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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Oakland A’s

Acquired P Kirk Saarloos from the Houston Astros for P Chad Harville.

Nice bounty for the A’s for a DFAed player.  The A’s were in a roster crunch as they didn’t have anyone they could send down in order to call up Harden when his turn in the rotation came up.  Saarloos has had mixed results in the majors to date (last year had nice periphs but 2002 was legitimately awful) but still has time to turn it around and has a swank change-sinker combo.  Saarloos will be in the minors for now - it’s very likely the Astros promoted him too quickly.  Not every pitcher is Roy Oswalt.

Dan Szymborski Posted: April 17, 2004 at 01:46 PM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   201. Danny Posted: July 31, 2003 at 04:20 PM (#567074)
Darren,

A few points.

1) You're ignoring Harang's 15 starts last year in which he was below average.

2) One of Harang's "good" starts was: 5 1/3 IP, 3 R, 0 K, 1 BB, 2 HR, and 8 hits. That's not a good start.

3) Yes, those are nice AAA numbers for Harang, but not as nice as these: 93 K, 11 BB, 9 HR in 126 1/3 AAA IP. Those are Justin Duchscherer's stats this year, just one of the reasons Harang was expendable.

4) There are two reasons Halama was allowd to make so many starts. A) Harang was not likely to do any better. B) Halama is out of options.
   202. Darren Posted: July 31, 2003 at 06:57 PM (#567081)
1) You're ignoring Harang's 15 starts last year in which he was below average.

Yes, but similar to what Halama was doing last year as a starter.

Agreed on #2.

3) Yes, those are nice AAA numbers for Harang, but not as nice as these: 93 K, 11 BB, 9 HR in 126 1/3 AAA IP. Those are Justin Duchscherer's stats this year, just one of the reasons Harang was expendable.

I'm not saying that the A's should have kept Harang or that he is better than the Duch. I'm saying that he wasn't really given much of a chance to show what he could do in the bigs.

4) There are two reasons Halama was allowd to make so many starts. A) Harang was not likely to do any better. B) Halama is out of options.

Were these the only 2 guys that could have been sent down? (Really, I have no idea.) Whatever the answer to that question, it doesn't really change my point that Harang hasn't had much of a shot to prove himself.
   203. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: October 10, 2003 at 02:13 AM (#567810)
Okay, maybe i overreacted when i first read that Scutaro had been waived, but that still doesn't make this the right decision, ESPECIALLY if Super Blow is still around next year. Even if they waive McSuck, they still would need someone backing up the IF, i don't understand why Scutaro couldn't have been that guy.

The sad thing about Watson being waved is that he was perhaps the 2nd best outfielder the Mets had. Now that's pathetic.
   204. BrandonMO (U L) Posted: October 10, 2003 at 05:12 AM (#567812)
The Mets still have Jeremy Hill on their 40 man roster.. since apparently Hill is too valuable to outright off the 40 man roster. Because all the teams want him!

the Graeme Lloyd for Jeremy Hill deal was the biggest disaster for both sides in quite some time.

Lloyd with KC: 16 games, 12 1/3 innings pitched, 29 hits, 18 runs (15 earned), 7 walks, 8 strikeouts, 10.95 ERA, 2.91 WHIP

Hill with the Mets' AA team: 11 games, 13 innings pitched, 14 hits, 15 runs given up, 15 walks, 10 strikeouts, 7 wild pitches, 10.38 ERA, 2.23 WHIP

Hill's 2003 numbers (13 innings with Binghamton, 40 1/3 with Omaha, 2 with Wichita)

39 games, 55 1/3 innings pitched, 56 hits, 54 runs given up (50 earned), 60 walks, 54 strikeouts, 19 wild pitches, 8.13 ERA, 2.10 WHIP

I don't know why Hill is on the Mets 40 man roster. But.. I guess having guys like Hill on the roster is smarter than having guys like Esix Snead (who could be more valuable to the Mets, especially if he takes the job of Timo Perez) on the roster.

Then again, this is the same team that has Mike Glavine playing as a favor.
   205. Sam M. Posted: October 10, 2003 at 10:45 AM (#567814)
Well, for everyone who cried, "Fee Marco Scutaro," you got your wish. I, too, think he should have played more this last year, as the best of a bunch of bad options at 2B. But losing him has absolutely no impact on the Mets future, the timeline for becoming a championship-caliber team, or even on their prospects for being a decent team next year.

gd's list of others who could/should -- hopefully will -- go is a good one. Bell is easy, BTW, since he's already announced his retirement.
   206. Matthew Rich Posted: October 10, 2003 at 02:39 PM (#567815)
Bo Polak's going to be pissed.
   207. SM in DC Posted: October 10, 2003 at 05:43 PM (#567817)
In order to make room for Scutaro and Watson, the A's designated John Halama and catcher Mark Johnson.

Somewhere Dan Werr weeps.
   208. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: October 10, 2003 at 06:15 PM (#567818)
I think you guys are giving Duquette too much credit. He is not going to let McEwing go, so this move boils down to McEwing or Scutaro. Basically they decided to keep the less talented, pricier option, on a move that is on par with the organization's previous ones.
   209. miles Posted: October 10, 2003 at 07:56 PM (#567819)
a move that is on par with the organization's previous ones

Lets just hope something is done soon about the future ones soon, or else Cerda will be pitching for someone else as well.

Shameless promotion: http://theraindrops.blogspot.com/
   210. Sam M. Posted: October 11, 2003 at 01:51 AM (#567820)
I'll go out on a limb and predict that Joe McEwing is NOT with the Mets next year. If he is, then anyone who rips the organization for keeping him and not Scutaro around has every right.
   211. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: October 14, 2003 at 07:59 AM (#567823)
I disagree about Scutaro, sure his overall stats don't look that great, but you have to put them in perspective:

First 17 AB's 167 .118 .118
   212. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: October 14, 2003 at 08:16 AM (#567824)
I was just glancing at the Mets 40 man roster, and i had some questions.

1. What happens to the players on the 60 man DL, who won't be ready to play at the start of next year (Strickland, Mo)? Can the Mets keep them in the 60 man DL, or do they have to activate them for the offseason? And if so when can they put them back in the DL?

2. Someone asked this already, but what happens to the FA's in the roster (Bell, Astacio, Franco, Clark, Gonzalez, Timo(?), McSuck)? That's seven more roster spots they could use, plus the cuts they hopefully make (Almonte, Hill, Cede?o). I guess you could count Stanton in there, but thats just wishful thinking.
   213. miles Posted: October 17, 2003 at 06:38 AM (#567830)
Does anyone know what the status of Mo Vaughn's insurance policy is? I think the Mets get like 80% or some such figure picked up if he doesn't play next year, but I'm not concerned about that exact figure. What I want to know is if the Mets need to carry Vaughn on the 40 man in 2004 to collect? If anyone has any information on this, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks in advance.
   214. The Other Kurt Posted: December 15, 2003 at 10:36 PM (#570195)
I don't understand this. Oakland seems to already have (at least) three options at C that are better than Barret, and they all can be had for around about the league minimum.

NAME OBP/SLG from ZiPS
   215. WillYoung Posted: December 15, 2003 at 11:01 PM (#570196)
I was wondering when I would see the first use of GPA by someone other than Aaron.
   216. AGF Posted: December 15, 2003 at 11:04 PM (#570197)
I am not sure about Beane's metrics, but one trend is interesting:

Dealt:
   217. Zen Bitz Posted: December 15, 2003 at 11:11 PM (#570198)
Beane taking a page out of Sabean's book.
   218. The Other Kurt Posted: December 15, 2003 at 11:14 PM (#570199)
I've actually seen it used around here a couple times already, like here. I'm so used to glancing at OBP/SLG numbers that it really doesn't provide any "value add" to me, but its a super simple single number to decently describe hitting ability, so I definitly think its got a place.

But back to Barret, seriously, what will he get in arbitration, and why pay millions for a C when you already have better and cheaper options?
   219. Roger McDowell spit on me! Posted: December 15, 2003 at 11:24 PM (#570200)
Must be so the A's have an alternative for 3B when Chavez leaves next year.

[/gagging]

I guess this ends any LoDuca for Dye speculation too; not that
   220. Mattbert Posted: December 15, 2003 at 11:29 PM (#570201)
why pay millions for a C when you already have better and cheaper options?

Allow me to put on my Dr. Evil mask and ask, "Why pay millions when you could pay ... billions?"

Check Barrett's page on ESPN.com (homepage link). According to them, he took in a cool $1.15 billion in 2002. No wonder the Expos are in such trouble.
   221. MM1f Posted: December 15, 2003 at 11:54 PM (#570202)
I was just going to go find a thread to point out that Darrell May was 375 million (hompage link) last year, doesn't look like there's any collusion to me...

:)
   222. Ken Arneson Posted: December 15, 2003 at 11:54 PM (#570203)
The A's don't trust Grabowski's defense behind the plate, or Rose's offense. Barrett played hurt for much of 2003, which affected his numbers.

I think it's a good risk. If they can't come to a reasonable salary agreement, they can just non-tender him like the Expos were going to. There aren't many teams left who have a starting catcher job available, so I think the A's have pretty good leverage.
   223. MM1f Posted: December 16, 2003 at 03:25 AM (#570207)
Rockies got Kroon, at least if I recall the last Prospect Report correctly.

What a useless memory, great at remembering utterly useless things like that; helpless at remembering anything worth remembering...
   224. Roger McDowell spit on me! Posted: December 16, 2003 at 04:41 AM (#570209)
I would think the Cubs wuld just wait it out at this point, if they really are interested. See if the A's sign him, because if they don't, Barrett possibly ends up getting non-tendered.
   225. Roger McDowell spit on me! Posted: December 16, 2003 at 04:42 AM (#570210)
Yes, I can indeed spell "would".
   226. AGF Posted: December 16, 2003 at 04:55 AM (#570211)
He's going to be 27 in 2004 - his best chance at having a surprise peak year

I hope you're right but this signing reminds me of the Singleton signing last year. Beane in need of defensive strength at key position sacrifices offensive value.
   227. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 16, 2003 at 05:34 AM (#570212)
Beane or no, I remain skeptical. Barrett's got a bit of power, but he's not very patient, and I just don't have the feeling that he's ever going to put it together.
   228. Danny Posted: December 16, 2003 at 05:43 AM (#570213)
Beane or no, I remain skeptical. Barrett's got a bit of power, but he's not very patient, and I just don't have the feeling that he's ever going to put it together.

Barrett has drawn 61 walks in 602 AB the past two years. This is an above league average rate, and far above league average for a catcher.

I assume Beane will be looking to sign Barrett fo cheap, and will non-tender him if they cannot reach a deal. Not a big risk either way. Rose has absolutely no power, and Grabowski can't play defense, so Barrett looks like a good option to back up Melhuse.
   229. APNY Posted: December 16, 2003 at 06:01 AM (#570214)
I think the A's could be buying low again.

Barrett mad $2.6M last year, the least he could make in arbitration is $2.08M.

Barrett's EQA's since coming into the league have been : .260, .188, .221, .257, .225.

FRAA rates him below average on D, I don't know what UZR says.

I guess anyone can be a candidate to have a breakout year, but Barrett probably qualifies as unlikely.
   230. APNY Posted: December 16, 2003 at 06:12 AM (#570215)
I assume Beane will be looking to sign Barrett fo cheap, and will non-tender him if they cannot reach a deal

Wouldn't the 75% rule apply. Meaning the least they could sign Barrett for would be $1.95M, probably not what the A's want to pay a backup catcher.

Giving up Brett Price and a PTBNL does make it seem like the PTBNL would depend on signing Barrett, but then why not just ask Mon for a negotiating window? The Expos were going to non-tender Barrett anyway, so they probably wouldn't mind. I know Price is just a minor league reliever, but giving him up just to non-tender Barrett doesn't seem like a good move.
   231. Danny Posted: December 16, 2003 at 06:13 AM (#570216)
Barrett mad $2.6M last year, the least he could make in arbitration is $2.08M.

But the A's don't have to offer Barrett arbitration; I'd be very surprised if they did. Barrett knows he won't make anywhere near $2M as a free agent if he's non-tendered, so he would likely agree to a deal for less than that.

FRAA rates him below average on D, I don't know what UZR says.

UZR rates him as 1 run below average per year over 2000-2002.
   232. APNY Posted: December 16, 2003 at 06:16 AM (#570217)
Actually, CBS says Price and a PTBNL, but ESPN just say a PTBNL.

I have no idea which is correct.
   233. APNY Posted: December 16, 2003 at 06:21 AM (#570218)
And MLB.com says:

Traded C Michael Barrett to the A''s for minor league pitcher Jonathan Brett and a player to be named.

Completly confusing.
   234. J. Cross Posted: December 16, 2003 at 07:23 AM (#570220)
Like Danny said the A's aren't offering Barrett arbitration. No one would offer him arbitration. For all intensive purposes he's a free agent. As far as I can tell, all this deal accomplishes for the A's is giving them an exclusive negotiating window with Barrett. Ofcourse, I don't understand why they'd want that.
   235. NTNgod Posted: December 16, 2003 at 08:11 AM (#570221)
Apparently the A's are also close to signing Benitez and Rhodes....
   236. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 16, 2003 at 01:59 PM (#570222)
"Barrett has drawn 61 walks in 602 AB the past two years. This is an above league average rate, and far above league average for a catcher."

OK, two quibbles. First, almost 1/4 of those walks were intentional (14 of 61), and if you're going to do a proper job of analyzing a hitter's patience, you need to pull out the IBBs because they aren't a reflection of anything other than tactical situations.

Second, I don't see any real reason to cut the sample off at two years, except for it being the most favorable selective endpoint for your position. He had 21 BB in 252 PA last year (8.3%), and 144 in 1979 PA for his career (7.3%). Additionally, he saw only 3.56 pitches per plate appearance last year (ranking 56 of 91 MLB catchers), and an even lower 3.48 p/PA for his career.

I stand on my statement. Michael Barrett is not a very patient hitter.
   237. Danny Posted: December 16, 2003 at 06:05 PM (#570223)
OK, two quibbles. First, almost 1/4 of those walks were intentional (14 of 61), and if you're going to do a proper job of analyzing a hitter's patience, you need to pull out the IBBs because they aren't a reflection of anything other than tactical situations.

Very valid point, I should have considered that.

Second, I don't see any real reason to cut the sample off at two years, except for it being the most favorable selective endpoint for your position.

Well, yeah. But surely Barrett's last two seasons are more indicatve of his patience than previous years, epecially considering that he's just now 27. Either way, he's not particularly impatient for a catcher.
   238. J. Cross Posted: December 16, 2003 at 06:48 PM (#570225)
no problem, cmr. I'm picky when other people write dumb stuff.
   239. AGF Posted: December 16, 2003 at 07:17 PM (#570226)
The SF Chronicle (homepage) reports that the A's will spin Barrett to someone else, while they acquire Damian Miller. I dont' know if I should cry or laugh....
   240. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 16, 2003 at 08:23 PM (#570260)
Thoughtfully, I'd requested four of the first five picks when they were Pirates.
   241. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 16, 2003 at 08:28 PM (#570227)
"But surely Barrett's last two seasons are more indicatve of his patience than previous years..."

I'm not convinced of this, actually. By any measure, Barrett's plate discipline in '03 was worse than it was in '02, and it could be that '02 was just an outlier on a career that'll peak with slightly-below-average plate discipline.
   242. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 16, 2003 at 09:17 PM (#570262)
Don't mind me, I'm just enjoying the whole Cassandra thing.
   243. Buddha Posted: December 16, 2003 at 10:46 PM (#570228)
Barrett has been traded to the Cubs for a PTBNL
   244. Darren Posted: December 16, 2003 at 10:56 PM (#570230)
cmr, he was talking about all of the purposes that were intensive. He didn't want you think he was talking about those easy going, go at your own rate purposes.
   245. Darren Posted: December 16, 2003 at 10:58 PM (#570231)
Barrett has been traded to the Cubs for a PTBNL.
   246. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: December 16, 2003 at 11:13 PM (#570233)
So the Cubs have 7 right-handed position players and Corey Patterson, they talk about how they are happy with the Miller/Bako tandem, but would be willing to upgrade if they get the chance . . . and they get Barrett??? Color me unimpressed. Yes, he looked like he was going to be good 5 years ago and, yes, he's entering his age 27 year. What does this mean, though -- that he may break out and equal Miller?

Whither Bako? Not only is he known for his defense -- certainly as much if not more than Barrett -- but at least he can hit from the left side (and nearly as well as Barrett).

For an organization that seemed so willing to accept the status quo, I don't see how this is an improvement.
   247. Dusty's Least Favorite Base-Clogger (Roy Hobbs) Posted: December 16, 2003 at 11:24 PM (#570234)
Hmmm, why does this situation remind me so much of the passage describing the Cliff Floyd trade in Moneyball. Beane knows the Cubs have irrationally coveted Barrett for over a year (former Expo coach Dick Pole apparently has a woody for Barrett), so Beane steps in "to help out." He didn't get the Greek God of Walks that time, but I'm sure he has someone profiled should the Cubs sign Barrett. Perhaps Jason Dubois, or someone else better than the prospect he gave up.

Couldn't Hendry have just waited 4 days?
   248. The Other Kurt Posted: December 16, 2003 at 11:28 PM (#570266)
Wow, those ZiPS look awesome. If that is to be expected, then there would be no need to sign Rhodes, so this should save a bunch of money. LHP in the pen was one of the A's weaknesses going into 2004. Rincon was a FA, and their only other LHP in the pen went under the knife (Bowie), and probably won't return in 2004. Now it looks like Brooks and Rincon will hold down the portside of the pen, pluse a scrap-heap pickup possibly.

I know that a PTBNL cannot have played in the same league as the player thier traded for. Does that include AL/NL as different leagues, or can we be sure this is a minorleaguer?
   249. Roger McDowell spit on me! Posted: December 16, 2003 at 11:38 PM (#570235)
As an A's fan, I'd rather have Barrett than Miller though. I just hope Miller doesn't end up being the PTBNL, which I bet is the case as long as the Cubs sign Barrett before the non-tender date. At least there might be some upside to Barrett, and no matter what, he shouldn't cost $3M.
   250. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: December 16, 2003 at 11:43 PM (#570267)
I heard the PTBNL had to be in the A's 40 man roster, is this true? I would love to see Scutaro back.
   251. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: December 17, 2003 at 12:00 AM (#570236)
I can't see Miller being the PTBNL -- and doesn't it matter that Miller and Barrett were both in the NL anyway?

Instead, I'm guessing that depending on whether the Cubs can cut a deal with Barrett in the next 4 days, the PTBNL will be either a semi-prospect (if they cut a deal) or a non-prospect (if they don't and end up non-tendering him).
   252. The Other Kurt Posted: December 17, 2003 at 12:30 AM (#570268)
The only restriction I know of is that the player can not have played in the same league. I just don't know if the AL counts as a different league than the NL. So the answer is, yes, it could be Scutaro going back.
   253. Roger McDowell spit on me! Posted: December 17, 2003 at 04:29 AM (#570238)
I can't see Miller being the PTBNL -- and doesn't it matter that Miller and Barrett were both in the NL anyway?

Anyone know for sure how that works in this situation? Since Barrett's last club was in the AL; his last game played was in the NL; does he still count as a player in the same league under the PTBNL rules?
   254. JMM Posted: December 17, 2003 at 08:32 AM (#570269)
Of course, the question remains: if Brooks does make the team, and pitches as well as Neu did, will they still go as far out of their way to not not even try pitching him in crucial situations and just assume he can't handle it yet as they did with Neu. Of course, Rincon isn't as completely beyond useful as Mecir is, so it might not be as big a deal if Macha pathologically babies Brooks to death too.
   255. JMM Posted: December 17, 2003 at 08:51 AM (#570270)
HIJACK!!

OR....

They could wait a year and trade Brooks for a fourth starter. I guess Harden actually might be the closer if they can reach an agreement with Redman. I guess if you're going to use a promising young starter in a closer role, you might as well already have 3 better than him and have him be enthusiastic about trying to be the closer (which Harden supposedly said he was in September).
   256. AGF Posted: December 17, 2003 at 09:54 AM (#570271)
The Neu deal last year was ridiculous. They brought up people from Sacramento who they had more trust in than Neu, even after he had been 'schooled' for 4 months. Is it worth losing a roster spot to 'nurture' a young promising middle-reliever? Well, maybe if you can trade him for a solid starter....
   257. JMM Posted: December 17, 2003 at 01:41 PM (#570239)
I'm not sure about this but I don't think the PTBNL rules about not appearing in the same league etc apply during the off-season.
   258. Danny Posted: December 17, 2003 at 02:30 PM (#570360)
Redman's K:BB ratio was pretty in 2003 (151:61), but his K rate was far better than any other year of his career. He's a flyball pitcher, so the A's stong outfield defense should help him.

He made aound $2M last year and is eligible for arbitration. I doubt he'd settle for anything less than what Lilly will make, but I'd much rather have Kielty than Neu. I hope Beane can trade Redman in the next few days if they can't come to a reasonable salary agreement.
   259. ckash Posted: December 17, 2003 at 04:04 PM (#570361)
I think picking up Redman is a precursor to a trade with LA for LoDuca. The rumours have Odalis Perez being shipped out to somebody (Texas, Boston, White Sox)in a Garciaparra trade.
   260. jason Posted: December 17, 2003 at 04:12 PM (#570362)
If the A's acquired Mark Redman from the A's, did Billy Beane screw over Billy Beane or vice versa?
   261. Mike Piazza Posted: December 17, 2003 at 05:09 PM (#570364)
*cough*
   262. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: December 17, 2003 at 06:59 PM (#570242)
Mr. Hendry -- see Post #46 for my dilemma. It's possible that, as JMM opines, that the rules about the same league don't apply in the offseason (that makes sense), but I don't know.

Of course, all the local media speculate the Miller is, indeed, the PTBNL if they can sign Barrett, so who knows. (Then again, I don't expect Kiley or Sullivan to know the PTBNL rules either.)

We'll see how things shake out. If they sign Barrett, deal Miller, and non-tender Bako, and use the excess cash to make a run at Pudge or Lopez, I suppose it's a plus. OTOH, I'm getting afraid that they may actually want a tandem of Barrett/Bako, which frightens me.
   263. Danny Posted: December 17, 2003 at 08:23 PM (#570309)
Rincon did walk too many batters last year, but they were almost all RHB. It makes sense for him to walk RHB if it gets him to a lefty, because he is downright nasty against LHB.

2003 vs LHB:
   264. Danny Posted: December 17, 2003 at 08:51 PM (#570312)
And for sure, this money is nothing compared to Mecir's contract, where Beane overpaid to give himself some peace of mind if/when Foulke left (or at least I presume that was the thinking).

Mecir signed his 4 year, $10M contract in 2001, so I don't think it had much to do with Foulke (info from bluemanc).

Well, the real test of this will be when the Big Three come up for free agency in the near future. Beane's track record on this count to date is mixed.

Obviously Beane has some serious financial restriction holding him back, or else Jason Giambi would still be in Oakland. The A's payroll has increased every year since 2000, and the A's only have 7 players under contract after 2004. I'd be surprised if he let more than one of the Big 3 walk in free agency.

I'd really like to see him trade Zito for a young hitting stud (Kearns, Teixeira, Pujols) given the A's pitching depth.
   265. Charlie O Posted: December 17, 2003 at 09:11 PM (#570367)
I wouldn't pay much attetion to Neu's BB/K ratio in 2003. It's not easy to stay sharp when your manager let's you pitch once every couple of weeks. Neu was on the A's roster the entire season (without any injuries) and he pitched only 42 innings. Macha used him only in blowouts and moments of desperation. It was sad in a way. He performed pretty well in the minors and it's possible he could have developed into a dependable reliever had Macha showed any faith in him. I won't be surprised if he pitches well for the Marlins.
   266. Walt Davis Posted: December 17, 2003 at 09:22 PM (#570368)
While Redman's more valuable than Neu, this trade doesn't make much sense for the A's right now. Redman would be a pretty expensive but small upgrade from whichever pitcher the A's trot out into the 5th slot. So I'm assuming this must be a precursor to another trade -- maybe they flip Redman or maybe they're trading Harden or maybe they'll even be so bold as to move Mulder or Zito.
   267. AGF Posted: December 17, 2003 at 10:47 PM (#570369)
...or they will make Harden the closer for a year....
   268. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 17, 2003 at 11:20 PM (#570371)
maybe they flip Redman to the Dodgers for Paul LoDuca

Why not get Hill instead of LoDuca -- save $3.6MM?

maybe they're trading Harden or maybe they'll even be so bold as to move Mulder or Zito

The A's everyday players aren't really good enough to win divisions without outstanding starting pitching, so why trade outstanding affordable starters? I doubt they'd get enough back.
   269. Kyle S Posted: December 17, 2003 at 11:31 PM (#570372)
Maybe the Marlins are clearing salary to try to sign vlad guerrero? espn inside and gammons have both said its a possibility, for what that's worth.
   270. MM1f Posted: December 17, 2003 at 11:55 PM (#570373)
Didn't Neu play college ball for Miami?
   271. Danny Posted: December 18, 2003 at 01:53 AM (#570315)
I agree that for all their organizational devotion to OBP, the A's haven't produced anyone that bought into the philosophy since Giambi.

I pretty much agree, but there is Ben Grieve. This is probably why Beane thinks plate discipline can't be taught as efficiently as other skills.

The A's will draw far more walks in 2004 than in 2003. Kotsay walks much more than Singleton, Kielty walks much more than Long, and Dye (who has always had a healthy walk rate) will play more. Crosby walks a lot more than Tejada, even when adjusted for league.

Actually, the A's minor league system is filled with guys who walk a lot.

# of walks (AB)

AAA
   272. Walt Davis Posted: December 18, 2003 at 08:57 PM (#570379)
The A's everyday players aren't really good enough to win divisions without outstanding starting pitching, so why trade outstanding affordable starters? I doubt they'd get enough back.

Well, of course it all depends on what you get back. But a rotation of, say, Hudson, Zito, Redman, Harden, Blanton/whoever isn't a big downgrade, so if you could trade Mulder for an offensive upgrade (e.g. Teixeira, Kearns, etc. with some useful throw-ins) it might well be worth it. The A's also need to keep an eye on the future, with Chavez an FA after 2004 and Hudson after 2005.* Eventually they'll have to choose which one or two of the Big 3 they're going to keep, so if you can get good return for one now, putting off the inevitable may not be a good idea.

* Yes, I know they have Dye coming off the books after 2004, but they could still use extra cash.

I also think there are reasons to be worried about the Big 3. Mulder's K-rate has never been that impressive, and it was down some last year, to go along with his injury. Zito's K-rate also took a big plunge last year and there was no compensation with a lower BB-rate. Granted, I'd take them in a heartbeat on my team and those "declines" are probably just random blips (plus taking advantage of the A's defense). But there are a couple caution flags here.
   273. Cferejohn Posted: December 18, 2003 at 09:27 PM (#570316)
I don't think that was really a troll. I thought the Long signing was questionable at the time. Admittedly, it turned out worse than most people expected, but he was pretty much exactly a league average hitter for two years and his minor league numbers were pretty unexciting, as I remember, and his defense in center never really earned raves.

This seemed to me like a guy to take year-to-year with arbitration to see how he developed, not a guy where you say "my god, we need to sign him to a long term contract before he gets hideously expensive" because even at his 2000-2001 level of production, that was never going to happen.

Like I said, it turned out about as badly as could have been expected, but it just didn't seem like the right basket to pile eggs into, even then.
   274. Danny Posted: December 18, 2003 at 11:13 PM (#570381)
Actually, the big difference for Mulder in his home/road splits is BABIP

2001-2003
   275. AGF Posted: December 18, 2003 at 11:56 PM (#570382)
I also think there are reasons to be worried about the Big 3. Mulder's K-rate has never been that impressive, and it was down some last year, to go along with his injury. Zito's K-rate also took a big plunge last year and there was no compensation with a lower BB-rate.

I am pretty sure part of the decline in K's was a result of the A's (Peterson's?) pitching strategy of having the starters go long in games.
   276. Danny Posted: December 19, 2003 at 04:11 PM (#570477)
Max is right. Hammond and Rhodes are both very effective against RHB, so there's room for the two of them, Rincon, and Brooks.

Hammond vs RHB (2001-2003)
   277. Danny Posted: December 19, 2003 at 04:59 PM (#570480)
Stotts, 24, IF, nice OBP, no HR power yet

http://www.sports-wired.com/players/profile.asp?Name=HBFE

Edwardo Sierra, 22, P, reliever, decent K:BB, very few HR

http://www.sports-wired.com/players/profile.asp?Name=HACG
   278. Darren Posted: December 19, 2003 at 05:04 PM (#570481)
Here's my little conspiracy theory. The A's get lefty relievers with little or reverse platoon splits. They bring them in to face lefties, prompting the opposing manager to bring in scrub righty batters in order to "play the percentages."

Either that or they just signed guys who can pitch, regardless of which arm they use.

I'd call the prospects C+/B- range, without knowing much about defense and scouting.
   279. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: December 19, 2003 at 05:34 PM (#570482)
Wondering how a relief pitcher got in Joe Torre's doghouse is like wondering how a cheesburger got into Mo Vaughn's stomach.
   280. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 19, 2003 at 05:41 PM (#570484)
Danny,

Are you thinking that if Harden is the 5th starter he can relieve between starts? Or are you suggesting he be an actual bullpen candidate? (Hint: I like the first idea, not the second)

Oh and Mecir is the poster boy for not paying $3MM to relievers on a multi-year deal. Rhodes is great, but he's 34. I like the deal, but my fingers are crossed.
   281. Danny Posted: December 19, 2003 at 05:49 PM (#570485)
Are you thinking that if Harden is the 5th starter he can relieve between starts? Or are you suggesting he be an actual bullpen candidate? (Hint: I like the first idea, not the second)

I like the first idea much better as well, but there were rumors that Redman may take Harden's place in the rotation, with Harden moving to the bullpen.

I still don't like paying $3 million for relievers

Surely, you must think there are relievers that are worth $3M per year, no? ZiPS projects Rhodes to have the second lowest ERA in the AL in 2004. Do you not think Foulke, Rivera, Gagne, Smoltz or Wagner are worth $3M per year?

Is it because of the higher variation in reliever performance. I would say that even if you don't give relievers credit for pitching higher leveraged innings, some relievers are still worth $3M (using VORP, WARP, or some other value stat).
   282. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 19, 2003 at 06:07 PM (#570486)
Maybe Dan doesn't like paying $3MM for relievers because you can pick up guys like Brendan Donnelly, Tim Worrell, etc. for much less and they can do a good job without a multi-year contract. Of course I don't want to put words in Dan's mouth. It's not really the $3MM per year as much as the three year commitment that I worry about with Rhodes.
   283. Roger McDowell spit on me! Posted: December 19, 2003 at 06:23 PM (#570487)
I was thinking the $3M was OK too, but the 3 years was too long. I think you'll see saves spread around three or four guys; Rhodes will end up with the most, but Bradford, Rincon, Mecir, and Hammond will pick up a few as well. And it's interesting that they have the right handed version of Hammond on their roster in Mecir..a RHP who has historically been more effective against LH batters. That's what a good screwball will do for you.
   284. Danny Posted: December 19, 2003 at 06:25 PM (#570488)
HK,

It's funny that you mention Worrell. Not only is he vastly inferior to Rhodes, but he signed with the Phillies for 2 years, $6M.

Obviously, finding a stud reliever like Donnelly for the minimum is ideal. Unfortunately, there aren't too many pitchers of that calibre waiting to be had for nothing. It may be somewhat easy to find league average relievers, but elite relievers, such as Rhodes, are not easily attainable.
   285. JMM Posted: December 19, 2003 at 06:25 PM (#570489)
Danny wrote:
   286. Danny Posted: December 19, 2003 at 06:32 PM (#570490)
Beane has since said that Harden is definitely in the rotation.

That's good to hear.

If Redman signs with the A's, Harden will just be the fifth starter instead of the fourth.

That's not such good news. Redman will make at least $3M, I'd assume. I don't think the difference between Duchscherer and Redman is worth that at all. If Beane trades Zito for a young slugger (Kearns, Dunn, Teixeira, Pujols) and replaces him in the rotation with Redman, I'll be ecstatic.
   287. Walt Davis Posted: December 19, 2003 at 08:06 PM (#570493)
Obviously, finding a stud reliever like Donnelly for the minimum is ideal. Unfortunately, there aren't too many pitchers of that calibre waiting to be had for nothing. It may be somewhat easy to find league average relievers, but elite relievers, such as Rhodes, are not easily attainable.

I'm reposting this from the LaTroy Hawkins thread as it sums up my feelings on this signing too...

I'm not saying that Hawkins is a bad risk, but I'm not willing to say this is a good signing either. Look at last year's leaders in ARP:

Gagne: $550 k (the Jays could have had him for Izturis)
   288. Darren Posted: December 19, 2003 at 08:23 PM (#570494)
Why sign Vlad for $15 mil when you could have Pujols for $2 mil? Why sign Pettitte for $10 mil when you could have Prior for only a couple mil?

You develop good players at the minimum when you can and pay a big premium when you can't. That's how it is for every kind of player.

Granted, good relievers seem to come out of nowhere more often than other players.
   289. Walt Davis Posted: December 19, 2003 at 08:26 PM (#570495)
To follow up, what is a good track record for a reliever?

Arthur Rhodes ERA+
   290. Danny Posted: December 19, 2003 at 08:29 PM (#570496)
Nice post, Walt. One problem I have with it, though, is that ARP is extremely context dependent. A reliever can have a very nice year and end up as average in ARP simply because of random circumstances. I've never seen a study that shows certain relievers perform relatively better in higher leverage situations than others.

In the specific case of Rhodes, look at his peripherals.

From 1997 through 2002, Rhodes struck out between 9.3 and 9.9 men per 9 IP, walked between 1.1 and 3.4, and allowed .6-.8 HR. You have to pay for that consistency. It's possible to drag up a Tam, Donnely, or Shields, but if you're expecting to compete for a playoff spot, it probably doesn't make sense to rely on that happening.
   291. Danny Posted: December 19, 2003 at 08:31 PM (#570497)
Oops, I removed that bad year in Baltimore, but he's still been damn consistent.
   292. Walt Davis Posted: December 19, 2003 at 08:40 PM (#570383)
Mulder has the best peripherals of the Big 3. If anyone should get traded, it's Zito and his Cy Young Award.

Well, I just picked Mulder randomly. But ...

Mulder, career: 6.1 K/9; 2.5 BB/9; .86 HR/9
   293. APNY Posted: December 19, 2003 at 09:27 PM (#570499)
something like DIPS ERA+

Doesn't DIPS make all the proper adjustments so that an ERA+ stat would be unnecessary?

Stotts and Sierra will both probably play in the majors some day, but not for the Yankees. The Yanks would have been better off putting Hammond on waivers, someone probably would have taken his whole salary for the one year. I hate paying $1.2m for a player to play on any other team, but giving him to another contender is just dumb.
   294. Darren Posted: December 19, 2003 at 09:30 PM (#570500)
From 1997 through 2002, Rhodes struck out between 9.3 and 9.9 men per 9 IP, walked between 1.1 and 3.4, and allowed .6-.8 HR. You have to pay for that consistency.

This yields an DIPS ERA range of 2.45 to 3.46. So at his worst from 2000-2002, he was good.
   295. Dr. Vaux Posted: December 19, 2003 at 10:44 PM (#570501)
It seems to me that the way Joe Torre handles bullpens was the biggest factor that brought down the Yankees last year... if he had been willing to actually use Hammond in the post-season, they'd have been far better off. Really, the thing that made the Yankee bullpen "weak" last season was his inability to actually use people like Al Reyes when they were given him. Here, sitting in his bullpen for weeks, was a pitcher every bit as good as Osuna, but he kept running Osuna out there every day, then wondering why he was ineffective/hurt after a while. Later, he refused to use anyone but Rivera, which ruined his effectiveness for a time, as well. Next season, he'll completely lose confidence in either Gordon or Quantrill by June-- just watch.
   296. Walt Davis Posted: December 19, 2003 at 11:08 PM (#570502)
I'm not a fan of ARP either, but in the context of the original thread, it made sense to use it.

But it does make the point that what you want to be paying for is future value. But the connection between talent and value is, apparently, rather small for relievers.

Also, DIPS is not nearly as good a predictor for relievers as for starters, as Voros showed. This is probably due purely to sample size, but there you have it. DIPS might give 2.45 to 3.46 as his range, but in the last 5 years he's had two ERAs below 2.45 and 3 above 3.46. The ones above were anywhere from .70 to 2.00 runs above. Granted, that's across varying run distributions (league average ERAs from 4.20 to 4.82), so take that with a grain of salt. His overall ERA the last 5 years was right at the upper limit at 3.47.

Add in Rhodes' age and standard pitcher injury risk and I don't see why I should be at all confident that he'll be worth the money. By the way, last year K's were down, walks were up, and so were HRs though that rate is still so small who cares if it's up.

My point is just that relievers, at least ones not named Rivera, are so unpredictable that they're a pretty lousy bet. I'm not convinced that it's not better to put that $3 M where you have much greater confidence it will do some good and roll the dice with some kids and retreads. This would seem especially true in the case of someone like Oakland. And in Oakland's own recent history, other than Foulke and maybe Izzy's last season, they've gotten much better production out of relievers they didn't pay very much for.

I could well be wrong. Maybe relievers, at least ones that post consistent peripherals, are more predictable than I think. And maybe minor-leaguers with good peripherals are rarer than I think.

All that said, I expect Oakland to make Rhodes the closer on a pretty much full-time basis. If he racks up even decent numbers as a closer (saves baby!), they should have no problem moving him since this contract is very reasonable by closer standards.
   297. John Posted: December 20, 2003 at 12:51 AM (#570505)
what does LOOGY stand for?
   298. Danny Posted: December 20, 2003 at 01:03 AM (#570384)
<i>Well, I just picked Mulder randomly. But ...

Mulder, career: 6.1 K/9; 2.5 BB/9; .86 HR/9
   299. The Other Kurt Posted: December 20, 2003 at 02:56 AM (#570508)
Beane went into the season last year with 4 of 5 starters lefties. Either he doesn't care about their handedness, or he's hung up on lefties. I think it quite likly that the pen next year will inlcude Rincon, Hammonds, Brooks, and Rhodes. Use Rincon as the LOOGY, Brooks as a mop up man, Hammonds for set-up, and Rhodes to close. The rest of the pen would be Bradford, Mecir (a ROOGY I suppose), and probably Ficak (or someone similar).

Assuming Redman stays (which I'm not sure is a good assumption), that's 3/5 lefty starters and 4/7 (or 6) lefty relievers. Sounds like a group that would do well in Yankee Stadium.

Regarding Rhodes, I'm fine with $3m for a year, but don't like a three-year commitment. What makes it palatable is that I figure there's about a 1 in 20 chance that he's pitching that third year for Oakland. Until I see otherwise I'm assumeing a pump-and-dunp situation for the A's closer. Beane got Foulke and cash for Koch (and Cotts) and he didn't even have a contract and was a Free Agent. Foulke got 3 years and $24m. If Rhodes follows in the footsteps and gets 40+ saves next year, what can the A's get in return for a top-notch "proven closer" who's locked up for two cheap years? Some good stuff, I'll wager. And this way they have 2 chances to make Rhodes the "proven closer", If he doesn't shine next year. Though given that he doesn't suck and the A's have said he's the closer its almost a lock that he gets over 30 saves (unless the A's don't win 90+ again).
   300. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 20, 2003 at 03:28 AM (#570509)
Why the rush to trade Zito? The A's need a strategic plan. I thought that plan was have a superior run prevention scheme and an average offense. How does trading Zito for Texeira or someone like that help? He's won 2/3 of his decisions lifetime. Doesn't that mean anything?
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