals Way," something like the Orioles Way of the 70s. The #1 rule is "no ego allowed." Already, they've shipped out two guys who actively disrespected the manager and coaches. Endy Chavez publicly refused to even work on the strikezone-management issues they wanted him to work on, and the recent Ohka problems are widely documented.

I like what this says about the team. It says that Nationals players will play as a team, or they'll play somewhere else. This is a selfless team that plays as a unit, and that goes a long way to explaining why they're on top of the NL East right now.

Can they make the playoffs? It's going to be a long hard road, and they probably don't have enough in the tank to beat the rest of the NL East . But in a division with the Phillies, Mets, Braves and Marlins, isn't it about time y'all recognized that the Nationals' success might not just be a random fluke of chance -- that Bowden and Robinson might just be doing something right in DC?
   10. Mikαεl Posted: June 11, 2005 at 01:00 PM (#1397335)
They are doing something right. First, they're winning close games at a (probably) unsustainable rate.

But they've also built a very good, cheap rotation, Loaiza was the 2nd best pitching FA signing of the offseason, they got Patterson for basically free, and a couple years ago they turned Livan Hernandez into a good pitcher. They've built a nice bullpen. And Nick Johnson looks like the superstar hitter they've needed in the lineup.

Frank Robinson has a pretty good track record of teaching plate patience, and it looks like Vinny Castilla might have finally learned. Castilla's existing glove and power + 30 BBs a year is a nice player. I can see why Nationals fans are excited.

The Bowden jokes, I'd say, are more because he's an insufferable blowhard.
   11. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 11, 2005 at 01:04 PM (#1397338)
Castilla has a VORP of 12.4, putting him solidly in the middle of the pack for NL 3b. And having actually watched the team, I can tell you he means more to them than that. He's a great clubhouse guy. That 2 year signing looks better and better all the time.

But the most important thing about the recent moves is the pattern. Bowden and Robinson are building a "Nationals Way," something like the Orioles Way of the 70s. The #1 rule is "no ego allowed."

I like what this says about the team. It says that Nationals players will play as a team, or they'll play somewhere else. This is a selfless team that plays as a unit, and that goes a long way to explaining why they're on top of the NL East right now.

Kirk: I need more power from the cliche-otron Scottie!

Scottie: I can't do it captain! It's already bursting at the seams!

The fact is, Castilla hasn't played well in nearly 2 months. Spin it all you want but it's not looking better "all the time." Outplaying pythag has never been a sustainable skill - the Nats are a .500 team.
   12. Mikαεl Posted: June 11, 2005 at 01:13 PM (#1397340)
The fact is, Castilla hasn't played well in nearly 2 months. Spin it all you want but it's not looking better "all the time."

He's got an above average ZR and OPS at third base. I don't think that's spin.

I generally agree about the Pythag thing - the Nats look more like an 80-85 win team on a big streak to me. But, have there been any studies on the predictive ability of Pyth within a season? I tend to think someone must have back on rsbb, but I don't know of it. It seems reasonable that Pyth might capture a team skill within seasons, though I certainly don't know.
   13. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 11, 2005 at 01:17 PM (#1397344)

He's got an above average ZR and OPS at third base. I don't think that's spin.


To argue that him hitting like a AAA utility infielder causes the signing to look *better* is silly. The signing would have looked best 2 weeks into the season and continually looks worse.
   14. Mikαεl Posted: June 11, 2005 at 01:23 PM (#1397345)
Ah, the "better and better all the time." ok.

It does look better than it did in the offseason, though. And I'm not too skeptical of Robinson's ability to teach patience.
   15. fra paolo Posted: June 11, 2005 at 01:42 PM (#1397351)
But they've also built a very good, cheap rotation, Loaiza was the 2nd best pitching FA signing of the offseason, they got Patterson for basically free, and a couple years ago they turned Livan Hernandez into a good pitcher. They've built a nice bullpen. And Nick Johnson looks like the superstar hitter they've needed in the lineup.

Let's see, Patterson came to Montréal, Livan came to Montréal, the bullpen came to Montréal, Nick the Stick came to Montréal. And apart from some of the bullpen, which came to Montréal when it was an actual independent team, instead of a ward of MLB, that was all Minaya's handiwork.

Bowden signed Loaiza (of the moves from this list).

Credit where it's due, then -- two cheers for Omar Minaya. Bowden's reaping some of another man's work. Good for him.
   16. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 11, 2005 at 01:42 PM (#1397352)
Why spend talent like Ohka to get Spivey when you already have Brendan Harris?
   17. Mikαεl Posted: June 11, 2005 at 01:52 PM (#1397360)

Credit where it's due, then -- two cheers for Omar Minaya. Bowden's reaping some of another man's work. Good for him.


Fine point. I had the wrong timeline on Patterson, and that makes it even more Minaya's work.

I would tend to give equal credit to Minaya and to the team management - Robinson/St. Claire - who as best as I understand it, were involved in all aspects of the roster management.
   18. Chris Needham Posted: June 11, 2005 at 01:58 PM (#1397365)
Brendan Harris has been left for dead by the team.

They've kvetched about his defense at second all spring, and have gone out of their way to not give him a shot.

He was up for a week or so recently, and hit well, showing good patience, and some power. Still, they sent him down (instead playing Carlos Baerga some at second.)

They view his future at third.

The problem is, they've got another season for Vinny, and then Dutch Zimmerman is on the fast track, starting out at AA Harrisburg. If it takes Dutch three seasons to make it, Harris would only have one year -- asuming they didn't sign a stop-gap.
   19. Joey B. Posted: June 11, 2005 at 03:27 PM (#1397405)
Outplaying pythag has never been a sustainable skill - the Nats are a .500 team.

Wow, the Nationals are only a .500 team in the best division in baseball? That's just absolutely horrendous for a team that I saw picked by "experts" to be the second-worst team in baseball and called a 60-win team by guys on here.
   20. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: June 11, 2005 at 03:34 PM (#1397409)
Brendan Harris has been left for dead by the team.

They've kvetched about his defense at second all spring, and have gone out of their way to not give him a shot.


It must be like deja vu for him to his days in the Cubs system. He always hit, and they always said there was no position for him.
   21. Sparkles Peterson Posted: June 11, 2005 at 03:48 PM (#1397421)
Looking at his peripherals, it's clear Tomo Ohka is due for a huge fall sometime soon, but wouldn't a good GM take advantage of that fluke ERA to sucker another GM out of a good player? Spivey is overpaid and only qualifies as a "mediocrity" if you don't think his defense is as bad as its reputation.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: June 11, 2005 at 07:37 PM (#1397685)
Ahh, Vinny Castilla and the beauty of small sample sizes. What a weird season:

OPS
April 1008
May 666
June 632

But it's weirder than that. In May, he hit 245 with little power (82 ISO), but had an extremely uncharacteristic 14 BB in 98 AB (there's his new-found patience). In June so far, he hit 206 with only 2 BB in 34 AB but with decent power (176 ISO).

By the way, if his increased patience is for real, I'm not sure Robinson deserves the credit. Castilla had a big jump in his BB rate last year (career high).

But still as far as I know a good defensive 3B and if he can muster one more good month, then while not necessarily a help, Vinny officially won't have been a problem for this team this year.

He may or may not be good in the clubhouse, but the Nats aren't a particularly young team and they have lots of wily vets -- Livan, Loaiza, Baerga, Bennett, Vidro. Even their "young" stars aren't that young -- Wilkerson, Sledge, Byrd, Guzman, Schneider, Patterson, Drese, Armas are all 27 or older. Cordero seems the only important guy under 26. So it's not Vinny's veteran presence that was needed.

Anyway, I'll get off Vinny's case. 3 of the last 4 years, he's been a decent option at 3B. Of course it's also true that 3 of the last 6 years he's been a decent option at 3B.
   23. Fred Flint Posted: June 11, 2005 at 07:45 PM (#1397702)
Regarding pythagorean projections for the Nationals, their record is actually right on target from April 12 to date. They were badly blown out three times during the opening week of the season, which has thrown off their season RS/RA totals. The fact is that they have played like a team that should be about 10 games above .500 for the last three months. It's not a fluke.
   24. Chris Needham Posted: June 11, 2005 at 08:24 PM (#1397837)
You stole my blog posting! :)

I just did the math this morning -- slow day. I'm calling it the Curse of Joe Horgan. Since they jettisoned him and his 21 ERA (circa April 20), they've outscored the opponent 186-162, which is roughly in line with current performance.

Prior to that, they were outscored 69-90. Most of the gains v. Pythagoras were made in those two weeks prior, the Joe Horgan era.

It seems like they're playing with the house's money.

I just hope they can keep it up!
   25. Joey B. Posted: June 11, 2005 at 08:36 PM (#1397883)
Oh, and by the way, are the Philadelphia Phillies also in reality just a .500 team? I ask because their "Pythagorean Record" is almost exactly identical to that of the Nationals right now.
   26. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 11, 2005 at 10:30 PM (#1398260)
Oh, and by the way, are the Philadelphia Phillies also in reality just a .500 team? I ask because their "Pythagorean Record" is almost exactly identical to that of the Nationals right now.

Yes.
   27. Шĥy Posted: June 11, 2005 at 10:35 PM (#1398265)
That's just absolutely horrendous for a team that I saw picked by "experts" to be the second-worst team in baseball and called a 60-win team by guys on here.

Actually, ZIPS sims had them as a .500 team.
   28. Ben Posted: June 11, 2005 at 10:46 PM (#1398280)
I love that when you make a negative observation about a team some fans assume you must be a fan of a rival. Nobody who isn't a Philles/Braves/Marlins/Mets fan could possibly have anything bad to say about Vinny Castilla or Christian Guzman.
   29. DCW3 Posted: June 12, 2005 at 01:54 AM (#1398455)
Nobody who isn't a Philles/Braves/Marlins/Mets fan could possibly have anything bad to say about Vinny Castilla

Y'know, it probably does help to be a Braves fan...
   30. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 12, 2005 at 11:28 AM (#1398868)
Outplaying pythag has never been a sustainable skill - the Nats are a .500 team.

Wow, the Nationals are only a .500 team in the best division in baseball? That's just absolutely horrendous for a team that I saw picked by "experts" to be the second-worst team in baseball and called a 60-win team by guys on here.


And it's even worse for a team which had both a real and a pythag of 67-94 in 2004. If you can't improve by at least 20 or 25 games in a year you're even more overrated than Derek Jeter.
   31. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: June 12, 2005 at 11:55 AM (#1398869)
But it's weirder than that. In May, he hit 245 with little power (82 ISO), but had an extremely uncharacteristic 14 BB in 98 AB (there's his new-found patience). In June so far, he hit 206 with only 2 BB in 34 AB but with decent power (176 ISO).

By the way, if his increased patience is for real, I'm not sure Robinson deserves the credit. Castilla had a big jump in his BB rate last year (career high).


So far in 2005, 5 of Castilla's 21 walks have been intentional. ESPN.com doesn't break IBB down by month, so I decided to dig a little deeper and go to the game logs.

May 1: 1 BB, not IBB (Heilmann walked 5 in 6 IP)
May 2: 2 BB, not IBB (Erickson walked 3 in 6.1 IP)
May 7: 1 BB, not IBB (Schmidt walked 6 in 3.2 IP)
May 8: 3 BB, 1 IBB (13 inning game)
May 9: 1 BB, 1 IBB
May 13: 1 BB, not IBB
May 14: 1 BB, 1 IBB
May 19: 1 BB, not IBB
May 24: 2 BB, 1 IBB
May 30: 1 IBB, not IBB

So, 4 of Castilla's 14 BB were IBB. At least another 2 came against starters with serious control issues that day plus another against the worst pitcher on the planet. And another happened in part to an extrainning game, against a mediocre pitcher IIRC.

In my opinion, it doesn't look like Castilla's gotten any more patient at the plate. In May, he was fortunate enough to have a couple things break his way that inflated his walk total a bit. But Castilla's May serves as a better example of the problem with small sample than it does an instance of a vet improving his skill set, I think.
   32. Joey B. Posted: June 12, 2005 at 03:15 PM (#1398905)
Actually, ZIPS sims had them as a .500 team.

A little less, but yes ZiPS did have them playing better than most of the other prognosticators.

By the way, what was the ZiPs projection for the Oakland A's this year?
   33. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 12, 2005 at 06:25 PM (#1399114)
89-73, which ain't gonna happen. Easy to see why - Blanton especially has been awful (whatever happened to that hard fastball with movement?) and all of the vets have underperformed.

I don't think anyone can claim they predicted Kendall or Chavez to be as bad as they've been. Yes, there's always a chance that a catcher breaks down, but .600 OPS? I can't help but think there's some serious coaching and/or managing issues there.

Those team projections are just for fun, though - player projections are hard enough to get right. Though in this case, I felt that the Nats were about a .500 team but that just happened to coincide with ZiPS.

I guess I'm just confused as to why I've become a National basher all of a sudden. Yes, I hated the Castilla/Guzman signings, but I would've complained about them if the Dodgers or Blue Jays had done them, too.
   34. fables of the deconstruction Posted: June 12, 2005 at 07:55 PM (#1399283)
Though in this case, I felt that the Nats were about a .500 team but that just happened to coincide with ZiPS.

Okay Dan,

Since I only make it here on the weekends, I've probably missed numerous opportunities for you to 'wax philosophic.' Let me redirect your attention to the AL East. What do you think about the Orioles and where is it all leading to...??? :-) :-) :-) ...

-----------
trevise :-) ...
   35. Walt Davis Posted: June 12, 2005 at 08:01 PM (#1399305)
Those team projections are just for fun, though - player projections are hard enough to get right.

Actually, the team projections should be easier because, on average, the over- and under-projections on the players will average out. Obviously injuries and other playing time issues help to throw off a team's projection, but probably not by that much.

I'd think the inaccuracy in team projections comes more from the big variance in turning performance into wins. Even if you projected team RS and RA exactly, you're still talking about a standard deviation in wins of about +/- 6.

If you haven't yet, it would be interesting to go back over earlier years and look at the correlations of projected pythag vs. actual pythag vs. actual record to get some idea of where the greatest amount of error in team projections is coming from.
   36. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 12, 2005 at 08:32 PM (#1399416)
But you're forgetting the big problem in team projections - who will play and who will be injured.
   37. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 12, 2005 at 08:47 PM (#1399462)
Okay Dan,

Since I only make it here on the weekends, I've probably missed numerous opportunities for you to 'wax philosophic.' Let me redirect your attention to the AL East. What do you think about the Orioles and where is it all leading to...??? :-) :-) :-) ...


I though the Orioles were a .500 team. They've clearly played better than that - the pitching has been much better than I thought, with the exception of Cabrera. Cabrera is one of the most frustrating pitchers to watch; every time you think that he's turned the corner, he'll toss one of his 50% Ball games.
   38. fables of the deconstruction Posted: June 12, 2005 at 09:10 PM (#1399542)
Cabrera is one of the most frustrating pitchers to watch; every time you think that he's turned the corner, he'll toss one of his 50% Ball games.

In yesterday's game chatter, I put it thusly:

What I can't understand is Cabrera threw a damned fine game on (what?) Sunday. Then today he comes in like a nuclear detonation device. Consistency! I can understand not being on your game every outing but don't pitch one game like an all-star and the next like a 10 year old little leaguer.

It was a two part question of which you neglected the latter... ;-) ... (i.e.: the revised prognostication...?)
-----------
trevise :-) ...
   39. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 13, 2005 at 12:02 AM (#1399920)
(i.e.: the revised prognostication...?)

Oh, I think they're a better than .500 team now - a 90-win per 162 game season type of team.
   40. fables of the deconstruction Posted: June 13, 2005 at 12:52 AM (#1400126)
...a 90-win per 162 game season type of team.

Particularly after the rather bizarre ending to 2002, my 'WAGs' off the "W.A.G.E" have been pretty much spot-on:

2001 - 63
2002 - 67
2003 - 72
2004 - 78

So to me, anything above the 85-86 wins I WAGged for 2005 is a bonus. I'm already targeting 95 wins and a playoff slot for 2006. (But I was anyway before this season began.) The real test will be the World Series Championship in 2007...! :-) ...

-----------
trevise :-) ...

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