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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Pittsburgh Pirates

Released OF Chris Singleton.

Singleton failed his physical, so off he went.  It’s only too bad that the Pirates don’t have the same stringent requirements for performance as they do for health.

Singleton will get a minor league invitation somewhere provided the reason he failed the physical isn’t too alarming.  He had an ear infection, but I can’t imagine him failing a physical for that.

Dan Szymborski Posted: March 11, 2004 at 01:37 PM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Rich Rifkin I Posted: July 11, 2001 at 11:38 PM (#551523)
Dan -

Based on what you wrote - "the Padres have the rest of the year of Gwynn, Darr, Trammell, Kotsay, and Colangelo in the outfield" - I assume you think that they will soon part company with Rickey Henderson.

It might be a good idea to let Rickey go. But based on the numbers Henderson has put up, the Padres are really no better off (this year) with Mike Darr, Bubba Trammell or Mike Colangelo taking Rickey's place in the line-up.

And if they let Rickey go for Emil Brown, they are losing a sub-par defensive player for a better one; but they would obviously get much less offensive production from Brown than from Henderson.
   2. Cris E Posted: July 30, 2001 at 05:38 PM (#551615)
Well this is a mixed blessing. As a Twins fan I was hoping they wouldn't do the Loshe for Schmidt thing since I'm not convinced that a non-stud starter is what we need. But I thought that if it was inevitable it might be nice to bundle in Vanderwal and at least get a bit of power in the deal. I would have dealt J Jones and a prospect pitcher like Thomas for the pair, but the Oracle is right: since it seems like more was possible something else must have factored into the deal.
   3. Cris E Posted: July 30, 2001 at 08:43 PM (#551618)
They do need another bat, and LF is the best place to hide it. With Ortiz coming back as well as he has (so far) they may not do anything, but I really think they ought to since Jones plays LF like a CF. That's good on D, but not so good at the plate. If it was up to Kelly I don't think anything would change, but GM Ryan is supposed to see past the manager's particularities and deal with real needs like this one.
   4. Bob Timmermann Posted: July 30, 2001 at 09:13 PM (#551619)
Fortunately for Vander Wal, he will be playing in San Francisco, where the Giants don't use names on the backs of their home uniforms, so no one there will have to sweat out the peculiar spelling of his name.

But will that road jersey have the spelling right?
   5. Russ Posted: July 31, 2001 at 09:56 PM (#551621)
As a Pirate fan, I don't believe the hype that was generated surrounding Jason Schmidt before the trade deadline. I really liked Jason and had hoped the Pirates would be able to sign him. However,
   6. Bob T Posted: July 31, 2001 at 11:16 PM (#551653)
As a note, Mike Fetters' picture is on my ticket for tomorrow night's Dodgers game. I hope they still let me in.
   7. Bob T Posted: August 01, 2001 at 06:20 AM (#551655)
The Pirates are in San Francisco now, so perhaps I should just hop on a Southwest flight and go to Pac Bell tomorrow night and root on Mike Fetters! But the Bucs don't come back to L.A. anymore this year. Although the Dodgers will make a trip out to Pittsburgh again.

I fear the wrath of Fetters!
   8. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: August 02, 2001 at 05:21 AM (#551656)
Bob, did they let you in?
   9. Bob T Posted: August 03, 2001 at 05:59 AM (#551657)
They let me in and I got the rare treat of watching Terry Mulholland make his Dodger debut by giving up four runs in one inning of work. But he did cut down the running game and gave veteran presence.

This Mulholland probably doesn't have much in the reservoir.
   10. Robert Dudek Posted: August 03, 2001 at 08:54 AM (#551658)
If the Dodgers want a veteran presence, they should have Ron Cey and Don Sutton hanging out in the clubhouse.
   11. Greg Franklin Posted: September 10, 2001 at 06:41 AM (#551760)
Hibbard finally was released after 1997. He's now making a living as the pitching coach on Matt Nokes' Schaumburg Flyers (Clutch Hits topic).

Now, I'm wondering about Ted Higuera. Is he still kicking back in Mexico with all of Bud Selig's money? Perhaps Cordova could hit him up for some financial advice.
   12. Dan Szymborski Posted: September 10, 2001 at 06:49 PM (#551761)
The Teddy Higuera Big Comeback Attempt was always my favorite spring training story every year. The Brewers attempt to convince their fans every year that they would be OK without Higuera was also pretty funny (Woo! Don August's Back!).
   13. JB Posted: December 13, 2001 at 10:45 PM (#552149)
Dearest Oracle,

The Bucs are under new (general) management. Give them a break until GM Dave Littlefield has proven himself one way or the other. They didn't get hosed in any deadline deal last year, and this trade, as you say, tips in their favor.

- JB
   14. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 14, 2001 at 01:40 AM (#552153)
This move is pretty consistent with the philosophy that the Marlins had when Littlefield was there - always get pitching, especially when you have to give up pitching. Lowe is probably going to take the setup role played by Josias Manzanillo the last couple of years. I'm not as sold on Wells as some people are, but he's been about on Ritchie's level, as Dan notes, with a chance to develop into something more, and even if he never gets beyond being Todd Ritchie Junior, that's still a guy most teams would love to have at the back end of their rotations.

For a pitcher who was roster filler when he was first called up by the Pirates in 1999, that's a hell of a return.

Lost in this shuffle is that, in order to make room for the pitchers just acquired on their major league roster, the Pirates designated Jose Silva for assignment. Silva was one of the last group of pitchers that was supposed to help turn the club around (Cordova, Schmidt, et. al.) but due to injuries (often of the freak variety) never quite lived up to his potential. I think he could help someone as a reliever.

-- MWE
   15. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 14, 2001 at 04:27 AM (#552155)
I'm bitter and jaded from years spent as a Pirates fan, but Littlefield is bringing me closer to hope and faith than any number of blue-ribbon committees. He's made a reasonable sample size of roster moves without overtly screwing anything up, and I don't think it's possible to overstate the degree to which not screwing up is an improvement on the performance of his 3 most recent predecessors.

The part of me that hates simplistic, cursory analysis is pleased by Silva hitting the road. I've seen too many closer-obsessed fantasy baseball "experts" exhorting the lEEt sKilLZ of Jason Christiansen, Rich Loiselle, and Silva to mind seeing another cliche bite the dust.

Everybody who said the Pirates didn't get enough in the Schmidt/Vander Wal trade looks pretty silly today, eh? It's almost like Christmas in December.
   16. Geoff Young Posted: December 29, 2001 at 09:13 PM (#552445)
You needn't have worried. Matthews draws too many walks to be useful to an organization like the Pirates.
   17. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 30, 2001 at 12:44 AM (#552446)
I liked Matthews' walk rate, too, but like Russ Branyan as a prospect, all the walks in the world won't help you if your average causes you to have an OBP in the low-.300s.
   18. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 30, 2001 at 06:45 AM (#552447)
Five points:
   19. VegasRobb Posted: December 31, 2001 at 04:28 AM (#552452)
Matthews should be pretty good in a backup role for them. He seems to have learned to draw walks (60 in about 400 ABs last year). Has some pop and some speed. He's definately better than Timo Perez.
   20. Alan Posted: January 01, 2002 at 10:12 AM (#552454)
I'm a Mets fan, and I'd prefer him out there over Jay Payton
   21. Alan Posted: January 01, 2002 at 10:24 AM (#552451)
Just more money for Wilpon to spend on the Todd Zeilles and Rey Ordonezes of the world and not to spend on the Alex Rodriguezes and other people who are under the age of 35/don't completely, entirlely, absolutely, positively SU-DIDDLY-UCK!

On a happy note, Matthews is at least as good as Payton offensively and far superior defensively. Valentine hasn't been high on Payton for several years, and I wouldn't be shocked to see Matthews taking on a role like Shinjo last year had with this team. If the Mets end up with a Cedeno/Matthews/Gonzalez outfield this season, that will be a great improvement over the crap they shoveled out there last season. In fact, the worst case scenario of Cedeno/Payton/Agbayani should still be a nice improvement, if still awful.
   22. Bob T Posted: January 08, 2002 at 12:26 AM (#552482)
Will Kevin Gross be returning also?
   23. Colin Posted: January 08, 2002 at 04:15 PM (#552484)
Ah yes, Salomon Torres, the Braves MVP of the 1993 stretch run. Weren't the last 4 or 5 losses by the Giants that year all with Torres on the mound? Not that it was his fault, he wasa kid thrust into a high pressure situation, mostly because John Schuerholz stopped teh Giants from acquiring Dennis Martinez.
   24. Sean Forman Posted: January 09, 2002 at 07:06 PM (#552486)
1993 Giants Game Log

What a finish that season was. I seem to recall Torres sinking my chances of winning my roto league that year. I think I was second by about two points or so.

On Sept. 6, the Giants were 3.5 games ahead of the Braves, they then lose 8 in a row and are now 3.5 games behind of the Braves, they then win 14 of 17 to nearly catch the Braves. The only thing missing from that divisional race was that their last head-to-head was Sept. 1.
   25. Colin Posted: January 09, 2002 at 08:07 PM (#552487)
So Torres was the losing pitcher in their last 4 defeats, and the team lost his last 5 starts.

That divisional race completely riveted me. I recall getting free tickets from a prof in my department to go see the game where the Braves beat the Reds on a Ron Gant homer off the left field wall. When teh Braves took their 3.5 game lead it felt unconquerable, and then they went in the tank the last week while Barry carried SF almost all the way. I watched the Giants final game of the season against LA at a sports bar. Sublimely cool.
   26. Colin Posted: January 10, 2002 at 04:18 AM (#552489)
ARGH:
   27. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: January 10, 2002 at 07:55 AM (#552490)
Or, as he is known by his full name, Salomon F***ing Torres.
   28. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 29, 2002 at 09:19 PM (#553497)
Dear god...

My hope and faith lasted all of what, three days? This move _might_ be defensible if it means that the team is going to send Jack Wilson down to AAA for another year of learning to hit, or if Pokey is really really cheap. I don't think either is going to turn out to be the case, and this move looks really ugly. He's better than Meares, but hell, who isn't?
   29. Buddha Posted: January 29, 2002 at 09:21 PM (#553498)
What's this Pokey Reese thing all about? I thought Cam Bonifay was fired? Is Allaird Baird or Randy Smith running this team or what? Did Kenny Williams just come over? No wait, Kenny would have traded three prospects for him.
   30. Shredder Posted: January 29, 2002 at 09:27 PM (#553499)
Does that record include children by sperm donation? Who holds the current record? I'm guessing either someone in the NBA or Evander Holyfield.
   31. Big Ed Posted: January 29, 2002 at 11:50 PM (#553506)
Veteran presence in the clubhouse.
   32. Buddha Posted: January 30, 2002 at 12:23 AM (#553509)
Arthur:

I agree. I am dying for my Tigers to offer a big deal to "Pork Chop" Womack to leave football and play first base. Of course, they already have a fat guy named Dmitri Young...or should I say, "Pork Chop" Young.
   33. Brian Popowsky Posted: January 30, 2002 at 02:36 AM (#553512)
We can consistently depend on teams like Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Tampa Bay, Colorado, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and probably a few others to make bad moves and give us something to laugh about or if you are a fan of 1 of these teams something to cry about.
   34. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 30, 2002 at 02:48 AM (#553514)
I'm not sure it's possible, in today's game, for a club to fail to reach 600 runs, but it looks like Pittsburgh's going to try.

Come on - they scored 657 runs last year with 2Bs about as bad offensively.

Nunez isn't as good defensively as his reputation. He's better at SS than at 2B, but frankly not much different than an average fielder at either position. He's also not as good a hitter as his 2001 numbers indicate.

As I said on the other thread, I think Jack Wilson fell victim to a ton of pressure placed on him by Lloyd McClendon's hype. There were a lot of derogatory references to "Lloyd's boy" floating around Pittsburgh all last season, especially early when Wilson struggled defensively as well as with the bat. He was placed in a similar situation to that of Jay Bell when he first came to Pittsburgh, and Bell went through his own similar crisis that ended up with a demotion (remember Rey Quinones? Thought you might.) Like Bell's, Wilson's minor league numbers indicate a hitter with more to offer than he showed in the majors in 2001, and I think he'll improve with the bat in 2002.

-- MWE
   35. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 30, 2002 at 05:53 AM (#553517)
Naah, if this was Bonifay, it would be 4 years, not 2.
   36. Benji Posted: January 30, 2002 at 10:42 PM (#553521)
Any clue what happens to Warren Morris now?
   37. VegasRobb Posted: January 30, 2002 at 11:46 PM (#553523)
Perhaps Morris can get a locker next to Chad Hermansen in AAA?
   38. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 31, 2002 at 01:13 AM (#553526)
Having watched him for the last two seasons, I can state with confidence that nobody should be shedding tears for Warren Morris. He was the team's best option last year, but that's sort of like saying that someone's really tall for a midget. Anybody look at his AAA stats last year? .305/.342/.462 . That's not going to get it done; being better than Pat Meares isn't a guarantee of future employment.

If you want to feel bad for anyone, feel bad for the Bobby Smiths and Keith Ginters who could've been more creative and useful solutions to the problem, but are now stuck back at AAA.
   39. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 31, 2002 at 04:11 PM (#553528)
Veras is still a free agent.
   40. Chris Dial Posted: February 01, 2002 at 05:50 AM (#553529)
Olperfessor,
   41. Mike Emeigh Posted: February 03, 2002 at 01:11 AM (#554012)
The Pirates have brought a lot of arms with major-league experience into camp on NRI deals - Boehringer, Gomes, Service, Olson, Al Reyes - in the hopes that they won't have to rely on their younger arms to fill roles, and can send the latter out if they need to do so. I wouldn't be surprised if three or four of those guys make the team; the only one who appears to be a real longshot is Service.

-- MWE
   42. Colin Posted: February 03, 2002 at 01:32 AM (#554013)
Not to mention that if any of these guys has a good half season - and especially a former name like Olson - they can turn them into a prospect at the deadline. Given what Witasick brought last year, that might be a nice gamble to take.
   43. fables of the deconstruction Posted: February 03, 2002 at 07:25 AM (#554015)
Crappy is a little harsh. I prefer "exceptionally marginal".

Crappy!

--------------
   44. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: February 03, 2002 at 05:09 PM (#554017)
And now, Pittsburgh... get ready to welcome... your exceptionally marginal... PITTSBURGH PIRATES!!!!!!!
   45. fables of the deconstruction Posted: February 05, 2002 at 01:17 AM (#554018)
Craig,

Good one!!! LOL! :-) ...

--------------
   46. Zeke Posted: February 07, 2002 at 03:22 PM (#554019)
Olson will have a better year than useless Pokey Reese. As a Pirate fan, I hope Reese is the one that gets dumped at the deadline.
   47. ColonelTom Posted: February 12, 2002 at 05:39 PM (#554156)
Frankly, this isn't a bad signing for the Pirates. I'm sure the contract presents minimal financial risk, and it should give the Pirates some near-league-average innings while allowing a young pitcher that should be in AAA some more time to develop.
   48. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 12, 2002 at 09:50 PM (#554157)
What is there to say? Ugh?

In the absolute best case for everyone concerned, this move is irrelevant.
   49. Cris E Posted: February 13, 2002 at 07:28 PM (#554287)
Ol P -
   50. Steve Treder Posted: February 13, 2002 at 10:08 PM (#554289)
Olperfesser,

In theory that makes sense. However, for it to work:

a) Some of these scrap-heap pickups have to actually do well

and

b) Some other GM must be persuaded to part with valuable young talent in exchange for someone who was on the scrap heap just a few months previously

I don't like the odds of both (a) and (b) proving true.

If a team is truly committed to building for the future, I think the best way to go about it is to use young players in every possible situation. The more young players you deploy, the better your chances of finding some who pan out.

Galloping Goose had the best prescription for the Pirates in a recent thread. The players the Pirates have with meaningful trade value are Giles and Kendall. Those are the ones they should shop around.
   51. RJ in TO Posted: February 14, 2002 at 01:21 AM (#554292)
(b) is about the biggest given in baseball, as it seems no matter how recently that a guy has been on the scrap heap, there's always someone willing to take a risk on whether or not he's turned it around. Besides, in most cases, these scrap heap guys are not exactly making a ton of money, since most of them are brought into camp on something close to a minor league deal (+incentives), so it's a low cost risk to trade for them.

I think the greatest example ever of the sign-and-trade I've ever seen in baseball was when the Jays picked up Tony Phillips out of sort-of-retirement half way through the season, and then flipped him to the Mets for some prospects (although they weren't very good) about three weeks later. This was a guy who was sitting at home in June, and the Mets were still willing to give up something for him!

Now if only somebody will give up anything for Esteban Loaiza (lets all hope for a good start to the season) we will have the ultimate proof of the scrap-heap-flip theory.
   52. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 14, 2002 at 04:00 PM (#554293)
Re: Ryan Jones

It's already happened. Twice, in fact.

June 17, 1998: Pirates trade Esteban Loaiza to Texas for 2B Warren Morris and P Todd Van Poppel.
   53. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 15, 2002 at 07:22 PM (#554296)
Giles has a much better HOF shot than people seem to give him credit for. He's behind for career counting totals due to his late career start, but he's not in as bad a position as y'all seem to think. He's been consistent and durable since he got a starting job, and it's hard to argue that his current level of production is substandard in any way (hits for power and average, draws walks, makes good contact, steals a few bases, and is a good enough defensive outfielder to play center). It's obviously too early to call _any_ player active in his prime a future HOF-er, since you never know what will happen in the future (drinking problems, car crashes, double murders, too many Krispy Kremes), but is the idea of Giles in the Hall all _that_ crazy? Look at the man's list of career comps by age. The list is mostly full of injury-prone guys with early career starts, players who have nothing in common with Giles (in a career path-sense, anyway). Once you screen those guys out, there are three left with some degree of similarity. One of them, Earl Averill, is a HOF-er. One of the others, Bob Johnson, is a popular (if probably un-deserving) saberhead HOF candidate. Both of these men remained well above league average until their late 30s, and both were relatively durable. The last is Al Rosen, the #14 3B on the recent and much maligned Bill James list, who sure looked like a viable HOF candidate until he hurt his back in a car wreck when he was 31, and had to retire a year later. Giles already meets 30% of the HOF standards, after 4 years as a regular, and his HOF monitor's at 45. He's a conditioning fiend, and he's been subjected to less wear and tear than most outfielders his age (due to his years as a benchie in Cleveland). He's never had a significant injury. Giles certainly has a HOF-capable peak, and he looks like the sort of player (durable, underused, with a mix of both old- and young-player's skills) who will age well. He could go either way, but to not include him in discussion as a viable future candidate is stupid. Just for laughs, the numbers the Curator thinks Giles would need over the next ten years in order to get in (I'm not adding in the 3-4 years extra he's calling for):
   54. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 15, 2002 at 08:13 PM (#554297)
That said, I still should have qualified the statement in my initial post somehow, used "possible-future-HOFers", or something. Like I said, nothing is certain; just look at Mike Darr.
   55. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 17, 2002 at 06:27 AM (#554300)
Re: Curator

My main point with the simulated Giles stat list was that your list of requirements looked unreasonable. I don't see how a player could collect that total package and not be sufficiently qualified for the Hall, as you claimed in your post. Obviously, it's possible to come up with a case where a man could have 520 homers or 1600 RBI and remain unqualified for the Hall of Fame. I highly doubt that you could keep someone out with _all_ of those numbers in your list of requirements, especially since both of the examples you cite are players whose contributions must be substantially downgraded to reflect a lack of durability and defensive skill (problems that have not afflicted Giles, as of yet). In other words, unusual circumstances.

I don't think Giles is going to hit 520 homers, of course. I think he'll have another six years of production at his current level, a few more years hanging on as a DH or bench player, and a solid career overall. His rate stats will be better than his counting totals, but the counting totals will be respectable. The case for Giles will, of course, be all about peak value and not longevity, and an outfielder can get in on almost pure peak value. Look up Hack Wilson if you don't believe me, and check out his offensive environment while you're at it.

I also take issue with your contention that Kendall was an undeserving All-Star who made the team because there were no other viable candidates available to pick. Breaking it down, year by year:

Kendall made the team in 1996, 1998, and 2000. In 1996, Kendall was a 22 year old rookie, who compiled a .773 OPS in 414 AB. It wasn't Kendall's best season, but a .300 batting average and some power from a catcher with a low strikeout rate was good enough for him to be named to the squad as the third catcher. The other two were Mike Piazza and Todd Hundley. Piazza had a typical Piazza season (.985 OPS), and Hundley was in the middle of his 41 homer season with the Mets (.906 OPS). Kendall's competition for the spot comes down to either Benito Santiago (Philadelphia: .835 OPS, but only 114 games at catcher) or Charles Johnson (Florida: Gold Glove, but a .650 OPS). Kendall was the Pirates' only All-Star, but the team held two other plausible candidates. 1B/2B/3B Jeff King had 30 HR, 15 SB (to 1 CS) and 111 RBI, to go along with his .843 OPS. His stats are pretty close to those of Matt Williams, the third and final 3B chosen for the team (.877 OPS, season shortened by injury). The removal of Williams would have been possible, as the Giants were already represented by Barry Bonds. Starter Denny Neagle was traded to the Braves in a deadline deal, but finished the year with a 16-9 record and a 3.49 ERA (126 ERA+). Fourteen of those wins came with a Pirates team that finished the year 76-86; Neagle had been an All-Star in 1995, and would be again in 1997. If you feel that Santiago was a more deserving selection than Kendall, Neagle could have replaced the Phillies' only selection, closer Ricky Bottalico (34 SV, 3.19 ERA, 138 ERA+), or another pitcher, without any severe damage to the integrity of the game (the team was already closer-heavy that year, anyway)

Kendall _was_ the Pirates' only viable candidate in 1998, unless you want to establish some kind of lunatic fringe argument for Tony Womack, since he led the league in steals. I don't. The notion of Kendall as an All-Star is perfectly acceptable here, though, because he so clearly belongs in the game. The three catchers on the roster were Piazza, Kendall, and Javy Lopez. Piazza split the year between three teams, but had a typical Piazza season anyway (.960 OPS). 1998 was Lopez's finest season, in which he compiled an OPS of .868, which still leaves him behind Kendall's .884. The difference of .016 is small, but in order to close the gap, Lopez would need some kind of extra contribution. It doesn't look like there is one. Kendall had more steals and a better success rate than Lopez, and Lopez doesn't gain ground on anyone in a defensive comparison (well, maybe on an Eddie Taubensee, but that's it). Kendall looks like the second-best catcher of the three named to the team. The best catchers not on the team include Charles Johnson (another Gold Glove, but not much offensive improvement with a .670 OPS), Eddie Taubensee (.770 OPS, with the aforementioned terrible D), and Brad Ausmus (.713 OPS, and lots of veteran leadership). I wouldn't take any of those guys over Lopez OR Kendall.

Kendall made his third All-Star team in 2000. It's not really possible to say that he was only chosen to give the Pirates a token representative, since Brian Giles (1.026 OPS) also made the team. If you needed 2 Pirates All-Stars, but didn't want Kendall, Kris Benson (3.85 ERA, 119 ERA+, 184Ks, with extremely lopsided splits that favored the first half) wouldn't look terribly out of place. Kendall compiled an OPS of .882, and was joined behind the dish by three other catchers: Piazza, Mike Lieberthal, and Joe Girardi. Piazza was once again Piazza (1.014 OPS); there's a case to be made that he's the most valuable player to ever wear the tools of ignorance. Kendall _did_ look much better than both of the other All-Stars that year. Lieberthal hit well for the part of the season where he wasn't hurt (.822 OPS) but he wasn't in Kendall's class, and Joe Girardi as an All-Star is a joke, and a bad one at that (.714 OPS, 106 GP). It's not like the Cubs were scraping for representation, either, since they had Sammy Sosa. The best catchers to not make the team were Javy Lopez (.821 OPS), Mitch Meluskey (.888 OPS in the best hitter's park outside the state of Colorado), and Todd Hundley (.954 OPS, 299 AB). I guess it's possible that you might rate one of those guys as more deserving than Kendall, but I don't see that you could say that all three were, and that's what it would have taken to get him off the team.

Looking at the evidence, it seems more likely that Kendall has been in FEWER All-Star games than one might expect from a player of his caliber, rather than MORE. In 1997, the league took four catchers: Piazza (.985 OPS), Hundley (.943 OPS), Lopez (.895 OPS), and Johnson (Gold Glove, .801 OPS). Kendall's season (.825 OPS) didn't measure up, but would have been plenty good enough in most other years. If your claim that he made teams un-deservedly were true, he would have displaced one of these four on the roster. He didn't, and Tony Womack took the designated Pittsburgh roster spot instead. Kendall was a virtual lock to make the team in 1999, but suffered a compound dislocation of his ankle four games before the All-Star break, and missed the rest of the year. At the time, he had a .939 OPS and 22 steals. The All-Stars that year were Piazza (.936 OPS), Lieberthal (Gold Glove, .914 OPS) and Dave Nilsson (.954 OPS, 343 AB). All of these guys look reasonable as selections, but Kendall's half-season looks better than Nilsson's. Nilsson was a terrible defender, and only caught 101 games all year; he could have been dropped, and the Brewers would still have been represented by Jeromy Burnitz. Even if Nilsson were kept, a spot for Kendall would likely have been set aside. You can't count it as an appearance, since he didn't appear, but you wouldn't have to move the injury more than a week to change history. Kendall _was_ marginal in 2001, but he again mysteriously failed to vulture a spot out from underneath a better-qualified candidate.

In short, you're wrong. Kendall is not a player who garnered All-Star appearances he did not deserve by virtue of playing for a bad team in a small market. He is a legitimately skilled player, who earned all the honors he has received.

I'd also like to ask why you ignored the bulk of the argument in my last post and chose to dispute only two small supporting points. Were you unable to follow my logic, or are you conceding the accuracy of my other claims?
   56. Justin Binek Posted: February 18, 2002 at 11:49 PM (#554302)
Ron Villone,

Sorry, man, but there's not a lot to say about a guy whose career so far matches those of Dave West, Scott Bailes, and Tom Bolton...
   57. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 20, 2002 at 01:16 PM (#554306)
He's a Type A free agent, and he wants setup man money. There aren't too many teams that have bullpen spaces out there for someone in his price range, and most of those don't want to give up their first rounder for him.

He had the bad timing to enter the market right after about a dozen guys (Hasegawa, etc.) got non-tendered. They all got snapped up first, since none of them required compensation. The latest speculation I've been hearing is that Manzanillo is going to come back to Pittsburgh, hat in hand, on May 1. Other than that, he'd likely have trouble finding a team with anything more than an NRI left.
   58. Mike Emeigh Posted: February 28, 2002 at 02:20 PM (#555091)
The Reds had a similar situation with Deion Sanders last year; they signed him to a minor-league deal which was nearly voided because of the May 1 rule. That's when the rule was clarified to allow minor-league signings as long as the remaining clubs pass on a major-league deal.

Manzanillo was looking for Todd VanPoppel money. Unfortunately, VanPoppel turned out to be a special case rather than the norm, especially when a bunch of middle/setup relievers were non-tendered at the December 20 deadline (Hasegawa et. al.)

-- MWE
   59. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 28, 2002 at 06:04 PM (#555093)
The team doesn't think Manzanillo has "closer makeup". Right now, Manzanillo is behind (at a minimum) Lowe, Fogg, and Fetters in the pursuit of the closer-in-waiting spot.

It's a shame that he didn't get a deal, since he really is a solid reliever. Damn you, Elias!
   60. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 15, 2002 at 01:34 PM (#555444)
Supposedly he's going to the Twins, where he'll take Jay Canizaro's job as last man on the bench. That's sort of cool, since Morris reminds me of Todd Walker, and from the outside it looks like there's some kind of natural cycle in operation here.

Morris could still be the hitter he was his rookie year, if he hooks up with someone who makes him disregard all the useless crap they beat into his head for the last two seasons. I should be upset, because the team got rid of a potentially useful player, but I'm not. There was no chance he would get a fair shake with the Pirates, and this way he gets to go on to bigger and better things, while the team gets a roster spot to give to someone they might actually use.
   61. Repoz Posted: March 15, 2002 at 02:52 PM (#555445)
Both Olson and Morris seem to be a natural fit for the Orioles,best days behind them,grizzled veteren clubhouse presence,play for cheap and they could give Olson a farewell tour around league.......Plus think of the media play/windfall from The Gregg Olson Day at Camden Yards.
   62. Dan Szymborski Posted: March 15, 2002 at 03:53 PM (#555447)
A few years ago, when Hairston was still in the minors, the Orioles were very unhappy with his arm strength, which is the primary reason they were using Jesse Garcia at short instead of Hairston down on the farm. Skills not used tend to erode and after this long at 2nd, I don't think I would bother moving Hairston back to short. He was really bad last year, but even his better minor league performances only suggest a player that hits in the 320/370 range, so it's not really like Hairston is an absolutely necessity for the O's, although I would still like to see him play since there's at least a chance he could improve significantly.

The other big problem with moving Hairston to short is Mike Bordick. I fear that as long as Bordick wants to play, the Orioles will allow him to do so, even though his hitting is slowly returning to his pre-adequate levels and his defense has fallen off the table the last few years. He turned out to be better than the horrible player he was his first year with the O's, but I've seen enough 37 year-old mediocrities.
   63. Walt Davis Posted: March 15, 2002 at 06:25 PM (#555450)
There is a piece in BP 2002 that addresses the question and the answer appears to be yes, older players are better than they used to be and they appear to be hanging around a bit longer. Perhaps of most use is that the "peak" now seems to last through 32. But then I just perused the article, didn't go over it in detail, so there may be some caveats in there.
   64. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 15, 2002 at 10:14 PM (#555453)
I got the info from rotoworld.com, who in turn got it from the following article (look down at the bottom):

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/sports/pirateslive/s_61323.html
   65. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 16, 2002 at 02:30 PM (#555455)
Morris just signed a minor-league deal with the Twins. 275k if he makes the majors, plus up to 100k in incentives.
   66. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: April 16, 2002 at 01:47 AM (#555909)
Looks like the rumors are true; Mike Benjamin's on his way out of town.
   67. MattB Posted: April 16, 2002 at 06:53 PM (#555913)
Ms. Leone,

Tomas was born in La Victoria, Dominican Republic.

http://cbs.sportsline.com/u/baseball/mlb/players/player_127068.htm

There are lots of references to his being born in you, but they are inaccurate, as there is no "La Victoria" in you, while there is one in the Dominican Republic.

I can imagine that someone hit "S" instead of "D" in a country code somewhere (they are right next to each other on the keyboard). Typing SR instead of DR gives you Sierra Leone instead of the Dominican Republic.

Which is odd, as one would expect him to be from "la Rosa".
   68. Dan Szymborski Posted: April 16, 2002 at 09:21 PM (#555915)
"Sierra Leone" could just be a *big* typo for "Dominican Republic" foisted upon up by someone who didn't buy Hooked on Phonics.
   69. Brian Posted: April 18, 2002 at 01:37 AM (#555936)
So I take it its the Pirates that signed Sefcik, and not the Phillies, as the header says?
   70. Dan Szymborski Posted: April 18, 2002 at 02:08 AM (#555937)
Looks fine to me! Either your eyes are playing tricks or the author stealthily fixed the header.
   71. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: April 18, 2002 at 12:13 PM (#555938)
Sefcik might see some PT later this year, when the rosters expand. Adam Hyzdu took a bullet for the org and went to AA two years ago, and he got a September callup, which he then leveraged into "emergency outfielder" status last year.

When Littlefield said the team was pursuing some moves, though, I'd envisioned bigger game than Sefcik and de la Rosa.
   72. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 03, 2002 at 03:42 AM (#557462)
Good. Less opportunity for McClendon to screw around with Hermansen, though those Rob Mackowiak-Centerfielder rumblings scare the hell out of me. On his worst day, Hermansen's the same hitter as little Mac (a.k.a. Craig Paquette v2.0), with vastly superior outfield defense.
   73. Sharkbyte Posted: July 14, 2002 at 10:16 PM (#557716)
re: bone chips as collectibles:

It's been tried.

http://espn.go.com/sportsbusiness/s/2002/0515/1382741.html
   74. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 14, 2002 at 11:36 PM (#557718)
I'm hoping the relievers-for-prospects carousel doesn't stop with Fetters. Al Reyes really deserves to be in the bigs, and Salomon Torres probably wouldn't embarrass himself as a long man, either.

It still amazes me that the Rangers thought Jay Powell was a better signing than Manzanillo.

Arroyo, on the other hand, I can do without. He's finally striking people out at AAA this year, but he looked terrible in the spot start I saw, and he's never been better than 'extremely sketchy' in the bigs, not even in spring training.
   75. jwb Posted: July 15, 2002 at 03:37 PM (#557719)
Collectibles? E-Bay!
   76. Jb Posted: August 01, 2002 at 03:00 AM (#558227)
As a Bucs fan, I wish they coulda gotten something, anything, in return for uberbust Chad Hermansen. It's been pretty painful watching Chad the last couple of years, knowing that organizational incompetence (Lloyd, I'm looking at you) played a pretty big role in his failure at sustained (or even limited) success. I don't know, maybe they totally overrated Hermansen as a high school prospect -- with Cam's toolsy approach to things, it's sure not out of the realm of possibility. But we've had "next big thing" rammed down our throats so much w/r/t Chad that even though it's fairly obvious to all involved that he wasn't going to achieve anything in black and gold, it's still kinda sad seeing him traded away. In a way, I guess, it makes sense that the Bucs got nothing in return.

Why do I feel like my girlfriend and I both just decided that it would maybe be better for both of us if we broke up?

Sigh,

Jb

PS By the way, Baseball Prospectus' line that if the A's got a hold of Chad he'd be an All-star within a year was just a touch ridiculous.
   77. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 01, 2002 at 03:23 AM (#558228)
I'm amazed that the team managed to come up with an outfielder who isn't an improvement on Hermansen in any area. Lewis has no power, and he has no speed. Despite his rep, he isn't really a good defender. He doesn't hit for a good average, and he doesn't draw walks. He's more expensive, and older.

Hermansen hasn't actually been all that bad this year. He's been about as good as a guy can be with a batting average right around .200, compiling a .656 OPS with good D. If Ruben Rivera can score a job somewhere, Hermansen deserves one too.
   78. Sweet Posted: August 01, 2002 at 11:28 AM (#558232)
Actually, Jb, the quote was "If the A's grab him, he'll be an All-Star in *two* years" (emphasis mine). How that mitigates the ridiculousness of the quote is for others to decide.

In any event, the Cubs are so not the organization for Chad Hermansen. Anecdotally, the plate discipline of young players from other organizations declines dramatically upon their arrival in Chicago, Iowa, West Tenn, Daytona, or Lansing (see, e.g., Jackson Melian). Here's hoping Chad doesn't hurt himself swinging.
   79. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: August 01, 2002 at 02:38 PM (#558237)
Puzzling, though, ain't it? The Cubs have done a pretty good job drawing walks since Kimm arrived.

They've also done a damn fine job of constantly striking out, though, too. So make of it what you will.


Might this be explained by opposing managers telling their pitchers not to throw Cub hitters anything at all worth hitting? If the opposing manager went on in the media about how he wants his players "hacking" and "swinging away" you better believe my pitchers aren't going to put it in the strike zone.
   80. Walt Davis Posted: August 01, 2002 at 04:16 PM (#558240)
I wouldn't be surprised if Hermansen had a revival somewhere between Todd Van Poppel's (wandering the desert, then a decent year) and Phil Nevin's (same wandering, better run of success). I don't think the Cubs are the right place for that to happen, though.

I dunno about that, though it really depends on how much faith they put in Patterson. The primary thing the Cubs have going for them in this regard is Jeff Pentland who hasn't been a miracle worker (though he does have one of the biggest miracles on his resume) but does stress plate discipline (not that Hermanson is bad in this regard). Anyway, he goes to an organization that has some clue about plate discipline and whose current CF is offering little but defense.

But I doubt they'll give up on Patterson (nor should they) in which case Hermansen becomes a Rivera-like spare part who gives them a RH option in CF (not that he hits lefties either) with a smidgen of pop. And obviously he's gonna be cheap for some time to come, unless he gets good.

As to Mr. Melian, in 2002 he's walked 40 times in 320 AB and sports a 364 OBP despite a 269 avg. In his minor-league career prior to West Tenn, he had 54 bb in 722 ab. At Chattanooga in 2001, it was 36/426.

So Melian's walk rate has improved substantially during his time in the Cubs organization. Did they have something to do with that? I have no idea. But it's awfully hard to make the case that they've been bad for his plate discipline.

Of the important players at Iowa, the OBP's are: Hill 372, Choi 425, Bass 372, all with bb/ab rates of 1/8 or better. In fact, among those getting decent playing time, the worst bb/ab rate appears to be Zuleta at 27/333, which isn't bad for the worst one. (ESPN's minor league pages don't seem to have team totals).

Players at West Tenn also seem to sport decent walk #'s. Unfortunately, among those I know are supposed to be prospects, it's a mixed bag. Nic Jackson 6/131 is awful; Kelton 36/376 needs a little work; Gripp 35/302 is decent; and Frese 18/177 is tolerable. Other guys, who maybe aren't prospects, are doing well: Budzinski 38/299, Melian, Johnson 37/322, Schrager 65/278.

Anybody know anything about Schrager? His 230 average is troubling, but 17 2B's, 10 HR's and a walk per 4 AB are kinda intriguing.
   81. Walt Davis Posted: August 01, 2002 at 04:26 PM (#558241)
Back to the Cubs. They have many problems, but not walking really isn't one of them as they're 7th in the NL in walks. Could they improve? Certainly. But is it a major flaw? No.

As to their K's, they do lead the NL, but this is helped by their "three true outcomes" middle infield. Between them, Bellhorn and Gonzalez have 172 k in 554 AB. Fortunately one of those guys realizes that walks and HR's are the best of the three outcomes and has put up a decent average to boot -- i.e. Bellhorn strikes out a lot because he's a patient hitter who tries to mash the ball; AGone is just a bad hitter.

Their big problem is the 238 team average (which leaves them 15th in OBP despite being 7th in walks) and 404 slugging (a 3-way tie for 10th, though not far below the median). What is interesting is that they're #2 in HR.
   82. Walt Davis Posted: August 01, 2002 at 06:19 PM (#558244)
all right, I stand corrected on Melian.
   83. Sweet Posted: August 01, 2002 at 09:52 PM (#558245)
Hey, I want to be wrong about the Cubs' commitment to plate discipline, I really do. I just can't shake the suspicion that there's not a systemic commitment to it. I'll try to dig up some more evidence for this, but the sample size is going to be pretty small.

On a related note, I hadn't realized just how "aggressive" Patterson has become. 9 BB since April 16th, in just under 350 ABs. That's positively Dunstonian.
   84. Repoz Posted: August 02, 2002 at 01:18 PM (#558246)
It now looks like Darren Lewis is set to retire instead of reporting to Pirates......It won't be easy to tell.
   85. NTNgod Posted: August 02, 2002 at 02:33 PM (#558247)
Link about the Lewis retirement:
   86. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 02, 2002 at 02:38 PM (#558248)
Hmm. Conspiracy theorists, start your engines...

I have to say, pretty much any sort of additional compensation would please me more than Darren Lewis, so this news takes some of the sting out of losing Hermansen.
   87. Greg Franklin Posted: August 02, 2002 at 06:50 PM (#558249)
From NTNGod's link, "Lewis, whose offensive skills have eroded, ... "

Slick plan by Littlefield. Knowing the tendencies of the Cubs (we gotta dump Lewis for anything) and his manager (I gotta get Lewis on this ballclub) he offered H for L which the Cubs accepted in a jiffy.

Knowing that Lewis would rather retire than be a Pirate, he can now acquire the Cubs player he really wants, without undermining the manager's authority.

Well geez Louise, if Derek Bell is working the Slurpee machine, where does that leave Lewis? Most 7-11's are 1-man operations.
   88. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: August 02, 2002 at 08:42 PM (#558250)
This afternoon on the Cubs-Rockies broadcast, they just announced a minor league deal:

From the Pirates: Aron Westin, 21 yr old OF in Hickory (A)

From the Cubs: Ricardo Palma, 22 yr old LHP in West Tenn (AA), Tim Lavery, 23 yr old LHP in Daytona (A+), plus cash

This looks pretty lopsided to me, especially considering Palma's fine year in AA (albeit in relief). I'm guessing this is some sort of makeup for the Lewis fiasco.
   89. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 03, 2002 at 04:21 AM (#558251)
Color me unimpressed. Anything's better than Darren Lewis, but still...

The only areas of strength in the Pittsburgh farm system are catchers (House, Cota, Doumit) and B/C grade pitching prospects. The team needs position players, not more arms, especially when those arms have already been pigeonholed into situational relief roles in the low minors. Weston's stats aren't all that, but he's a decent prospect. He has serious power potential, and despite the usual crappy instruction received by Pirate prospects, he's learned how to draw walks this year (35 in 226 AB). He was drafted out of high school as a second-rounder, and at the time drew physical comps to Darryl Strawberry and Dave Winfield. He's a tools prospect with a high ceiling, and this one could wind up looking really bad for the Pirates.
   90. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 10, 2002 at 02:53 PM (#558797)
I'm sad to see Lowe go, especially when Villone's still taking up space on the bottom end of the bullpen. He really didn't pitch all that badly, but apparently McClendon felt like he had to push someone over the side of the boat to keep everybody motivated and save his job *snicker*.

Ritchie's going to be a dynamite NRI for someone this year, and I'd be pretty juiced if it turns out to be Pittsburgh. He was too decent for too long for this year's performance to represent some dramatic shift in ability; I'd be more inclined to believe that Chicago's management screwed him up somehow (mentally, mechanically, or whatever).
   91. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 10, 2002 at 05:33 PM (#558798)
More likely defensively. Ritchie's the kind of guy that needs decent gloves behind him to be consistently successful, and the White Sox have an awful defense.

-- MWE
   92. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 10, 2002 at 05:41 PM (#558799)
All good for us, then.
   93. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 16, 2002 at 02:38 PM (#558803)
Looks like Lowe isn't going to be anyone's NRI. He signed on with the Rockies for the rest of the season, with a team option for next year.
   94. MattB Posted: November 12, 2002 at 04:51 PM (#559273)
Dan,

Just wondering what your sources are. I haven't been able to confirm this one on the web anywhere.

Thanks.
   95. MattB Posted: November 12, 2002 at 05:44 PM (#559275)
Thanks!
   96. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 12, 2002 at 08:27 PM (#559276)
Well, if signing David Doster means we've seen the last of Mike Benjamin, I'm all for it.
   97. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 13, 2002 at 01:01 AM (#559277)
Benjamin won't be back. The Pirates are making every effort to sign Boehringer, and might have some interest in Villone as a reliever, but Dave Littlefield has indicated that the Pirates have no interest in either Benji or Keith Osik.

Doster could make the team as a reserve infielder, if he can play 3B. The Bucs will need someone to spell Aramis Ramirez, and the only other candidate on the roster to do that is Mackowiak, who was pretty bad there last year.

-- MWE
   98. Eric Posted: November 16, 2002 at 04:24 AM (#555922)
To MattB: SR is not the country code for Sierra Leone...it is the country code for Serbia or Suriname (depending on the standard). Sierra Leone's code is SL. But there is another possibility though: Dominican Republic's country code is DO according to the ISO 3166 standard. The D is next to the S and the O is right over the L...which could lead me to think that maybe someone made a typo and mispelled both letters. But again that is the only possible thing I would see
   99. Greg Franklin Posted: November 20, 2002 at 10:11 PM (#559279)
Per CBS Sportsline's new transaction page (not the old one TO links to), Pat Meares was added to the 40-man roster and Armando Rios got released.

Boy, that dump trade of Jason Schmidt in 2001 failed in every which way. A sports talker I listened to at the time maintained that the dumping team should never package 2 or more veterans together in a trade, as the Pirates did with Schmidt and John Vander Wal. The dumper would have a better chance of getting value (and avoiding a crash and burn) if they stuck to dealing 1 vet at a time in separate deals to multiple teams, as the Rockies seem to be doing now.

Anyone else ever heard this alleged rule of thumb?
   100. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 21, 2002 at 12:18 AM (#559280)
Better Mackowiak at third than in center.
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